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Climate skeptic admits he was wrong

The Los Angeles Times ran a story Thursday under this headline: “Climate skeptic admits he was wrong to doubt global-warming data.” Under normal circumstances a headline like that doesn’t draw much of a gasp. As more and more science pours in, fewer and fewer people doubt the science.

But the story behind this headline turned lots of heads.  

The climate skeptic is Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at the University of California and the leader of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST). Muller has a long history of criticism of the science and the scientists conducting it. He was outspoken about the contents of the hacked emails, known as climategate, and most particularly, he was skeptical of the way scientists measured warming.

Richard A. Muller
Richard A. Muller

Critics, including some of mine, have pointed to the fact that many of the instruments used to measure global warming were placed in locations where it was bound to get warmer anyway. They found some of the gauges placed on rooftops, near blacktopped parking lots and in the middle of cities where the commonly understood Heat Island Effect was at play. Cities are warmer than the country.  

So BEST went to work to gather the data and do some measurements of its own. I’m not saying that the project had an agenda, but part of its funding came from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. The Koch fortune is largely from fossil fuel refining, and Charles and David Koch are among the most powerful forces behind the denial of global warming science.  

BEST set out to disprove the conclusions of NASA’S Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research in Great Britain. Each of them had arrived, separately, at remarkably similar figures showing how much the Earth was warming. BEST took on the gargantuan task of analyzing 1.6 billion data points. What Muller and his team of skeptical scientists found was, despite the poor siting of some of the measuring stations, NOAA, GISS and Hadley had gotten it right.

Addressed skeptics
On Friday, Muller addressed all global-warming skeptics in the Wall Street Journal by saying, “Now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.” He went on to explain what BEST had found, and how it had found it. He reported the final paper, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found that the Urban Heat Island argument did not stand up. The data showed that poorly positioned measuring stations showed no greater temperature increases than the better ones.
In other words, the skeptical funders of the study just backed the wrong horse. Charles Koch helped pay for a study that says everything Charles Koch believes in is wrong.

Over his career, Muller has said so many awful things about so many good scientists that they are not likely to let him off the hook. Grudges are hard things to let go. But I hold no grudge against Muller, even though his behavior, on occasion, has been ungentlemanly and hurtful. So, let me say it takes guts for Muller to stand up and say he was wrong. I admire facts and knowledge, and apparently, so does Muller. He couldn’t run from them. No one can, no matter how hard we try to wish them away, no matter how much the facts harm our vested interests, your political leanings or how often you argued with your brother-in-law about the poor quality of the temperature measurements. It made you sound smart, then.

Now, a word about skepticism. It is a good thing. In fact, it is what makes the scientific world go round. Every scientist worth his or her salt is trying to disprove something, or ought to be. When he or she cannot disprove a thing, then they set to work through experiment and observation to prove it. In fact, when the news broke about the BEST results and Muller put his four papers online for scientists to see, the first critics of his work were the scientists he just found were correct in their calculations. Here are the Berkeley papers.

Many of those with whom I correspond said they didn’t like BEST’s methodology and the manner in which it calculated findings. It is a nifty world in which scientists, whose collective work is trying to cut through the skepticism with observable fact and knowledge, are now skeptics of the skeptic who is a skeptic no longer.

Other skeptics
Since the BEST results still must get through peer-review, it has a long way to go before it can be used as confirming science. Already, those skeptics who most supported the BEST project in the hope that it would find the Earth wasn’t warming at all, and fossil fuels would be off the hook, are now running in the other direction. Websites and publications that once cheered on the BEST scientists are now saying the work is not credible. Foot-dragging politicians will say that the temperature siting data must be studied further before doing anything. Politicians who are afraid to act always ask for further study. Sometimes that is proper. Sometimes enough votes have been counted to permit the politician to turn off the TV and walk down to the ballroom and concede.

Don’t count on it. As I used to say on TV, it looks like we are going to be up very late. I hope it is not too late.

