Last week we learned that the greenhouse effect is a diminishing effect. Why, then, do we hear all these catastrophic predictions?
These claims of CO2 leading to runaway warming and catastrophic climate change are based on speculative climate models that include additional drivers of warming to the greenhouse effect.
It’s important to keep in mind that these models often contradict each other, both in their assumptions about key elements of climate like cloud formation and the role of aerosols, and in their predictions.
Even more important, though, is that the models that include these speculative drivers of warming have a terrible track record when it comes to predicting actual climate trends.
These charts show models that are trying to predict the future. We can see that in the past these have invariably dramatically over-predicted the amount of warming that would occur as more CO2 entered the atmosphere.
Why is this? Because these aren’t just based on the greenhouse effect. They’re based on other effects that putting more CO2 might have on climate, but these are unproven and the predictions based on this understanding of climate have not come true. Predictions based on the idea that CO2 has a much bigger effect in the atmosphere than it does in the laboratory have been systematically wrong.
The temperature record
What’s actually happening? The amount of warming we have experienced is mild by historical standards and it’s manageable.
Here’s another graph of the amount of warming since 1850.
What we see is what is at least in part a natural warming trend with no dramatic temperature increase. It’s tiny compared to what we deal with on a day-to-day, location-to-location, season-to-season basis. The warming isn’t significant and it doesn’t correlate very strongly with CO2.
We can also see that the temperature today is very cold on average in terms of the history of the earth. We’re not at all in unprecedented territory temperature-wise or CO2-wise. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution has risen from .03% of the atmosphere to .04%. Historically it was 20 times that and these were very fertile periods of the earth.
That’s going to bring us to the fertilizer effect, which we’ll discuss next week.