The Guardian have (after inputs from ESA) updated the article discussed here to say that the "lousy indicator of climate change" comment applied to surface air temperature rather than sea surface temperature. Well, I suppose that is slightly better from my point of view, but I still don't agree with the point!
"Global surface temperature" time series are generally made up of surface air temperature over land and sea surface temperature over the oceans. Together, surface temperature, precipitation, wind and solar radiation are the principal elements that define our experience of weather and climate. These matter to people, and we need to present any climate changes (anthropogenic and natural) in terms of these elements. Surface temperature is not a simple indicator of the accumulated heat in the climate system, that is true. But it is an indicator of great relevance to society and the environment.