Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth

Koch Bros Study Finds Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made 769

Posted by samzenpus
from the sorry-about-that dept.
bledri writes "The results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature are in and Richard Muller, the study's director (formerly an AGW skeptic) declares, '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.' The study was funded by the Folger Fund, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates), the Bowes Foundation, the Koch Foundation, and the Getty Foundation."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Koch Bros Study Finds Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made

Comments Filter:
  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:28AM (#40807337) Homepage

    ...is global warming good or bad.

    For some it will be good. For some bad. The diversity of life has historically increased with warming. Coastal cities won't like a sea level rise though.

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      Won't it kinda suck if you live in Florida and aren't a manatee?
    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:52AM (#40807465) Homepage

      ...is global warming good or bad.

      For some it will be good. For some bad. The diversity of life has historically increased with warming. Coastal cities won't like a sea level rise though.

      Darfur. The huge mess down there is being exasperated because traditional sources of water are drying up, forcing social and political change.

      Personally, I'm less worried about the coastal cities getting submerged as I am about the majority of farmland becoming arid deserts. Combine this with peak oil also driving food prices up and we have quite the clusterfuck on our hands.

    • by wisebabo (638845) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @12:34PM (#40808513) Journal

      " The diversity of life has historically increased with warming".

      Sure, but the same can be said of asteroid impacts; new studies have indicated that after as short as 10 million years, the biosphere has recovered and maybe even opened up a few new ecological niches by dislodging the old dominant species (bye bye dinosaurs!).

      The problem is the word "short". On any human timescale, ten million years is a long time. In a few centuries which really is the blink of an eye in a geological sense, we'll be altering the climate substantially. For many species (millions?) it will be too fast for them to evolve.

      So they'll die.

      Global warming will NOT extinguish life on earth (well not unless we manage to cause a runaway greenhouse effect like Venus). It does have the potential of creating a less diverse world filled with crabgrass, cockroaches and rats and other generalist species (like us) that will take over. Our descendants for TENS OF THOUSANDS of generations may curse their selfish, short-sighted ancestors of the 21st century.

      And Americans in particular.

    • You're thinking short term. Run away global warming could be the end of life as we know it.
      Perhaps not in our lifetime. And perhaps that's why many people would rather deny it or claim it's not all bad.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @02:55PM (#40809763)
      That may be Muller's own opinion, but that is NOT what the Berkeley study says.

      The only thing Berkeley has done so far is to gather their own statistics about land surface temperatures. That data does -- roughly -- tend to support other climate scientists statistics about PAST surface temperatures. But that's ALL it does. So far they have not even compiled ocean temperatures yet... much less come to any conclusions about CAUSE.

      This article is nothing but more propaganda. The Berkeley study ONLY tends to confirm PAST, LAND, temperatures. That's all it does. They do not even have the data yet to even TRY to make conclusions about causes.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:38AM (#40807375)

    The Koch Brothers were among several funders, some of whom actually had decent motives. For example, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are not partisan conservatives. And FICER (the Gates-funded organization) actively depends on global warming existing, because their whole raison d'etre is pushing geoengineering as a solution, which would obviously be unnecessary if there were no problem for geoengineering to solve.

    In fact that's probably why the outcome was actually scientifically legit: it was a study by actual scientists with a fairly broad set of backers, done at a university rather than in the private sector.

    • by pla (258480) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:48AM (#40807447) Journal
      The Koch Brothers were among several funders, some of whom actually had decent motives.

      Absolutely true - But in the interest of trying to save the planet from ourselves, we should focus on near-legendary conservative sponsors such as the Koch Brothers.

      The average climate change denier doesn't give a damn about the NSF or hippies from Lawrence Berkeley. But Bush-the-Elder's friends? Now that carries some weight!
      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:04AM (#40807527)

        The average climate change denier doesn't give a damn about the NSF or hippies from Lawrence Berkeley. But Bush-the-Elder's friends? Now that carries some weight!

        The Koch brothers are G.H.W. Bush's friends?

        I didn't know that.

        And, oddly enough, I didn't (and don't) really care.

        Now, wake me up when the AGW loons decide that nuclear is better than coal, and I'll start taking them seriously.

      • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:59AM (#40807851)

        Now that carries some weight!

        I hate to disappoint you, but no, it won't. There is some (shaky) evidence that conservatives tend to be much less strongly influenced by facts when dealing with political topics, and that education level does not change the outcome. Chris Mooney [alternet.org] wrote a book about it, I haven't read it, but it seems that there isn't a silver bullet so much as a lot of studies suggesting, but not proving, the same thing.

