Berkeley Climate Change Skeptic, Funded by the Koch Brothers, Moves to the Other Side

heatwaveIn a sweeping op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, erstwhile climate-change skeptic Richard A. 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.”

Now Professor Muller, professor of physics at UC Berkeley, goes even further, arguing, “Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

He attributes the turnaround in a relatively short period of time to his study of the “careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project.”

The results there show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by 2.5 degrees over 250 years, and 1.5 degrees over the last 50 years.

He writes, “It appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.”

As this morning’s LA Times notes, “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.”

The LA Times reports that Tonya Mullins, spokesperson for the Koch Foundation, “said the support her foundation provided, along with others, had no bearing on the results of the research.”

“Our grants are designed to promote independent research; as such, recipients hold full control over their findings,” Ms. Mullins said in an email to the LA Times. “In this support, we strive to benefit society by promoting discovery and informing public policy.”

The LA Times reports, “Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said that Muller’s conversion might help shape the thinking of the ‘reasonable middle’ of the population ‘who are genuinely confused and have been honestly taken in’ by attacks on climate science.”

On his facebook page, Professor Mann writes, “There is a certain ironic satisfaction in seeing a study funded by the Koch Brothers – the greatest funders of climate change denial and disinformation on the planet – demonstrate what scientists have known with some degree of confidence for nearly two decades: that the globe is indeed warming, and that this warming can only be explained by human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. I applaud Muller and his colleagues for acting as any good scientists would, following where their analyses led them, without regard for the possible political repercussions.”

At the same time, the Times reports that Professor Muller’s words have failed to sway other climate skeptics such as Marc Morano, a producer for Rush Limbaugh and communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who now runs the website climatedepot.com.

“Muller will be remembered as a befuddled professor who has yet to figure out how to separate climate science from his media antics. His latest claims provide no new insight into the climate science debate,” Mr. Morano said in an email.

“What has caused the gradual but systematic rise of two and a half degrees?” Professor Muller asks.  “We tried fitting the shape to simple math functions (exponentials, polynomials), to solar activity and even to rising functions like world population. By far the best match was to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice.”

The LA Times notes that, while Professor Muller believes his findings are stronger than the UN’s, he has not published any of the research in peer-reviewed journals.

This troubles both climatologists and contrarians.

For example, Benjamin Santer, who is the lead climate researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said, “If you go into the public arena and claim to have generated evidence that is stronger than the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], where is the detailed, scientific evidence? Has he used fundamental new data sets?  Publish the science and report on it after it’s done.”

He added: “I think you can do great harm to the broader debate. Imagine this scenario: that he makes these great claims and the papers aren’t published? This (op-ed) is in the spirit of publicity, not the spirit of science.”

Professor Muller’s daughter, Elizabeth Muller, explained that the papers have been peer-reviewed but not published.  She told the LA Times, “The Berkeley team decided to place its papers online, in part to solicit comment from other scientists.”

Writes Professor Muller, “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.”

“I believe the findings in our papers are too important to wait for the year or longer that it could take to complete the journal review process,” Elizabeth Muller wrote in an email. “We believe in traditional peer review; we welcome feedback [from] the public and any scientists who are interested in taking the time to make thoughtful comments. Our papers have received scrutiny by dozens of top scientists, not just the two or three that typically are called upon by journalists.”

Instead, the research and analysis is laid out at BerkeleyEarth.org.

Professor Muller concludes, “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.”

He warns, “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.”

The work by Professor Muller, should it pan out, is a blow to climate skeptics who had hoped that by funding independent research they could debunk the commonly held belief in the scientific community that recent warming of temperatures was linked to human activity.

Professor Muller writes, “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.”

He adds, “Then comes the difficult part: agreeing across the political and diplomatic spectrum about what can and should be done.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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67 thoughts on “Berkeley Climate Change Skeptic, Funded by the Koch Brothers, Moves to the Other Side”

  1. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The results there show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by 2.5 degrees over 250 years, and 1.5 degrees over the last 50 years.[/quote]

    So is the rise in temperature an anomaly, or is it a normal cyclical change over thousands of years? How will we ever know?

    Why is it so important that we “believe” the theory of global warming? Can’t we believe air pollution is a bad thing? But then those making political hay/financial gain out of the global warming theory wouldn’t be lining their pockets at everyone else’s expense (e.g. Al Gore) if we merely talked about reducing air pollution, no?

    Even assuming global warming, or better yet assuming air pollution is a bad thing, what is best to do about it? How do we get China and India on board to stop polluting? How do we, as a nation, stop polluting the air, without spending inordinant(sp?) amounts of money for very small gains in reducing air pollution that end up crippling business?

