Despite the fact that, for years, a majority of climate scientists have been in agreement that rises in global temperatures are the result of human activity, there has remained a steadfast minority holed up in denial -- though their numbers may be diminishing. In a statement, one of the world's most prominent former-climate skeptics has made a surprise about-face, declaring that climate change is not only real, it's likely our fault.
Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, once an outspoken critic of the prevailing theories of global climate change, now says he was wrong. Just days ago, in New York Times op-ed, Muller outlines his change of heart:
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.
Muller and a team of researchers, forming the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature team, have concluded that global temperatures have indeed risen since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and that the relationship between the two is unlikely coincidental.
"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," writes Muller. "Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases."
While the hard science has convinced the one-time climate critic of the realities of global warming, Muller is quick to point out that his skepticism remains on some of its peripheral impacts -- such as leading to the glacial ice loss and more intense hurricanes experienced in recent years.