Fox News in October 2012.
Fox News in October 2012.

Chances are you’ve heard people say that global warming has “stopped,” “paused,” or hit a “slowdown.” It’s a favorite talking point of political conservatives like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who recently declared that there has been “no recorded warming since 1998.” Climate skeptics frequently use these arguments to cast doubt on climate science and to downplay the urgency of addressing global warming. Last year, for instance, Fox News pronounced global warming “over.”

Scientists disagree. It’s true that they also acknowledge the slowdown: A new paper just out in the prestigious journal Nature, for instance, cites the “hiatus in global warming” and seeks to explain it with reference to changes in the tropical Pacific. The recently leaked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, too, cites an “observed reduction in surface warming.” But scientists say the slowdown is only temporary — a result of naturally induced climate variability that will soon tip back in the other direction — and that more human-caused global warming is on the way.