When it comes to climate change, 98% of climate researchers, 97.4% of climatologists and about 90% of earth scientists agree that global warming exists and is causing irreparable changes to the earth’s weather. Then there are the sceptics. Perhaps the fact that they stand out from the majority and that many are trusted scientists in their fields gives them a louder voice. If what they say is true, then global warming is a farce and we can put down the granola and step away from the tree.
Their explanations for the change in the weather are legion, but the most popular are that it’s a natural phenomenon that would occur anyway (after all, the CO₂ emitted by volcanoes and rotting vegetation is certainly voluminous) or that the facts and figures are false and the majority of scientists are alarmists. Often politicians and industrialists cling to these assertions like barnacles, refusing to change their evil, greenhouse gas producing ways until more scientific evidence is brought to bare. Now a leading voice in the sceptics corner is about to jump ship.
The stakes are really high. If what the sceptics claim is true, then our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are fatuous. Instead of developing renewable energy and spending money on making industry greener, we should feel free to spew forth, using the cheapest forms of energy available. We could all go the way of China and India; it would really help our economies and create much needed jobs.
Meet Richard Muller. Some of you may know him as a leading Berkley University physicist and outspoken critic of global warming. So adamant was Muller that global warming was an alarmist stunt, that he formed the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study to refute it. His basic tenant was that the scientific methodology used during the measurements of global warming phenomenon was flawed. He blamed errors in measurement for the results that various institutes (including NASA) had obtained. The BEST team decided to sift through 200 years of global temperature data, rigorously checking for accuracy and throwing out measurements that were suspect. This meant that a staggering 1.6 billion figures from 39, 000 stations across the world would need to be checked over a two-year period.
The results were not what Muller expected; instead of refuting global warming theorists, Muller’s study only confirmed that studies conducted by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other groups were, in fact, accurate. The BEST team confirmed that global warming had caused a 1 degree increase in temperature since the 1950′s. The sceptic has been reformed. In a statement on his website he says: “Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.”