When I posted my first comment on this subject on this blog and said I was a climate change sceptic I acknowledged that it was a dangerous thing for me to do. As expected, I have come in for criticism from some of those posting comments, and from others. Much of this criticism uses the language I predicted in that post: I am described by many critics as a climate change ‘denier’. This shows the nature of the approach of much of the climate change lobby.
Firstly, they asserted that the science on this matter was settled. When a number of scientists pointed out that this was not so, they have moved onto the language of religion. Climate change for many of them has become a belief and anyone, like me, who still required proof was a denier-someone who refused to accept a belief or assertion.
I was told in a recent comment on my blog that ‘It has been agreed by 99% of climatologists that global warming is man made.’. I asked the person who posted the comment where the 99% number came from (I could equally have asked for the evidence of global warming, let alone the man made assumption) but have yet to receive a reply. Even if this were correct, which I doubt, the number of sceptics/deniers in the scientific community just gained one rather important public addition.
Last week Professor Richard Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and his colleagues from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) published a paper claiming to have shown that the planet has warmed by almost a degree centigrade since 1950 and is warming continually. The findings were reported uncritically by BBC, The Independent, The Guardian, and The Economist, and The Washington Post said the BEST study had ‘settled the climate change debate’ and showed that anyone who remained a sceptic was committing a ‘cynical fraud’.
But yesterday’s Mail on Sunday revealed that a leading member of Muller’s team - Professor Judith Curry - has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST’s research shows global warming has stopped. Curry states that the project’s research data show there has been no increase in world temperatures since the end of the Nineties and now Muller has admitted that the BEST data suggested that world temperatures have not risen for about 13 years.
The full Mail on Sunday article is a must read: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2055191/Scientists-said-climate-change-sceptics-proved-wrong-accused-hiding-truth-colleague.html.
Others have also found misgivings in the BEST paper - http://thegwpf.org/the-observatory/4230-best-confirms-global-temperature-standstill.html. “Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data.”
I wonder if The Washington Post stands by its editorial now? As the BEST report has shown, there is a serious debate still to be had and we should not be afraid to have it.