Resistance to Climate Change Research?

It is far less difficult in the world of research to let the facts stand than in the political world where too often political advantage determines whether results are dismissed or embraced.  Yes, Thomas Kuhn taught us that researchers will go to great lengths to save their theory from contradictory evidence.  In politics, the evidence faces more difficult challenges.

From Paul Krugman’s NYT column:

Prof. Richard Muller of Berkeley, a physicist who has gotten into the climate skeptic game, has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, an effort partially financed by none other than the Koch foundation. And climate deniers — who claim that researchers at NASA and other groups analyzing climate trends have massaged and distorted the data — had been hoping that the Berkeley project would conclude that global warming is a myth.

Instead, however, Professor Muller reported that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.” via The Truth About Climate Change, Still Inconvenient – NYTimes.com.

And what was the reception to Muller’s research findings among the climate change deniers?  Charitably, the response is show me the peer reviewed findings. Let’s hope that is the case.  I have to say this point is well taken.

Is There A Sampling Bias In The BEST Analysis Reported By Richard Muller?

Guest post by Dr. Roger Pielke Senior (quoted on Watts Up With That — the blog of climate change critic Anthony Watts)

In his testimony Richard Muller (which I posted on Friday April 2 2011), indicated that he used 2% of the available surface stations that measure temperatures in the BEST assessment of long-term trends. It is important to realize that the sampling is still biased if a preponderance of his data sources comes from a subset of actual landscape types.  The sampling will necessarily be skewed towards those sites.

If the BEST data came from a different distribution of locations than the GHCNv.2, however, then his results would add important new insight into the temperature trend analyses. If they have the same spatial distribution, however, they would not add anything beyond confirming that NCDC, GISS and CRU were properly using the collected raw data.

note: BEST is the name of Dr. Muller’s research project. See http://berkeleyearth.org/

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2 Responses to Resistance to Climate Change Research?

  1. A Yellow Dog Democrat says:

    It’s too bad that the climate change debate has gotten so polarized. If you are a right wing Republican, you could go a long way with the environmental movement on climate change before parting ways.

    The less carbon we emit, the less fossil fuels we are burning and most of that shit is from countries that are anti-democratic, anti-christian, places where your daughter would be a door mat.

    If we could talk about the national security benefits of energy reductions, that might get some headway going. Although smarter politicians than me have tried this and it is not going anywhere.

    • I have heard that there is a community or communities in Kansas that have done just what you suggest. They are energized to promote energy efficiency without even mentioning CO2 emissions and climate change.

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