The next move of the skeptics will likely be to drop the whole bad-thermometers-by-parking-lots-in-the-middle-of-cities argument and move on to the few remaining questions, which, on close examination, have already been answered by science. Your brother-in-law, or your former governor, might say it is all caused by a natural cycle. You can obliterate the argument by simply asking for some scientific evidence to support that conclusion. There is none, by the way.  

America is a land of skeptics. Missouri is the “Show Me” state. I like that. I live with a skeptic. My wife uses a calculator to add up the grocery receipt to make sure the register is right or the cashier didn’t just charge her $13 a pound for bananas. As a reporter, I hardly believe anything anyone ever says, until I see the proof. That’s why Richard Muller is OK with me.

He saw the proof and he didn’t run away. Bravo for that. Now get to work on apologizing to all those scientists you tried to shame.

Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by William Pappas on 10/25/2011 - 06:08 am.

    Don, how do you account for the fact that many TV meteorologists will not acknowledge man made climate change? I have listened carefully to Mark Seeley, a meteorologist regularly featured on MPR, and he keeps on saying that the earth is warming but it is unclear if the cause is due to man’s activities yet. To me that is a blatantly political statement and remarkable coming from a man of his training and knowledge, a man we are supposed to trust as a “scientist”. I think one of the reasons Paul Douglas was fired nearly a decade ago was his belief in the proven science of global warming. He was extremely popular but he allowed science to trump the network’s political orientation. As long as this much political pressure exists to reinterpret scientific data through the filter of political ideology there will never be an honest approach to confront global warming in time to be effective. Our grand children will be the beneficiaries of this.

  2. Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 10/25/2011 - 07:49 am.

    Imagine that, you can find scientists who agree that catastrophic man-made global warming is a fact and you can find alarmist scientists who have changed their minds to be reasonable.

    The man (Dr. Revelle) who had inspired Al Gore and given the UN the basic research it needed to launch its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was having second thoughts. In 1988 he wrote two cautionary letters to members of Congress. He wrote, “My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse effect is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways.” He added, “…we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer.”

    And in 1991 Revelle teamed up with Chauncey Starr, founding director of the Electric Power Research Institute and Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, to write an article for Cosmos magazine. They urged more research and begged scientists and governments not to move too fast to curb greenhouse CO2 emissions because the true impact of carbon dioxide was not at all certain and curbing the use of fossil fuels could have a huge negative impact on the economy and jobs and our standard of living.

    Dr. Revelle wrote in 1988 that we should be cautious for 10 to 20 years. Ten years later would be 1998 and we have had no discernable warming since 1998.

    The globe is warming, the question is do we have to be hysterical in our reaction to it?

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/25/2011 - 08:41 am.

    Meteorologists, specially tv meteorologists, are not climate scientists, many are not scientists at all. None of the TV meteorologists conduct or perform any studies. Many have no real scientific training, they learn how to stand in front of a camera and show pretty pictures and tell you what the computer says. They conduct no studies, perform no experiments, and submit nothing to anyone anywhere for peer review. Seely is no doubt bowing to political concerns, or maybe he just doesn’t feel like dealing the whackos that come out of the woodwork every time anyone says humans are warming the planet.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/25/2011 - 09:35 am.

    For the thoughtful reader, this story has so many flaws it makes any attempt at a cogent response fruitless…Don is really finding his stride.

    So I won’t waste my time illuminating the scandal sheet properties, I’ll just let Dr. Muller explain why not only does he not have any apologising to do, but why happy feet dancing in the “reality based community” is not warranted:

    “Global warming is real…How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.”

    Sorry warmers.

  5. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 10/25/2011 - 09:36 am.

    Mr. Hoppe (#3), you do a good job of demonstrating the problem with cutting and pasting things from climate change denier websites.

    First, Dr. Revelle died in 1991, and the knowledge available about climate change 20 years later dwarfs what was known in Revelle’s time. Contrary to your statement to the contrary, there certainly has been discernable warming.

    Second, it is disputed whether Dr. Revelle actually participated in the writing of that article, or whether he was unknowingly added as a signatory shortly before his death. There was litigation to that effect, and his children have asserted that Dr. Revelle was not a climate change denier and that he would have resented being used by the climate change deniers.

