"If the planet is warming, why have temperatures been steady for a decade?"
That question is now the go-to counterpoint for global-warming skeptics, and it has long been a sticking point for scientists as they try to explain their climate conclusions to an increasingly polarized public.
The debate was reborn anew last week when a leaked draft of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change upcoming report conceded that warming has largely paused over the past decade, prompting outcry from skeptics and leading conservative news outlets (including Fox News) to play up the pause in their reporting.
Climate scientists largely agree that warming has paused over the past decade (especially in measurements of surface temperature), but they say that break is temporary, and the near-consensus on human-caused global warming remains unbroken.
"There has been a slowdown or hiatus in the rate of change of global temperature in the 21st century, and that's real," says David Gutzler, an earth- and planetary-sciences professor at the University of New Mexico who contributed to the IPCC report. "Most of us think that this is probably a temporary hiatus as opposed to a cessation of global warming."
It's all really, really complicated
Climate models incorporate vast numbers of dynamic factors, everything from melting permafrost in Russia to coal development in China to deforestation in the Amazon. Scientists are still scrambling to provide a more nuanced understanding of what global warming will look like. Indeed, many of the forces that checked warming over the past decade may accelerate it in years to come.
Within that butterfly-effect-like chaos, Gutzler said it's possible that the predictive climate models scientists use are partially wrong—not about the fact that the planet is warming, but about how, when, and where that warming will occur.
"Just like weather, once you get a month or two out, individual events are unpredictable, like decadal events are unpredictable," he said.
Yes... it's all so complicated and unpredictable they say... while they simplistically predict doom and gloom.
What is not unpredictable and clearly pretty simple, at least from their point of view, are the lengths to which the High Priests will go to continue to fool the gullible and easily led:
I remember as a boy when the conversation on civil rights was won in the South. I remember a time when one of my friends made a racist joke and another said, hey man, we don’t go for that anymore. The same thing happened on apartheid. The same thing happened on the nuclear arms race with the freeze movement. The same thing happened in an earlier era with abolition. A few months ago, I saw an article about two gay men standing in line for pizza and some homophobe made an ugly comment about them holding hands and everyone else in line told them to shut up. We’re winning that conversation.
The conversation on global warming has been stalled because a shrinking group of denialists fly into a rage when it’s mentioned. It’s like a family with an alcoholic father who flies into a rage every time a subject is mentioned and so everybody avoids the elephant in the room to keep the peace. But the political climate is changing. Something like Chris Hayes’s excellent documentary on climate change wouldn’t have made it on TV a few years ago. And as I said, many Republicans who’re still timid on the issue are now openly embarrassed about the extreme deniers. The deniers are being hit politically. They’re being subjected to ridicule, which stings. The polling is going back up in favor of doing something on this issue. The ability of the raging deniers to stop progress is waning every single day.
When that conversation is won, you’ll see more measures at the local and state level and less resistance to what the EPA is doing. And slowly it will become popular to propose steps that go further and politicians that take the bit in their teeth get rewarded. I remember when the tide turned on smoking in public places. People thought the late Frank Lautenburg was crazy for proposing a ban on smoking in airplanes, but he was rewarded politically and then politicians began falling all over themselves to do the same. That’s the optimistic scenario. And it’s not just a scenario! It’s happening now!
That should be a clarion call to freedom lovers and lovers of the truth the world over.
The other side has abandoned science and now resort to name calling, guilt mongering and other deceptive means to convince us of a lie.
It should not stand. It cannot stand.
It won't stand.
Unless you let it.