Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

A Climate-Change Skeptic Changes His Tune

Two years ago, the Charles G. Koch foundation funded a study whose purpose appeared to be to prove once and for that climate change was a fraud. The project was led by physicist Richard Muller, founder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project at UC Berkeley and a prominent critic of the science of climate change; its billionaire funder Charles Koch, together with his brother David, is a major funder of conservative political activism. Still, if the study was expected to provide scientific cover for conservative hostility to efforts to combat global warming, Muller's preliminary findings proved to be a shocker. In an October Wall Street Journal article titled "The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism: There were good reasons for doubt, until now," Muller wrote that his scrutiny of the data demonstrated that he'd been wrong all along. Although he claimed the issue of whether (or how much) human activity contributed to phenomenon remained unresolved, he believed, there was no getting around the facts. "Global warming is real," he wrote. "Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate."