IT WAS a breath of fresh air to read Jeff Jacoby’s column on Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt’s remarks about carbon dioxide, a tiny component of our atmosphere without which life on earth could not exist (“Climate science far from settled,” Opinion, March 15).
As a lifelong ecologist and environmentalist, I have seen much of the environmental movement hijacked for the purpose of alarming us about the future of the climate. All manner of horrific prospects are invoked to strike fear into the hearts of the citizenry and, most disturbingly, our children. Yet no weather event or change in climate during the past century is anywhere near out of the ordinary with the climate of the past 10,000 years since the great ice sheets melted after 80,000 years of glaciation. That was climate change, as the sea level rose 410 feet between 20,000 and 7,000 years ago. It has barely budged since.
Finally we are seeing the house of cards begin to fall as the fabrication called catastrophic human-caused global warming is unmasked. Anyone who studies the history of carbon dioxide and temperature knows that they are not even correlated during most of earth’s history, never mind in a lockstep causal relationship. The same is true today.
When we really began to emit carbon dioxide in earnest, following World War II, the climate turned colder for 30 years. Then it began to warm again from around 1970 to 2000. But even though about one-third of all human carbon emissions have occurred since 2000, the warming has slowed to less than half the rate from 1970 to 2000. All this points to an alternative explanation for the brief net warming that began 300 years ago in the depths of the Little Ice Age. Some very capable minds point to the sun. Hopefully one day we will figure it out. Until then the only sane approach, save for those dependent on maintaining the fear, is to be highly skeptical of anyone who claims to know with certainty the future of such a complex set of phenomena as the global climate.
Comox, British Columbia
The writer is the former president of Greenpeace Canada.
This article appeared on the Boston Globe website at http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/letters/2017/03/26/years-ago-that-was-climate-change-today-not-much/0YaEcY9qxaFIDFb5omFEbL/story.html?event=event12#comments