UN climate report glosses over 15 years without global warming

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

A U.N. bureaucracy’s newly released assessment on global warming does little to address the break in warming that has now lasted 15 years, saying that the time period is too short to reflect any long-term climate trends.

Nevertheless, because the science is settled, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announces in the report that it is 95 percent certain mankind is the main driver behind rising temperatures.

The report states: “Due to natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends,” reads the report. As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade).”

“An old rule says that climate-relevant trends should not be calculated for periods less than around 30 years,” said Dr. Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern, co-chair of the I.P.C.C.’s working group that wrote the report.

Governments have been pressuring the U.N. to downplay the lack of significant warming in the 15 years, as this report will play a key role in the upcoming climate negotiations in 2015. That’s when delegates will meet to hammer out a new Kyoto Protocol agreement.

Scientists have been struggling to explain the hiatus, with some arguing that it is due to natural variability in the climate system while others say the oceans have absorbed much of the warming over the last 15 years.

Global warming skeptics, however, have pointed to the data as evidence that the science behind the theory of manmade global warming is faulty and has been hijacked by activists and politicians.

“You have to pity the UN. The climate events of 2013 has been one of the most devastating to the UN’s political narrative on global warming,” said Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, a climate skeptic website.

Morano added that “[b]oth poles have expanding ice, with the Antarctic breaking all time records, global temperatures have failed to rise for 15 plus years, global cooling has occurred since 2002, polar bear numbers are increasing,  wildfire’s are well below normal, sea level rise is failing to accelerate, tornadoes are at record lows, hurricanes are at record low activity,  Gore’s organization is flailing and losing donors amid layoffs, former climate believers like Judith Curry are growing more skeptical by the day.”

Ignoring criticism from skeptics, the U.N. and the Obama administration have both argued the report should be a “wake-up call” to those who are unconcerned about the severity of humans pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. “Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or common sense should be willing to even contemplate.”

The U.N.’s report says that sea levels will continue to rise and that it’s “very likely” the Arctic will continue to lose sea ice during the 21st Century. The U.N. also warns that without efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions it’s “likely” that temperatures will rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

“I doubt many will be frightened by the UN IPCC, simply a political body masquerading as a scientific group. The thrill is gone,” Morano said.

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