Koch Brothers-Funded Climate Scientist Says He Was Wrong, Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made

Previously discussed scientist Richard Muller, a climate change skeptic whose work was heavily funded by the Koches, has penned an op-ed explaining that his extensive study proved the opposite of what his bankrollers had hoped. Via the New York Times:

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.

Our record is long enough that we could search for the fingerprint of solar variability, based on the historical record of sunspots. That fingerprint is absent. Although the I.P.C.C. allowed for the possibility that variations in sunlight could have ended the “Little Ice Age,” a period of cooling from the 14th century to about 1850, our data argues strongly that the temperature rise of the past 250 years cannot be attributed to solar changes. This conclusion is, in retrospect, not too surprising; we’ve learned from satellite measurements that solar activity changes the brightness of the sun very little.

How definite is the attribution to humans? The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we’ve tried. Its magnitude is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect — extra warming from trapped heat radiation. These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: to be considered seriously, an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as carbon dioxide does.

13 Comments on "Koch Brothers-Funded Climate Scientist Says He Was Wrong, Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made"

  1. JohnFrancisBittrich | Jul 31, 2012 at 9:11 am |

    Hold on, lemme go to the kitchen and make some popcorn before the comments thread on this story really takes off…

  2. “If you don’t want to believe the scientists, I have another way you can approach the problem and that is you can take your que from the rest of the animal and plant kingdom. Animal are migrating in different rates, plants are migrating north that never made it north before because they can now sustain the warmth that is there. There are plants that are getting fertilized earlier than before, the migration patterns have shifted and so nature already knows the answer to what everyone else here is arguing about.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson


  3. CosmicAmazing | Jul 31, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    I don’t care if it’s real or not. People with the money and technology to fix it are not going to. Telling us “serfs” to take shorter showers and drive Prius’s is not going to help anything. We are all fucked, hold on for the ride. 

    • emperorreagan | Jul 31, 2012 at 10:07 am |

      That’s absolutely true.  Everyone is concerned with mitigating the immediate economic impact of any measures taken, not the future.

      Some people (like the cap and trade folks, with their carbon exchanges) are working on ways to make money on it.  Some people are working on pie-in-the-sky ideas like carbon sequester instead of addressing the true issues: overpopulation and excessive energy consumption.

      No one is actually concerned with addressing the problem.

      • It’s not that we live, it’s how we live. Humanities population comes nowhere near replacing the animal life than we have removed from the planet.

        • emperorreagan | Jul 31, 2012 at 11:11 am |

          That we live is a result of how we live.  

          Humans have been pretty good, thus far, at removing constraints on population growth.  Artificial fertilizer, high yield crops, cheap energy, etc. have enabled the population spike.

          We’ve created some self-limiting factors (birth control), but some groups in the world have done a pretty good job of fighting against cheap and widely available birth control, for instance.

          Other issues are compounding factors (high per capita energy consumption in developed countries, with other nations aspiring to the same).

  4. People might take these things more seriously if there weren’t lies and misrepresentations in every article.   Richard Muller was NEVER a climate change skeptic.   He was an adversary of Mann and co. but that doesn’t make someone a skeptic.   It’s things like this and the recent “Greenland is MELTING!” media blitz  that makes people shake their heads at the AGW propaganda.  With the internet it only takes a second to fact check…

    Here’s Richard Muller from 2003:
    “Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.”

    Here’s NASA’s Thomas Wagner on the Greenland images (in an interview with PBS):

    “MARGARET WARNER: So, you’re basically talking about the weather?

    THOMAS WAGNER: Yes, and that is one way to thing about it. Climate is sort of long-term weather. But short term, you can get extreme variations. And we’re seeing an extreme variation in Greenland.

    MARGARET WARNER: So, you’re saying you can’t really attribute this to climate change?


    And that’s one of the things. We spent a long time trying to word the document that we put out describing it. And we said, look, there is evidence that this has happened before. Now, that doesn’t mean — we really don’t know the explanation for this one. If it happens again, if it starts to happen repeatedly, then we have an indication that there might be a real shift going on in the Arctic system there.”

    There’s a big difference between science that then creates an agenda vs. an agenda that needs scientists to accomplish said agenda. 

    Unfortunately, based on everything the pro-AGW people do in press releases and other media items – it certainly looks like the latter is what is going on here.

  5. i’d like him to take these experiments in the winter

    • Jesus Borg | Jul 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

       OK, this is a serious question, if we lose some shoreline lose big cities near the Ocean and if the Boreal forest and the Arctic become temperate zones, if warm water fish/algae/crustaceans etc. move into the Arctice ocean, if everything becomes warmer and wetter like a Greenhouse?

      Like what the fuck is so bad about that? Less Caribou? Less lichens, less stunted little black spruce and ground crawling willow in the tundra? I mean the Arctic and subarctic is beautiful and everything, but its a really austere beauty. Hardly anything lives there. People like to study it because its a really simple ecosystem. There are about as many wolves in the Lower 48 now as in Alaska, because in Alaska they have less to eat and are way spread out. Life is way more biodioverse closer to the equator.

      I see biodiversity increasing over time if the globe gets warmer. Who cares if Miami and LA end up under water. Life will go on and so will people.

      • Adam E Trumper | Aug 26, 2013 at 2:23 am |

        It will keep getting warmer after that. It’s not a single jump.

        Worse, and worse, and worse.

        Little short-sighted?

  6. NotConcerned | Jul 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

    I love it how people conveniently forget that there’s a great, burning ball of fire not that far away – think that might have anything to do with climate change?


    And few people know that Mars is also undergoing a warming period – since there’s no human factor on Mars, who’s to blame for its increase in temperature? 


    • Shadowy Figure | Jul 31, 2012 at 11:17 pm |

       Shhhhhh … let the real “intellectuals” tell you that CO2 is bad and a tax on it is good. Run along now …

  7. I understand all the healthy cynicism. Here’s something to think about: There are over 2 million groups worldwide working for Environmental and Social Justice. Check out this music video inspired by climate activist Tim DiCristopher featuring over 100 org’s from the Climate Movement: http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=rswFWRCB3Vk&feature=youtu.be

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