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‘Stopping Climate Change’ is a Laughing Matter
We hear it all the time from politicians, the press and activists: ‘we must stop climate change!’
Of all the nonsensical statements emanating from the left, this one has to be the most idiotic. The only sensible response from rational people is laughter. They might as well be chanting, ‘stop continental drift,’ for all the good it will do. As Carleton University Earth Sciences Professor Tim Patterson pointed out, “Climate is and always has been variable. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually.” From that perspective, President Donald Trump is the exact opposite of a climate change denier—he says that climate changes naturally all the time.
And it does so all on its own, independent of human action. To actually ‘stop climate change,’ here is a list of what the Democrats, in particular, apparently think humanity is capable of doing:
- stop the solar system from revolving around our galaxy
- stop nearby stars from going supernova
- stop Earth’s orbit from changing
- stop variation in the Earth’s rotational tilt
- stop Earth’s rotational axis from wobbling
- stop the Sun from varying its intensity
- stop the Earth’s crust from moving in relation to its molten core
- regulate all energy flows from ocean to air and oceans to land
- stop our planet’s cloud cover from changing
- stop ocean currents from changing
- stop all land use change across the planet
- regulate the amount of water that evaporates from oceans, lakes and steams
- regulate carbon dioxide emissions from the oceans and land (including the relatively small amount deriving from human activities)
- regulate the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface, especially snow and ice-covered areas
To truly stop climate change, we would have to be able to do all of this, and more, something even the Dems would be hard pressed to pretend to accomplish.
To help those many confused citizens who have honestly bought into the nonsensical ‘stop climate change’ meme, people who do not do so for personal gain, political power, or social rewards, let’s talk about some of these factors.
First, climate change is most definitely real. We all know that in the past, there were ice ages and woolly mammoths. We know about the heat of the dust bowl years of the 1930s pictured in the famous movie The Grapes of Wrath. But let’s take a step back in time and space and discuss where and how climate varies on the largest scales.
As we move in and out of the Milky Way galaxy’s spiral arms and other stellar ‘density waves,’ our distance to young supernovas stars, which bathe our solar system in galactic cosmic rays (which are actually particles), varies. Since these particles are thought to create clouds in Earth’s atmosphere, which generally cool the planet, the Earth goes through variations in climate with periods on the order of tens of millions of years. Even Obama’s pledge that his election would result in the slowing of sea level rise pales in comparison with the hubris of suggesting we can influence our movement through the Milky Way.
The next factor is related to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun and our planet’s rotation on its axis. There are three main issues here:
- changes in the Earth’s orbital shape, or ‘eccentricity’
- changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis of rotation, or ‘obliquity’
- changes in the wobble of Earth’s axis, or ‘precession.’
First, let’s address eccentricity changes.
The closer we are to our home star, the warmer it will be on our planet. We learned in grade school that the earth is 93 million miles away, orbiting around the Sun once a year. This orbit is not always the same but is always changing. At times, the orbit is almost perfectly round; then, over thousands of years, it elongates and looks like a stretched-out pancake, which we call an ellipse (see figure below). About every 100,000 years, the Sun makes a complete shift from this maximum elliptical shape when the earth goes as much as 120 million miles away to a near-perfect round shape. Then the earth is only 83 million miles away and it starts all over again, back to elliptical.
This changing distance between the Earth and the Sun makes a big difference, which results in a change in our climate. Picture yourself at a campfire sitting 9 feet from the fire and then moving to a place 7 feet from the fire. That is the same ratio the earth experiences moving between 83 million miles and 120 million miles.
The second factor that figures in this story is the tilt of the Earth relative to the Sun. Presently this tilt is 23.7 degrees shown in the figure below, but again, things are always changing. The northern hemisphere of the Earth will slowly tilt more towards the Sun then slowly starts tilting back away from the Sun. But after 40,000 years, it will be back to the tilt we see today. Within those 40,000 years, the tilt can range between 24.5 and 22.7 degrees. The tilt is significant as it determines winter, spring, summer, and fall and what their temperature ranges are likely to be.
