Nature Fails to Obey the Sacred Models of Consensus Science

Twenty-year hiatus in rising temperatures has climate scientists puzzled

The fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted. Picture:

DEBATE about the reality of a two-decade pause in global warming and what it means has made its way from the sceptical fringe to the mainstream.

In a lengthy article this week, The Economist magazine said if climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, then climate sensitivity – the way climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels – would be on negative watch but not yet downgraded.


Research by Ed Hawkins of University of Reading shows surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range projections derived from 20 climate models and if they remain flat, they will fall outside the models’ range within a few years.

“The global temperature standstill shows that climate models are diverging from observations,” says David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

“If we have not passed it already, we are on the threshold of global observations becoming incompatible with the consensus theory of climate change,” he says.

Mike Flynn blasphemously provides whimsical commentary from Ouside the Consensus Bubble.

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  • Dr. Eric

    Truly, you are both flat Earthers who deny established science. ;-)

  • Will J
  • EMS

    If I’m reading the last graph correctly, it shows that northern states such as Minnesota, Maine, Montana and the like are warmer, yet southern states have gotten cooler. I am sure that Minnesotans are thrilled at having warmer temps in the winter and the southern states are thrilled to have cooler temps in the summer. Then again, it only graphed about 100 years – 100 years in the tens of millions of years of history. As if the last century meant anything to weather systems. Sorry, but I’m not convinced by the gloom and doom scenarios.; they remind me of the “there’s an ice age coming” of my youth, which had their own graphs and statistics, and the fallacies of the “Population Bomb”.

    • vacman

      Sweetheart, it’s called “Global Warming” Not warming by state. Why don’t you care enough about your children’s future, to learn about climate change. You need a BATTA-BING, B!TCH-SLAP! Watch how it’s done.

      • TMLutas

        Sweetheart, it’s called scientific fraud and if you look at the exploding number of papers that have to be withdrawn, you’d know that it’s a big problem all over the scientific establishment. Catastrophic angthropogenic global warming is about redirecting trillions of dollars of money. In other words it’s exactly the kind of thing that the scamsters and the fraudsters would be attracted to because there’s huge buckets of money attached to it. That’s not proof, of course, just a reason to insist that the math gets checked well and that discrepancies don’t get ignored.

        But the problem is that basic scientific procedure is not being followed in that field and scandal after scandal keeps right on rolling along. There’s a persistent campaign against actually checking facts and treating the gap between modelled reality and actual temperature seriously. The models all have a characteristic hot spot at a certain point in the atmosphere but when you go and measure, there is no hot spot. This is a fault that’s been known for many years and is fatal for the models but the models keep getting used as a basis for policy.

  • vacman

    Why aren’t conservatives concerned about conservation? Why do they hate their kids? Why aren’t they concerned about their children’s future? The need a BATTA-BING, BITCH-SLAP and here it is.

    • Jon W

      The last thing I want in any rational argument is a “BATTA-BING, BITCH-SLAP”. That’s how Ann Coulter, et ilk, operate.

      Having said that, I hate this whole politicized argument because of the very point that vacman makes. Conservatives should be on the side of the Ents, not Saruman. We’ve been seduced by Saruman’s ability to pump out cheap food, iPods, and Escalades that we’ve stopped demanding to know whether all of these things are worth the environmental, social, cultural, and economic destruction that they entail. The answer just seems to be “DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT HOSPITALS AND MEDICINE AND LIVING PAST 30? Oh, and check out my new iPhone!”

    • TMLutas

      Conservatives are concerned about conservation. They are also concerned about a lot of other things and finding the right balance between a number of priorities which is why a large number of them favor the free market. If you look at the history of government intervention economies and free market economies it is the free market ones that place a higher priority on conservation. The socialist nations are an environmental wasteland as a rule.

      • Jon W

        Yeah, I’ve been hearing this argument for forever, but it doesn’t hold water, completely, since what matters is people’s, or companies’, ability to get away with off-loading environmental costs on to others. Certainly in the Eastern Bloc nations, the government didn’t care about off-loading environmental costs on to its citizens and didn’t have to worry about losing elections, so they weren’t all that responsible and the environment took the brunt.

        But there were plenty of powerful companies in the Western world that tried to off-load costs onto the rest of us, and it wasn’t the free market that made them clean up their act. It was a law and the resulting lawsuits.

        The free market only works when, (1) nobody in the market is powerful enough to set prices, (2) when consumers have the requisite knowledge and virtue to make rational decisions, and (3) when total costs are known and properly assessed.

        • TMLutas

          You seem to think that the free market is an anarchy. It is not. Theft is, ultimately, the offloading of the cost of production to somebody else while you reap the reward. That you limit the offloading to environmental costs does not change the equation. It is still theft and nothing sanctioned by free market economics.

