Sunday, September 22, 2013
The climate consensus is political, not scientific
By cautious Warmist, Judith Curry, professor and chair of the school of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology
IN February 2007, publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was received with international acclaim.
The vaunted IPCC process -- multitudes of experts from more than 100 countries examining thousands of refereed journal publications, with hundreds of expert reviewers, across a period of four years -- elevated the authority of the IPCC report to near biblical heights. Journalists jumped on board and even the oil and energy companies neared capitulation.
The veneration culminated with the Nobel Peace Prize, which the IPCC was awarded jointly with former US vice-president Al Gore. At the time, I joined the consensus in supporting this document as authoritative; I was convinced by the rigours of the process. Although I didn't agree with some statements in the document and had nagging concerns about the treatment of uncertainty, I bought into the meme of: "Don't trust what one scientist says; trust the consensus-building process of the IPCC experts."
Six-and-a-half years later, nominally a week before the release of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), substantial criticisms are being made of leaked versions of the report as well as of the IPCC process. IPCC insiders are bemoaning their loss of scientific and political influence. What happened to precipitate this change?
The IPCC was seriously tarnished by the unauthorised release of emails from the University of East Anglia in November 2009 that became known as the Climategate affair. These emails revealed the "sausage-making" involved in the IPCC's consensus-building process, including denial of data access to individuals who wanted to audit its data processing and scientific results, interference in the peer-review process to minimise the influence of sceptical criticisms and manipulation of the media.
Climategate was soon followed by the identification of an egregious error involving the melting of Himalayan glaciers. These revelations were made much worse by the response of the IPCC to these issues. Then came concerns about the behaviour of the IPCC's chairman Rajendra Pachauri and investigations of the infiltration of green advocacy groups into the IPCC. All of this was occurring against a background of explicit advocacy and activism by IPCC leaders related to carbon dioxide mitigation policies.
Although the scientists and institutions involved in Climategate were cleared of charges of scientific misconduct, the scientists and the IPCC did not seem to understand the cumulative impact of these events on the loss of trust in climate scientists and the IPCC process.
The IPCC's consensus-building process relies heavily on expert judgment; if the public and the policymakers no longer trust these particular experts, then we can expect a very different dynamic to be in play with regards to the reception of the AR5 relative to the release of the AR4 in 2007.
THERE is another, more vexing dilemma facing the IPCC, however. Since the publication of the AR4, nature has thrown the IPCC a curveball: there has been no significant increase in global average surface temperature for the past 15-plus years. This has been referred to as a pause or hiatus in global warming.
Almost all climate scientists agree on the physics of the infrared emission of the CO2 molecule and understand that if all other things remain equal, more CO2 in the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the planet. Further, almost all agree that the planet has warmed across the past century and that humans have had some impact on the climate.
But understanding the causes of recent climate change and predicting future change is far from a straightforward endeavour.
The heart of the debate surrounding the IPCC's AR5 is summarised by the graphic on this page that compares climate model projections of global average surface temperature anomalies against observations.
This diagram is Figure 1.4 from the first chapter of an AR5 draft. FAR denotes the First Assessment Report (1990), SAR the second (1995) and TAR the third (2001), which was followed by the AR4 (2007). It is seen that climate models have significantly over-predicted the warming effect of CO2 since 1990, a period during which CO2 concentrations increased from 335 parts per million to more than 400ppm.
The most recent climate model simulations used in the AR5 indicate that the warming stagnation since 1998 is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2 per cent confidence level. Based on early drafts of the AR5, the IPCC seemed prepared to dismiss the pause as irrelevant noise associated with natural variability. Apparently the IPCC has been under pressure from reviewers and its policymaker constituency to address the pause specifically.
Here is the relevant text from the leaked final draft of the AR5 summary for policymakers: "Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years.
"The observed reduction in warming trend over the period 1998-2012 as compared to the period 1951-2012 is due in roughly equal measure to a cooling contribution from internal variability and a reduced trend in radiative forcing (medium confidence).
