The end of the “hiatus”

Graham Lloyd in the Oz (not going to link) is pretty upset about the latest research showing that there is no significant difference between the rate of global warming over the 15 years since 2000 and that over the 50 years 1950 to 2000. The finding is the result of some corrections to data on sea surface temperatures, with the result that the estimated temperature at the beginning of the period is higher (so warming since 1950 is lower) and the fact that the period since 2014 has been the warmest on record.

Lloyd and others have popularized the term “hiatus” to refer to the slowdown which could at least plausibly be found in the data prior to this update and correction. Climate denialists capitalized on the ambiguity in this term to keep alive their beloved, but long discredited, “no warming since 1998, no significant warming since 1995” talking point.

For those interested, there’s a good analysis at Real Climate.

52 thoughts on “The end of the “hiatus”

  1. Faust, drawing down and sequestering 5 billion tonnes of atmospheric CO2 a year using biochar would probably require at least two Australias, so no one is likely to try that.

  2. Peter, with a $100 a tonne carbon price little or no natural gas would be used for electricity generation. That is clear from current costs of wind and solar generation. And their costs will continue to decline. And given the rapidly declining cost of electric cars it is clear that we can eliminate most oil use from transportation if we wish too, even though current electric cars on the market still command a premium over conventional vehicles. Now it is true that if all the various subsidies around the world that exist for electric cars were suddenly removed and replaced with just a $100 a tonne carbon tax, the electric car market would be in a pickle, but that’s not likely to happen and they will continue to come down in price. So with a $100 a tonne carbon price there’s not going to be a lot of CO2 emissions left to mop up, if the goal is to go carbon neutral. If the goal is to cut emissions by 80% which is sufficient for natural carbon sinks to start to draw down the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere, then obviously that is much easier to accomplish.

    And by the way, all else equal, if we suddenly devoted 3% of global GDP to building pyramids or something, after a period of adjustment wouldn’t that just reduce growth by 3%?

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