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No pause, but much disruption, in the world’s warming, U.N. report finds

REUTERS/David Gray
Australia had its hottest year ever in 2013.

Notions that global warming has somehow paused in recent years are groundless, according to the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, whose annual report on global climate finds that 13 of the 14 warmest years in world history have occurred since the year 2000.

The report, issued Monday, also finds that each of the last three decades has been warmer than the one just preceding.

On its own, 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record worldwide, according to the WMO. Although a few regions of the globe were cooler than normal —  including the central United States — Australia had its hottest year ever, Argentina its second-hottest, and New Zealand its third.

In a statement accompanying the report, the WMO’s secretary general said “there is no standstill in global warming,” as climate-science skeptics have been asserting.

“The warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths,” Michel Jarraud continued. “More than 90 percent of the excess energy trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans.

“Levels of these greenhouse gases are at record levels, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.”

Heat waves and typhoons

The French meteorologist, who has headed the WMO since 2004, acknowledged that “naturally occurring phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or El Niño and La Niña events have always contributed to frame our climate, influenced temperatures or caused disasters like droughts and floods.

“But many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change. We saw heavier precipitation, more intense heat, and more damage from storm surges and coastal flooding as a result of sea level rise — as Typhoon Haiyan so tragically demonstrated in the Philippines.”

Other extreme events listed in the report:

  • Severe drought in Angola, Botswana and Namibia, in southern China, and in northeastern Brazil, where conditions were at their worst and a half century.
  • Severe flooding following unusually heavy rains in the Sudan, Somalia, northeastern China, the Eastern Russian Federation, and along the India-Nepal border.
  • Unprecedented snowfalls in Israel, Jordan and Syria.
  • The widest U.S. tornado ever observed in El Reno, Okla.
  • And, of course, greenhouse-gas concentrations reached record highs worldwide.

Closeup on North America

The report includes a section of regional highlights from the 2013 weather year; including these for North America:

Temperatures across most of North America were above average during 2013, but were more moderate overall than in 2012. Winter was warmer than average in Canada and the United States, although spring in the contiguous United States was the coolest since 1996. Temperatures in the United States rebounded during the summer, and the warmth continued into September.

Summer in Alaska was the second hottest on record, and October-December was the sixth warmest such period on record for the state. Mexico experienced a record warm July and August and a warm autumn.

In Canada, 2013 was the thirteenth driest year on record. Nevertheless, torrential downpours overwhelmed Calgary and vast areas of southern Alberta in June, forcing 100,000 people to evacuate their homes and causing close to US$ 6 billion in damage. The contiguous United States was wetter than average for the year, with some geographical variations. Two states, Michigan and North Dakota, experienced record wet conditions. Alaska observed its third wettest year on record and the wettest in the past 50 years.

A major drought that encompassed large parts of the central United States in 2012 and early 2013 improved across much of the country. By the end of 2013, about 31 per cent of the country was experiencing drought, down from about 61 per cent at the beginning of the year. California had its driest year since records began in 1895; San Francisco received only 16 per cent of its average annual rainfall since local records began in 1947. Very hot conditions, combined with strong winds and drought, contributed to the worst wildfire in Colorado history.

The contiguous United States was hit by several late-season winter storms. In April, Bismarck, N.D., received 44 cm of snow, setting a new calendar-day record. Duluth, Minn., and Rapid City, S.D., each had their snowiest month on record, with 129 cm and 109 cm, respectively. El Reno, Okla., was struck by a particularly powerful tornado: at 4 3 km, it was the widest tornado ever observed in the United States.

Rankings differ, but only slightly

Interesting coverage of the report included a piece in the Christian Science Monitor, pointing out that while the WMO counts 2013 as the sixth warmest year on record (in a tie with 2007), the year was ranged seventh warmest by scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and fourth by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAH).

The difference in rankings can be mindboggling, but apparently, the differences in temperature recordings is tiny, say experts.

“The difference between the joint fourth place and the joint seventh place is within 0.02 C of a degree,” Gavin Schmidt, deputy director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies told CBCnews in January. He also added that NASA and NOAA process their data differently.

“Different data and averaging methods lead to slightly different global temperature estimates that can lead to small switches in the ranking of years,” Harvard University climate expert Peter Huybers told the Monitor. 

But “the key point here is that, no matter how you slice it, 2013 was among the top 10 warmest years, as have been most recent years,” Michael Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University, told Climate Central.

And in an interview with Voice of America, Jarraud observed that “since 2001, the first year of this Century, the coldest year that we have observed since 2001 is actually warmer than any year before 1998.”

Jarraud also told VOA that “there is a strong possibility of an El Nino developing near the end of this year.  El Nino is a complex interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean. 

“If El Nino is confirmed, Jarraud says the world can expect a warmer year.”

Comments (96)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/27/2014 - 08:49 am.

    A very good description of how and why a lot of the excess heat has been trapped in the Pacific Ocean is discussed in this article:

    The eastward progression of the underwater heat bubble is shown, with a strong El Nino event in the offing later this year. The warming of the recent years has been moderated by the absorption of of the ocean, but it is coming back this year.

    Look for lots of temperature records to be broken.

    I don’t think that there is any real general appreciation as to how much our weather is related to far-off places. Weather just seems to happen.

    We are living in the era of the results phase of a great experiment, where we will soon find out what an ice-free summer Arctic means for our lives. We’re so used to a 3 cell model of our weather that we really have no idea what will happen when there is little differentiation in temperature between the Arctic and the temperate zones (temperatures up near 90 F last summer on the Arctic shores).