          We have had an information revolution in the past quarter century. We know more than ever before and so, rationally, should do more via free market methods by your own logic. Price setting by a powerful player only happens when new entrants are denied entry by law. This happens, but is not a free market problem. It is a problem of government erected barriers to entry (often fueled by campaign contributions and outright bribery, true). We are entering into a sensor revolution that will increase the ability to know and assess difficult costs like environmental costs, improving the current state of affairs by orders of magnitude. The technological change is coming up with Web 3.0.

          All of this means that we should be assessing and moving towards greater free market activity as more sectors of the economy can gain improved productivity gains from free market solutions while responsible action is taken to make sure that businesses can not socialize costs and privatize gains. Secular trends in technology should lead to a rational re-evaluation of our economic arrangements to increase the use of free market solutions because the gains are as good as ever but the problems are getting less as we get a better handle on the information issues.

          • Jon W

            Your point about “theft” makes my point, which is that environmental costs cannot be assessed and distributed justly by the free market alone. I know the free market works when it works. But it doesn’t always work.

            Price setting by a powerful player only happens when new entrants are denied entry by law.

            WHAT? Insider trading? Cornering markets? Hiring goons to smash your neighbor’s fruit stand (or the corporate equivalent)? Bribing judges and regulators to look the other way? None of these involve denial of entry by law. All are regular practices of agents in the free market. My point is that the free market is not, by itself, capable of assessing and justly distributing economic costs, which seemed to be your contention, based upon your loaded comparison of environments in free market countries to environments in socialist countries. Besides which, I think it’s a little more complex than that, given that I don’t think Great Britain’s and France’s environments compare unfavorably to the US’s, even though they are somewhat more “socialistic” societies.

            Now, as regards the newer and better information. Yes. As more information is immediately available to the average consumer regarding the environmental cost of any particular consumer choice compared to its alternatives, you will see more rational environmental choices being made. But given the amount of absurd over-consumption masquerading as “green consumerism”, I’m not holding my breath for any kind of full rationality from the market.

            • TMLutas

              You seem to think that perfection is the standard to judge the free market against. This is wrong. The free market is not God. It is not divine. It just happens to be less wrong, less of the time than any other system we’ve tried to date. All of those extra good calls are translated into more people who leave poverty, fewer people dying of starvation, and the recurring defeat of the dreadful malthusians who try to get us to kill off the young and the old. It is an excellent tool that I would put aside in an instant if something better came along to do the job of rationing scarce goods in a world of highly expansive wants. But the key is to replace it with something better, not something worse. It is right, it is *necessary* to compare capitalism to alternatives, not to perfection and when compared to those alternatives, it looks pretty darned good.

              As for the environmental costs of the more capitalist US to the UK (where I’m a bit more familiar than France), you’re right, there’s not much difference in the environmental results. But the UK puts such high taxes on heating fuel due to environmental reasons and they have so little money left in their socialized economy that they’ve got a significant surplus number of people freezing to death because they’ve decided to go green in that particular, socialized way.

              The price of socialism is not always measured in pollution, or economic inefficiency. Sometimes it’s measured in bodies and the news media lets the horror show just sneak up on you.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    We see the shrinking and thinning of arctic ice, the northward movement of biota. Two decades is not long in climate. It takes energy to melt ice. Wait a bit.

    • TMLutas

      Two decades is a long time when the NOAA says that 16 years of non-warming invalidates the models. A certain amount of non-warming means nothing. Above a certain amount, it’s back to the drawing board, global warming science was wrong. We’re getting close to the latter state and trillions of dollars of economic activity are at stake. These are the kind of movements that can change capital availability at the margin and save or kill more or less of the desperately poor. If we are mistaken, it’s lives lost that I am most concerned about.

      • Pavel Chichikov

        Either you are a climate scientist or you are drawing on other people’s research.

        • TMLutas

          Since I explicitly said that I was drawing on NOAA’s statement (which I did look up personally from their web site), it’s true that I’m relying on someone else’s research. That would be NOAA. And whether I was a climate scientist or drawing on someone else’s research would not have one iota of relevance to the question of whether or not I was right.

  • SkyHunter

    The Earth has not stopped warming. Even if the surface record does drop below 2 standard deviations. The models project surface temperature, which is less than 5% of the climates thermal mass. As long as the oceans continue to warm at an accelerated rate… What the models project is irrelevant.

    • R. Howell

      For the past two decades global mean surface temperature was the key metric that everyone cared about. All the measurements about warming were based on it, all the forecasts focused on it, all the climate change projections were derived from it.

      Now it doesn’t matter?