MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

If You Hate Ice Ages, Thank a Farmer

Chopping down forests and irrigating rice paddies boosted greenhouse gases enough to prevent the onset of a new ice age

IceAgeIdahoMuseumIdaho Museum of Natural HistoryUniversity of Virginia climatologist William Ruddiman has spent a good bit of his career studying the Pleistocene cycle of ice ages that began about 2.6 million years ago. Periods of large-scale glaciation and deglaciation are governed by the Milankovitch cycle, in which shifts of the Earth's orbit and its inclination toward the sun change how much sunlight reaches the northern hemipsphere to warm the surface. Based on solely these orbital cycles, global average temperatures of our current interglacial period—the Holcene—should be dropping, with the result that glaciers should now be growing in northern Canada and Siberia. That is not happening. Why?

Puzzled by these anomalies, Ruddiman hypothesized nearly two decades ago that an increase in greenhouse gases that began about 8,000 years ago was keeping the onset of a new ice age at bay. Specifically, he noted that the atmospheric concentrations of the two chief greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) were not following the downward trends observed at similar stages in previous interglacial periods. Fuddiman noted that the ice core data showed no case during past ice ages in which carbon dioxide concentrations rose after peaking at the point of maximum deglaciation.

Based on the trajectory of earlier ice ages, Ruddiman calculated that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels should have fallen from their post-deglaciation peak of around 268 parts per million (ppm) to around 240 ppm by 1800. Instead, pre-industrial carbon dioxide concentrations were actually at around 285 ppm. He also identified similar anomalous upward trends in atmospheric methane trends. What was the cause of these higher-than-normal concentrations of greenhouse gases?

Farmers: carbon dioxide sequestering forests were chopped down to grow crops, while the rotting of vegetation in rice paddies boosted global methane concentrations.

In the current Scientific Reports, Ruddiman and his colleagues use a climate model to compare the temperature trajectory of the interglacial period of about 777,000 years ago, whose orbital characteristics most closely those of our own Holocene era. They find that without the increase in greenhouse gases caused by farming, current global average temperatures would likely have been about 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit) lower than they were around 1850. Arctic temperatures would have been 5 to 6 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than they were at that time.

Instead of falling, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are now at around 405 ppm, and those of methane at more than 1,800 parts per billion. Assuming Ruddiman's and his colleagues' calculations are right, the 0.8 degree Celsius increase in global average temperatures since the 19th century suggests that the Earth is now about 2.1 degrees warmer than it would otherwise have been.

"There is pretty good agreement in the community of climate scientists that we have stopped the next glaciation for the long, foreseeable future, because even if we stopped putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, what we have now would linger," says Ruddiman at Science Daily. "The phenomenal fact is, we have maybe stopped the major cycle of Earth's climate and we are stuck in a warmer and warmer and warmer interglacial."

While it remains to be seen how well future generations will be able to adapt to the warmer world that farmers and factories have bequeathed them, the onset of a new ice age would be disastrous for humanity.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Or its part of chaotic climate cycles that we have yet to understand completely.

  • Jerryskids||

    Shouldn't this article start out "New study shows...."? Just as I'm going to take any new proofs of CAGW with a handful of salt, any climatologist suggesting he's competent and knowledgeable enough to tell you what exactly the climate would be in a counterfactual parallel universe should come with his own saltshaker full of skepticism. It's a theory, but that's all it is. Maybe climate is just so complex and variable its mechanisms approach chaos as far as human beings are capable of understanding it. You know, like if a butterfly flaps its wings...

  • FreeRadical||

    It's more than just a theory. It's backed up by good data and measured historical trends, coupled with matching physical drivers including very precise knowledge of the earth's orbital dynamics, and it has a theoretical framework that partially explains it from a physics point of view.

    And, of course, acknowledging that does not mean one supports a huge government response and global socialism.

  • Gus diZerega||

    One of the saddest elements of most libertarians denying the scientific consensus is that no big government spending or intrusive regulation is needed to address the problem wisely- and the market would be the primary means for doing so. Peter Barnes among others has developed a very simple scheme that in a nutshell goes as follows. See his "Capitalism 3.0" or his "With Liberty and Dividends for All."

    A carbon 'tax' is levied that has the economic effect of oil and coal becoming more scarce. The money from the 'tax' is distributed equally to every American. I put scare quotes around tax because none of the money collected will go to government. It is as if the people own this natural resource and are getting a kind of rent from those using it.