    And we have absolutely no idea of what is in store for us as the vast frozen-in stores of methane are released from thawing Arctic regions:

  2. Submitted by Tom Karas on 03/27/2014 - 09:25 am.

    thanks, I guess

    Aside from the fact that this is a newly published report, this is not news. This report falls in line with every prediction about climate change that has been made since the end of the last century. Maybe what is ‘news’ is the need to publish and report about such findings that only confirm the obvious. It is news in this country as we, as one of the leading forces on the planet, are dragging our feet the hardest in accepting the fate that we have created, and then trying to take some responsibility. The ‘news’ part of this may actually be the ignorance of so many to accept science that is accepted in every other corner of the globe.
    When will MinnPost no longer feel the need to allow ‘the other side’ equal time on this lopsided conversation by adapting a position statement on what is published from climate deniers? A growing list of US journalistic organizations no longer print comments or stories that contradict the accepted science that is once again proved out by this recent report.,,,,

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/27/2014 - 11:17 am.

    Weather vs. Climate

    Weather changes are what happens over days, weeks and years.

    Climate changes happen over decades and centuries (and longer).

    So, what the weather does is irrelevant to the topic of climate changes, which are what matter in the long run.
    And yes, in the long run we’ll all be dead (attributed to Keynes), but until then the conditions under which we live matter.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/27/2014 - 12:03 pm.

      Weather vs. Climate

      I get a kick out of all the people who can’t tell the difference between the two and then go on about how cold it was in Minnesota last month. As if the weather outside their kitchen window is replicated across the entire planet. They go on and on about our miserable winter and how that proves climate change is not happening, yet we don’t hear a peep out of them come July when we’re sweltering in yet another heat wave and drought.

      Sadly, they’re not even consistent when it comes to their own illogic.

      Then there are the people who think think they’ve found some small item that tears apart the entire fabric of the global warming debate. Al Gore is making money off of it, therefor it’s bunk! The scientists are ALL on the take. Or the heat island effect is skewing results. Each one is debunked in turn, but they’ll just come up with a new pebble that somehow invalidates the entire mountain looming over their heads.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/27/2014 - 12:25 pm.

    Climate Studies

    One gentleman in the previous climate change article expressed skepticism that 97% of climate scientists support the notion that climate change is man made. He asked for support the study as he doesn’t think man made climate change has such widespread support among scientists.

    Here’s an article explaining the methodology behind the study and the results.

  5. Submitted by Lance Groth on 03/27/2014 - 01:40 pm.


    This collection of statistics is why I’m so gloomy on our prospects. Centuries of warming are already “baked in” (sorry), regardless of what we do, and we are doing essentially nothing – and many are actively working against doing anything, which is insane, if not evil.

    I’m afraid that, as conditions grow dramatically worse, we will be driven to attempt geoengineering solutions, which are fraught with risks I shudder to contemplate. And if you think there is resistance to emissions reductions, wait until a government or governments get serious about radical geoengineering projects – things will get really ugly. Talk about a hot mess.

    I’m glad I won’t be around to see the worst of it.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/27/2014 - 07:10 pm.

      The old story about the frog in the soup kettle.

      The temperature rises gradually and he doesn’t really notice it,
      until he’s soup.
      We’ve got too many people with the foresight of frogs.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/27/2014 - 02:33 pm.

    Recent polls show

    that after this winter, most people are in favor of global warming. The sooner the better.

  7. Submitted by John Appelen on 03/27/2014 - 08:03 pm.

    Probably Me…

    So they started with 12,000 climate science papers. They threw out 8,000 because the causation was not discussed.

    Then they counted every paper that noted humans as a factor of causation. No matter if it was 3% or 99% of the causation. Or if the scientist believed in CAGW or thought a little warming is occurring.

    I guess I still wouldn’t make expensive policy changes based on this data. Here is the counterpoint I posted previously.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/27/2014 - 08:52 pm.

      Gosh, nothing like relying on a source with the sole paid purpose of denialism–The Heartland Institute.

      I’ll outsource the rebuttal to that old article to:

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/27/2014 - 10:24 pm.

        Cherry Pickers Abound

        So what is a rational person to do? We have a pro-CAGW group cherry picking one way, and con-CAGW group supposedly cherry picking the other way… It is an interesting problem.

        As I have said before, I personally do not know what reality is, however I am quite sure it is not 97%.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/28/2014 - 08:15 am.

          There is a certain irony when one talks about “cherry picking” and then sides with the 3% as having the correct answer.

          Aggregations of vaguely and unreliably sourced information from places like the Heartland Institute and Popular Technology hold little weight in any discussion

          Its an upside down world where the deniers hang onto every precious word from groups and people who they surely know have the sole paid occupation of the denial of climate change, yet they easily discard everything else as the product of some vast, unmapped but coordinated conspiracy of scientists.

          Who is the fool then?

          My prediction?

          Most deniers will have the exquisite pleasure of being proven absolutely wrong within their lifetime.

          I’m sure the funders of your favorite sources appreciate your sacrifices in their service.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/28/2014 - 09:38 am.


            Neal: “There is a certain irony when one talks about “cherry picking” and then sides with the 3% as having the correct answer.”

            Bravo! Short and to the point!

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/28/2014 - 09:47 am.

            A Lot of Faith

            You sure do show a lot of faith in the 97% number…

            Which of course makes no sense when scientists who were reported to have been part of the 97% have gone on record saying that they are not.

