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Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Warming May have Peaked. Has Western Civilization Peaked with It?

By Joseph D’Aleo

The only constant in nature is change. We have been able to reconstruct the past using proxy data like fossils, isotopes, polar and glacial ice. They tell us our climate has varied considerably over the last 450 thousand years. The long glaciations (typically 100,000 years) are tied to variations in the sun-earth orbital parameters. They are followed by periods of 10-15,000 years of warmer interglacials.


During the interglacials, global temperatures rise 18F but vary perhaps 2 degrees in millenium length ups and downs. Every great civiilization in history has reached its peak during the warm periods during the interglacials periods. Civilizations (Eqyptian, Minoan, Roman) thrived in the warm periods as crops could be grown more successfully in more places allowing for other societal advancement pursuits. They are tied to peaks in solar activity. They have been followed by cooling periods (and civilization declines) as solar activity declined (as it did in what we call the little ice age or Maunder Minimum) with crop failures, famines and migrations.


See these two articles that suggest we may have reached our latest climate nadir in the Grand Solar Maximum’s Climate Optimum of the late 20th Century. The sun continues to show signs of going into a slumber like it did 200 or 400 years ago. A civilization decline may have also started and this set of global leaders and the UN if we don’t stop them will only make it accelerate down. For a time, the more opportunistic countries like China and India may advance but climate might have final say there too. See these two relevant stories for more.

Lawrence Solomon: New Ice Age could be coming

Earth could soon be entering a new Ice Age, according to scientists at Oregon State University and other institutions, in a study to b e released this week by Science magazine.

“Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age - unless some other forces stop or slow it,” states a release from Oregon State University.

The Science study refutes claims by some scientists that carbon dioxide was an important factor in ending the last ice Age. It concludes that wobbles in Earth’s rotation first led global ice levels “to reach their peak about 26,000 years ago, stabilize for 7,000 years and then begin melting 19,000 years ago, eventually bringing to an end the last ice age.

“The melting was first caused by more solar radiation, not changes in carbon dioxide levels or ocean temperatures, as some scientists have suggested in recent years.”

Death of a Civilization by David Deming

Over the past several years we have learned that small groups of people can engage in mass suicide. In 1978, 918 members of the Peoples’ Temple led by Jim Jones perished after drinking poisoned koolaid. In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult died after drugging themselves and tieing plastic bags around their heads. Unfortunately, history also demonstrates that it is possible for an entire civilization to commit suicide by intentionally destroying the means of its subsistence.

In the early nineteenth century, the British colonized Southeast Africa. The native Xhosa resisted, but suffered repeated and humiliating defeats at the hands of British military forces. The Xhosa lost their independence and their native land became an English colony. The British adopted a policy of westernizing the Xhosa. They were to be converted to Christianity, and their native culture and religion was to be wiped out. Under the stress of being confronted by a superior and irresistible technology, the Xhosa developed feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. In this climate, a prophet appeared. Read the details of how this prophet led to the destruction of the Xhosa civilization in which over 50,000 people starved to death in this story.

Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, Europe and North America have enjoyed the greatest prosperity ever known on earth. Life expectancy has doubled. In a little more than two hundred years, every objective measure of human welfare has increased more than in all of previous human history.

But Western Civilization is coasting on an impetus provided by our ancestors. There is scarcely anyone alive in Europe or America today who believes in the superiority of Western society. Guilt and shame hang around our necks like millstones, dragging our emasculated culture to the verge of self-immolation. Whatever faults the British Empire-builders may have had, they were certain of themselves.

Our forefathers built a technological civilization based on energy provided by carbon-based fossil fuels. Without the inexpensive and reliable energy provided by coal, oil, and gas, our civilization would quickly collapse. The prophets of global warming now want us to do precisely that.

Like the prophet Mhlakaza, Al Gore promises that if we stop using carbon-based energy, new energy technologies will magically appear. The laws of physics and chemistry will be repealed by political will power. We will achieve prosperity by destroying the very means by which prosperity is created.

While Western Civilization sits confused, crippled with self-doubt and guilt, the Chinese are rapidly building an energy-intensive technological civilization. They have 2,000 coal-fired power plants, and are currently constructing new ones at the rate of one a week. In China, more people believe in free-market economics than in the US. Our Asian friends are about to be nominated by history as the new torchbearers of human progress.


Posted on 08/26 at 12:32 AM
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