I do not deny the reality of climate change. No, this is not a change of mind, reversing my longstanding skepticism toward claims of human-caused global warming.
I have never denied climate change—and that is precisely why I reject the global warming hysteria. But a fascinating new scientific contribution from Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark, who is single-handedly blowing away the alleged “consensus” on what drives the climate, has given me a whole new appreciation for climate change.
The term “climate change denier” is obviously objectionable because of the word “denier.” That word is carried over from the phrase “Holocaust denial” and is meant to smear global warming skeptics by associating us with the vicious motives of those who airbrush the crimes of the Nazis. But the more substantive objection to this phrase is that we skeptics do not deny the reality of climate change. We embrace it all too thoroughly.
We understand that the climate is changing and that it has always been changing. The four-and-a-half-billion-year history of the Earth is a history of constant, wild swings in global temperatures and weather, from the steamy jungles that nurtured the dinosaurs to the vast equatorial glaciers of “Snowball Earth.”
(If you follow the link about Snowball Earth, by the way, you may notice that the theory is controversial and has its own skeptics. Funny how that works. In genuine science, for any new theory there is a competing theory, and the question is settled by more evidence and not by people lining up behind some top-down political “consensus.”)
So we’re skeptical of any claim that the very small trends in the global temperature record over the past few decades are anything extraordinary, or that they imply a man-made cause rather than natural variation. The measurement of temperatures worldwide with reliable instruments goes back only about a century and a half, a mere blip in the geological time-scales that define ice ages and interglacial warmings. How can we possibly have established, in that short a time, an absolute baseline for what is a “normal” global temperature?
The alarmists who warn about recent man-made global warming are the ones who deny the reality of climate change. They are, in fact, advocates of climate stasis. They assume that the “normal” climate is basically what it was in 1970—not coincidentally, about the time of the first “Earth Day”—and any recent variation from that norm must require some extraordinary explanation.