The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Good News for Gaia?

Greens take heart: New data out of Norway suggests that the rate at which the earth is warming is less than previously feared. Bloomberg brings us the story:

After the planet’s average surface temperature rose through the 1990s, the increase has almost leveled off at the level of 2000, while ocean water temperature has also stabilized, the Research Council of Norway said in a statement on its website. After applying data from the past decade, the results showed temperatures may rise 1.9 degrees Celsius if Co2 levels double by 2050, below the 3 degrees predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC].

“The Earth’s mean temperature rose sharply during the 1990s,” said Terje Berntsen, a professor at the University of Oslo who worked on the study. “This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity.”

We’ll have to wait to see how the science settles, but Norway isn’t exactly a nest of crazed climate skeptics.

One thing to keep in mind: Green policymakers have been basing a lot of their decisions on data from IPCC reports—data that continues to be qualified by new assessments like this one. National-level policy solutions are easier to adapt to constantly changing data sets than are the global climate treaty behemoths that most greens seem to favor.

Published on January 28, 2013 7:02 pm