Study Funded In Part By Koch Brothers Affirms Link Between Global Warming And Human Activity

A study by a former skeptic of global warming — and funded in part by the Koch Brothers — has confirmed that human activity is likely causing the Earth to warm. Prof Richard Muller was once a critic of global warming but now says the evidence is clear in establishing the connection to human activity.

Muller leads the Berkeley Earth Project and assembled an impressive array of scientists to use new methods and some new data to investigate the global warming theory. The study reached the same conclusion of earlier studies.

The Koch brothers were not the only funders who have historically opposed global warming theories, but the scientists still concluded that the data speaks of itself. Muller wrote: “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.”

Source: BBC

59 thoughts on “Study Funded In Part By Koch Brothers Affirms Link Between Global Warming And Human Activity”

  1. Slarti, we just need to harness the hot air energy coming from inside the Beltway. I no longer watch TV on Sunday mornings, because I hate to see the First Law of Thermodynamics violated. There truly is a perpetual source of hot air energy. If we could harness it, our energy needs would be solved.

  2. Bob K.,

    How wonderful that you can boil down a complex, nuanced situation to a simple knee-jerk reaction. If we don’t build more nuclear plants in the short term, then we will build more coal-fired plants* (and probably a lot more, since nuclear plants usually produce more power). This will create greenhouse gasses as well as other point-source pollution exacerbating climate change as well as creating wonders like acid rain. It will negate any pollution savings from, for instance, electric vehicles as they will still be being powered by burning fossil fuels. Nuclear power, on the other hand, produces no greenhouse gasses and a limited amount of material which is radioactive, corrosive, and very toxic. This is not a no-brainer either way, and I think that the best viable solution is nuclear power coupled with subsides for solar and wind to speed their development (all of which is merely to keep us going until we get fusion power–which pretty much solves the problem of power and significantly mediates the problem of radioactive waste [and eliminates the problem of other waste]), but if you’d rather put up new coal plants all over the place, then I trust you’ve come up with a way to reverse man-made climate change–if not, please get back to us when you do. Until then don’t imply I’m the one who is naive.

    * Since we aren’t putting the money into wind and solar right now that would allow them to develop into a significant part of the solution anytime soon (Rmoney seems to have pledged to do his best to dismantle what wind power there is in the US if elected and I doubt he will be pushing solar either…), and the other choices (blackouts or reducing power use) are pretty much political non-starters.

  3. Slartibartfast,
    Have you come up with a way to dispose of toxic radioactive waste, yet?
    Please get back to us when you do.

  4. If cleanup and storage were a part of the equation, nuclear power would never have made it off the ground. But in characteristic capitalistic fashion, the government helped pay for it, the utilities grab the profits and the taxpayers get stuck with the pollution and cleanup. Same with coal, and oil.

  5. Mike

    I couldn’t agree with you more on nuclear power. Aside from the safety problems; however a person looks at it, when a dam fails if inundates all downstream, a coal fire plant burns up and a natural gas plant explodes, a nuke plant lays a centuries long zone of exclusion and pollutes areas on geographic scales.

    Let us look at it from a cost / basis point of view. The immediate cost savings is actually miniscule compared wtih the long term storage issue. 200,000 years in many cases. So if the fuel lasts for a few years but creates a dangerous storage liability for 50,000 times that how can this be economical?

  6. Guess someone didn’t get the memo on how global warming was a hoax and the numbers were fabricated.

  7. Now that Muller has seen the light of sanity, after we get back in control of energy use, if we can, we must see once and for all that we live on a sphere with limited livibg space, please be advised that we no longer have the natural resources or technology to solve the problems of a continiously growing population and the economic growth it has been taught to expect. If we save ourselves, we must continue on a path of zero population growth to save the bio-systems and the beauty of the Earth we can all enjoy.

  8. Prof Richard Muller, a new believer in humans causing global warming is an advocate of fracking natural gas. (guest on Rachel Maddow, 7/27/2012)

    And what is the relationship between the Koch Brothers and fracking? Products of the Koch’s: Asphalt, chemicals, commodities trading, energy, fibers, fertilizers, finance, minerals, natural gas, plastics, petroleum, pulp and paper (Wikipedia)

    We should be following the example of Germany.


    Germany sets new solar power record, institute says

    By Erik Kirschbaum

    BERLIN | Sat May 26, 2012 2:02pm EDT

    (Reuters) – German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

    The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.

