A sea-change on climate sensitivity at The Economist

People send me stuff, today it was this “editors picks” from John Micklethwait, editor of The Economist. After years of being pro-warming, I was shocked to see this headline as a “pick”. It seems a change in editorial position may be afoot.

AGW_slowing_economist_capture

The article is quite blunt, and quite interesting for its details, here is the introduction:

OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

Temperatures fluctuate over short periods, but this lack of new warming is a surprise. Ed Hawkins, of the University of Reading, in Britain, points out that surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range of projections derived from 20 climate models (see chart 1). If they remain flat, they will fall outside the models’ range within a few years.

The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now. It does not mean global warming is a delusion. Flat though they are, temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C above their level in the first decade of the 20th. But the puzzle does need explaining.

The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason—there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-10. Or it might be that the 1990s, when temperatures were rising fast, was the anomalous period. Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting, it may be that the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before. This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy.

Clouds of uncertainty

This also means the case for saying the climate is less sensitive to CO₂ emissions than previously believed cannot rest on models alone. There must be other explanations—and, as it happens, there are: individual climatic influences and feedback loops that amplify (and sometimes moderate) climate change.

That last paragraph meshes very well with recent publications about lower climate sensitivity, which they reference.

Read the entire article here: http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions

While we are on the subject of sensitivity, they mention the recent paper by Nic Lewis who writes:

It even cites a paper that I’ve recently had accepted for publication, and which I think will at least get a mention in AR5 WG1.

They also have an editorial which says:

economist_editorial

All in all, I think this is tremendous progress. Kudos to The Economist for embracing this maxim:

When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?

- John Maynard Keynes

h/t to Nic Lewis and Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.

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103 Responses to A sea-change on climate sensitivity at The Economist

  1. Tom J says:

    I think what this means is: Quick, we’ve gotta get those carbon taxes enacted really really fast before people realize what’s up and we lose that juicy source of confiscatory revenue we can milk right out of them.

  2. Gina says:

    “Flat though they are, temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C above their level in the first decade of the 20th. But the puzzle does need explaining.”

    Most of that 1 degree was built in by creative adjustments and corrections and homogenizations to the surface temperature data. The other half of the degree could very well be due to the trend of putting temperature probes nearer to buildings when they went with MMTS and electric sensors. That was a real trend, which was given short shrift by the data correctors.

  3. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Woho! I stopped buying The Economist because of their daft adherence to the Warmista dogma, indicating a lack of intellectual rigour, that possibly may afflict all their writings.

    This is a good start to renewing my relationship with the Economist.

    New Scientist has a much longer row to hoe though.

  4. Neo says:

    Oh, I say and I say it again, ya been had! Ya been took! Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!

  5. John W. Garrett says:

    It might have something to do with the fact that the lights are about to go out in Britain.

  6. Mike (from the high desert of Western Nevada) says:

    well yeah, cold is the new warm. The rats are jumping off the ship as she sinks lower and lower. Pass the popcorn.

  7. EW3 says:

    From an old SAT test

    Climate science is to Science as:
    a) Commercial Plumbing is to hydrodynamics
    b) Jumbo shrimp is to shrimp
    c) Liberal is to open minded

  8. Neo says:

    It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. — Yogi Berra

    Maybe they should start by trying to predict today correctly.

  9. Rud Istvan says:

    Bravo.
    What is lacking is more clarity on the underlying reasons for IPCC AR4 oversensitivity. Those have been explained in the penultimate chapter of my second book, alternatively by Bob Tisdale, and again alternatively by Lindzen (and possible Spencer).
    Following Lord Keynes, once you change your mind your need to rethink the basics.

  10. alkbertalad says:

    And I had such dreams of owning ocean front property here in Alberta, Canada. Now, the Economist had wrecked my planned advertizing blitz. Kudos to them for stepping up to the plate. Perhaps more significant they forwarded their article your way, or some one did.

  11. J Martin says:

    The stitching in Hanson’s, Santer’s and Mann’s garments are beginning to unravel. Before long everyone except themselves will be able to see them for what they are.

  12. Movement in the right direction, but they “chickened out” in the final two paragraphs. The Economist still cannot bring themselves into seriously considering a sensitivity below 2 as a possibility.

  13. Glenn Haldane says:

    Well, well. Most encouraging.

  14. Perhaps we can deal with the real world situation in the Economists home country, Britain, rather than what is happening to a hypothetical global temperature (how the notion of a ‘global’ temperature gained traction remains one of life’s mysteries)

    Around 30% of the world is cooling according to BEST (but with caveats) This includes countries with some very good historic figures-Britain. This is as distinct to those countries whose figures should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

    The GISS figures since 1880 can be seen as a staging post, not the starting post, of increasing temperatures which began around 1660 . Since then there have been various advances and retreats but temperatures have remained on an upwards trend for 350 years

    Here are the Met office figures for Central England-the oldest such record in the world. Look at the right hand side of the graph. Either we are having another dramatic temperature retreat in the UK or it will be shown to be merely a blip in the centuries long upwards trend-who knows?

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/

    Statistics from the Met Office Central England Temperature Record from the year 2000 onwards show:

    2000 – 2012 annual trend figures: -0.7°C
    this is equivalent to almost all the agreed global warming since 1850

    2000 – 2013 winter months December January February trend: -1.5°C
    this is equivalent to twice the agreed global warming since 1850

    Now 12 years is not an official trend but it sure is interesting, and the return of the cold has had an enormous impact on our heating bills and on our farming practices. Not 15 miles from the Met Office a farmer on Upland Dartmoor has replaced their traditional Dartmoor stock with hardier Welsh cattle as the native stock have not coped well the last five years.