    It would seem to me the best way to address this issue, and the most productive, is to develop alternative fuels of all kinds, and enact a cohesive energy policy that supports alternative fuels and moves away from the reliance on foreign oil. Once this country becomes less and less reliant on foreign oil, and starts relying on its own energy sources, be they nuclear, solar, wind, our own oil, gas or coal (and using them more efficiently in a way that is less polluting), other countries will come along…

  2. wdf1

    ERM: [i]So is the rise in temperature an anomaly, or is it a normal cyclical change over thousands of years?[/i]

    It is warming beyond what was otherwise expected or explainable, and the best explanation is human activity, burning of fossil fuels.

    [i]How will we ever know?[/i]

    We can wait around and see if any other alternative explanation or evidence shows up. Likely your ancestors will have a clearer perspective than you.

    [i]Why is it so important that we “believe” the theory of global warming?[/i]

    Personally, I think “belief” is a loaded word because it has a religious meaning and context. I would say that anthropogenic global warming is the best explanation for what we’re seeing. In the realm of science, it is as probable and explanation as one sees for most scientific concepts. If you want to remain skeptical of anthropogenic global warming in a science concept, the best way to kill that idea is to present a more compelling explanation. So far that hasn’t happened, and I don’t see it happening.

    [i]Can’t we believe air pollution is a bad thing?[/i]

    Of course, but pollution comes in different forms. There are nitrous oxides, sulfer dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor, etc. Some of those gases are worth worrying about more than others. Global warming is about determining how much carbon dioxide, methan, and other green house gases are worth worrying about.

    [i]But then those making political hay/financial gain out of the global warming theory wouldn’t be lining their pockets at everyone else’s expense (e.g. Al Gore) if we merely talked about reducing air pollution, no?[/i]

    I think you worry too much about Al Gore. We live in a captitalist society. That will always happen. People will seek profit by meeting the needs of customers. If customers decide that global warming is a need or concern to worry about, then there will be someone around making a profit from it.

  3. 91 Octane

    WDF1: “It is warming beyond what was otherwise expected or explainable, and the best explanation is human activity, burning of fossil fuels.”

    but if that is true, then it suggests more data and research is needed, no?

    WDF1: “I think “belief” is a loaded word because it has a religious meaning and context.”

    which makes it the perfect term for this issue.

  4. 91 Octane

    vanguard: “The LA Times reports, “Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said that Muller’s conversion might help shape the thinking of the ‘reasonable middle’ of the population ‘who are genuinely confused and have been honestly taken in’ by attacks on climate science.”

    I believe Michael Mann was caught up in the climate gate scandal – the name Mann was synonymous with “hide the decline.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMqc7PCJ-nc hee hee!

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: So is the rise in temperature an anomaly, or is it a normal cyclical change over thousands of years?

    WDF: It is warming beyond what was otherwise expected or explainable, and the best explanation is human activity, burning of fossil fuels.

    The key point in the new data seems to be that the temperatures correlate very well with the actual amount of CO2, if that’s the case, and they can establish the causal linkage, then Elaine’s question is actually not as important for what will happen in the relatively near future.

  6. 91 Octane

    vanguard: “The key point in the new data seems to be that the temperatures correlate very well with the actual amount of CO2, if that’s the case, and they can establish the causal linkage, then Elaine’s question is actually not as important for what will happen in the relatively near future.”

    We’ll see.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    “I believe Michael Mann was caught up in the climate gate scandal”

    Does it actually matter for the purpose for which he was quoted?

  8. Frankly

    Scientists are joining the ranks of lawyers and Wall Street bankers as being necessary but suspected untrustworthy.

    When our President and Democrat members of congress started demonizing free market capitalism and business and then started to show their true colors by saying things like “if you own a business, you did not build that”, and these same lefty politicians latched on to these scientists that spout these theories of anthropogenic global warming like it is their missing link to spirituality, it all added (and adds) up to something very, very smelly.

    I don’t think we can make any policy progress on global warming while Democrats control government. Just like white conservatives cannot do much about social and economic problems within the black community, Democrats are just too suspect at this point for not caring enough about the concerns of the other views. They are also suspect of exploiting a new manufactured crisis (because as Joe Biden admitted, a good Democrat will never let a crisis go to waste) for their ideological and political purposes.

    What does a US look like that adopts the complete hype of the sky-is-falling anthropogenic global warming crowd:

    -We significantly reduce exploration and use of fossil fuels and create new special spending storm to advance the development of sustainable clean energy a la Solyndra and unleash a mega-billion crony capitalism run.