"The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the downward phase of the current solar cycle. However, there is low confidence in quantifying the role of changes in radiative forcing in causing this reduced warming trend. There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable climate variability, with possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing."
The IPCC acknowledges the pause and admits climate models do not reproduce the pause. I infer from these statements that the IPCC has failed to convincingly explain the pause in terms of external radiative forcing from greenhouse gases, aerosols, solar or volcanic forcing; this leaves natural internal variability as the predominant candidate to explain the pause.
Natural internal variability is associated with chaotic interactions between the atmosphere and ocean. The most familiar mode of natural internal variability is El Nino/La Nina. On longer multi-decadal time scales, there is a network of atmospheric and oceanic circulation regimes, including the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
The IPCC refers to this as "unpredictable climate variability" in its statement above.
My chain of reasoning leads me to conclude that the IPCC's estimates of the sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gas forcing are too high, raising serious questions about the confidence we can place in the IPCC's attribution of warming in the last quarter of the 20th century primarily to greenhouse gases, and also its projections of future warming. If the IPCC attributes the pause to natural internal variability, then this prompts the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural internal variability.
Nevertheless, the IPCC concludes in the final AR5 draft of the summary for policymakers: "There is very high confidence that climate models reproduce the observed large-scale patterns and multi-decadal trends in surface temperature, especially since the mid-20th century.
"It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.
"Continued emissions of greenhouse gases would cause further warming. Emissions at or above current rates would induce changes in all components in the climate system, some of which would very likely be unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years."
WHY is my reasoning about the implications of the pause, in terms of attribution of the late 20th-century warming and implications for future warming, so different from the conclusions drawn by the IPCC? The disagreement arises from different assessments of the value and importance of particular classes of evidence as well as disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence. My reasoning is weighted heavily in favour of observational evidence and understanding of natural internal variability of the climate system, whereas the IPCC's reasoning is weighted heavily in favour of climate model simulations and external forcing of climate change.
I do not expect my interpretation and analysis to be given credence above the IPCC consensus. Rather, I am arguing that the complexity of the problem, acknowledged uncertainties and suspected areas of ignorance indicate several different plausible interpretations of the evidence. Hence ascribing a high confidence level to either of these interpretations is not justified by the available evidence and our present understanding.
How to reason about uncertainties in the complex climate system and its computer simulations is neither simple nor obvious. Biases can abound when reasoning and making judgments about such a complex system, through excessive reliance on a particular piece of evidence, the presence of cognitive biases in heuristics, failure to account for indeterminacy and ignorance, and logical fallacies and errors including circular reasoning.
The politicisation of climate science is another source of bias, including explicit policy advocacy by some IPCC scientists. Further, the consensus-building process can be a source of bias. A strongly held prior belief can skew the total evidence that is available subsequently in a direction that is favourable to itself. The consensus-building process has been found to act generally in the direction of understating the uncertainty associated with a given outcome. Group decisions can be dominated by a single confident member.
Once the IPCC's consensus claim was made, scientists involved in the IPCC process had reasons to consider the possible effect of their subsequent statements on their ability to defend the consensus claim, and the impact of their statements on policymaking.
The climate community has worked for more than 20 years to establish a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. The IPCC consensus-building process played a useful role in the early synthesis of the scientific knowledge. However, the ongoing scientific consensus-seeking process has had the unintended consequence of oversimplifying the problem and its solution and hyper-politicising both, introducing biases into the science and related decision-making processes.
SCIENTISTS do not need to be consensual to be authoritative. Authority rests in the credibility of the arguments, which must include explicit reflection on uncertainties, ambiguities and areas of ignorance, and more openness for dissent. The role of scientists should not be to develop political will to act by hiding or simplifying the uncertainties, explicitly or implicitly, behind a negotiated consensus. I have recommended that the scientific consensus-seeking process be abandoned in favour of a more traditional review that presents arguments for and against, discusses the uncertainties, and speculates on the known and unknown unknowns. I think such a process would support scientific progress far better and be more useful for policymakers.