    Nor has the human stock. Temperatures have been plunging as rapidly as energy prices have been escalating as successive govts nonsensical energy policies come home to roost.

    What is or isn’t happening with the assumed Co2/temperature correlation isn’t some academic exercise whereby climate scientists can advance alternative theories whilst the Economist observes from the sidelines.

    Unless we believe that an extraordinary warming co2 bubble existed over the UK for a dozen or so years in the 1990’s which has now drifted away, surely the obvious must be faced. That is that the 1990’s were a manifestation of the long established rising temperature trend caused by natural variability. The sharp decline in the last decade is also natural variability.

    We can’t predicate an insane energy policy on the notion that we must curtail co2 at any costs-including shutting down perfectly good power stations during a time of sharply declining temperatures and energy scarcity. We must predicate it on what is surely becomingly increasingly obvious-our climate is very variable naturally due to the weather extremes that constantly punctuate it.
    (reblogged from The Bish)

    tonyb

  15. Henry Galt says:

    “… the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before.”

    “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling C02′” – Reid Bryson, the ‘Father of climatology’

  16. A.D. Everard says:

    This shift towards admitting absence of global warming, or the slowing down of global warming, and bringing discussion to the general public must be driving those alarmists totally bonkers!

    I can hear them now: “Why are they talking about it? No one was supposed to question our computer models, our findings, our funding, our fudging! NO ONE! We all got together and agreed it wouldn’t happen. We have a CONSENSUS.”

  17. Peter in Ohio says:

    They clearly missed the Marcott paper…/sarc.

  18. ozzieostrich says:

    Should the quotation be attributed to Keynes rather than Keyes!

    Live well and prosper.

    Mike Flynn

    REPLY: yep missing n fixed – A

  19. Eric Simpson says:

    The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now. [paraphrased: it might mean this, it might mean that, it might mean... who knows what]
    Or it might mean that the Fear Mongering Chicken Littles have been full of deception from the start, that CO2 is not connected with climate as the 3 minute video shows (as it calls out Al Gore for repeating the now retracted ipcc deception on CO2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&info=GGWarmingSwindle_CO2Lag
    Let’s see. CO2 is rising sharply, temps are flat. And as per the video link above there is NO demonstrated causal correlation between CO2 & climate temperature. Maybe what it means is that CO2 is a dud, as is obvious from the video link above! And maybe the only reason that everyone seems all puzzled by the lack of warming is because of media hype and that 90%+ of the people haven’t got the message on CO2 that is presented in the video (so share it and spread the word about it).
    The Economist. Now, that’s what is surprising. I think we have a “reputable” link now to use when we want to say that there’s been no warming for 15 years, or when we want to say that the climate models have ALL failed. That was what was said c. 10 years ago… “Do you know why we know man is causing global warming? Because the computer models prove it! And we know that there is a causal correlation between CO2 & temperatures.”

  20. berniel says:

    This is remarkably sober and well balance. Full credit to the Economist. Their editorial policy wins though when topic get highly emotive (e.g., the build-up to the invasion of Iraq).
    Correction: I am a big fan of John Maynard Keynes.

  21. Latitude says:

    …the sound of settled science

    It’s a relief, if they hadn’t lost the algorithm…
    …the 1900’s would have retroactively experienced an ice age

  22. Mike Haseler says:

    Endogenous global warming theory

    (they’ll understand)

  23. Lancifer says:

    Well, well. While still rife with statements meant to placate the orthodoxy like,

    “But that does not mean the problem is going away.”

    and the final concluding non sequitur,

    “Despite all the work on sensitivity, no one really knows how the climate would react if temperatures rose by as much as 4°C. Hardly reassuring.”‘

    it at least is a good start in the right direction.

    Like Robert of Ottowa I had binned my subscription to the Economist some years ago. I had become disgusted with their slavish adherence to warmist dogma.

    This is promising if it is not an anomaly that will quickly be “corrected”.

  24. Mark Bofill says:

    ‘All in all, I think this is tremendous progress.’

    Indeed. It’s good to hear it, thanks.

  25. Paul Westhaver says:

    People don’t change.

    The agenda of these jerks was wealth redistribution. They don’t care about “Mother Earth”.

    So expect a lot more of this hunt for credibility from degenerate editors trying to “be reasonable” They want to get back to the wealth redistribution scheme and they will toss “Climate Change” under the bus to do so.

    This isn’t a sea change, This is the same ole, same ole.

    They are just trying to peel away from Watts, Ball, Monckton, et al and the only way to do so is to “be reasonable” about observed climate data.

    They will be back to empty our pockets.

    This is at best a stall tactic, at worst a Machiavellian move.

  26. Gail Combs says:

    Seems like the first few cautious steps in the start of a climb down but that last step can be a doozy!

  27. jonny old boy says:

    stopped buying the Economist years ago after their alarmist garbage was printed as fact…. not going to buy again anytime soon…..

  28. Alan S. Blue says:

    Time for a polite note discussing the reality, the magnitude, and the scope of the Little Ice Age.

    Anecdote is not the singular form of data, and things like the frozen Thames aren’t “scientific measurements of temperature”. But they do highlight that the actual problematic portion of The Hockey Stick is -not- the grafted-on instruments (which, at least, have the virtue of being instruments!), but instead the shaft of the stick rewriting history.

  29. Fred from Canuckistan says:

    Most journalism was and still is about fear mongering. That is what attracts eyeballs to the advertising, which is their business model.