        Whatever the reason, the point is that it doesn't matter who funded it, the conservatives won't accept climate change, no matter how many facts or studies you perform. If you confront a conservative with a climate change argument, and show them this study, I guarantee that they will shift the argument to saying that Muller now says, yes there is climate change, but it isn't what caused Katrina, nor what caused the drought in the U.S., nor is what is killing polar bears. If you were to fund a massive to study to prove those things, they would shift the argument to something else.

        It's utterly depressing, because it suggests that a lot of the political divide in this country is insurmountable (although it explains a lot about why we had to fight a devastating civil war in order to free slaves).

        • by rrohbeck (944847) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @03:17PM (#40809903)

          Exactly.Just look at Anthony Watts, who said - officially - that he'd accept any outcome of the BEST study because he trusts Muller.
          Now see how Watts is squirming, but of course he won't change his mind. WUWT as the echo chamber for deniers makes way too much money from ad impressions. Those are obviously on gullible people so they must be worth more per click that the average.

    • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:04AM (#40807529) Journal

      I know that conceding the Koch brothers AREN'T modern-day Satans might spell the end of your whole worldview, but why then would they support in any way a study that they couldn't control/manipulate/predict?

      I suppose one could claim that they stupidly didn't realize this, but considering that for the last 10 years they've been pilloried as the Gray Eminence behind all things dark and malign, suggesting that suddenly they're dopey doesn't quite fit with the script.

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:11AM (#40807561)

        I agree it's been overplayed, though they do also fund a bunch of quite partisan stuff. There is some difference between the brothers as well: David Koch's foundation does a lot of fairly apolitical philanthropy, funding various art and science organizations, whereas Charles Koch's funds mainly libertarian and pro-business organizations.

        The complaints about the Kochs go back a lot more than 10 years, though. The term "Kochtopus", implying a tentacle-like network of organizations grasping control of things, was coined by a Rothbardian libertarian in the '70s, who was angry about what he saw as Charles Koch trying to strong-arm other libertarian factions out of the libertarian movement, e.g. by kicking Rothbard out of the Cato Institute. Liberals picked up the term a bit later.

  • TFS obviously tries to throw the results of this study back in the Koch Foundation's face, by singling them out when the study was funded by numerous other groups. It's just another insufferable "I told you so", which we can all relate to as making people cling ever more tightly to their beliefs or just refuse to change their ways for spite.

    So wouldn't it make more sense first to sit back and see if the Koch brothers become converted skeptics like Muller? Imagine having their billions behind efforts to ad

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:41AM (#40807389) Journal

    (Bjorn Lomborg) as two prominent if not THE most prominent AGW skeptics to change their minds. (I've heard of these guys and if I've heard of them, since I'm not a specialist, I figure they must be prominent).

    So what's it going to take? Convincing every last person that this isn't real? That's going to be pretty damned impossible because as Upton Sinclair wrote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.". Substitute the word "salary" with "lifestyle" (or even "SUV") and you'll see how the average American thinks.

    I've read that a ten percentage increase in electrical costs would be enough to sequester all the CO2 we're currently emitting. So the fact that a ten percentage increase in something that is not a big item in the average American budget is keeping us from potentially preventing great harm to our ecology, biosphere and a great number of species on this planet (including us!) makes me realize that we will deserve the hell on earth we get.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:03AM (#40807523)

      a ten percentage increase in something that is not a big item in the average American budget ...

      The problem with this logic is that America is only 5% of the world. All rich countries combined are less than 20%. Unless something actually makes economic sense, it is not going to be accepted by the other 80% (and judging by current trends, it probably won't be accepted by the richest 20% either).

      The solution to AGW is not convincing people that they need to sacrifice and suffer for the common good. That won't work. Instead we need to do the R&D to come up with cost effective solutions that make economic sense even on a stand-alone-basis. We have already done that with wind power, CFLs, etc., and we need to do it for solar, electric vehicles, etc.

      If you focus on "suffer and sacrifice", you are being counter-productive, because you just push more people into the denier camp.

      • In terms of AGW its all about USA. USA is one of a very few select holdouts countries that refuse to do anything about AGW.

        With USA on board the rest of the holdouts will be forced to join too.

        USA is also the biggest contributor to AGW so if USA fix their pollution it will have a vary large impact on the world.

        • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:47AM (#40807785)
          Nope. China surpassed the USA in CO2 production years ago.
        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @11:01AM (#40807867)

          USA is one of a very few select holdouts countries that refuse to do anything about AGW.