    As carbon fuels become more expensive they will be used more efficiently and alternatives developed without government having to pick 'winners.' The money returning to citizens will disproportionately benefit those using less carbon fuel, encouraging people to use less of it.

  • FreeRadical||

    My preferred government response to this is no response at all.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Thank Al Gore! Not some mythical ancient farmers...

    Seriously though, climate change is always going to happen with or without us. Take care of the environment and be prepared for change instead of pretending that carbon credits will save the world.

  • Don't look at me.||

    No, we must raise taxes and plunge hundreds of millions of people into permanent poverty. It's the only way.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    If it wasn't ice that Algore saved us from, it would have been Manbearpig. Thanks Algore, for your constant oversight and wisdom!

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Well, we can at least thank him for the internet!

  • axiomata||

    We shall call this new age that is upon us the Algorean age.

  • JFree||

    Take care of the environment and be prepared for change

    Agree but what does that actually mean unless we define 'for whom' we are taking care of the environment - and figure out how they will hold us accountable for that agency?

    Be prepared for change is just self-interest 101 so that isn't anything difficult

  • Shirley Knott||

    Except it seems to be the hardest thing there is.
    Adults, over time, generally become more and more resistant to change. Especially change that impacts them personally. This drives a lot of the sustainability and NIMBY and regulatory crap that goes on, particularly at the local level.

  • JFree||

    Well maybe the solution is to take adults out of that decision loop as they age. Kind of a reverse retirement plan - they get to make the decisions early when they've got the advantage of living with the long-term consequences and they pay for their cumulative/projected fuckups when they no longer give a shit about the long-term

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That would be brilliant, if it weren't that basically every last oldster agrees that they were idiots when they were young, and only see it in retrospect.

  • JFree||

    I don't see much environmental awareness coming from either the blue hair set or those who already made their nut. They are the ones locked into what they did when they were young - and resisting paying for the consequences of any of that themselves. eg - letting future Americans (since it is fed spending - via debt) pay $12 billion to build coastal protection against rising sea levels - for oil refineries along the PADD3 Gulf coast. Everything about that decision smacks of forcing the future to pay for the mistakes of the present/past.

  • vek||

    Here's the problem: Half the stuff that ends up being actual mistakes, people don't KNOW are mistakes at the time.

    With global warming, we literally have no clue how bad our emissions are at this point. Any HONEST person who reads through the arguments and counterarguments and various theories should know this. The BEST mainstream climate models in the world have all been off by at least 50% from observed temperatures. If our impact is only 50% of what the crazies claim, then it's basically a non issue.

    Or as this guy is saying, we basically dodged a bullet by these emissions. An ice age would be FAR worse for us than being minimally hotter.

    So who decides this shit? If we let the shit libs do it, they'd wreck the friggin' world. Until we get back to having sane people, with non extremist positions on some of these issues, I sure as shit would rather have nothing being done than crazy things being done.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Hope and change! Oh, wait... ;)

  • renewableguy||

    Without humans the earth would be mildly cooling. With humans, the earth is rapidly warming. And we are the only reason the climate is warming.

  • BigT||

    So the earth needs to be renude?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Except for the fact that we're colder now than during the HCO 8kyrs ago. So about all of that magic warming...

  • Kazinski||

    This isn't the first time some species totally screwed up the atmosphere and nearly killed all life on Earth. At one point in time oxygen was a trace gas and CO2 was plentiful and life thrived, then the evil cyanobacteria used up almost all of the lifegiving CO2 and flooded the air with a deadly poison, O2.

    Now as a response to the modest resurgence of CO2 the forests are once again expanding and fourishing.

    The truth is all that carbon we are mining and burning was once in the air, nothing wrong with putting a little bit back where it came from.

  • vek||

    Except we've been on a long term warming cycle... As far as rapidly warming, we'll see. All the models have been GARBAGE at predicting future increases. Even if it does get a little warmer, we will on net end up with MORE good land because the northern hemisphere has more land mass than the south.

    So even if it's ALL true, we'll probably be better off. The planet is always filled with more abundance during hotter periods with more CO2.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    I will thank Al Gore...senior! He crafted the legislation to develop the interstate highway system.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Stuck" in, "safely" in, it's a matter of perspective.

    A key point here, though: As the orbital phase shifts more and more into a glacial period, it takes more and more CO2 to stave off the glaciers; You can thank farmers for the glaciers not rolling over us in pre-history, today you should be thanking coal miners and oil drillers.

