Holman Jenkins, Wall Street Journal:
Let’s just say, without prejudging the case, gut instinct has always indicated that, if there’s a major global warming scandal to be discovered anywhere, it will be found in the temperature record simply because the records are subject to so much opaque statistical manipulation. But even if no scandal is found, it’s past time for politicians and the public to understand the nature of these records and the conditions under which they are manufactured.
This is where those who confuse science with religion, and scientists with priests, take umbrage. Unfortunately, NOAA has proved itself pliable to the propagandizing urge. Witness its steady stream of press releases pronouncing the latest month or year the “warmest on record.” It always falls to outsiders to point out that these claims often rest on differences many times smaller than NOAA’s own cited margin of error. Case in point: When President Obama declared in January that 2014 was the warmest year on record, it had only a 38% chance of being hotter (by an infinitesimal margin) than other hottest-year candidates 2010, 2005 and 1998.
It doesn’t help that NOAA’s sleight of hand here seems designed precisely to conceal the alleged “pause.” The inconvenient hiatus in global warming showed up just as temperature measurement became more rigorous and consistent; just as China overtook the U.S. as champion emitter; just as 30% of all greenhouse gases released since the start of the industrial revolution were hitting the atmosphere.