            My doubt has nothing to do with Heartland or PT, it has to with “included” Scientists publicly saying that they don’t agree.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/28/2014 - 12:45 pm.

              All I can do is laugh John.

              What’s always been missing in all of this is YOUR estimate. Why? Because you got nothin but “faith” that the consensus is wrong. Even if you find 50 guys that claim they were mistakenly included in the 97%; the consensus is so strong that it doesn’t change. So if it isn’t 97% John, then what is it? And how did YOU come up with that figure?

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/28/2014 - 03:46 pm.


                You and your peers are claiming certainty in a number that has been proven to be inaccurate. Maybe if you say it often enough it may become real.

                I am kind of thinking that is skeptical science’s plan.

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/28/2014 - 04:24 pm.

                  I’m sorry John did I miss it?

                  Or is there a percentage in your comment somewhere? You have no number of your own but KNOW 97% is wrong? And based on your belief that this number is wrong you KNOW that there is no scientific consensus on climate change? .

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/29/2014 - 08:49 am.

                    Your Interpretation

                    I agree, I have no number.

                    Per my comment below, what do you think this “97%” believe? I am curious.

                • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/28/2014 - 04:40 pm.


                  It’s ironic that you pull up reviews like Taylor’s that are proven to be wrong, yet that’s the position you elect to stand by.

                  But by all means, you are someone from the denier camp is more than welcome to do your own review of the studies and come up with a new number. In the meantime I hope you don’t mind if I’m skeptical of someone who ignores the vast majority of scientists in favor of a few.

            • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/28/2014 - 12:33 pm.

              (quote)- A recent


              – A recent literature review found that out of 13,950 peer-reviewed climate science studies since 1991, only 24 reject human-caused global warming.

              – A peer-reviewed survey of 1,372 actively publishing climate researchers found that 97% of them uphold the existence of human-caused global warming.

              – Another peer-reviewed survey of 10,257 earth scientists from a variety of disciplines also found 97% agreement among actively publishing climate scientists, and almost 90% agreement among all actively publishing earth scientists that humans are causing global warming.

              (end quote)

              Links for you to follow up on at:


              Or not.

              Let me see if I can guess which course you will take.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/28/2014 - 09:39 am.

          Time for some cost/benefit analysis

          The costs of responding as if anthropogenic global warming were real are minimal (some slightly reduced corporate profits) compared to the certain benefits (reduced pollution) and potential major risks of doing nothing (making the planet inhabitable).
          That’s why what scientific discussion there is concerns the nature and extent of the human contribution to climate change, not to the fact of its existence.

          And to anticipate, the reason for using the term ‘climate change’ rather than ‘global warming’ is that the latter is a long term global change. One aspect of climate change is an increase in climate variability, so that despite the overall warming effect, we are also more likely to see temporary local cold spells. This doesn’t invalidate the overall concept.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/27/2014 - 08:57 pm.

      James Taylor–expert on what??

      ​James M. Taylor

      B.A. from Dartmouth College.
      J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law where he was president of the local chapter of the Federalist Society and founder and editor-in-chief of the Federalist Voice.
      Source: [1]


      James Taylor is a Senior Fellow with the Heartland Institute and managing editor of the Heartland publication Environment & Climate News.

      Taylor previously served as a legal analyst for Defenders of Property Rights. He has also been an intern at the Cato Institute, and a member of the Federalist Society.

      He previously served as managing editor of CCH Incorporated’s disability law publications. Prior to that he was a legal analyst for Defenders of Property Rights.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/28/2014 - 09:40 am.

        The being….

        Taylor is not a scientist, mush less a climate scientist. He doesn’t even qualify as one of the 3%!

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/27/2014 - 09:42 pm.

      Shakes Head

      It looks like for some people no amount of data will convince them of anything. If the 8000 papers with causation had been included, then that would have been complained about instead.

      We are already making expensive policy decisions: Doing nothing ain’t cheap.

  8. Submitted by John Clark on 03/28/2014 - 02:56 pm.

    There is more than one poll of climate scientists

    Over the past 20 or more years, there have been numerous surveys of climate scientists on the subject of climate change. Here is a list of some of these studies:

    If one stands back to look at the overall results of these polls, one thing is very clear. An overwhelming majority of the climate scientists surveyed believe that the Earth’s climate is warming, and human activity is largely responsible for this change.

    To dwell on the minor details of one of the studies is to miss the forest for a few very small trees.

  9. Submitted by rolf westgard on 03/28/2014 - 04:22 pm.

    Bogus 97% claim

    The new paper by the leading climatologist Dr David Legates and his colleagues, published in the respected Science and Education journal, now in its 21st year of publication, reveals that Cook(97% claim) had not considered whether scientists and their published papers had said climate change was “dangerous”.

    The consensus Cook considered was the standard definition: that Man had caused most post-1950 warming. Even on this weaker definition the true consensus among published scientific papers is now demonstrated to be not 97.1%, as Cook had claimed, but only 0.3%.

    Only 41 out of the 11,944 published climate papers Cook examined explicitly stated that Man caused most of the warming since 1950. Cook himself had flagged just 64 papers as explicitly supporting that consensus, but 23 of the 64 had not in fact supported it.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/28/2014 - 05:44 pm.

      Try 2: Severity and Liklihood

      I posted this on Todd’s comment first, but it seems to fit here.