    Let's hope the fuel holds out until winter is over.

  • renewableguy||

    Humans are changing the earth way far faster than in any time in earth's history with ghg's. It is mostly from burning fossil fuels.

  • BigT||

    It's cow farts and blowhards like you

  • Greg F||

    Humans are changing the earth way far faster than in any time in earth's history with ghg's.


    What an incredibly stupid statement.

  • handsoffmypineapples||

    This isn't even true according to the people that are the worst of the doomsayers.

  • Steve-O||

    Thanks for talking about this, Ron. Long-term climate cycles are something chronically missing from climate change discussions. When you talk about the trends within the past hundred or thousand years, you totally miss the big picture.

    I am deeply skeptical of anthropogenic global warming, but assuming that it exists, it's the greatest thing mankind has ever devised. We can learn to live with rising seas, but with creeping ice sheets, not so much.

  • NoVaNick||

    The polar bears! Won't you think of the polar bears!!

  • Steve-O||

    Believe me, Nick. I have. And it pains me to say, the polar bears can go fuck themselves.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    No; we do not care about polar bears, or children. Or any other thing that can be fashioned into a cute toy that we should be doing things for.

  • ||

    Won't you think of the baby polar bears!

  • sarcasmic||

    *wishes there was a like button*

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Heresy.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    In about 1.1 Billion years, the Sun will become 10% more bright, which will likely start the end of human civilization on Earth.

    As the Sun moves toward becoming the Red Giant it was born to become, we humans had better be able to travel and survive in the Galaxy off Earth or become extinct. We had also better step up our understanding of the Universe instead of being dragged down by shaman's assumptions and unproven climate theories.

  • ||

    In about 1.1 Billion years, the Sun will become 10% more bright, which will likely start the end of human civilization on Earth.

    Is that on a Wednesday?

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Must be a Thursday, never could get the hang of Thursdays...

  • BYODB||

    Don't sweat it, in just under 1.1 billion years Earth will be destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass lane that, while not strictly needed, will promise to shave five minutes off the journey of very important extra-dimensional beings.

    Mark it on your calendars, I'm willing to bet anyone and everyone that this will most definitely happen.

  • newshutz||

    "Don't talk to me about life."

  • ||

    Send out the seed ships!

  • CE||

    Heck, I'll go.

  • FreeRadical||

    Wait, I should be saving my seed to save humanity?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    You can't get politicians to address the next decade, and you want them to do something for a time over a billion years from now?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its a Sunday. So no alcohol sales and no off planet flights allowed.

    Per Hillary Clinton. Queen of Planet Earth. (yeah, she looks the same as she does now).

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm assuming you think that, in the next 1.1 Billion years, mankind won't have learned how to put mirrors in orbit? Maybe a big SPS at our L1 point, that blocks some of the sunlight in return for electricity?

  • ||

    Humanity has existed less than one million years. Plants have existed for about 350M years.

    We have no context to imagine what life on earth will look like in 1.1 billion years.

  • Shirley Knott||

    ^This

  • perlchpr||

    Anatomically Modern Humans (i.e.: "Us") have only been around for ~250,000 years. So it's even worse than you say.

    Actually, in light of recent conversations around here, and that figure, and thinking about how long it took us to go from "We just learned how to talk" to "here"... I've been contemplating rolling back from anarcho-capitalism to basic libertarianism.

    If it took 250,000 years to get to the Enlightenment, it might well take another 250,000 to get to a point where human instincts can survive pure minarchy / actual anarchy. It still seems like a good gold standard to compare things to; Maximum human freedom with minimum interference, but if there's no chance of achieving it in the next quarter aeon, it seems better to focus on something that might be achievable in my (notional) great-grandkids lives.

  • CE||

    Commie.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yeah, I know what you mean. I spent most of my life as an anarcho-capitalist, but was reluctantly forced to conclude that, "Nice theory, wrong species" doesn't just apply to communism.

  • Ron||

    don't forget to include that the poles are shifting which leaves the earth without the magnetic protections based on earth angular position thus creating more heat as well. you could stop all CO2 production and we are still doomed

  • Juice||

    1.1 billion years ago there was likely no (or not much) multicellular life on Earth. In another 1.1 billion years, I doubt there will be something called human civilization, which will (if at all remembered) will be seen much the same as we see single-celled organisms.