    Third, we don’t need to hysterical. We just need to be smart. We need to let our beliefs and decisions be governed by facts and science.

  6. Submitted by Mike Naas on 10/25/2011 - 09:40 am.

    Richard A. Muller science & Don’s article ignores the most important question of “man made” or “natural cycles.” It is very old science that the Earth has been in a warming cycle since the last glacial age when the warming melted the glaciers some 12,000 years ago. We know the Earth has gone through these warming and cooling cycles every 10,000-15,000 years over the last 50,000 years. The big question is NOT if we are warming or cooling, but to “what extent” mankind’s presence is influencing the cycles that the Earth has always gone through. Some political agendas would have mankind return to hard scrabble living by paying very high taxes on fuel to restrict energy use in the name of a warming cycle that has always occurred in nature. Nobody questions that the Earth is in some form of cooling or warming cycle, just as the Earth has been for thousands of years. The above Comment #1 is a great example of a highly respected Climatologist & scientist that does NOT agree that our warming or cooling cycle is man-made. Mark Seely’s interpretation seems to be that the collective data from all of science can’t even determine if we are in a warming or cooling period. The question of man-made, or not is an entirely different question. Don’s article and Richard Muller’s science is not even dealing with the right questions. If Muller’s data shows that there is a warming period over a few years, that’s interesting but it takes centuries of data to show a “climate” trend. The question of “man-made or not” is a long term currently unanswered question/trend. There are also other factors not mentioned here such as “Global Dimming” of the Sun, the effect of the cooling of Earth’s core, and those that believe that the Earth is actually between Ice Ages and will enter one again, just as the Earth has done many other times in recent geologic history. It would be nice if we actually knew the answers and more carefully collected data from only a few of decades was adequate, but we don’t know and it’s not enough data. Besides, who is going to stop China and other growing countries from their poor wanting to heat and cook to achieve some form of middle class life? The issue of world overpopulation may be the real question to consider, and the effect on the Earth from trying to use enough fuel and chemicals to feed an overpopulated Earth. A tiny amount of Earth’s warming and/or cooling pales in comparison to what will happen on Earth when there is not enough fresh water or food to sustain life.

  7. Submitted by Annie Grandy on 10/25/2011 - 09:41 am.

    Thank you Dr. Muller and thank you Mr. Shelby for bringing Dr. Muller’s work into the public eye. Just one thing, I know you are limited by space but to glide over ‘climategate’ and in no way denounce it is problematic for me. The claims of the climate change doubters regarding the contents of the emails stolen from the University of East Anglia scientists have been completely disproven. The thieves took their ‘proof’ out of context and left off words that completed thoughts and sentences changing the meanings to reflect their puny attempt to discredit the scientists. It needs to be eliminated from our vocabulary or denounced as the fraud it has been proven to be.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/25/2011 - 10:35 am.

    “The claims of the climate change doubters regarding the contents of the emails stolen from the University of East Anglia scientists have been completely disproven.”

    That is patently untrue. They have been completely *excused* by East Anglia and the IPCC…both of whom were complicit players.

    It is a pity that “factual truth” is relegated to the ranks of impressionistic art among leftist “science lovers”.

    BTW, as long as I’m weighing in again, I hope the Minnpost censors will indulge me in a bit of climate change humor..

    Reading Don’s screeds is always amusing, but today, he brought back memories of the old Cheech and Chong “Basketball Jones” bit:

    “I’d like to thank everone in bassaball, ’cause if it wern’t for bassaball, I wouldn’t be playin’ bassaball….today.”

    “As more and more science pours in, fewer and fewer people doubt the science.”

  9. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/25/2011 - 12:13 pm.

    Mr. Naas @ #6: I think you missed the point of the comment. If Marc Seeley did agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming was man-made, he would not be allowed to say-so on NPR. #1 was deploring the fact that scientific issues have become distorted by ideology. So now, to accept a consensus of scientific opinion is to be a leftist lover of “impressionistic art”.

