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Is Global Warming Accelerating? – Ask The NJ State Climatologist

NJ Spotlight Interview Misses The Mark

The Rutgers annual State Of The Climate Report, while dodging key policy and regulatory issues, explicitly poses a critically important and terrifying scientific question:

In a full page sidebar the Report asks:

Is Global Warming Accelerating? (@ page 7)

If the rate of global warming is accelerating, the climate emergency is far worse than current science estimates and all the climate models underestimate the actual warming and impacts.

Of course, if the warming is accelerating, that means that policy responses must be faster and more aggressive than current lame efforts.

If the rate of warming is accelerating, then emissions reductions must be deeper and faster than the stated reductions governments are failing to make.

Here’s how Rutgers poses the question:

Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University has suggested that the record temperatures in 2023 may be indicative of an increase in the rate of global warming. 96 He has cited recent increases in Earth’s energy imbalance – the difference between the sunlight absorbed by the Earth and the heat energy radiated back to space – in support of the accelerated warming hypothesis.

But, Rutgers fails to note how absolutely devastating that acceleration hypothesis would be or to explore the implications for climate science or for public policy.

Instead, Rutgers concludes that the hypothesis is just that and its too soon to tell:

The accelerated warming hypothesis is controversial. Accurately measuring Earth’s energy imbalance is challenging, and there are technical disagreements among climate scientists about the evidence for a recent increase in the imbalance. Another complicating issue is that the global temperature record is replete with short-term ups and downs, even in the absence of the effects of El Niño (and La Niña, its cooler counterpart), which make it difficult to determine if the warming rate has increased. Global temperature data over the next several years, in conjunction with measurements of Earth’s energy imbalance, may eventually allow us to answer the question posed in the title of this sidebar.

Controversial? Challenging? Complicated? Difficult? May Eventually?

Those are timid words of evasion, equivocation, and obfuscation, as I wrote just days ago:

The [Rutgers] Report also downplays recent scientific concerns that the rate of climate warming is accelerating greatly, see:

Amazingly, essentially validating my criticism, State Climatologist was interviewed in a NJ Spotlight story today.

Instead of engaging this critical issue of whether warming is accelerating, he deftly dodged it, but did manage to muddy the waters with an emphasis on how NJ warming is greater than the rest of the country:

NJ Spotlight News spoke with David Robinson, the state climatologist and co-author of the report, about the threats that the warming climate might pose for the state.

“We are rising at a pace almost twice that as other parts of the country for a variety of reasons that are known and still being worked on,” said Robinson. “And so you’re dealing with that added heat, which is directly affecting your body, but you also have to start thinking about invasive species that can come in and bring disease with them. In the past, [they] maybe couldn’t make it through a cold Jersey winter, and now they’re able to survive.”

The NJ Spotlight journalists and the general public have little ability to distinguish between the rate of global warming versus the relatively greater NJ warming.

If the rate of global warming is accelerating, that devastatingly impacts everything and it is far more significant than the relatively greater NJ warming – and Robinson knows that.

And of course, Robinson spun the science in his emphasis on NJ “wildfires”. He knows which way the winds blow in Trenton.

Once again, no profile in courage.

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