The growing implications of the messy wickedness of the climate-change problem are becoming increasingly apparent, highlighting the inadequacies of the "consensus to power" approach for decision-making on such complex issues.
Let's abandon the scientific consensus-seeking approach in favour of open debate and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues surrounding climate change.
"Climate Change Reconsidered" Presents Mountains of Peer-Reviewed Evidence
The Heartland Institute Tuesday released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, which hits global warming alarmists with objective data and peer-reviewed studies the way Mike Tyson hit Michael Spinks with uppercut lefts and overhand rights.
The new report, known as CCR-2, includes more than 1,000 pages documenting the evidence that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are not causing a global warming crisis. The report contains literally thousands of citations to the peer-reviewed literature.
Global warming alarmists often misrepresent the peer-reviewed literature, claiming virtually no peer-reviewed studies call the alarmist narrative into question. However, the alarmists can make such a claim only if they use a deceptive straw-man argument that their “narrative” is merely that global temperatures have warmed during the past century, such that the Earth is no longer in the depths of the extraordinary Little Ice Age. Well heck, everybody knows that.
“The key question concerns the magnitude of warming caused by the rather small 7 billion tons of industrial carbon dioxide that enter the atmosphere each year, compared with the natural flows from land and sea of over 200 billion tons,” CCR-2 lead author Bob Carter noted in the Daily Telegraph.
“The scientific evidence now overwhelmingly indicates that any human warming effect is deeply submerged within planet Earth's natural variations of temperature,” Carter observed.
“Until recently the public have been relentlessly misinformed that human-caused global warming was causing polar bears to die out, more and more intense storms, droughts and floods to occur, the monsoons to fail, sea-level rise to accelerate, ice to melt at unnatural rates, that late 20th century temperature was warmer than ever before and that speculative computer models could predict the temperature accurately one hundred years into the future. It now turns out that not one of these assertions is true,” Carter explained.
More than three dozen scientists wrote and contributed to CCR-2. The scientists themselves came up with the idea for successive issues of Climate Change Reconsidered and asked the Heartland Institute to publish their findings.
DOE Claims More 'Success' With Another Clean Energy Bankruptcy
Ecotality declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday
Compared to other Recovery Act beneficiaries that have failed – like battery maker A123 Systems and electric auto company Fisker Automotive – the deathwatch was short. A July 25th report issued by the Department of Energy’s Inspector General declared Ecotality’s EV Project largely a waste of time and misallocated money.
Then in mid-August Ecotality informed the Securities and Exchange Commission it was in deep financial trouble, with bankruptcy a possibility. A filing showed that the company was unable to obtain additional financing and the DOE had ceased payments to it for the EV Project until the agency could investigate further. DOE also warned Ecotality to not incur any new costs or obligations under the EV Project.
NLPC first raised questions about Ecotality's viability and origins in October 2011.
Monday’s development is another black eye to President Obama’s green energy agenda, but we’ve come to learn that each flop is just another reason for his Energy Department to look on the bright side. DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons told the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay in a statement yesterday that stimulus support for Ecotality was “meant to establish the seeds of infrastructure needed to support a growing market for advanced vehicles, [and] the company installed more than 12,500 charging stations in 18 US cities—or approximately 95 percent of their goal.”
The attitude echoes comments made by others from DOE after similar collapses. When Colorado-based Abound Solar declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June 2012, DOE deputy director of Public Affairs Damien LaVera wrote a lengthy article defending the agency’s “investments” in solar energy with the attitude of “Hey, they can’t all be winners!”
“Of the $400 million that Abound was originally approved for, the Department only lent the company less than $70 million,” LaVera wrote at the time. “Because of the strong protections we put in place for taxpayers, the Department has already protected more than 80 percent of the original loan amount. Once the bankruptcy liquidation is complete, the Department expects the total loss to the taxpayer to be between 10 and 15 percent of the original loan amount.”
Yes, great job DOE!
