We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The BBC wonders what happened to global warming

BBC Climate correspondent Paul Hudson asks What happened to global warming?:

This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

No surprise to me about those dates. But yes indeed, big surprise that a BBC person is saying this.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

No matter how hard we tried.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on?

What indeed? This is not the usual BBC line, is it? Whatever your opinion of A(nthropogenic) G(lobal) W(arming) – mine has for quite a while been that it is wall-to-wall made-up nonsense – I think you will agree that this is quite a moment, as is further illuminated by the fact that Instapundit has just linked to the above piece. Which is how I just heard about it.

I wonder if the BBC feels inclined to switch to being AGW-skeptic in order to try to make difficulties for David Cameron – stirring up his own party’s AGW skeptics against him etc. David Cameron has swallowed the AGW argument whole, or at least pretended to. With that man, you never really know what he really believes. Apart from believing in David Cameron, David Cameron probably doesn’t know himself what he really believes, and probably never will.

But I digress. Mainly I just have a question. Is it right that this marks a big shift for the BBC, or have I not been paying attention properly? This is entirely possible. I don’t follow this debate religiously, and certainly do not know the names of all the key players on this topic in the mainstream media. Maybe Hudson has been a known unreliable for some time. But whatever the truth of that, I will certainly keep my eyes and ears open for what others, especially people like Bishop Hill, make of this, in the days and weeks ahead.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VKEmail this to someone

33 comments to The BBC wonders what happened to global warming

  • This too shall pass.

  • veryretired

    Some big wheel climatologist from Europe just wrote an article stating that the current cooling trend may last another 20 or 30 years.

    I just read another article discussing the current cooling phase of the world’s oceans, which, oddly enough, seem to go back and forth from warmer to cooler on a roughly 30 year cycle.

    My guess is that the evidence is now so compelling that the warming phase has paused significantly that the prophets of doom are backfilling desperately in order to justify further predictions of disastrous warming based on the models that didn’t predict this cooling phase.

    I am not, by the way, a global warming denier. The earth has been warming from about 1800 onwards as it emerged from the Little Ice Age, and this warming trend is generally continuing, in pulses, up to the present day.

    What I disagree with is the all too convenient use of this fact by those for whom any excuse to increase state controls on peoples’ lives, and livelihood, is the big brass ring.

    I have been listening to, and judging the validity of, any number of little chickens running around clucking about the imminent collapse of the sky for most of my life.

    Surprisingly, the sky is still there, and tomorrow morning the sun will rise again in the east and light it up for another fall day full of ordinary people living their lives and trying to take care of their families.

    It is the welfare of that groups’ members which concerns me, not the chattering of an international chorus of doom whose endless song is that some terrible force will destroy us all unless everyone lets them tell us what to do and how to live.

    Been there, done that.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    It went down the Tube?


  • the other rob

    I wouldn’t get my hopes up. The man is still using Watermelon language to frame the context. The last paragraph is:

    One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.

  • lucklucky

    There is too low variability in Climate long trends for the weak tools and knowledge we have to extract any relevant information.

  • Dispelling the Global Warming Myth

    I have collected some articles about the flawed science supporting Global Warming. They are clear and convincing to me. Maybe they can add to the debate, or add references for pleasant arguments with the believers.

    The most recent revelation about global warming is about the tree ring data underlying past estimates of Earth’s temperature going back 2,000 years. It seems that the whole warming trend is based on just 10 tree cores from Siberia! These cores have been chosen from about 200, without explanation by the reporting scientist. Other studies are derived from this one.

    This tree core data has been promoted in favor of global warming, despite the fact that it contradicts historical accounts and archeological data supporting past warm and cold periods with greater temperature variation than in modern times.

  • Pa Annoyed

    The fact that it got published is new and significant, although the BBC have been hedging their bets slightly for some time now with the ‘Blog of Bloom’.

    But I’m not convinced yet that it is an institutional shift, so much as that mavericks are no longer being squashed and silenced quite so vigorously. The journalist in question was a meteorologist weatherman on one of the regional services (Look North, I think) and meteorologists (as opposed to climatologists) are frequently sceptics. You can expect their main line of coverage to continue to be pro-AGW.

    Given the amount of attention this is attracting – it was on Tom Nelson’s list fairly early, Morano’s put it up as a the headline at Climate Depot, and the Drudge Report had it up too – the BBC will no doubt be getting many emails from Jo Abbess and her ilk demanding its retraction. It would be easy for them to say it was a mistake that got past an inattentive editor and send the weatherman back to Gaul.

    But yes, the cracks are starting to appear. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an accident that it got through, and that even the BBC weathermen can see which way the wind is blowing.
    Before you know it, we will have always been at war with Eastasia.

  • jay

    Tree ring data has been used as an analogue for historical temperature data. The scientific papers that have published in prestigious journals using this method have recently been exposed as flawed.
    ‘Scientist researchers’ cherry picked data which supported the ‘hockey stick’ graph of temperature increase so often referred by AGW alarmists such as Al Gore.
    This explains why the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ and the current decreasing temperatures must be ignored if carbon dioxide is to believed as a major cause of Global Warming.
    The ‘scientists’ and the peer-reviewed journals involved have prostituted themselves.
    Shills for carbon taxes!


