Continuation of Present Warming NOT an “EXISTENTIAL THREAT”

Proxy Temperatures & Historical Records show continuation of the present warming is NOT an “EXISTENTIAL THREAT” to humans

 Robert W. Endlich

US President Joe Biden has declared

“Climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to the world.”

By this he means

“human-caused, CO2-fueled global warming,”

Image by Pixabay

and he presumes that humans can pass “climate legislation” to regulate the climate.  While this view is popular in Media, Government, and the Academy (academia,) I show that it is without foundation.

Here’s the United Nations with a similar story on this same subject:

“… (the) UN Secretary-General insisted that unless governments everywhere reassess their energy policies, the world will be uninhabitable.”

“…Mr. Guterres said in a video message, which also forecast ‘unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages and the extinction of a million species of plants and animals’”.

The UN’s IPCC has also declared that an increase in global temperatures of 2C from the pre-industrial temperatures of the Little Ice Age threatens humanity’s existence.

This is scaremongering by those in high office who should know better but are involved in a wholescale attempt to frighten the populace into submission to authority by this outlandish and phony series of claims.

Sorry, humans cannot determine the temperature of the Earth, the level of the sea, or even the spread of viruses to humans susceptible to those viruses.  I show graphically and in words below that temperature is always changing, and that as recently as 7000 years ago, it was considerably warmer than the UN’s “2C limit.”

We also have evidence that it was 3C warmer than today based on proxy temperatures from Greenland’s GISP2 ice core first published by Climate Alarmist Richard Alley of Penn State.

We have photographic evidence (slide 15) from my February CASF meeting presentation) that Picea Glauca, White Spruce, grew on the north shore of the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula in far northern Canada, on the Arctic Ocean, radiocarbon dated to some 5,000 years ago. Today there are no trees there, because now it is too cold for trees; that area is tundra today.

We have fossil footprint evidence that human ancestors roamed what is now England’s East Anglia ~850,000 years ago. We have Ice Core records that interglacials, warm periods which intersperse the present Pleistocene Ice Age, occur about 100,000 years apart, and the previous interglacial, the Eemian, 120,000 to 130,000 years ago was 4C warmer than today, so warm that Hippos lived in the Thames and Rhine Valleys.

There is clear evidence that current climate warming is NOT the “Existential Threat” proclaimed by the UN and Biden.  Facts that we determined from study of climate history and human history are clear.  Humans and our human ancestors have been with us for probably 3 million years, and it has been significantly more than 2C warmer than the so-called “UN Limit” many times in the past and humans survived, even thrived.  We are the proof.  We are here.

Cries of Alarm

At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate convened by President Joe Biden,  Earth Day on 22 April 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a virtual gathering of the world’s leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, that climate change is a national security threat not just for his nation, but for all nations.

“Today, no nation can find lasting security without addressing the climate crisis,”

Austin said.

“We face all kinds of threats in our line of work, but few of them truly deserve to be called existential.  The climate crisis does.”

However, there’s no climate crisis or climate emergency.  In the United States during the 20th Century Dust Bowl, thermometer records and newspaper articles show that temperatures were hotter and rainfall was less, with a lot less CO2 in the air than today.

But Cries of Climate Alarm Don’t Add Up

If the cries from the climate alarmists were true, we would see increasing death rates from the extreme weather events, including heat waves, which have plagued mankind since before historical records began. However, no such increasing rate of death exists today, despite the fact that we have newspapers, TV and cable news, and millions of eyeballs willing to put such events on social media, so that word of such events can spread rapidly.

Some Prominent Examples:

Climate related deaths have plummeted in the past century.  If the alarmists were correct, human deaths from heat, hurricanes, and tornadoes would be climbing.

Figure 1. The Heartland Institute’s publication, Climate Realism, plotted the Death Risk from weather and climate-related sources for the period 1920-2020. The number of deaths per year per million population fell from almost 250 per million to single digits per million during that time period.  The death rate from such conditions has decreased over 99 per cent.

As seen in the next graphic below, the death rates for moderate and extreme heat and cold clearly do not show deaths from heat one would expect from “global warming” trending up at all.  In fact, the data show that it is moderate cold which is by far the most important source of temperature-related fatalities.

Figure 2. While the UN Secretary-General talks of “Unprecedented Heatwaves,” a data base compiled by Gasparrini, et al, and published in The Lancet shows that for over a dozen countries, the death rate for moderate cold vastly outnumbers the death rate for extreme cold and moderate and extreme heat.

The warming shown by perhaps the best surface temperature data set over a wide area today, the US Climate Reference Network, often USCRN, shows hardly any warming trend at all. The USCRN, built to avoid the pitfalls of poor instrument exposure and the creeping influence of human development, often called the Urban Heat Island effect, has been available since only 2005.  Nonetheless, the warming appears to be very modest, if at all, based on the time series of USCRN data displayed in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. NOAA’s US Climate Reference Network time series plot of surface temperatures across the Continental US since the data became available in 2005. Though the period of record is short, only seventeen years long, there is no significant warming shown in the time series, but the USCRN has been designed to eliminate the problems noted with other data sets, specifically, poor exposure and being located in areas where increasing human development create the Urban Heat Island effect.


