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Copenhagen: leaks and peaks

Daniel Cressey; cross-posted from The Great Beyond

As world leaders sweat in Copenhagen and climate sceptics continue to crow over stolen emails, the World Meteorological Organization has announced that 2009 is likely to be one of the 10 warmest years since records began in 1850.

Although the temperatures for November and December are not in yet, the WMO says the combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2009 is currently estimated at 0.44 degrees C above the 1961-1999 average of 14.00 degrees.

“The current nominal ranking of 2009, which does not account for uncertainties in the annual averages, places it as the fifth-warmest year,” says a statement from the UN agency. “The decade of the 2000s was warmer than the decade spanning the 1990s, which in turn was warmer than the 1980s.”

met office average temperatures.gifSome of the data behind these figures comes from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which was the source of the ‘Climategate’ emails obtained by hackers. So the usual suspects are making the obvious conclusion: that climate change is a big con.

Back slightly closer to the real world, the politicking in Copenhagen is heating up already. Leaked documents originally published by the Guardian newspaper yesterday appeared to show that developed countries wanted to ditch the Kyoto agreement in favour of a totally new deal.

According to many papers this did not go down well with developing nations, who would like to stick with Kyoto (not least because it puts more weight on developed nations reducing emissions whilst leaving developing countries largely out of the picture).

However the Danish Government has apparently denied that the Guardian’s text is an official Danish proposal and in a widely-quoted statement UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer stated, “This was an informal paper ahead of the conference given to a number of people for the purposes of consultations. The only formal texts in the UN process are the ones tabled by the Chairs of this Copenhagen conference at the behest of the Parties.”

Other notable Copenhagen stories

Day one also saw rifts appear in the G77, the largest bloc consisting of 130 developing countries.

UN Dispatch

At a press conference Tuesday, the Deputy Head of the Chinese delegation, Su Wei, said neither the US, the EU, nor Japan had offered sufficient cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

UN COP15 website

Republican lawmakers critical of efforts to battle climate change said they would fly next week to the Copenhagen summit to undercut President Barack Obama’s promises of strong US action.


Image: graph from the UK’s Met Office


  1. Report this comment

    John M said:

    Impressive looking graph.

    Can anyone tell me why the rate of increase from the 1910s to the 1940s was essentially identical to the rate of increase from 1970s to the 2000s.

    I thought warming was “accelerating” because of all the CO2 pumped into the atmosphere over the last 50 years.

    Where’s the acceleration?

  2. Report this comment

    PaulM said:

    Interesting to see how the spin-masters of global warming have started to lump temperatures into decades, to hide the fact that there hasn’t been any warming this decade.

    Clearly they have learnt nothing from the ‘hide the decline’ incident.

  3. Report this comment

    Richard Harvey said:

    In response to PaulM:

    A single decade is never, never sufficient in concluding that warming has stopped – this is a basic principle of climate science. To conclude that warming has probably stopped, one must show that a near-zero trend over at least 30 years. So this already old argument of “…but we haven’t seen a warming in 10 years!” is not an argument against global warming, as many, many factors can temporarily mask the overall trend.

  4. Report this comment

    John M said:

    Richard Harvey,

    “A single decade is never, never sufficient…”

    I kinda feel the same way about Arctic ice, but that’s just me.

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