The Climate Emergency

There is no climate emergency.

That’s the opening sentence of a letter from Professor Guus Berkhout of The Hague and 500 other scientists and climate science professionals to António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, and Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Berkhout, et al., did expand on that.

The general-circulation models of climate on which international policy is at present founded are unfit for their purpose. Therefore, it is cruel as well as imprudent to advocate the squandering of trillions on the basis of results from such immature models.

These immature models have, in fact, consistently failed to predict the past and the present simultaneously, and they’ve badly overstated, to the point of exaggeration, the predicted future amount of global warming over each of the last 20 years.

Those models also ignore all the natural causes of what is, in fact, planetary warming: the sun has been warming for some 4.5 billion years, so of course the earth has been, also.  Orbital mechanics play a significant role, too, not only our trip around the sun, but the precession of our rotational axis.  We (in the northern hemisphere, where most of the land surface turns out to be—a tectonic plate motion that also plays a role in our climate evolution) currently tilt toward the sun when we’re farthest away, and tilt away from it when we’re closest. That’s why our summers and winters are so relatively temperate and close to each other in average temperatures.

Our axis precesses, though, at a rate that completes a cycle in 26,000 years.  Thus, in a few thousand years (think of the time since the last Ice Age for an idea of how quick that is, geologically.  It’s well inside, for instance, the rate at which our tectonic plates mosey around), we’ll tilt toward the sun at our closest approach to the sun and away from it at our farthest.  Those will be some hot summers and cold winters in the northern hemisphere.  Climate control that.

For all of this, though, at present we are, and for the foreseeable future (in human lifetime terms), will be some degrees cooler than the geologic warming trend line, and it’ll be a significant while before we even warm up to the level of the Medieval Warm Period or the climate extant during the height of the Roman empire.

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