Berkeley Earth was conceived by Richard and Elizabeth Muller in early 2010 when they found merit in some of the concerns of skeptics. They organized a group of scientists to reanalyze the Earth’s surface temperature record, and published their initial findings in 2012. Berkeley Earth became an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) in February 2013.
From 2010-2012, Berkeley Earth systematically addressed the five major concerns that global warming skeptics had identified, and did so in a systematic and objective manner. The first four were potential biases from data selection, data adjustment, poor station quality, and the urban heat island effect. Our analysis showed that these issues did not unduly bias the record. The fifth concern related to the over reliance on large and complex global climate models by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the attribution of the recent temperature increase to anthropogenic forcings. We obtained a long and accurate record, spanning 250 years and showed that it could be well-fit with a simple model that included a volcanic term and, as an anthropogenic proxy, CO2 concentration. We concluded that the record could be reproduced by just these two contributions, and that inclusion of direct variations in solar intensity did not contribute to the fit.
We released our analysis, programs and established an open database with all the raw data used in our studies. We believe that now it is our responsibility to communicate our findings, in particular with prominent stakeholders familiar with the reasons for global warming skepticism that Berkeley Earth addressed. Additionally, many programs to mitigate global warming ignore the dominant role that China, India, and the rest of the developing world will play in future emissions; we will investigate and propose new options to reduce emissions in those countries.
We have several major objectives for our continuing work. We plan further scientific investigations on the nature of climate change, a major education and communications program to strengthen the scientific consensus on global warming, and work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the places that will be the worst emitters over the next 30 years. One key element of this latter program will be to try to forge a new coalition between industry and environmental groups for the use of cleanly-produced natural gas as a bridging fuel to slow global warming over the next few decades – with a particular focus on China.