Last week the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST)
study released four
reports that gained a huge amount of media coverage (for
a scientific study) - particularly for work that has not yet been
peer reviewed. Media reports focused on the project's finding that
the average global temperature on land has increased by around 1°C
since the middle of the 20th century.
Michael Hanlon, science editor for the Daily Mail, and self
confessed ex-climate skeptic,
suggests that the BEST study is likely to do a lot to
answer some of the criticisms of climate skeptics, saying:
"In the end, the sceptics - the genuine
sceptics (ie not those with say a financial stake in climate change
denial) - will come round. But it will take time and more
extraordinary evidence like that produced by this latest
This was certainly the intention of the BEST study team, whose
executive director Elizabeth Muller hoped their
work would "cool the debate over global warming".
So has the BEST study persuaded any climate skeptics to change
their minds and cool the debate? We take a look at the response
from climate skeptic commentators:
We've never disputed warming
Some skeptic commentators seem to be swiftly backtracking from
previously held opinions over global warming and the 'corruption'
amongst climate scientists. Take for example James Delingpole,
in response to the BEST study:
"Global warming is real...Professor
Muller [of the BEST team] sets up his straw man...by ascribing to
"skeptics" views that they don't actually hold. Their case, he
pretends for the sake of his wafer-thin argument, rests on the idea
that the last century's land-based temperature data sets are so
hopelessly corrupt that they have created the illusion of global
warming where none actually exists.
"It has been a truth long acknowledged
by climate sceptics, deniers and realists of every conceivable hue
that since the mid-19th century, the planet has been on a warming
This is in contrast to a post Delingpole wrote on his website
Global warming: is it even happening?" in January 2010, where
he argued that:
"the surface temperature records are
such a mess that they simply can't be trusted"
Or a 2009
blogpost from the Telegraph immediately after the leaking
of the UEA emails:
Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be "the
greatest in modern science". These alleged emails - supposedly
exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW
theory - suggest: 'Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming
"The world is currently cooling."