      I had started to wonder what this questionable 97% actually support?
      – Human actions may be affecting the climate slightly (little impact)
      – Human actions are moderately affecting the climate. (some adapting reqd)
      – Human actions are significantly affecting the climate (major migrations & adapting reqd)
      – Human actions are devastating the climate (there will be no more humans on earth)

    • Submitted by Eric Sandeen on 04/13/2014 - 10:16 am.

      Cite your sources

      Rolf, when you cut and paste this much of someone else’s writing, you should cite the source, lest it look like your own, right? It’s from a press release by Anthony Watts:

      which seems to be playing a lot of semantic tricks to get where they want to go.

  10. Submitted by rolf westgard on 03/28/2014 - 04:31 pm.

    The myth continues

    Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, who found the errors in Cook’s data, said: “It may be that more than 0.3% of climate scientists think Man caused at least half the warming since 1950. But only 0.3% of almost 12,000 published papers say so explicitly. Cook had not considered how many papers merely implied that. No doubt many scientists consider it possible, as we do, that Man caused some warming, but not most warming.
    And there has been no global warming for 16 years.

  11. Submitted by John Clark on 03/29/2014 - 09:35 am.

    Christopher Monckton. Is he an “expert” on scientific matters?

    Mr. Monckton is a journalist, and a very loudmouth one at that, but he is not a scientist. To understand a little more about him, here is an earlier article from MinnPost.

    I’m not sure this man has a lot of credibility (or any credibility) with mainstream climate scientists. Here is a quote from the article:

    “In response to a presentation Monckton made in Minnesota, Abraham checked nearly every one of Monckton’s claims and references in order to see where Monckton got the science right vs. where he got it wrong,”

    “The result of all this research was a nearly 90 minute-long rebuttal where Abraham dissects dozens of Monckton’s claims from a speech a year ago and finds that nearly everything Monckton said in his Minnesota presentation was wrong.”

  12. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/29/2014 - 12:42 pm.


    I am just wondering since when the truth in science is determined by which side the majority of scientist are on? I am sure that Copernicus was alone in his views at his times. On the other hand, the number of publications do not prove the prevailing views either since publications may be (and are in this case) biased. Remember the story that some anti-global warming facts were suppressed?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/29/2014 - 05:04 pm.


      I am not sure how one would model and prove an issue with such a huge number of variables that takes place over so many years. Of course if the fear mongers are correct, it will likely be to late to make a correction.

      I always wonder what the Earth’s correction factors are once things heat up too much? My SWAG is the volcanoes start blowing and things start cooling again…

      How would you determine the truth about this issue?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/30/2014 - 04:59 pm.

        Modeling and understaind

        “I am not sure how one would model and prove an issue with such a huge number of variables that takes place over so many years.”

        That’s probably because you’re not trying to understand the science, your trying to debate it and you don’t have the necessary background or expertise.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/30/2014 - 09:18 pm.

          Your Belief?

          How do you think the earth will cool itself down? It has cycled before and will cycle again.

          Good thing we have winter gear unlike the dinosaurs…

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/31/2014 - 09:28 am.

            Winter gear?

            An Impact (Nuclear) Winter and Meteorological Winter are very different animals. Putting on a coat to stay warm doesn’t help that much when you can’t grow crops for a decade or two.

            Now, presumably you believe that the dinosaurs and man never lived together, (what with the reference above to them dying out) and then millions of years later humans became the dominant planetary species. Now, if 3% of scientists tell you the earth is only 5,000 years old, would you then claim that the other 97% of scientists who date earth is as being 4.5 billions years of age lack a clear consensus and are pushing their own ‘old-earth’ agenda?

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/01/2014 - 03:34 pm.


              The age of the earth will not cost our society trillions of dollars and it is history, therefore I am indifferent.

              Implementing CAGW recommendations quickly would cost our society trillions of dollars and cause significant disruption.

              Therefore it is important to truly understand the causes, severity, cost trade offs, etc before making major changes.

              I am still getting resistance regarding learning what exactly the 97% number means to the CAGW supporters. More sunscreen or end of days?

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/02/2014 - 09:12 am.

                Artful Dodger

                That’s a nice job of not answering the question posed. To your first few lines, I would say, that the drastically changing climate of our Earth WILL cost our society trillions of dollars, and is ALSO a matter or history, as we have been tracking it for some decades now. And those trillions will all be reactive costs, as opposed to trillions spent in search of new technologies, new transportation modalities, and building new industries, creating tens of thousands of jobs in new sectors.

                And of course, I would never say that any new direction we wanted to point our economy or country toward should not be discussed or considered or planned out, but we can’t even get to a point where we agree on the basic facts, mostly because of a vocal and monied minority who simply tries to shout them down.

                And your last line strikes to what I consider to be a huge cognitive problem within the Republican mindset, in which the world can only be seen or conceived of in stark contrast… “you’re either with us, or against us,” for example. I assume that these stark contrasts were initially adopted for campaign season, but ended up permeating the Republican base, so much so that now, they can ONLY see the world as a bipolar place, a wold in which there are no shades of gray, there are just diametrically opposed ideologies. Personally, I don’t believe in the end of days, but the end human civilization _as we know_ it is something far more conceivable, and far more attainable.

                The 97% number, as you describe it, looks to me like a massive majority, and a scientific consensus. Which is why I posed the question about whether or not you would agree with a 97% professional consensus in any other field of study or business.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/03/2014 - 11:23 pm.


                  I didn’t try to dodge your questions. As for trusting “consensus”, the number needs to be confirmed by a non-biased entity and what they have “consensus” about needs to be well defined.