    -We saddle US industry with greater expensive regulations and more expensive energy and further hamper their ability to compete globally.

    -The impacts to industry with higher costs for energy and compliance results in few jobs.

    -Poor people have a greater impact from increase in energy costs. Many more will die from exposure to heat and cold. Many more will not be able to afford gas to get to work or school. Fewer will have jobs.

    -We create an even larger population of people requiring government assistance more likely to vote for Democrats… the Party of greater handouts.

    When we add this all up, and consider that the free market will adopt sustainable and green energy as the price of fossil fuels increases, and the cost of green energy drops… and that jumping the gun will allow China and India and ??? to burn up all the fossil fuel that we reject to help them better kick our industrial asses and send us to a third-would Greek status… there is nothing we should be doing except education and encouraging R&D and industrial development to increase options and affordability of green energy.

    We should be doing this regardless of the Al Gore-inspired scare tactics of the political left, or the denying tactics of the political right.

  9. wdf1

    91 O: [i]but if that is true, then it suggests more data and research is needed, no? [/i]

    You can always make that argument in science. It’s sort of a joke, actually. You can write grant proposals to explore ideas on the basis that you need more data. But there is already enough data to make certain confident conclusions.

    [i]which makes it the perfect term for this issue. [/i]

    They are not the same.

    Science is one field where more people from different belief backgrounds (religions, or even atheists) can find a basis for common agreement on the observed world around them. On the basis of scientific study, we can find more common agreement on gravity, the atomic theory of matter, electricity and semiconductors than we can on the nature of God and if there is an afterlife. Belief in religion means that one accepts something as true without widespread agreement on evidence.

  10. wdf1

    JB: Anthropegenic global warming is certain enough, whether you like it or not. What we do about it is the political issue. They are two different things — what’s happening, and what we should do about it.

    There were (and are) those who think that major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is the way to go. There are others who think timely reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is unrealistic and we should just figure out how to adapt to the consequences. Then there are others who contemplate whether Al Gore’s navel is evil or not.

  11. Don Shor

    Bump up NSF funding, facilitate partnerships with private enterprise: [url]http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=1278[/url]
    At the inter-governmental level, focus on adaptation.

  12. wdf1

    JB: [i]Scientists are joining the ranks of lawyers and Wall Street bankers as being necessary but suspected untrustworthy.[/i]

    Scientists are human and are susceptible to human frailties. Here’s one possible examle: Natural Gas Fracking Industry May Be Paying Off Scientists ([url]http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/gas-fracking-science-conflict/[/url])

    But the field of science is very much self-correcting. There will always be up and coming scientists who will poke holes and modify previous ideas, if it was warranted. If you think there is something wrong with the science that was done to conclude anthropogenic global warming, then you can be that up and coming scientist to straighten everyone out. But your counter-evidence has to be convincing.

  13. Siegel

    Mann Cleared in Final Inquiry by Penn State ([url]http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/mann-cleared-in-final-inquiry-by-penn-state/[/url])

    [quote]But months of sifting of those files by an army of passionate critics have revealed little more than signs he is a prickly, competitive, defensive scientist — hardly a rare species.[/quote]

  14. 91 Octane

    WDF1: Belief in religion means that one accepts something as true without widespread agreement on evidence.

    couldn’t agree more! hence global warming or is it “climate change?” hee hee!

  15. 91 Octane

    “Did you read Muller’s piece?”

    lol, no – and if Muller’s piece had come to anti-global warming conclusions would the vanguard have given him credibility on the issue?

  16. David M. Greenwald

    “lol, no – and if Muller’s piece had come to anti-global warming conclusions would the vanguard have given him credibility on the issue? “

    Then you have no way to evaluate his findings and determine whether they address your points. In fact, he was quite clear that more research was needed. But had you read the article you also would have noted that the critical finding was how tightly co2 in the atmosphere tracked with temperature.

  17. wdf1

    91 O: [i]couldn’t agree more! hence global warming or is it “climate change?” hee hee![/i]

    If you’re focusing on average global temperatures, then you see global warming. As with averages, the entire data set may not move uniformly in the same direction. If you’re describing what is happening more at a local or regional level, over shorter periods of times (days, weeks, months), then you may not necessarily see average warming, but you will see climate change. Don Shor can probably offer some good examples of this with faunal growth patterns that have changed in recent decades. Which term or phrase that you use depends more on which scale of area and time you’re focusing on.

    I know you’re just here trying to yank my chain with comments like this. If you have a serious case to make, I’d love to hear it. This is what I do for a living — explain this issue, among other things.

