By Vijay Jayaraj
On the weekend of August 10–11, as if in chorus, major online news websites called on people to stop consuming meat. The calls echoed a recent United Nations report that recommended doing so to fight climate change.
It surprised many, but there are other more surprising facts about climate change that are hardly published in our everyday news media.
Below are some facts—scientifically recognized and published in peer-reviewed journals—that may raise your eyebrows.
1. Climate Has Always Changed—Always
All proxy temperature data sets reveal that there have been cyclical changes in climate in the past 10,000 years. There is not a single climate scientist who denies this well-established fact. It doesn’t matter what your position on the causes and magnitude and danger (or not) of current climate change is—you have to be on board on this one. Climate has always changed. And it has changed in both directions, hot and cold. Until at least the 17th century, all these changes occurred when almost all humans were hunters, gatherers, and farmers.
2. Temperature Increase in the Past Was Not Caused by Humans
Industrialization did not happen until the 17th century. Therefore, no prior changes in climate were driven by human emissions of carbon dioxide. In the last 2,000 years alone, global temperatures rose at least twice (around the 1st and 10th centuries) to levels very similar to today’s, and neither of those warm periods were caused by humans.
3. The Arctic and Antarctic Are Doing Better than Ever!
Yes, you read that right. The 10,000-year Holocene paleoclimatology records reveal that both the Arctic and Antarctic are in some of their healthiest states. The only better period for the poles was the 17th century, during the Little Ice Age, when the ice mass levels were higher than today’s. For the larger part of the past 10,000 years, the ice mass levels were lower than today’s. Despite huge losses in recent decades, ice mass levels are at or near their historic highs.