                  Currently it sounds like the 97% number is suspect, since it was based on biased people sorting papers based on their criteria. (ie only papers they thought mattered were counted) Then these same people read the abstracts of this subset of papers and categorized them based on the criteria they chose.

                  Worse yet some of the authors of these papers went on the record saying they did not approve of how their paper was categorized. Yet the 97% number is still published.

                  Finally as I have been saying, what they have consensus about seems incredibly vague. I mean I agree whole heartedly that burning fossil fuels effects the environment. (see g2a if you question this) So am I in the 97%, even though I question the severity and am not ready to embrace massive and expensive change?

          • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/31/2014 - 08:33 pm.

            Long Term

            The issue isn’t whether or not the earth will self correct itself in the long term. The issue is whether or not civilization as we know it today will still be around when that correction is complete.

            You’re thinking in entirely the wrong scale.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/29/2014 - 09:57 pm.

      The scientific truth of Copernicus was being opposed by a non-scientific religious and political system that felt threatened by that truth.

      That certainly wouldn’t have any parallels with today when wide swaths of scientific data, theory and analysis have to be abandoned, suppressed or shouted down in order to make global warming “go away”.

      Or would it?

      • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 03/31/2014 - 09:19 am.


        There was also no good way to verify Copernicus for many years until telescopes and other instruments became more advanced. Several of his colleagues were skeptical but the response in science is to set up an experiment to check the theory.

        Climate science is difficult to “prove” as “truth” because you can’t create a climate in a controlled laboratory experiment. We only have one Earth and performing uncontrolled experiments on it would be unwise. However, absolute “truth” is not necessary to draw informed conclusions. Man-made climate change is the best explanation for the observations. Extrapolation of the data becomes a bit of a thought experiment with some uncertainty but none of the potential futures if we do nothing are an improvement on the current situation. We can choose a different future for less cost than doing nothing.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/30/2014 - 01:11 pm.


      Ilya asks: “I am just wondering since when the truth in science is determined by which side the majority of scientist are on?”

      This is basic principle of scientific methodology, it’s been a basic model of modern science since modern science came into existence. It’s call a “scientific consensus” or sometimes a dominant scientific paradigm. This is NOT merely an opinion poll of scientists, consensus exists when multiple observations over a period of time confirm a theory thereby convincing a majority of scientist in the relevant field that the theory is legitimate. The consensus on climate change has existed since the 80s and the consensus on the human contribution to it followed later in the 90s. This is NOT the product of “debate”, it’s the product of increasingly reliable and repeated observations by multiple researchers.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/30/2014 - 04:24 pm.

        Still Waiting

        What does that “consensus” say regarding “severity” and “probability”?


        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/30/2014 - 04:51 pm.

          Still waiting?

          There is no consensus without a high degree of probability. You CAN look this up if you want to understand it better.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/30/2014 - 06:23 pm.


            Apparently there is some kind of consensus that you can not define. Interesting.

            • Submitted by Ben Munroe on 03/30/2014 - 07:33 pm.


              If the forecast calls for a 95% chance of rain, do you take an umbrella?

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/31/2014 - 09:40 am.

                It Depends

                How much rain are we expecting?
                How much does the umbrella cost me?

                Would you bring your umbrella if you had to buy one, it was 75 degrees, you were going to spend most of your time inside and only light spotty showers were expected?

                If the CAGW crowd’s fixes were free / convenient and the doom was certain, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Since they are EXPENSIVE and UNCERTAIN, severity, costs and likelihood matter.

                • Submitted by jason myron on 03/31/2014 - 03:25 pm.

                  How much does the umbrella cost me?

                  Substantially less than the sportcoat, slacks and shoes underneath it, I would think. Although, since you never fail to remind us about your affluence, your mileage may vary. As I stated before, if my car is acting up, I don’t avoid the issue until it gets worse and a minor bill turns into something catastrophic.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/31/2014 - 03:47 pm.

                    As I Answered Before

                    Do you replace your engine as soon as it starts to tick a little upon start up, or maybe use a little oil?

                    I am guessing not, because most people will not. Most people will make some minor adjustments, turn up the radio, monitor the issue, add some oil, etc. And only after they are certain the improvement is cost justified will they have the engine rebuilt, or buy a new car.

                    But maybe you just pay to fix things without knowing their severity, causation, likelihood, etc. If so I am sure your mechanic loves having you as a customer.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/31/2014 - 04:02 pm.

                      Completely disingenuious response.

                      I ascertain problems before they become catastrophic and engines need to be replaced….I stated that quite clearly. Deniers don’t want to make even the slightest adjustment to their lifestyle as they think there is no problem….hence your solution of turning up the radio. Just pretend it isn’t there… right, John? And I’m the one whose mechanic loves me? Too funny…

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/31/2014 - 05:08 pm.

                      No Such Thing

                      The overhaul/major bill you are suggesting for our energy infrastructure is equivalent to an engine overhaul, not a minor fix.

                      Raising MPG goals, adding alternative energy sources to the mix, reducing engine emissions, adding smoke stack scrubbers, improving energy efficiency of home devices, etc are all fixes that have been made at significant cost to the USA..

                      Yet the CAGW folks act like the USA has sat on their thumbs and done nothing… Interesting.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/31/2014 - 05:21 pm.

                      Its not enough

                      When it is, perhaps we’ll try and pat ourselves on the back. Considering we put ourselves here, it might be in less than good taste.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/31/2014 - 05:24 pm.

