29 July 2012

Richard Muller on climate change

I remember some time back I read a post by ol' creationist/conservative/evangelical Jack Hudson where he claimed that Richard Muller of UC Berkley was a skeptic of man-made climate change. In the comments section, I pointed out that Muller had conducted his own review of the data and subsequently retracted his skepticism. Jack's response:
[Y]ou are reading what I wrote with your Al Gore glasses on. I am agreeing with him that a reasonable response is necessary, not the typical left-wing radicalism you favor. Destroying our economy by tying it to global treaties which don’t solve the problem is insane.
Jack was pulling this out of his butt, since I never said anything at all about what kind of environmental policy I favor, and Muller wasn't saying anything about policies or treaties either. The issue at hand was whether human beings were causing climate change. I'd encourage you to read the whole post and the subsequent comments, because I think it's clear as day that Jack flat-out lied and tried to weasel out of the actual arguments he made in his post, like this:
“A scientist I find credible on the issue is Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at Berkeley and author of the book Physics for Future Presidents. He has been critical of some of the data and methodology used to support theories of climate change in favor anthropogenic warming.
Well, obviously, the minor detail Jack conspicuously omitted, and what I was calling him out on, is the fact that Miller subsequently reviewed the data, changed his mind, and said so publicly. I was beyond frustrated that Jack lacked the humility to correct such a simple error and instead resorted to the red herring of painting me as a radical leftist, whatever that's supposed to be. And now, because every once in a while I really like to hammer home how right I was, here's Muller taking his position even further, courtesy of Huffpo (emphasis mine):
Muller wrote in an NYT op-ed that after exhaustive research, he believes that an increase of greenhouse gases can be closely linked to the rise in the earth's temperature. He explains:
Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.
Boom. A major skeptic of climate change, once hawked as an ally of conservative agendas, comes out to shove da troof right down their willfully ignorant throats. The best part is that he did it only after exhaustive research. He was a skeptic, but the healthy type of skeptic – his views were amenable to evidence, and he altered them accordingly.

Unlike some, this guy knows when to admit he was wrong
Now obviously, how this translates into policy is another matter entirely. But in order to have sound policy, you first have to correctly identify the problem. Republicans have been crowing for ages that climate change is not the result of human beings, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus, and once counted Muller as an ally – or at least a legitimate skeptic who bolstered their denial. It's clear now that Muller is firmly in the other camp.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.