So a ship full of scientists sails to the Antarctic in the middle of summer to document the effects of global warming and gets stuck in the ice for two weeks. Sounds like the beginning of a bad nerd joke. But it gets better… The ships sent to rescue the scientists also get stuck in the ice! The sad thing is, folks, this was no joke.
Am I the only one who sees the ironic parallel here? The climate change movement is, like the scientist ship, stuck in an ice flow of denial. The climate is indeed changing, just not in the direction they had all staked their reputations on. And once again, Mother Nature has bested the Greenies.
Ice is not only growing in the South Pole, but in parts of the North Pole as well. So relax children, Santa’s workshop isn’t going anywhere no matter what Greenpeace tries to scare you into believing. But the fact that Arctic ice is growing may not be the good news that it seems to be. There are signs that the Earth is entering a very unpleasant cooling period related to a very low level of sunspot activity.
So what do sunspots have to do with the climate? Quite a lot actually. The data go back centuries beginning with Galileo Galilei who, in 1610, shortly after viewing the sun with his new telescope, made the first European observations of sunspots. Continuous daily observations were started at the Zurich Observatory in 1849 and earlier observations have been used to extend the records back to 1610.
Early records of sunspots indicate the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. The researcher Maunder found that during the cold period between 1645 and 1715 there was very little sunspot activity. This discovery led to the naming of the phenomenon, the “Maunder Minimum,” after him.
Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and the lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the "Little Ice Age" when rivers that were normally ice-free, like the Thames, froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. Crops suffered and starvation ensued.
There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past, and the connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of ongoing research. One researcher engaged in such studies is Jens Pederson, senior scientist at Denmark’s Technical University, who agrees the Sun has “been very unusual for almost 15 years now.” Pedersen said the Sun recently reached solar maximum and that there should be a corresponding amount of sunspot activity, but there isn’t. He said we must go back 100 years to find a solar maximum as weak as the one we are in right now.
Solar maximum is a normal period of greatest solar activity in the 11-year solar cycle of the Sun. During solar maximum, large numbers of sunspots generally appear and the sun's irradiance output grows by about 0.07%. The increased energy output of solar maxima can impact Earth's global climate and recent studies have shown some correlation with regional weather patterns. The solar cycle takes an average of about 11 years to go from one solar maximum to the next, with duration observed varying from 9 to 14 years.
Climate modeling is very complex, the stakes are very high, and there are numerous special interests on both sides that cherry pick their data to suit their agendas. This makes the subject tailor-made for controversy. Critics of the Greenie, CO2-driven global warming agenda argue that the atmospheric CO2 level has been up to 10 times higher in the past so why weren't there catastrophic consequences then? They also argue that much of the past century's temperature rise was in early years when industrial emissions were small, and that there was a temperature decrease during the postwar economic boom. They also note that the global temperature of the past century correlates more strongly with solar activity than with CO2 and that the sunspot activity of our Sun and the associated magnetic fields divert some of the cosmic rays that nucleate clouds on the Earth.
Scientists know the Earth stopped warming 15 years ago. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which Pedersen is an expert reviewer, suppressed a recent report from its own scientists that the UN's climate model has been proven wrong. Why? Why would the UN suppress data arrived at by its own scientists? The answer is politics. The data were embarrassing and flew in the face of decades of alarmist rhetoric. More importantly, however, the climate change movement has ceased being about the environment. It has become a political movement, a cash cow for climate scientists and environmental groups such as Greenpeace, and a way for world leaders to control their economies and people.
The author Steve Goreham calls it “climatism,” “… an ideology and belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate. But it has become a path for global change across the world for adopting green economies and electric cars and putting wind turbines everywhere and changing light bulbs."
Despite Chicken Little warnings of the Polar icecaps melting, shrinking food supplies, and flooded coastlines, none of these predictions have come to pass. Recent tropical storms like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Hiyan are alleged by the Greenies to have been the result of climate change, but how do you explain the fact that only six times in recorded history (1932, 1933, 1960, 1961, 2005, and 2007) has more than one Category 5 hurricane formed in a single Atlantic hurricane season? Only in 2005 have more than two Category 5 hurricanes formed (Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma), and only in 2007 has more than one (Dean and Felix) made landfall at Category 5 strength. But these recent storms pale in comparison to 1969’s Hurricane Camille, which had sustained winds of around 200 miles per hour (320 km/h). (Camille’s true speed will never be known since all the weather equipment was destroyed at landfall). Camille held the record for sustained wind speeds until 1980’s Allen clocked in at 190mph (305 km/h) at least.
Despite the data on sunspots, the fact that worse tropical storms occurred in the 1960s (and before), and other scientific evidence to support contrarian views, the climate change agenda refuses to die. Just like the Lernaean Hydra, when one of the Greenies’ arguments is cut off two more sprout up to take its place. And on it goes.
But the crux of the agenda is all about stifling development and destroying capitalism. This is, to borrow a phrase from Al Gore, the “inconvenient truth” of the climate change movement. Activists, such as those belonging to Greenpeace, continue to demand “climate justice” from developed (read capitalistic, free market) nations to the tune of trillions of dollars, between one and three percent of global GDP. But while the Greenies push their agenda and claim they are fighting for the poor, who they claim are certain to suffer the greatest impact of the floods, droughts, and rising temperatures that climate change is bringing, they ignore the fact that the world’s poorest people are also those with the lowest access to modern sources of energy such as electricity and natural gas. And the only way for the world’s poor to advance is with modern sources of energy.
But the Greenies don’t like that either. In order to foster economic growth and improvements in health, developing countries will need to generate huge amounts of additional power. The best way to do this is by nuclear or coal powered electricity, both of which are opposed by the Greenies. Some 1.3 billion people around the planet lack access to electricity and twice that number still use such fuels as wood, dung, or coal for household cooking and heating. That has a dismal impact on quality of life. For instance, working under kerosene light is the health equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. A recent report by the nonprofit group DARA suggested that 3.1 million people died from the effects of indoor air pollution in 2010 - and that with current trends, indoor air pollution will be killing five times as many people in 2030 as will die that year from the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
We can conclude, then, that the Greenies want to keep the world’s poor in the dark, as it were, by preventing them from obtaining the tools they need to improve their lot in life. Despite the lofty, nanny-ish rhetoric, the greenies do not know what’s best for the world’s poor, or anyone else for that matter. Cheap nuclear or coal powered electricity could be a savior for the world's poor. But the Greenies don't want them to have it, all in the name of saving the planet from a crisis that mounting evidence suggests is non-existent.
And that’s the point. Like the hysteria over Y2K, which turned out to be all for naught, so it seems to be with climate change. In coming years casual observers of human behavior will continue to be amused by ever more Monty Python-esque episodes in the Polar regions and elsewhere; episodes which would be gut busting hysterical were the catastrophic implications of the Greenie agenda not so detrimental to the world’s population.