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Global Cooling 2013: Is Climate Change On ‘Pause?’

global cooling

If evidence of a global cooling trend in 2013 is legitimate, that poor polar bear in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth might finally get off that floating chunk of ice. But is it that simple?

Forbes, the Telegraph, The Guardian and others are reporting that 2013 saw a trend of cooling which restored the polar caps, effectively destroying the widely-held scientific claim that the world has been irreversibly warming along with the rise in CO2 emissions (caused primarily by us).

If this is to be taken at face value, it’s a huge loss for science and a huge win for so-called “climate change deniers.”

But it might not be a cut-and-dried case. The global cooling in 2013 claim comes from a “leaked” report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) obtained by the Mail on Sunday. This report has led some scientists to think that the world will actually cool until the middle of this century.

Additionally, these publications report that the scientific community has accepted that global warming has been on “pause” for about 15 years… and that CO2 (i.e. the “human” cause) might have nothing to do with it.

Of course, observers are split on the new data and what it could mean. Global warming proponents still maintain that scientific consensus supports their view, while skeptics seem to have a bit of justification for their reluctance to embrace the popular view.

As a reader who only follows global warming in the most cursory sense, it might be hard to sort everything out to find what’s “true.” Leading climate scientist James Hansen said that’s exactly the point.

“This is a diversionary tactic. Our understanding of global warming and human-made climate change has not been affected at all,” he said.

“It’s because the deniers [of the science] want the public to be confused. They raise these minor issues and then we forget about what the main story is. The main story is carbon dioxide is going up and it is going to produce a climate which is going to have dramatic changes if we don’t begin to reduce our emissions.”

Global cooling in 2013 proponents don’t make any long-term guesses as to what the new data could mean for the climate.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

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3 Responses to “Global Cooling 2013: Is Climate Change On ‘Pause?’”

  1. Patrick Frye

    To be fair, this cooling trend simply means the global temperature averages haven't changed much in either direction. There's been multiple post-hoc explanations for why this might be, but it's become pretty obvious that while human made CO2 is a factor it's not an overriding factor. In estimates I've read from the IPCC even making drastic changes costing trillions of dollars would only have a small effect over 100 years. Personally, I'd rather deal with the effects of global warming rather than global cooling. But maybe that's cuz I'm a Florida boy and the heat doesn't bother me.

  2. Curt Vendel

    This does put things back on the table in more reasonable fashion and it should also give rise to the fact that other factors – solar for example (after all it is the sun that actually keeps us warm in the first place in our 93m mile station from its massive hydrogen furnace) and the true fact that we have been in a warming trend for 10's of thousands of years, otherwise we'd all still be under glaciers.

    If in fact that with the sun's solar maximum now waning and temps seemingly following suit, things may have to be re-evaluated. Either way you look at it, firm believer or educated skeptic – we all have to agree, that the science is in fact not settled and it appears that for the next 3-5 years we will have to observe the weather trends globally and see where things trend further.

    It should also be rooted in all of us, that the earth is this massive ecosystem, and like our own bodies were are biosystems – we can't seem to "fix" our own internal ailments without causing other issues and in some cases – killing the host. If we effectively tamper with what may be a natural cyclical process, we could very well endanger the planet – or worse – kill the host. Some may say – inaction is already doing that, but is it truly?

    It seems with the recent cooling and "pause" patterns and scientists now questioning their own findings and computer models now being tossed in the trashcan. So we don't know if CO2 is the leading factor or not, and with only a few decades of data, it is highly irresponsible to posit the idea of globally tampering with a system we obviously know little about… If you we can't cure the common cold, or cancer – should we now try to tamper with an even bigger host and risk killing 6.5B people? To push any kind of global agenda is blatantly irresponsible.

    This doesn't mean common sense things like recycling, energy conservation, responsible foresting and more aggressive planting shouldn't continue and should be done in even more earnest, those make perfect sense. Tampering with global climate system does not.