Global Warming is a Natural Phenomenon

Proponents of the Greenhouse theory cite a 1.5°F temperature increase since 1850 as evidence that man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are dangerously heating up the planet. A careful examination of the Earth's climate history, however, shows that this warming is the result of a natural fluctuation in temperature and poses no threat to humanity.

The Earth's temperature is constantly rising and falling. Since the last ice age ended 10,700 years ago, there have been seven major warming and cooling trends. Of the six trends preceding the current period of warming, three produced temperatures warmer than the present average of 59°F while three produced temperatures that were cooler.

The two centuries preceding the current era of global warming were the coldest in nearly 11,000 years. In the year 1650, the temperature plunged to a low of 57°F, the coldest point since the ice age. That is why the era between 1650 and 1850 is known as the Little Ice Age.

The two periods in history in which the planet was significantly warmer than today were characterized by bountiful harvests and economic prosperity. Between 6500 B.C. and 3500 B.C., the temperature rose to 62°F, three degrees warmer than today. This is the temperature that Greenhouse theory proponents claim will be the temperature by 2100 and which will supposedly wreak havoc on the environment. However, it was precisely during this time that the Agricultural Revolution began, laying the foundation for civilization. Between 900 A.D. and 1100 A.D., when the temperature rose to 61°F, Europe experienced record harvests and economic prosperity.

Global warming is a recovery from the Little Ice Age. The 1.5°F temperature increase since 1850 represents a return to normal following four centuries of unusually cold weather. Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a proponent of regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, concludes that " . . . some of the global warming since 1850 could be a recovery from the Little Ice Age rather than as a direct result of human activities."


Information from: The National Center For Public Policy Research's National Policy Analysis Paper #194.

Issue Date: May 1998

Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #39, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct NE, Washington, D.C. 20001 Tel. (202) 507-6398, Fax (301) 498-1301, [email protected],


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