                      Just out of curiosity

                      Exactly what sort of repercussions would it take for you to be convinced action is needed? Not a loaded question, just interested in what sort of impacts would move the needle.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/31/2014 - 06:21 pm.

                      Interesting Question

                      It depends on how big of an overhaul/expense you are talking about?

                      Are you thinking back to horses? No fossil fuels at all? Other?

                      I’ll give it some thought.

                      My question for you to think about.
                      What triggerred the ices ages?
                      What does Earth do when it heats up too much?
                      We know it has cycled before.

                    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/31/2014 - 08:19 pm.


                      The world has indeed cycled before. Your post, however, misses two important points.

                      1. It has not cycled this fast. Typically it takes thousands of years at a minimum to cycle. At the moment we’re looking at a few decades to a few hundred years.

                      2. Previous cycles would have affected a few hundred thousand people at most; people who subsisted on a hunter/gatherer lifestyle. At the present time you’re looking at disrupting several billion people at a MINIMUM, people who have capital invested in substantial infrastructure.

                      I’m sorry, but why are you recycling old talking points?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/31/2014 - 10:37 pm.


                      1. I don’t care. (Mainly as it’s irrelevant due to the fact industrial society didn’t exist as a variable when they did) 2. See number 1 as it pertains to prior warming events. 3. I think you get the idea by now. Not being snarky, but in all honesty, I wonder if its possible for some folks to grasp the gravity of the situation. I’m all for healthy skepticism, but get real, when the ramifications take hold, things like ocean acidification and desertification of previously arable land, whether or not it costs too much to implement change will become laughable.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/01/2014 - 06:31 pm.

                      I Promise

                      to give your question more introspection than you gave mine…

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/01/2014 - 08:30 pm.


                      Does not imply a lack of introspection. I gave you an honest answer. In my opinion, most of this debate can be likened to standing around a burning building quarreling over who started it and who should put it out. Currently a couple of rooms are ablaze, the hoses stand at the ready, all that’s needed are some folks willing to turn them on. Or perhaps rather a lack of people standing around the hydrant preventing their use.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/31/2014 - 04:08 pm.

                      My Dad’s a mechanic

                      He loves folks like you John. Instead of acting proactively to to keep their cars in good shape, they ignore issues that arise, pretending they don’t exist perhaps, until the engine blows up. Works good for a guy fixing cars, not so much for the place we all live.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/31/2014 - 04:59 pm.

                      Ask your Dad

                      about my 2002 Suburban’s piston slap problem. My babies been ticking on start up for the last 10 years and 100,000+ miles. Sometimes a tick is just a tick, not a sign that the engine is failing.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/31/2014 - 05:18 pm.


                      Had an old Ranger that did the same thing, right up until the part where it didn’t run anymore. No accounting for luck. Then again we aren’t exactly nursing the old girl along, driving only 10k a year, the planet is more like an overloaded roofing truck, missing a few cylinders, a few shocks, that we instead think we should throw a few more ladders on. Then drive 100 down the freeway.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/31/2014 - 05:29 pm.

                      Figures you’d drive a Suburban

                      What’s your mileage…about 12 per? As for your piston slap, yeah, sometimes a tick is a tick, but most of the time, it’s not. Besides. I don’t want to equate our home planet to your poor choice in vehicles.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/31/2014 - 05:51 pm.

                      What happened to the Suburban? And didn’t you harm the American economy and help doom millions of workers to lower incomes through your purchasing of high-quality imported goods?

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/31/2014 - 08:02 am.


              Asked and answered John. I’m not going to start repeating myself just you can keep arguing.

  13. Submitted by rolf westgard on 03/30/2014 - 01:24 am.

    Then there is Warren Buffett

    Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is a major casualty insurer. Buffett said recently that there has been no increase in unusual weather events, and that their rates have not increased as a result, and that they don’t expect any future increase for several years. They have made excellent profits on hurricane insurance, because the past several years have been unusually quiet in that area.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/30/2014 - 11:37 am.

      Warren Buffett?

      Well, that settles it. And your reference to Buffet as an “expert” establishes your expertise… I can’t believe I doubted it.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/30/2014 - 09:09 pm.

      (quote)While he recognizes


      While he recognizes climate change is real, Buffett said it’s a difficult thing for Berkshire’s insurance operations to account for. Vice Chairman Charlie Munger added he thinks carbon-trading schemes are impractical. But Munger says higher gas taxes could have an impact, pointing to the steep levies on motor fuel in Europe. “I think the United States should have way higher taxes on motor fuel.”

      (end quote)

      As for another take on it:


      Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America. The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America. Anthropogenic climate change is believed to contribute to this trend, though it influences various perils in different ways. Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.

      The view that weather extremes are becoming more frequent and intense in various regions due to global warming is in keeping with current scientific findings, as set out in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as in the special report on weather extremes and disasters (SREX). Up to now, however, the increasing losses caused by weather related natural catastrophes have been primarily driven by socio-economic factors, such as population growth, urban sprawl and increasing wealth.

      The study provides new evidence for the emerging impact of climate change. For thunderstorm-related losses the analysis reveals increasing volatility and a significant long-term upward trend in the normalized figures over the last 40 years. These figures have been adjusted to account for factors such as increasing values, population growth and inflation. A detailed analysis of the time series indicates that the observed changes closely match the pattern of change in meteorological conditions necessary for the formation of large thunderstorm cells. Thus, it is quite probable that changing climate conditions are the drivers. The climatic changes detected are in line with the modeled changes due to human-made climate change.

