Monday, July 30, 2012

Global warming denial champion - changes sides

A major critic of the hockey-stick model and global warming theory in general has reversed course.  What makes it even more ironic is that his study was funded by the Koch brothers.

The maneuvering room for climate change denial is getting to be pretty tiny.

Neela Banerjee, Los Angelos Times, 29 July 2012

The verdict is in: Global warming is occurring and emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activity are the main cause.

This, according to Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at UC Berkeley, MacArthur Fellow and co-founder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. Never mind that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and hundreds of other climatologists around the world came to such conclusions years ago. The difference now is the source: Muller is a long-standing, colorful critic of prevailing climate science, and the Berkeley project was heavily funded by the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation, which, along with its libertarian petrochemical billionaire founder Charles G. Koch, has a considerable history of backing groups that deny climate change.
In an opinion piece in Saturday’s New York Times titled “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic,” Muller writes: “Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

Personally I have been convinced for a while now, but generally found the idea of siding with odd characters like Al Gore to be a little uncomfortable.  As this was funded by a Libertarian-Republican group, may be we can start approaching the problem in some fashion other than as a political talking points.


jambaloney said...

i believe that in these types of issues, you have to go with your gut, mine has been saying this is real for years now... the amount of crap we dump into the air as a species is going to have an effect... much like fishing the oceans empty has done.

as for al gore and all, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.. and at that particular time, ya gotta eat crow ;-)

russell1200 said...

J: Very few people have the time or skills to sift through all the evidence themselves. So you have to choose who you are going to believe. That is why when major people switch sides it is so important.

It is also why it is so damaging when major scientific/engineering issues become political. You can see it with peak oil. Some of the environmentalist reject it because they (correctly) view it as an argument for unlimited drilling.

I don't remember exactly what my thoughts on the matter where, but I remember being very skeptical when Al Gore said he was coming out with his book. Mind you, he has been correct on a number of issues, but the politics and his personality, have in my mind made him a negative to have on your side.