Such a weird lede in this op-ed from Berkeley physicist Richard Muller. “The global warming crowd has a problem” sounds like he’s going to lay down 800 words of climate change denial! But no — what he means is something more like:
“Climate scientists have a PR problem, because we’re experiencing a short period of flat temperatures, which makes people think incorrectly that warming has stopped — and part of the blame for this is down to climate scientists themselves, who underrated the amount of natural variation and led people to expect an uninterrupted warming trend.”
Cheers to him for trying to say something this complicated in a NYT op/ed (though warning: if Brad DeLong is right about the way Muller gets his “temperature plateau,” the article sort of falls apart.)
Still: I wonder what proportion of people read this quickly and took away from the piece that Muller was smacking down the “global warming crowd” and rejecting the claims of climate change as hooey.
This is related to the question of whether Malcolm Gladwell is to blame for people thinking there’s no such thing as talent and all you have to do is practice oboe for 10,000 hours and you’ll be whatever somebody who’s really good at oboe is called.