Prominent former AGW skeptic reverses opinion

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by futurecurrents, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. CALL me a converted skeptic. 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.

    My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

    The careful analysis by our team is laid out in five scientific papers now online at That site also shows our chart of temperature from 1753 to the present, with its clear fingerprint of volcanoes and carbon dioxide, but containing no component that matches solar activity. Four of our papers have undergone extensive scrutiny by the scientific community, and the newest, a paper with the analysis of the human component, is now posted, along with the data and computer programs used. Such transparency is the heart of the scientific method; if you find our conclusions implausible, tell us of any errors of data or analysis.

    What about the future? As carbon dioxide emissions increase, the temperature should continue to rise. I expect the rate of warming to proceed at a steady pace, about one and a half degrees over land in the next 50 years, less if the oceans are included. But if China continues its rapid economic growth (it has averaged 10 percent per year over the last 20 years) and its vast use of coal (it typically adds one new gigawatt per month), then that same warming could take place in less than 20 years.

    Science is that narrow realm of knowledge that, in principle, is universally accepted. I embarked on this analysis to answer questions that, to my mind, had not been answered. I hope that the Berkeley Earth analysis will help settle the scientific debate regarding global warming and its human causes. Then comes the difficult part: agreeing across the political and diplomatic spectrum about what can and should be done.

    Richard A. Muller, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former MacArthur Foundation fellow, is the author, most recently, of “Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines.”
  2. gwb-trading


    It has been pointed out repeatedly that Richard A. Muller was never a skeptic. He has a long history of promoting global warming despite a couple of comments questioning things.
  3. It appears you are correct.

    So is right: Richard Muller was never a true AGW skeptic. But they go beyond that point by claiming that he is a "Climate Profiteer" profiting on AGW alarmism. Of course, this is much like calling Home Depot and Lowe's disaster profiteers because they warn people to be prepared for disasters while at the same time selling just what those same people need to prepare for (or repair) damage from disasters.

    Perhaps most interesting of all is, for a search of the site of this story (which dominated liberal sites) revealed two links: one was to a video, and the other went to an interview with AGW-skeptic Anthony Watts. Of course, the fact that Watts' qualifications (he is a relatively lowly meteorologist who once worked for a Fox News affiliate) don't come close to approaching Richard Muller's qualifications (or those of the climatologists) didn't seem to matter. What did matter, apparently, was for Fox News to put up something, anything at all to keep its readers from thinking that AGW might be real, or if it is, that it just isn't that bad (as Watts claims in the foxnews article).

    It looks like Muller's conversion, non-event that it surely was, will change few if any minds among America's conservatives. That's truly sad, particularly considering that the current historic drought has resulted in over half of all counties in America being declared disaster areas. AGW is not responsible for that drought, but climatologists point out that AGW not only played a definite role in making the drought significantly worse than it would have been otherwise, but also makes such events more likely. Every scientific organization of note, including NASA, NOAA, and every national science academy in the developed world, has stated unequivocally the reality of AGW. But arrayed against the scientists of the world are the deep pockets of Big Oil and America's conservatives. Note that I didn't say the world's conservatives, because most of the conservatives in the world don't have a problem with listening to a united front of scientists. It's pretty much only in America that the conservatives have stood up for "freedom"' against the scientific community.

    Muller's op-ed in The New York Times won't get the attention of the everyday AGW-denying conservative. Perhaps the worst drought in America's history will, but I doubt it. Personally, I suspect that no matter how much scientific evidence is brought forth, and no matter how great the consensus among the world's scientific community, and no matter how bad the weather gets thanks to AGW, America's conservatives will not accept the reality of AGW. And we're all going to pay the price.
  4. Ricter


    I think melting ice "promotes" global warming. But maybe, once again, what gwb meant was AGW.