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By  Kalte Sonne

Dear Sir or Madam,

During the energy crisis, which has become visible in Germany and Europe for several months, it has become quieter about the allegedly imminent climate emergency. On the one hand, energy prices and security of supply have pushed the climate issue into the background. On the other hand, there is a weakening of the warming trend of the last 40 years.

The temperature curve of the University of Alabama UAH’s satellite-based measurements has oscillated between -0.2 and 0.4 degrees for 20 years and appears to have remained stable since 2015, as the next graph in the magnification shows. (Source : woodfortrees). The average value is drawn in green – it shows a slight downward trend since 2015.

What are the reasons for this sideways movement?

The CO2 concentrations in the air have risen unabated. It is true that global CO2 emissions have been fairly constant for several years at 40 billion tonnes of CO2. A little more than half is absorbed by the oceans and plants, so that currently the equivalent of about 2.5 ppm CO2 is added to the air concentration every year. In 2015, 401 ppm of CO2 were in the air, in 2021 416 ppm. At this rate, by the way, we would never reach the IPCC’s fearsome scenarios of 800 to 1000 ppm in 2100.
No, the lack of warming must have other reasons…

What is the proportion of natural warming in the last 30 years?
And how big is the natural cooling in the next 30 years?

A change in global temperature can also happen naturally. We know that clouds decreased by about 2% after the turn of the millennium, and that cloud cover has been stable at a low level for ten years. On the other hand, there are oceanic temperature cycles such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation AMO, which increased sharply from 1980 to the beginning of this millennium (after all, by 0.5 degrees), since then has remained at the maximum and is now weakening slightly again (see next chart).
The United States Weather and Oceanography Agency, NOAA, writes that the AMO can amplify anthropogenic warming in the warm phase and make it disappear in the cold phase. According to NOAA, the AMO is a naturally occurring change in the temperatures of the North Atlantic that has occurred for at least 1000 years with alternating warm and cold phases of 20-40 years.
If one adds the weakening of solar radiation since 2008, a further significant warming beyond 1.5 degrees is hardly to be expected in the next 30 years.

The sideways movement of temperatures that has been taking place for several years can also be seen in the halted decline in the Arctic expansion of sea ice, which was reported by the European Copernicus programme in March. (see next graphic)

That’s actually good news.

Wouldn’t it be time for climate researchers to bring these trends to the attention of politicians and the public? Politicians are currently realigning the priorities of energy supply. Until last year’s price explosion and the consequences of the Ukraine war, it seemed self-evident to use climate impacts as the sole determining factor for energy policy, but we are now all being made aware of the importance of security of supply and price developments.

However, politicians are still reacting inadequately. It believes that by simply building more wind power plants and solar plants, it will solve the problem of self-generated energy shortages due to the double phase-out of coal and nuclear energy. It must be remembered again and again that in 2021 the share of wind and solar energy was just over 5% of primary energy (oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, renewable energies). Even in a good wind year, it wouldn’t be much more than 6%.

Politicians do not have the necessary courage to repeal the Coal Phase-Out Act, to stop the nuclear phase-out, to lift the ban on natural gas fracking and the ban on CO2 capture in coal-fired power plants. Not yet.
Gas-fired cogeneration plants such as those in Leipzig are still being built to replace coal-fired cogeneration plants with domestic lignite. The industry is already further along. Volkswagen has postponed the conversion of two of its own coal-fired power plants into gas-fired power plants indefinitely. This statement by CEO Diess was not widely reported in Germany, but abroad it was.

The US government is also repositioning itself. John Kerry, the climate commissioner of the American government, for whom the 1.5 degree target was previously the only political requirement, now relativizes and spreads in view of exploding energy prices that 1.8 degrees should be sufficient as a target. The countries of China, India and Southeast Asia, which are threatened by the price explosion, are practicing a renaissance of coal production. One should listen when Jochem Marotzke from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg says: “It is unrealistic to bring emissions worldwide to zero by 2050… a 2.5 degree world is still better than a 3.5 degree world.”

Let us reassure Mr Marotzke: a 2.5 degree world will not be achieved in this century because the natural fluctuations in the climate are dampening anthropogenic warming. If this had been sufficiently taken into account in the climate models, we would all have been spared a lot of panic in public and erroneous decisions in politics.

With best wishes


Fritz Vahrenholt