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Paul Krugman’s Convenient Lie About Global Warming Science

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Posted on April 4 2011 4:00 pm

The economist and New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman wrote an article today entitled “The Truth, Still Inconvenient.” In it, he tried to portray recent congressional testimony by a global warming skeptic, Berkeley physics Prof. Richard Muller, as supportive of the findings of global warming scientists themselves. Krugman described Prof. Muller, who has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, as

a climate skeptic who was actually willing to change his mind in the face of evidence

As usual, Krugman is in denial and has distorted the facts.

Krugman starts out by pointing out that Prof. Muller was partially funded by the Left’s arch enemy, the Koch Foundation. He wants us to believe that even a foundation funded by right-wing billionaires has come around to the global warming ‘consensus.’

True, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has donated $150,000 to The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study. But this was less than one quarter of the total amount of donations to the study. For example, the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates) donated $100,000. The largest contributor was the  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  ($188,587). This laboratory, managed by the University of California,  is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. Eleven scientists associated with Berkeley Lab have won the Nobel Prize.

Clearly, Prof. Muller is associated with a renowned scientific organization. He is a highly credible scientist, not part of some “climate skeptic game,” as Krugman would lead us to believe. And, as is true with any credible scientist, Prof. Muller follows the evidence – which is more than can be said about Krugman himself.

Krugman tries to characterize Prof. Muller as having come over from the dark side of global warming deniers to the side of ‘truth’ in reporting preliminary results that affirm the findings of the consensus of global warming scientists. But all that Prof. Muller did in his congressional testimony was to report that, in using a randomly selected group of stations to study temperature changes over time rather than the stations more likely to show temperature increases selected by other climate change scientists, his preliminary results were “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.”

What Krugman neglected to include were these crucial caveats that Prof. Muller included in his testimony:

The Berkeley data are marked as preliminary because they do not include treatments for the reduction of systematic bias…The Berkeley Earth agreement with the prior analysis surprised us, since our preliminary results don’t yet address many of the known biases. When they do, it is possible that the corrections could bring our current agreement into disagreement.

In other words, the jury is still out on the reliability of the data and what it means for public policy decisions. Drawing scare-mongering conclusions from incomplete, potentially biased data, on the basis of which policy makers should rush headlong into making economically disastrous decisions, is both bad science and bad public policy. Prof. Muller knows this truth. Krugman and his global warming ideologues do not.

Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam

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