  • BYODB||

    A billion years is way more than enough time to erase any and all traces of mankind from the face of the Earth.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    OK I'm confused here. Greenhouse gases good? Greenhouse gases bad? Both? Neither? WTF.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Greenhouse gases happen . Deal with it.

  • Juice||

    He who smelt it dealt it.

  • SQRLSY One||

    He who denied it, supplied it!

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    I feel like I need to pick a side here so I know what legislation I should advocate for. I'm pretty sure the government can fix this thing either way.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    They were never 'bad' to begin with. Greenhouse gases merely serve a political purpose.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Depends on whether you're Al Gore or Jimmy Carter

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Greenhouses gases in- bad, greenhouses gases out- good.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Greenhouse gases in the elevator - bad.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Chopping down forests and irrigating rice paddies boosted greenhouse gases enough to prevent the onset of a new ice age


    Imagine the disaster if peasants had heeded the hysterical scaremongering from early doomsday prophesy-peddlers and stopped chopping down trees and cultivating rice. I don't know about you, but I prefer WiFi and microwave ovens than downing mammoths and being chased by bone-crushing wolves.

  • Don't look at me.||

    I like wolfing down microwaved mammoths while using bone crushing wi-fi.

  • grips||

    Properly metal.

  • BYODB||

    Specifically, he noted that the atmospheric concentrations of the two chief greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) were not following the downward trends observed at similar stages in previous interglacial periods.


    I think I found their problem, they forgot that H2O is a greenhouse gas.

  • mb||

    H2O is part of the feedback loop, warmer air holds more moisture.

  • BYODB||

    Haha, 'feedback loop'. Yeah. That's a good one. Sort of like how models can't account for clouds, huh?

  • Rossami||

    Unproven hypothesis not substantiated by the actual data. During the satellite era (the only period for which we have reliable data so far), CO2 has increased measurably but total atmospheric water content has actually declined a bit.

    While it is true that warmer air can hold more moisture, it is not true that it always does.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Higher CO2 levels allow plants to get all the CO2 they need while holding their stoma (Little pores on the leaves.) open less of the time. So they evaporate less water into the atmosphere at higher CO2 levels.

    That's the basic problem with climate modeling. Most of the feedback loops are actually unknown, the system is too freaking complicated to model at our present level of knowledge. So they just tweak some basic parameters to try to match past behavior, without actually knowing what caused it.

  • Cy||

    Let's not forget to mention that even if they had all of the models right, they can't account for how biology is going to adapt as it goes.

  • Mickey Rat||

    So human caused climate change basically started with the original agricultural revolution, that is, the entirety of human civilization from before history. And we think we can and should change this?

    Also, this was a plot point of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's "Fallen Angels".

  • JSR2||

    Gaia forbid that we should survive by interfering with her natural plan.

  • Cy||

    "Gaia" doesn't give two shits about all of the stuff growing on her.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    I knew a girl in college like that.

  • mb||

    At least they are starting to look at all the other factors that affect the earth's temperature. One of the big problems I have had with climate science is their insistence that only greenhouse gases are driving the temperature. This theory may help explain part of the present stasis, I would think the solar cycle would explain a lot of it myself. Variable complex systems can not be explained by movement of just a couple of variables - CO2 and CH4.

  • NoVaNick||

    Methane (CH4) is actually a much more potent greenhouse gas, so too is water vapor. But all they ever talk about is CO2, CO2, CO2 (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia)

  • Brett Bellmore||

    But methane has a very short residence time in the atmosphere, thanks to all that oxygen. And H20 is too complicated to model, which is presumably why the models are all crap.

    That only leaves CO2, because you can cite Arrhenius.

  • NoVaNick||

    Methane has a half-life of about 25 years, which is not insignificant, but the econutz rarely mention it because most methane comes from natural sources.

  • ||

    Methane has a half-life of about 25 years, which is not insignificant, but the econutz rarely mention it because most methane comes from natural sources.

    And mentioning this means that you have to acknowledge that most CO2 comes from natural sources by a couple orders of magnitude. The key difference is that the biome reabsorbs most/all of it.

  • BigT||

    "even if we stopped putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, what we have now would linger,"

    BS. CO2 has been shown to have a short half-life from analysis of radioactive CO2 from atom bomb tests in the 50's and 60's. About 6 mos as I recall.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    And they're horrified at the idea that you could cope with it by just feeding livestock Beano.

    Not only reduces cow emissions, improves feed conversion ratios!

