In fact, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that the “hiatus”—a “pause” in global warming since 1998—may never have happened at all.
The paper, spearheaded by Thomas Karl and eight other NOAA researchers, was published in Science in late June. The authors found the “hiatus” in global warming might not be a real trend, but instead results from differences in ship and buoy measurements. Their findings have garnered the attention of other scientists, the media…and the US Congress.
The authors of this paper, and NOAA itself, were recently issued a subpoena by Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. This subpoena seeks “all documents and communications referring or relating to corrections to sea temperature data from ships and buoys,” particularly emails between Karl and his collaborators.
“This subpoena appears to be furthering a fishing expedition,” Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson wrote in response to Smith. “Unfortunately, this is reflective of much of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s ‘oversight’ work this Congress, and it is a disturbing trend for the legitimacy of this Committee.” Continue reading No, the “hiatus” doesn’t disprove global warming→
Why is climate change such a popular topic this month?
For the next two weeks, world leaders are meeting at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris. Their mission: to reach a legally binding agreement to reduce international climate impacts. Unlike prior treaties, the COP21’s agreement could hold each nation accountable for reaching its promised carbon goal.
This agreement would aim to keep temperatures below the 2°C threshold to avoid the worst effects of climate change. However, many of the world’s most vulnerable nations think even more extreme measures won’t be enough.
“We all know, and must acknowledge, that the targets on the table now are not enough to limit warming to below 1.5 degrees, although they are a start in the right direction,” said President Loeak of the Marshall Islands. “If we’re to win the battle against climate change, the fossil fuel era must draw to a close, to be replaced by a clean, green energy future, free of the carbon pollution that is harming our health, stunting our growth, and suffocating our planet.”
The Marshall Islands sit less than six feet above sea level, which means that sea level rise could render them uninhabitable by the end of the century. So, for President Loeak, the stakes at COP21 are nothing less than the existence of his country. In that context, his go-for-broke call to end fossil fuel use seems more an act of desperation than one of extremism.