    Frank Luntz, a conservative language analyst, first noted that the term “global warming ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Luntz#Global_warming[/url])” suggested to listeners a more severe outcome than “climate change.” He encourages Republicans to be aware of phrasing like that to their advantage. Although I am well aware what affect those terms are supposed to have, I don’t care don’t care to get hung up on whether there is semantic manipulation or not, the way you seem to.

  18. wdf1

    wdf1: [i] Don Shor can probably offer some good examples of this with [b]faunal[/b] growth patterns that have changed in recent decades.[/i]

    Should have written [b]floral[/b] growth patterns.

  19. Don Shor

    USDA gardening zone changes: [url]http://www.arborday.org/media/mapchanges.cfm[/url]
    Note the uneven distribution (click “differences”), but the consistent overall pattern of warmer temperatures.

  20. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Personally, I think “belief” is a loaded word because it has a religious meaning and context. I would say that anthropogenic global warming is the best explanation for what we’re seeing. In the realm of science, it is as probable and explanation as one sees for most scientific concepts. If you want to remain skeptical of anthropogenic global warming in a science concept, the best way to kill that idea is to present a more compelling explanation. So far that hasn’t happened, and I don’t see it happening. [/quote]

    I don’t find the “evidence” that there is “global warming” particularly compelling. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out air pollution is not good for human lungs. Why is it so important that skeptics believe in the global warming theory? Why isn’t it satisfactory to couch it in laymen’s terms that everyone can agree on – air pollution?
    Once it is called what it is, air pollution, it makes perfect sense what to do about it – develop a comprehensive energy policy that gets this nation away from its dependence on foreign oil. But I frankly don’t see either side of the political aisle doing this…

  21. David M. Greenwald

    “I don’t find the “evidence” that there is “global warming” particularly compelling.”

    And you have the scientific background to understand the complex models? Yes, it is a cheap shot, but it is meant to illustrate a basic problem here that there are really only a small number of people that can intelligently carry on such a debate.

    “Why is it so important that skeptics believe in the global warming theory?”

    Only to the extent it bleeds over into public policy. If there were not a public policy component getting caught up in politics, I would not care.

  22. Frankly

    [b]New study shows half of the global warming in the USA is artificial[/b]

    [url]http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/#more-68286[/url]

    [quote]“The new rating method employed finds that station siting does indeed have a significant effect on temperature trends.”[/quote]
    Makes sense… humans have been building out encroaching all those remote temperature gages scientists planted decades ago. Put a strip of pavement through a piece of land, and it will heat things up without putting any more carbon in the air.

    I also read that solar and wind farms are contributing to global warming. In any case their deployment is blocked by Democrat politicians, so what are we going to do?

    [url]http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-04-15/obama-wind-farm-goals-threatened-by-indian-rites-kennedy-s-parting-wish.html[/url]

    [url]http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2009/12/24/global-warming-hysteria-feinstein-nixes-mojave-desert-solar-farm-illustrating-non-crisis-of-global-warming/[/url]

    I think we need to give the Muller story time to be reviewed. He could just be in debt on his second and third vacation homes and getting financial help from Al Gore.

    Lastly, I agree with others that adpation to the weather instead of playing God to explain and predict the weather is the thing to do.

  23. wdf1

    ERM: [i]Why is it so important that skeptics believe in the global warming theory?[/i]

    Because any ability to respond to global warming (either prevention or adaptation) requires enough consensus in the public policy arena. Right now most conservative politicians can’t get beyond the fact Al Gore was associated with the issue (for example Jeff Boone’s comments).

    [i]Why isn’t it satisfactory to couch it in laymen’s terms that everyone can agree on – air pollution?[/i]

    Because pollution refers something that causes net harm. In this case, do CO2 and other greenhouse gases cause a net harm? We have to talk about global warming trends to get to that point.

  24. 91 Octane

    btw: it just occurred to me the vanguard took a royal cheap shot against me – by saying “did you read the article” knowing full well theres a good chance its readers have not read or even seen the piece (especially if they dont read the times) – so if the vanguard gets criticized for saying something objectionable – it can then sandbag the reader. A dirty tactic.

  25. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]erm: “Why is it so important that skeptics believe in the global warming theory?”

    dmg: Only to the extent it bleeds over into public policy. If there were not a public policy component getting caught up in politics, I would not care.[/quote]

    But you can form public policy around the idea the air pollution is not a good thing and needs to be addressed, no? Some time ago the issue of the day was called “acid rain”; now the “acid rain” has been discovered in coral in the oceans. Air pollution is the problem; air pollution needs to be addressed; what we need is a comprehensive energy policy that gets us as a nation away from dependence on foreign oil and promotes alternative fuels…

  26. 91 Octane

    btw: if the vanguard is telling me that a point I take issue with is not valid because I didn’t read the article and therefore am making a point based on information that is too limited in scope to be valid, that is not my fault, it is the vanguard’s for not providing enough details of the article to give its readers appropiate background knowledge to have an even playing-field discussion. That means the vanguard did not do due diligence and left out key detais it thinks I should have had.

