Like the Internet – CO2, at least the variety that affects climate, was invented by Al Gore. Unlike the internet, he has yet to show us any of the article, though.
Before the convenient (and much more lucrative than the internet) invention of CO2, climate change visited Earth on virtually innumerable occasions. “One-third of the human race died; terror and anarchy prevailed,” in the most recent pre-CO2 climatic excursion.
Today, we are rapidly learning what causes ice ages, big and little (Chilling Stars, here and here), and also what causes hypsithermals, the namesake of this blog’s URL. (Thank God for hypsithermals; I do).
Hypsithermals are rare in the “geologic perspective” of Earth. Enjoy the warmth while you can; but take great heed that hypsithermal is not forever. They don’t last long, at all.
In northern Europe, the Little Ice Age kicked off with the Great Famine of 1315. Crops failed due to cold temperatures and incessant rain. Desperate and starving, parents ate their children, and people dug up corpses from graves for food. In jails, inmates instantly set upon new prisoners and ate them alive.
The Great Famine was followed by the Black Death, the greatest disaster ever to hit the human race. One-third of the human race died; terror and anarchy prevailed. Human civilization as we know it is only possible in a warm interglacial climate. Short of a catastrophic asteroid impact, the greatest threat to the human race is the onset of another ice age.
The oscillation between ice ages and interglacial periods is the dominant feature of Earth’s climate for the last million years. But the computer models that predict significant global warming from carbon dioxide cannot reproduce these temperature changes. This failure to reproduce the most significant aspect of terrestrial climate reveals an incomplete understanding of the climate system, if not a nearly complete ignorance.
Story here: The Coming Ice Age
Footnote: Why are the dips referred to as minima? I leave it to you, as an exercise.