    I can accept that it may not be a matter of “factual” or at least “scientific truth” that climate change is “caused” by human activity. But much of what we do in the name of protecting public health, safety and welfare is not based upon such truth but upon consensus. We didn’t require scientific proof that smoking caused lung cancer before requiring labels on cigarette packs. The climate change deniers are analogous to the tobacco companies who for years, if not even today, denied that there was any causal link between smoking and lung cancer. I think as a matter of scientific truth, that still is the case. If you smoke three packs a day for life, you will not necessarily get lung cancer. But does that mean you should continue to smoke three packs a day? By the same token, if it’s a fact that the glaciers on Greenland, in the Arctic and Antarctic are melting and calving away at an accelerated rate, and the permafrost in the tundra continues to defrost and release more methane, should we continue business as usual, driving our Hummers and Escalades, running our coal electric plants and drilling for diminishing reserves of oil and blame it on “natural cycles”? To me, that makes about as much sense as continuing to smoke three packs a day. One thing I remember from “An Inconvenient Truth” is that even Al Gore does not claim all global warming is entirely attributable to human causes. But human factors contribute enough to make a critical or marginal difference so that if they were reduced or curtailed in a meaningful way, we could avoid the catastrophic consequences of doing nothing or waiting until it is too late. And the measures that have been proposed in the near term are by no means requiring civilization to be reduced to a “hardscrabble existence.” But that may be the cost of delay.

  10. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 10/25/2011 - 12:39 pm.

    Mr. Naas (#6) to assert that Muller and other scientists are ignoring historical natural warming and cooling of the earth is just plain ignorant. Seriously, do you think that by reading some climate change denial website you came up with something that climate scientists missed? Do you really not see the absurdity of what you are saying?

    Mr. Swift (#8), as you know very well, the climate change emails have been reviewed by numerous independent groups. The only falsification of information was the misrepresentation of the emails by client change deniers. And also your comment, which unlike Ms. Grandy’s (#7) is actually patently untrue.

  11. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/25/2011 - 12:50 pm.

    Fellow MinnPost commenter, Thomas Anderson, provided this Washington Post link yesterday, in the Comments section of one of Don’s ubiquitous AGW columns. As usual, the Washington Post does a better job than the LA Times. Thanks Thomas.

    An excerpt: “Muller and his fellow researchers examined an enormous data set of observed temperatures from monitoring stations around the world and concluded that the average land temperature has risen 1 degree Celsius — or about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — since the mid-1950s.”

    However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) that the temperature rise over the 100 year period from 1906–2005 was 0.74 °C [0.56 to 0.92 °C] with a confidence interval of 90%. 1 degree in 55 years or 0.74 degrees in 100 years? Which is it, and why the disparity? The IPCC (AR4) is 90% confident that the above claim of 1 degree since the mid-1950s is wrong.

    Does it matter? Perhaps not. Another excerpt from the same Washington Post link: “It is true that Muller made no attempt to ascertain “how much of the warming is due to humans.””

  12. Submitted by Lance Groth on 10/25/2011 - 01:00 pm.

    It’s worth noting, in light of the denialist posts on this page, that Shawn Lawrence Otto’s new book, “Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America,” is out.

    If I may quote from Lori Sturdevant’s writeup, “Author Otto points out that science is inherently anti-authoritarian. The new knowledge it generates shakes up the status quo and disrupts defenders of old ideas.”

    Indeed. Denialists such as Mr. Swift are defenders of old ideas. I suppose one could say that goes with being conservative, however I find it to be a reflexive, knee-jerk kind of conservatism that gets in the way rather than helping to solve problems.

    The GOP once had some impressive thinkers; William F. Buckley springs to mind. How sad that intellectualism and science have become dirty words in today’s TP-dominated GOP. (I actually have a hard time typing “GOP”, as there is nothing Grand about the the current incarnation of the party.)

    From the same article: “How ironic it is that the political party that often decries government encroachment on individual liberty is also the one whose leading candidates question the validity of scientific consensus.”

    Exactly so. Yet why should we be surprised? Hypocrisy is rampant in today’s Republican party.

    Even as the denialist edifice crumbles, there will always be those who continue to profess denial, just as one can turn up a few Flat Earthers if one tries really hard. Some because they genuinely confused. Some because they believe it serves a political purpose. We can pity the former, while we guard against the latter.

