But there have been scientists that have bravely stepped up to the plate and defied the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans global warming groups, pointing to another cause, a verifiable cause for global climate change: the Sun.
Timothy Patterson is one of those scientists.
Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.
My research team began to collect and analyze core samples from the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords. The regions in which we chose to conduct our research, Effingham Inlet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and in 2001, sounds in the Belize-Seymour Inlet complex on the mainland coast of British Columbia, were perfect for this sort of work. The topography of these fjords is such that they contain deep basins that are subject to little water transfer from the open ocean and so water near the bottom is relatively stagnant and very low in oxygen content. As a consequence, the floors of these basins are mostly lifeless and sediment layers build up year after year, undisturbed over millennia.
Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years' worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.
With these cores they were able to track what the climate was like over the previous 5,000 years, finding both gradual and rapid shifts in the climate. They were able to correlate these shifts to changes in the sun's luminosity. Their conclusions parallel that of Dr. Henrik Svensmark, who also found strong evidence that the sun is the driving force in climate change and not human activity.
One of the other conclusions that others have reached is that if the current trends in solar activity continue, the climate will get warmer until about 2020, and then take a sudden downward dive as solar activity falls off. If this is indeed the case, no amount of our tinkering with CO2 emissions will have any effect on that change at all. And, if it is indeed the case, we will have wasted billions, if not trillions of dollars on trying to prevent global warming rather than preparing for a climate shift that will have far more impact on humankind than global warming would. It will be no less a shock than when the Little Ice Age began sometime after 1300.
I have come to believe we are heading in the wrong direction and should be working to mitigate the effects of climate change rather than trying to prevent it. It is likely that it is nothing we can prevent, regardless of how many treaties are signed or how much money is thrown at the “problem”.