Has climate change "paused"? Nope.

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Lisa Winter

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196 Has climate change "paused"? Nope.

It has become a rallying cry among climate change deniers that Earth’s climate is not presently increasing, but instead is at a plateau. Because of that, according to the deniers, humans do not need to be worried about any effects that emissions have on the Earth. It absolves humans of a great deal of wrongdoing, because they think that what we do really doesn’t matter. This is dead wrong, and a new video and study from Kevin Cowton of York University explains why. Cowton and his colleague Robert Way have taken the erroneous report to task and have answered back with their own study that was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

Much like Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent data about vaccines being harmful spun a wave of chaos among the lay audience, those who do not believe in a changing climate have clung to a report that is filled with errors, omissions, and great liberty when interpreting statistics. The report released this summer from the UK’s Met Office claims that there has been no meaningful increase of temperature over the last 15 years, which means that the climate is stable, not changing. If reports of an increasing temperature are wrong, then other information related to human activity affecting the planet can be called into question as well. The Met Report made the claim that climate change has paused based only on ground surface temperatures, but not even using complete data. There is no data for Africa or the Arctic, which is taking the brunt of climate change in the form of decreased ice volume. 


Cowton and Way include these key areas in their report using satellite data and run more comprehensive models of climate change that were twice as accurate as those laid out by the Met Office. While the Met Office’s report shows no increase of global temperatures over a 15 year timespan, the new report with a more complete data set shows that there is barely a pause at all, which certainly would not indicate that climate change is on hold or nonexistent, as some may claim. 

Even though the surface of the ocean may not be experiencing great change, the deep waters are growing hotter, which threatens a great deal of biodiversity. When taking the vast amount of information into account, it is undeniable that climate change is happening. Instead of arguing about its existence, we should be coming together and figuring out what can and should be done about it.


  • tag
  • climate change,

  • denial,

  • rebuttal