By David Rose, Daily Mail Online
30th October 2011
It was hailed as the scientific study that ended the global warming debate once and for all â€“ the research that, in the words of its director, â€˜proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longerâ€™.
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.
It was cited uncritically by, among others, reporters and commentators from the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist and numerous media outlets in America.
The Washington Post said the BEST study had â€˜settled the climate change debateâ€™ and showed that anyone who remained a sceptic was committing a â€˜cynical fraudâ€™.
But today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Mullerâ€™s team has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BESTâ€™s research shows global warming has stopped.
Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Americaâ€™s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Mullerâ€™s claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a â€˜huge mistakeâ€™, 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 projectâ€™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 â€˜Climategateâ€™ scandal two years ago..
Poles apart: Former sceptic Prof Richard Muller, right, says the latest findings settle the climate debate once and for all (warming). But Prof Judith Curry says such a claim is ‘a mistake’.(not warming)
Like the scientists exposed then by leaked emails from East Anglia Universityâ€™s Climatic Research Unit, her colleagues from the BEST project seem to be trying to â€˜hide the declineâ€™ in rates of global warming.
In fact, Prof Curry said, the projectâ€™s research data show there has been no increase in world temperatures since the end of the Nineties â€“ a fact confirmed by a new analysis that The Mail on Sunday has obtained.
â€˜There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasnâ€™t stopped,â€™ she said. â€˜To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.â€™
1975 New York Times Headline shows that scientists were concerned about an inevitable worldwide global cooling through the 1970′s…s8int.com
However, Prof Muller denied warming was at a standstill.
â€˜We see no evidence of it [global warming] having slowed down,â€™ he told BBC Radio 4â€™s Today programme. There was, he added, â€˜no levelling offâ€™.
A graph issued by the BEST project also suggests a continuing steep increase.
But a report to be published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation includes a graph of world average temperatures over the past ten years, drawn from the BEST projectâ€™s data and revealed on its website. This graph shows that the trend of the last decade is absolutely flat, with no increase at all â€“ though the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have carried on rising relentlessly.
â€˜This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting,â€™ Prof Curry said. â€˜Whatever it is thatâ€™s going on here, it doesnâ€™t look like itâ€™s being dominated by CO2.â€™
Prof Muller also wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal. It was here, under the headline â€˜The case against global warming scepticismâ€™, that he proclaimed â€˜there were good reasons for doubt until nowâ€™.Media storm: Prof Muller’s claims received uncritical coverage in the media this week.
This, too, went around the world, with The Economist, among many others, stating there was now â€˜little room for doubtâ€™.
Such claims left Prof Curry horrified.