    We can take it as a sign of desperation that they now resort to analogies involving Cheech and Chong.

  13. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/25/2011 - 01:30 pm.

    The Berkeley professor was obviously tired of having his car keyed in the faculty parking lot.

  14. Submitted by john parsons on 10/25/2011 - 01:38 pm.

    Science is simply a body of facts arranged systematically so as to show the operation of general laws. We can believe anything we want to believe but that won’t change the facts. They are indeed stubborn things, Mr. Swift. Dr. John Parsons

  15. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/25/2011 - 02:21 pm.

    Lance (#12):

    Party hypocrisy? It seems the DFL has a lock on that.

    Quote from the Sunday Tribune (10/23/11), in a story about Alida Rockefeller Messinger:

    “Messinger has emerged as a quiet but enormously powerful force in Minnesota politics. The youngest daughter of John D. Rockefeller III, she bankrolled the successful Legacy amendment, has given millions to DFL causes and candidates and was a driving force behind the election of her ex-husband, Gov. Mark Dayton.”


    “BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama”

    This, according to a 2010 Politico article:

    It seems the DFL is dripping in fossil fuel money, while decrying the drilling and burning of oil. Hypocrisy indeed.

  16. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/25/2011 - 02:23 pm.

    Thanks Dan, I don’t even have to follow your link to warmer central to refute your claim:


    I mostly sincerely find even that highly disputable.

    Lance, it was a poke at Don’s poor writing; funny, get it? …sheesh.


    “But much of what we do in the name of protecting public health, safety and welfare is not based upon such truth but upon consensus.”

    The consensus among European sailors was, at one time, for their own health, safety and welfare, not to sail much beyond 30 deg. latitude, lest they fall off the edge.

    But still, you’re learning Jon. 😉

  17. Submitted by john parsons on 10/25/2011 - 03:24 pm.

    Those European sailors in your metaphor were not geographers, and that’s the point. In your analogy YOU are one of the sailors and Al Gore is Columbus. Dr. John

  18. Submitted by Susan Rego on 10/25/2011 - 03:37 pm.

    If we can’t trust Thomas Swift to give us the correct comedy reference, how can we believe his take on global climate change???!

    “Bas-e-ball been bery, bery good to me” was Chico Escuaela (Garrett Morris) on SNL, not Cheech & Chong.

  19. Submitted by Lance Groth on 10/25/2011 - 03:39 pm.

    Steve (#15) – in condemning hypocrisy on the right, I do not exempt the left. My two greatest frustrations with Obama are:

    1) Stocking his cabinet with banksters who should instead be prosecuted, and

    2) Doing nothing substantive about AGW and/or development of green, renewable energy sources.

    On the latter, piddling around the edges with a billion here or there doesn’t count. The problem requires a Marshall Plan. Both Dubya and Obama had the opportunity to lead on the issue and create a real legacy, and both failed. Such a pity.

    In fairness to Obama, he may have felt it to be a bridge too far, having to deal from the get-go with an economy and financial system in near ruin, and given the Republican “No to Anything and Everything” obstreperousness, and choosing instead to tackle health care reform first. Not to mention a couple of wars. At least, he is not a science-denier.

    But the left having a “lock” on hypocrisy? Hardly. The right is rife with it. I have a lot more respect for Ron Paul (and other authentic libertarians), who, as noted elsewhere in MinnPost, means what he says and says what he means. The conventional GOP says one thing but means quite another.

    Mr. Swift, perhaps if you relied less on snark and Limbaughesque untruths, I would appreciate your humor more.

  20. Submitted by Thomas Anderson on 10/25/2011 - 03:54 pm.

    Swift is pretty clearly bugged by facts and experts disagreeing with what he’s decided to believe.

  21. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/25/2011 - 03:57 pm.

    Lance (#19):

    To be fair to Obama? He is the greatest political recipient of BP money in past 20 years. Why would he not act like it? Don’t be fooled by the green and gold BP logo that is shaped like a sunburst; they really aren’t that green.