  • NoVaNick||

    The standard narrative of the climate change cult is that global temperatures have never increased more than they have since the beginning of the industrial age and because this coincides with a rise in CO2 from burning fossil fuels, warming is entirely due to fossil fuels. They don't need to bother with other possible causes because this the one cause we can "do something about" and find evil corporate villains to blame for. Its not at all about science.

  • Ron||

    Based on past glacial periods we may be at the bottom of the 20,000 year warm period so it will take another 10,000 years +/- to cool off again so no, any change would be un-noticable at this point and thus does not prove global warming is occuring outside of natural norms.

  • Juice||

    What was the cause of these higher-than-normal concentrations of greenhouse gases?

    Farmers: carbon dioxide sequestering forests were chopped down to grow crops, while the rotting of vegetation in rice paddies boosted global methane concentrations.

    Honestly, how much of this was going on 8000 years ago? I just can't see it being enough to even make a blip outside of the noise in the data, much less being enough to reverse a natural trend.

  • Ron||

    while the rotting of vegetation in rice paddies boosted global methane concentrations."

    Do they not realize things in nature rot and release methane with or without mankind. every year trees and plants go through the deflowering and rotting process causing methane. does he think nothing died before man transitioned from apes

  • SQRLSY One||

    Ron Bailey's news about methane from rice paddies is actually old news. I read about it in Scientific American news magazine years ago, like 2012 or so as I recall. Ice cores drawn by boring machines in Antarctica and / or Greenland show a distinct and large upward blip in methane from about 8,000 years ago, exactly when humans began significantly LARGE amounts of rice farming. Human pollution is saving us all from the next Ice Age, is what I concluded from reading that article way back when, even if the authors were too "PC" to say this outright.

  • Juice||

    Or it could all be a coincidence. Something emitted methane and caused the ice age to reverse course therefore humans were able to increase the scale of agriculture.

  • BYODB||

    ^ This. It's a classic case of correlation doesn't imply causation. Given the age of the Earth and the density of life on the planet prior to mankind ever existing, it would be pretty retarded to assume that mankind 8000 years ago would be a primary driver of anything just because they figured rice out.

    E.G. how much methane did a Argentinosaurus huinculensis release per day, multiplied by a few hundred thousand. A 90-ton animal that had unknown numbers of it's species might rightfully be expected to outperform monkeys growing rice, but maybe not.

    It depends if you think that mankind is an especially evil animal, I suppose.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    It didn't reverse course. 8kyr ago it was warmer than it is now. That was the peak of the interglacial and we're slowly cooling from there.

  • ||

    Honestly, how much of this was going on 8000 years ago? I just can't see it being enough to even make a blip outside of the noise in the data, much less being enough to reverse a natural trend.

    I don't think it's meant to be a hard and fast number, more of a geological scale estimate. To me, 8-10K yrs. ago is a shorthand for the dawn of agriculture. 15K yrs. ago we hadn't domesticated livestock and weren't farming fields, 12K yrs. ago we were domesticating animals and beginning to figure out how to grow food, there were no cities and the world population was in the low 100,000s. 8K yrs. ago we had handfuls of cities with populations in the several thousands and a world population pushing towards 10M.

    So, while not widely practiced, the first domesticated cow farts took place some 12K yrs. ago. Also, long before domesticated animals and rice paddies, we were burning the shit out of anything we could lay hands on to keep warm.

  • Juice||

    Also, the temperature/climate was swinging wildly around that time. There was a lot going on back then for thousands of years. But, you know, agriculture was the cause, not an effect of warmer climate.

  • Cy||

    There's an interesting point. We've seriously fucked with wildfires in the last 50 years. I wonder what we've altered because we've done so.

  • colorblindkid||

    The first Native Americans cleared giant swaths of forest over a few thousand years. Most of the plains in North America used to be forest. There is more forest coverage today in the Pacific Northwest than there was 600 years ago, because of controlled burns by Native Americans (something we should have learned from).

    We're just now discovering that even the Amazons had tens of thousands of square miles cleared at the time the Spanish arrived. Most Native Americans died from smallpox or other introduced diseases without ever seeing a white man, so the forests grew back over a few hundred years, before the white men even got there to see their farms and cities.

  • H. Farnham||

    "the onset of a new ice age would be disastrous for humanity"

    Did Ron "keep calm" Bailey just posit a hypothetical Malthusian cataclysm???

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    So, what is the perfect temperature? Where should all agree to set the Great Global Thermostat?

