As readers may know, National Review and I have an impending court date in Washington with Dr, Michael E, Mann, creator of the global-warming “hockey stick” and self-proclaimed Nobel laureate, for the hitherto unknown crime of “defamation of a Nobel prize recipient.” (You can contribute to our legal defense fund here; also, the TV rights to my forthcoming white Bronco chase are still available – we’ll be using a hybrid, of course).
Forced by circumstance to take an interest in the latest developments on the climate-change “consensus,” I was interested to see this story, in which the New York Times belatedly acknowledges that for the last 15 years it’s been all quiet on the warming front:
The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.
The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists.
You don’t say. Fortunately, Times man Justin Gillis has an explanation for the forlorn droop on Dr. Mann’s hockey stick — or at any rate for the previous cooling trend:
Now, here is a crucial piece of background: It turns out we had an earlier plateau in global warming, from roughly the 1950s to the 1970s, and scientists do not fully understand that one either. A lot of evidence suggests that sunlight-blocking pollution from dirty factories may have played a role, as did natural variability in ocean circulation. The pollution was ultimately reduced by stronger clean-air laws in the West.
So environmental laws led to the global warming of the Eighties and Nineties? Great! Whether today’s cooling is a blip in the global-warming trend of the Nineties, or the Nineties warming was a blip in the global-cooling trend of the Fifties, I cannot say. But either way it doesn’t look like a hockey blade.