Updated February 15, 2010
Global Warming in Last 15 Years Insignificant, U.K.'s Top Climate Scientist Admits
The embattled ex-head of the research center at the heart of the Climate-gate scandal dropped a bombshell over the weekend, admitting in an interview with the BBC that there has been no global warming over the past 15 years.
Phil Jones, former head of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, made a number of eye-popping statements to the BBC's climate reporter on Sunday. Data from CRU, where Jones was the chief scientist, is key evidence behind the claim that the growth of cities (which are warmer than countryside) isn't a factor in global warming and was cited by the U.N.'s climate science body to bolster statements about rapid global warming in recent decades.
Jones's latest statements seemed to contradict the CRU's data.
In response to the question, "do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically significant global warming?", Jones said yes, adding that the average increase of 0.12C per year over that time period "is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods."
Jones is nevertheless 100% confident that the climate has warmed, he stated, admitting that the Climate-gate scandal has undermined public confidence in science. The scandal has worn down Jones as well: Since the e-mails emerged -- and were subsequently posted online at www.EastAngliaEmails.com -- Jones has stepped down from his position, been forced to admit that he “misjudged” the handling of requests for information, and even acknowledged contemplating suicide.
Jones also allowed for the possibility that the world as a whole was warmer in medieval times than it is today -- a concession that may also undermine theories that global warming is caused by man.