The 1.5 degree Objective

The 1.5 degree Objective

There’s a great deal of media attention being given to the IPCC’s latest report and the idea that we should keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

Let’s step back to the year 1870, and assume that the IPCC, or whatever it might have been called then, if it had been in existence, had just realized that the industrial revolution was going to result in atmospheric CO2 levels doubling, from the existing 280 ppm, over the next hundred years.

The writers of the day would, of course, have picked up on the need to maintain the existing Goldilocks environment.

The climate was good in 1870. We were no longer living in the extreme cold of the Little Ice Age of the 1600s, and we certainly didn’t want to allow temperatures to get too warm, or rise more than 1.5 degrees.

A 1.5 degree temperature rise would create Hot House Earth, while our climate was just right … the Goldilocks Climate.

Sperm oil lamps give off the best light we have ever had. We certainly don’t want that guy in Pennsylvania who discovered oil to create more air pollution or more CO2 emissions. Imagine that guy. He would toss nitroglycerine into the wells to break up and fracture the rock just to get more oil.

Temperature Graph from Judith Curry’s article, “1.5 Degrees”

Think about those other guys messing with electricity. Volta creating a battery, and now Henry and Hertz have set the stage with magnetism so that Morse can take it another step with his telegraph. Just think: The telegraph put the Pony Express out of business.

And the story last year, the summer of 1869, about the sun creating a magnetic storm that nearly killed telegraph operators? Can you believe it? The Carrington event? That the sun can affect the Earth?

And what happens if the water level in New York harbor rises nearly a foot by the mid-1900s?

Malthus said too many people would result in starvation for everyone. He said we are going to run out of the things we need if we allow development to continue. Where will we get the sperm oil for our lamps? How will we ever grow enough wheat and oats and barley?

While we don’t want the cold of the Little Ice Age, we don’t want Hot House Earth either.

We want to keep things the way they are.

Call me a skeptic, but I saw an article from Juneau, Alaska, that showed how the Aakwtaaksit glacier has been retreating for over a hundred years, which was long before we started using coal to such a large extent.

And why was it so cold in 1812? It’s almost as though something was keeping sunlight from reaching the earth’s surface.

They tell us the biggest threat to our environment is coal. Stop the use of coal, they say, and we stop climate change.

I’m not so sure.

They say we are living in a Goldilocks environment in 1870 and we should take action to cut our use of coal and keep temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees. 

Is that true?

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Postscript: Temperatures have risen 1.5 degrees since 1870 and were still not as high as they were in the Medieval, Roman, or Minoan Warm periods.

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