    When the AGW thingy was pushed by our media savvy Greenies, they tailor made it for journalists to have a new and easy fearmongering topic. . . . Just reprint the EcoGreenie Press releases and viola! Job done. Same logic for the politicians . . . The greenies lined up a parade of fearful citizens and politicians jumped on the AGW bandwagon and realized that leading this parade got them reelected.

    And the of course we have the scientists who saw a Fame and Gravy train roll into the station and quickly realized they could keep their careers on the easy track as long as the fearmongering “science basis” of the scare was validated by their peer/pal reviewed papers.

    But every Great Sky is Falling grift comes to and end and the players start looking around for the Next Great Thingy to Scare the Folks with.

    That is what the Econmist is doing. Life goes on.

  30. I wish somebody would tell The Economist that the one-degree rise they quote is due to fiddling of the historic record. One example of across-the-board tweaking is at Iceland’s Teigarhorn station. The Jan 1900 temp was showing 0.7C two years ago, -0.2C last year, and is now showing -0.4C.

    Those cheeky monkeys at GISS are cooling the past in order to create a spurious warming trend. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/tmp/gistemp/STATIONS/tmp_620040920000_12_0/station.txt

    I wonder if Mr. Hanson is aware of the cooling past?

  31. Steve from Rockwood says:

    The Economist? 78% of its readers read it while sitting on the toilet.

  32. Gail Combs says:

    Paul Westhaver says:
    March 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    People don’t change.

    The agenda of these jerks was wealth redistribution…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Given the Cyprus financial mess. (The Russian oligarchy who were the target of the haircut managed to spirit away their deposits via branch banks including one in the UK. info from 2 days ago and today ) I imagine the economic types really want to use anything as a diversion.

    S&P has put Deutsche Bank on Ratings Watch and the Bernanke was doing a real dance around the question of can a ‘Haircut’ happen to US depositors. It was hard to find anything that was not a video but I did find a transcript HERE The Bernanke mutters something about no haircuts for depositors unless there is a run on American banks. Oh and the The ‘big five’- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, hope to establish a new bank taking the place of the IMF and World Bank BRICS plan new 50bn bank to rival World Bank and IMF

    So with all that happening in the financial world, I am sure those pulling the strings at the Economist are looking for any and all diversions. ‘Breaking News’ on climate of this sort is a good one since it hits the same group who are awake enough to question what is happening in the banking scene. So yea, the timing is rather ‘useful’

  33. RossP says:

    Two things about this article. The Economist does not give the author of it. Why ?? It would be interesting to know.
    Secondly it is interesting to read the comments on it in the Economists. Hardly any religiously defending AGW. Most are similar, in tone at least, to those above.

  34. Ben D. says:

    I do have the feeling that the tide is turning, but you can be sure that a new global threat scam will eventually emerge to replace it. Global scamming schemes are hugely profitable for those behind them.

  35. TomB says:

    EW3 says:
    March 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    From an old SAT test

    Climate science is to Science as:
    a) Commercial Plumbing is to hydrodynamics
    b) Jumbo shrimp is to shrimp
    c) Liberal is to open minded

    I’m really good at multiple choice questions, but this one leaves me stumped.

  36. William Sears says:

    Too bad that Keynes didn’t change more of his conclusions, since the facts were rarely on his side. This quotation of his has to be the most ironic of all time.

  37. JohnOfEnfield says:

    The Economist just went socialist with its part owner, The FT, along with their parent company Pearson (Which sells a lot to the Public Sector). Normal Self-interest at work.

    Don’t forget the “Scientific” American. They had NO good reason to sell out to the AGW nonsense.

    Somewhere lurking in the AGW undergrowth is the UK’s New “Scientist”.

    My subscriptions to all these august journals lapsed as their content became less rational.

  38. Chuck Nolan says:

    From the article:
    “Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting, it may be that the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before. This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy.”
    ————-
    I wonder what social policy this increasing body of research is suggesting will be profoundly signified?
    cn

  39. Fred from Canuckistan says:

    Hey TomB

    “Change is to climate as wet is to water”

  40. lurker passing through, laughing says:

    We need CG3 contents. Now, please.

  41. Bill Illis says:

    Technically, only 1 model from IPCC AR4 is below Hadcrut3 (as of January, 2013). When February’s lower number for Hadcrut3 comes out, the spread of ALL 23 models will be higher than Hadcrut3.

    Zoom-in of the average of all 23 models versus Hadcrut3.

    http://s13.postimg.org/hhwlkq313/IPCC_AR4_vs_Hadcrut3_Jan_2013.png

  42. ferdberple says:

    Steve from Rockwood says:
    March 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm
    The Economist? 78% of its readers read it while sitting on the toilet.
    =============
    the rest burn it to try and stay warm

  43. Lew Skannen says:

    “RossP says:
    March 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    Two things about this article. The Economist does not give the author of it. Why ?? It would be interesting to know.”

    That has been their policy for all articles forever.

