RAGO: Right. When the regulations and mandates drive up the cost of health insurance and they're not offset by subsidies, this might not be a good deal for a large section of the public.
GIGOT: So is he key thing -- briefly, Joe, is the key thing here to watch in the weeks ahead just how many people enroll in these and who they are, whether their the elderly and sick or whether their the healthy and young?
RAGO: That's right. If you look at employer-sponsored health insurance, about 15 percent of people who are offered it don't accept it. If that happens in the exchange marketplaces, you might have the same kind of problem.
GIGOT: Thank you all very much.
When we come back, a U.N. panel on climate change releases its latest report, calling global warming unequivocal. So what about the warming that hasn't been happening since 1998?
GIGOT: A United Nations climate change panel released the findings of its fifth report this week calling global warming unequivocal but failing to explain one inconvenient truth, that the earth's temperatures have been flat for the last 15 years.
Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Bret Stephens, joins us with more.
So, Bret, how did the U.N. square this contradiction between what their models have been predicting and what has actually been happening for last 15 years?
BRET STEPHENS, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Well, the first thing they did was they basically buried the lede or buried the news. They said there was -- their 24-page summary report had alarmist conclusion at the beginning, and then you kind of go down to page 10 and you find this paragraph that says, well, there's this issue of the past 15 years, a pause in global warming. We don't know whether it will ever resume or not.
GIGOT: So the globe had been warming by about a degree Celsius over the previous part of the century?
STEPHENS: Right. And then it seems to have essentially stopped. There's variability --
STEPHENS: -- year to year. What they say with medium confidence is that some of the warming may be something happening in the oceans, but they're not entirely sure. They acknowledge --
GIGOT: Heat sink.
STEPHENS: Right, exactly. They acknowledge that there may be problems with their modeling, which is very important, because everything that we supposedly or people think they know about client change --
GIGOT: Based on the model.
STEPHENS: -- is based on computer simulations. When you have computer simulations with huge data sets trying to calculate over 100-year time spans over whether a temperature will rise by a half degree, 1 degree, 1.5 degrees, you can have these sort of variations.
So what they're essentially saying is there hasn't been the warming that we've expected, and we're not entirely sure why, but we think is -- the truth is out there, buried somewhere in the ocean.
GIGOT: Couple theories.
GIGOT: But also there's like sun spots, variability and also water vapor in the atmosphere and so on. The essence is they don't know. Isn't that -- but how can they be so sure that climate change is going to happen? I mean, seven years ago, in that report, the 2007 report, they said it will be very likely that, by the end of the century, the globe will warm by more than one -- likely by 1.5 degrees.
STEPHENS: Yeah, they were thinking about 2 degrees Celsius.
GIGOT: 2 degrees. Now, it's less than 1.5.
STEPHENS: Now, it's 1.5. And, by the way, if someone said to you, by the way, the temperatures today is going to be, let's say, 78 degrees instead of 76, you probably wouldn't change your clothes or worry that the end is near. So this has to be kept in perspective when you see these graphs of temperatures going up.
STEPHENS: We're talking about a degree or maybe two. But that's the essential thing. In other sciences, uncertainty is part of the discourse of all the sciences.
STEPHENS: They acknowledge they don't know. We're making fundamental discoveries about Mars right now, thanks to the rover up here. The Voyager's making new discoveries. Yet, with climate scientists, there's this -- there's this quality of saying global warming is unequivocal and we must take drastic steps to reshape the world's economy or we're going to face a catastrophe. So climate scientists speak in a very different way from scientists in other disciplines.
GIGOT: Yeah, that lesson, to me, Kim, from this, the big one, is uncertainty. That you don't -- we've got to wait and see now, in particular with the last 15 years, whether or not the climate models themselves are going to end up -- the temperatures going to match what the models are predicting so let's not jump to precipitous conclusion. But what do you think are the implications of this for policies in Washington where the president has made climate change a big part of his second term agenda?
STRASSEL: Well, this is exactly why they felt the need to bury the lede. Because you've now got a president who has said he is going to enforce a climate policy agenda via regulatory means. And it would have been -- and bodies like the U.N., they want the United States to be a leader on this issue because they feel that that's the only way they can pressure yet other countries, like China and India, to also somehow get on board. So they're not going to do anything to derail this U.S. movement and this U.S. president to sort of step up and start enforcing some sort of climate program.
GIGOT: So -- go ahead, Bret.
STEPHENS: I was going to say, it's important I think for people to understand what a vehicle of convenience a -- the climate issue has been for classic redistributionists, who have always wanted a strong government, a regulatory state, high taxes, who have been averse to --
STEPHENS: -- to fossil fuels. This was true 50 years ago before anybody was thinking about climate change.
GIGOT: If the world was ending, you have to turn it all over to somebody to decide how to save it as opposed to what the real insurance should be, if the earth is warming, faster growth and more --
GIGOT: -- to cope with the consequences.
We have to take one more break. When we come back, "Hits and Misses" of the week.