The Climate Change Hangover

Let’s assume that the Obama administration and Congress get their act together this year and make good on their pledge of enacting meaningful climate legislation by establishing the nation’s first cap-and-trade system.

Let’s further assume, for the sake of argument, that the administration, working with its international partners, succeeds in drafting a robust successor to the Kyoto Protocol at the climate talks in Copenhagen later this year.

If we accept that the U.S. climate bill, known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), will accomplish its goal of bringing down emission levels 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050—which is nothing to sneeze at when you consider that a substantial fraction of policymakers (including some Democrats) vehemently oppose the measure—then the question becomes: Will it be enough to prevent the worst of climate change?

Hot or Not? Making Sense of Climate Variability

To say that climate know-nothings like to pick and choose when it comes to interpreting the science is something of an understatement.

Prominent” – and I use the term loosely here – deniers like Dennis Avery, S. Fred Singer and Michael Asher have made a cottage industry of playing loose with the numbers and extrapolating short-term trends to make sweeping statements about global warming (see: one unusually cold month means global warming is over).

Which is why I have a feeling this study (sub. required), entitled “Has the climate recently shifted?” (which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters), will catch many a denier’s eye. The main takeaway from this study is that there is a significant degree of variability in our climate system, and that, even though we may be entering a period of warming “stasis,” long-term trends still point to significant warming due to anthropogenic forcing.

Subscribe to temperatures