By Paul MacRae

In June, a NASA climate study announced that the warm middle Miocene era, about 16 million years ago, had carbon dioxide levels of 400 to 600 parts per million. The coasts of Antarctica were ice-free in summer, with summer temperatures 11° Celsius warmer than today. The study concluded that today’s CO2 level of 393 ppm was the highest, therefore, in millions of years, and could go to Miocene levels by the end of the century[1]. It was implied, although not directly stated, that readers should react with horror.

A UCLA team, writing in Science, had already pushed the Miocene button in 2009, claiming: “The last time carbon dioxide levels were apparently as high as they are today [15 million years ago, again the mid-Miocene]—and were sustained at those levels—global temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit [2.7-5.5°C] higher than they are today, the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today, there was no permanent sea ice cap in the Arctic and very little ice on Antarctica and Greenland.”[2] Back to the Miocene! Scary!

James Hansen, the alarmist head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), regularly refers to past eras as a warning of the climate catastrophes that could occur today. For example, in 2011 Hansen warned: “[An increase of] two degrees Celsius is guaranteed disaster…. It is equivalent to the early Pliocene epoch [between 5.5 and 2.5 million years ago] when the sea level was 25m (75 feet) higher.” [4] Back to the early Pliocene! Horror!

And, in testimony to the U.S. government: “The Earth was much warmer than today in the early Cenozoic [which began 65 million years ago]. In fact it was so warm that there were no ice sheets on the planet and sea level was about 75 meters (250 feet) higher.” [5] Heavens! The planet could revert to the age of dinosaurs! (Hansen didn’t mention that sea levels today are 120 metres—almost 400 feet—higher than they were a mere 15,000 years ago, without creating a catastrophe.)

If we don’t curb our carbon-emitting ways, the alarmists warn, we face “increasingly radical temperature changes, a worldwide upsurge in violent weather events, widespread drought, flooding, wildfires, famine, species extinction, rising sea levels, mass migration, and epidemic disease that will leave no country untouched.” [7] The only catastrophe not mentioned here is “acidification” (i.e., a slight decrease in alkalinity) of the oceans.

If a warmer, more CO2-rich world would be hell in the future, it logically must have been hell in the past, too, when global temperatures were much warmer and carbon dioxide levels much higher. How could anything live, for example, in those “acidified” oceans of the Miocene? At least, this is what alarmist climate scientists like Hansen want the public to believe.

An Eocene ‘paradise’

Curiously, while alarmists warn about the horrors of returning to the climate of millions of years ago, paleoclimatologists tell a different story. They more often see our earlier planet as a “paradise,” even “paradise lost.” Continue Reading »