      The Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit, Prof. Peter Höppe, commented: “In all likelihood, we have to regard this finding as an initial climate-change footprint in our US loss data from the last four decades. Previously, there had not been such a strong chain of evidence. If the first effects of climate change are already perceptible, all alerts and measures against it have become even more pressing.” Höppe continued that even without changing hazard conditions, increases in population, built-up areas and increasing values, particularly in hazard-prone regions, need to be on Munich Re’s risk radar. All stakeholders should collaborate and close ranks to support improved adaptation. In addition, climate change mitigation measures should be supported to limit global warming in the long term to a still manageable level. “As North America is particularly exposed to all kinds of weather risks, it especially would benefit from this”, added Höppe.

      (end quote)

      Perhaps, like a wise investor, the statements of the chairman at a stockholders meeting should be taken with a grain of salt, because…


      For example, doubling the carbon dioxide we belch into the atmosphere may far more than double the subsequent problems for society. Realizing this, the world properly worries about greenhouse emissions.

      (end quote)

      Warren Buffett–2009 WRITTEN editorial

  14. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/30/2014 - 11:08 am.

    Scientific truth

    Copernicus was not the only scientist at that time yet he was the one who came up with the new theory. So it was not only religious leaders who opposed him.

    The only difference between now and then is that now it the government which supports the new theory and gives money away…

    As for suppressing data, I believe it is actually the data which is contrary to the global warming which was suppressed – I hope people remember that.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/30/2014 - 02:40 pm.

      Copernicus was opposed by people who were willing to deny scientific evidence in order to maintain the status quo

      Sounds about the same now.

      Perhaps you could provide the poll that tells us of the majority of astronomers at that time that were opposed to a heliocentric planetary system for scientific reasons as compared to theological reasons?

      Do you have specifics on the data that was supposedly suppressed?

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/30/2014 - 02:46 pm.

      Oh, THIS suppression….


      NASA appointees suppressed climate data, report says

      WASHINGTON — Political appointees at NASA headquarters deliberately downplayed scientific evidence documenting global warming for political reasons for more than a year, the agency’s watchdog reported Monday.

      Kevin Winters, NASA’s assistant inspector general for investigations, outlined his findings in a 93-page report evaluating allegations that the agency’s public affairs specialists suppressed climate change science and denied National Public Radio access to Dr. James Hansen, a NASA scientist.

      The report was released as the shuttle Discovery docked in space with the space station to deliver a Japanese laboratory and spare parts to the facility.

      Winters said his investigation found that NASA headquarters’ public affairs specialists “managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public” from fall 2004 through early 2006.

      (end quote)

      Although it seems that this suppression was in order to MINIMIZE the effects of climate change…

  15. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/30/2014 - 05:21 pm.

    This Suppression

    Seriously, there is no consensus on global warming and there is scientific data showing it either way. Politically, however, one side is clearly winning…

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/30/2014 - 07:06 pm.

      It was apparent that the Carlin report was just an agglomeration of denial websites and talking point–no original research at all


      It turns out that the report, written by Alan Carlin, with assistance from John Davidson, of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, is drawn heavily from the contrarian blogosphere, especially Ken Gregory of the Calgary-based “astroturf” group Friends of Science.

      And in one case, a lengthy “analysis” of a recent peer-reviewed paper has been lifted, without attribution, straight out of World Climate Report, the climate “news” blog run by uber-contrarian Patrick Michaels.,,,

      (end qote)

      Regurgitating disproved and irrelevant blog opinions by others certainly is not new science, and the EPA not wholeheartedly endorsing cut-and-paste is certainly far from being suppressed.

      And as for your Wikipedia “scandal”- from your reference:


      Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.

      (end quote)

      It really is sadly pathetic of the people who believe only those that are paid to deceive them–the same disproved “scandals”–over and over, as regurgitated by PAID DENIALISTS— so easy for you to accept.

      Go ahead–pretend there is no consensus.

      Be led by the nose by people paid to tell you to ignore what is coming.

      At what point would you acknowledge the evidence of your own life?

    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/31/2014 - 06:38 am.

      If you think you’re winning

      that means that the planet is losing.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/31/2014 - 08:11 am.

    Debaters and circularity

    OK, so you see some deniers around here circling back to their refuted original positions because their argument has collapsed. I think the value of this exercise, and these comment discussions, is to realize that this isn’t just a comment board phenomena. We’ve seen presidential candidates do this, and we seen this “debate” fallacy ( i.e. pretending that debate is intellectual discourse rather than a game) seriously obstruct public policy regarding everything from voting rights to climate change.

    I think the way out of this is to expose “debate” as the collection of intellectual fallacies that it is.

  17. Submitted by Tom Karas on 03/31/2014 - 10:37 am.

    Quick- get the tin foil hats on…

    Yet another report that backs up the reality of climate change has hit the airwaves –

    Those grant funded scientists sure have one heck of a global public relations scheme going on……….

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/31/2014 - 12:03 pm.

      The denialists have to spend more on more smoke and bigger mirrors carried on the back of feebler messengers.

      It’s a good time for them to bank the big bucks.

      Who cares if the headline denialists are complete fools–their audience will eat whatever crap they serve and claim it is the best meal they ever ate.

  18. Submitted by John Appelen on 03/31/2014 - 09:07 pm.

    Matt, Jason and Jonathan

    Overloaded roofing truck… Maybe…

    14/18… Poor choice in vehicles? See below…

    My Suburban was built in Janesville WI by Union employees, The sticker in the door says so…

    My summer vehicle is foreign, HD does not build a Sport Touring model… It gets much better mileage than my toy hauler.

