Robert Seitz: More on climate, politics, energy in Alaska

Lake reflection. Photo credit: Bob Shem


My last column in Must Read Alaska resulted in a number of comments to which I am compelled to respond. In my attempt to disprove that Alaska is warming 2 to 4 times faster than the rest of the planet, I did not mention anything about the warming we know about and that most people accept.

I remind critics that we had a Little Ice Age that peaked out around 1750 A.D. Yes, our growing season has become extended over my 80 years in Alaska. But with that, things still feel about the same as they have my entire life. It can still frost some time during that extended growing season.

Somebody mentioned glaciers, implying that the absence or diminishment of some glaciers is proof of global warming. If you look up Glacier Bay on the internet and do some digging around you will find that in 1680 there was glacier advancing upon the eventual location of Glacier Bay, but there was no fjord at that time. By 1750, the glacier had extended to the ocean waters and the newly formed Glacier Bay was a fjord. By 1880 the glacier had already receded back 45 miles from the end of the bay.  

I am going to suggest that most of the glaciers that have greatly receded or disappeared in Alaska were possibly formed as a result of the Little Ice Age. If Alaska is not warming at an alarming rate, does that suggest that there has not been extra warming from increasing levels of greenhouse gases?  

I call attention to “Infrared Forcing by Greenhouse Gases,” a paper by by W. A. van Wijngaarden1 and W. Happer published in 2019. The last sentence of the abstract states: “Doubling the current concentrations of CO2, N2O or CH4 only increases the forcings by a few per cent.” 

Here is an excerpt from the conclusion of the paper: “The two goals of this review were: (1) to rigorously review the basic physics of thermal radiation transfer in the cloud-free atmosphere of the Earth; and (2) to present quantitative information about the relative forcing powers of the naturally-occurring, greenhouse-gas molecules, H2O, CO2, O3, N2O and CH4.”  

All this tells us that doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would result in very little increase in temperature on earth from the “greenhouse effect”. The warming we experience may just be the recovery from the Little Ice Age.

If this is true, then we need to rethink our approach to energy development in Alaska. We need to return to science for our guidance. Developing alternate and renewable energy resources in Alaska is still a viable idea as all the remote communities which have large diesel fuel cost need energy sources that serve their needs, affordably. We need to rework the current definition of “sustainable” to infer a fuel source that will be readily available and not one with no CO2 molecules.

Robert Seitz is a professional electrical engineer and lifelong Alaskan.


  1. The climate is still changing after billions spent and executive orders running rampant.
    Kerry better move to high ground because the ocean is going to fill up his house.

  2. They told us in the 90s that we had to ban aerosols because of the ozone hole, now they want to spray aerosols into the atmosphere to block out the sun and “cool the planet”.
    Rudolph Diesel and Henry Ford mastered Hemp fuel, a viable option today. One must wonder why it’s illegal/highly regulated when it was the center piece of the federal Hemp for Victory campaign of WW2.
    Hemp grows quite well in Alaska as it does almost everywhere.

    • The contrived narrative of a created crisis is one side of the issue. There is no actual, viable and sustainable alternative to the proven oil, gas and nuclear reliable energy sources at this time. The technolgy and infrastructure for capturing, storing and distributing solar and wind created energy does not exist yet at a comprehensive scale. As a hobby for recreational use for wealthy individuals, as long as they aren’t concerned for the massive environmental damage their hobby causes, it’s fine. Government central planning setting net zero deadlines, subsidizing companies with hundreds of billions of printed dollars
      and relying on China for the infrastructure is criminally insane. Thousands of years of creating civilization and improving basic living standards for common people is being destroyed. We are ruled by global companies and individuals who are both corrupt and incompetent.

  3. Even a small temperature change can be detrimental. Glaciers are melting
    Ice sheets vanishing. Oceans rising. Villages flooding. We can’t stop it, but why contribute to it?

    • The vanity of mankind.
      Man’s contribution to the mythical climate change, even if it were real, would be akin to the proverbial fly crawling up the elephant’s leg with r*p# on it’s mind. Then afterwards saying, “Did I hurt you honey?”

      • Rando, Thanks! I’m still laughing after reading your analogy above.
        If I could add to the story, imagine the insect sporting a Bill Clinton voice, similar to ” baby, that lip looks a little bruised, better put some ice on it”…

    • The corporate carbon trading and current solar/wind alternate energy schemes cause massive environmental damage. Assuming, for the sake of discussion, hydrocarbons are altering temperatures, the volume of emissions will massively increase to enact the ad hoc, net zero goal. The economic power house of China and most other nations are not playing this game with us. Prepare for Haitian style chaos and impoverishment in these 50 states.

  4. Milankovitch Cycles. I’m more concerned about the weakening and pending reversal of Earth’s magnetic field. As the field goes slowly through the null period before reversal, we will not be protected by the magnetic field from solar radiation. It won’t be global warming – it will be global frying!

    • Chris, but if your fear is realized, how will the ” elite” be able to use such a phenomenon to enrich themselves and gain further control over the populace?

      I don’t see your concern above ever becoming a popular movement…

  5. The fact that the baseline temperature measurement being used starts at the end of the Little Ice Age, which ‘fortunately’ happens to be the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, should give any reasonable person cause to question the narrative. Given enough measurements over a broad enough time frame and we can say we are in a warming or cooling planet, whatever narrative we want to come up with. Science tells us we are currently in an interglacial period wherein smaller glaciers will advance and retreat due to localized climate and weather conditions but large scale polar ice sheets have receded and will not return unless and until the world cools again due to natural cycles that happen roughly every 23,000 years and peak roughly every fifth cycle or every 100,000 years. We should be happy that we are in the fifth cycle that led to this current interglacial period and not use man-made means try to destroy the benefits of a relatively warm planet.

