The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project
has released its preliminary findings though not in a research journal but to the scientific community and the general public. Their trumpeted finding is not surprising – the world has gotten warmer in recent decades – or at least the land has. This is consistent with the other global temperature datasets.
A press release
issued by the project said, “Global Warming is real,” adding that it can find no evidence of a heat island effect, and that even weather stations considered to be of doubtful quality still show relative warming over the 1950 – 2010 period in question.
Whilst the results are not that surprising, the findings of the research have been used by some to talk about the nature of climate skepticism bearing in mind that the impetus for the Berkeley initiative came from self-avowed skeptical scientists. But the results, and how they have been portrayed, also says something about the nature of today’s environmental reporting. In particular it reveals a narrow focus on trouncing sceptics at the expense of putting the science into its proper context.
Now, here’s the irony, the Berkeley team are actually sceptics about the matter where the real debate lies – the question of the mix of human and natural contributions to the recent warming. Now why didn’t any of these “reporters” pick up on that?
Why was this nugget missed or ignored? It is because environmental reporters are too obsessed with bashing sceptics, and reading press releases, than in reporting science.