It was hailed as the scientific study that ended the global warming debate once and for all – the research that, in the words of its director, ‘proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longer’.
Professor Richard Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and his colleagues from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) claimed to have shown that the planet has warmed by almost a degree centigrade since 1950 and is warming continually.
Published last week ahead of a major United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, next month, their work was cited around the world as irrefutable evidence that only the most stringent measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can save civilisation as we know it.
But today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Muller’s team has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST’s research shows global warming has stopped.
Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Muller’s claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a ‘huge mistake’, with no scientific basis.
Prof Curry is a distinguished climate researcher with more than 30 years experience and the second named co-author of the BEST project’s four research papers.
Her comments, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, seem certain to ignite a furious academic row. She said this affair had to be compared to the notorious ‘Climategate’ scandal two years ago.
Like the scientists exposed then by leaked emails from East Anglia University’s Climatic Research Unit, her colleagues from the BEST project seem to be trying to ‘hide the decline’ in rates of global warming.
In fact, Prof Curry said, the project’s research data show there has been no increase in world temperatures since the end of the Nineties – a fact confirmed by a new analysis that The Mail on Sunday has obtained.
‘There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’
[…]Prof Muller also wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal. It was here, under the headline ‘The case against global warming scepticism’, that he proclaimed ‘there were good reasons for doubt until now’.
This, too, went around the world, with The Economist, among many others, stating there was now ‘little room for doubt’.
Such claims left Prof Curry horrified.
‘Of course this isn’t the end of scepticism,’ she said. ‘To say that is the biggest mistake he [Prof Muller] has made. When I saw he was saying that I just thought, “Oh my God”.’
In fact, she added, in the wake of the unexpected global warming standstill, many climate scientists who had previously rejected sceptics’ arguments were now taking them much more seriously.
They were finally addressing questions such as the influence of clouds, natural temperature cycles and solar radiation – as they should have done, she said, a long time ago.
[…][Guelph University professor]Prof McKittrick added: ‘The fact is that many of the people who are in a position to provide informed criticism of this work are currently bound by confidentiality agreements.
‘For the Berkeley team to have chosen this particular moment to launch a major international publicity blitz is a highly unethical sabotage of the peer review process.’
In Prof Curry’s view, two of the papers were not ready to be published, in part because they did not properly address the arguments of climate sceptics.
As for the graph disseminated to the media, she said: ‘This is “hide the decline” stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline.
‘To say this is the end of scepticism is misleading, as is the statement that warming hasn’t paused. It is also misleading to say, as he has, that the issue of heat islands has been settled.’
Can these mainstream media journalists check anything before swallowing hoaxes hook, line and sinker?