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Climate Change Denier’s Own Study Changes His Mind

Climate Change Denier’s Own Study Changes His Mind

Professor Richard Muller, one of the nation’s foremost climate change deniers, has finally changed his views on global warming thanks to a new study… his own. After conducting research on the subject, Muller says he has had a “total turnaround” and is no longer skeptical about the threats of greenhouse gases, according to The Guardian.

The results of Muller’s study, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature or BEST project, showed that the land temperature has risen 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 250 years, with the majority of that occurring in the last 50 years alone. Even more damningly, the data suggests that the increase is due almost exclusively to human production of greenhouse gases.

Muller, a physicist, admits he was surprised by the findings, but will not deny climate change anymore. “As scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds,” he said.

The results of the BEST study are even more impressive considering the source. Charles Koch, one of the multi-billionaire brothers who are well known for bankrolling the campaign to deny climate change, funded the research in large part. Fortunately, Muller made an honest go of the study rather than just melding the data to fix his preexisting assumptions.

What distinguishes BEST from previous studies is the massive number of earth temperatures collected to use as the data. Muller’s team amassed over 14 million temperature observations from over 40,000 places, some going back as far as 1753. That’s more than five times the number of temperatures used in previous climate change studies. Furthermore, the data was analyzed by a computer, not humans, to eliminate the bias factor that previous global warming deniers have cited.

The study also examined other popular theories for temperature rise like increased solar activity and volcano eruptions, but neither showed much of a correlation. “Much to my surprise, by far the best match came to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide,” said Muller.

During the study, another leading climate change denier, Anthony Watts, was consulted on the methodology and found it to be a good way to analyze the topic. “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong,” Watts said. Since BEST’s results have been released, however, Watts has waffled on this position.

Although scholars generally wait to have their research peer reviewed before releasing all of the data, Muller published the complete study early on to address the inevitable concerns from other climate change skeptics.

“I embarked on this analysis to answer questions that, to my mind, had not been answered,” said Muller. “I hope that the Berkeley Earth analysis will help settle the scientific debate regarding global warming and its human causes.”

Given the current rate of carbon emissions, Muller predicts that the temperature of the earth will rise an additional 1.5 degrees in the upcoming 50 years. He concedes that now “comes the difficult part: agreeing across the political and diplomatic spectrum about what can and should be done.”

Here’s hoping that we don’t have to wait for every climate change denier to conduct his or her own research before acknowledging and addressing the growing problem of global warming.

Related Stories:

How the Koch Brothers Fund the Climate Change Denial Machine

Famed Climate Change Skeptic Changes His Mind

How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic

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84 comments

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3:49AM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

Deborah: I think the issue is less "how many of us are living", and more "how are we living"...

9:17AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

The Kock Bros. are often times accused of having no heart, I take exception with those thoughts.

They have always had room in their "hearts" for the wealthy, 1%. Like Romney.

9:31AM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

The crux of the problem is over population and we had better start talking about it and acting on it soon. Corporations need growth to succeed so they do not want any discussion regarding over population. As far as I'm concerned, this poor planet should not have more than 500 million of us! Close your eyes and change people into gorillas and look at the population that way for a few moments. What would we do if the gorilla population was at 7 billion?

We are such an arrogant species and frankly we do not have a right to reproduce. Our "right" is to use our heads and slow reproduction when there are too many.

5:53PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

It's nice to see a denier finally "waking up" and recognizing the scientific facts for what they are! I can only hope he gets others to turn around as well!

11:15AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

I'm old so I'll croak soon. Too bad for all you folks with kids and grandkids. What a fine legacy you deniers are leaving them. You must be SO proud. It's one thing to be selfish for yourself but you're selfish at the sake of all future generations and all flora and fauna on the planet. It's called a biosphere for a reason. All things are connected. The earth is like a house of cards. So adaptive but also fragile.

8:53PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

I liked seeing mitt with a tin hat on !!

3:42PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Cindy, those are good points, I'll try to answer.

Who has the right to tell the next guy he can't have what you have?
No one, of course. So whenever possible I try to only posses and use things that are not harming my own habitat. That way the next guy can also have those and do not harm his - our - own habitat as well.

Or tell a woman she can't have a baby?
No one, of course. One can _ask_ her to have only one or two (depending on the dynamics of birth and death rates in her country) and explain why. Because if she denies this request her species will get closer to extinction in current state of ecology. If her species - us, humans - will become extinct her life will have no meaning, no consequence. As will lives of her children. And their children. And so on. I personally wouldn't want to condemn so much people, my kin by the way, to meaningless existence before our civilization is no more and no trace is left of it.

Or tell a company it suddenly can't seek profits or continue it's current business practices?
Ah, so here, finally, is the crux of it. Humans, as shown above, can think some hundred years in future, sometimes even further (concerned with fate of their descendants, for example). Corporations don't bother, they tend to exist for much smaller periods of time. So the only argument they might hear is there of a risk to loose their profits. But to explain how climate change is already doing that is a non-trivial task, I feel I'm not equal to it now.

11:45AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

The greenhouse theory,Meme M.,dates back to the 18th century,long before there were "GREEN LIBERALS." And there could be so many 10s of millions of new jobs created by making a commitment NOW to as close possible a 100% green energy future,so as to be a new,green industrial revolution. Because the day will come when global warming gets the rich Republicans too,even if it gets them last.

8:36AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Every time you tell a voter that climate change is real it condemns the voter's children to their CO2 deaths. Nothing is worse than a climate crisis. Only a comet hit.

Vote lib or die?

AND libs promise to make the weather colder, with taxes no less.Do you people really WANT a president Romney? It sure looks like it.

Voters are fed up with the BIG GREEN LIBERAL CLIMATE CRISIS FEAR MACHINE.

8:20AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

In your attempt to appear informed about what's happening to our climate,Pedro L.,you only prove how blind you are to the observable facts,and how willing you are to be trustingly led by the deceivers.Your small group of 13 independent scientists can have their question answered by the measured increases in CO2 and global average temperatures which,since 1753,as Dr. Muller points out,when the sources of data were limited,through now with our unlimited sources,have been exactly identical to each other.

As to the expected series of major deluges and floods in Britain and Ireland,for decades it's been predicted that as warming advances weather extremes such as major floods would become more extreme because the warmer the atmosphere and the oceans the more water vapor and the more capacity for the atmosphere to hold it.This is such basic ,easy to understand science,Pedro L.,that a 7 year old nephew of mine understands it.

Meanwhile,half the U.S Counties are now in a state of drought emergency. Are you enjoying spending more money on food.Pedro L?

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The age range given for the lifespan is quite broad. Anyway, this is a splendid story! Thanks!

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