    It is really more ironic than hypocritical that the heir to the Standard Oil fortune is bankrolling the MN-DFL, and big oil BP is bankrolling Obama.

  22. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/25/2011 - 04:23 pm.

    Reality doesn’t care what you believe: it is what it is.

    As they say in the scientific community: In God we trust. Everyone else must bring facts.

  23. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/25/2011 - 04:31 pm.

    The temperature ALWAYS goes up in the comments section when Don writes about global climate!

  24. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/25/2011 - 05:16 pm.

    Wow, Dr. John…we all knew that ALGORE had invented the internet, so we’re pretty surprised that he had time to complete a graduate degree in climate science too. I don’t care who ya are; that guy is a-maz-ing.

    And you’re right about those sailors, too doc.

    While they were worried about falling off the edge of the turtle’s shell, the REAL geographers of the time knew they’d never make it past the dragons…

    Heh. “Experts”…some things just never change, do they doc?

    Susan, I’ll not quibble with your knowledge of “Chico Escuaela”, but then again I don’t have to; I was reminiscing about C&C’s “Tyrone Shoelaces”. Look it up; it’s hi-larious.

  25. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/25/2011 - 05:27 pm.

    Oh, and BTW, Thomas Anderson; I don’t disagree with Muller. I’ve said on several occasions that the evidence I’ve seen convinces me that the Earth’s temperature has risen recently.

    But, again as with Muller, I haven’t seen a shred of credable evidence that pinpoints the cause or the repercussions OR that it is going to be sustained for any length of time.

    That’s where, IMCO, the science ends and the leftist warmer agenda begins.

  26. Submitted by Jim Kakalios on 10/25/2011 - 06:40 pm.

    To those who don’t believe in clomate change, let’s stipulate that climate warming is not happening. It turns out you would want to shift to renewables ANYWAY. Petroleum is a great resource – but it is finite.

    How finite? Most estimates place the amount of petroleum remaining in the ground to be about 1 trillion barrels.
    Sometimes you see numbers a bit higher, sometimes a bit lower.

    At the CURRENT rate of usage of 80 million barrels a day, we should use up those trillion barrels in 33 years.

    Say all these estimates are widely wrong, and there are TWO trillion barrels of oil remaining. You still are not making it to the next century on pretoleum.

    So, even if you don’t think global climate warming is real (and I do think it is real based upon the data and the scientists involved), you would want to get started on shifting to another form of energy production anyway. Oil so permeates (sorry for the pun) our society that you can not shift on a dime, and we should be working today on alternative energy sources. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Because that would be very bad.

  27. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/25/2011 - 06:43 pm.

    Hehehe. That’s consistent with my observations. However, for it to be always true, I think we need a few more data points. 😉

    Swift has a history of inaccuracy. Thank goodness for the fact-checkers.

  28. Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 10/25/2011 - 09:24 pm.

    Mr. Hintz (#5), you are correct that we have learned more about climate change since Dr. Revelle died in 1991.

    Professor Phil Jones, Dir. of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia was interviewed by the BBC News and the interview appeared on-line 2-13-2010.

    (Question)B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present (BBC interview conducted Feb. 2010) there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    So it seems that we have learned that no statistically-significant global warming has occured for a 14 year period even though CO2 levels have been increasing at an “alarming” rate during the same period.

  29. Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 10/25/2011 - 09:30 pm.

    (#18), Basketball Jones was a Cheech and Chong bit. Just because you never heard it doesn’t make Mr. Swift’s reference wrong.

  30. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/26/2011 - 07:07 am.

    Skepticism regarding anthropogenic climate change has little to do with observations and scientific analysis. These show that climate change is playing out pretty consistently with general predictions that were made 20 or more years ago. The real foundation for climate change skepticism is economic and ideological. A rational and market-driven approach to addressing human-induced climate change would be to place a gradually increasing global price on greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere that would eventually cap atmospheric concentrations at some agreed upon acceptable levels. Choosing these levels would not be a simple matter, enforcing compliance with such a system would be a challenge, and both would require coordinated government actions. This approach, of course, flies in the face of Libertarian principles that laissez-faire economics are the solution to all problems.