  44. pat says:

    let’s face it…the weather is having an effect:

    27 March: Guardian: Cold weather to continue for a month, say forecasters
    UK braces for freezing Easter weekend, with temperatures expected to stay below average until end of April
    by Rebecca Smithers, Tamsin Rutter and Sarah Butler
    The Met Office issued a cold weather alert for much of England, with a 100% probability of severe cold weather and ice until Friday. Its outlook for Sunday until Tuesday 9 April predicts cold, dry weather, with a few light snow flurries and widespread frost and icy patches overnight. And it warned that temperatures are unlikely to recover to closer to normal levels until the latter part of April.
    Ladbrokes now has a white Easter as odds-on, offering 5/1 that it will be the coldest Easter weekend ever. It has also offered odds-on of Sunday’s Oxford-Cambridge University Boat Race – last year sabotaged by a swimming protester – being disrupted by ice on the Thames…
    In western Scotland, thousands endured a sixth day without power after being cut off last week, and across the UK many transport routes remained impassable because of deep snow drifts.
    After embattled sheep farmers reported the deaths of thousands of lambs in snow-affected areas such as Shropshire, north Wales, west Cumbria and the Peak District, the supermarket Waitrose said that from Thursdayit would be delivering 30,000 “macs” (light plastic coats which are 100% biodegradable and recyclable) to protect lambs against harsh weather conditions to farmers it works with in Wales and the west country…
    At Arthur’s Field, a 63-pitch campsite in Treloan, Cornwall, only 25 families had booked for the bank holiday weekend, but half of those had already cancelled…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/27/cold-weather-continue-month-forecasters

  45. cui bono says:

    RossP says (March 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm) : The Economist does not give the author of it. Why ??
    ——
    There is hardly ever any attribution in the Economist.

    I hope the banksters who read the Economist will have second thoughts about their ‘global warming’ investments.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-07/investors-embrace-climate-change-chase-hotter-profits.html
    As I said in a comment (lost at the bottom but with most ‘likes’) the banks are the ultimate contrarian indicator. If they want to lose our money all over again by hurling money at CAGW, so be it. The rest of us can laugh all the way to, er, any country that doesn’t steal our money to fund bank bailouts.

  46. You do seem to have missed one crucial element, the numerous papers which present a lag between temperature and CO2, showing it as an effect and not a cause. There have been three in the past few months alone and even Al Gore’s graph could be seen to do so when enlarged closely enough, which challenges the effect of CO2 on temperatures altogether.

  47. AntonyIndia says:

    The Economist was and is as bad informed about South Asia- where I live – as about Climate Change. Did they see the economic crisis coming a few years back?
    Not much of a fact based publication, more of a policy pusher in disguise.

  48. Ivan says:

    I don’t see much change here. From the text:

    “But given the hiatus in warming and all the new evidence, a small reduction in estimates of climate sensitivity would seem to be justified: a downwards nudge on various best estimates from 3°C to 2.5°C, perhaps; a lower ceiling (around 4.5°C), certainly. If climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, climate sensitivity would be on negative watch. But it would not yet be downgraded”

    so, this is typical damage control mode. Try to pose as ‘reasonable’ while actually not conceding anything. People, don’t delude yourselves, those jerks are never gonna change.

  49. ferdberple says:

    Bill Illis says:
    March 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm
    Technically, only 1 model from IPCC AR4 is below Hadcrut3 (as of January, 2013).
    ================
    Ask enough monkeys the answer to 1+1 and occasionally you will get 2 as the answer. might as well predict climate with a dart board or pair of dice. just as accurate and a whole lot cheaper and quicker.

    while it takes millions of dollars and years of programming to get the wrong answer with a super duper climate computer, a pair of dice can deliver the same accuracy in seconds.

    take a look at any place on the earth where people live. 1/3 chance it will be warmer next year, 1/3 chance it will be cooler, and 1/3 chance it will remain the same. my dog can predict climate as well as the climate models by how fast he wags his tail.

  50. ferdberple says:

    cui bono says:
    There is hardly ever any attribution in the Economist.
    =====
    the names are changes to protect the guilty

  51. Australis says:

    “The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason—there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-10″

    This will be the next line of retreat: DAGW is in remission but the patient still won’t recover. It’s sure to come back! The last 15 years are just a hiatus or pause in an inexorable long-term warming trend.

    This interpretation just isn’t supported by the facts. The 20th century episode is over – gone – terminated. Any movement in the current flat tend will be a new episode, whatever the direction. See http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2013/03/the-science-is-settled-no-warming

  52. Chuck Wiese says:

    The failure of climate models is far worse than depicted by these guys using the CMIP5. What they always do is “update” the models with feedbacks that are thrown in to best replicate how the climate is actually changing. That’s not running a closed system that has any demonstrable skill in predicting climate. Just look how bad Hansen’s first forecasts were that he made when he testified before the US Senate in 1988:

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/ctest.pdf

    See page 7 of this document. According to Hansen, we are supposed to be a full 1.25 degC above the thirty year mean instead of hovering around + .2 degC. To cover up this colossal train wreck, hack sites like climateskeptics.com used Hansen’s “best case scenario” GISSC and claimed it was his forecast today, when in reality version A and B are what he forecasted. The version they tried to claim was his forecast was based upon a drastic cut in CO2 emissions that never occurred. The order of the day by these clowns continues to be cover-up and deceit so that politicians can use the lies to tax and regulate.

    Chuck Wiese
    Mereorologist

  53. Chuck Nolan says:

    Again, from the article:

    “A rise of around 3°C could be extremely damaging. The IPCC’s earlier assessment said such a rise could mean that more areas would be affected by drought; that up to 30% of species could be at greater risk of extinction; that most corals would face significant biodiversity losses; and that there would be likely increases of intense tropical cyclones and much higher sea levels.”
    ——————-
    Say whaaaaa?
    cn

  54. Latitude says:

    “Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting…
    =======
    anti-global warming blogs, articles, etc are getting a lot more traffic and a larger audience…

  55. Don B says:

    Climate modeler James Annan on climate sensitivity:

    ” Interestingly, one of them stated quite openly in a meeting I attended a few years ago that he deliberately lied in these sort of elicitation exercises (i.e. exaggerating the probability of high sensitivity) in order to help motivate political action.”
    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2013/2/1/james-annan-on-climate-sensitivity.html

  56. Gail Combs says:

    cui bono says:
    March 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm
    …..The rest of us can laugh all the way to, er, any country that doesn’t steal our money to fund bank bailouts.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    If you find one let me know, I want to retire….

