This is one check the Koch Brothers are certainly regretting: $150,000 to the Berkeley Earth Service Temperature project, run by a long-time critic of Climate Change science, was intended to bolster the deniers with some hard data. Somehow, things didn’t work out quite as expected and the news came out in a Congressional committee meeting intending to support the attack on the EPA. Somehow, I don’t think this is what the Kochs had in mind.
But Muller unexpectedly told a congressional hearing last week that the work of the three principal groups that have analyzed the temperature trends underlying climate science is “excellent…. We see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups.”
It will be interesting to observe how much attention (if any) is given to the Berkeley project results. Perhaps Fox News will give it wide coverage and their pundits and “journalists” will be quick to concede they’d had it wrong. Or maybe not.
But conservative critics who had expected Muller’s group to demonstrate a bias among climate scientists reacted with disappointment.
Anthony Watts, a former TV weatherman who runs the skeptic blog WattsUpWithThat.com, wrote that the Berkeley group is releasing results that are not “fully working and debugged yet…. But, post normal science political theater is like that.”
Over the years, Muller has praised Watts’ efforts to show that weather station data in official studies are untrustworthy because of the urban heat island effect, which boosts temperature readings in areas that have been encroached on by cities and suburbs.
But leading climatologists said the previous studies accounted for the effect, and the Berkeley analysis is confirming that, Muller acknowledged. “Did such poor station quality exaggerate the estimates of global warming?” he asked in his written testimony. “We’ve studied this issue, and our preliminary answer is no.”
Muller’s testimony must have felt like a slap in the face to the GOP members of the Science & Technology Committee, who were expecting a golden opportunity to scoff at Global Climate Change and urge the increased exploitation of non-renewable energy sources. Perhaps in the future the Koch Brothers will demand results before cutting a check.