the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

A Different Opinion

Posted by Jeff Id on July 22, 2015

What if global warming were reversed and the release of CO2 caused cooling.   Would that be better or worse than today?   Would we be happier as biological entities in a cooling world or would food have a harder time growing?  Would more snow, and more glaciers help the biosphere of planet Earth be stronger?  Would lower sea levels and increased glaciation make life generally better across the planet? I read a post at Judith Curry’s blog today that started with a single phrase that I disagree with:

We know that climate change is a problem

Climate change as we are now taught being global warming of course.   I’m feeling a bit like the slow kid today, because I’ve been studying this subject for a while and I flatly don’t see any of the problems from warming.  We aren’t seeing any more storms, rains, droughts, or weather extremes than we have seen in the past.   They are simply and scientifically not happening.   We have only seen very mild warming, vastly less than predicted, and ground measured temperature had no statistical trend in recent decades until the alarmist types inexplicably yet predictably tweaked upward the temperature trend of the incredibly confusing and weak quality oceanic data that makes up 70 percent of the record.  Even that new higher trend doesn’t match models.

BUT what if we had global cooling?  Now that would be frightening to me.   Plants don’t like cold, and nor do animals, especially furless pale skinned monkeys like me.  I like beaches and sunshine over cloud and snow. The next ice age is definitely coming if we trust the incredibly rhythmic history in ice core records, it is due, and it will surely be devastating and not the kind of devastating of a few C of warming, the kind of devastating that puts a mile thick glacier in my back yard for 80,000 years or so.  I would suggest that even 4C of cooling would be horrifically bad, and I would also suggest that every aspect of mainstream science suggests that we are overdue for a chill of greater magnitude than that.   Even without the big ice age, the vastly milder little ice age in recent centuries is powerful evidence that even a small temp change downward has a seriously negative consequences to life in general.  Less food production being right on the top of the list of bad things. If cold is bad, and it surely is, and extreme scientists claim that more than 2C warmer is death to the planet, we must be in the ideal life window!!

I wonder what makes scientists so sure that the planet Earth has achieved the best temperature for life in this exact millennia?  I’ve seen no case made for this argument.  No papers released which prove or even rationally demonstrate that today’s temperatures are the best ever!   I’ve only seen doom and gloom predictions in both temperature directions from government science, while us unfunded science practicing folk having no realistic expectation of Earth balancing at this exact temperature range over any kind of pseudo-permanent time frame.  The planet will be different no matter what we do.

And then there are those reasonable people who see warming as mild, yet still want to do ‘something’ to help poor unwitting Gaia.  The middle grounders.  With so much nonsense going on in the subject, it is quite relaxing to see a bit of pragmatism from someone, but I don’t think even this group has the right of it.

A different view:

I want to suggest something to you folks who are so certain that even moderate warming requires a ‘response’.  Especially those many of you who believe in the limitation of burning fuels.  Instead of making the assumption that change caused by humans is necessarily and absolutely a bad thing, as so many of you readers and self-declared moderates do, I want you to consider an entirely reasonable alternative.  Warming is net beneficial for life, humanity, weather, plants, animals, polar bears and penguins.  The evidence for this is not minor, it is in fact everywhere.  Observation ahead of theory.

We are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and will have doubled the microscopically small pre-industrial CO2 levels in the near future no matter what we do with government policy.   Of course that atmospheric concentration is still vanishingly small as a percentage of the air, but it is unequivocally known that this gas will still cause additional warming.  It turns out that it is a small warming effect because even with the most aggressive warming assumptions, as the oceans can absorb literally a thousand years of the energy involved global warming with only 1C of temp change.  That fact is way too often overlooked in climate science, even by the most skeptical of scientists and bloggers.  More importantly though for this article, is that plant life generally experiences extreme reduction in growth at below 180 PPM concentration.  Basically, CO2 levels are near plant starvation levels and in pre-industrial days we were right on the edge.  Greenhouses respond to this known scientific fact by intentionally increasing the CO2 levels to as much as 1000PPM, to achieve better plant growth, which is a fact far too often overlooked in alarmist science.

So I would suggest something different for consideration.   I would suggest that instead of being a disaster, or a problem on any level, increased CO2 levels at the magnitude we have and will achieve in the next 200 years, are in fact the single greatest positive environmental improvement that humanity has been able to achieve for life on planet Earth.  More plants, greener oceans, more dynamic pole ice keeping oceanic currents flowing, powerful fertilizer, more land, slightly more humid air.  All of these effects are scientifically justifiable and likely more realistic than the more hurricanes and shrinking fish, acid water nonsense our delicate neurons have been assaulted with per the whims of our extremist ridden scientology class aka “Climate Science (TM)”.

