Much impassioned — even heated — discussion swirls regarding the crisis of global warming, and its man-made whipping-boy, greenhouse gases. While few dispute that greenhouse gases do indeed increase global temperature, the real issue at hand is whether or not this is the prime contributor to planetary temperature change, or an ancillary one. And if this is not the prime issue, then what is? Although there are many who believe “the science is settled,” good science never rushes to conclusion: scientific history is replete with people who were convinced of things we now believe to be foolish.

I personally believe it will soon be expounded that the primary agent of temperature change is not greenhouse gases, but sunspot activity: storms on the surface of the sun that have the effect of increasing solar output. Sunspot activity creates a protective “solar wind” that deflects inbound cosmic rays, which are known to create cloud cover. And, obviously enough, planetary cloud cover affects global cooling. So, in a period of low sunspot activity, the skies cloud and the planet cools. And in periods of high sunspot activity (such as we are in now) clouds diminish, and the planet warms.

    [Ed. note: This article was first written in late 2007. Since that time, we have now already begun the period where sunspot activity is diminished, and the planet is beginning to cool.]

These overlapping periods of sunspot activity are cyclical and well known: for example, an 11-year “Schwabe” cycle, a 75-90-year “Gleissberg Cycle,” a 200-500-year “Suess Cycle,” and 1,100-1,500-year “Bond Cycle.” Solar scientists now predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth; and one that may extend well beyond one 11-year cycle. Such an event did precisely happen in the middle of the 17th to the early 18th century — a period now known as the Little Ice Age.

In this writer’s belief, it is therefore possibly that global cooling, not warming, will be found to be the more major climate threat to the world. And greenhouse gases just might in fact be a Divine gift to help us get through that coming period of crop-related climate challenges.