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Because we never used to have climate

22 Jan 2020 | OP ED Watch

A paper in EOS recounts the fall of the Assyrian Empire due to climate catastrophe, specifically, a megadrought lasting over a century. Which of course sheds light on modern climate change because, David Middleton observes, of the way it’s so totally similar in its utter difference. One of the oddest features of climate alarmism, which is a megamouthful, is that on the one hand it insists that climate was stable before humans wrecked everything in the mid-20th century and on the other that various past climate instabilities not caused by humans are evidence of the current disaster about to unfold that is caused by humans.

The notion of a stable climate is surprisingly prevalent in the climate-change crowd. In An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore asserts that “The places where people live were chosen because of the climate pattern that has been pretty much the same on Earth since the end of the last ice age 11,000 years ago.” And evangelical alarmist activist Bill McKibben has said “Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we’re now leaving… in the dust.” In Jakarta in 2014 then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry even upped their thousands to millions of years (when Kerry is quoted on global arming, alarmists tend to distance themselves from his often very strange statements because he’s “not a scientist”, but they don’t object when he makes them). And famously, Michael Mann and for some years the IPCC denied that there had even been a medieval warm period despite the mountain of evidence for it.

Climate doomsters don’t like to talk about the Little Ice Age for obvious reasons: a natural temperature drop between around 1300 and 1650 and a rebound after 1850 make it pretty plain that much of the increase in the last 150 years was, at least prima facie, natural as well. And to get rid of the LIA they also had to do in the Medieval Warm Period, along with the Roman and Minoan ones and for that matter the Holocene Climate Optimum.

At the same time as they deny climate change, they frequently tell us that it gives instructive warnings about present circumstances. For instance, Mediterranean sea level increases 7000 years ago shed light on our own day. Or when scientists proclaimed five years ago that the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which the Globe and Mail called the “mysterious period of accelerated climate change that occurred 55 million years ago, long before humans appeared”, was due to carbon released into the atmosphere by volcanoes, comets or some other big unknown thing because we all know carbon drives temperature. On that occasion the Globe kicked its story off “In a study that offers a cautionary message to global policymakers” and assured us “The episode is of interest to climate scientists because it offers the best-known natural analogue to human-induced global warming.”

Oh really? As the story noted, the configuration of continents was so different that ocean currents were quite unlike contemporary ones. Also, as the story did not note, the PETM saw a temperature spike of 5-8 C over tens of thousands of years which nobody now predicts. Nevertheless the Globe told readers, lead author and PhD candidate Kaitlin Alexander “said that the new analysis suggests the atmosphere at the time was sensitive to increases in carbon-dioxide levels as climate scientists believe it to be today, which means the world is on track to warm substantially without a concerted effort to curb emissions. ‘It means we have climate sensitivity about right,’ she said.”

To someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Even things they deny are nails.

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