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April 16, 2013

The new climate deniers

There are few things sadder than the "climate denier." He ignores the data and neglects the latest science. His rhetoric and policy proposals are dangerously disconnected from reality. He can't recalibrate to take account of the latest evidence because, well, he's a denier.

The new climate deniers are the liberals who, despite their obsession with climate change, have managed to miss the biggest story in climate science, which is that there hasn't been any global warming for about a decade and a half.

"Over the past 15 years, air temperatures at the Earth's surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar," The Economist magazine writes. "The world added roughly 100 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750."

Yet, no more warming.

The Economist has been decidedly alarmist on global warming through the years, so it deserves credit for pausing to consider why the warming trend it expected to continue has mysteriously stalled out.

The deniers feel no such compunction. They speak as if it is still the late 1990s, when measurements of global temperature had been rising for two decades. In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said that "we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it's too late." In a passage devoted to global warming, though, he didn't mention the latest trend in global warming.

A denier feels the same righteous sense of certitude now, when warming has stopped, as he did a decade ago.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently opined that "sensible people accept the fact of warming" - but apparently not the fact of no warming. He scorned those "who manipulate the data in transparently bogus ways to claim that warming has halted or even reversed course." Does he include James Hansen, the famous NASA scientist, among these dastardly manipulators? No one this side of Al Gore has warned as persistently about global warming as Hansen. He nonetheless admits that "the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade."

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