Talking Climate Change: Start with the facts from the Berkeley Earth Project | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

mihaychuk's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

 I am interested in sustainability, civic engagement and democratic renewal. You might meet me at the soccer pitch, at the Farmers Market, or walking or biking on local trails.
I'm a high-tech veteran and have lived in Ottawa since 2000. Before moving to the private sector, I earned my Ph.D. in laser & semiconductor physics at the University of Toronto.

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Talking Climate Change: Start with the facts from the Berkeley Earth Project

September 10, 2013
Berkeley Earth Project logo

First published in 2013, Unpublished Media is republishing this piece again now, as this information is more vital now than ever. Check out the data for Canada. It should change your mind if you're still a skeptic... 

The most responsible and independent scientific analysis that I could find on the subject of anthropogenic global warming is that of Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley.

For those who do not know his background, Dr. Muller is well known for both his physics research and for his work on the JASON panels. These are panels of researchers called in by the US Department of Defense to assist on matters where the military and federal government are in need of expert advice in addressing real-world problems. If anything, the JASON panels have been criticized from the left over the years due to their work in the service of military and state power. You can view examples of non-classified JASON projects here:

Richard Muller started out as a climate change skeptic. He formed a team of scientists and statisticians under the Berkeley Earth project to analyze *all* available land-based weather station data going back to the 1700's. This differs from most work, including that of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), that typically goes back to only about 1950. The Berkeley Earth team committed to use all available data without massaging it, with the one exception that they would exclude data obviously affected by urban heating around our growing cities. Where a data series or a particular station is in doubt, that is addressed by assigning those data a lesser statistical weight, not by applying corrections or by excluding the data.

Far from being biased in favour of a climate change hypothesis, Berkeley Earth went so far as to accept funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. What the Berkeley Earth found was that the record of the Earth's temperature in this time period is dominated by just two things:

  1. Transient cooling due to major volcanic events, and
  2. An overall warming that is consistent with the rising CO2 level in the atmosphere

Dr. Muller himself was interviewed and admitted to being converted from a climate change skeptic to accepting the reality of global, man-made climate change due to burning of fossil fuels.

The next step in the ongoing independent project includes their analyses to address a wider range of climate change phenomena. You can use the resources on the Berkeley Earth website to view the overall data, data for the Ottawa region, and, in fact, all of the data. All of the datasets used by the Berkeley Earth project are available for download by anyone who has an interest. All papers regarding their methods and findings have been submitted to peer reviewed journals, with pre-publication materials available for review in advance by any interested parties. It is about the most open review process that I have seen in my career. The site is:

Make no mistake: I would love to drive a big SUV and to heat my house with just about anything that burns and stocked with every hi-tech gadget I can get. As a scientist and high-tech worker, I am as far from being anti-technology as they come. However, I have learned that our economic and technological future need to move along a different path from what we have been following for the past couple of centuries, one of efficiency and conservation.

We face big challenges but also enormous opportunities. We would be reckless not to move to address our changing reality, and foolish not to take advantage of the many economic opportunities involved in addressing such a major change in society. When in doubt, let's all drop the rhetoric, sit down over a coffee with a laptop or a tablet, and take a look at what the real research is.

It is easier to do today than ever before. To have such a chat, contact me here: JamesGP (at) Rogers (dot) com.

Best regards,

James Mihaychuk, Ph.D.