The Met Office issued a press release claiming it was misleading, before quietly admitting a few days later that it was true that the world had not got significantly warmer since 1997 after all. A Guardian columnist wondered how we could be ‘punished’.
But then last week, the rest of the media caught up with our report. On Tuesday, news finally broke of a revised Met Office ‘decadal forecast’, which not only acknowledges the pause, but predicts it will continue at least until 2017. It says world temperatures are likely to stay around 0.43 degrees above the long-term average – as by then they will have done for 20 years.
This is hugely significant. It amounts to an admission that earlier forecasts – which have dictated years of Government policy and will cost tens of billions of pounds – were wrong. They did not, the Met Office now accepts, take sufficient account of ‘natural variability’ – the effects of phenomena such as ocean temperature cycles – which at least for now are counteracting greenhouse gas warming.
Surely the Met Office would trumpet this important news, as it has done when publishing warnings of imminent temperature rises. But there was no fanfare. Instead, it issued the revised forecast on the ‘research’ section of its website – on Christmas Eve. It only came to light when it was noticed by an eagle-eyed climate blogger, and then by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the think-tank headed by Lord Lawson.
Then, rather than reporting the news objectively, Britain’s Green Establishment went into denial. Neither The Guardian nor The Independent bothered to report it in their paper editions, although The Independent did later run an editorial saying that the new forecast was merely a trivial ‘tweak’. Instead, they luridly reported on the heatwave and raging bushfires in Australia.
One of the curious features of Green journalism is that if it gets unusually cold, this will be dismissed as mere ‘weather’ of no significance, while a heatwave or violent storm will be seized on as a warning that catastrophic climate change is already here.
Where the new forecast was mentioned on the BBC and other websites, experts were marshalled to reassure apocalypse-hungry readers that the end of the world was just as nigh as before. A warming hiatus of a mere 20 years, they said, was nothing.
This would all be faintly humorous, if it wasn’t so deadly serious. Back in 2007, when the Labour Government was preparing what became the Climate Change Act, far from being neutral, the Met Office made a blatant attempt to influence political debate.
In a glossy brochure, it revealed it had a ‘new sy