Then there was last week’s testimony by former Loan Programs Office director Jonathan Silver, in a hearing about secret email exchanges on private accounts held before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. When challenged by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio about millions of dollars in squandered “investments” thanks to his agency’s poor judgments, Silver said the losses only represented three percent of the portfolio and one percent of the loan loss reserve set aside by Congress for the stimulus, which Silver said made the program a “success.”
While DOE grant evaluators may be slapping each other on their backs for their great accomplishments, and the superior judgment they think they’ve exercised on behalf of the taxpayers, those of us in the real world wonder if this interminable nightmare will ever end. Nissan North America also appears to be concerned. The all-electric Leaf – which is supposed to be manufactured in much greater quantities now outside Nashville thanks to its $1.4 billion taxpayer guaranteed loan – is somewhat dependent on the chargers produced and deployed by Ecotality. The bankruptcy notice said Nissan loaned the company $1.25 million to continue operations until the process is completed.
Nissan has an interest in not seeing Ecotality’s thousands of “Blink” chargers become glorified lampposts. According to PlugInAmerica.com, at least 5,700 Leaf owners received free chargers through the EV Project, and many more own chargers that were heavily subsidized. In addition Ecotality’s chargers were deployed throughout ten major metro areas in which they were supposed to replicate a system where EV owners could conveniently find spots in their daily routines to repower while they shopped or worked. A large-scale uprooting of the chargers, much like retail chain Costco did a couple of years ago, would be an even greater disaster for DOE and EV manufacturers like Nissan.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that Ecotality said it had installed more than 8,000 home chargers and 4,000 commercial chargers. The DOE Inspector General noted in his July report that the intent of the EV Project was to create a system of chargers that would alleviate owners’ “range anxiety,” meaning that they could drive and not worry whether or not they could make it to their next stop before running out of power. The report reasoned that the purpose of the EV Project was to “develop, implement, and study techniques for optimizing the effectiveness of infrastructure supporting widespread electric vehicle deployment,” an agenda established by President Obama as part of his plan to have one million electric cars on the road by 2015.
So the heavier deployment to homeowners, rather than businesses and public locations, undermined that goal. Worse, the Inspector General criticized how DOE approved reimbursement to Ecotality that allowed the company to use as a “match” the full monthly costs of the electric cars, chargers and Internet service for EV owners who participated in the program – over $550 per month, according to the IG. Because of that generous accounting, Ecotality received taxpayer funds to offset costs it incurred.
“…the vehicles and Internet connections were purchased to satisfy personal needs of consumers, not solely for the project,” the IG reported.
Ecotality’s rollout of the chargers in this fashion were in part the result of weaker than projected (but not unexpected by those who truly understand the laws of economics) adoption of EVs. Now the next unintended consequence is that Nissan and other electric automakers such as General Motors (with the Chevy Volt) and Ford (with a $5.9 billion taxpayer loan for alternative vehicles production) are somewhat dependent on a system of chargers whose maintenance, software updates and repair are now in doubt. Hence the $1.25 million Nissan loan while the car companies and the government figure out what to do next.
The scrutiny will come quickly about Ecotality’s crony capitalism and spending practices, as well as DOE’s foolish decision to award such a huge grant to an obviously incapable and inexperienced company. One example: the company paid steep rent costs (vendors listed at Recovery.gov) – sometimes five figures monthly – for nearly every city in which they had the EV Project. With such poor adoption of EVs, it’s hard to imagine Ecotality representatives or contractors couldn’t work out of less expensive locales – like their homes. And why did Ecotality need to relocate its headquarters from Arizona to some ritzy office digs near the banks of San Francisco bay?
Such answers may be confirmed by a Washington Free Beacon source. Reporter Lachlan Markay quoted an Ecotality executive who blamed the company’s plight on previous CEO Jonathan Read, who “offered no leadership and either directly or indirectly […] squandered or pocketed all the government money.” Read had previously been quoted in a shareholder conference call a few years ago saying he was a “political beast” who would play the political card very hard. His background was in executive management for the Park Plaza hotel chain and Shakey’s International. As Markay reported, “Read boasted about his political connections, and received bonus payments contingent on ECOtality winning DOE support.
