Global warming alarmists are drumming up a new scare this week. Trevor Nace, a contributor for Forbes.com, published a column this Monday with the scary headline, “Global Warming Exhibit A: April Was The 400th Straight Hotter Than Average Month.” Nace was not alone, as USA Today, CNN, Bloomberg News, The Weather Channel, and other media outlets trumpeted similar headlines and equally scary stories. In reality, the 400 months of very modest warming since 1984 has brought a wide array of environmental and human health benefits.
Before addressing the benefits brought by global warming since 1984, it is important to understand the nature of global warming since 1984. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) First Assessment Report, published in 1990, predicted 0.30 degrees Celsius of warming per decade for the ensuing century. In reality, NASA satellite instruments show the earth has warmed by merely 0.13 degrees per decade since 1984 and 1990. Even controversial, heavily adjusted, and likely warm-biased surface temperature compilations show no more than 0.20 degrees Celsius warming per decade. In his article, Nace writes, “In the case for a warming planet, the past is the key to the future and by all accounts, the planet will continue to change at unprecedented rates.” Applying Nace’s assertion, past and present data show the earth is warming at a much slower pace than alarmists have predicted. If warming continues to occur at merely half the pace predicted by alarmists, such “unprecedented” warming is hardly alarming at all.
The asserted 400 consecutive months of temperatures above the twentieth century average may be Exhibit A for global warming. If so, however, it is worth taking a look at environmental and human welfare conditions in 1984 versus those conditions today, after the asserted 400 consecutive months of global warming.
Exhibit B: Global crop production sets new records virtually every year. Global production of the big three cereal grains – corn, wheat and rice – are more than double what was the case in 1984. Production of the full spectrum of fruits and vegetables is also more than double that of 1984. Remember USA for Africa and the song We Are the World, inspired by the immense African famine occurring in 1984? According to Nace and global warming alarmists, those were the glory days before global warming brought more atmospheric CO2, longer growing seasons, and other climate conditions benefiting global crop production.
Exhibit C: Satellites document enhanced plant growth, global greening since 1984. NASA satellite instruments have documented enhanced plant growth and a greening of the earth since 1984. Scientists publishing a summary of the satellite data in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters confirm more atmospheric carbon dioxide is assisting the greening of the earth, especially in arid regions of the globe that most need more plant growth (https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/grl.50563).
Exhibit D: Mortality data show warmer weather is saving lives. Scientists in the prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet report that moderately cold weather, rather than any kind of hot weather, is the world’s most deadly climate killer. According to The Lancet, cold weather kills 20 times more people globally than warm or hot weather (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520193831.htm). With 400 consecutive months of gradually warming temperatures, we have benefited from 400 consecutive months of fewer people killed by temperature conditions.
The lists goes on and on, but the lesson is clear. Colder temperatures that occurred in and before the mid-twentieth century were not optimal for the environment and human welfare. The fact that humans may recently be somewhat assisting the planetary warming that began more than a century ago does not mean that such warming is a catastrophe. To the contrary, human health and welfare have undeniably benefited from the asserted 400 consecutive months of warmer-than-twentieth-century-average temperatures.