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Why Has Global Warming Slowed?

IPCC 2013 coverWhat’s behind the recent slowing in global temperature rises – could it be that companies’ efforts at lowering emissions are paying off?

Not very likely – we’re pumping out more greenhouse gases than ever, Bloomberg says. One theory is that more of the heat is going deep into the planet’s oceans, rather than on the surface where we typically measure it, the Toronto Star reports. Volcanic emissions have increased and helped to reflect the sun’s rays away from the earth, while changes in the sun’s cycle have also reduced the solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface.

And in any long-term trend, one would expect to see smaller ups and downs, even as the general trajectory shoots upwards. “When walking up stairs in a tall building, it is a mistake to interpret a landing as the end of the climb,” University of California-Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller says.

Whatever the cause, this short-term data doesn’t support taking our eyes off of long-term climate goals.

Tamar Wilner is senior editor of Environmental Leader PRO.

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