The Princeton faculty includes one prominent global warming skeptic. In a March 27 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Princeton physics professor William Happer asked “What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years.” He added that “the lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned.”
Happer concluded: “It is easy to be confused about climate, because we are constantly being warned about the horrible things that will happen or are already happening as a result of mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But these ominous predictions are based on computer models. It is important to distinguish between what the climate is actually doing and what computer models predict. The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with model predictions.”
Climate Central science writer Michael D. Lemonick, who covered science and the environment for Time magazine for more than two decades, responded to a comment from a website visitor, asking why Climate Central rarely covered challenges from the global warming skeptics.
Lemonick responded that “when people like Princeton physicist Will Happer lays out his critique of climate science in the Wall Street Journal or the eminent British scientist James Lovelock . . . says to MSNBC that he was ‘alarmist’ about climate change . . . it would be foolish just to assume they’re wrong because a majority of professional climatologists disagrees with them — even though the odds suggest they are.
“But sometimes outsiders say things that truly make no sense ... Take statements by Professors Lovelock and Happer about the fact that warming has been fairly flat for the past decade or so, which it has. This, they both suggest, refutes the claims of mainstream climatologists that the temperature should have continued to rise.
“The thing is, nobody made such claims in the first place. Climate scientists have always acknowledged that natural variations would slow the warming during some periods and speed it up in others. Suggesting otherwise is simply incorrect — and people trumpeting the ‘failure’ of a prediction nobody ever made isn’t news in my book.”