          You mean we didn't sign Kyoto? Many of the signatories increased their CO2 emissions over the last decade even more than the USA did. The Kyoto Protocol was just meaningless symbolic crap. There was no enforcement, no penalties. It gave people the feeling that we are "doing something" about AGW, while the whole emphasis of Kyoto on "sacrifice and suffering" was actually counter-productive. It did very little to promote the scientific research to find real workable solutions. Can you guess which country spent, by far, the most on this research? The United States of America.

          With USA on board the rest of the holdouts will be forced to join too.

          If the USA cuts CO2 emissions, how exactly does that "force" China, India, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, etc. to do the same?

          USA is also the biggest contributor to AGW ...

          The USA is not the biggest contributor to AGW, either absolutely or per-capita.

      • by Rufty (37223)

        The problem with this logic is that America is only 5% of the world. All rich countries combined are less than 20%.

        Only 5% population, but 18.7% of consumption. And the US+EU makes 33% (Numbers from here. [wikipedia.org])

      • by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @02:17PM (#40809469) Homepage

        The solution to AGW is not convincing people that they need to sacrifice and suffer for the common good. That won't work. Instead we need to do the R&D to come up with cost effective solutions that make economic sense even on a stand-alone-basis. We have already done that with wind power, CFLs, etc., and we need to do it for solar, electric vehicles, etc.

        Most law is about making people suffer individually so that society can benefit overall. From traffic signals to taxes, genocide to homicide, and HAM licenses to fishing licenses, almost all law is about denying individuals the right to do as they please to satisfy the needs of society as a whole.

        Suggesting that law which requires individual sacrifice for societal gain is counter-productive is saying that you believe most law should be abandoned.

    • by JBMcB (73720)

      People started buying SUVs en-masse when car companies, to keep up with CAFE standards, started downsizing their cars to the point that the average family couldn't fit in them anymore (2 adults + 2.5 kids) You used to be able to seat six comfortably in a large sedan. Such a vehicle doesn't exist anymore.

      Trucks didn't count against CAFE, so that's what people could by if they didn't want to fold themselves into the artificially smaller cars.

      The irony here is that the SUVs people were buying to replace their

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GameboyRMH (1153867)

        Please, people didn't switch to SUVs because their cars were too small, they switched because their dicks were too small. Even the Japanese compacts of the late 80s/early 90s were quite spacious, more so than some early-2000s cars like certain model Corollas that were build for hobbits and the 1st-gen Focus where the floor area of the back sear was shorter than a human foot.

    • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:23AM (#40807607)

      I don't think you're exactly right about Lomborg. Yes, his first book did try to debunk some of the old evidence that was used to support global warming, but he never defended the positive thesis that global warming isn't happening. OK, maybe that's just the difference between skepticism and denialism. At his worst, Lomborg was a skeptic, and he quit that pretty fast.

      The reason why he's so controversial is that even after he declared that the science is in and we are causing real global warming, which will have significant consequences, Lomborg argued that preventing these consequences is economically unfeasible, and the best bang for our buck in planning the future is to concentrate on education, health, sanitation, disease eradication and climate change mitigation. Sadly, critics of Lomborg never seem to engage directly with his arguments. They never present a study that a $Million spent on forest restoration or sewage treatment or micronutrient supplementation will have fewer good consequences than a $Million spent on CO2 emissions reduction. For that reason I remain on the fence, though I do think that Lomborg deserves a more serious hearing.

  • by j-b0y (449975) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:45AM (#40807423)

    Anyhoo - the more people on _both_ sides of the argument who actually look at the data rather than just attack the conclusions, the better for everybody concerned.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:54AM (#40807473) Homepage

    Soon we will engage in apocalyptic greed, panic and defensiveness. Stock up on canned and dry foods... and ammo.

  • by paiute (550198) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:56AM (#40807481)
    Step one was to deny it was real. Now we are on step two: admit it is real but that it is too expensive for us to fight it. Step three is to build another mansion on higher ground and put in larger A/C units.
    • Ummmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @11:07AM (#40807913)

      If you didn't think the argument involved multiple parts, then you weren't paying attention. I find this to be one of the biggest problems with many self-proclaimed proponents of AGW is that they think if they prove something, then the argument is done, over, everything else follows logically and there can be no question. No, not at all. There are multiple stages to the argument.

      The first is the claims of fact: That average surface temperature is increasing and that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing. These are claims of facts about the world, things to be observed or measured. CO2 is pretty easy given the nature of gasses diffusing to uniform, temperature is quite a bit harder. However, it looks pretty solid that yes, temperature has been increasing. So that's step one, verify the facts behind the theory.

