When politicians want to bury bad news they announce it at a time when nobody is listening. Wayne Swan did this on December 24 with a statement abandoning his long proclaimed 2012/13 budget surplus.
We all expect deceptions from politicians, who put the most attractive aura onto issues as part of what we refer to as ‘spin’. But it comes as something of a shock when the same tactics are employed by scientists purporting to be impartial. On the same day Wayne Swan was quietly announcing his budget surplus backflip, the UK Met Office, one of the highest profile agencies trumpeting global warming, announced that its previous forecasts of global temperature increases were excessive.
Having previously projected temperature increases of up to 6°C, the Met Office on Christmas Eve acknowledged that we had gone 16 years without warming and that the next 5 years were unlikely to see any further lift in temperatures. Even if mankind is causing the earth to warm the carbon tax always relied on vacuous credulity, since its success assumes the rest of the world will follow Australia’s leadership. But the Met Office has now revised downward its future temperature estimates.
In the mainstream media Britain’s Daily Mail had long been pointing to oddities that implied no warming. It published the following graph in September of last year.
And when the Daily Mail triumphantly promoted the Met Office’s apostasy it was treated to enraged rhetoric which boiled down to saying how heinous the Mail has been in getting this story right.
So what is it we know about human induced global warming? The most important emission is carbon dioxide, the atmospheric content of which has varied between 0.15 and 0.3 per cent over the past half million years. It is only harmful to humans or other animals at concentrations of over 10 per cent and life actually evolved when the atmospheric content was about 7 per cent.
A doubling of carbon dioxide content to about 0.6 per cent is likely over the coming century. Almost all scientists agree that the main direct effect of this is to increase average global temperatures by slightly over 1°C (beyond a doubling of its share, further carbon dioxide increases have a negligible climate effect).
Most models estimate that this is compounded by feedbacks bringing 2-4°C temperature increases. But those feedback effects are unproven and their impact may even be negative. This is at the heart of the differences between ‘warmists’ and ‘deniers’.
Higher temperatures stemming from carbon dioxide emissions are likely to compound what most scientists speculate is a trend recovery from the cooler climate experienced during the ‘Little Ice Age’ (which ended a century and a half ago).
Each summer brings ‘the hottest day ever’ claims for some area. Sometimes we hear ‘the coldest day ever’ claims. And many cite these occurrences and well publicised storms as proof that ‘climate change’ (the new euphemism for ‘global warming’) is taking place. But these extreme weather events turn out to be unexceptional.