The WSJ Asks: Whatever Happened to Global Warming? It’s A Good Question The WSJ has been one of the few mainstream publications that has given a bit of room to skeptical reporting on global warming, which has been rechristened ‘climate change’ for by now painfully obvious reasons. So it is not a big surprise to find an article about the ‘long hiatus’ in the WSJ. It is however worth quoting a few passages from it, not least because the author himself has been surprised by the ‘pause’:
‘The U. N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades. Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U. N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietly downgraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).
Even that is likely to be too high. The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began.
First the climate-research establishment denied that a pause existed, noting that if there was a pause, it would invalidate their theories. Now they say there is a pause (or ‘hiatus’), but that it doesn’t after all invalidate their theories.
Alas, their explanations have made their predicament worse by implying that man-made climate change is so slow and tentative that it can be easily overwhelmed by natural variation in temperature – a possibility that they had previously all but ruled out.
[…]when David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London made the same point, the environmentalist and journalist Mark Lynas said in the New Statesman that Mr. Whitehouse was ‘wrong, completely wrong,’ and was ‘deliberately, or otherwise, misleading the public.’
We know now that it was Mr. Lynas who was wrong. Two years before Mr. Whitehouse’s article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s. ‘The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998,’ wrote Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2005. He went on: ‘Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.’
If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built. A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: ‘The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more.’
Well, the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years – depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere. That’s according to a new statistical calculation by Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.
It has been roughly two decades since there was a trend in temperature significantly different from zero. The burst of warming that preceded the millennium lasted about 20 years and was preceded by 30 years of slight cooling after 1940. This has taken me by surprise. I was among those who thought the pause was a blip.’
This post was published at Acting-Man on September 9, 2014.