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Global Warming Slowdown
What We've Got Here Is a Failure to Communicate

Our planet hasn’t been warming the way our best climate models predicted it would. This temperature pause has befuddled the public and policymakers alike, but given the difficulty of the task—predicting the future of one of the most complex systems we know of—maybe it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. That’s the gist of a recent piece by climate scientist Tamsin Edwards on her blog, All Models Are Wrong:

Climate model projections have shown periods of cooling of about this length, embedded within longer-term warming, since before this pause happened. But our communication of this expectation has not been good: it has been a surprise to public and journalists alike.

First, the IPCC Summaries for Policymakers have not been very clear that pauses could occur, at least until the most recent report (quotes from these are given in the article)…Second, climate scientists tend to show averages of many simulations, which smooths out any temporary changes in trend…Third, the causes of slowdowns are complex and sometimes the desire to simplify means communication has been plain wrong.

Edwards recently published a commentary for the journal Nature entitled “Pause for thought” that looks at the communication—or failure thereof—of the current state of climate science. At the heart of this miscommunication lies a desire by scientists to simplify a complicated phenomenon. But whether this is done out of a desire to make a better case for policymakers to push through green schemes, or just to spread knowledge to the layman, the dumbing down of climate science has come at the expense of the facts.

Greens, in their quest to paint the darkest possible picture of our future, have been all too keen to seize on such oversimplifications, but in doing so they have given fodder to their dreaded enemies, the climate deniers. The greenhouse effect is fairly easy to understand, but the fiddly bits are decidedly less so. Ignoring them in favor of a cleaner narrative does the green movement more harm than good.

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  • vepxistqaosani

    So far as I can tell, there are no “climate deniers”: I think everyone agrees that we have a climate. Nor have I detected any “climate-change deniers”: I think everyone agrees that the climate changes from age to age. However, there are a lot of people who question the idea that, because the climate changes, we should cede both all of our individual liberty and any hope we have of economic prosperity to those who claim most loudly that they know precisely what the future holds.

  • Rick Johnson

    The Great Man Made Global Warming Con has little to do with science and everything to do with pushing the Greens anti-industrial revolution agenda. The problems caused by the pause in increasing temperature has little to do with a ‘failure to communicate’. It’s about the failure of the so called science that underlies the anti-industrial revolution.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    It seems to me that the so called scientists are trying to weasel out of responsibility for the Greatest Scientific Hoax in history. If there is any justice they will all be serving hard time for fraud some day. Their lies will have cost mankind Trillions of dollars in direct and indirect costs when all is said and done.

  • jb willikers

    Models are NOT science. They are tinker toys. Science makes verifiable predictions that can be confirmed or not. What exactly are the verified predictions made by the theories that underlie the climate change “models”? …………. crickets.

    • Jim__L

      I don’t think that’s fair. These climate models make falsifiable predictions.

      Which have been demonstrated to be false.

  • Andrew Allison

    What the data actually show is that there are reoccurring cooling periods with a duration of about 30 years ( They also show ZERO correlation between global temperature and anthropogenic CO2 (

    • Jim__L

      Doesn’t the bimodal distribution of Earth’s typical climate pattern between ice age and wet age, with badly-understood swings between, indicate that climate itself is chaotic? Using the term “chaos” precisely, I mean… the ice age / wet age duality looks to me like classic bifurcation.

      If climate itself is chaotic — and it is certainly a set of nonlinear equations, sensitive to initial conditions — then most of the money we’re pouring into models is wasted, and any hope of extracting a meaningful prediction from those models is utterly forlorn.

      • Andrew Allison

        Not necessarily. There are theories (nothing more) that fluctuations in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, sunspot activity, and other celestial machinations are responsible. These are cyclical, not chaotic. What we do know is that climate changes and we don’t yet understand why or how.

  • Dan Pangburn

    Discover the cause of the warming, the end of it, why temperatures are headed down and what to expect.

    There are only two primary drivers of average global temperatures. They very accurately explain the reported up and down measurements since before 1900 with R2>0.9 and provide credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610).

    CO2 change is NOT one of the drivers.

    The drivers are given at

  • jburack

    This is still self-serving. Pauses may be embedded in the models, but that does not make the models any less off than they have been as a whole in their projections – which do not even predict the PAST accurately, let alone the future. It is just a way to cover over the absence of real knowledge in the construction of those models to start with. Moreover, this is another example of what back in the days of Galileo was called “saving the appearances.” Ptolemy’s ever more elaborate system of epicycles etc. saved the appearances, until it became just too arcane for anyone looking at the details to take seriously. This is what is happening with global warming theories. Best to start over – perhaps even specifically by putting the sun at the center of any new theory. In any case, just start over.

  • free_agent

    I think a fair description is a little harsher: As far as I can see, nearly all of the scientists who work on the subject deeply believe that Something Must Be Done, and that causes them to scrub from their reports anything which might provide political support to those to say that the costs of Doing Something would exceed the benefits. Personally, I don’t think this subverts the larger case, but it’s deadly to gaining public acceptance of the need to Do Something — the public knows that at best, the science is messy and that there are a myriad of winners as well as losers (within human society and the natural world), and so when the reports are uniformly one-sided, they can’t be trusted.

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