Climate skeptics noted that because the rate of projected warming is slowing, and that arctic sea ice on both poles actually increased last year, draconian solutions are unjustified. The pause in global warming began in 1998 and shows no obvious sign of resuming. Since 1951, noted the IPCC, the Earth has warmed at just half the long-term trend rate. IPCC scientists could only speculate on the reasons, while insisting that further temperature increases should be expected, albeit not at the rate once feared.

IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri said, “the scientific evidence of … climate change has strengthened year after year.” A lower threshold of global warming — from 3.6˚F to 2.7˚F — has now moved into the panel’s “likely” range of possibilities. But the 15-year warming interruption also prompted skeptics to question the validity of alarmist rhetoric and its implications for measures designed to slow carbon combustion and fossil energy use. The panel’s co-chair, China’s Qin Dahe, said it would be “impossible” for China to respond by halting coal combustion.

Other scientists said the IPCC summary exaggerates the report’s findings. Dr. Judith Curry of Georgia Tech University, a former advocate for strong action to arrest climate change, called the IPCC’s alarmist stance “incomprehensible” in view of its findings.