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Is the media waking up? Global warming: time to rein back on doom and gloom?

Tic, tic, tic. The sleeping MSM is stirring. Headlines no one could imagine seeing a few years ago are popping up on a regular basis. The backdown is beginning.

For those who have not gone-over-the-falls and chained their reputation to a big-Green-rock, there is time to backtrack. This is a good moment to start mentioning that “things have changed.” It’s five years too late, but that’s better than being ten-years-too-late, and it still has a tiny bit of kudos for being ahead of stampede that is coming.

The term du jour is “new evidence”. It’s the ticket back to reality, even though strong evidence has been there for a decade, and the lack of warming is just one more clue that the models are wrong.

As far as I can tell, Geoffrey Lean is one of the commentators who’s been very much on the side of the global warming drive, but not a zealot. He allowed the odd caveat, he spoke of skeptics, but not of deniers. When the ClimateGate II emails were released, mostly he wrote about how they didn’t matter, were misrepresented, and the science was settled. Even then, there was a small caveat that “disturbing questions” remain, but largely he defended Phil Jones. Right now, he is still saying we need to reduce CO2, but it’s not as urgent as we thought. This is not a U-turn, but a fork in a better direction (with a nice headline).

What caused the shift? Lean noted in late December that the UK Met Bureau reduced its forecasts, that there has been a long pause in warming, and he points out here that there are now, increasingly, new lower estimates of climate sensitivity. I would argue that there have been plenty of lower estimates in the past, and that environmental journalists ought to have looked at the skeptical position years ago and interviewed a few key players, or looked at the data directly themselves.

The other thing that has changed is that this is the fifth cold winter for the UK, and a few authoritative groups have finally succumbed, acknowledged the “pause” and trimmed their hyperbole. An investigative journalist would have been hunting for the signs this was coming long before it did, rather than waiting for official announcements. But don’t be too hard on Lean, he’s doing a better job than many compatriots.

The meme that skeptics do have a point has made it through to a new circle of journalists.

Presumably this will only make the religious followers more apoplectic.


The Telegraph, UK

Global warming: time to rein back on doom and gloom?

Climate change scientists acknowledge that the decline in rapid temperature increases is a positive sign

… there are important, and possibly hopeful, developments in the complex, contentious world of climate science that might finally give us all a sense of spring. For some recent research suggests that climate change might not be as catastrophic as the gloomiest predictions suggest.

The resulting increase has long been put at between 1.5C and 4.5C (the threefold range itself gives some idea of how little is known): the best guess has been 3C, which would be likely to have devastating effects on the climate. But the latest findings – which stretch over several papers from different, well-established scientists – suggest that the rise may be towards the lower end of that big range, possibly less than the 2C danger level.

So while governments must urgently adopt measures to cut emissions of black carbon – mainly from diesel engines and inefficient Third World cooking stoves – they will also have to do much more to control carbon dioxide.

The new research might just give the world a much-needed breathing space. But it would be foolhardy to breathe out for long.


Only in December did Geoffrey Lean say in: “Wildfires across Australia and the US’s hottest year on record: the heat that’s making history”

…the only honest thing to do is to look at long-term trends.

But these suggest that something is indeed afoot. Days above 37.8C are now five times more common than between 1911 and 1930 and extremely hot summers are 10 times more widespread globally than between 1951 and 1980.

There is no doubt that the world has warmed, and that this will continue.

But he acknowledged that both sides of the polarized debate were exaggerating.

Last November he was holding his breath for a new agreement in Doha.

A new agreement forcing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is crucial

Here we go again. This weekend, as in every year for the past 18, thousands of negotiators, lobbyists, activists, journalists and assorted hangers-on are converging on a cavernous conference centre to haggle over one of the most complex, frustrating and urgent tasks of our times – the prevention of catastrophic climate change.

This time, the travelling circus is pitching up in Doha…


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