Climate Change Confusion

I raised some questions about what we know about climate change in my last column for the News & Observer.

I have another questions after reading an Op-ed in the NY Times on the subject, “Climate Change Doomed the Ancients.”

Writer Eric H. Cline offers his article as a bit of instruction for Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a stalwart believer that global warming is a ‘hoax.’ Perhaps the senator needs a history lesson, because climate change has been leading to global conflict — and even the collapse of civilizations — for more than 3,000 years. Drought and famine led to internal rebellions in some societies and the sacking of others, as people fleeing hardship at home became conquerors abroad.”

Here’s my confusion. People like Inhofe do not dispute that the climate has changed. They question whether those changes have been caused by people – primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. My guess is that Cline, a professor of classics and anthropology at George Washington University, thinks he’s making the case that climate change can have devastating effects, so we better act now.

But as I read the piece, he seems to be saying that climate change is a natural phenomenon that had ruinous effects before Henry Ford was a gleam in his mama’s eye.

Is Cline a denier posing as an alarmist?

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