CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
The Best teams has also published their findings on their site and presumably submitted them for peer-review.
Scientifically the BEST results are nothing new. In fact many have criticised BEST for their simplistic attempts at attribution:
simple curve-fitting doesn’t cut it. In fact, it makes you look kind of foolish. If it were that simple climatologists would have done it in the 19th century (and, of course, they’ve all tried curve-fitting on the second week of their research, then hid those papers in a bottom drawer.) That’s exactly why they scratch around for all the clues they can get, and why they ruin their youth build climate models.
Politically, however the story is more interesting. Muller was once sceptical of climate change and the BEST project was partially funded by the Koch Brothers.
The BEST project even got Anthony Watts to state:
I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.
Though he went back on his word last year when the preliminary results were published.
Ken Caldeira, from Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology, sums it up nicely:
The basic scientific results have been established for a long time now, so I do not see the results of Muller et al as being scientifically important. However, their result may be politically important. It shows that even people who suspect climate scientists of being charlatans, when they take a hard look at the data, see that the climate scientists have been right all along.