  • BigT||

    68 in winter, 76 in summer, duh

  • Bob Armstrong||

    More determined anti-science stupidity .

    Why won't anybody learn some classical undergraduate quantitative physics of heat transfer and even conservation of energy which says you can't leave gravity out of the total energy balance equations ?

    Oh , wait . In all these decades , no fundamental testable quantitative equations have been presented .

  • SQRLSY One||

    In order to actually TEST the effects of the gravitational fields, we have to create an EXACT duplicate of the Earth, in a parallel dimension, where the gravitational constant is significantly different, and then see what starts happening to the climate, with the exact same starting conditions that we have now.

    I am going to start work on that in my garage tonight... Stay tuned... Same batty time, same batty station!

  • ||

    Why won't anybody learn some classical undergraduate quantitative physics of heat transfer and even conservation of energy which says you can't leave gravity out of the total energy balance equations ?

    Same reason H20 is left out - it's pretty much a constant, so isn't really going to tell you anything about changes.

  • Rossami||

    re: "H2O [is] pretty much a constant"

    Who told you that lie? H2O is both the most powerful greenhouse gas in the terrestrial atmosphere and the most highly variable at all scales. H2O phase changes affect climate in at least hundreds, maybe thousands of different and chaotically interconnected ways.

  • BYODB||

    Yeah, the real reason H2O is left out is because 'climate scientists' are not clever enough to even pretend to model it. That's the big reason. So they leave it at 'uhh...I dunno. feedback loop death energy?'

  • BigT||

    Yes, they leave H2O out. But the real problem is that they then believe the result and foist the bs off as consensus that must be believed.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "maybe thousands of different and chaotically interconnected ways."

    And there's the problem: The most important factor is too complicated for them to accurately model.

    But they're not leaving it out, they just settle for inaccurately modeling it.

  • DirkT||

    It isn't a recent finding that had humans remained at the hunter-gatherer stage (or not existed altogether) the climate of Earth would be cooler than it is today.

    Yes, humans cause climate change.

  • ||

    Yes, humans cause climate change.

    You didn't actually read the article, did you?

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Who reads the articles? Just read the headline and jump right into the comments and wing it!

  • SQRLSY One||

    GoatOnABoat, are you related to SoapOnARope?

    Yes, "everyone's opinion is equal" whether they have read the article or not, or whether they have two neurons to rub together, or not!!! One man, one vote, ya know...

  • ||

    In fairness, I didn't actually read the article, either (who does?). This guy doesn't seem to have looked at the headline, even.

  • BigT||

    You gotta admit, reading this was time wasted. So maybe DirkT ain't completely dumb

  • Sevo||

    "Yes, humans cause climate change."

    It seems to be a imbecilic lefty requirement to assume a random assertion equals an argument.
    Or maybe lefties are imbecilic by choice.

  • CE||

    Luckily the Earth is still warming, staving off frigid winters and making the planet more amenable to human civilization.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    In the current Scientific Reports, Ruddiman and his colleagues use a climate model to compare the temperature trajectory of the interglacial period of about 777,000 years ago, whose orbital characteristics most closely those of our own Holocene era.

    Good thing those have proven so accurate.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    The increase in costs of natural disasters actually has much more to do with sprawl than climate change. So the oldest parts of New Orleans didn't flood during Katrina because the best land is developed first. Also the 3 states with the most asininely located capital cities are CA, FL, and NV...because in the 1800s people believed the future largest cities were unfit for human habitation.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Hey, at one time most of Michigan was considered uninhabitable. Until they built a lot of drainage ditches, and drained the swamps. Modern Michigan looks nothing like it did 200 years ago.

  • Steve-O||

    Now it's considered uninhabitable for different reasons. *rimshot*

  • Thor||

    Big Tech will deplatform you for even thinking this. It's heresy. We need more money to fight climate change and only the great minds in government can save us.

  • David Friedman||

    "the onset of a new ice age"

    We are in an ice age, and have been for about 2.6 million years--an ice age is defined as a time when there is an ice cap on one or both poles. You mean a new glaciation.

  • vek||

    Whatever is causing it, let's hope it keeps up!

    I do believe our CO2 emissions are very minimally contributing, because I think the science is there enough to say that... But IMO it's mostly been natural cycles. If this guy is using typical models to estimate the effects of CO2, he is probably overstating our contribution, but it being a positive thing would likely still stand.

  • macsnafu||

    So whatever happened to the idea of growing more hemp to sequester carbon?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online