  31. Submitted by Mike Naas on 10/26/2011 - 09:35 am.

    31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs rejecting the “invalid science” behind claims of man-made global warming stating that no such consensus or settled science exists. These scientists are instead convinced that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity and that government action on the basis of this hypothesis would unnecessarily and counterproductively damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the Earth.

    These scientists have signed a petition and issued it to the United States Government and Congress, that includes the following statement. “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Signed by 31, 487 American Scientists listed and explained at this web site.

    These 31,487 scientists represented themselves in their petition signing, but also reviewed the 12-page science report on greenhouse gases that further repudiates any settled science on man-caused global warming. 12-page report is available here:

    A report that is written for the non-scientific community that summarizes the false science and political activist agenda behind the most widely quoted sources of man-made global warming evidence is available here:

    Conclusions: Political alarmists (some claim to understand science) claim that there are a “few skeptics” of man-made global warming. 31,487 scientists that signed the Global Warming Petition are not a few, but represent a large cross section of the scientific community. Man-caused global warming “evidence” is not valid science and is not “settled science” by any standards of the scientific community. Consensus is a political position, not a scientific position. The agenda of the United Nations adoption of the false science behind man-caused global warming is for the objective of building support for world taxation and rationing of industrially-useful energy. Citizens believing they have an important “environmental” cause are woefully wrong and are being made a pawn in the game of political activism with a big government and socialist agenda.

    People seeking a cause to promote to the most people need only seed the advice of Nobel Price winning economist, Milton Freidman: “So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”

  32. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/26/2011 - 11:29 am.

    Is this the petition you’re referring to? It doesn’t strike me as terribly reliable.

    In a 2005 op-ed in the Hawaii Reporter, Todd Shelly wrote:

    “In less than 10 minutes of casual scanning, I found duplicate names (Did two Joe R. Eaglemans and two David Tompkins sign the petition, or were some individuals counted twice?), single names without even an initial (Biolchini), corporate names (Graybeal & Sayre, Inc. How does a business sign a petition?), and an apparently phony single name (Redwine, Ph.D.). These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided. Why the lack of transparency?

  33. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/26/2011 - 12:22 pm.

    Todd (#32):

    Never know of someone with the surname “Redwine”? There is one in my Minneapolis neighborhood. A Dexknows search yields over 100 results in Minnesota alone. “Drinkwine” yields over 100 results in Minnesota too, and I’ve know one of them.

    Two duplicate names seems like a weak case for disregarding the other 31,485 names.

  34. Submitted by Lance Groth on 10/26/2011 - 12:44 pm.

    Re #32 – Not to mention that it doesn’t matter what miscellaneous “scientists” or “ph.d.’s” think about climate change, unless they are bona fide climatologists. A geologist may be a scientist, but I don’t give a rip what he thinks about AGW. Similarly, a Ph.D. in philosophy has nothing useful to offer in this context. Or, for that matter, most meteorologists, who are not climatologists, and often not even scientists. The petition rant (#31) is old, nonsensical, and just a case of righties blowing smoke to try to obfuscate the issue.

    Show me a list of 32,000 climatologists, full names, positions and place of employment, all verified, and not in the employ of the fossil fuels industry or right wing political groups, who deny AGW and have peer reviewed data to back it up, and we’ll talk.

  35. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/26/2011 - 05:07 pm.

    Steve Rose, does Qwestdex also have multiple listings for Graybeal & Sayre, Inc.?

    As Lance correctly pointed out, adding a bunch of random scientists (and businesses) to an arbitrary list doesn’t carry a lot of weight. This list is just another method to add smoke and mirrors to the process without introducing anything of substance.

  36. Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 10/26/2011 - 05:33 pm.

    Mr. Groth, (#34) I find the double standard amusing when warmers dismiss the qualifications and opinions of catastrophic AGW skeptics as meaningless and unimportant. BUT… any Tom, Dick or Harry alarmist with some scientific qualification is taken as gospel. I fear you have offended Don Shelby by dismissing his star witness Richard Muller, who he lauded in this article.