  • PA

    Thanks. I often do postings here which are not really about what they might appear to be about. This posting was about the BBC line on AGW, rather than about AGW itself. And you answered it as thoroughly as a brief comment could. Not that I mind if people carry on rowing about AGW, but that wasn’t what I was personally asking.

    As for your Eastasia point at the end, that will be harder to do now, won’t it?, in an age where the internet remembers what you said five or ten years ago.

    In general, I think the switch from monolithic AGW to admitting that the debate is “hotting up” (actually it has been hotting up for some time – unlike the climate) is a big shift. This will certainly make all who have been claiming that “the debate is over – the science is settled” look like the evil and/or stupid and ignorant prunes that they are.

  • Pa Annoyed


    Yes, it’ll be harder to do, but no harder than it was to push the global warming scare in the face of all the scepticism on the internet in the first place. Despite what some bloggers have been saying, the internet hasn’t taken over from MSM quite yet.

    And for that matter, many of the previous scares were debunked, and to absolutely no effect, too. The information was available, people just ignored it. There’s a Wired article titled ‘The Doomslayer’ about Prof. Julian Simon that’s very interesting in this regard. I regard CAGW as just one in a long line of similar scares – more successful than most, but not that much more – that have appeared and disappeared.

    When they go, there is no Grand Debunking, the media simply gradually stops reporting it. After several years, few people remember it, or notice it has gone. It’s all about the new scare. Most seem to assume the old one was somehow “solved”, and the fact that it was found to be untrue all along never enters the mainstream. I’ve even found many modern free-market sceptics who continue to believe in past myths, because it’s just one of those “everybody knows” things, that people say, and nobody contradicts, so you just assume it must be true.

    Some people have said that this one has been so high profile that nobody will be able to ignore its collapse. But so were some of the others, and yet people did. George Orwell wasn’t exaggerating by all that much – people really do behave like that, and have done for a long time. Other authors have noted the effect too (Fnord!). 🙂

    I do plan to have an extended bout of “I TOLD YOU SO!”s, but I don’t expect it to have any impact. Who today has heard of Julian Simon? Or ‘The Ultimate Resource’? And quite sensible people are even now still telling me overpopulation is a problem. The memory hole is not about whether the record exists, but about whether anybody pays it any attention. That’s what doublethink is for. Why go to the effort of deleting it physically, when people have such a mental blind spot that you can hide such things out in plain sight?

  • Stonyground

    I started drifting into the sceptic camp after reading ‘Scared To Death’ by Christopher Booker and Richard North. This book dissects all the panics of the last thirty odd years and the fact that I can remember them and have lived long enough to see the predicted disasters not happen was fairly convincing.

    I can actually remember going on a trip to Scotland for my job about ten years ago. When I came down from my hotel room in the morning I was so surprised to see the blanket of overnight snow that I actually exclaimed “Ooh snow!” in a somewhat startled voice. The receptionist gave me a very strange look and I explained that I had not seen snow for years, that it doesn’t snow in England any more, which at that time was true. Last year was quite a cold winter and I have been wondering how the media are going to handle it if it keeps happening.

  • PA, that’s exactly what I meant by my first (very short – was tired) comment above. Thank you for putting it into a few more words:-) I am just extremely curious what the next BIG SCARE might be.

  • Pa Annoyed


    I discussed that in comments here. 🙂

  • M-M-MaD ROTFL!!! You’ve outdone yourself there PA:-) Now, as much as it pains me to say, that post needs to be deleted without a trace, before the meme spreads like a wild…magnetic field, I guess. Someone alert Nick before he’s off to his holiday.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Thanks Alisa!

    But if you do that, how ever will I be able to say “I told you so!”?

  • Alice

    Remember — the point about the trumped-up unscientific scare of alleged Anthropogenic Global Warming is to get “Cap on Trade” passed, and carbon taxes, and mandates against barbecuing meat, and ….

    The “science” of alleged AGW will be soon forgotten — but the taxes & regulations will last forever. And that is the whole point.

  • PA, you won’t be able to say so anyhow. They would not listen, they’re not listening still, perhaps they never will:-)

  • Pa Annoyed

    Yes, Alisa, I know. 🙁

    Did you know, since it was first measured in 1835 by Gauss, the Earth’s magnetic field has faded by about 10%? It’s true.

    And of course, that was about when we started using electricity, wasn’t it? Spooky coincidence…

  • Pa Annoyed

    Oh, Crikey! Maybe people have noticed!

    It will be interesting to see the official reaction.

  • No, I did not! And for how long exactly did you plan to keep this particular piece of information to yourself? SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!

    Alice: yes, of course, but it goes much beyond that. There are entire businesses (not to mention NGOs) based solely on this idiocy. Can you say ‘over my dead accountant’?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Sorry, we seem to have crossed over.

    I’ve known about the magnetic field decline for many years. But I was silenced by Big Coil, the magnet makers. It’s a conspiracy!

    We may all be being a little too enthusiastic and excited over a single article. There was one before, if you remember, but somebody called Jo Abbess wrote in, and got them to change the news. After last time, she presumably won’t boast about it on her website, this time.

