Climate Change Predictions for 2012

Published December 30, 2011

Climate Change Weekly #32

Out with the old and in with the new. Yet it is funny how the new has a tendency to look a lot like the old. Regardless, some things do change, and the year 2011 provided quite a few climate change wrinkles. Climategate 2, Republican presidential candidates publicly becoming global warming “skeptics,” and Canada leading other Kyoto Protocol nations saying “no mas” to extending the international agreement are just a few of the climate change headlines from the past year.

While there is a tendency this time of year to compile Top Ten lists of the past year’s news items, let’s instead look forward and speculate about what might happen in 2012. Making such predictions dangerously invites egg-on-face syndrome, but what fun is life without a little risk? Here, then, are my Top Ten climate change predictions for 2012:

1. 1998 remains the warmest. Global temperatures as measured by NASA satellite instruments will be approximately 0.2 degrees Celsius above the 30-year mean, with 1998 retaining its title as warmest year in the instrumental record.

2. Hansen attempts Fumblerooski. College football fans who remember the 1980s are well familiar with the University of Nebraska trickeration play – the dreaded Fumblerooski. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute will attempt a climate change version of the Fumblerooski by claiming 2012 is the hottest year on record, even though the satellite instruments will show it is not.

3. President-Elect Romney surrounds himself with warmists. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has chosen proponents of carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes to serve as his top energy advisors in his run for the White House (see and, for a couple examples). Expect these folks to gain the emperor’s ear if Romney wins election to the White House. Expect skeptics to be frozen out. Please, prove me wrong, President Mitt!

4. China challenges Secretariat. No, not the Secretariat of the global Supreme Soviet – the racehorse! China has not only surpassed the United States in carbon dioxide emissions, but like the legendary racehorse China is lapping the global field. China now emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere, and it continues to increase its emissions by roughly 10 percent per year. China will widen its lead in 2012.

5. U.S. emissions will remain largely flat. Yes, the economy is modestly growing and yes, the U.S. population is also growing. Even so, natural gas is gradually powering an ever-larger share of U.S. power plants, coming at the expense of coal. This will keep U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from growing much, if at all, in 2012.

6. Warmists warn about lack of hurricane strikes. Desperate to turn lemons into lemonade, warmists will begin making the argument that global warming is causing fewer hurricane strikes on the U.S. mainland and the lack of hurricane strikes harms the environment. They will argue the Everglades need to be flushed out regularly, parched areas of the Southeast depend on tropical cyclones, etc. There is no such thing as global warming good news, only different shades and different incarnations of bad news.

7. Gore launches shocking, profanity-laced tirade. You can just feel the former vice president’s anger bubbling as fewer and fewer people take him seriously. Expect Mt. Gore to erupt this year in an unprecedented manner.

8. La Niña keeps warmists salivating. La Niña remains in charge, which will create favorable conditions for a repeat of many of 2011’s top weather-related news stories. Expect “global warming” and “climate change” to outpace Google hits for “La Niña” in stories about notable weather events.

9. James Hansen gets arrested again. I know, this is an easy one. If I didn’t predict it, however, some smart-aleck would say I never saw it coming.

10. Public opinion polls show further decline in global warming alarmism. Despite the media doing all it can to manufacture a crisis, the American public is literate and intellectually curious. Science trumps propaganda, and will continue to do so in 2012.

Happy New Year, Climate Change Weekly readers! May 2012 be especially kind to all.


Eschenbach explains ocean acidification … South America experienced Medieval Warm Period … NASA satellite program reaches milestone … Methane fears overblown … Himalayan glaciers are stable … ClimateWiki update


The asserted harms of ocean acidification are a favorite topic of global warming alarmists when real-world temperatures fail to meet alarmist temperature predictions. WattsUpWithThat? contributor Willis Eschenbach presents a persuasive summary of why ocean acidification is merely a red herring.

SOURCE: Watts Up With That?


Temperatures in Southern South America were notably warm between 900 A.D. and 1300 A.D. before precipitously dropping during the Little Ice Age, according to a peer-reviewed study in Climate Dynamics. According to a summary published in NIPCC Update, the study supports the assertion that the Medieval Warm Period was global in nature and warmer than current temperatures.

SOURCE: Web site of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)


NASA satellite instruments providing highly accurate readings of global temperatures completed 33 years of service this year, marking a third of a century of objective temperature readings. Roy Spencer, co-director of the NASA satellite instrument program, discusses on his Web site the accuracy and importance of the satellite instrument data.



Recent media stories about an impending methane “bomb” resulting from melting permafrost are scientifically unfounded, according to a pair of articles analyzing the media claims. Atmospheric methane concentrations have risen at a slower pace in the past 15 years compared to the prior 15 years, and there is little reason to expect that to change soon.

SOURCES: World Climate Report and Watts Up With That?


Himalayan glaciers have retreated little during the past 100 years, with most of the small retreat occurring between the 1920s and 1960s, according to a study in Mountain Research and Development. Although the media frequently reports predictions of substantial imminent glacial loss, “emerging evidence suggests that such reports are, at best, exaggerated,” concludes the study.

SOURCE: Web site of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)


The Heartland Institute has created a Web site,, to help everyone – from high school students to scientists working in the field – quickly find the latest and most reliable information on climate science. Please send your questions, suggestions for new pages, or improvements to current ones to [email protected]. And if you have new research to share, is the perfect place.

An example from ClimateWiki, Extinction, reads in part:

A 2011 study published in Science, conducted by Chen et al., employed meta-analysis on studies of latitudinal range shifts of 763 species in Europe, North America, and Chile and studies of elevational range shifts for 1,367 species in Europe, North America, Malaysia, and Marion Island. The results “estimated that the distributions of species have recently shifted to higher elevations at a median rate of 11.0 meters per decade, and to higher latitudes at a median rate of 16.9 kilometers per decade.” These rates are approximately two and three times faster than previously reported by Parmeson and Yohe (2003). In addition, they found that “the distances moved by species are greatest in studies showing the highest levels of warming, with average latitudinal shifts being generally sufficient to track temperature change.” Even more interesting, however, were their observations that “for latitudinal studies, on average 22% of the species actually shifted in the opposite direction to that expected,” and that in the altitude studies “25% of species shifted downhill rather than to higher elevations” in response to warming. This study demonstrates that many species are well-equipped to respond to changing climatic conditions.

If you have questions about the ClimateWiki or about The Heartland Institute, contact Jim Lakely, director of communications, at [email protected] or call 312/377-4000.

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