Issue # 24 - Reframing Climate Change: Understanding the Past & Present Pt. 1
Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world.
Whether you're looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you're in the right place! In each post, with just a few minutes of reading, I aim to expand your awareness through a quote and a piece of content that made me go hmm...
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"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." – Lao Tzu
Before diving in, I want to check that we agree on a few things:
- We want prosperity for humankind.
- We should strive for a sustainable approach to living on this earth.
- We are advocates for supporting our planet and need to minimize unnecessary environmental destruction.
With that out of the way…
I'm going to throw something controversial out there.
Climate change… is real.
But not real in the way you might think.
Our climate has been changing since the dawn of time.
And it'll continue to change.
With this in mind, I want to share a book that changed how I looked at our planet and this thing we call climate change.
Insightful content which made me go, hmm...
The book I am talking about is "Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom" by Patrick Moore, the former president of Greenpeace.
*I will also be citing a few other sources.
Anyways let's dive in...
Since the emergence of the earth some 4.5 billion years ago, our climate has been in a state of flux. Sometimes this change is rapid and sometimes very slow, but one thing is for certain: the change never stops.
During earth's four main periods (Figure 1 below):
- Precambrian Time - 4.6 billion to 541 million years ago
- Paleozoic Era - 541 million to 358 million years ago
- Mesozoic Era - 358 million to 145 million years ago
- Cenozoic Era - 145 million to present day
And countless sub-periods known as epochs and ages, we have experienced immense meteorological and atmospheric change.
Figure 1: Geologic Time Scale
Without summing up every factor, this change has been a result of the earth finding its place in the orbit around the sun, significant volcanic and tectonic activity as the ground beneath us has settled, a myriad of ice ages as our planet has warmed and cooled and subsequently countless periods of rising and falling sea levels.
All of which has brought us to the present day.
So, the big question is, if our climate has always been in a state of change, what makes it different this time?
To answer this question, I want to discuss two of the most common mainstream responses, one this week and one next week.
Why don't we start with the elephant in the room, C02.
Response 1: We are throwing off the natural balance of carbon dioxide (C02) in the atmosphere!
Carbon Dioxide is one of the more contentious and misunderstood subjects regarding climate change. It is also more often than not painted as the scapegoat and prime suspect.
I, therefore, want to take a step back through history to see if there are any clues as to C02 and its connection with climate change.
For the first few billion years of earth's existence, it was still cooling, solidifying and finding its place in the sun's orbit to become the earth we inhabit today. During this period, our planet frequently experienced meteor showers, significant volcanic activity, and tectonic movement. All of which threw immense particulate matter into the atmosphere as well as C02, methane and other greenhouse gases.
Our earliest records, which date back 570 million years, indicate a distinct decline in C02 from around 6,000 parts per million (ppm) to 420ppm today (As shown in Figure 2 below).
That's a 95% decline!
We are currently experiencing some of the lowest C02 levels in history.
Figure 2: Global Average Temperature & C02 Parts Per Million Over The Last 570 Million Years
What has caused this decline? You may be wondering.
First, as the earth settled, we experienced less volcanic activity, reducing gases, such as C02, emitted into the atmosphere.
And second, plants synthesize food through a process called photosynthesis which involves the consumption of C02. When these plants die, they decompose into the earth's crust. All the C02 they've sequestered throughout their life gets trapped, forming fossil fuels.
The reduction in volcanic activity and the sequestering of C02 into fossil fuels has caused atmospheric C02 to slowly declined over time.
That was until just before the industrial revolution.
At this point, this C02 decline reversed course.
Why? We discovered fossil fuels and began burning them. In doing so, we started to emit C02, once captured by plants, back into the atmosphere.
For the first time in history, we reversed the sequestering of C02.
This doesn't sound good… does it?
All living beings and all fauna require C02 to survive.
When atmospheric levels drop below 150ppm, there isn't enough concentration of carbon dioxide for plants to survive.
You could liken it to humans suffocating from lack of oxygen.
Without CO2, plants will die; without plants, the food chain would be terminally and irreparably broken.
You could say C02 is vitally important.
What's more, not only have our ancestors, over the past 65 million years, experienced periods of higher atmospheric levels but as plants feed on C02, a rise in C02 levels dramatically increases the growth of fauna.