  27. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]And you have the scientific background to understand the complex models? Yes, it is a cheap shot, but it is meant to illustrate a basic problem here that there are really only a small number of people that can intelligently carry on such a debate. [/quote]

    It is wisest to be objectively rather than selectively skeptical…

  28. medwoman

    91 Octane


    btw: if the vanguard is telling me that a point I take issue with is not valid because I didn’t read the article and therefore am making a point based on information that is too limited in scope to be valid, that is not my fault, it is the vanguard’s for not providing enough details of the article to give its readers appropiate background knowledge to have an even playing-field discussion. That means the vanguard did not do due diligence and left out key detais it thinks I should have had.”

    In a recent conversation I had with a regular reader of the Vanguard, he made the comment that he felt David’s articles were too long abd contained way too much detail. I think one of the hardest jobs David faces in his reporting is which details to include and which to omit.
    Perhaps a more graceful, less confrontational way to respond might be to merely point out the additional information instead of enquiring if a poster has read the article. But then again, there are a number of posters who do not seem to value a more graceful, less confrontational approach in their own posts as well.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    “exactly.”

    The problem is that you seem to think that means something that it doesn’t. We know enough at this point that we need to change policy. What we don’t know at this point is what the exact consequence is going to be. I’m hoping our proof is not coastal flooding of Manhattan and all other low lying areas on the planet.

  30. David M. Greenwald

    “But you can form public policy around the idea the air pollution is not a good thing and needs to be addressed, no? Some time ago the issue of the day was called “acid rain”; now the “acid rain” has been discovered in coral in the oceans. Air pollution is the problem; air pollution needs to be addressed; what we need is a comprehensive energy policy that gets us as a nation away from dependence on foreign oil and promotes alternative fuels…”

    I’m not following you.

  31. David M. Greenwald

    “Perhaps a more graceful, less confrontational way to respond might be to merely point out the additional information instead of enquiring if a poster has read the article. But then again, there are a number of posters who do not seem to value a more graceful, less confrontational approach in their own posts as well.”

    You are correct, but I find it difficult to keep the patience I need with some posters, particularly after a long hard day with kids screaming in the background.

  32. SouthofDavis

    I have friends on the right that belive every study that the Koch Foundation funds and friends on the left that belives every study that Earthjustice funds. I have a dream that one day everyone will step back and see that very few (if any) “studies” are funded by people that don’t want to get a specific result.

    Odds are the “study” from the right wing manufacturing cpmpany that says dumping toxic sludge in the river is good for fish is as flawed at the left wing “study” that says giving a billion dollars of taxpayer money to solar company will help global warming and create a lot of jobs…

  33. 91 Octane

    south of Davis good points.

    vanguard: “The problem is that you seem to think that means something that it doesn’t. We know enough at this point that we need to change policy. What we don’t know at this point is what the exact consequence is going to be. I’m hoping our proof is not coastal flooding of Manhattan and all other low lying areas on the planet.”

    I disagree on that. w don’t know enough and we don’t know we need to change policy because we don’t know what anti-pollution policies to use, and to what extremes. anti pollution proposals range from simply recycling to bag bans, carbon taxes, and everything else but the kitchen sink. And how do we know how extreme to be? And these proposals aren’t cheap – there’s usually huge costs associated with them. In other words, there is a lot of gray area. And in that grey area, we don’t know what effect picking a combination of anti co2 measures will actually do. And yet spending piles of $ to boot. I fail to see how that serves the public.

  34. wdf1

    JB: [i]New study shows half of the global warming in the USA is artificial [/i]

    This link doesn’t dispute the global warming trend. It disputes the rate of warming in the U.S. data because of where some weather stations are situated. It reads like a rehashing of the heat island ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_island#Global_warming[/url]) criticism of the global warming issue.

    [i]I also read that solar and wind farms are contributing to global warming.[/i]

    But your links don’t support that assertion.

    So in summary, your position is that global warming is something whipped up by Al Gore, who is a bad person in some relevant way; whichever scientist publishes something that supports global warming is probably beholden to Al Gore; but if global warming is happening, we should just adapt?