  • Well, I am now going back to my first comment…

  • Better late than never. It’s about time the MSM caught up.

  • Paul Marks

    My instinct is still to go along with the majority of scientists who say that C02 emissions are a problem (although I find it hard to understand why, if this is so, most activists and politicians like Barack Obama are not campaigning to remove the regulations that cripple the nuclear industry).

    However, I would have a hard job finding convincing arguments for the people in large parts of the American West who are now facing the lowest temperatures on record for Ocotober.

    An October a bit cooler than previous Octobers is not a problem (temperatures fluctuate – one looks at the trend over time), but the lowest temperatures for a century or so?

  • Pa Annoyed


    The very visible failure of politicians and activists to practice what they preach is one of the strongest arguments for suspecting they don’t actually believe it themselves.

    But there is in fact a very easy argument for why low temperatures in the mid-West are no indication of anything. The problem is, the AGW proponents have poisoned their own well by seizing on every hot weather incident as incontrovertible evidence of AGW. They’ve done it so often that people now think that’s what AGW predicts. So when it doesn’t happen, it seems like an obvious falsification.

    The truth is that if you look at the average temperature in any one place over the months, it goes up and down above/below the expected by plus or minus ten degrees C or more – it always has. It’s incredibly noisy. And the only way to pick out such a tiny signal is to average globally over a period of decades. Climate change (so far) simply cannot be detected at any local, short-term scale.

    But you never get to see those graphs. You only get to see the graph of the smoothed global average. And you constantly get told that there is real evidence of perceptible change that people can see, that is affecting people now.

    There isn’t, which is why sensible sceptics know that a cold winter doesn’t really mean anything. But the AGW propagandists have made their bed, so now we’re going to let them lie in it. Rub their noses in it, even. Let them explain how they’ve been lying all this time. Their evident shiftiness in the face of this reversal will work wonders for their public credibility.

  • smallbiz

    Paul Hudson refers to the work of Piers Corbyn.
    I urge you to watch this video of Piers being interviewed on Sky. Its interesting on many levels. I particularly enjoyed it when the reporter suggests that Piers is ‘playing into the hands of climate change sceptics’.

    If anyone has any doubts that Paul Hudson was a believer , they should visit this site http://www.coolkidsforacoolclimate.com/Climate%20Change%20News/Hudson.htm, which should be preserved for posterity as a warning about the dangers of scientific scare stories.

  • Nuke Gray

    Here in Aus, we have had a strange September, weather-wise.
    Sydney had the hottest September on record, going back 150 years. I was thinking ‘darn, global warming IS kicking in!’. But then, a letter in The Australian pointed out that Perth, on the opposite side of the country, had just gone through its’ coldest September on record!
    And the rains that should have cooled Sydney in September were squashed into the first ten days of October, giving us a cooler start, and we also had extra snow up in the Snowy Mountains.
    How’s the snow in england these days?

  • We were just hit by two very strong storms two weeks ago. we never had that in decades. They left our country with still so many flooded areas, a lot were homeless and lost so many loved ones. The effect of those twin storm were devastating. And the news says its all because of global warming.

  • K

    Might I suggest that the powers that be in both the BBC and PBS in the US have realized that a new wind is going to be blowing soon and they’d better start to at least appear to be bi-partisan if their funding is going to survive.

    Personally, I’m for doing an accounting of their bias, then defunding any government broadcasting service that uses taxpayer’s money to advance the government’s agenda. Not only is it corrupt, it’s dangerous.

  • Paul Marks

    Duely noted Pa Annoyed.

  • Pa Annoyed

    For anyone interested in seeing how noisy the data is, you can see what’s currently hot and what’s not by clicking here and then clicking on “anomaly” on the bar at the top. The ‘anomaly’ is the difference from the long-term average for the location and time of year. It’s averaged over a whole month (and there’s not always a satellite overhead) so it tends to smooth/blur the peaks a bit already. Few hot or cold spells last the whole month at full intensity. It’s also the average over a thick layer of the atmosphere within a few kilometres of the ground, rather than the actual surface temperature, which is noisier. You can page back to see past data, too.

    As you can see, it’s generally the case that there are large parts of the world still colder than average by several degrees C, and these constantly move around. You can’t look at a hot or cold spell somewhere and deduce global warming, or otherwise. Unless you’re a journalist on a mission, of course.

  • To Hayek With You

    It is sad when we have to rely upon the happenstance of having a cold snap to get people to pay attention to the fact that you can’t predict the weather. Climate, as we are told is different than weather. What we are not told is that climate is even more difficult to predict.

    You will find a lower percentage of people with science degrees believe all of the global warming hype than the populace as a whole. We don’t have a laboratory in which to study such things and the time scale over which we have been measuring is not statistically significant. Any scientist worthy of the name will tell you as much.

    The first thing you learn in thermodynamics is that you can’t solve for the temperature of an open system with unknown boundary conditions. That we are being told we must reorder our lives because of failed attempts to do exactly that is absurd. Belief in the catastrophe of AGW persists mainly because decent systems of education do not.