  57. Not even a mention that the theory itself; rising CO-2 = high temperature rather than the other way might be wrong. Even though the premise is not supported by ice cores which shows a lag of C02 behind temp rise by hundreds of years. Actually “CO2 is irrelevant!!!” to quote the Piers Corbyn. Incredible. I quit reading the Economist when it became quite clear they hadn’t a clue in the run up to the Lehman business. They never saw it coming. Not much of a handle on the economy. Der Spiegel is a much better magazine

  58. J.Seifert says:

    Many folks cannot distinguish between “climate” and “weather”! In 2000,
    it was all clear: The climate was warming…leads to weather warming.
    Now in 2013:
    The climate continues its warming [Trenberth will certainly find the missing heat],
    which makes the weather cooling…..just ask the Mannians: Only obstinate sceptics
    do not understand this simple logic: Cooling by warming….every refrigerator works
    this way…should be clear to everybody……

  59. Larry Kirk says:

    If I was The Economist editor, I would have been getting rather concerned that the glaring disparity, between my ‘scientific’ opinion and the freezing discomfort of my readers as they commute their way to work through the miserable English gloom, might start to impact on the publication’s sales.

    The Economist’s professed stock in trade is its ‘authority’, on all subjects, but it has been starting to look a little bit silly on this one.

    Personally, I found that very little of its content actually turned out to be authoritative about events in which I was actually involved, and so I eventually gave up my subscription, because I didn’t believe them any more.

    And in this case, everybody is actually involved in the events, most notably their UK readership, who will be starting to think: “This global warming-barbecue summer-never see snow again business is crap..”, as they ruin their shoes, trudging through the filthy grey sludge of Urban English snow, to sit in a freezing waiting room on a station where their train has been cancelled by ice on the conductor rail.

    You can only play King Canute for so long.

  60. pete50 says:

    Dere’s smoke cummin’ out da machine! Gard dam’it

  61. cui bono says:

    This article has gone viral. I’m now having simultaneous arguments with alarmists on 3 blogs, and it’s 2am in the UK and bloody freezing!

    Where’s the Climate Sceptic Rapid Response Team when needed? :-)

  62. Chuck Wiese says:

    Sorry I got the site wrong that promotes hack science in my post above.. It is skepticalscience.com NOT climateskeptics. Skepticalscience.com is run by John Cook and has been caught using deceptive tactics to distort climate data.

  63. David Jojnes says:

    Gail Combs says:
    March 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    Paul Westhaver says:
    March 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm
    “People don’t change.

    The agenda of these jerks was wealth redistribution…”..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Given the Cyprus financial mess. (The Russian oligarchy who were the target of the haircut managed to spirit away their deposits via branch banks including one in the UK. info from 2 days ago and today ) I imagine the economic types really want to use anything as a diversion.

    S&P has put Deutsche Bank on Ratings Watch and the Bernanke was doing a real dance around the question of can a ‘Haircut’ happen to US depositors. It was hard to find anything that was not a video but I did find a transcript HERE The Bernanke mutters something about no haircuts for depositors unless there is a run on American banks. Oh and the The ‘big five’- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, hope to establish a new bank taking the place of the IMF and World Bank BRICS plan new 50bn bank to rival World Bank and IMF

    So with all that happening in the financial world, I am sure those pulling the strings at the Economist are looking for any and all diversions. ‘Breaking News’ on climate of this sort is a good one since it hits the same group who are awake enough to question what is happening in the banking scene. So yea, the timing is rather ‘useful’”

    The “Big Five”… SOUTH AFRICA!! Since when? Oh and you missed out Rothschild! Surely you couldn’t have forgotten ROTHSCHILD? Big shareholders in “The Economist>”

  64. Gail Combs says:

    David Jojnes says:
    March 27, 2013 at 7:58 pm
    Article said South Africa just joined: Here is another article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/27/us-brics-summit-idUSBRE92Q0UE20130327

    Thanks for the mention that the Rothschild’s are owners of the Economists. In the USA it is the JP Morgan clan who owns the media not that it matters since they are all interconnected.
    Checkout Chiefio’s blog on the Cyprus situation.
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/κύπρος-κυπριακή-δημοκρατία-cyprus/
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/fixing-cyprus-a-modest-suggestion/
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/sp-puts-deutsche-bank-on-ratings-watch/

  65. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    The Economist disappoints. – gavin.

  66. Theo Goodwin says:

    “Ed Hawkins, of the University of Reading, in Britain, points out that surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range of projections derived from 20 climate models (see chart 1). If they remain flat, they will fall outside the models’ range within a few years.”

    According to the graph shown, they will be outside the models’ range in a few weeks or months not a few years.

  67. goldminor says:

    This is a step in the right direction. I,m hoping that between this year and the next that President Obama will have to show a change in his tune on climate change.

  68. John Tillman says:

    Global average temperature, as imagined by the Met Office, is already below the lowest Hansen scenario, which assumed no increase in CO2 concentration after AD 2000. Carbon dioxide, as imagined by NASA, has puffed ever higher, so Hansen, NASA GISS (as adjusted, ie cooked), NOAA, HadCru & company chalk up one massive FAIL.

