Global warming stopped?

Interesting column from Australia about the incredibly flexible theory of man-made climate change. Some excerpts:

The two most prominent organisations that record global average temperatures are the British Met Office’s Hadley Centre and America’s National Climatic Data Centre. Their records might be called “official”- Hadley, for instance, is closely involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…
Hadley expresses temperature changes in terms of deviations from the 1961 to 1990 average. In 2002 the rounded global temperature for land and sea was 0.46 above that average. In the next five years it was: 0.46, 0.43, 0.48, 0.42, and 0.40…
What does this mean? Some global warming sceptics say these figures disprove the basic hypothesis of global warming, that rising greenhouse gas emissions automatically produce rising temperatures. Some have looked back to 1998, an unusually hot year (0.52 on Hadley’s list) and said that global warming actually stopped back then. They conclude that after 10 years we can now say global warming is over, and we face the possibility of global cooling.
I suspect it’s still too early to make these conclusions. As a sceptic on this issue, I’ve spent years arguing that we just don’t know enough about what’s going on to predict the future with any certainty…
Whatever the recent figures might signify, it’s disturbing that they haven’t received more publicity. If the trend had been different – if warming had accelerated, say – you can bet it would have been reported everywhere.
But because the figures since 2002 might raise doubts about the orthodoxy, there has been a great silence. Most of those involved in public discussion of global warming simply ignored what was happening to the temperature record. The media have continued to interpret any minor weather event as proof of global warming. Political leaders have continued to crank up the panic.
It’s a response that has to raise concerns about the relative roles of reason, emotion and propaganda in public consideration of global warming.

The author takes a reasonable stance here. He says he’s a climate change skeptic yet he is open to looking at the real data and having a debate. It’s a debate that the proponents of the incredibly flexible theory don’t want to have.