Imagine if Pope Benedict gave a speech saying the Catholic Church has had it wrong all these centuries; there is no reason priests shouldn’t marry. That might generate the odd headline, no?
Or if Don Cherry claimed suddenly to like European hockey players who wear visors and float around the ice never body-checking opponents.
Or Jack Layton insisted out of the blue that unions are ruining the economy by distorting wages and protecting unproductive workers.
Or Stephen Harper began arguing that it makes good economic sense for Ottawa to own a car company. (Oh, wait, that one happened.)
But at least, the Tories-buy-GM aberration made all the papers and newscasts.
When a leading proponent for one point of view suddenly starts batting for the other side, it’s usually newsworthy.
So why was a speech last week by Mojib Latif of Germany’s Leibniz Institute not give more prominence?
Prof. Latif is one of the leading climate modellers in the world. He is the recipient of several international climate-study prizes and a lead author for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has contributed significantly to the IPCC’s last two five-year reports that have stated unequivocally that man-made greenhouse emissions are causing the planet to warm dangerously.
Yet last week in Geneva, at the UN’s World Climate Conference — an annual gathering of the so-called “scientific consensus” on man-made climate change — Prof. Latif conceded the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering “one or even two decades during which temperatures cool.”
The global warming theory has been based all along on the idea that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would absorb much of the greenhouse warming caused by a rise in man-made carbon dioxide, then they would let off that heat and warm the atmosphere and the land.
But as Prof. Latif pointed out, the Atlantic, and particularly the North Atlantic, has been cooling instead. And it looks set to continue a cooling phase for 10 to 20 more years. “How much?” he wondered before the assembled delegates. “The jury is still out.”