Could the slowdown in global warming be coming to an end? Some scientists think it may be – and not just because 2014 looks like being the hottest year ever in Britain, Europe and the world.
If they are right, much of the slanging match that passes for the climate change debate is likely to move onto new ground. Sceptics have long cited the decade-and-a-half long “hiatus” in the rise in global surface temperatures – which has taken place even as emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have continued remorselessly to increase, and was not predicted by the computer models used by climate scientists – as demonstrating that the two cannot be connected. The scientists retort that the laws of physics dictate both that the amount of heat entering the Earth’s system has gone on increasing as emissions have grown, and that – since it cannot have disappeared – it must have gone somewhere.
Can’t wait to find out myself.
My own suspicion, and it really is only a suspicion as I’ve no relevant scientific knowledge here, is that there’s been some mis-estimating of feedback mechanisms. Agreed, there are positive such. But there are also negative such: must be or the planet would already be like Venus. And my suspicion is that those negative ones (heck, I dunno, carbon build up in the soil perhaps?) are rather larger than current calculations show.
A carbon tax is still the answer, even if only for Marty Weizman’s insurance reasons, and the UK already has one of those so we’re done and dusted.
But that is my suspicion. The negative feedbacks are being under-counted.