  69. Theo Goodwin says:

    It seems that a dam has broken and everyone is talking about natural variability and natural regularities. Not long ago Trenberth denied the very relevance of the same when he called for a reversal of the Null Hypothesis. The breaking of this dam is the end of “the consensus” in what has passed for climate science.

    To become a genuine science, climate science must account for natural variability and it must take as it primary goal the description of natural regularities. That description will be in the form of hypotheses, universally quantified general statements, that are well confirmed in experience. Claims about “global warming/climate change” take on significance only when presented against the background of an empirical science that comprehends natural variability.

  70. Chad Wozniak says:

    Enough talk of temperatures flattening out. That’s only the best the data tinkerers can do, to hide the decline, and it is still not so. Just ask anybody in England this year, or Queensland last year, if temps have leveled off The hell they have, and the fall in tyhem is accelerating..

  71. Perfekt says:

    Die Welt in Germany and Jyllandsposten in Denmark has also featured sceptical articles lately. Reason is finally winning.

  72. michel says:

    A little while ago there was a similar moment in the Cholesterol theory. Business Week published an article summarizing the contradictions in the evidence, and in particular pointed out that adding cholesterol lowering compounds to statins actually raised death and morbidity rates. This was really a clear sign that it had now arrived in the mainstream media that the world was more complicated than we had thought. This is is a similar moment in climate.

  73. DirkH says:

    Perfekt says:
    March 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm
    “Die Welt in Germany and Jyllandsposten in Denmark has also featured sceptical articles lately. Reason is finally winning.”

    Well I would say the Bilderberger steering committee has declared the CO2AGW media campaign over. Probably they need their journalists now to try to distract the EU slaves from the Euro-omnishambles.

    They have reached their goals anyway through the subsidy pumping wind turbines and solar panels. Now, throw the useful idiot climate scientists to the masses so they can be torn to pieces; as a distraction.

  74. richard verney says:

    climatereason says:
    March 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    //////////////////////////////

    The UK has seen a drop of some 0.5degC this century! The UK’s response to temperature changes is dampened since it is a small island surrounded by water and due to the their thermal capacity they dampen the speed of change. The UK temperature anomaly is now broadly what it was in 1940.

    CET is the most extensive thermometer record. Probably one of the most interesting tasks that could be undertaken is to re-evaluate CET with a view to getting a proper handle on station changes/drop outs and their effect, and on UHI and any temperature distortion brought about by UHI. It would also be a good idea to get a proper handle on error margins.

    It would be interessing to isolate the best quality rural stations and look at their raw data to see what they say by way of comparator.

  75. richard verney says:

    Theo Goodwin says:
    March 27, 2013 at 10:16 pm
    “…To become a genuine science, climate science must account for natural variability and it must take as it primary goal the description of natural regularities…”
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////

    As a matter of logic, it is impossible to ascertain climate sensitivity until one knows the bounds of natural variation.

    In order to find cliamte sensitivity, one needs to remove the noise of natural variation, and it is only once that is done that one is left with the signal of climate sensitivity.

    One of the major goals in climate science ought to be the ascertainment of natural variation and its bounds.

  76. richard verney says:

    Australis says:
    March 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    “The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason—there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-10″

    This will be the next line of retreat: DAGW is in remission but the patient still won’t recover. It’s sure to come back! The last 15 years are just a hiatus or pause in an inexorable long-term warming trend.
    /////////////////////////

    What is the basic physics behind a ‘temporary lag’ Has CO2 temporarily lost its mojo as a heat trapping gas?

    Surely, this line of argument is patently disengenuous. The best case argument for the warmists is that natural variation is presently equal to the CO” forcing, but natural variation is by its nature variable and there will come a time when the opposite forcing of natural varaition subsides and we will then see a return to the upward temperature trend caused by CO2 which will come back with a vengeance once released from the shackles of natural variation.

  77. richard verney says:

    MODERATORS

    Please replace my last post with this post (since I missed off a sentence)
    Thanks
    …………………………………………..

    Australis says:
    March 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    “The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason—there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-10″

    This will be the next line of retreat: DAGW is in remission but the patient still won’t recover. It’s sure to come back! The last 15 years are just a hiatus or pause in an inexorable long-term warming trend.
    /////////////////////////

    What is the basic physics behind a ‘temporary lag’ Has CO2 temporarily lost its mojo as a heat trapping gas? How, Why? What are the special properties of CO2 that cause such phenomena?

    Surely, this line of argument is patently disengenuous. The best case argument for the warmists is that natural variation is presently equal to the CO” forcing, but natural variation is by its nature variable and there will come a time when the opposite forcing of natural varaition subsides and we will then see a return to the upward temperature trend caused by CO2 which will come back with a vengeance once released from the shackles of natural variation.

  78. vukcevic says:

    The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason …

    Nothing unusual or surprising there, if scientists only look at the natural mitigating factors:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/EarthNV.htm

  79. manicbeancounter says:

    This is very significant for the Economist considering some of the past pronouncements in the subject of climate. However, it is not fully joined up. It does not matter how much the average temperature rises. It is the impacts of that rise upon human beings and the rest of nature that should be of concern. There are two factors that are important here.
    First, is that lower sensitivity will imply a slower rate of temperature rise over time for a given rise in greenhouse gases. Therefore if median sensitivity is halved, so is halved the median expected temperature rise this century. The worst alleged impacts are from destabilization of the climate system as a result of rapid change. The climate tipping points are far less likely to be breached by slower rates of warming. Along with that, it is far easier to adapt to more gradual changes. So 30cm a century of sea level rise is far easier to adapt to that 30cm a decade.
    Second, is that catastrophic impacts have been over-hyped. The most costly projected impacts have turned out to be founded on little or no substance. The melting of the ice sheets is not accelerating. Crops yields will not fall by 50% in some African countries by 2020. The Amazon will not suddenly collapse from a drop in rainfall. Tropical storms are not getting more frequent or violent. Etc.
    These two components of slower warming rates and the lower costs from a rise in temperature over time multiply together, to make a dramatically different picture over time.

