Re: Low activity
Actually, you have a point. We are currently nearing a solar minimum; not just as part of the 11-year cycle, but as part of a larger cycle (41Kr). There is significant evidence pointing to a gradually decreasing amount of solar radiation received by earth over the past 50 years. This lines up well with the overall pre-1900s climactic trends which have shown Earth on the path towards a new ice age. Had humans not dramatically altered the climate, Earth would likely have well and truly begun the next ice age approximately 1000 years from now.
That isn't to say the amount of CO2 we've dumped into the atmosphere is magically a "good thing." The change is so sudden that most ecosystems wills struggle to cope, we're already seeing an unprecedented extinction rate and the slowly altering climate is driving more extreme weather events which cost billions to cope with. In addition to this the climate is slowly changing rainfall patterns over entire continents; this will lead to further issues for many species, including ours.
Earth is by no means doomed, but a significant number of her species are; we've triggered the most rapid extinction event since the Yucatan impactor/Siberian Traps double-whammy wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs and almost half the marine ecosphere. That will take millions of years to climb back from. Even if we dropped everything and put our backs into mitigation, we'll still see some pretty outrageous effects manifest over the course of the next 500 years.
Small variations in axial tilt can cause events like the little ice age (indeed, it's one theory for the event) as can longer solar cycles than the standard 11-year cycle. Which we may be currently in the midst of, as part of that measured 50-year decrease insolation. Indeed, this has to be combined with the fact that high amounts of particulates in the air - first by the west in the early-mid 1900s and now by China and India - have kept the surface temperatures artificially low for something like 75 years.
Right now we're largely insulated from the effects of the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. As we climb out of the current solar cycle to see increased insolation of the Earth (again, a separate item from the 11-year cycle discussed int eh article) we'll really begin to feel it. In a much shorter time frame China and India's switch away from coal (in an attempt to make their air breathable once more) will see the particulate levels of our atmosphere drop precipitously; this will lead to dramatic increases in global average temperature (likely on the order of 2 degrees C) within our lifetimes.
So while the 11-year solar cycle is not responsible for a notable decrease in insolation, we are indeed at the lower end of a larger cycle, though not quite at the bottom of certain even larger cycles (such as the Milankovitch cycles which dictate changes in our orbit over time.) Clear as mud? Good.