The world could be in for a spell of cooler temperatures, rather than hotter conditions, as a result of cyclical changes in ocean currents for the next 20 or 30 years, it is predicted.
Research by Professor Mojib Latif, one of the world's leading climate modellers, questions the widely held view that global temperatures will rise rapidly over the coming years.
But Prof Latif, of the Leibniz Institute at Germany's Kiel University and an author for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), believes that the cool spell will only be a temporary interruption to climate change.
He told a UN conference in September that changes in ocean currents known as North Atlantic Oscillation could dominate over man-made global warming for the next few decades.
Controversially, he also said that the fluctuations could also be responsible for much of the rise in global temperatures seen over the past 30 years.
Prof Latif told one newspaper at the weekend: "A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles – perhaps as much as 50 per cent.Quite. What's significant here is that this chappie is not only a reputedly well-respected scientist and climate modeller, he's closely associated with the UN's IPCC and thus a key player in the man-made global warming industry. So reading his views concerning the direction global warming might be taking in the wake of an Artic blast Europeans and North Americans have just endured, it raises all manner of possible motives for his quite ashtonishing statement. You may tick one box only...
[ ] The cynical option. This an attempt by the said scientist to hedge his bets and salvage his good name and that of his colleagues, just in case the theory of man-made global warming proves not to be true. Perhaps he has sniffed the general (and growing) scepticism in the air concerning man-made global warming, so he's saving face and started to distance himself from some of the "science", especially in light of the recent climategate scandal.
[ ] Ever-so-slightly-less-cynical option. Maybe he's a "warmist" zealot after all, and this is nothing more than an attempt to push back the date of the looming apocalypse a trite (a common practice, it seems, among some of the global warming crowd... nothing like damaging one's credentials by setting too early a date for the end of the word, so that the prophet and hearers are still alive when the date comes... and goes).
[ ] A bit of a panicker, actually. This might, ironically, be an example in reverse of when the scientific community overreacts to a bit of extreme weather and immediately pulls out the foreteller robes and hat and prophesies doom and gloom. In fairness to the professor he's the only warmist (and one connected with the IPCC) I've come across honest enough to consider recalibrating global warming predictions in response to extreme cold weather! Usually it's the other way around... an unseasonably warm Summer and it's time to make Hollywood movies about the end of the world.
[ ] The imperialist (or Westcentric) option. Unseasonable weather in North America and Europe this Winter (excluding Russia, which though in Europe isn't really one of us) has resulted in a radical overhaul of global warming predictions. Forget what's happening elsewhere on the globe...
[ ] Reasonable, objective, let's-not-be-flippant, typically English option. This is an entirely reasonable, objective scientist after all who is simply putting the break on heated and extreme predictions by some of his more undisciplined colleagues acting in the name of sensationalism.
[ ] Unthinkable option? The scientist is 100% correct, man-made global warming is a genuine threat but one which, according to the world's natural climate cycles is now on the back burner for the next two or three decades.
Gentle irony or smugness aside, looking through the above questions and scenarios we do seem to have covered all of the chappie's possible motives for his statement (remaining wedded to an agenda, unease, overreaction, objectivity, or continued belief in global warming). If I missed any let me know. Now consider this: whichever is closest to the truth, none makes a blind bit of difference to the outcome for the globe. Even the last one means we have another 30 years (by which time oil will be so expensive we'll be using alternative sources of energy anyway). In short, the imminent apocalypse promised is being pushed back yet again. No wonder people are becoming sceptical. Nearly thirty years ago we were told London might be under water by now. So in the words of that song, "Don't worry, be happy".
Again, why do I harp on about this issue? Because I think it is in large part driven by governments wanting to raise taxes, and ideologues wanting to make the other half of the population feel guilty and tell them how to live. Meanwhile (and this is the key for me), many Church leaders have missed the boat, allowing the world to dictate their environmental agenda for them without constructing an independent biblical theology of stewardship for themselves.