Environment

Speaking of John Lott...

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyApr 12, 2006 4:55 PM

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Since he's been in the news I perused his website...and what did I find? An outright denial of human caused global warming, based upon a questionable-sounding argument (culled from some dude writing in The Telegraph) that I've never actually heard before:

Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Um...like I said, I've never heard this particular argument before, but I'm instantly suspicious. Notice anything odd about the particular time span discussed here? It happens to be bookended by the top two warmest years on record: 1998 (a strong El Nino year) and 2005. So I don't find it at all surprising to hear that if you only examine this particular time period, in isolation, you would find that the global average temperature had not significantly increased. But what does that mean? Precisely nothing, as far as I can tell. Choose a broader range of years--like, say, 1970 to 2005--and you are going to see a significant temperature increase. In short, this argument proves absolutely nothing. No one is seriously arguing that global warming means that every single year must be warmer than the previous year....

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