Climatically speaking, the Earth is in a perfect place. We’re in the Goldilocks zone! Not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry. Water exists in all three states: liquid, gaseous and solid. And we have enough carbon dioxide (CO2) in a gaseous form that life as we know it is possible.
Happily, atmospheric levels of life-giving CO2 have been rising for the past few hundred years. In fact, the increased CO2 of just the past few decades have resulted in a vast greening of the Earth by the equivalent of half the size of Australia.
The elevated CO2 has been a blessing for all life on our planet, providing free fertilizer for jungles, forests, and prairies. The increased CO2 has been especially beneficial for the poorest people in Africa, South America and Asia who are reaping even greater agricultural yields, reducing famine and malnutrition.
A greener planet also makes for a cooler world because plants will absorb more of the sun’s heat to manufacture more sugars. This then reduces the amount of solar heat to be absorbed and stored by the land, seas and air. For several recent decades, we had been in a moderate warming period, and that’s been very good for humanity and all the other life on Earth. But then, almost twenty years ago, this temperature increase slowed significantly. Scientists are investigating to determine if we’re in a short pause or if it’s the beginning of a new global cooling cycle.
Socially speaking, aside from the current public health crisis, humanity has never been in a better place.
In his April 19, 2019 commentary on the anniversary of Earth Day, economist Nickolas Loris published his optimism, “On Earth Day; Gloomy Predictions Haven’t Come to Pass.” Loris not only reminded us about the many doomsday predictions that never materialized, but he also shared with us the ecological and humanitarian achievements of the past fifty years.
We did have a few better periods than today, such as 2,000 years ago, when during the Roman Warm Period, the climate was warmer than it is now. Even in places like Scotland, grapes were planted and harvested. Then, a thousand years ago, the weather was again warm enough for the Vikings to settle in Greenland and prosper for several hundred years before the climate went cold again.
There were also several frigid periods causing grave results, like the freezing period that destroyed the Vikings settlements in Greenland. One particularly awful period was called the Maunder Minimum that started about 1645 and lasted until 1715. ‘Global temperatures’ were about one to one and a half degrees Centigrade cooler than today’s modern, warm period. Farming growing seasons were shortened by more than a month, leading to widespread famine in the northern temperate zones. And shortly after, Washington’s troops were freezing at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.
Despite the fact that humanity has clearly had it very, very good for the past century or more from a climate perspective, we are constantly barraged by negative headlines in the twenty-four-hour news cycles: a flood here, a hurricane there, a drought, volcanoes, tidal waves, etc.
We’re told that global warming is coming, and the seas will rise so much that coastline cities like New York and Miami will be flooded and destroyed by hurricanes. No wonder that, even before the COVID-19 crisis, so many people have been left feeling empty and worry so much.
But fear-mongering is nothing new and moves in cycles. The scientifically unsophisticated public is taken advantage of by opportunistic politicians, greedy climate industry, attention-seeking “elites,” nobility and redemption groveling “do-gooders.” Now, as the country faces a truly historic problem in the form of the Chinese coronavirus, for the first time in decades, the climate change delusion has been driven from the front pages of newspapers and the use of the ‘existential threat’ term may actually make sense and have nothing to do with the scaremongering of environmental zealots.
The vast sums of money wasted on subsidies for wind and solar energy to replace fossil fuels as well as the trillions of dollars being considered for the infamous Green New Deal should obviously now be redirected to our helping us address the current public health and economic crises and prepare for the next pandemic that might come our way.
Later this spring, when COVID-19 problems are hopefully starting to wind down, a new book by Terigi Ciccone titled A Hitchhikers Guide To Climate Change will be available to help reassure young people everywhere that that they can relax about climate change. While there are real problems in the world that should concern them, the creation of inexpensive energy from the burning fossil fuels is not one of them. Ciccone’s book will take readers, young and old, on an easily understood, and at times humorous journey of discovery, without the false histrionics Greta Thunberg and her ilk. It’s about time for some good news.