    By the way, there is at least one conservative who doesn’t have a problem accepting the science, and who responds with policies of his own, which seem characteristically conservative. Somehow I don’t think they will gain traction with his conservative brethren, because they’re stuck on the science and Al Gore: Jonathan Adler, 2012, A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change ([url]http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/05/a-conservatives-approach-to-combating-climate-change/257827/[/url]).

  35. 91 Octane

    “You are correct, but I find it difficult to keep the patience I need with some posters, particularly after a long hard day with kids screaming in the background.”

    that’s okay because it is clear that “some posters” (and by that I mean more than one) find it difficult to keep the patience with the vanguard. so the feeling is mutual.

  36. Don Shor

    wdf: Adler’s article is a very useful read. Of his four proposals, three are fine (technology, reduce barriers to implementation, and focus on adaptation). The carbon tax, revenue-neutral or otherwise, is simply DOA. No party will propose one, no party will pass one. It would be political suicide, and if one did — by the time it got through Congress it would be so weak as to be of no value.
    I strongly agree with his recommendation of Pielke’s The Climate Fix. In fact, both Roger Pielke Jr. and Sr. are useful voices in the debate; the latter more for those with science background and for his interesting perspective, the former for his non-alarmist thinking.

  37. Don Shor

    Various climate links, including the Pielke Jr. and Sr.:
    Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog ([url]http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/[/url])
    Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. ([url]http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/[/url])
    The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media ([url]http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/index.php[/url])
    Dot Earth Revkin ([url]http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/[/url])
    Von Storch climate blog ([url]http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/[/url])
    RealClimate ([url]http://realclimate.com/[/url])
    Climate Audit ([url]http://climateaudit.org/[/url])

  38. rusty49

    “that’s okay because it is clear that “some posters” (and by that I mean more than one) find it difficult to keep the patience with the vanguard. so the feeling is mutual.”

    ditto

  39. wdf1

    91O: Here’s Prof. Muller explaining the “hide the decline” ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk[/url]) issue, in Oct. 2010, that you were so tickled with in earlier comments.

    He had problems with how the data was processed, but he didn’t dispute the global warming phenomena nor that humans have contributed to it.

  40. Don Shor

    …. and a little balance to alarmism from a longtime researcher: [url]http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134092/Gaia-scientist-James-Lovelock-I-alarmist-climate-change.html[/url]

  41. Frankly

    [i]”wdf: Adler’s article is a very useful read. Of his four proposals, three are fine (technology, reduce barriers to implementation, and focus on adaptation). The carbon tax, revenue-neutral or otherwise, is simply DOA. No party will propose one, no party will pass one. It would be political suicide, and if one did — by the time it got through Congress it would be so weak as to be of no value.”[/i]

    I agree with Don here. Just the label “tax” is an idea killer.

    The Roger Pielke Jr. Blog covers a point that keeps me pushing back on the theories of man-made global warming and man-made climate change. What a powerful tool for the environmental wackos / enemies of industrialism and free market capitalism! Now… every drought, every flood, every heat spell, every cold spell, every hurricane, every tornado… basically every extreme weather event… they will all be blamed on the “shameful” actions of industrialized man.

    Frankly, despite the underlying motivations and political connections, I think science and scientists have grown far too full of themselves. They create complex predictive models and then claim knowledge of causes and effects for natural occurrences that, in real life, involve infinite contributing factors lacking measurement apparatus. For example, we have physicist Stephen Hawking claiming that he knows God does not exist, but his is sure that parallel universes exist.

    Skepticism over explanation of things as complex and inexplicable as the weather will remain a healthy contributor to our social and cultural dialog in my view. Our drive for knowledge is an admirable strength; but our tendency to rush to judgment is a contemptible, and potentially destructive, weakness.

  42. wdf1

    JB: [i]The Roger Pielke Jr. Blog covers a point that keeps me pushing back on the theories of man-made global warming and man-made climate change.[/i]

    And again, Pielke Jr. doesn’t disagree with the science that indicates anthropogenic global warming. He disagrees with other climate scientists about the degree of change taking place.

  43. wdf1

    From the Frank Luntz wiki link I posted earlier. This, I think fairly well represents what is going on in the popular press. There is widespread consensus that anthropogenic global warming is taking place, but there isn’t consensus over the degree of the effect

    [quote]In a 2002 memo to President George W. Bush titled “The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America”, obtained by the Environmental Working Group, Luntz wrote: “The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science….Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.”[11][/quote]Here is Senator Inhofe, 2006, using the disagreement over degree of impact as a way to question the overall underlying science of global warming. Pielke here refers to Sr.:
    [quote]He also accused the media of ignoring scientists such as Roger A. Pielke and William Gray who, Inhofe asserts, disagree with global warming.[43] Pielke has explicitly denied the assertion that he is skeptical of the human impact on climate change.[44][45]

    source ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inhofe#Ideology_and_opinions[/url])[/quote]

  44. SouthofDavis

    Jeff wrote:

    > Frankly, despite the underlying motivations and political connections,
    > I think science and scientists have grown far too full of themselves.
    > They create complex predictive models and then claim knowledge of
    > causes and effects for natural occurrences that, in real life, involve
    > infinite contributing factors lacking measurement apparatus.

