Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
Lots of folks are up in arms about some rumored “CLIMATE CRISIS!!!” or “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!!!” These terms refer to all the terrible things that are supposed to happen when we get 2°C warmer, or 1.5°C warmer, than the “pre-industrial” temperature.
Greta Thunberg, for example, keeps screaming about how we only have ten years to save the planet. (Rumor has it that Al Gore plans to sue her for plagiarism, saying “She’s stolen my line! I’ve got priority, I’ve been saying that for fifty years now!!” … but I digress.)
So I thought I’d see how far we are from the 2°C or the 1.5°C cliff that we’re supposedly going to go over with disastrous results. Let me start with a long-term look …
Figure 1. Ljungqvist extra-tropical NH temperature reconstruction.
Now, this shows the Roman Warm Period that ended in about 150AD. Temperatures dropped and bottomed out during the Dark Ages, in about 500AD. They then warmed until the Medieval Warm Period peak in about 1000AD, cooled to the bottom of the Little Ice Age around 1700, and have been warming in fits and starts ever since.
- Why did the Roman Warm Period end?
- Why did it end in 150 AD and not in say 400 AD?
- Why did the subsequent cooling stop around 500AD, and not say 350 or 650 AD?
- Why didn’t the warming up to the peak of the Medieval Warm Period just continue?
- Why did the MWP end in 1000 AD and not say 1200 or 800 AD?
- Why did the subsequent cooling stop in 1700 AD, instead of continuing to a new glaciation as the Milankovich cycles would suggest?
- Why has the earth warmed for 300 years since then?
- Why did the recent warming start 100 years or so before the recent rise in CO2 levels?
Protip—the answer to any and all of those questions is obviously not “CO2”.
The bad news is, I don’t know the answer to those questions. But the worse news is, not one climate scientist on the planet knows the answers to those questions.
So let me open by repeating my plea to what might be termed the “climastrologists”, my term for those well-meaning folks that claim that they can tell the climate future by peering into and interpreting the entrails of a climate model …
How about you stop telling us that you can predict the future until such time as you can explain the past?
Seriously, folks, if you can’t explain the past, how can you possibly claim to predict the future? That makes no sense at all. If a man told you his system can predict the winner of tomorrow’s horserace, but he can’t explain the outcome of a single horserace in the past, you’d laugh him out of town … I suggest you apply the same incredulous laughter to those folks mumbling about “scenarios” and “averages of ensembles of ‘state-of-the-art’ climate models”.
Now, I started this to look at how far we are from the dreaded 1.5°C or 2°C of warming. Let me begin with the Central England temperature record, one of the longest we have. Yes, it’s not global, and yes, it’s land-only … but for the people living in that part of the planet, it’s what they experienced. Here’s that record.
Figure 2. The Central England Temperature record (CET), 1659 – 2020. Red/black line is a CEEMD smooth.
As in Figure 1, you can see that the temperature bottomed out at the depth of the Little Ice Age around 1700. Why? Who knows? And since then, it’s gone up over two degrees … again, who knows why? But if someone knows of any “climate emergencies” due to those three centuries of gradual warming, now would be the time to bring them up. I know of none. In fact, this slow warming has generally been beneficial to man and beast alike.
Too small an area, you say? OK, here’s the Berkeley Earth global land-only temperature record. Notes on the graphic show how low the extreme cold temperatures got, not the average temperatures shown by the red line.
Figure 3. Berkeley Earth land only temperature record. Gray area shows the uncertainty. Yellow/black line is a Gaussian smooth.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the data all the way back to 1700 … but as you can see from the red line, there’s been over 2°C warming since 1750. And again, I know of no “climate catastrophes” since that time.
Don’t like land-only? OK, here’s the Berkeley Earth global record … again, it’s even shorter than the land record because of the lack of earlier ocean temperatures.
Figure 4. Berkeley Earth global land and ocean temperature anomaly, 1850 – 2020
Bearing in mind that the globe seems to have warmed by about half of a degree from 1700 to 1850, you can see that we’re already past the dreaded 2°C “post-industrial catastrophic warming” that the climastrologists are using to terrify the unwary … and there have been no ill effects.
My conclusions and further thoughts?
- Nobody can explain the climate of the past, which makes the climastrologists’ predictions of the climate of the future a sick joke.
- To quote the IPCC itself (emphasis mine), “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.“ This seems to be very hard for climastrologists to understand, for the reason given immediately below.
- Do not expect the climastrologists to change their views. As Upton Sinclair noted, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
- We’re already past the dreaded “2°C warming since pre-industrial times” they keep warning us about.
- There has been no “climate emergency” or any “climate catastrophe” resulting from that 300-year gradual warming.
- In general, the warming has led to longer growing seasons, less bitter winters, and longer periods where northern ports are ice-free, and it has generally been a benefit rather than a danger.
- The warming has mostly been at night, in the winter, in the extra-tropical and sub-polar regions. I don’t think that folks in say Vladivostok are complaining about slightly warmer winter nights, particularly the homeless.
- Excess cold is much more lethal to the poor than is excess warmth.
- There is no sign of the long-foretold but never-arriving “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!!”
- The doomcasts of the climatastrophists have all failed miserably. There’s a list of fifty such cratered predictions here.
- When a group is zero for fifty in their predictions of disaster, pointing and laughing at their latest doomcast is warranted.
- The average of an “ensemble” of a number of inaccurate climate models is as useful as the Roman version, the average of an ensemble of the entrails of a number of goats.
- Climate scientists should stop pretending to be the Oracle of Delphi, get out of the Chicken Little “THE SKY IS FALLING!!” business entirely, and work solely on trying to understand the climate of the past. Only once they can understand the past should they begin to make guesses about the future.
- I say “guesses” because as the IPCC says, long-term prediction of future climate states is simply not possible.
Finally, what can we do about all of this? Here’s the key.
Everything that people warn us about regarding the dreaded “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!!” has been with us forever. They warn about droughts? What, like those haven’t happened before? Floods? Storms? Hurricanes? Been there, done that. Wildfires? Gradual sea level rise? Always been happening.
About the only new thing that CO2 might bring us is the “Plague of Frogs” mentioned in the Bible, and I’m not putting much odds on that happening. Plus which … even that’s happened before.
Me, I’m not seeing any increases in any of the bad things the alarmists are screaming about. I can find nothing that’s going awry, no Thermageddon, no catastrophes, nada.
But if you still think there is catastrophe looming in the misty future, Greta’s famous terrible thing that’s always ten years away, then I strongly suggest that you consder a “No Regrets Option“. This is to do something that will be of value whether CO2 is the master temperature control or not.
For example, if you think that we’ll get more droughts from increasing CO2, give money to organizations that drill wells in Africa. Or advance the cause of drought-resistant crops. Or work to teach farmers how to reduce their water use.
Because any of those will be of value, whether or not CO2 is bringing bad news … and thus you will never regret the work that you’ve put in, however it plays out.
My best to all,