In one study conducted by Sherwood Idso, the founder of the website CO2science.org, he grew four trees under identical conditions except for one difference. Each tree was exposed to a different concentration of atmospheric C02.
One was grown at 385ppm, one at 535ppm, one at 685ppm and the last at 835ppm.
Not surprisingly, the tree grown under a C02 concentration of 835ppm grew at twice the rate of the 385ppm tree.
Figure 3: A study of trees grown with varying C02 concentrations.
Another study found "elevated CO2 concentrations of 475–600 ppm increase leaf photosynthetic rates by an average of 40%" and reduce water absorption by an average of 22% (Ainsworth & Rogers 2007).
This signifies that regardless of the cause of rising C02, as atmospheric levels rise, we are experiencing reduced water usage and a significant increase in the growth of trees, food crops and other plants.
Furthermore, this has been verified by NASA's satellite monitoring systems (Figure 4 below).
In the words of NASA, "significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide."
Figure 4: Change in greenery from 1982 to 2015.
Now it is fair to ask: What about the effects of carbon dioxide on temperature?
If you look closely at the purple (C02) and blue (temperature) lines in "Figure 2" above, you should notice that there doesn't seem to be a correlation.
Instead, it shows us that there have been periods of cooling during higher levels C02, and there have been periods of warming during lower levels.
Most notably, during the late Paleozoic era, the earth experienced drastically warmer temperatures, while C02 levels were not dissimilar to today.
Ok, but while CO2 concentrations may not directly correlate with temperature, there's no denying that the recent rise in CO2 levels has significantly impacted global temperatures. Right?
Figure 5 below compares the longest-running continuous temperature measurement against the rapid rise in C02 from the 1850s onward.
As should be evident, after our recent exponential rise in C02, we did not witness a similar rise in temperature. Instead, temperature has continued along the same trend it has been on for the last 400 years.
What is also crucial to note is that between 1694 and 1729, there was an anomalous period of warming. If C02 and temperature were interlinked, one would expect a similar rise in C02. But this was not the case.
Figure 5: Central England Temperatures & Global C02 Emissions.
What about C02 impacting sea levels?
Since C02 is meant to cause warming, which increases glacial melt and impacts rising sea levels, many tie it to rising sea levels.
Given the data we have explored so far doesn't seem to support this correlation between C02 and temperature, let's see if it's a different story with sea levels.
Figure 6 below details historical sea levels alongside atmospheric C02. What is interesting to note is that 400,000 years ago, the sea level was 10 to 20m higher than it is today, while atmospheric C02 was 40% lower (250ppm).
Figure 6: C02 & Sea Levels over the past 450,000 years.
Evidence also indicates that sea levels were at their lowest between 13,000 and 20,000 years ago, some 120m below where they are today. Since then, we have seen a considerable rise in sea levels. This rise started to take place far before humans dominated every inch of this world, let alone the industrial revolution and the usage of fossil fuels.
Like rising and falling tides, the change in sea level is something the earth's inhabitants have had to adapt to throughout history. And so, assigning blame for rising sea levels to C02 or present-day humans would go against historical data.
Now I want to be clear. I am not saying we shouldn't take ownership of any outside impact on our environment. Humans are decimating our natural resources, contaminating our waterways, and polluting our air with our consumption habits. However, when it comes to climate change, it's important to understand what should be expected vs what is of our own doing.
I also want to acknowledge that the issue of climate change is a complex and multifaceted one, and there are many factors at play that we still don't fully understand. While I'm far from an expert in this field, I do believe that there is still much to be learned and discussed on this critical issue.
Rather than closing the door on the debate, we must continue to explore new ideas, ask critical questions, and work together to find the truth. After all, it's only by seeking out the truth that we can develop effective solutions and build a more sustainable and resilient world.
With this in mind, trying to minimize our C02 output when it provides life to every living being may cause unpleasant knock-on effects. Even if we manage to do so, it'll most likely have little to no effect on our climate, temperatures or sea level.
In saying that, I am still an environmentalist at heart and believe we should be conscious of our impact on the local environment.
In next week's newsletter, we'll be taking a closer look at the idea that climate change is responsible for creating excessive weather events and causing a surge in deaths.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of