    The “scientists” that claim that buying CFL bulbs (or banning plastic bags in one city) will save the planet are not “full of themselves” they are just trying to “earn a living”. It is sad to say that unless you (in addition to a degree from a “name brand” college) “create complex predictive models” that claim you know for a fact why something (like the lack of snowfall in the Sierras last winter) happened you will limit the amount of work you get as a “scientist”. On the bright side there is more legitimate work for “scientists” than “economists” who almost always just say what the boss wants them to sell (I would probably go in to shock if I ever real that the head Economist of the National Association of Realtors ever says it is a bad time to buy or sell a house)…

  45. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]erm: “But you can form public policy around the idea the air pollution is not a good thing and needs to be addressed, no? Some time ago the issue of the day was called “acid rain”; now the “acid rain” has been discovered in coral in the oceans. Air pollution is the problem; air pollution needs to be addressed; what we need is a comprehensive energy policy that gets us as a nation away from dependence on foreign oil and promotes alternative fuels…”

    dmg: I’m not following you.[/quote]

    Before global warming was the notion of “acid rain” in my day and the fearmongers went at it full tilt, predicting all sorts of dire consequences. I wouldn’t say the dire consequences came to pass. But what I would say is there is a general recognition that air pollution is not a good thing. But what to do about it? Don Shor points out that some things are political suicide; Jeff Boone points out that other things are business destructive/counter-productive. For me, the solution would seem to me to be to develop a comprehensive energy policy, that explores all possible options that will get us free of dependence on foreign oil. Once we are not dependent on any other nation for our energy, and start developing all sorts of alternative fuels, and become a model to follow as the costs of alternative fuels come down as Jeff has noted, other nations will come along. We have needed a comprehensive energy policy like this since 1976 when the gas lines first hit…

  46. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]erm: “It is wisest to be objectively rather than selectively skeptical…”

    dmg: I’m not sure what that means either.[/quote]

    Be objectively skeptical, not just skeptical of that with which you don’t agree…

  47. wdf1

    ERM: [i]Before global warming was the notion of “acid rain” in my day and the fearmongers went at it full tilt, predicting all sorts of dire consequences. I wouldn’t say the dire consequences came to pass.[/i]

    That’s because Congress responded. It also helps that the effects of acid rain are more immediate and visible.
    [quote]History of acid rain in the United States ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_rain#History_of_acid_rain_in_the_United_States[/url])

    in 1989, the US Congress passed a series of amendments to the Clean Air Act. Title IV of these amendments established the Acid Rain Program, a cap and trade system designed to control emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Title IV called for a total reduction of about 10 million tons of SO2 emissions from power plants.
    ….
    Overall, the Program’s cap and trade program has been successful in achieving its goals. Since the 1990s, SO2 emissions have dropped 40%, and according to the Pacific Research Institute, acid rain levels have dropped 65% since 1976.[20][21] However, this was significantly less successful than conventional regulation in the European Union, which saw a decrease of over 70% in SO2 emissions during the same time period.[22]

    In 2007, total SO2 emissions were 8.9 million tons, achieving the program’s long term goal ahead of the 2010 statutory deadline.[23]

    The EPA estimates that by 2010, the overall costs of complying with the program for businesses and consumers will be $1 billion to $2 billion a year, only one fourth of what was originally predicted.[20][/quote]
    When you have senators like Inhofe who refuse to accept the science indicating that man-made global warming is happening, you can’t really even have a rational discussion about what to do.

  48. 91 Octane

    91O: Here’s Prof. Muller explaining the “hide the decline” issue, in Oct. 2010, that you were so tickled with in earlier comments.

    He had problems with how the data was processed, but he didn’t dispute the global warming phenomena nor that humans have contributed to it.

    WDF1: If there are problems with the data, then how can we trust the theory? Did you read the hacked emails? there was more than one, and they were quite revealing and explicit- and their were no two ways to interpret them. We do not need Muller to tell us what they said. Furthermore why is it that now that we see cases of extreme whether – that is considered “evidence” but when the hacked email scandal broke – anti global warming people are not allowed to use that as “evidence” for their point of view?

