Climate contrarians predicted the world would cool—it didn’t

Enlarge (credit: NASA/STEREO)

Modern climate science is old enough for many of its early predictions to be checked against evidence—the overall global warming trend; specific patterns like nighttime warming exceeding daytime warming; or the cooling of the stratosphere. Even with all that new evidence, the estimated amount of warming you get for a given amount of greenhouse gas emissions hasn’t really changed since 1979.

The flip side to this is also true. Those who have opposed climate science’s conclusions—they’re a broad menagerie, including scientists in different fields, politics-obsessed bloggers, and think-tank employees—have also been squawking long enough for its predictions to be tested. Despite their alternate-reality insistence that climate science never predicted anything, these contrarians don’t spend much time showing off their own predictions’ track record.

The reason for that is that the track record is very, very bad. Like the cringeworthy poetry you wrote in high school, they probably hope that everyone will just forget about it.

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