The liberal leaning Guardian might not be the normal British newspaper of choice for News Limited columnists Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman but they both should soon be quoting from it for on Friday it carried a story that is right up the alley of climate change sceptics. "2008 will be coolest year of the decade" said the headline above a report on a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released this week by the Met Office. Both Messrs Bolt and Akerman have drawn attention to temperatures as calculated by the British Met Office being lower than the peak reading of 1998 from then until 2007. The 2008 reading will provide them with further ammunition with which to question the whole notion of global warming.
The Guardian itself was at pains to quote Dr Peter Stott, the manager of understanding and attributing climate change at the Met Office's Hadley Centre, saying the relatively chilly temperatures compared with recent years are not evidence that global warming is slowing. "Absolutely not," said Dr Stott. "If we are going to understand climate change we need to look at long-term trends."
Readers can draw their own conclusion about the long term trend from the graph.
For my own part I note that 2008 will still turn out to be warmer than any year in the 1980s but with growing doubts about the capacity of the countries of the world to reach agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions I live in hope that there is something more than a temporary halt in that upward trend line.