Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

The Church of Global Warming’s Changing Catechism

15 months ago, it was a sin to declare out loud that the global temperature was no longer rising. Today, the IPCC, the UK Met office, and mainstream researchers are all admitting the obvious.

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I’ve now returned to Canadian soil and am, I think, nearly back in sync with my own time zone. Winter weather and air travel are a tricky mix (a friend’s flight was recently delayed by four days), so I booked an early flight and kept my fingers crossed.

In the end, matters turned out well. I arrived in the UK with plenty of lead time, which meant that other good things were able to take place. My calendar records a dozen significant events/meetings/discussions in addition to my appearance before the House of Commons select committee last Tuesday morning.

Of special significance was a pub gathering in downtown London. Many readers of Andrew Montford’s excellent Bishop Hill blog met each other for the first time, and it was my own pleasure to shake a couple dozen hands.

The generous financial assistance provided by readers of this blog paid for my plane ticket and then some (see the bottom of this post). Kind souls in the UK provided three nights of free accommodation, breakfasts and dinner. Others bought me lunch and cider. Once again, thank you! On every measure, it was a successful trip.

My understanding is that an official transcript of everyone’s testimony will shortly become available. In the meantime, I think it’s worth noticing that, inch-by-inch, the climate change debate is shifting.

Fifteen months ago, over at the perversely-titled Skeptical Science blog, climate scientist Judith Curry and journalist David Rose were publicly flogged. They had committed a terrible sin against the Church of Global Warming. They had, we were told, incorrectly claimed that “global warming stopped 16 years ago.”

According to climate hardliner Dana Nuccitelli (who also writes regularly for the UK’s Guardian), the idea that global warming has stopped is a “misconception” based on “a lack of understanding of the physics of the global climate system.” Nuccitelli accused Curry and Rose of errors, false equivalence, suspect motives, misrepresentation, cherry picking, the spreading of misinformation, and of practicing global warming denial.

Yet here we are, in early 2014, and a committee of the UK Parliament has apparently accepted that the temperature standstill – which it refers to as a “hiatus” – is real. Rather than debating its existence, it invited people to comment on whether the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report explains it adequately.

The panelists who testified ahead of me last Tuesday represent the climate establishment. Written submissions by two of them make it clear this establishment has parted ways with Nuccitelli.

Consider, for example, the submission by the UK’s Met Office – the national weather service. That document contains a long list of silly claims about the IPCC. Many of them are meaningless, others are mistaken. Overall, the Met spends a great deal of time telling us that the IPCC is an impressive organization, with a robust and “fully transparent” process.

But buried within all that hype, in paragraph 18, is a sentence that discusses climate scenarios and forecasts. It ends with an official acknowledgment that there has been a

recent pause in global surface temperature rise.

The MET office has admitted, on the record, to the UK Parliament, that the global temperature has stopped rising.

This is important. It isn’t what global warming theory said would happen if humans kept emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It isn’t what the climate models predicted. And it isn’t what dogmatists like Nuccitelli insist is going on.

Myles Allen is associated with Oxford University’s physics department, as well as its School of Geography and the Environment. His written submission to the committee is also full of praise for the IPCC. Nevertheless, he, too, admits that the global temperature has stopped rising. In his words, the IPCC

demonstrated there are a number of possible reasons for the hiatus and concluded that there is insufficient evidence to attribute it to any specific cause. [see paragraph 13]

So the MET office, the IPCC, a UK parliamentary committee, and mainstream climate researchers such as Allen all now say the pause/hiatus in global temperature is real. They all agree with the position taken by Curry and Rose 15 months ago.

That’s progress.

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A few days ago, while sitting in Heathrow airport waiting to board my plane back to Canada, I “reblogged” an article written by UK political commentator Simon Carr about the committee hearing in which I participated.

Carr’s description of me as “blonde, glamorous, highly-educated” made me giggle. It was the first time I’ve used the reblogging feature on WordPress, and although things didn’t work quite as I expected, I learned a thing or two :-)

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