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This hemlock log shows climate change

Climate change has been a normal and natural fact of life on Planet Earth since the planet was created. Volcanoes explode and the earth warms up as a result. Glaciers that build up covered entire mountain ranges underneath, then recede and create new mountain ranges, then melt again, and their flood waters created new rivers, several times. Pennsylvania’s Pine Creek in the “PA Grand Canyon” used to flow north into the Genesee River watershed, until a huge ice dam from the last glacial period melted, broke, and caused an enormous torrent of water to flood southward. In that brief moment about ten or twelve thousand years ago, naturally occurring climate change forced Pine Creek to flow south, where it has become a major tributary to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Climate alarmism is quite another thing, a false thing, a made-up thing, a silly thing, a destructive thing, and it is ruining a basic scientific fact that should be easy to study and understand.

Climate alarmism is where political activists falsely claim that “scientists agree that humans are causing Planet Earth’s climate to change” and that all Americans and Europeans (not the Chinese or the Indians) must therefore make drastic changes to our lifestyles, to our diets, to our freedoms. This is a fake emergency, a fake crisis, designed to help political activists get political outcomes they can not otherwise get through the democratic voting process where informed voters choose elected officials and policy positions themselves.

To illustrate how climate change naturally occurs all on its own, I took a picture and posted it here. Below is a picture I took of a roughly 160-year-old hemlock tree that a logger I work with cut down in Clinton County, PA, a month ago. If we look at the growth rings in the base of this tree, we see clusters of rings that are very wide, where the tree grew a lot in one growing season (April – September), and we see clusters of rings where the tree grew very little in one season. What is really interesting about looking at tree growth rings is that we can easily understand the climate surrounding that tree at the time of each growth ring.

Wide growth rings are associated with both an open forest canopy and lots of sunlight reaching the tree, and also with years of plenty of rain and warm temperatures conducive to plant growth after the canopy has grown up and over.

Thin or narrow growth rings are associated with a dramatic lack of sunlight, a lack of water, and/ or colder temperatures.

As we can see from this picture, this 160-year-old tree has experienced several major climate shifts over its lifetime. Each colored box is a clump of similar growth rings, which represents a period of about ten to twenty years. See how this tree went for a decade or two subject to long stretches of either very wet and warm climate, or very dry and cold climate? And we know that this tree’s life experience was largely outside of the period where the climate alarmists say humans have had the greatest influence on climate.

This tree’s life, as we see it in its growth rings, clearly shows that northcentral Pennsylvania’s climate has naturally fluctuated on its own, with no meaningful human intervention, for a long time. The picture also shows that within periods of intense dryness, there were single years of abundant rain, and then the dryness returned for years.

Today, climate alarmists seize upon every dry spell, every rainy period, every storm, to falsely claim evidence of human-caused “climate change.” If what the climate alarmists say is true, then this poor tree has had both a schizophrenic life in a natural world where equilibrium is more the natural rule, and it also experienced a lot of human caused climate change while the planet had very few humans on it to affect the climate.

In other words, this tree shows that the climate alarmists are wrong. Really wrong. The trees don’t lie, but the political activists do lie. And that fact is alarming to me.

Hemlock log cut in July 2023, in Clinton County, PA. This tree has experienced widely varying climates over its long lifetime, especially while there were very few humans on Planet Earth. There is no such thing as human caused climate change. Environmental damage, yes, of course, but not climate change. Climate alarmism is a political claim, not a scientific claim.

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