In 1998, the global mean temperature was 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In 2012, it was 58.2 degrees. That’s a 0.1 degree decrease. Look, I disproved global warming! Hummers for everyone!
As ridiculous as it sounds, that simplistic analysis is the basis for one of most frequently cited critiques of climate science. Indeed, any time I write about global warming an email rebuttal arguing the globe hasn’t heated in 15 years reliably lands in my inbox.
Those readers are likely taking their talking points from the many professional climate deniers who repeat this inaccuracy as often as possible, including in op-eds in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.
“Warming ended 15 years ago, and global temperatures have stopped increasing since then, if not actually cooled, even though global CO2 emissions have soared over this period,” wrote Peter Ferrara, director of entitlement and budget police at the Heartland Institute, in a representative Forbes.com piece.