DOE has paid $96 million so far to Ecotality in reimbursed costs related to the EV Project. It’s hard to see how much, if any, of that will be recovered for taxpayers in the planned bankruptcy auction. They may be stuck with a bunch of dead-weight chargers that need to be removed as well. But remember, that is all just part of the success story that is the DOE clean energy portfolio
Obama’s closing of America: Keystone’s fifth birthday
More than five years ago, the application to build the Keystone XL pipeline to transfer oil from a fertile Canadian field to American refineries was filed with the U.S. State Department.
The application still languishes in the Obama Administration
Obama supporters in Big Labor have spoken out, testified, begged and cajoled the Administration to act, but nothing.
Even with a State Department estimated ten thousand jobs at stake, Obama remains paralyzed, unable to say yes to a safe old technology project. An oil delivery project that should have already have been completed rather than sitting on a politician’s desk, contributing greatly toward eliminating our national dependence upon insecure Middle East oil sources.
Instead, Obama cowers in his D.C. public housing afraid of offending the grown up 1960 hippies and their progeny by signing off on one of the most common sense projects in history.
Obama and the green purveyors of economic doom and environmental cataclysm are in league together in their determination to transform America by destroying our nation’s industrial base through driving energy costs higher to create viable markets for less efficient and more costly technologies like solar, bio-mass and even unreliable wind.
On the same day that the Keystone XL pipeline’s five year anniversary was marked, the Obama Administration rolled out the first of four upcoming regulations designed to cripple domestic energy production and reliable electricity generation.
The anti-coal fired utility plants plan will stop the building of any new coal fired utilities and impose billions of dollars of costs on existing plants in an attempt to end electricity generation using coal.
Gina McCarthy, the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator who John McCain and a band of renegade Republican Senators shamefully allowed to take office, revealed her determination to use the vast powers of the EPA to destroy the U.S. economy saying, “If our changing climate goes unchecked, it will have devastating impacts on the United States and the planet. Reducing carbon pollution is critically important to the protection of Americans’ health and the environment upon which our economy depends,” she said. However, she added, “we have to be sensitive to economic consequences of our action.”
Her “sensitivity” will be appreciated by coal miners in Kentucky, Illinois, Wyoming, Colorado and West Virginia whose jobs she is trying to kill along with the towns that they support.
Her “sensitivity” will be felt by those who suffer from brownouts and blackouts due to the closure of 32 coal fired electricity generating utilities in the wake of the new regulations. Not to mention the manufacturers and other job creators who choose to do business elsewhere around the world due to the U.S. reverting to a country that has unreliable electricity generating capacity.
However, the Obama Administration is not content to just regulate existing and future coal production out of existence, as it was announced that a major international mining company is going to drop out of efforts to extract almost a trillion dollars of copper and other metals out of a desolate area of Alaska due to the high cost of attempting to mine in America.
The land where the deposit was found was originally federally owned. Traded to the state of Alaska, in exchange for more environmentally valuable land that became Lake Clark National Park, it was designated for mining by the state. That all changed, when what was formerly vast wasteland became valuable due to the copper discovery.
After investing half a billion dollars in quantifying the find and developing the most environmentally sensitive mining process in history, the miners were not even allowed to go through the extremely onerous mine permitting process, as the EPA preemptively declared the mine not viable.
Obama has put a giant, “Not Open” sign to anyone who wants to develop resources in America. Obama believes in shovel ready jobs, as long as you don’t turn dirt. He wants the lights to go on when you flip the switch so long as it doesn’t require the U.S. to use our more than 200 year supply of coal to make it happen. He would rather have western landscapes blighted by seas of 500 year old technology windmills that barely produce more energy than they consume than to allow a simple pipeline, like hundreds of others, to cross the U.S./Canadian border that brings a secure oil supply to America.