Geology and Anthropology have provided us an improved history of human evolution over the past 3 million years, and especially the last half million years. The sequence seems to be Homo Erectus, Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis, and Homo Sapiens. At the same time analyses of the Antarctic Ice Cores, especially those from Petit et al, the Vostok Ice Cores, has given us a temperature time line over the past approximately 800,000 years.  I have assembled them into a single diagram, Figure 4 below, to show what Human History looks like in terms of the Temperature Time Series as revealed from the Antarctic Ice Cores.

The temperature time series is the black line with the temperature scale on the right of the diagram.  The present temperature is the horizontal red line across the diagram from now, on the left, to 420,000 years ago on the right.

Note there are five peaks in temperature, the past 20,000 years, 120,000-130,000 years ago, ~240,000 years ago, ~340,000 years ago, and ~410,000 years ago. We call these peaks in temperature interglacials.

The CO2 time series is the blue line in the top of the diagram. Present CO2 is about 420 parts per million, a lot higher than any time in the past 410,000 years.

Note well, the present interglacial is the coolest (!) of the five interglacials. Note especially that with all of the CO2 in the air today, this remains the coolest of the five interglacials, a clear indication that <CO2> does NOT control temperature.

Now note the number of times the black temperature line is above the present temperature line, the red horizontal line across the entire time domain of Figure 4.

Note that most of the past 20,000 years have been distinctly warmer than the present temperature.  Once again, note especially the interglacial peaks in temperature 8,000, 125,000, 240,000, 340,000, and 410,000 years ago.

It is clear that humans and our ancestors survived all of those times when temperatures were warmer than today, a clear indication that the cries of an “existential threat” from the present warming are bogus. Fearmongering!

Figure 4. Human history timelines, bottom, with temperature and CO2 time series at the top. The time domain of Homo Erectus is in green, of Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis, in purple, and Homo Sapiens in blue. Humans and Human Ancestors clearly survived the temperatures warmer than at present, a clear indication the Climate Alarmist cries of “Existential Threat!” from the present warming are false alarms.
Past Humans Thrived in Much Warmer Temperatures

Human ancestors have been present on Earth since about 3 million years ago. However, our knowledge of those who lived after the last Ice age, which ended about 12,000 years ago, to the present is much more complete than knowledge of our earlier ancestors. Most of the records of human history are from the northern hemisphere, and our knowledge of northern hemisphere temperatures is enhanced from proxy temperatures derived from the Greenland Ice Cores.

Figure 5 below comes from the Paleoclimate Page of Watts Up With That, and is a temperature time series from the GISP2 Ice Core from Greenland, archived by NOAA, analyzed and published by Richard Alley of Penn State University.  I have added the horizontal red line, the present temperature, and annotated the Y-Axis on the left with Temperatures C from three degrees warmer than at present to one degree colder than at present (3.0C to -1.0C).

On the left is the annotation about 8500 years BC, or about 10,500 years ago, “ice age ends.”

The rest of the chart has annotations of historical events and periods.

Note these important characteristics of Figure 5:

There are no periods of temperature stasis. Temperature never flatlines. Climate is either warming or cooling.

Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer than today.

The temperatures have been irregularly falling since a peak about 3500 years ago, an Iron Age peak which happened during ancient Egypt’s civilization.

Figure 5. Annotated time series of temperatures derived from the Oxygen-18/Oxygen 16 ratio of water vapor from the Gulf Stream waters which evaporated, condensed, and fell as snow in Greenland, and the subsequent snowfall compressed the snow into ice layers, each separated by a dirt layer which accumulated in the summer months. Most of the past 10,000 years were distinctly WARMER than at present, temperatures never flat line or remain at stasis, and several times in the historic past it has been considerably warmer than the UN-proclaimed “temperature limit.” Our ancestors survived these conditions; we are here as the proof!

Led by President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, UN Secretary-General Guterres and many in Academia, Media, and Government, there is popular sentiment in the culture that human use of fossil fuels is leading to a climate catastrophe of “existential” dimensions, should global temperatures exceed those of the Little Ice Age minimum which happened in 1690, by 2C.

While this view is popular it is totally without foundation. Numerous times in the recent past, within the past 10,000 years, temperatures were 2C and 3C warmer than at present. We know these temperatures occurred in that recent past because we have Ice Core records, called proxy temperature reconstructions, which show that temperatures distinctly warmer than at present dominated the previous 10,000 years.

If our ancestors survived those temperatures without the benefits of insulated housing, plentiful supplies of food and water, heating and cooling of our places of work and residence, electrically powered medical devices, and reliable, inexpensive transportation over local to intercontinental distances, it should be an easy feat for us to survive, even thrive in the present climate or a warmer one.  Easy, that is, unless we accept the “existential threat” narrative climate alarmists spout in their attempts to eliminate our use of these necessities of modern life.


Author: Robert Endlich

Robert W. Endlich served as Weather Officer in the USAF for 21 Years. From 1984-1993, he provided toxic corridor and laser propagation support to the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range. He has published in the technical literature and worked as software test engineer. He was elected to Chi Epsilon Pi, the national Meteorology Honor Society, while a Basic Meteorology student at Texas A&M University. He has a BA degree in Geology from Rutgers University and an MS in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University.