The mainly warmist Catholic Online is to be congratulated for publishing an interview with Dr. Roy Spencer. As usually, Dr. Spencer's views are wise and balanced:
COL: Well, let's cut to the chase. Is the planet warming?
SPENCER: No one knows whether it is currently warming, because we only see warming "in the rearview mirror"...after it has occurred. Warming of the global average surface temperature seems to have stopped about 15 years ago, although there is some evidence that the deep ocean has continued to warm by hundredths of a degree. Global average surface temperatures have definitely warmed in the last 50 to 100 years, by an amount which increases northward.
COL: When we look at the ice caps, particularly the Arctic, they show dramatic loss of sea ice. The images are very clear and the overall loss during the summer is about 40 percent, using the most recent data from the Cryosphere pages. (I think about 7 percent in the winter?) Regardless of the percentages, it's visibly significant. What's happening?
SPENCER: We started satellite monitoring of sea ice in 1979, after an extended cold period in the Arctic. It is entirely possible that summer sea ice meltback now is no worse than it was back in the 1920's and 1930's, when ship explorers reported unprecedented warming and sea ice and glacier changes in the Arctic. Humans could not have been responsible for that event, so how can we know the extent to which we are responsible for the current melting event in the Arctic? Also, since 1979, sea ice around Antarctica has gradually increased, not decreased, which climate models have not been able to explain.
COL: We are experiencing a variety of other seemingly unique weather phenomenons such as superstorms, tornado outbreaks, rising sea levels, and the increasingly frequent closing of locks on the North Sea (Netherlands and UK, River Thames). Isn't this evidence of warming?
SPENCER: There has been no increase in "superstorms" or tornadoes, by any objective long-term measure. It is an urban myth. Sandy-class storms occur every year...they just don't happen to hit high population density areas. But sea levels have indeed increased, which probably is a sign of warming. But sea levels were rising long before we could have been to blame, since well before 1900. So, once again, it is difficult to attribute the current rate of rise, which is very slow, to humans when we don't know how much of the rise is natural.
COL: Let's say tomorrow, evidence is found that proves to everyone that global warming as a result of human released emissions of CO2 and methane, is real. What would you suggest we do?
SPENCER: I would say we need to grow the economy as fast as possible, in order to afford the extra R&D necessary to develop new energy technologies. Current solar and wind technologies are too expensive, unreliable, and can only replace a small fraction of our energy needs. Since the economy runs on inexpensive energy, in order to grow the economy we will need to use fossil fuels to create that extra wealth. In other words, we will need to burn even more fossil fuels in order to find replacements for fossil fuels.