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Thursday, 13 December 2018

From global warming back to global cooling?

Before 1988, no world leader had ever expressed warnings over global warming. Margaret Thatcher was the first in 1988 as "she had fallen under the spell of Sir Crispin Tickell, then our man at the UN" (Telegraph-2010). Before 1988, global cooling was the main climate warning. Today, it's slowly gaining ground again (eg, Guardian-2018Independent-2018source).

Geological periods of global cooling (glacials) and global warming (interglacials) have been around for 4.5 billion years (Earth's age). If and when you believe in climate change then you can only believe in both scenarios - not just one. I believe in both.

The relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming has been contested for many years - and some scientists still do. A few decades ago, it became clear that every cloud has a silver lining: carbon dioxide emissions have delayed the start of a new Ice Age by some 50-100 thousand years (eg, NYT-2003, Bloomberg-2016, Independent-2016, 2016 study).

In and of itself, a swift melting of polar caps and glaciers is not worrisome. An interglacial ending is marked by a total melting of ice sheets. Wiki: "Outside these [ice] ages, the Earth seems to have been ice free even in high latitudes." The current interglacial started about 14,500 years ago and caused an abrupt rise in post-glacial sea levels of about 125 meters (c. 400 ft).

Although the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was some 26,500 years ago, human history shows several instances of Little Ice Ages since the LGM: see examples in my 2018 blog and Wiki.

There are two main reasons why a new Little Ice Age might be approaching:
1. The Sun's expected Maunder Minimum between 2030-2050 (my 2018 blog); 
2. Earth's wandering poles (eg, UniverseTodaymy 2017 blog).

In my view, global cooling is (far) worse than global warming:
- global sea levels may go down again by 125 meters (c. 400 ft) to LGM levels;
- existing harbours would be too far away from oceans and seas (my 2016 blog);
- rivers may run dry which is currently already happening (source);
- sophisticated technologies don't like freezing temperatures (source);
- our system of just-in-time manufacturing suddenly requires buffer stocks;
- food and fuel deliveries will face time and space constraints.

It's impossible to predict which scenario will eventually win: a warmer climate due to carbon dioxide emissions, or a colder climate due to the Maunder Minimum and/or wandering poles.

The idea that humans can control climate change is a belief - and is not based on knowledge. Hence, Richard Tol, professor of climate economics, considers climate change to be our new religion in a recent interview: There is no need to panic.  

I'm a Believer (1966) by The Monkees


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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