Somewhat Reasonable | 15 May 2016
A study by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) finds little evidence purported human-caused climate change is increasing the number or intensity of droughts or heatwaves in the United Kingdom or worldwide.
Citing research in Nature Scientific Data from scientists at the University of California, the GWPF study notes, if anything, there has been a slowly declining trend in drought since 1982. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found it almost impossible to attribute changes in drought since the mid-twentieth century to anthropogenic warming.
Concerning heatwaves and climate-related deaths, IPCC concluded the number of heat-related deaths has likely increased due to climate change; the GWPF study finds that conclusion to be a “case of the IPCC inventing conclusions rather than taking them from the peer reviewed literature” that finds most people can adapt to modest changes in temperature with no ill effects. One study shows the number of cold-related deaths was 18 times higher than deaths related to heat, meaning a modest warming could result in fewer temperature-related deaths overall.
Finally, the GWPF study finds the notion that manmade climate change will cause an increase in global conflicts is based on extremely flimsy evidence. The Stockholm Peace Research Institute noted, “‘conflict researchers’ find it hard to understand how such bold claims [linking climate change to global conflicts] can be made on the basis of such thin evidence, perhaps not realizing that this is normal in climate-related fields,” with one conflict researcher calling the link between manmade warming and increasing conflicts a “myth,” noting, “History shows that ‘warm’ periods are more peaceful than ‘cold’ ones. In the modern era, the evolution of the climate is not an essential factor to explain collective violence. Nothing indicates that ‘waterwars’ or floods of ‘climate refugees’ are on the horizon.”
More good news comes from another study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which finds climate change will not harm plankton, an important finding since plankton are the foundation for the ocean food chain.
Using a computer model of global ocean circulation to simulate how plankton follow the world’s ocean currents and the temperatures they are subjected to, the study found since plankton travel around the world on ocean currents, they have evolved to survive a wide range of conditions, enduring far more rapid and significantly larger temperature changes than those predicted by even the most dramatic models of global warming.
The study’s lead author, Martina Doblin, Ph.D. a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said in a press statement, “[D]rifting plankton, that are invisible to the naked eye, are responsible for half the Earth’s oxygen and for global fisheries yields, and are therefore important in providing other essential ecosystem services. Previous exposure to fluctuating temperature can influence how planktonic populations fare under future temperature changes. Our results suggest that the effects of climate change on ocean plankton will need to be re-evaluated to take this into account.”