On October 21, Dr. Richard Muller published an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) presenting the results of a two-year exhaustive study of the world temperature records using multiple methods to verify the data. The verdict, global warming is real and the skeptics are wrong.
This was news because Dr. Muller, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has been one of the ‘legitimate scientists’ that skeptics have relied on to support their position that global warming is a myth. This startling announcement was largely ignored by the news media until Jon Stewart had a field day with the announcement on his October 26 episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Since airing, several other news media outlets have picked up the story, including MSNBC, and The Huffington Post.
Part of the lack of awareness is partially due to Dr. Muller spending the first half (516 out of 1009 total words) of his Op Ed piece restating why he thinks people should be skeptical of global warming. Since most people don’t read past the first few paragraphs it was easy for the heart of his announcement to remain buried in the last half of the article where he finally states:
…But now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.
Conservatives, who are consistent skeptics of global warming, have accused scientists of almost every type of conspiracy and evil motivation in order to throw a blanket of doubt on legitimate, scientific research which have uncovered a significant change in Earth’s climate. On the Daily Show’s episode, Stewart shows clips of Texas Governor and presidential candidate, Rick Perry accusing, “a substantial number of scientists…” of “…manipulating the data…” in order to get funding for their projects. On the same show, a comical interview of Republican Strategist Noelle Nikpour has her stoically accusing scientists of making up data “…for their own finanshual (sic) gain…” and adds that “every American…would have a gut feeling…” that scientific data is wrong.
Muller’s analysis is part of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study and is a review of the scientific data used to determine whether the average surface temperatures (historical and present day) are reliable. The study received $150,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, associated with the Koch brothers, who made their money in the oil industry. The study also received $100,000 from both the William K. Bowes Foundation and a foundation established by Bill Gates.
In the WSJ article Muller explains:
…When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that.
Will this quiet the skeptics? Probably not, but facts don’t usually get in the way of people in denial.
This article first published as
Muller: “global warming…why you should not be a skeptic”