Five years ago, the company attempting to transport oil from Alberta, Canada to U.S. oil refineries foolishly relied upon the U.S. government to follow the law and act rationally. You can bet they won’t be fooled again, and the next pipeline will be built to western ports allowing the same oil to be exported to China.
Obama’s America has become a bad business partner, and that will have negative ramifications for decades after he has taken his place next to Jimmy Carter as the worse president since the turn of the 20th Century.
Five years for a simple pipeline approval, it would not have been believable before Obama transformed America, now no one would be foolish enough to even apply.
State Dept. to Spend $450K for Green Jobs--in Morocco
The State Department through its Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs plans to spend $450,000 to create green jobs in Morocco.
“Morocco has set the goal to become one of the world’s largest sustainable economies by 2020, with an emphasis on creating green jobs in: renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental and natural resource management, and improvement in environmental technologies,” the grant announcement said.
“Morocco’s green growth strategy focuses on three major areas that include: energy security, food security, and environmental security. This includes solar and wind power, energy efficiency, intensive and communal sustainable agriculture, and solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions reduction,” the grant said.
The U.S. and Morocco signed a Joint Statement on Environmental Cooperation in 2006, the grant said. “The 2010-2012 Plan of Action reflects the current priorities for trade-related environmental cooperation activities.”
The grant recipient will help increase green job growth through collaboration partnerships, education and training, innovation and/or green technology transfers.
“The successful applicant will work with local partners to build on existing activities in Morocco, design projects to increase green job growth, and build local capacity for continuing implementation of sustainable practices in the future,” the grant added.
The State Department expects to see green job growth especially among youth and women in industrial centers. It also hopes to energy and water use savings, a drop in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and increased natural resource conservation.
In addition, it is expects to see an increase in the technical capacity for renewable energy, energy efficiency, water management, sustainable agriculture, pollution prevention, and/or greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
What climate change? Fewer Britons than EVER believe the world is really warming up
CLIMATE change scepticism is rapidly increasing in the UK with a FIFTH of people now unconvinced the world's temperature is changing.
The number of people who do not believe climate change is real has increased by 400% since 2005
The Government funded report shows 19 per cent of people are climate change disbelievers - up from just four per cent in 2005 - while nine per cent did not know.
The report comes as climate change scientists working on a landmark UN report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.
Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist and author of Climate Confusion, argues in his influential blog the UN report shows scientists are being forced to "recognise reality".
He said: "We are now at the point in the age of global warming hysteria where the IPCC global warming theory has crashed into the hard reality of observations."
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett blamed the Government for the increase in climate change doubters.
She said: "When the government is so clearly failing to act on climate change, or take seriously its obligations under the Climate Change Act, it's not surprising that the level of doubt about climate change has risen.
"Of course, however, the 72 per cent of the public who acknowledge the climate is changing are backed overwhelmingly by the scientific evidence.
"The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that half of last year's extreme weather events around the world were in part caused by climate change.
"With massive floods in Colorado and Mexico in the grip of flood disaster, we're reminded that the forces of nature have huge force that we must not continue to magnify."
The report comes as climate change scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.
Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show there are deep concerns among governments over how to address the issue ahead of next week's meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Climate skeptics have used the lull in surface warming since 1998 to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are warming the planet by burning fossil fuels and cutting down CO2-absorbing forests.
The IPCC report is expected to affirm the human link with greater certainty than ever, but the panel is under pressure to also address the recent lower rate of warming, which scientists say is likely due to heat going deep into the ocean and natural climate fluctuations.
"I think to not address it would be a problem because then you basically have the denialists saying, 'Look the IPCC is silent on this issue,"' said Alden Meyer, of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.
In a leaked June draft of the report's summary from policy-makers, the IPCC said the rate of warming in 1998-2012 was about half the average rate since 1951. It cited natural variability in the climate system, as well as cooling effects from volcanic eruptions and a downward phase in solar activity.
But several governments that reviewed the draft objected to how the issue was tackled, in comments to the IPCC.
Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10-15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries.
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Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 9:20 AM