NASA describes the third factor, the wobble of Earth’s axis, as follows:
“As Earth rotates, it wobbles slightly upon its axis, like a slightly off-center spinning toy top. This wobble is due to tidal forces caused by the gravitational influences of the Sun and Moon that cause Earth to bulge at the equator, affecting its rotation. The trend in the direction of this wobble relative to the fixed positions of stars is known as axial precession. The cycle of axial precession spans about 25,771.5 years.
“Axial precession makes seasonal contrasts more extreme in one hemisphere and less extreme in the other. Currently perihelion occurs during winter in the Northern Hemisphere and in summer in the Southern Hemisphere. This makes Southern Hemisphere summers hotter and moderates Northern Hemisphere seasonal variations. But in about 13,000 years, axial precession will cause these conditions to flip, with the Northern Hemisphere seeing more extremes in solar radiation and the Southern Hemisphere experiencing more moderate seasonal variations.”
The next factors that impact the Earth’s climate is contained within the Sun itself. The Sun undergoes very complicated and powerful magnetic cycles from high activity to low activity. It is easy to tell the difference from here on Earth. When the activity is high, we see lots of spots on the Sun. When we see few or even none, we know the activity levels are low, as can be solar radiation.
Scientists have been carefully counting these spots for hundreds of years since Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens.
With satellites and advanced telescopes, NASA gets a sunspot count every day and also measures how big or small they are. As we see in in the graph above, scientists discovered without question that these events go up and down in clear 11-year cycles. Astronomers have recorded 24 such cycles in the past 250 years. Presently we are at the end of a cycle with near-zero sunspots. NASA has confirmed in recent years that increasing sunspots are linked to increases in Earthly temperatures as well as those on the other planets, like Mars and Saturn, and even the moons.
Essentially, none of these factors are seriously considered in the alarmists’ views. They tell us that we are the primary force controlling Earthly temperatures by the burning of fossil fuels and releasing their carbon dioxide. We hope readers can recognize the absurdity of this claim.
The final group of factors that logically and recognizably play a role in climate change are those variables that climate modelers try to use to create equations that supposedly tell us about how our climate will change in the coming decades. These factors are easy to understand but mostly impossible to predict. They include such things as the impact of clouds, the role of sea ice and glaciers, hurricanes and tornadoes, vegetation, the balance between the earth’s water, water vapor and ice, as well as the energy flows between the oceans, the land and the air.
With these tools and methods, we can predict the weather for the next few days, maybe even weeks away. Surely, they can’t predict the weather a year away, let alone decades into the future.
We hope this short description of some of the phenomena affecting climate change will help people realize the absurdity of proclamations that we must work to ‘stop climate change.’ That phrase is an extreme example of the sort of ‘duckspeak’ that is described in the January 3rd America Out Loud article by the junior author of this piece, “Climate Alarmists Use George Orwell’s ‘Duckspeak’ In Language War.” As explained in that piece, duckspeak is a form of speech consisting entirely of words and phrases approved by “the party:”
“Someone who had mastered duckspeak could fire off ideologically pure assertions like bullets from a machine gun without thinking at all. Their words merely emanated from the larynx like the quacking of a duck… Rather than being merely ridiculous or social satire, the underlying purpose of climate duckspeak is ominous: to convince opinion leaders and the public to think about climate change only as the government and their activist allies want.”
In their 2018 Political Geography paper, “A Laughing Matter? Confronting climate change through humor,” University of Colorado researchers, Maxwell Boykoffa and Beth Osnes state,
“Humor and comedy have been increasingly mobilized as culturally-resonant vehicles for effective climate change communications…While science is often privileged as the dominant way by which climate change is articulated, comedic approaches can influence how meanings course through the veins of our social body, shaping our coping and survival practices in contemporary life.”
So, what is the best response to ‘stopping climate change’ duckspeak? Laughter and a vociferous “QUACK, QUACK!”
Note: Portions of this article were excerpted from the 2020 book A Hitchhikers Journey Through Climate Change with permission of the authors Terigi Ciccone and Jay Lehr. The book is the best possible source for parents and grandparents to explain climate change reality to their children.
Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.
Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.