Every few weeks, when logging into WordPress, the home of my blog, I see on the “Hot Community Posts” one blog or another, with a guest appearance by Steven Goddard. Mostly, though, I’ve seen his name come up when I’m searching about global warming topics. He posts most regularly at a blog called the register, and most of his work inevitably “poo-poos” human impacted global warming and climate change. He has lots of graphs and trends. I got curious as to who the heck this lonely voice in the wilderness is, so I did some searching. I couldn’t find much, but I did run across other “Goddard” hunters. They ranged from the curious like Martin at layscientist, who ran into dead ends, to the ridiculous like the International Journal of Inactivism blog where wild stories abound from claims that he will say anything for money, to the theory that Goddard is one of a line of fictional “Steves”. I can’t say for sure if Goddard is a scientific “gun-for-hire”, but the thing that surprised me most was the fact that Steven is not alone. Virtually 97% of the scientists surveyed believe human-induced global climate change is real, but there is a huge amount of internet activity coming from the 3% who disagree.
Let’s take CO2 levels for example. Is CO2 causing temperature change, or is the rising temperature causing CO2 levels to rise? I’m not qualified to say, but I did notice that both sides use similar graphs to prove their point. It doesn’t matter if you look at a “not due to human activity” blog, (example 1, example 2)
or if you look at a “human-induced climate change” blog; (example 1, example 2), the graphs show the same thing, CO2 levels in present time are far and away higher than anything within the last 4 ice age cycles. Neither side denies this fact.
By the way, I strongly believe that humans are contributing to the changes in our global environment, on top of the normal, albeit complex “geological” cycle.
“Moreover right now we are in a cool phase of both the 11-year sunspot cycle and also the cool phase of the powerful oceanic El Nino cycle so it’s not surprising that the last few years haven’t broken all-time records. The sunspot and El Nino cycles will turn around and warm again. Meanwhile CO2 and other greenhouse gases continue to grow unabated.”
“The warming of the 20th century has coincided with 20th century increases in CO2. Also the current rate of CO2 and other greenhouse gases increases are extraordinarily unprecedented during the last 2000 years of human civilization which is no doubt the most important period to consider for modern society.”
The second thing I see in the graphs from both sides is that most of earth’s history (at least in the last 400K years), has been in ice age conditions, with much shorter, relatively stable interglacial periods. Our current interglacial sweet spot (one of the longest on record), where all of modern human “civilization” fits nicely, has lasted about 10,000 -11,000 years. It seems to me that making that period last as long as possible would be in our best interest.
Throwing unprecidented levels of CO2 into the equation, something that both sides document as being true, seems like a dangerous wrench to toss into the mix. We have no historical data on what this would do. It’s never happened before. Are you willing to take a chance? I’m not.
Chad M. Wall