The title link is to a great article showing how different sources of historical temperature data tell conflicting stories. Data from NASA implies that global temperatures are increasing while information from the UK Meteorological Office, University of Alabama and Remote Sensing Systems clearly show that temperatures have been falling for quite some time. To further confuse matters, the often cited NASA data did not support global warming until the raw data was massaged to no longer match the original measurements. Older temperatures were interpolated and adjusted downwards, and recent temperatures were presented as higher than the actual raw values that were initially recorded.

I suggest you peruse the entire article, as it offers graphs and visual aids to clearly illustrate the issue and help open-minded rational people understand just how imperfect global temperature predictions are. You might also like to read the much shorter Herald article discussing how global temperatures are not likely to increase in the next decade.

Global warming is an easy and seductive cause precisely because it is so difficult to measure or prove. Climate models are imperfect and ever changing. Good intentions, alarmism and knee jerk reactions have taken the place of objective science in this politically charged issue. Vote to tax SUVs or mandate that corn be turned into fuel instead of food and suddenly you are "saving the planet". Climatic data never actually needs to improve as lack of success can always be blamed on too little effort, freak climatic anomalies, or the ever popular "we did our part but China's pollution nullified our efforts". To make matters worse, now that the global warming movement has gained so much momentum, powerful individuals and groups have become vested in the global warming "problem", and scientists must produce research that supports this belief or risk losing their funding and positions. Science is rapidly being replaced by dogma which makes it much harder for us to objectively learn more about our climate and what impact our species is having on it.

In the late 1800's there was fear of an impending ice age. By 1930, we were supposedly threatened by global warming. In the 1950s, people decided that global warming wasn't happening after all. In 1975, the New York Times reported "A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable" and public schools taught children that we were beginning a new ice age. Most of these scares were based on a perceived average surface temperature change between 0.5 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Think about that for a moment. As little as ½ of a degree of change has been grounds to proclaim globally and historically significant climate change. Here we are on the surface of a thin crust of rock covering a ball of molten magma spinning around a massive and ever fluctuating ball of burning gas, subject to cosmic radiation, solar flares, plate tectonics and volcanism and yet people really think that a perceived and heavily disputed tiny average temperature change is absolute proof of a long term trend caused by humans. It is especially absurd if you consider how few years worth of data we have to analyze compared to the vast and complex climatic history of our planet.

Glaciers are indeed melting in places, but they are growing in others. In places such as Greenland and Switzerland, receding glaciers have revealed ancient villages, proving that the areas were devoid of glaciers in the not so distant past. How can we then say that the current absence of glaciers in such areas is unnatural and caused by manmade carbon emissions? Sure, polar bears and other species are threatened by climate changes, but so were dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and countless other species that were wiped out long before the dawn of human industry. Our climate is so vastly complex that we are unlikely to understand it well enough within our lifetime to accurately predict long term climate changes.

We would be far better of if kindhearted people applied their good intentions to othe environmental issues where they could make real and measurable progress. If for example, global warming activists instead spent their efforts buying up land to protect it from development, globally distributing contraceptives and educating people about the dangers of overpopulation, they could protect a vast amount of unspoiled habitat and slow the rate of new polluting consumers being brought into the world.