The single best thing humanity has ever done for wildlife on Earth.   Greener, better, stronger, all because of CO2 and a bit of mild warming.   In net balance, this positive isn’t a minor effect either, because atmospheric CO2 fertilization of near critically starved plant life has a huge impact on growth, improved biodiversity in the long term and will impact animal life in the same manner for years to come no matter which new productivity choking regulation our extremist overlords imagine.

So to those who believe CO2 emission should be reduced in any way, I tell you that there is no scientific evidence to support your assertion.  By simple reason, we are very unlikely to be at the perfect temperature as a planet, by the same reason, colder is certainly worse for life.   It seems pretty obvious to me that warmer is better for humanity and all of the wildlife on Earth but the amount ‘warmer’ we can expect from CO2 process is highly limited due to oceanic thermal mass and the extreme coldness of that mass.

When we think we “know global warming is a problem”, I am stating to you that we know no such thing, those who claim to know it is a problem have mislead themselves.  I would suggest that we know global warming is not a problem, that it is nicely beneficial for all life on earth.  It is greener, better, stronger and if we are really lucky, might help us stave off that next ice age for a short spell, although I doubt CO2 will have that kind of power over the weather.

It really is the greatest travesty of the whole global warming meme, the assumption that the net outcome is a problem.  It is so easy to accept and so hard to objectively reject that a human induced change to planetary temperatures caused by various forms of combustion, is a bad thing.  In reality, fossil fuels are an absolute boon to plant life, wildlife, human life and our economy.  I urge those of you who fall into the category of ‘must do something’ to reconsider.  Scientifically, the combustion of fossil fuels, humanity is likely one of the most environmentally beneficial acts we ever performed as a species and stopping that combustion is expensive, environmentally ignorant, and fortunately for the ‘do something crowd’, impossible to stop.

17 Responses to “A Different Opinion”

  1. omanuel said

    Thanks, Jeff, for admitting how little we actually know, despite the claimed certainty of AGW promoters. Today it appears they may have overlooked Kepler’s 160 minute cycle:

    Now, almost six years after Climategate emails surfaced in late Nov 2009, the Sun’s pulsar core is gaining attention as the creator, destroyer and sustainer of every atom, life and planet in the solar system and the controller of planetary motions and climates:

  2. About 20 years ago, I read Hubert Lamb’s work and was convinced he was right, that global cooling would be disastrous and global warming is beneficial.

  3. jinghis said

    It is very hard to find anything bad coming from dramatically increasing CO2 levels. It might even trigger another Cambrian explosion.

    We have a problem though, despite dramatically increasing CO2 output it appears that life (growth) is slowing the rate of increase. We might be looking at a crash if we can’t keep the supply going.

  4. Good analysis, one which has been resisted lo these many years.

    I’ve been involved in dendroclimatology since 1991, always puzzled by the focus on increase in global average surface temperature (temperature is only one part of climate) and the roll of CO2 (mistakenly referred to as “carbon”). It is obvious The rise in atmospheric CO2 is a symptom not a cause of natural climate variation. Since the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 has remained steady as the rate of change in global average surface temperature fluctuates considerably, it is clear that the source of increase in atmospheric CO2 is a reservoir much large than the small contribution of anthropogenic CO2. This reservoir is the world ocean.

    The mantra is: warming first, then CO2. It’s the lesson of geologic history. ‘Twas ever thus. Why should we throw out the principle of uniformitarianism now, just because humans are suddenly paying attention to their own emissions? The Universe does not just happen to Homo sapiens(sic).

    The geologic average for global surface temperature is approximately 16 degrees Centigrade. We’re at 14.7 degrees C now, and statistically holding. We’ve not yet returned to the geologic average since the bottom of the Little Ice Age.

    So bring on the CO2. Let’s dance and enjoy the Holocene while we can. The next ice advance is just around the corner, and then we’ll really have something to whine about!

    • Bartemis said

      The rate of change of atmospheric CO2 is affinely related to temperatures. That is the dynamic. It comes about because CO2 is continually flowing into and out of the surface system. Temperature changes produce a long term net imbalance in the flows.

      The relationship precludes any significant increase in temperatures due to CO2 increase. Since an increase in temperature manifestly produces an accumulating positive response in CO2, a positive increase in temperatures due to an increase in CO2 would comprise a positive feedback loop, which could not be stabilized even by T^4 radiation. The Earth would have encountered a runaway condition ages ago.

