The “think globally” people become very parochial when the global warming story isn’t as scary sounding as the local one.

Climate change activists took the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) recent report showing 2012 to be the warmest on record for the continental United States, did a little geographic sleight of hand, and spun it into a Chicken Little story on global warming.

“The price tag for dealing with unchecked climate change makes the fiscal cliff look like a crack in the sidewalk,” Angela Anderson of the Union for Concerned Scientists said. Senator Barbara Boxer (D–CA) echoed the hyperbole: “The facts speak for themselves—whether it is NOAA’s announcement today that 2012 was the hottest year on record or the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, predictions of dangerous climate change impacts are coming true before our eyes.”

What are the facts?

While 2012 was the warmest year for the Lower 48 in the U.S. (not the globe, not North America, and not even the entire United States), it was only the ninth-warmest year globally in the past 34 years (the period for which accurate satellite data have been collected). The warmest year in that time period was 1998. Average global temperatures have in fact leveled off over the past 15 years.

This lack of warming was not predicted by any of the catastrophe’s coming climate models and has been an embarrassment to them. In a hope-nobody-is-looking Christmas Eve release, the Met Office in Britain backed off and published temperature projections that anticipate a dramatically lower temperature increase for the next decade.

But even if climate activists are determined to look no further than the latest weather event or the past year for evidence of climate trends, it still does not look like catastrophic global warming is knocking at the door. While Americans enjoyed keeping the winter coat in the closet a little longer in 2012, the Chinese are in their coldest winter in decades, and the British Isles are bracing for what the Daily Mail has called an “Arctic blast.”

Evidence for global warming should be, well, global. 2012 was not the warmest year ever and does not provide evidence for the accelerating warming that climate-change pushers have been predicting, but not seeing, for decades.

Still believe the hysteria? Quit worrying, because it’s too late now: NASA’s James Hansen told The Guardian in 2009 that President Obama had four years to lead the world away from catastrophic warming. Despite the order from James Hansen, the sky has not fallen.