    “Not to mention that it doesn’t matter what miscellaneous “scientists” or “ph.d.’s” think about climate change, unless they are bona fide climatologists. A geologist may be a scientist, but I don’t give a rip what he thinks about AGW. Similarly, a Ph.D. in philosophy has nothing useful to offer in this context.”

    Why then should you or Don care what Mr. Muller, a professor of Physics at Berkeley, thinks about climate change. He is not a “bona fide climatologist”, is he?

  37. Submitted by Tim Larson on 10/26/2011 - 10:07 pm.


    A challenge for you. Just for fun, read for a month or so. And if you’re really into learning, read the hockey stick history. WARNING it might scare you.

  38. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/27/2011 - 03:48 pm.

    Todd (#35):

    If interested, you may answer that question for yourself.

    It is a red herring argument that believes that 100% of the data should be disregarded if 0.1% of it can be called into question, or if some of the names are unfamiliar to you.

  39. Submitted by john parsons on 10/28/2011 - 02:24 pm.

    #36 Robert—Muller and his team are experts in the sophisticated mathematics used to analyze this type of data. This aspect of the problem at hand does not require knowledge of climatology. Dr. John Parsons

  40. Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 10/29/2011 - 08:09 am.

    Dr. Parsons, (#39) Steven McIntyre is a mathematician and founder of Climate Audit. His analysis of climate data is routinely dismissed as irrelevant by critics simply because he is not a “bona fide climatologist”.

    I agree with you Doctor, let’s stop the silly double standard that AGW alarmists employ to discredit those who have come to a different conclusion regarding climate change data.

  41. Submitted by Mike Naas on 10/29/2011 - 08:59 pm.

    Global Warming: Doomsday Called Off
    In this eye-opening documentary viewers will discover how the most respected researchers from all over the world explode the doom and gloom of global warming. Humans stand accused of having set off a global climate catastrophe by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    Once all of these satellites were strung together, we could then look at the temperature change overtime, and the strange thing we found is that there is very little change in the global temperature. And this was a surprise because the surface temperature showed an increase, but this bulk of the atmosphere, the real climate system was not. And that then caused us to realize that the human effects of climate are likely not happening the way we think they are.
    The prophecy of doom is clear and media pass on the message uncritically. Now serious criticism has arisen from a number of heavyweight independent scientists. They argue that most of the climatic change we have seen is due to natural variations. They also state that if CO2 is to play a role at all -it will be minuscule and not catastrophic! This story presents a series of unbiased scientists as our witnesses. We will hear their eloquent criticism of the IPCC conclusions illustrated by coverage of their research work.
    Watch this documentary on-line for free here:

  42. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/31/2011 - 06:04 am.

    “Scientist who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleague”

    Read more:

    Compare the graph that fooled the world with the inconvenient truth.

  43. Submitted by Steve Rose on 10/31/2011 - 10:49 am.

    This link works better:


    “Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Muller’s claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a ‘huge mistake’, with no scientific basis.”

    “In fact, she added, in the wake of the unexpected global warming standstill, many climate scientists who had previously rejected sceptics’ arguments were now taking them much more seriously.
    They were finally addressing questions such as the influence of clouds, natural temperature cycles and solar radiation – as they should have done, she said, a long time ago.”

    “But although Prof Curry is the second named author of all four papers, Prof Muller failed to consult her before deciding to put them on the internet earlier this month, when the peer review process had barely started, and to issue a detailed press release at the same time.”

  44. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/01/2011 - 06:01 pm.

    No comments from the right reverend don doomsday nor a chorus from the AGW consensus choir on this latest development?

    Having been repeatedly lectured by warm mongers on the importance of peer review, I don’t understand why it is not required of Muller.

    Carbon, carbon, everywhere carbon, but nary a tenth-degree of warming to be found.

  45. Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 11/03/2011 - 07:28 am.

    Very strange how Don just moves on to the next week’s dire prediction of doom.

    I wonder how the fact that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995 will affect Don’s prediction of an ice free Arctic by 2085, or thereabouts, most likely……maybe not?

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