It is early days yet, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC) fifth assessment report wont be out till towards the end of the month, but leaked portions of the report suggest the global warming lot could have a lot of egg on their face soon. For one, as compared to the 0.2 degrees Celsius that the IPCC said the earth was warming by in each decade, it turns out the actual number is a much lower 0.12 degrees since 1951. In the event, while the IPCCs earlier stance was that global warming was likely to be over 2 degrees over the next 70 years, this figure is now down to 1.5 degrees. This, says Matt Ridley, the well-known British scientist and journalist, would probably mean more areas of the Arctic would be open to farming, even cut winter deaths.
While scientists will continue to debate the pause in global warming, and politicians such as in the US who never believed Al Gores inconvenient truth will probably rejoice at each drubbing the IPCC gets, it would be wise for policymakers to take a more nuanced view. For one, whether or not it is global warming that is causing the problem, extreme weather events are a reality, so it is important to be prepared for them, whether by way of stronger emergency procedures for evacuation or by way of short-duration high-yielding crops that withstand extreme heat or extreme drought conditions for instance. What is equally important, however, is that the fear of global warming shouldnt force countries into accepting high-cost solutions since it is clear the skies arent falling in a hurry. A more balanced, more nuanced view is called for. Thats the inconvenient truth.