How to Cherry-Pick Recent Climate Data

By Kennedy Maize

For those of us who follow the ever-contentious global warming debate, one of the key areas of conflict is the recent climate record. Is the globe warming, cooling, or just puttering along. It’s a game that depends on where you start and how you aggregate the data. Each side accuses the other of “cherry-picking” the data.

So I refer readers for whom this matters to a posting on Rob Bradley’s fine blog by Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, an environmental scientist with, in my judgment, a level head and no zealotry. His recent posting, A Cherry-Picker’s Guide to Temperature Trends (down, flat–even up), is required reading for a constructive conversation about climate change.

Check it out. You will be rewarded with clear-headed advice about how to make your arguments. While Bradley’s blog is in the camp of climate skeptics, it’s among the fairest and most intellectually honest I have come across (other than this one, of course).

By way of entertainment, Bradley has waged a running intellectual gun battle with former Clinton administration DOE renewable energy official Joe Romm, who now works for John Podesta’s liberal think tank Center for American Progress, where he lobbies on climate issues. Podesta was a former Clinton advisor and the chief of the Obama transition team.

Romm, who has a Ph.D. in physics from MIT (and he will tell you that repeatedly when challenged on science, as if no one else has brains), is a clever guy. He was a consistent winner for years in the Washington Post’s “Style Invitational” irrepressible snarkathon.

But Joe doesn’t have a sense of humor when it comes to climate, as Bradley and others (and that includes me) have discovered face-to-face (or, in my case, voice-to-voice when he was at DOE). I hope he comments on Knappenberger’s blog post.