Monday, October 24th 2011, 9:37 AM EDT
The skeptic case against climate change is unraveling before our eyes like someone walking away from an old sweater, thread in hand.
For those who have ever put the skeptic arguments to the test, it has always been clear that their criticisms rarely stand up to even the most basic level of academic rigor. But last week's release of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study delivered a decisive blow to the edifice of climate skepticism.
The key skeptic pillar, summarized by arch skeptic Anthony Watts, has always been this: "How do we know if global warming is a problem if we can't trust the temperature record?"
His 2009 study of US weather monitoring stations argued that many were located in areas where temperatures were likely to be higher than in surrounding areas, suggesting that estimates of warming were exaggerated. So the BEST study, funded by the climate denial industry, was undoubtedly meant to corroborate Watt's fundamental tenant.
Instead, the BEST study confirmed quite the opposite -- that rapid warming trends found by previous studies of climate change are in fact correct. While the study must still undergo peer review, it is a climate change denial killer for two reasons:
• The research was led by a prominent climate skeptic with funding by denial bankroller Charles Koch. It was given the seal of approval by Watts and other skeptics. Watts: "I'm prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong." Fred Singer, another long-term denier said: "I applaud and support what is being done by the Project -- a very difficult but important undertaking."
• It annihilates the "climategate" accusations. Skeptics claimed that climate scientists had tried to hide discrepancies in the temperature record which were inconsistent with global warming trends. Even though every one of the six independent inquiries has exonerated the scientists as well as the science, deniers have been relentless. BEST shows that these discrepancies are inconsequential.
It's important to remember, however, that climate denial is not about getting at the truth. It is a well-funded, carefully orchestrated campaign to block regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. So once the skeptics realized their own study was going to fly in the face of their main talking points, they figured BEST would have to be neutralized somehow. Indeed, Watts has been back-pedaling for months, ever since the preliminary findings were known. Their counter-strategy generally went like this:
Click source to read FULL report from Kelly Rigg, and boy oh boy does she paint a fantastic opposing view, I can't wait for the "reply to article".