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John Hinderaker Is No Scientist

April 2, 2012

He is a lawyer who knows very little about economics or science. What he does know is how to spread misinformation. In his latest attempt at misinforming his readers, he repeats one of the favorite myths of climate change denial. This myth states that the earth is not warming. Instead, the temperature data itself is bad because of temperature monitoring stations located in urban zones – which are warmer than non-urban areas. They claim that once you remove these data points, it shows no real warming in the earth’s temperature.

However, that myth has already been dispelled by a study which had the full endorsement of Power Line and Anthony Watts – The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study. The reason for their support of this project was simple. The study’s leader, Dr Richard Muller, was a skeptic and the study’s biggest donor was The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Unfortunately for Power Line and Fox News weatherman Anthony Watts, Dr. Muller is a real scientist and not a shill for the fossil fuel industry. The conclusion of his study? The temperature data is good and the earth really is warming.

Of course, once Dr. Muller confirmed that man-made climate change was real, Power Line and Anthony Watts both changed their opinions of him. That’s what ideologues do. For actual scientists, however, the BEST study just confirmed what they have known for years.

There are quite a few reasons to believe that the surface temperature record – which shows a warming of approximately 0.6°-0.8°C over the last century (depending on precisely how the warming trend is defined) – is essentially uncontaminated by the effects of urban growth and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. These include that the land, borehole and marine records substantially agree; and the fact that there is little difference between the long-term (1880 to 1998) rural (0.70°C/century) and full set of station temperature trends (actually less at 0.65°C/century). This and other information lead the IPCC to conclude that the UHI effect makes at most a contribution of 0.05°C to the warming observed over the past century.


From → Climate, Politics

  1. Rick Caird permalink


    I entered this comment at Powerline addresing your charges:

    * *********************************************************************

    I read your blog entry and your reference to the BEST study and find you are confusing two separate issues. The original complaint, and that complain is correct and well documented, is the heat island effect and what is now the poor siting of temperature stations due to urban encroachment. For example, stations that were formerly in fields are now next to asphalt parking lots, under a/c cooling vents, and now next to major interstate highways. The BEST study you reference, does NOT address the siting of the temperature data stations, but takes the data “as is”. Hence, your reference is not “on point” at all.

    Second, nothing you have written or referenced has addressed my point of the majority of funding for warming data coming from AGW supporting groups and that includes government.

    You are being dishonest about the funding for the BEST study. Of the named donors, the Koch Foundation is giving 35% of the finding. However, the side note indicates an unspecified amount of fund is coming the the DOE and Berkeley labs. So, your whole point about the Koch Foundation is merely gratuitous arm waving.

    If I don’t start seeing better work out of you, I am just going to start ignoring you. If all I can expect is dishonesty and irrelevant information, what is the point???

    • Michael permalink

      The whole reason this study was performed was because of the doubts about the temperatures themselves. From the BEST website:

      The most important indicator of global warming, by far, is the land and sea surface temperature record. This has been criticized in several ways, including the choice of stations and the methods for correcting systematic errors. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study sets out to do a new analysis of the surface temperature record in a rigorous manner that addresses this criticism.

      So are you claiming they are lying or incompetent?

      The Koch brothers would not give money to a study that was biased against their interests, would they? So what if there were other donors?

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