Thankfully, the influence of global warming deniers appears to be shrinking steadily. Reality has a way of weeding out those who fail to respect it.
Even though this can take a while, truthful facts win out in the end.
But fossil fuel industry-funded deniers, aided and abetted by anti-science media outlets like Fox News, continue to distort the disturbing truth of how humans are warming the Earth's climate much more rapidly than nature has ever done it on her/its own.
For example, when I briefly channel surf onto right-wing talk radio, fairly frequently I hear that "global warming has stopped."
That's bullshit, of course. Yet lies often have a modicum of truth sprinkled over the top of them to make the falsehood easier to swallow.
Climate Progress has a great graph that shows how the B.S. is promulgated in the post, "As Scientists Predicted, Global Warming Continues." (You'll probably need to click on the image below to see the animation; or click on the link and scroll down to the graph.)
One often hears the statement in the media that global warming stopped in 1998, or that there has been no global warming for the past 16 years. Why pick 16 years? Why not some nice round number like 20 years? Or better yet, 30 years, since the climate is generally defined as the average weather experienced over a period of 30 years or longer?
Temperatures at Earth’s surface undergo natural, decades-long warming and cooling trends, related to the La Niña/El Niño cycle and the 11-year sunspot cycle. The reason one often hears the year 1998 used as a base year to measure global temperature trends is that this is a cherry-picked year.
An extraordinarily powerful El Niño event that was the strongest on record brought about a temporary increase in surface ocean temperatures over a vast area of the tropical Pacific that year, helping boost global surface temperatures to the highest levels on record (global temperatures were warmer in both 2005 and 2010, but not by much.) But in the years from 2005 – 2012, La Niña events have been present for at least a portion of every single year, helping keep Earth’s surface relatively cool.
Thus, if one draws a straight-line fit of global surface temperatures from 1998 to 2012, a climate trend showing little global warming results. If one picks any year prior to 1998, or almost any year after 1998, a global warming trend does result. The choice of 1998 is a deliberate abuse of statistics in an attempt to manipulate people into drawing a false conclusion on global temperature trends. One of my favorite examples of this manipulation of statistics is shown an animated graph called “The Escalator”, created by skepticalscience.com (Figure 1).
There's another highly informative bit of truth-telling in this post: a short video that shows clearly how human-caused global warming continues on unabated, once the transitory effects of volcanic activity and El Nino are taken out of the long term temperature trend.