201208

Science more certain as voters accept carbon tax

A Herald-Neilson poll, taken a month after the introduction of the carbon tax, shows the proportion of voters who thought they would be worse off under the policy has slumped dramatically, while the proportion of those who feel it will make no difference has soared. People are starting to see that despite all the scaremongering, they will not be affected greatly by the great big new tax.

The legitimacy of climate science has received an unexpected boost from Professor Richard Muller from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Berkeley Earth Temperature study, funded by climate sceptics and the fossil fuel industry, and headed by prominent sceptic Richard Muller, was set up to debunk the theory of human induced climate change.

The project has examined exhaustively land temperature observations recorded across the world since 1753. Using five times the amount of data previously relied on, its findings closely matched those of earlier studies on which theories of global warming and carbon reduction policies are based, including those published by The Goddard Institute For Space Studies at NASA (GISS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Hadley Climate Research Unit (HadCRUT), and the much-maligned International Panel on Climate Change. The project’s founder, Richard Muller, now regards himself as a “converted sceptic”.

Last October, the Berkely team published results that showed the average global land temperature has risen by about 1 degree Celsius since the mid-1950s.

The latest data analysis also searched for the most likely cause for this rise in land temperature. It analysed the warming impact of solar activity – a popular theory among climate sceptics – but found that, over the past 250 years, the contribution of the sun is “consistent with zero”.

Volcanic eruptions were found to have caused “short dips” in the temperature rise in the period from 1750 to 1850, but “only weak analogs” in the 20th century.

“Much to my surprise, by far the best match came to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice,” Professor Muller said. “While this doesn’t prove that global warming is caused by human greenhouse gases, it is currently the best explanation we have found, and sets the bar for alternative explanations.”

Professor Muller said his team’s findings went further and were “stronger” than the latest report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Matthew Nott