Hats off to Steve McIntyre, the most effective foot soldier in the campaign to deny or downplay climate change.
Having spent the rest of August on holidays - too much of it in a Toronto traffic jam - I have been ignoring the DeSmogBlog (my apologies) and the climate change debate generally. Except for the traffic part, it's been glorious.
Now I see that the resourceful “semiretired” mining analyst McIntyre has scored again with a statistical quibble over how NASA keeps its temperature records.
This, for the denial community, has been a clean kill. The blogs, as I read back over the month, have been alive the argument over the importance of 1998 or 1934 as the hottest year on record. Hacks and flaks like Tim Ball and Tom Harris have been crowing about “faulty data” underpinning the “global warming scare,” and legitimate science sources like RealClimate.org have been reduced to minimizing the importance of McIntyre's discovery.
And in the midst of this torrid and mostly pointless debate, everyone has stopped talking about what we should be doing about the problem. Notwithstanding the chilling bits of evidence - the unprecedented collapse in Arctic sea ice, for example - we have gone back, once again, to arguing over whether there IS a problem.
So, congratulations to McIntyre, et al. It must be a real pleasure for them to be able to say things like “Four of the 10 warmest years on record are now acknowledged to have occurred when human production of CO2 was minimal, in the 1930s.” That leaves only six of the warmest years on record (McIntyre might call that a statistically significant majority) left over to prove the point:
Folks, we need to move on.