    I laid out the components to consider when assessing the expected impacts here
    http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/10/26/costs-of-climate-change-in-perspective/

  80. Adam says:

    Planet Earth says: “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.

  81. mwhite says:

    Abit concerned about this statement

    “Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting, it may be that the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before”

    Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting, it may be that the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide BY GETTING COLDER??????????

  82. observa says:

    ‘So what does all this amount to? The scientists are cautious about interpreting their findings. As Dr Knutti puts it, “the bottom line is that there are several lines of evidence, where the observed trends are pushing down, whereas the models are pushing up, so my personal view is that the overall assessment hasn’t changed much.”’

    Well Professor Knutti, what it means to normal people is the consensus of eggsperts don’t have a clue what’s going on and the null hypothesis that the climate is always changing is alive and well. Naturally all those who behaved like shrieking schoolgirls with the vapours over the greatest consensus of chicken littles modern science has ever produced, need to try and extricate themselves with some skerrick of dignity and reputation intact. Now it’s the turn of we holocaust deniers to shriek with laughter at their shenanigans trying desperately to disguise their increasingly frantic rush for the exits. What a hoot.

  83. Jimbo says:

    It’s not just the Economist where minds are slowly turning. Over in Germany Notrickszone has been highlighting various media who are beginning to doubt the projections of doom and thermageddon. CAGW is a supertanker and don’t turn on a dime but it will turn as long as the lack of warming (or cooling) continues. Secondly, Warmist orgnaisaitons & climate scientists such as the Met Office and people like Dr. James Hansen are being forced to face reality. As they say the truth will out in the end.

    This month
    http://notrickszone.com/2013/03/27/the-climate-science-caricatures-jylland-posten-features-massive-4-full-pages-of-climate-science-skepticism/
    http://notrickszone.com/2013/03/26/supersized-xxl-winter-in-complete-contradiction-to-climate-prognoses-reports-germanys-no-1-daily/
    http://notrickszone.com/2013/03/25/flagship-daily-die-welt-stuns-germany-scientists-warn-of-ice-age-cites-new-peer-reviewed-russian-study/

  84. Jimbo says:

    While over in the UK we have various media which used to solidly back CAGW beginning to turn more sceptical. Examples are the Daily Mail, Express and I think the Telegraph. These recent pronoucements would have been shocking back in 2005.

  85. Elizabeth says:

    Actually fellow/fellaw who wrote above about Cyprus banks will even trump all events even global warming. The beurocrats in the EU have probably started the greatest economic depression we will ever experience. Lucky I don’t live in the NH..They simply should have let Cyprus get out of the EU as Greece should have etc . Now they will all probably have to dissolve. Probably Germany will be the first to get out.

  86. Don B says:

    This small step in my view is a huge leap for the Economist. It has only been since June, 2012, that the cover story was of the Vanishing North, and a 14-page special report on the effects of global warming. This change is a major transformation in a short time.

    http://www.economist.com/printedition/covers/2012-06-14/ap-e-eu-la-me-na-uk

    This is purely wishful thinking, but could it only be a few more weeks until The Economist begins attacking those idiots who created such a self-damaging energy policy for Britain?

  87. rogerknights says:

    The Economist’s penultimate paragraph reads:

    As a rule of thumb, global temperatures rise by about 1.5°C for each trillion tonnes of carbon put into the atmosphere. The world has pumped out half a trillion tonnes of carbon since 1750, and temperatures have risen by 0.8°C. At current rates, the next half-trillion tonnes will be emitted by 2045; the one after that before 2080.

    I thought there were “diminishing returns” from the addition of CO2. Is this paragraph a blunder?

  88. Golden says:

    When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?
    – John Maynard Keynes
    ***************
    A wording more reflective of Keynes life would be:
    “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions – because I can’t figure out what the facts are.”

  89. Larry Kirk says:

    And the sunspot number this afternoon is down to 35. Not that you would notice in London though, because it’s overcas and raining, and the temperature is five degrees Celsius, dropping to minus two tonight.

    It’s not the scientifically offensive propaganda that would annoy me if I still lived in the UK, nor even the customary wastage of taxpayers money, but the fact that the government has spent ten years promising a change in climate to that of the Costa Del Sol or Mauritius, and yet here I am, still freezing my nuts off on East Croydon station after trudging my way there through a spring blizzard.

    But they promised!!

  90. Eric says:

    ““You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling C02′” – Reid Bryson, the ‘Father of climatology’” Doubling CO2 may not have much of an effect on global temperatures but it would have a huge positive effect on all ecosystems since the producers (photo-synthesizers) would have an immediate increase of about 1/3 in biomass production.

  91. Resourceguy says:

    They don’t even mention the other possibility that CO2 is not the fundamental factor in the short, medium, or long run because it is a trace gas and the multidecadal ocean cycles are far more important to begin with in short and medium run models and observational commentary.

  92. Lord Leach of Fairford says:

    Given the 20th century record of periodic 25-30 year flat or falling temperatures around an underlying rise of 0.75C (perhaps 0.4-0.5C allowing for siting distortion), the mystery is why anyone is mystified by the current pause.

