Re: The takeaway . . .
If you think that mean surface temperature is the 'most important metric' then you may have misunderstood things.
The very first thing to understand is that there is no 'pause' in global warming - what was touted by you in a previous post as "diddly squat" - is in fact a continued warming trend. It has not stopped, it has not reversed. The data shows that the warming trend merely slowed for that period.
Now, the next thing to understand is that the data set that was the basis of the slower-than-expected-warming-but-warming-nonetheless claim was ONE metric (surface temp data) from ONE source (the UK Met Office) - and that data is restricted to the coverage that that source has.
That coverage is about 85% of the globe but, of note, there is near zero coverage of the Arctic. If you keep up with climate science (one must presume . . . ) then you would be well aware that measurements show that the Arctic is warming nearly twice as rapidly as the rest of the globe. This 'gap' alone, once filled-in, increases the warming anywhere from 1.7x to 2.6x the original estimates. (Yes, another thing missing here is that these are estimates.)
This brings it FAR closer to the models and turns the slower-than-expected-warming-but-warming-nonetheless result into more of an almost-as-fast-as-expected-warming-but-slowed-by-enough-to-warrant-more-research.
So, now we come to the third thing that needs to be understood, and that is that increasing quantities of heat energy is being absorbed by the oceans, specifically the deeper layers. This has been known for a while and, once worked out, goes even further towards making up the difference.
Expanding on that, change in climate is, essentially, a mixture of positive and negative forcings, both natural and artificial/human-caused. What we have seen recently is strong negative forcings from most - if not all - of the natural cycles, from solar cycles to increased volcanic activity. This has been coupled with some increased artificial negative forcings, notably in the form of a significant increase in aerosols from India and China, contributing to radiative forcing, which reflects heat-energy back out into space.
Even with these compounded negative forcings, the temperature has still increased and this 'paused' decade is still the warmest recorded.
That put aside, and coming to your closing thought, you make an important point: that you, as a tax-payer and as someone who may be affected by 'mitigation measures', have a right to demand that the science is right.
The question is: when will you accept that it is right, and by what criteria will you judge it? As you do not have the requisite scientific knowledge and experience to make this judgement yourself, who will you trust? Whose pronouncement that AGW is real will you accept?
The very, very important point is that if AGW is true and that our behaviours are noticeably contributing to the net positive forcing, simply waiting and not changing that behaviour is making it worse. You may disagree with those who say that AGW is real but what if you are wrong? I'm not putting that forward as an argument, just a question, because the course of action whilst AGW is unproven to your standards appears to be the same as the course of action of AGW being false: change nothing.
If your broker/financial advisor warns of a potential drop in a sector then, while it might not be a great idea to pull all your money out, it would be prudent to diversify a bit and put some hedges in place.
So where is the cautious middle-ground? That's what's missing from the 'we need more evidence' position.