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

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

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  • Re:Not entirely. (Score:5, Informative)

    by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:05AM (#40807533) Journal

    Our increase of CO2 is still far below any volcano ...

    Not surprised you cower behind anonymity when spouting utterly wrong claptrap like that. Hint: try actually finding things out before demonstrating your ignorance in public.

    According to the USGS [], man-made CO2 emissions are 35 billion tons per year, total volcanic output (from land and under the seas) ranges from 0.13 to 0.44 billion tons per year. Even in a year of abnormally great volcanic activity, volcanic output is tiny in comparison to that of human activity. There are only a few Mount St. Helens scale eruptions per year, but it would take 3500 of them every year to equal current man-made CO2 emissions.

    From the same USGS page, in 1900, the annual anthropogenic CO2 output was about 18 times that of volcanism. In 2010 it had increased to about 135 times the annual volcanic output. These ratios are based on the maximum estimate of volcanic CO2 output. So the increase in annual anthropogenic CO2 output dwarfs the annual volcanic CO2 output.

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> 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.

  • Re:Skeptic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:21AM (#40807591)

    "nobody seems to be able to find anything he's ever said that put him in the "skeptic" camp..."

    Especially if they don't have 5 seconds with which to perform a google search.

    Here's the latest. Scientific American has now published an interview with Richard Muller, in which Muller repeats the most popular climate denial talking points related to Mike Mann's famous and endlessly replicated hockey stick temperature graph, and throws in unsupportable slurs against Al Gore, the IPCC, and climate science in general. The magazine's editors did not see fit to fact check any of the statements.

    Source []

  • 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:Skeptic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:28AM (#40807633)

    He himself uses that term, in the quote that's right here in the Slashdot summary! It's not some kind of external appellation. He says:

    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.

    The 3-years-ago part I believe is referring to "Climategate" [], which Muller was very critical of. In addition, he's criticized the methodology of studies over the years, which has caused him to be viewed as something of a skeptic. In 2004, he wrote a now-famous editorial [] attacking the "hockey stick graph" for being "poor mathematics".

  • Re:Not entirely. (Score:2, Informative)

    by fast turtle ( 1118037 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:29AM (#40807647) Journal

    but the USGS didn't factor in the Methane releases and Methane is a more effective Green House Gas then CO2 ever was. Right now, the biggest contributors of Methane are all the damn cows being fed antibiotics in those massive dairy and feed lots so people can have beef on the Barbie. All you have to do is check out the various orbital colony scenarios and you soon realize that beef isn't that efficient in generating protein for consumption. Goats, sheep, chicken, rabbits and fish are far better at converting feed into protien and the reason I didn't include pork is they're number 2 in methane production.

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:30AM (#40807657)
    That's not what the article says

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:39AM (#40807729)

    Because the Koch brothers have been the hugest anti-global-warming proponents since day one, as so much of their money comes from businesses that pollute heavily.

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:47AM (#40807785)
    Nope. China surpassed the USA in CO2 production years ago.
  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Sunday July 29, 2012 @11:09AM (#40807945) Homepage Journal

    No, the Kochs are the same billionaires. They must have either figured out a way to monetize global warming, perhaps through an environment-monitoring division, or figured out that most people would rather have oil than a stable atmosphere.

    Or maybe their foundation accidentally backed the wrong science. Even billionaires can hire people who make mistakes.

  • State =/= government (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bananenrepublik ( 49759 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @11:32AM (#40808089)

    Since this is the second time that line is misread that particular way, I'll offer an explanation, even though it should be obvious. California's government happens to go bankrupt from time to time. That doesn't make the state poor, because there are also people and companies in the state who own and produce assets that are valuable. Interesting that you would think that only the government can create or maintain value ;-)

    As for why the state of California regularly goes bankrupt: having the populace vote on every tax increase is a surefire way of never getting taxes increased. If at the same time people vote pro-spending, government becomes unsustainable. Not that hard to figure out, definitely a construction failure, and fairly unrelated to the question of regulations.

    (BTW slashdot sitll doesn't allow unicode? Why can't I put something as innocous as the not equal sign into the subject? It's 2012, not 1992)

  • Re:Skeptic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) * on Sunday July 29, 2012 @11:34AM (#40808105)

    nobody seems to be able to find anything he's ever said that put him in the "skeptic" camp...

    And yet the people who are pro-AGW have heard of him, and have felt the need to create a rebuttal page [] listing what he has said and where he went wrong. Here is an article written by Muller about the hockey stick graph [].

    The problem is that he is not an extremist, and when he finds evidence that does support the climate change then he accepts it. However, he does have problems with some of the claims from the scientific community and he calls them out on it. He is a true skeptic, unlike the people who keep insisting that they are called skeptics who turn nasty on anyone who actually has their mind changed by scientific data. Those so-called skeptics are really just deniers.

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @12:50PM (#40808623)

    Most of the money in the TARP has already been repaid. They were loans, not free money. So far, the total cost to the taxpayer has been $32 billion. It helps to read and understand the news instead of merely believing what you wish were true.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @01:11PM (#40808779) Homepage Journal

    The earth has been known as roughly spherical - since 1500-1200 BC or thereabouts.

    Ptolomaic astronomy, from the 2nd century AD, while geocentric, assumed a spherical earth, at the center of concentric heavenly spheres. Each of these had there own spherical planets embedded in their arc.

    It is true that there were doctrines espoused by the Byzantine Church, which promoted a "Christian Cartography" that used Biblical references to mandate a flat-earth. These were always widely contested with the complete awareness of Ptolomaic models - solely on the basis of "Pagan" versus "Christian". These views were held by a minority of relatively unimportant European barbarians.

    Using the idea that a "flat earth" was a commonly held belief in the middle ages does not illustrate the folly of an opposing argument. Rather, it demonstrates how fully history and "common knowledge" are propagandized folly.

  • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @02:01PM (#40809311)

    I challenge you to find any peer reviewed published paper that says Florida would be under water now. They don't exist. For the most part predictions of sea level rise from scientists has been on the conservative side. Occasionally they do speculate about the possibility of non-linear events such as the sudden collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet [] but we have little scientific evidence to point to such a possibility.

  • 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 Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @03:07PM (#40809833)
    And if you think I'm blowing hot air (haha), first check out Berkeley's OWN description of the state of the study [], and then check out Judith Curry's discussion of Muller's comments [].
  • by DuBois ( 105200 ) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @03:13PM (#40809875) Homepage
    Anthony Watts just posted some new information regarding errors in the BEST data. Perhaps Richard Muller will need to re-evaluate his "skepticism." []
  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Monday July 30, 2012 @10:09AM (#40817513)

    Judith Curry's comments apply to last year's paper, which you might be able to tell because it was written last year. Muller's comments pertain to this year's paper.

    Opening statement of the PDF from the Berkeley page says:

    According to a new Berkeley Earth study released today, the average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by 1.5 C over the past 250 years. The good match between the new temperature record and historical carbon dioxide records suggests that the most straightforward explanation for this warming is human greenhouse gas emissions.

    Seems like the Berkeley study is saying exactly the same thing as Muller.

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