The strategy of hyping certainty and a scientific consensus and dismissing decadal variability is a bad move for communicating a very complex, wicked problem such as climate change. Apart from the ‘meaningful’ issue, its an issue of trust – hyping certainty and a premature consensus does not help the issue of public trust in the science.
This new paper is especially interesting in context of the Karl et al paper, that ‘disappears’ the hiatus. I suspect that the main take home message for the public (those paying attention, anyways) is that the data is really really uncertain and there is plenty of opportunity for scientists to ‘cherry pick’ methods to get desired results.
Apart from the issue of how IPCC leaders communicate the science to the public, this paper also has important implications for journalists. The paper has a vindication of sorts for David Rose, who asked hard hitting questions about the pause at the Stockholm press conference.
It’s a good, and necessary first step.