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No SUVs Around During the Roman Global Warming ‘Crisis’

Self-hating humans need to relax and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.

by
Matt Patterson

Bio

March 31, 2009 - 12:08 am

Ah, spring, when the earth slowly wakes from its winter slumber, a warming welcomed by nearly every living thing.

Hard to believe some silly people are deathly afraid of warming weather — worried sick because the earth has warmed a degree or two over the last 150 years.

Make no mistake — the earth has warmed.  Unfortunately for the climate-change catastrophists, warming periods have occurred throughout recorded history, long before the Industrial Revolution and SUVs began spitting man-made carbon into the atmosphere. And as might be expected, these warm periods have invariably proven a blessing for humanity.  Consider:

Around the 3rd century B.C., the planet emerged from a long cold spell. The warm period which followed lasted about 700 years, and since it coincided with the rise of Pax Romana, it is known as the Roman Warming.

In the 5th century A.D., the earth’s climate became cooler.  Cold and drought pushed the tribes of northern Europe south against the Roman frontier. Rome was sacked, and the Dark Ages commenced.  And it was a dark age, both metaphorically and literally — the sun’s light dimmed and gave little warmth; harvest seasons grew shorter and yielded less. Life expectancy and literacy plummeted. The plague appeared and decimated whole populations.

Then, inexplicably, about 900 A.D. things began to warm.  This warming trend would last almost 400 years, a well documented era known as the Medieval Warm Period. Once again, as temperatures rose harvests and populations grew. Vineyards made their way into Northern Europe, including Britain. Art and science flourished in what we now know as the Renaissance of the 12th century.

Then around 1300 A.D. things cooled drastically. This cold spell would last almost 500 years, a severe climate event known as the Little Ice Age. Millions died in famine as glaciers advanced all over the world. The plague returned. In Greenland, the Norse colony that had been established during the Medieval Warming froze and starved. Arctic pack ice descended south, pushing Inuit peoples to the shores of Scotland. People ice skated on the Thames; they walked from Staten Island to Manhattan over a frozen New York Harbor. The year 1816 was remembered as the year without a summer, with some portions of the Northern Hemisphere seeing snowfall in June.

But around 1850 the planet began to warm up yet again. Glaciers retreated. Temperatures rose.  This is the warming period which we are still enjoying today. And once again, the warmth brought bounty: The last 150 years have seen an explosion in life expectancy, population, and scientific progress like never before.

Of course, even before the appearance of humans, the earth alternated throughout its history between extremes of heat and cold: 700 million years ago the planet was covered entirely in ice; 55 million years ago, a swampy greenhouse.

Why?  What drives these ancient cycles? There are a lot of theories. The waxing and waning of solar output; cosmic rays and their role in cloud formation; the earth moving through plumes of galactic dust as it travels up and down through the arm of the Milky Way; plate tectonics redirecting the ocean currents; vulcanism.  Perhaps it is a combination of all of these things. Perhaps it is something as yet undiscovered. One thing for sure that it’s not: SUVs.

Why, then, do otherwise sensible people believe that we are both causing the current warming and that the warmth is a bad thing? To me it seems some grotesque combination of narcissism and self-loathing, a mentality that says at once “I am so important that my behavior is causing this” and “I am so inherently tainted that it must be bad.”

For these self-hating humans who want us to cut our carbs (carbons, not carbohydrates), I say relax and enjoy the warmth while it lasts.

Because it won’t.  No matter what we do, the ice and the cold and the dark will come again. That should be our worry.

Matt Patterson is the Warren Brookes Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and senior editor at the Capital Research Center.
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