  49. wdf1

    91 O: Unfortunately, you have tons of other data to explain away.

    Plus you have symptoms that are consistent with global warming: melting ice sheets, rising sea level, migrating floral zones, etc.

  50. 91 Octane

    that’s what many Global warming (or is it climate change?) theorists fall back on. the problem is that is in dispute as well. Michael Mann authored many peer reviewed “studies” and yet his public conclusions don’t mesh with his private ones. THat is a problem because it becomes an issue of who to trust and whom not to. So when you say you have “tons of data” I have to trust that those who put together that data did due diligence. ANd how will John Q public ever know?

  51. Siegel

    “Michael Mann authored many peer reviewed “studies” and yet his public conclusions don’t mesh with his private ones.”

    That’s not what Penn State’s investigation concluded.

    [quote]The unauthorized release of folders of e-mail messages and other documents from the University of East Anglia, which is still being investigated as a possible crime (but with no final conclusion yet), intensified scrutiny of his work. But months of sifting of those files by an army of passionate critics have revealed little more than signs he is a prickly, competitive, defensive scientist — hardly a rare species.[/quote]

    Also this:

    [quote]From the beginning, many of the complaints about Mann’s work were more about how it was appropriated by others than the research itself; the first paper of his identifying a “hockey stick” pattern to temperatures over the last millennium, in 1999, was laced with caveats in describing the distinct sharp recent warming trend.[/quote]

  52. 91 Octane

    That’s not what Penn State’s investigation concluded.

    we don’t need penn state to reinterpret what is already public record. Mann’s emails were released as part of a congressional investigation. The language was explicit and damning.

    furthermore, the Penn State investigation has to exonerate Mann, because if there is any admission of wrongdoing it calls into question the trustworthiness of his publications and the peer review process. It also paints a problem with the global warming theory. Too much money and reputations are invested in GW to back out now. The supporters have reached the point of no return. Doing the right thing is hard.

  53. wdf1

    91 O: [i] Too much money and reputations are invested in GW to back out now. The supporters have reached the point of no return. Doing the right thing is hard.[/i]

    The “decline” that you’re obsessed with were recent proxy temperature measures that contradicted these directly measured temperatures:

    [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Global_Temperature_Anomaly_1880-2010_(Fig.A).gif[/img]

    Why do you think we are we seeing these temperature increases?

  54. wdf1

    Below are the temperature proxy datasets that Mann et al. were working with. The time span is much greater 1000+ years. The black line at the right end corresponds to the direct temperature measurements shown in the graph above. The two graphs are at different scales.

    [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png[/img]

  55. Frankly

    The first graph is less argumentative than the second given those medieval weather stations were probably a little dicey. I also hear scientists at that time had to crunch the numbers on Windows II… which was a very buggy operating system.

  56. wdf1

    JB: [i]…given those medieval weather stations were probably a little dicey[/i]

    That’s why “proxy” datasets are used. This is temperature information that comes from ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica (which extend back at least 100,000 yrs), tree ring data (a number of bristle cone pines are a a few thousand years old), and isotopic ratios in marine shells.

    Here’s the reference to the datasets that were used for the 1000 year temperature graph:

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png[/url]

  57. wdf1

    Here are CO2 levels measured over the past ~400,000 years from atmospheric gas bubbles trapped in ice layers in Greenland and Antarctica:

    [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png[/img]

    CO2 levels have gone up during interglacial periods, and gradually descended to lower levels during ice ages. The recent spike in CO2 levels easily exceeds anything that existed in prior interglacial periods.

    Here’s the more recently measured CO2 levels at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

    [img]http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.png[/img]

  58. Frankly

    wdf1: what I don’t understand is how scientists can be so dismissive of significant evidence of higher temperatures during the medieval warm period. They write it off as regional abnormalities even though it covered large areas and spanned centuries. If average global temperature variances were really so much lower than say Greenland’s average temperature variances during this time… then there needs to be robust explanation for this in the proxy models.

    To me it looks like “it doesn’t fit the model so let’s just marginalize the evidence”.

  59. wdf1

    JB: Not sure I follow what you’re trying to say. The medieval warm period affected the northern hemisphere, not the whole Earth. The recent warming trend has affected the whole Earth. And the recent warming trend is exceeding the medieval warm period.

  60. wdf1

    JB: [i]
    New study shows half of the global warming in the USA is artificial[/i]

    Article:
    Claims of Flawed Weather Data Don’t Change Global Warming: Scientists ([url]http://www.livescience.com/22019-weather-records-climate-change-skeptics.html[/url])

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