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. But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. 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.The answer is that no-one really knows what's going on, as the article admits. Some say this, others say that, and many of them aren't troubled by any doubts. Which is about what you'd expect when dealing with complex matters such as predicting the course of human history or economic trends, next week's weather or the winner of a horse race, the box office success of a movie or the destiny of the globe. Forecasting has always been tricky, expecially forecasting the future, as they say.
So what on Earth is going on?
Which doesn't mean one shouldn't try, nor that there's no possible benefit in trying. Yet a modicum of modesty usually won't hurt, either. Even the things we're really convinced of, really really convinced, either will or won't prove true; most likely, something quite unforseen will happen.
Before you lambast me for being a reactionary Neanderthal, allow me to repeat what I've said on this matter in the past. Pouring chemicals into the atmosphere is a bad idea for what it does, even if it isn't cooking the poor polar bears. Doing something about it should be by inventing better ways, not wagging fingers. If it's cheaper and more convenient not to pollute, no-one will.