      The next step is the central theory: That the primary or exclusive cause of the observed warming is the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere due to human emissions. Like all theories, it attempts to explain the connection between facts, how things relate. So that the facts are true does not automatically imply the theory is correct. That is the point of this (and other) studies. See if there are facts that would falsify this theory, or are there other theories that would fit the available facts better. So far, it does not seem so which means that this theory is probably correct.

      This is not the end of the argument though. All you've done is shown why something is happening. That doesn't mean anything in and of itself. The next part of the argument is where things get more specious: The claim that this will be a bad thing for humanity as a whole. That's not a scientific theory, that's an over-arching claim, a judgement call. It is based on a number of theories and hypothesis out there. However to be accurate it needs to be backed up by theories with evidence that indicate that things will change in negative ways. Also you have to weigh just how positive and negative all the predicted changes will be. Anyone who pretends something is all positive or all negative is pushing an agenda and/or ignoring reality. Everything has a downside, a cost. The question is how does it weigh overall?

      This is a discussion that doesn't seem to happen much. The "It will be a bad thing," seem to be parroted as dogma. You accept or you get shouted down. Any hypothesis that says something bad will happen is accepted as true, any hypothesis that says something good will happen is said to be false. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way.

      Then, after you've shown it is a net negative overall, that it is something that would be better if it didn't happen, you get down to the policy of what to do about it. This is not science at all, there is no one right answer. It is a matter of deciding what we wish to do based off of costs, likelihood of success, other downsides and so on. "Just stop burning fossil fuels," isn't the "correct" answer. It is a possible course of action, but not the only one. Geoengineering solutions would be others. Still others would be not to try and change what is happening, but rather to change ourselves and prepare to deal with the changes since though this change may be human caused it is likely at some point another will happen that isn't and thus we may not be able to affect.

      So if you are hoping for the magic moment of "All debate ends and everyone agrees with me," well sorry you aren't going to see it. As I alluded to, the big thing at this point would be to show that this change is going to be a net negative for humanity. That's complex, so no surprise it is hard. Even once that is in the bag, the question remains as to what to do. To that there will never be a final "correct" answer, only possibilities that eventually will need to be weighed and chosen from (including the possibility of doing nothing).

  • by Pino Grigio (2232472) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:17AM (#40807579)
    Firstly, let us be clear on what we're talking about: current temperature appears as a statistical blip in the historical record. [wordpress.com]

    Secondly, Richard Muller is not and never was a skeptic. Way back in 2003 he was saying things like, "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." and even more incredibly, "If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion - which he does, but he’s very effective at it - then let him fly any plane he wants."(2008).

    Thirdly, even William Connolley, the guy banned from editing Wikipedia for 6 months due to his attempts to rubbish skeptics, thinks Muller is a wazzock for making the claims he has [scienceblogs.com]. So, slashdot, the excitement you are experiencing here is really quite misplaced.
  • wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:27AM (#40807629)

    What a misleading summary. What Muller claims to have shown is:

    1. Warming is happening; criticisms of statistical methods can either be worked around or are shown to not be valid.
    2. Solar activity and/or other proposed non-CO2 warming drivers are not responsible for the observed increase.
    3. Atmospheric CO2 is by far the best correlate with global surface temperatures.

    However, he then adds, "These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism," and goes on to reject a number of "alarmist" (his word) consequences of warming (more frequent hurricanes, the U.S. drought, polar bears dying, etc.)

    • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:35AM (#40807689)

      So it sounds like he's basically replicated the circa-2007 IPCC results and conclusions?

      • Read the Op-Ed, but he seems to be saying his results are stronger than the IPCC's in that they address some of the usual skeptic complaints about the methods used to estimate temperature. He also claims to have rejected solar activity as a potential driver; supposedly the IPCC concluded that solar activity might be a non-insignificant driver alongside atmospheric CO2.
        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          Solar energy is the most significant driver of Earthly temperatures. It is the source of essentially all of the energy that makes Earth's temperature what it is. But it hasn't changed enough to account for all of the temperature changes that have occurred. So changes in solar activity are not the primary driver of current temperature changes.

  • Bah humbug (Score:5, Funny)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:42AM (#40807759) Homepage

    This is all just liberal propaganda paid for by... ...oh wait...

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @12:06PM (#40808325) Journal
    All he's done is verify that the instrumental temperature record is largely correct. In the article he says,

    It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical. I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong.

    In other words, he has serious doubts that hurricanes and other disasters will be the result of AGW.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

Working...