Climate change is one of those subjects that deeply divides people. Some passionately believe mankind is destroying the planet, some don’t, some believe the planet is getting warmer naturally, and others believe it is due to our impact. A report in July 2011 showed that 35% of Americans didn’t believe in it at all. However today a study, partly funded by climate change sceptics, was released that concluded that the planet is indeed getting warmer.

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The Berkeley Earth project is the most comprehensive independent review of historical weather records to date compiling more than a billion temperature readings from weather stations around the world. It found that the average global land temperature has indeed risen, by around 1C since the mid-1950s.

The results are likely to cause as much controversy. For environmentalists, it does prove the planet is getting warmer, but only by a single degree over the past 50 years. For anti-climate change lobbyists, they are going to be annoyed that the study proved them wrong especially when some financed it (Namely the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against global warming).

The report also confirmed results that had been compiled by NASA, the Met Office and theUniversity of East Anglia – all of whom had been criticized during Climategate.

“My hope is that this will win over those people who are properly sceptical,” Richard Muller, a physicist and head of the project, said speaking to The Telegraph. “Some people lump the properly sceptical in with the deniers and that makes it easy to dismiss them, because the deniers pay no attention to science. But there have been people out there who have raised legitimate issues.”

Muller’s team comprised of 10 scientists, including Saul Perlmutter, winner of this year’s Nobel Physics Prize for research showing the Universe’s expansion is accelerating. The team also said that had evidence that changing sea temperatures in the North Atlantic may be a reason why the Earth’s average temperature varies globally from year to year.

“Science is best done when the problems with the analysis are candidly shared,” Muller said. “We have looked at these issues in a straightforward, transparent way, and based on that, I would expect legitimate sceptics to feel their issues have been addressed.”

+ The Berkeley Earth Project

Via The Telegraph