Friday, August 04, 2006

Hot, Hot, Hot

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Seventy six years ago, long before man-made Global Warming became Al Gore’s Holy Grail, we suffered through a much hotter period than the current one. In fact:

"From June 1 to August 31, 1930, 21 days had high temperatures that were 100 degrees or above" in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, Patrick Michaels, senior fellow for environmental studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, told Cybercast News Service. "That summer has never been approached, and it's not going to be approached this year."

How can this be? In 1930 we only had 23 million automobiles in the United States, compared to 240 million in 2004. In 1930, the rest of the polluting world lagged far behind. In the United States we had one auto per five persons, whereas in France and England, it was one auto per 40. Perhaps if we had Al Gore, Jr. then, instead of Al Gore, Sr., we would have started the fight against Global Warming sooner.

Except along came 1940 to 1975, when temperatures dropped, even though industrial capacity was strained to its limits to produce huge quantities of war equipment, thousands of aircraft with piston-driven engines flew daily fighter and bomber missions, huge warships burnt enormous quantities of diesel fuel as they plowed the seas, and tanks, trucks, and jeeps were in constant motion. Added to all these fossil fuels being consumed by war machines were the fires from burning cities, and the smoke from exploding bombs and artillery shells.

Through it all – smoke, exhaust, and rapid economic growth after the war – the temperatures stayed below average until…until what? Until the Earth started to warm again naturally as it had hundreds of years before during the Medieval Warming Period. Maybe someday it will be that warm again, and then there will be vineyards in England, and farms in Greenland once more.

Before the Medieval Warming Period there was a cold period, so cold in fact that during the time of Caesar reindeer were native to the forests of Germany and Poland. Fortunately, without benefit of the internal combustion engine, the Earth warmed and mankind and his plants and animals basked in the benevolent warmth and became stronger and healthier, became more fruitful and multiplied, thus speeding the end of the Dark Ages.

Of course, some of today’s warming has more to do with mankind than it does the natural cycles of the Earth, although not in the way Al Gore presents it. "Big cities are getting warmer -- with or without global warming -- because the bricks and the buildings and the pavement retain heat," Michaels added. For that reason, he prefers to compare temperatures in nearby rural areas. "There's been very little change" in those areas, "so we trust the record to be a reliable indicator of base climate."

Last year's hurricanes, which the prophets of Global Warming told us were proof positive of Its Coming, don't appear to have much staying power, as this year's hurricane season is off to a slow start.

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What does all this prove, if anything? It may not prove anything, but it indicates that long before the current hysteria, the Earth’s climate was remarkably variable. Without mankind’s help, the Earth became much colder and much warmer than it is today. During the last period when it became much warmer, mankind thrived and civilization advanced rapidly. Today, despite the mass hysteria abetted by the 24-hour news cycle, mankind is at its highest level of material progress and economic productivity. With the exceptions of Moslem countries and large segments of Africa (where there are large Moslem populations), the world is in a peaceful and highly productive phase.

In fact, if a country has relatively few Moslems or is not old-line Communistic like Cuba or North Korea, there is a very good chance that it is progressing rapidly, thriving economically, and contributing ever-increasing tons of carbon dioxide each day to the atmosphere. Al Gore may get us to impale the United States economy on the Global Warming sword, but the Chinese and Indians will say, “Al who?” and continue their rapid and energy-ravenous industrialization. In the end, the Earth will mock its puny inhabitants and create weather changes in accordance with its own sense of seasons, and the Sun will shine equally on the just and unjust prophets of Global Warming.

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