Sunday, February 24, 2013

  Independent Study Confirms That Global Warming Exists
(Credit: Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature)
10/24/2011 @ 1:35AM

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Group was established to provide a robust, open measurement of surface temperatures, in a manner that addresses previous criticisms that temperature trends had been “cherry picked” or that “urban heat islands” provided a false picture of how fast temperatures on the Earth’s surface were rising. The Group is led by Dr. Robert Muller, a physicist who in the past had been notably critical of climate science methodology. The group is funded by a number of different sources, including Bill Gates’ Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

BEST has now released their data, and determined that their findings are well within the range of previous research. BEST’s findings indicate that in the past 50 years, the average land surface temperature of the Earth has increased about 0.911 degrees Celsius. Moreover, BEST concluded that past research by NOAA, NASA, and other groups were accurate in their estimates of warming.

This finding, conducted by a noted climate research skeptic and funded by a variety of non-partisan sources, should hopefully end the debate over whether the Earth is warming. All the data points to the same conclusion. It is. I’ve no doubt that this will lead to another set of debates over the extent to which the cause is the result of CO2 and methane emissions, but I’m hopeful they will be much shorter. That CO2 and methane, when introduced to a mixture of gasses, allow for more heat to be trapped is indisputable – you can conduct an experiment on it yourself in your garage for a couple hundred bucks. While climate is certainly an extraordinarily complicated mechanism, the facts keep pointing back to this simple fact of chemistry. Increased CO2 and methane may not be the sole cause of climate change, but it’s definitely a cause and almost certainly a major one.

Now, what next? My Forbes colleague Tim Worstall argues that this is a serious situation, but one in which the human race can make “marginal changes and still survive and thrive.” I agree with him on this – as long as we act quickly. The technology is moving at a rapid pace, and the industries are catching up. Just take solar power, for example – it’s currently one of thefastest growing industries in the United States with total growth of 6.8% from 2010 – 2011. Over 100,000 people are employed in the solar industry domestically, and solar companies plan on hiring about 24,000 people in the coming year. That’s an amazing success story.

We can keep those successes going, and other alternative energy success stories like it, by making some common sense changes to current policies. It doesn’t require a drastic overhaul of the whole system, as long as we start taking the problem seriously now.

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