Most people, I think, have caught on to the fact that global warming hysteria is a politically-inspired hoax. In that regard, it is helpful to put current temperatures into historical context. At Watts Up With That? Don Easterbrook charts temperatures since the last Ice Age, approximately 10,000 years, based on Greenland ice cores. This is his description of the methodology:
One of the best ways to look at long-term temperatures is with isotope data from the GISP2 Greenland ice core, from which temperatures for thousands of years can be determined. The ice core isotope data were obtained by Minze Stuiver and Peter Grootes from nuclear accelerator measurements of thousands of oxygen isotope ratios (16O/18O), which are a measure of paleo-temperatures at the time snow fell that was later converted to glacial ice. The age of such temperatures can be accurately measured from annual layers of accumulation of rock debris marking each summer’s melting of ice and concentration of rock debris on the glacier.
Is the methodology reliable? I don’t know, but it is typical of the sort of data that climate scientists use. This is the chart that shows temperatures over the last 10,000 years; as you can see, virtually all of that time has been warmer than the present. Click to enlarge:
We are still warming up from the Little Ice Age, and, according to these data, we have quite a distance to go before we reach temperatures that are normal in historical terms. This chart also reflects the fact that human civilization has generally prospered the most during warmer periods.