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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Global Cooling Hysteria: We’re All Going to Freeze!



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Please, people--can we discuss climate issues without the constant WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE scenarios?  A scientific conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute--which opposes global warming alarmism--has descended into the same kind of hysteria that I find so objectionable among global warming alarmists.  From the story:
Contrary to the commonly held scientific conclusion that the Earth is getting warmer, Dr. Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University and author of more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, has unveiled evidence for his prediction that global cooling is coming soon. “Rather than global warming at a rate of 1 F per decade, records of past natural cycles indicate there may be global cooling for the first few decades of the 21st century to about 2030,” said Easterbrook, speaking on a scientific panel discussion with other climatologists. This, he says, will likely be followed by “global warming from about 2030 to 2060,” which will then be followed by another cooling spell from 2060 to 2090.
Perhaps.  But then he goes down the same rabbit hole as the warming hysterics:
"Global warming is over -- at least for a few decades," Easterbrook told conference attendees. "However, the bad news is that global cooling is even more harmful to humans than global warming, and a cause for even greater concern." Easterbrook made several stunning claims about the effects of the coming cold. There will be twice as many people killed by extreme cold than by extreme heat, he predicted, and global food production will suffer because of the shorter, cooler growing seasons and bad weather during harvest seasons...Based on new analysis of ice cores from Greenland to Antarctica, Easterbrook said global temperatures rose and fell from 9 to 15 degrees in a century or less -- swings that he said were "astonishing." In addition, he explained that energy consumption will rise -- and consumer prices will rise along with it -- and political and social instability could result as the world population grows 50 percent in the next 40 years while food and energy demand soars.
I doubt it.  The "Little Ice Age" (yes, I know it wasn't a real ice age) saw plummeting temperatures, after a period of warming. And yes, people suffered and died.  Heck, the Danes had to abandon the Viking colonies in Greenland.  But they only had rudimentary technology and were far more at the effect of the weather than we would be today. Moreover, the Little Ice Age lasted about three hundred years, and Easterbrook is predicting only 30 years of cooling.  Even if he is right, it seems unlikely that the consequences would be of the kind or severity seen back then. Trying to predict long term trends is good so we can prepare to adjust and adapt.  And heterodox thinkers like Easterbrook should be given the same opporunity to present their theories and evidence as those within the climate change in-crowd. But predicting a sudden drop in temperatures causing widespread death and economic collapse?  No.  Sowing hysteria to combat hysteria, just results in more hysteria.


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