  93. Mark Bofill says:

    Lord Leach of Fairford says:
    March 28, 2013 at 8:40 am
    ———————–
    Would you care to predict a date when you expect warming to resume?

  94. This piece was NOT published in the printed journal of The Economist 23-29 March. I have the journal in front of me , I wonder why? Perhaps Anthony could ask the editor-in-chief?

  95. AJ says:

    Also from The Economist, regarding Freeman Dyson:

    “The same deep dislike of intellectual overconfidence has led Mr Dyson to challenge the received wisdom on climate change. Mr Dyson is not a climate sceptic; he concedes that Earth is warming and that man is responsible. But ever since he first tinkered with computer models of climate in the 1970s he has repeatedly found them so wanting as to make their dire projections worthless.”

    http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21574470-missing-nobel

  96. Theo Goodwin says:

    According to the Economist:

    “One type of model—general-circulation models, or GCMs—use a bottom-up approach. These divide the Earth and its atmosphere into a grid which generates an enormous number of calculations in order to imitate the climate system and the multiple influences upon it. The advantage of such complex models is that they are extremely detailed. Their disadvantage is that they do not respond to new temperature readings. They simulate the way the climate works over the long run, without taking account of what current observations are. Their sensitivity is based upon how accurately they describe the processes and feedbacks in the climate system.”

    The Economist’s account of models is the most sophisticated that has appeared in popular media but it contains a crucial error.

    What the Economist has right is that GCMs imitate the climate system. In other words, a GCM is an attempt to reproduce, in a computer, the workings of the climate. In addition, the Economist is right that the models do not take account of observations.

    What the Economist has wrong is that the models describe the processes and feedbacks in the climate system. Models do no such thing. Models imitate the processes and feedbacks but do not describe them. If the models described them then modelers could produce from model code the physical hypotheses that describe the relevant natural processes. Modelers cannot produce those physical hypotheses. Modelers create mathematical equations, not physical hypotheses, which take numbers as inputs and produce numbers as outputs. Modelers then interpret the output numbers as the effects of one or another natural process. However, any such work depends on modelers’ intuition and not something that can be shared and tested against reality the way that physical hypotheses can be shared among scientists. The “climate sensitivity” assigned to any model cannot be something different from the modeler’s intuitions about the model.

    GCMs reproduce reality but do not describe it. Models imitate natural processes but do not describe them. Physical hypotheses describe natural processes but do not imitate or reproduce them. GCMs are not comparable to physical hypotheses. Only physical hypotheses can be confirmed or disconfirmed through experience. These facts are the reason that GCMs do not take account of observations. In principle, GCMs cannot take account of observations. The use of GCMs should be limited to analytic work and they must never be used as substitutes for physical hypotheses.

  97. Nic Lewis says:

    Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen wrote:

    “This piece was NOT published in the printed journal of The Economist 23-29 March.”

    No, it is in The Economist March 30 – April 5 issue, which came out in printed form today (a day early due to Easter). It is on pages 81-83

  98. Gary Pearse says:

    Embarrassing for Climate Scientists of the CO2 warming persuasion, I should think, to have journalists leading them out of the wilderness! When it has become patently obvious to the ordinary folk before the consensus wakes up, the team’s quality of science must be ‘worse that we thought’, ‘unprecedented’ in science.

  99. AlexS says:

    “All in all, I think this is tremendous progress. Kudos to The Economist for embracing this maxim:
    When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

    Wrong.
    The information didn’t changed, there wasn’t and still there isn’t any information to extract any conclusion.
    The Economist is just going with the wind, like it went in the past.
    And they go because they are nothing more than a socialist right magazine.

  100. Leo Geiger says:

    Anthon Watts wrote: “It seems a change in editorial position may be afoot.”

    That is an ‘interesting’ spin to put on this, considering many things the article says that were not highlighted in your intro:

    “But that does not mean the problem is going away.”

    “It does not mean global warming is a delusion.”

    “All serious climate scientists agree on these two lines of reasoning. But they disagree on the size of the change that is predicted.”

    “…a small reduction in estimates of climate sensitivity would seem to be justified”

    “Since CO₂ accumulates in the atmosphere, this could increase temperatures compared with pre-industrial levels by around 2°C even with a lower sensitivity and perhaps nearer to 4°C at the top end of the estimates. Despite all the work on sensitivity, no one really knows how the climate would react if temperatures rose by as much as 4°C. Hardly reassuring.

    Regardless, something that is unlikely to change is their advocacy for better market based approaches to reducing emissions (ie, a simple carbon tax) instead of cumbersome regulations and trading systems.

    http://www.economist.com/node/16377337
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/09/climate-policy

  101. _Jim says:

    Leo Geiger says March 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    That is an ‘interesting’ spin to put on this, considering many things the article says that were not highlighted in your intro:

    “But that does not mean the problem is going away.”

    “It does not mean global warming is a delusion.”

    Obligatory genuflection to the CAGW god don’t you think? … it has the effect on those readers whose hopes lie in line with CAGW in that they aren’t being completely ‘dashed’ or thrown to the wolves.

    This is also standard practice for any published academic ‘white papers’ that may cast even the least bit of doubt on CAGW lest the ‘gravy train’ of grants be put on a siding and “off the main” (“line”, that is) …

    .

  102. Galane says:

    Looks like Climategate 3.0 has finally got some folks in the UK who’ve been pushing the hoax to realize the game is up.

    I could’ve used some warming the three straight weeks this winter where the highs were below freezing. Luckily the thaw happened slow enough, and there wasn’t a sudden warm spell with rain like there was January 1st, 1997.

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