Year 2, Month 4, Day 10: Ignorance Is Very Expensive

The just-released Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study confirms what we all know:

Preliminary results from a controversial study of global temperature data confirm the overall warming trend long reported by government scientists in the United States and the United Kingdom, the study’s director told a House panel today.

The warming trend detected by scientists involved in the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study — a rise of 0.7 degree Celsius since 1957 — “is very similar” to the findings of independent analyses by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.K. Hadley Centre, study Chairman Richard Muller said.

“The world temperature data has sufficient integrity to be used to determine temperature trends,” said Muller, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Published by the New York Times. One hopes they’ll get on board and stop equivocating about climate change.

This letter took a long time to write for a “Republicans are idiots” motif. The idea’s shape was tricky, and I’m still not 100% satisfied. Nevertheless, this went to the NYT on April 1:

While the Berkeley study is another piece of evidence added to an overwhelming consensus on climate change, it’s probably too much to ask Congress’ denialists to pay attention. These same politicians have a long history of ignoring evidence first, and saying “who could have known?” later. Who could have known the levees would break, that there weren’t any WMDs, that management was cutting corners on the Deepwater Horizon? The increasing flow of scientific reports confirming the serious reality of global climate change should make it a little harder for Republican legislators to plead ignorance of the climate threat; perhaps in future decades their apologists will try and excuse their malfeasance by asking, who could have known it was a bad idea to so politicize scientific evidence that expert witnesses became props in a cynical theater of ignorance, and policy was crafted in utter disregard of facts? Who could have known?

Warren Senders

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