    A Prius wouldn’t do a very good job of hauling a wife, 3 kids, a dog and a boat… And it would employee almost NO American employees… Maybe it is a good choice in vehicles after all.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/01/2014 - 06:34 am.

      For what its worth

      As you seem to have the cash, a quad cab burning biodiesel would do nicely, if one were inclined to walk the talk.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/01/2014 - 08:58 am.

        5.5 More Years

        I become an empty nester and something like that is in my future. I am a farm boy at heart and will have equipment to haul around in my later years.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/01/2014 - 07:55 am.

      Is the Prius your go-to stereotype

      for non conservative vehicle choices? Speaking of stereotypes, thanks for posting the gear head equivalent of a private-part selfie. Although I can’t imagine anyone taking the time to click on the link, I’m sure that its inclusion generated numerous eye rolls….not the intended effect I’m guessing.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/01/2014 - 10:34 am.

        Thank you

        I am okay with the term Gearhead…

        The Prius is the original postercard for green folks, though my cycle gets similar MPG if I keep off the throttle. What non conservative vehicle choices would you pick, since you made fun of my Suburban?

        Maybe a Honda Civic, VW Jetta diesel, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza, Nissan Sentra, Mazda 323, Hyundai other? These are what my non-conservative friends often choose. None of them meet my requirements.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/02/2014 - 08:56 am.


      I read your original comment as ‘Subaru,’ NOT Suburban (even though I typed Suburban in my response). So, most definitely my mistake (I blame a sleepless night with the two-year-old). Apologies to John, though you can imagine why I was confused!

  19. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/03/2014 - 03:48 pm.

    The Hoses

    “Currently a couple of rooms are ablaze, the hoses stand at the ready, all that’s needed are some folks willing to turn them on. ”

    Matt, Do you truly believe the “necessary” changes are as inexpensive and easy as turning on a faucet? Just curious.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/03/2014 - 10:39 pm.

      Do you truly

      Believe that there is NO threat, that everything is hunky dory, or that the problem is simply not fixable? If not, how do you justify what is sure to be loss or life or livelihood for millions, perhaps more? Do the economics even matter if what is predicted occurs? Do you really want to find out? The best part of all is the fact that all this “cost” you’re concerned with will NEED to be paid someday, (fossil fuels will run out eventually) so it really become simply a matter of selfishness for us, who won’t probably see the full effects of climate change, wanting to push the pain as far out as possible instead of stepping up to fix it now. Conservatives are more than willing to dish out the pain for something so foolish as trimming meaningless debt, but not for actually potentially saving lives, I just find it mind boggling.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/04/2014 - 01:58 pm.


        I believe:

        – There is some threat to the USA from climate change. It is likely some adaptation will be required.

        – The USA should continue to make continuing steady progress to improve. We are a lot “greener” than we were in 1970, though one would think we have made no progress based on the comments on this post.

        – The ever growing national debt is a bigger threat to the future of the USA and her citizens, than global warming is. So yes the economic analysis matters.

        – Not changing fast enough to stop CAGW could possibly make life harder for my children. Selfishly spending and increasing the USA’s National Debt will absolutely positively make life worse for my children.

        So does this mean that you believe the 97% believe in CAGW. C standing for CATASTROPHIC… The book of Revelations type stuff… I haven’t had anyone clearly help me understand what that 97% believe.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/04/2014 - 02:44 pm.

          Point number 3 etc…

          Why? Please explain why it is that the debt, which your side has been playing chicken little on since Climate Change was a twinkle in some scientist’s eye, is suddenly now going to cause catastrophic damage.Explain the certainity you’re able to take with THIS complex and variable issue. You’ve (fiscal conservatives that is) been saying it for years, pushing punishing austerity for years, crying to the roof tops about the Weimar republic and Greece and China somehow sending over debt collectors to break our knee caps and none of it, NONE of it, has ever happened. In fact the only financial calamity we’ve seen has come from the excesses of the very private sector you champion. But yet somehow you KNOW its real, you’ve got charts and indices and experts to confirm your opinion, any opposing viewpoints are exorcised as hogwash. You take it as a matter of faith that the debt must be reduced “or else”. Now let’s bring it back full circle, do you see why those of us on the other side of thevClimate issue might find this a bit frustrating? Why when the other side (generally conservative) scoffs at evidence and calls US chicken littles it might be a bit grating. I think your position on the debt problem is overstated, so shall I start a movement to discredit it as a vast global conspiracy? As to your final point, do you like breathing? If some of the changes predicted to happen to the ocean occur, ie acidification (which is already being seen in things like reef collapse) and the phytoplankton are impacted, a little money will be the least of our concerns. As for the other impacts, desertification is already an issue in parts of Africa, and the loss in yields for existing crops could be devastating world wide. Beyond the impacts on us, the impacts on non human species will also be immense if through nothing else than habitat loss or alteration. To reference your earlier point, no one is looking to go back to horses, but just think where we might be today if thirty years ago we hadn’t abandoned research into alternatives, NASA was using fuel cells in the 60’s for Pete’s sake. Instead your guy Ronnie put us on stasis for decades while we pretended that the earth was invincible to our polluting arrogance. I don’t know about what ever percentage you wish to name believes, but that’s what I do.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/04/2014 - 04:57 pm.


            And I respect your beliefs, even though I may not agree with them.

            Keep up the good fight and have a great weekend !!!

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