A series of "hot" years COULD indicate steady warming or it could indicate a plateau.
This analysis removes the assessed human-caused component in global sea level from hourly water level records since 1950 at 27 U. tide gauges, creating alternative histories simulating the absence of anthropogenic climate change.
Out of 8,726 days when unaltered water level observations exceeded National Weather Service local nuisance flood thresholds for minor impacts, 5,809 days (3,517-7,332 days, 90% confidence interval) did not exceed thresholds in the alternative histories.
In some years the temperature goes up a bit while in others it goes down a bit -- with no overall trend, no sign of warming going on. So they are all hotter than that previous period, however specified.
There was some warming prior to the plateau but it has now stopped. They pretend that all those hotter years were hotter than one-another, when they are not.
Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. In my usual pesky way, however, I have had a look at the source article to see where the numbers come from.