Excellent! I’ve received your attention. Now, let me qualify my title. I say I don’t believe in Climate Change, and that is true. I believe that climate changes, but not in Climate Change.
There is a significant difference between changes in global climate and the actual concept and agenda of Climate Change. When I say the climate changes, I mean that in portions of earth’s history, the world has been on average warmer or colder, seen higher and lower levels of natural disasters, etc. When I reference Climate Change (note the capitalization), however, I am discussing the current idea that these changes in climate which I pointed out in the previous sentence are getting progressively worse and worse and will eventually result in global catastrophe. I find this to be false. In particular, I would like to address the statement that the global environment is in crisis.
This statement is as ambiguous as it is frightening—two factors which make it so effective. The word environment is self-explanatory. Crisis, however, is more concerning. It carries the connotation of danger, leading the audience to have a fearful emotional response. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Crisis means, “[A]n unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending[; especially] one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome” and/or “a situation that has reached a critical phase.”
Using this definition, the statement “the global environment is in crisis” means that the global environment is in or “has reached a critical phase” where “decisive change is impending[/necessary]” to avoid “an undesirable outcome” (Merriam-Webster).
I want to stress that this statement does not distinguish between crises caused by the environment and crises that are environmentally related. In other words, if a single hurricane is particularly devastating, it might be an environmentally-related crisis, but that does not immediately signify that the global environment is in crisis. It is a fallacious overgeneralization to extrapolate one environmental crisis and conclude the global environment is in crisis. Now, if there are many hurricanes over a very long period of time that seem to indicate worsening intensity, that would be a different story.
Having defined the terms, I will seek to dismantle the statement that the environment is in crisis through three arguments: Global Warming does not exist, greenhouse gases do not have a significant impact on global temperatures, and natural disasters are not increasing in frequency or severity or do not have the effect environmentalists claim they do. This is a lengthy discussion and therefore will be split into two separate articles. The first will contain my arguments regarding Global Warming and greenhouse gases. The second will contain my arguments regarding natural disasters and my concluding analysis regarding environmentalism.
The most obvious phrase that comes to mind when discussing the environment is Global Warming. Just like Climate Change, I believe that the world is getting warmer, in the sense that over the past few centuries or so, the Global Average Temperature (GAT) has been increasing, but there is a significant difference between a general increase in GAT and the concept of Global Warming. When I refer to Global Warming (note the capitalization), I am referencing the idea that the world is getting progressively and significantly warmer with each passing year, leading to the changing of melting ice caps, rising sea level, natural disasters, food shortages, and eventually global catastrophe.
I do not believe this position is true, having examined the evidence. Below is a graph of global temperatures since 1880 taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website:
(Lindsey and Dahlman 2023).
According to this graph, global temperatures are rising dramatically from the average after about 1980. I freely admit—this looks like a drastic increase. However, the y-axis shows that differences in global temperatures since 1880 have remained between -1 and +1 degree Celsius. This is not a large deviation from the average and to me does not seem to merit the panic surrounding the concept of Global Warming. What I see from the graph is that the global temperature has not increased by more than 2 degrees Celsius in the last 140 years or so. To put this in perspective, below is a different graph with similar information:
(Everything Climate 2023).
Now, this graph is in degrees Fahrenheit. My most conservative estimate from the website (feel free to test my math) is that the temperature varies in a range of 3 degrees Fahrenheit or 1.67 degrees Celsius for any given year. This is very similar to the previous graph, which had a range of about 1.5 degrees Celsius. It is also similar to NASA’s numbers, which say the world has increased by 1.11 degrees Celsius between 1880 and 2022 (Global Climate Change 2023).
The difference between the graphs is striking. They both illustrate the same evidence, but the first is used to support the idea of a climate emergency, while the second is used to argue there is not a climate emergency on our hands.
