That sound you hear is the heads exploding at the World and National Councils of Churches and various denominational environmental offices. After years of apocalyptic hysteria about global warming, it may be necessary for them to turn on a dime to protect their phony-baloney jobs. Far from global warming, the Earth may be in for a new mini-Ice Age. According to Sky News of Australia:

For years, scientists have been predicting the Sun would move into solar maximum, a period of intense flares and sunspot activity by 2012, but lately a curious calm has suggested quite the opposite.

According to three studies released in the United States on Tuesday, experts believe the familiar sunspot cycle may be shutting down and heading toward a pattern of inactivity unseen since the 17th century.

The signs include a missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles, said experts from the National Solar Observatory and Air Force Research Laboratory.

‘This is highly unusual and unexpected,’ said Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network.

‘But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.’

Solar activity tends to rise and fall every 11 years or so. The solar maximum and solar minimum each mark about half the interval of the magnetic pole reversal on the Sun, which happens every 22 years.

Experts are now probing whether this period of inactivity could be a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period when hardly any sunspots were observed between 1645-1715.

‘If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate,’ said Hill.

The UK’s Register puts it this way:

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

The Sun normally follows an 11-year cycle of activity. The current cycle, Cycle 24, is now supposed to be ramping up towards maximum strength. Increased numbers of sunspots and other indications ought to be happening: but in fact results so far are most disappointing. Scientists at the NSO now suspect, based on data showing decades-long trends leading to this point, that Cycle 25 may not happen at all.

A Maunder Minimum would make for interesting times:

During the Maunder Minimum and for periods either side of it, many European rivers which are ice-free today – including the Thames – routinely froze over, allowing ice skating and even for armies to march across them in some cases.

Now, that sounds good to me. I vastly prefer cold weather to hot. It would, however, necessitate a lot of adjustments by the human population to accommodate the moving of agriculturally productive areas more in the direction of the Equator. But you know what? We’d manage, just as people in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries did. Better, if I were guessing, because of the technological resources we have available to us that they didn’t have. And in any case, this is all in the realm of conjecture at this point, and it’s going to take several years before we see whether it’s really going to happen.

But here’s my real point: what do you suppose the mainline greenies are going to say about this? It’s not like the can order the Sun to start behaving. I suspect Ed Morrissey of Hot Air is correct that nothing will change:

Of course, if those AGW [anthropogenic global warming] advocates suddenly convert to Maunder Minimists, why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the same solutions — central control of energy production and usage, elimination of fossil fuels — will be pushed?

In other words, it doesn’t matter what the crisis of the moment is, the answer is always more statism. Sounds about right.