200 Years of Fossil Fuels and Climate Change (1900-2100)

G. Shanmugam
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas 76019


The geologic record shows that the Earth’s climate has always been changing naturally during the past 600 million years in terms of CO2 and temperature, without CO2 emissions from Fossil Fuels by humans. There were both warming and cooling periods prior to the appearance of human beings on the Planet Earth. The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is attributed to the Industrial Age that commenced in 1760 in the Great Britain and later in the USA. The principal driver behind the Industrial Revolution has been Fossil Fuels (i.e., Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal).

Since 1900, Fossil Fuels have been the single most important driver of the modern human civilization. If the Net–Zero CO2 policy were to be implemented, large numbers of people would die and the modern human civilization would come to a sudden halt, and humans left alive would have to revert back to the lifestyles of the Neanderthals who lived 40,000 years ago without the benefits of Fossil Fuels. The failure of the Net–Zero policy is already evident by (1) the Germany’s shift back to coal from unreliable wind to face the energy crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine War on 24th February 2022, (2) the bankruptcy of Sri Lanka in 2022 caused by the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policy that banned chemical fertilizers, and (3) the major victory by the Dutch pro-farmers party (BBB) in the 2023 provincial elections in opposition to the Dutch government’s climate policy to eliminate nitrogen emissions by reducing 30% of livestocks in the Netherlands. A climate-change model for 200 Years (1900-2100) is proposed based on four basic parameters, namely, CO2, Temperature, Population, and GDP per capita. The model shows a steady increase in all four parameters from 1900 to 2100. In this model, calculations based on the Max Planck’s Curve by Van Wijngaarden and Happer (2020), an increase in CO2 and Temperature by 2100 would be trivial and that would not hinder either the population growth or the GDP growth. Therefore, Climate Change is not an existential threat. The proposed roadmap for the future is to continue to use the Fossil Fuels as usual.

The ultimate driver of the Earth’s climate is the omnipotent Sun, not humans. The CO2 in the atmosphere helps not only to modulate the Earth’s Temperature suitable for human survival, but also to enhance Global Greening. Therefore, we should shift our resources and attention away from Global Warming and aim towards eliminating Global Poverty.

This publication by CO2 Coalition Member, Ganapathy Shanmugam‘s was originally published in the Journal of The Geological Society of India, August 1, 2023.

Please see the complete publication here: G. Shanmugam 200 Years of Fossil Fuels and Climate Change 1900-2100


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