From Mooney in Mother Jones:
For years, climate skeptics have been using a kind of statistical sleight of hand—the fact that 1998 was a record temperature year, due to a strong El Niño—to suggest that there had been no global warming ever since. For instance, here’s an example of this argument being made, in the op-ed pages of the Daily Telegraph, as far back as the year 2006. And here’s a contemporaneous rebuttal.
But it wasn’t until March 2013, according to the Google Trends data above, that the “pause” narrative really started to get traction. The apparent reason? A major feature story in The Economist declaring that “over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar.” Skeptics were delighted, and other media outlets, from Reuters (“Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown”) to the Drudge Report, piled on.