Climate change 'hiatus': Scientists seek to qualify evidence of apparent global warming slowdown

International panel fear sceptics will pounce on data that suggests global warming has decreased since 1998, despite rising greenhouse gas emissions

Scientists are certain that humans are causing climate change, despite an apparent 15 year 'hiatus' in global warming
Scientists are certain that humans are causing climate change, despite an apparent 15 year 'hiatus' in global warming

Authors of a landmark UN report on climate change remain adamant that humans are heating up the planet by burning fossil fuels and cutting down CO2-absorbing forests, despite data from the report suggesting a purported slowdown in global warming over the past 15 years.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) full 127-page document - due for release in Stockholm next week - is expected to suggest the link between human activity and global warming is clearer than ever, regardless of the recent lower rate of warming.

In a draft leaked in June, the IPCC said that while the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 was about half the average rate since 1951, the globe is still heating up in the long term.

The leaked report qualified the apparent slowdown by citing natural variables in the climate system, the cooling effects from volcanic eruptions and the fact that an uncommonly hot year was picked as the starting point for the 15-year chart.

“Barring a major volcanic eruption, most 15-year global mean surface temperature trends in the near-term future will be larger than during 1998-2012,” a technical summary from the report said.

“Fifteen-year-long hiatus periods are common,” it added.

The Associated Press says it has obtained comments made to the IPCC by several governments concerned with how to tackle the apparently anomalous data.

Germany called for the 15 year slowdown to be dismissed as a blip, saying climate change needed to be measured in decades and centuries, rather than smaller intervals.

Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for the statistics, citing the exceptionally warm temperature of the year, while Hungary were concerned the finding would be fodder for global warming sceptics.

Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for the IPCC, said: “a comprehensive picture of all the science relevant to climate change, including the thousands of pieces of scientific research published since the last report in 2007 up to earlier this year.”

Conclusions reached by the IPCC are significant as they provide the basis for UN discussions on the treatment of CO2 emissions and other greenhouses gases. A global climate treaty is scheduled to be reached in 2015.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in