The difference is how the graphs are constructed. Examining the y-axis on the first graph, the values are between -1 and 1 degrees Celsius, but the graph is expanded. This makes the changes look far more drastic. Furthermore, the first graph only shows the temperature difference each year from 1880 to 2020 from the average world temperature in the 20th century, and not the GAT. The second graph shows the GAT in Fahrenheit on a much larger scale and does not demonstrate a difference from the average but rather the actual temperature each year. This puts things in perspective: it shows only a slow increase over the past 140 years, not the drastic rising temperatures expected to precede a climate emergency.
This is furthermore supported when historical data is accounted for. In July 2013, Swedish Environmental Scientist Leif Kullman concluded from his examinations of tree rings in the Swedish Scandes that summer temperatures in the Roman and Medieval periods may have been 2.3 degrees higher than present (Kullman 2012). In fact, Michon Scott and Rebecca Lindsey admit on the NOAA’s website that “Compared to most of Earth’s history, today is unusually cold.” Then, during the Ice Age, the world was only 5 degrees Celsius colder than modern times (Scott 2021).
Some argue that even 1 degree change in global temperature can have a drastic effect on the planet. If this is true, we should expect to see evidence of those drastic changes. As I will show in Part 2 of this discussion (to be published in the next issue), this is not the case.
If the GAT went from 5 degrees lower than present, to 2.3 degrees higher than present, to the present gradual increase in GAT we see, then it is exactly what we should expect from a global climate that is continually changing, varying up and down with time. It does not indicate that the global climate is irreversibly moving towards global catastrophe.
Personally, I cannot be convinced there is any climate emergency due to Global Warming when even the sources which claim it exists also admit the world was warmer in ancient times before humans were burning fossil fuels. Thus, while I believe the world is currently warming, I do not believe in the environmentalist agenda of Global Warming.
According to National Geographic, “[Greenhouse] gases are now out of balance and threaten to change drastically which living things can survive on this planet—and where” (Nunez 2019). This is not shocking. Due to the Greenhouse Effect, greenhouse gases trap solar heat in earth’s atmosphere and prevent it from leaving the surface (Nunez 2019). The argument made by environmentalists and adhered to by a large portion of the scientific community is that larger amounts of greenhouse gases correspond to higher and higher temperatures. According to
National Geographic, this results in Climate Change as described earlier in this article. Furthermore, the current consensus by National Geographic and the mainstream scientific community is that greenhouse gases have skyrocketed dangerously since World War II and the Age of Industrialization.
This increase in greenhouse gases seems to be true, given the graph below:
This does look quite frightening. Several details jump out at me, however. First, during the Age of Industrialization from approximately 1750-1850, there is no significant increase in greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas levels shot upward after World War II. The previous section in this article on Global Warming established that in the last 140 years or so, the world has not seen significant temperature increases beyond 1.11 degrees Celsius. With a rise in greenhouse gases as steep as shown on the graph post-WWII, would it not be logical to assume a similarly drastic rise in temperature might follow? Yet this is not shown in the data.
Instead, what the data shows is a gradual increase in GAT over the course of hundreds of years, long before WWII. The CO2 Coalition gives the following graph:
This graph shows the point at which gradual warming temperatures began slowly melting the polar ice caps. This point occurs at approximately 1825, and the graph slopes downward at a relatively constant rate from there. This is long before the greenhouse gas levels increased following WWII on the previous graph. Thus, it seems that the increase in greenhouse gases is not responsible for a significant rise in temperature.
Hence, since greenhouse gases are produced largely due to the burning of fossil fuels, it seems that the burning of fossil fuels does not have a significant impact on global temperature either. In short, greenhouse gas levels are rising, but the data does not show any meaningful impact in earth’s global temperature. Therefore, claims that state that greenhouse gases are at a “record high” are correct. Claims that say this “record high” is dangerous are not supported by the data.
This concludes Part 1. Part 2 will be published in the next issue and will continue this discussion beginning with my arguments regarding natural disasters and ending with my conclusions and analysis.
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