Year 3, Month 8, Day 9: Evolutionary Koch-Bottleneck Edition…

The New York Times prints Richard Muller’s acknowledgement that everybody else was right all along:

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.

My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. 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.

He’ll disappear down the memory hole. Or will he? Sent July 29:

Now that Richard Muller’s examination of the data has brought him into agreement with the majority opinion that climate change is of human origin, one wonders how the Koch brothers, who funded much of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, will respond. While Dr. Muller is now nicely aligned with the climatological consensus of the 1990s, if the Kochs’ position simply joined the twentieth century, it would be a major advance.

Those notorious global warming denialists will probably shift their opinions from denialism to adaptationism, following the lead of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who recently acknowledged the reality of climate change while blithely asserting that humanity will “adapt,” an ominous euphemism for gigadeaths. While our species will surely change in response to climatic transformations, the question is whether these fossil fuel profiteers will help our civilization avoid catastrophe if it negatively impacts their quarterly returns. The available evidence isn’t encouraging.

Warren Senders

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