      The whole charade is a bust from top to bottom. Not only are we not in control of atmospheric CO2, not only does CO2 not produce aggregate warming, but as our host says, it is too bad that we aren’t and it doesn’t, because warming would be a good thing.

  5. mpcraig said

    Another huge benefit might be the staving off of the next major ice age until we have some new technology or means to deal with it.

    A question that I cannot find any answers for is how are we going to measure the effectiveness of any so-called solutions to reduce CO2 and stop warming, say at the mythical 2C level? In other words, what are the results going to look like in a quantitative and scientific manner?

  6. Ben Palmer said

    “In reality, fossil fuels are an absolute boon to plant life, wildlife, human life and our economy”
    Well said, Jeff. But (almost) nobody wants to hear it.

    • Jeff Id said

      Thanks. After so much time spent telling people that the warming effect is real, it seemed important to reinforce the other side of reality.

  7. Pouncer said

    “The single best thing humanity has ever done for wildlife on Earth. ”

    Well, getting the phosphorous/guano off the rocks of desert islands and back into the bio-sphere as fertilizer, dinner, poop, and sewage-enriched ocean currents is certainly right up there as a contender…

    • Jeff Id said

      I think global plant fertilization might be in a different league than recycling small mammal excrement, Well maybe anyway.

      • Pouncer said

        It is another example of the same sort of process supporting the “Gaia” hypothesis. BEFORE the anthropocene, so-called “natural” processes all worked to extract nutrients such as carbon and phosphorous from the ecosystem, bioactively concentrate those elements, deposit them as wastes, and sequester them away from reuse. Forests die and form coal, seagulls poop and form guano — yes the scale is different but the process is the same. In elemental abundance, carbon and phosphorus are comparable (1.6×10^6 to 1.0×10^6 per 10^9 atoms of anything). In both cases an anthropogenic process — mining — recovered the concentrated atoms and distributed them freely among all Gaia’s creatures. Surely it could be argued that Gaia created (or evolved) a mining-capable organism for the specific purpose of recycling and sustaining her biological systems, and had humankind not existed, it would be necessary for Gaia to invent (or create, evolve or decree-into-being) something in the same image. To deny that, is to deny the value of recycling, deny the utility of the Gaia Hypothesis, and deny collective wisdom of the scientists and industrialists who have made mineral mining, in general, a part of the growth of the ecology, also generally.

  8. Gary said

    Yes, I had the same feeling when I read Dr. Curry’s post. Despite her fearless long walk back, her warmist roots sometimes show through.

  9. Joe Born said

    Excellent post.

    As it did for Gary, that statement of Dr. Curry’s stuck out for me, too.

    But so did one of yours; “but it is unequivocally known that this gas will still cause additional warming.” I, too, think it will cause additional warming. But is it unequivocally true? For me that’s a bridge too far. Obviously, the physics says there’ll be more warming if everything else is equal. But everything else is rarely equal, and we don’t know what we don’t know.

    Here’s an example from another field. If you turn the flame up higher, the water should boil faster. Obvious, right? It stands to reason, and it seems compelled by Fourier’s law. But when you talk to utility-boiler designers about departure from nucleate boiling, they tell you it ain’t necessarily so; sometimes more heat actually slows the boiling down.

    So, yes, I think increased CO2 concentration will probably increase warming over what it otherwise would be. I just wouldn’t say “unequivocally.”

    Of course, I think it’s much more likely that temperatures are higher for greater CO2 concentration than it is that warming is a problem; the latter doubt was what caused me to be a skeptic in the first place. But I’m also not sure that everyone who questions the proposition that CO2 concentration will necessarily cause warming is a crackpot.

    • Jeff Id said

      Well Joe, I have to say that yours is one of the cleverest arguments I’ve seen against my unequivocal claim that CO2 causes warming. Of course CO2 Isn’t in any extreme phase change environments where the steam isn’t causing an increase in insulation which reduces heat transfer to a greater effect than the added heat can overcome. In fact the atmospheric environment has very minimal difference with or without CO2, that I can find in documented science. That is why I state firmly and with conviction that increased CO2 with all things being equal as you very accurately say, causes warming.

      How much warming is another story entirely.

      • Joe Born said

        Yes, it’s a nit. Best to know about them, though, when we’re trying to make our arguments bullet-proof.

        Of course, even mathematically incontrovertible arguments won’t make the committed see the light. Sadly, this is true on both sides.

        On a skeptics’ site I recently took issue with a paper that was complete mathematical incoherence and made comparisons to electronics that a college sophomore would recognize at complete nonsense. I couldn’t possibly have been the only skeptic to recognize such fundamental errors, yet you couldn’t have told it by the comments, which largely accused me of bad faith.

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