In extraordinary developments, assorted scientists and other academics have waded into the debate over the widely-acknowledged absence of global warming seen over the last 15+ years.
The various researchers, one group of whom are based at Stanford, say that actually the hiatus simply didn't happen.
"There never was a hiatus, a pause or a slowdown in global warming," states Noah Diffenbaugh, associate prof, in a suitably blunt tinned quote issued by Stanford. Diffenbaugh and his colleagues arrived at this result by applying new statistical methods of their own devising, as opposed to the "classical" statistics techniques generally used by climate scientists to date.
With perhaps unfortunate timing, no less an organisation than the UK Met Office has this week referred in writing to the existence of a "slowdown" in global warming, and even suggested that it might continue for some time.
A different group of academics has also denied that the hiatus exists. They write:
There has been much recent published research about a putative “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming ... there is no evidence that identifies the recent period as unique or particularly unusual.
This group is quite well known in the climate debate: the lead author is Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist who has previously produced research proving to his satisfaction that climate sceptics are mostly lunatics who refuse to let their children be vaccinated, believe that Barack Obama was not born in the USA, think that MI6 assassinated Princess Diana, and - just to round things off - also believe that the Moon landings were faked and that Saddam Hussein really did have large stocks of WMDs. Lewandowsky is joined for his latest outing by Naomi Oreskes, not really a scientist but a historian (though her bachelor degree was in mining) famous for her book Merchants of Doubt, which says that climate sceptics are the same as those who cast doubt on the idea that cigarettes are bad for you, in that they are likewise corruptly working for sinister corporate interests.
On top of all that, an American senator - writing in the new Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post - has also likened climate scepticism to pro-tobacco propaganda. Senator Whitehouse pointedly mentioned the famous American RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations) law, which allows US enforcement agencies sweeping powers to probe into such things as suspected Mafia-owned businesses or front organisations and so backtrack to the criminal kingpins which control them - and put everyone involved in prison.
That's not terribly unusual in today's climate climate, but now a group of scientists has written to President Obama, saying:
We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change ...
We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.
Signatories to the letter include the well-known Kevin Trenberth, famous for having written in an email to fellow climatologists regarding the hiatus:
"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."
The email was not intended for public consumption, but it was leaked during the "Climategate" episode of 2009.
Obviously the call for a RICO probe into climate-sceptic organisations may be uncomfortably relevant for some of us here on the Register climate desk (though by no means all, we take no editorial stance on climate matters at the Reg and plenty of the Vultures espouse orthodox warmist beliefs on the subject).
In particular your correspondent today is often accused of being an evil denier swine in the pay of the Koch brothers or similar, so presumably cuffs will be snapped onto wrists during the next editorial visit to the States - or perhaps Britain will join in the RICO probe and we'll find the door getting kicked in here at Vulture Central.
But this isn't terribly scary in the context of being a Reg writer, especially one covering a divisive subject such as climate, or iOS devices. It's not unheard of for people to call for or promise a Vulture's death, occasionally by unusual and painful means, so merely being chucked in the slammer by the future joint inter-agency international RICO climate witch hunt taskforce is no big deal.
Anyway, the alternative is a lot worse. Doing a bit of porridge can't possibly be as bad as having to share the Ecuadorian embassy broom cupboard with Julian Assange, so your correspondent plans to go quietly as and when the cops turn up. ®