Nature, Not Humankind, Controls Climate, Gov. Little


By Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

Idaho governor should take a climate course before speaking out on the issue again

“Climate is changing, there’s no question about it,” Idaho’s new Republican Governor Brad Little said on Wednesday at the Idaho Environmental Forum. “…We’ve just got to figure out how we’re going to cope with it. And we’ve got to slow it down. Now, reversing it is going to be a big darn job.”

According to The Associated Press, Little’s statement shocked some at the forum. Perhaps that is because the first part of his statement is so obvious as to be absurd to even express, and the last part of his statement is simply absurd.

The Governor seems unaware that the only constant about climate is change—it changes all the time, entirely independent of humankind’s actions. Natural variations in our planet’s ‘average temperature’ have ranged over a span of 60 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 4.6 billion years. It is thus a myth that our planet’s climate was essentially constant until we started burning fossil fuels.

However, Little is right to say that we’re going to have to learn to cope with climate change. Societies that did not are no longer with us—witness the Greenland Viking colonies which were established during the Medieval Warm Period (1100 – 1300 AD) but died out at the start of the Little Ice Age which followed when they failed to adapt to the extreme cold.

But by talking about slowing and even ‘reversing’ climate change, Little gives the impression that humankind has access to a global thermostat that allows us to return to some prior ideal climate. When would he suggest was ideal? Was it the Medieval Warm Period which was warmer than today and grapes were a grown in the British Isles? Or maybe the Roman or the Minoan warm periods, both of which were warmer than now? Perhaps he wants the climate returned to the warmest period since the last glacial, the Holocene Optimum. After all, it was 8,000 years ago, during the Holocene Optimum, when the planet was 2 – 3 degrees Celsius warmer than now that large quantities of ice were melting, sea-level was rising about ten times faster than today, and coastal settlements had to move quickly or be ruined.

Or does Little prefer colder times? If so, then perhaps he longs for the climate of the Wisconsin glaciation period (75,000 to 11,000 years ago) when parts of his home state were buried under a glacier.

All this is silly, of course. Unless the Governor has discovered some way to stop the solar system from moving through the Galaxy, the Sun from changing its brightness, the Earth from changing its rotational and orbital parameters, and the continents from moving, it is not just a “big darn job” to significantly reverse climate change, it is completely impossible.

Most of the periodic temperature increases and decreases observed in human history are consistent with variations in the average amount of energy that we receive from the Sun. The mild heating and cooling periods since 1900 (each less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit) reflect changes in solar activity rather the exponential increase in fossil fuel emissions. The Earth’s temperature increased from 1880 to 1935 as the Little Ice Age ended. It decreased from 1935 to 1980 and increased from 1980 to 1990, and has since leveled off.  Temperature changes do not mirror emission changes.

Solar-driven temperature changes operate on time scales of ten to a thousand years and have resulted in temperature shifts spanning a total range of about 7 degrees Fahrenheit. These shifts arise from the fact that the Sun’s output is not constant, but changes according to both long-term and short-term cycles. These solar cycles, and their connection with the Earth’s climate, have been documented using the recorded history of sunspot cycles, aurora observations, radio-carbon dating techniques, and changes in solar radiance.

Periodic changes in the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit around the Sun, and variations in the tilt of Earth’s axis of rotation and the direction of its axis influence how the energy received from the Sun is distributed.These are called Milankovitch cycles after the Serbian scientist who discovered them a century ago. Taken together, these cycles have resulted in our current era of recurring Ice Ages. We are now experiencing the high temperature end of the latest Ice Age cycle.

Continental positions also determine the distribution and circulation of heat on Earth and have a major impact on our planet’s climate over periods of 20 million – 100 million years, the time frames associated with plate tectonics or continental drift. Current continental positions are promoting a relatively cold era of recurring Ice Ages.

Finally, our position in the Milky Way Galaxy may be the longest period driver of climate change. As we pass in and out of the galaxy’s spiral arms, we are exposed to varying amounts of cloud-causing galactic cosmic rays, which may have very significant effects on Earth’s temperatures.

Global warming advocates want us to believe that, through our use of fossil fuels, humankind has become the master controller of Earth’s climate, overwhelming all natural drivers and leading to environmental catastrophe. This rewriting of climate history is surely the most pervasive and damaging example of scientific fraud ever.

Dr. Jay Lehr is the Science Director of The Heartland Institute which is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.

Portions of this article were excerpted with permission from the author and publisher of the 2018 bookThe Mythology of Global Warming by Bruce Bunker published by Moonshine Cove.  The book is strongly recommended by the authors for additional information on this topic.

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