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Environment

About That Global Warming Pause

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There's an old saying, If you don't like the weather in [insert your state] ____, just wait five minutes. Something similar could be said for climate change media coverage. For example, maybe you didn't think much of a Telegraphstory from a month ago, which warned that global warming was going to be catastrophic for the UK. Not to worry: This week, the Telegraph has a piece you might like better, headlined:

Global warming: time to rein back on gloom and doom?

Marc Morano, at spinmeister central, is doing cartwheels over it. Naturally, the latest, greatest climate controversy (#982) is more complex than climate skeptics would have you believe. Still as Fred Pearce writes at Yale Environment 360, 

there is a growing consensus among temperature watchers that the pace of warming in the atmosphere, which began in earnest in the 1970s and seemed to accelerate in the 1990s, has slackened, or stalled, or paused, or whatever word you choose. It may turn out to be a short blip; but it is real. “Although the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest on record, warming has not been as rapid since 2000,” says Pete Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the UK’s Met Office, one of the leading keepers of the global temperature. He calls it a “hiatus” in warming.

Pearce does a good job of explaining the possible causes, none of which can be used as an excuse to stop being concerned about anthropogenic climate change. Given that every new climate pronouncement or development is exploitive fodder for partisans (on both sides), I wish that the pause in warming--however temporary it might be--was accompanied by a pause in the noxious politics of the climate debate.

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[Via Wikimedia commons, graph above "shows the instrumental record of global average temperatures as compiled by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and the Hadley Centre of the UK Meteorological Office."]

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