    They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

  9. Mike,

    My support of nuclear power is a pragmatic one and I’m all for its keepers being kept on as short a leash as possible (I believe in socialized utilities–at least until we’ve fixed the incentives in the economy to stop abuses of the system by private utility providers). I don’t get the joke–probably because the term “Cold Fusion” takes me down a very different associative path… and I’ve never imagined you as someone that takes themselves that seriously. 😉

  10. Off Topic:

    Is the Natural Gas Industry Buying Academics?
    —By Tim McDonnell
    Mon Jul. 30, 2012

    Last week the University of Texas provost announced he would reexamine a report by a UT professor that said fracking was safe for groundwater after the revelation that the professor pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Texas natural gas developer. It’s the latest fusillade in the ongoing battle over the basic facts of fracking in America.

    Texans aren’t the only ones having their fracking conversations shaped by industry-funded research. Ohioans got their first taste last week of the latest public-relations campaign by the energy policy wing of the US Chamber of Commerce. It’s called “Shale Works for US,” and it aims to spend millions on advertising and public events to sell Ohioans on the idea that fracking is a surefire way to yank the state out of recession.

    The campaign is loaded with rosy employment statistics, which can be traced to an April report authored by professors at three major Ohio universities and funded by, you guessed it, the natural gas industry. The report paints a bright future for fracking in Ohio as a job creator.

    One coauthor of the study, Robert Chase, is prominent enough within the state’s natural gas universe that his case was recently taken up by the Ohio Ethics Commission, whose chairman called Chase “more than a passing participant in the operations of the Ohio oil and gas industry” and questioned his potential conflicts of interest. As landowners in natural-gas-rich states like Texas and Ohio struggle to decipher conflicting reports about the safety of fracking, Chase is a piece in what environmental and academic watchdogs call a growing puzzle of industry-funded fracking research with poor disclosure and dubious objectivity.

    “It’s hard to find someone who’s truly independent and doesn’t have at least one iron in the fire,” said Ohio oil and gas lease attorney Mark F. Okey. “It’s a good ol’ boys network and they like to take care of their own.”

  11. Paul O’Reilly, unless I misread his comment Dredd is not saying that you worked for big tobacco but that someone you named did.

  12. I met Dr. Teller many years ago. A more arrogant and opinionated person would be hard to find. He was very bright, but should have stuck to nuclear physics.

  13. Mike, I think cold fusion has already been invented. Several of my male clients insist their wives have a monopoly it.

    1. Slarti & OS,

      Cold Fusion was a joke and will be until someone figures it out. I may sound serious almost all of the time, but I rarely take myself that seriously. My distaste for nuclear power is a visceral one. I don’t trust its keepers enough to prevent bad things happening.

  14. Mike,

    Full disclosure: my brother-in-law works for the NRC–but I still think that nuclear is the best available medium-term solution to our power needs. I would be happy to have a viable alternative, but I don’t see it. Survival of our society is going to require some tough choices… and a lot of the time the right choice is going to really suck. But it beats the alternatives…

  15. Mike Spindell
    1, July 30, 2012 at 11:59 am
    “See attached Petition Card signed by Edward Teller”

    Yes Teller also agreed that nuclear energy was a good thing for us all. Perhaps the residents of Japan might differ. Teller was an ego-oriented scientist of the worst kind.

    Wow, I actually disagree with Mike for once (about nuclear power, not Teller). Nuclear power, in my opinion, is the best available power source to fulfill our needs until investment in green energy sources can help them become sufficiently efficient and they can be produced on a large enough scale. The by-products of burning coal for fuel (and using gasoline to power our cars) are far worse (in terms of their impact on the ecosystem and people’s health) than the (relatively) small amount of radioactive waste produced by nuclear plants. The people of Japan might differ, but the people of the US thought that torture and invading Iraq were both good ideas after 9/11… I don’t think that the opinions of traumatized people on the event that caused their trauma are reliable.

  16. Dredd’s comment (Dredd1, July 30, 2012 at 9:11 am) suggests that I worked for Big Tobacco. Not true. I am a retired ex-prosecutor with a B.S. Degree in Physics and no tie ever to the tobacco industry. I am a skeptic that human action is a significant cause of climate change because there are far too many unaccounted for variables that have yet to be measured to allow that conclusion. Additionally, faulty science and things like the disingenuous hockey stick chart cast many of the outspoken advocates of anthropogenic climate change in a suspicious light. Being a skeptic does not mean I am a denier; it means that I don’t think science has made the case yet (and I personally doubt that it will do so in the end). But then, excuse me…my judgment is my own and it is based on reading the hard science and not from reading editorial opinions by scientists or politically motivated operatives with an agenda.

  17. Irregardless of the merits to the study and theories of global warming, I really cannot see a downside to not polluting the environment.

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