QUESTION: Do you believe we are going into an ice age?
ANSWER: No. At best we return to a mini-ice age and stop there hopefully. There are those who argue that a decline in solar activity, which they cannot deny, will not be enough to offset the human created Global Warming. There are so many things wrong with the Global Warming theories it is even hard to figure out where to begin. Long before the Industrial Revolution, the assumption was that our planet’s atmosphere was still untainted by human-made pollutants for it was somehow pristine. That assumption is dead wrong, but nobody wants to challenge it because if there were periods of human air pollution before, then perhaps their theory that this will destroy the planet and we will all burn to a crisp, as Christine Legard said, is nonsense.
All one has to do is read the contemporary accounts from ancient Rome. The residents of ancient Rome suffered from pollution that was primarily caused by burning wood to cook and stay warm rather than fossil fuels. There was a great smoke cloud they wrote about called gravioriscaeli (“heavy heaven”). Others referred to it as infamis aer(“infamous air”). Complaints about this infamis aer and its effects can be found in classical writings. “No sooner had I left behind the oppressive atmosphere of the city [Rome] and that reek of smoking cookers which pour out, along with clouds of ashes, all the poisonous fumes they’ve accumulated in their interiors whenever they’re started up, than I noticed the change in my condition,” wrote in 61AD Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65AD) the philosopher, statesman, and adviser to Emperor Nero who ordered him to commit suicide.
Moreover, there were lawsuits over air pollution in ancient Rome. The Roman courts heard civil claims over smoke pollution. The Roman jurist Titus Aristo, who was also a member of the council of Emperor Trajan, was an author of annotations to the works of some jurists of the Augustan period. He declared that a cheese shop could not discharge smoke into the buildings above it. Pollution had become so bad that the East Empire in Constantinople even enacted the first known Clean Air Act. In 535AD, then Emperor Justinian proclaimed the importance of clean air as a birthright. “By the law of nature these things are common to mankind—the air, running water, the sea.”
Further evidence that refutes the Global Warming crowd is the discovery of bubbles trapped in Greenland’s ice which revealed that humans began emitting greenhouse gases at least 2,000 years ago. Célia Sapart of Utrecht University in the Netherlands led a team of scientists from Europe and the United States in a study that charted the chemical signature of methane gas in ice samples spanning 2,100 years. The methane gas naturally occurs in the atmosphere but it is considered a greenhouse gas emitted landfills, large-scale cattle ranching, natural gas pipeline leaks and land-clearing fires.
Célia Sapart employed a 1,600-foot-long ice core sample extracted from Greenland’s 1.5-mile-thick ice sheet representing 115,000 years of history. The team chemically analyzed the methane in microscopic air bubbles trapped in each ice layer. They sought to prove global warming is a modern consequence of human activity. They assumed that they would be able to prove that the warmer climate since the 1700s was caused by an increase in methane gas levels.
The found that indeed methane concentrations went up. What they proved was the fact that the rise in methane gas did not correlate with warm periods. What they ended up proving was the simple fact that the theory of greenhouse methane gas was NOT the cause and that the rise in temperature must have been caused by something else. The focused then change and the “something else” was still attributed to human activity, of course, but it was then said to have been due to metallurgy and large-scale agriculture starting around 100 BC.
Indeed, the ancient Romans did keep domesticated livestock and their passing of gas in methane gas, a byproduct of digestion and in China the rice fields include a methane-producing bacteria. So methane gas is a natural part of the planet and the assumption that we should all commit suicide to save the planet is really just nuts. So the team turned to blacksmiths who produced methane gas when they burned wood to produce metal tools or weapons. They noted in the ice core samples that as civilizations collapsed following the fall of the Roman Empire, then there was a moderate decline in methane gas emissions.They concluded that between 100 BC and AD 1600, methane emissions rose by nearly 31 million tons per year. They argue that the United States alone generates some 36 million tons of methane per year.
Célia Sapart had to admit that such emissions of methane gas were by no means enough to alter the climate. The conclusion was still that humans were altering the atmosphere on a global scale in ancient times as well. The study has proved that the assumption that it has only been only of a modern invention that human activity has produced methane gas and the world was pristine before 1800 is just a fantasy. Ice Ages and warming periods have existed well before human civilization where they began to burn wood to stay warm. All they were able to accomplish was prove that greenhouse gases have been produced for thousands of years. If anything, this study shows that the end is not necessarily near based upon greenhouse gas.
Reprinted with permission from Armstrong Economics.