The climate doesn’t care about politics

Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry shared his thoughts on climate change. The Texas governor insisted that “a substantial number of scientists … have manipulated data,” adding, “[W]e’re seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning, the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

On the first point, Perry was probably referring to the silly “Climategate” story. It’s been difficult to keep up with all of the independent investigations that have scrutinized the so-called “controversy” and came up empty, but it’s worth nothing that just this week, yet another probe wrapped up: “An investigation by the National Science Foundation has found no evidence of wrongdoing or misconduct by Penn State climate-change researcher Michael Mann.”

Mann, of course, is the scientist accused by the right of hiding and manipulating data. At last count, I believe seven different investigations have cleared him of any wrongdoing.

On Perry’s second point, Brad Plumer explained yesterday that “the field of climate science is moving in precisely the opposite direction” that Perry is suggesting.

Recall that back in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change put out a report synthesizing the scientific work on global warming. While the report sounded quite certain on a number of topics — noting, for one, that it was “very likely” that most of the observed temperature increases since mid-century were due to man-made greenhouse gases — there were still plenty of vague spots in the report, especially with regards to sea-level rise.

Yet rather than poke further holes, much of the climate science that’s been published since 2007 appears to have strengthened the consensus, not weakened it. […]

Relatedly, at last year’s annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, UC Santa Barbara’s William Freudenberg gave a presentation in which he revealed that “new scientific findings [since the IPCC] are found to be more than twenty times as likely to indicate that global climate disruption is ‘worse than previously expected,’ rather than ‘not as bad as previously expected.’ “

The scientific consensus is getting stronger as more evidence comes to light and the severity of the climate crisis intensifies. Perry and the right may not care for this reality, but the evidence speaks for itself.