Climate facts to warm to

The Australian publishes an interesting detail about coverage of climate change:

Duffy asked Marohasy: “Is the Earth still warming?”

She replied: “No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998
as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of
reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not whethat
you’d expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon
dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been
coming down over the last 10 years.”

Duffy: “Is this a matter of any controversy?”

Marohasy: “Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about
the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he
recognises that in this century, over the past eight years,
temperatures have plateaued … This is not what you’d expect, as I
said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you’d
expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to
increase, temperatures should be going up … So (it’s) very
unexpected, not something that’s being discussed. It should be being
discussed, though, because it’s very significant.”

Duffy: “It’s not only that it’s not discussed. We never hear it, do
we? Whenever there’s any sort of weather event that can be linked into
the global warming orthodoxy, it’s put on the front page. But a fact
like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is
virtually never reported, which is extraordinary.”

The other day I was listening to NPR and heard someone (a scientist? activist? somewhere in between?) discussing differences in satellite photos taken in about 1997 and 2004 (or something like that — I didn’t catch the details), and using the differences in these photos to illustrate the effects of global warming. I didn’t keep listening long enough to find out whether the reporter asked the guest whether it made good scientific sense to make draw conclusions from two isloated data points. It would be a very different thing if you looked at photos taken every year on the same date over a period of 10 years, and the photos showed a consistent change (with some variation for the typical random fluctuation one expects from the climate).

I’ve been following climate change politics for some time, mostly because it’s a good example of a meta-narrative that all news stories seem to have to fit — along with “your children are in danger from strangers they meet on the internet” (when the vast majority of perpetrators are family members).

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