Opinion and Editorial

Has global warming stopped?

Filed on October 16, 2012

FORMER AMERICAN president George W. certainly isnít articulate. But while the Republican leader might have said countless stupid things during his tenure, his scepticism regarding global warming should not be dismissed as pure nonsense.

In the 2000 US presidential debate, he earned the ire of many environmentalists and civil society groups when he had said, “Some of the scientists, I believe, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming? There’s a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s taking place.”

Twelve years later, his statement actually seems quite true. While recent scientific studies have been warning people that the Arctic is melting at record-breaking speed, a new report by the UK Met office dampens the predictions of environmental doom by claiming that global warming, in fact, stopped 16 years ago. The report, which bases its findings on scientific computer models, asserts that since the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was actually no discernable increase in aggregate global temperatures.

The scientific study, compiled from more than 3000 measuring points on land and sea, was released quietly on the Internet, without any accompanying media furore. But its results are highly arguable and controversial because they dismiss a plethora of research signifying a warming planet. In fact, experts declared 2010 the hottest year — a claim that is quite obviously refuted by the findings of the report. UK newspaper Daily Mail quoted experts saying that the results were based on high flawed computer models.

But when both camps are supposedly using scientific models and mathematical figures to corroborate their arguments, which side should the policy-makers and public believe? Perhaps it’s this disagreement amongst climate scientists that has actually thwarted concerted global action in the area of global warming. In spite of many global fora — like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change — global warming is a sphere that has witnessed very little action by the international community. And that’s partially because there’s little agreement over the scope and seriousness of the phenomenon that we are facing.

So as the scientists keep bickering among themselves about global warming, environmental unfriendliness on a global level will continue unchecked and at least one Bushism will continue to hold resonance.

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