Following The New York Times’ admission that for the last decade and a half it’s been all quiet on the warming front, The New Republic is now the latest full-bore warm-monger to acknowledge that the science has gotten all unsettled:
Even as scientists asserted an incontrovertible consensus on climate change, a funny thing has happened over the last 15 years: Global warming has slowed down. Since 1998, the warmest year of the twentieth century, temperatures have not kept up with computer models that seemed to project steady warming; they’re perilously close to falling beneath even the lowest projections.
Some people are playing the hiatus as good news: “Apocalypse perhaps a little later,” the Economist put it. But in a political environment where vast swathes of the American right reject even the premise of global warming—and where prominent right-wing pols suggest it’s an enormous fraud—this inconvenient news could easily lead to still more acrimony over the subject. Especially since scientists themselves aren’t entirely sure what the evidence means. If scientific models can’t project the last 15 years, what does that mean for their projections of the next 100?
Who knows? All we can say for certain is that no one can say for certain – and a humble circumspection might be appropriate from those who’ve got the entire century to date all wrong.
Powerline’s Steven Hayward and The Economist’s Will Wilkinson have more on the “unconvincing” argument Nat Cohn makes in trying to yoke the belated acknowledgments of “uncertainty” with what he now calls “the so-called scientific consensus on global warming”.
But I have a personal interest in the matter. National Review’s publisher, Jack Fowler, and I were in DC Superior Court last week for the opening number in our trial for mocking fantasy Nobel laureate Michael E Mann’s “hockey stick“. (If you can spare a buck or two, feel free to chip in. We’re as desperate as a PBS pledge drive but without any Bill Moyers tote bags for premium subscribers.) As usual, learned counsel caution one not to do too much yakking about the case, but one can’t help be struck by how much Dr Mann’s side relies on an appeal to authority at the very moment when the so-called authorities have never looked less authoritative.
Still, whatever the Times and New Republic say, President Obama in Berlin stuck with the old Nineties apocalypse shtick: “This is the global threat of our time,” etc. Even in a speech of fatuous platitudes, the global warming stuff fell as limp as Dr Mann’s hockey stick. For a supposedly cool guy, Obama sounded like the last stiff in town still doing the Macarena.
PS In related news, meteorologists quit the American Meteorological Society over its enforcement of “consensus“.