From the CO2 Coalition
By Vijay Jayaraj
News reports of summer heat waves often perversely portray a modern climate conducive to human thriving to fuel the false narrative of catastrophic global warming.
The Holocene geologic epoch, roughly corresponding to the last 11,700 years, is a period of warmth that has been instrumental in promoting the diversity and adaptability of life on our planet – not a curse as is commonly portrayed. The importance of the Holocene interglacial to human survival cannot be overstated.
The development and maintenance of life on Earth was greatly enhanced by the Holocene – sometimes called the Age of Man.
Nearly 12 millennia ago, the Holocene ended the ice ages known as the Wisconsin in North America and the Weichselian in Europe, which had begun 75,000 to 100,000 years ago. As previously ice-covered regions became accessible for habitation, plant and animal species expanded their geographical range and the overall biodiversity of the earth.
During this period, ancient civilizations emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and China, each contributing to the advancement of human culture and numbers. At the end of the first century, there were only 170 million people on the planet, about half the population of the United States in 2023. Today, the world’s population is more than 8 billion.
The stable climate of the Holocene allowed humans to raise animals and grow crops in a predictable and benign environment, and to transition from a life of hunter-gatherer life. The surplus food produced by agriculture freed time for government, science, literature, art, music, and other endeavors. Trade networks and economic systems emerged that enabled the flow of goods, innovative concepts and cultural practices between locations.
The relatively constant sea levels over the past 7,000 years have encouraged the growth and prosperity of coastal ecosystems, including diverse marine life, coral reefs and estuaries.
The climate stability of the Holocene also had an impact on precipitation patterns, which explains why precipitation was fairly constant in many locations. This reliability has facilitated the development of a variety of habitats, including wetlands, grasslands, and forests.
Despite all this, much of the public is now being led to believe that warming is dangerous. Many are unaware of the threat to human existence posed by the Little Ice Age.
In Europe, the Little Ice Age caused devastating damage to agriculture in the 16th and 17th centuries. The extreme cooling, shorter growing seasons, and crop failures led to widespread food shortages, economic unrest, and societal troubles. These troubled times make it clear how important climate stability is for the preservation of human civilisation.
The lessons of the Little Ice Age are relevant today as we grapple with the tangled narrative of global warming. Rather than denigrate life-saving heat, policymakers should take advantage of today’s benign climate by focusing on rational agricultural and industrial development, including the proper use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Educating our youth about Earth’s long climate history would provide the right context for such an approach. Unfortunately, much of today’s education, particularly in some public schools, is corrupted by the pseudoscience of global warming fears.
However, attempts are being made to correct such errors in critical thinking and scientific discipline. One of these is a newly opened carbon learning center that offers both students and teachers books, videos and lesson plans that present science free of a political agenda. It may only be a start, but it is an important one.
This comment was first published at [Your] News, July 14, 2023, available here.
Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a Masters in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and is based in India.