  6. The science behind the earth self regulating temperature hasn’t changed. Just another of the many climate scams in the last 50 years that hasn’t turned out to be true.

  7. Interesting read at
    “Tonga Eruption Blasted Unprecedented Amount of Water Into Stratosphere”
    “When the Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted Jan. 15, (2022)… blasted an enormous plume of water vapor into Earth’s stratosphere – enough to fill more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. The sheer amount of water vapor could be enough to temporarily affect Earth’s global average temperature.
    The excess water vapor injected by the Tonga volcano, on the other hand, could remain in the stratosphere for several years.
    Massive volcanic eruptions like Krakatoa and Mount Pinatubo typically cool Earth’s surface by ejecting gases, dust, and ash that reflect sunlight back into space. In contrast, the Tonga volcano didn’t inject large amounts of aerosols into the stratosphere, and the huge amounts of water vapor from the eruption may have a small, temporary warming effect, since water vapor traps heat. The effect would dissipate when the extra water vapor cycles out of the stratosphere and would not be enough to noticeably exacerbate climate change effects.”
    That’s worth re-reading: “…when the extra water vapor cycles out of the stratosphere”. Imagine what happens when enough water to fill “more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools” decides to “cycle out of the stratosphere”, one hopes not all at once.

    • Morrigan, I hasten to point out to you that the draining of those 58,000 swimming pools has been ongoing. Google a place called Juneau, or any of the soggy Southeast Towns for more info.

      • Good point, Robert.
        Toss up that much water, that high, that quick, you’d think somebody somewhere should notice when it comes down, or how things warm up if it doesn’t come down right away.
        So Earth probably warmed up a couple of years ago for reasons having nothing to do with how productive Alaskans live their lives
        Bottom line is 58,000 swimming pools we can handle.
        58,000 unelected government officials, each with a better idea on how not to make the planet warm, each with perceived authority to enforce their brilliancies, handling that’s a tall order, no?

  8. Well, I do think that there is some climate change going on in Alaska, but it is man made. As I watch the clouds develop over the mountains, I notice a different type of formation pattern. One that looks like they have been “seeded” An upper atmosphere that is always hazy, and I no longer see “blue sky” before the cloud formations? The sunsets, when appearing look as if the sky is “on fire” due to the orange/red haze? We need to have answers to the actions of Poker Flats and HAARP and find out what type of experiments they are working with. Is there any experimentation going on with the facility in Antartica concerning our upper atmosphere? Winds down the Valley for a week at 25 knots or better? Are we using micro-plastics in our atmosphere? Do these particles cause the “Aurora” effect that we are seeing more of? Just saying.

  9. Contrary to the oft-repeated mantra of the media and the so-called “experts” that today’s CO2 concentration is unprecedented, our current geologic period, the Quaternary, has seen the lowest average levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s long history. Though CO2 concentrations briefly peaked 320,000 years ago at 300 ppm, the average for the past 800,000 years was 230 ppm (Luthi 2008). The average CO2 concentration in the preceding 600 million years was more than 2,600 ppm, nearly seven times our current amount and 2.5 times the worst case predicted by the IPCC for 2100. Our current geologic period (Quaternary) has the lowest average CO2 concentration in the history of the Earth. It should be obvious to impartial observers of the long-term data that, rather than experiencing excessively high levels of carbon dioxide, we are in fact in a period of CO2 starvation. While short historical periods are used to support apocalyptic visions of life in a world with slightly increased CO2, perspective is everything: the increase of ~ 120 ppm since the”

    — INCONVENIENT FACTS: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know by Gregory Wrightstone

  10. The data shows that Warming actually precedes CO2 increases. So we will spend trillions of dollars to move the needle (read control the uncontrolable) less than a degree – for what?

    “Inconvenient Fact 13
    Melting glaciers and rising seas confirm warming predated increases of CO2. Melting glaciers and rising sea levels are the direct result of warming. Supporters of catastrophic human-induced warming often cite them as proof that the weather is warming. Inconveniently for them, however, the evidence shows that the global warming causing the rise in sea levels and the retreat of the glaciers began long before any significant man-made CO2 increases could have influenced either. Both are directly the result of the natural warming that began in the year 1695. In about 1250, temperature began its descent into the depths of the Little Ice Age, and in only a couple of decades the waves of cold started the march of the glaciers in both hemispheres (Grove 2001). The advancing ice often had severe consequences for local populations, destroying many villages. The area of Chamonix in southeastern France, for example, is estimated to have lost one-third of its tillable land to avalanches, snow and glaciers (Fagan 2000). Because these events had profound negative effects on the local populace, detailed records of glacial advances and retreats began to be kept. These records allow us to determine the extent of glaciers with great accuracy going back several hundred years. We saw that the current warming trend began in the late 17th century but the glaciers could not begin to retreat until the atmosphere had warmed sufficiently to allow summer ice loss to exceed winter accumulations. That glacial “tipping point” occurred around 1800, with full-on retreat by 1820. Thus began two centuries of worldwide glacial retreat that continues today. Notwithstanding man’s influence on climate in recent decades, there has been no acceleration in the rate of retreat. The glaciers began to recede at least a century before appreciable quantities of man-made CO2 began to accumulate in the atmosphere and nearly a century before the Mann-made Hockey Stick showed warming had started.”

    — INCONVENIENT FACTS: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know by Gregory Wrightstone


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