If you are driving a car (say an unrepaired Toyota) and it suddenly surges up to very high speeds, then runs out of gas, it may be true that the first 100 metres after the tank goes dry are the fastest 100 metres the car has ever travelled. It does not follow, though, that the car is still accelerating dangerously. Or at all.
In their attempt to repair the recent damage to their climate-change cause, environmentalists — such as former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, whose defence of the climate-change theory appears opposite — have begun pointing out that the last decade was “the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.”
“What is important,” Mr. Gore writes
, is not the errors and manipulations recently uncovered in the work of the UN and leading climate scientist, but rather “that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged.”
To both claims, I say, “So what?”
Since 1998, we haven’t seen things heating up. One of the four main sources of worldwide temperatures (NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) claims 2005 was hotter — slightly — than 1998. But the point is, the trend over the last 12 years been roughly flat. The earth is not getting warmer, at least not significantly. Global warming has paused.
So think of the climate like our runaway car. Temperatures rose rapidly from 1979. Yet after 1998, the climb seems to have run out of gas. It’s been warm since, but it is no longer getting warmer rapidly, if at all.