Global Warming is Finally Real

We found out today that physicist and long-time global warming skeptic, Richard Muller, has reached a final conclusion about global warming. He now concludes temperatures are in fact rising rapidly, after running a two-year study with his daughter.

Unlike most people skeptical of global warming, Muller had both the expertise and motivation to conduct his own research and see for himself whether or not temperatures are actually rising. And unlike most scientists conducting this same research, Muller does not appear to buy in to the idea that human activity is behind the rise in temperatures. At least I assume so, since he made no comment about the cause in his latest study and because of his history of skepticism and disbelief. Which leads me to some important questions and the main point of this post: if an overwhelming majority of experts (i.e. climate scientists) believe something in their field to be true (i.e. human activity is causing the earth’s temperature to rise), is it true? Since climate scientists are unable to run experiments that 100% accurately simulate the Earth’s climate, are they taking a leap of faith in regards to the causes and effects of climate change? How might this impact the conversation and dialogue between man-made climate change believers and disbelievers?

As with most people, I think we should take very seriously the scientific research claiming that our temperatures are rising as a result of human activity. At the very least, consider man-made climate change a possibility. Regardless of what I think, there are countless people who don’t listen to these scientists and think the whole idea of climate change is a hoax, or “junk science”. My hope is that Muller’s findings will bring these skeptics back in to the climate change conversation with a more open mind and engage some people for the first time. Thanks to Muller’s findings, we should, at the very least, be able to get past the initial controversy of whether or not the globe is actually warming, and focus more on the potential causes.

On the other side of the coin are people who believe without question that humans are to blame for Earth’s rising temperatures. While these people are likely right, given the overwhelming consensus among experts, I believe they lose their effectiveness to engage “non-believers” in the conversation by refusing to consider any possibility that human beings are not responsible, after all. Despite the good intentions, it can be seen as a personal mission to “convert” someone to believe the way that they do, and some people are simply unwilling to be converted. For any subject, it is crucial that people engage with an open mind, lest we risk alienating the other side from the get go.

Climate change is a heated issue, and for the most part, it seems as though people have made up their minds. Unfortunately, having our minds fully made up about what is or isn’t happening, why, and what the results will or won’t be can stall our dialogue and reduce our effectiveness to create change, should change be needed.


About Dave K

Creatively solving problems by listening objectively to all sides, my goal is to advance prosperity by focusing on common ground issues and uniting leaders with solutions for tough problems.
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7 Responses to Global Warming is Finally Real

  1. Sonja says:

    And a related question: Does Global Warming in all its complexity need to be “true” in order for us to take action to protect the longevity of our planet?

  2. Kate Chase says:

    Love your comment and questions, Sonja. Dave you laid out the problem beautifully. Naturally, I think it hinders the work at hand to have deniers. But why can’t we make an argument for conserving resources and being better stewards even if we aren’t the cause of the climate change. If we had enough money would be let the extra just float out the window? Any why are we so ready to waste something that isn’t ours? Maybe because we didn’t really work for the wonder of what Earth offers us.

  3. Ryan Ceurvorst says:

    As usual, I love your near-the-level approach to this topic, Dave! I would, however, challenge that the issue you pose may not be that important. The underlying assumption is that humans need to be at fault in order for humans to do anything about it. I would submit that it doesn’t matter if humans are at fault or not. The fact remains that humans can reduce our impact on the planet, whether we are at fault for global warming or not. How many times growing up have you heard that it doesn’t matter if you made the mess, or threw the litter on the ground, that it is the right thing to do to pick it up anyway? I feel like this should be the response that we need to take with global warming. Who really cares who’s fault it is, we all should be able to come together to work towards a solution.

    Now, as for those who don’t believe in global warming at all… I’m not sure how we tackle that…

    • Dave K says:

      Well said, Ryan. I totally agree that who caused it does not (or should not) matter. And that there are plenty of reasons why we should clean up, or at least be clean from now on. In fact, I know a few people who believe the earth is warming, AND do not believe it is because of humans, AND believe in “being green”. These people seem like a rare breed, in that the rest of the people who do not believe humans are at fault for rising temperatures see no reason to “clean” anything. They might think the earth will clean itself, or that we are part of a natural cycle and should not try to reverse an intended warming. In my opinion, the challenge lies in the difference between pollution that you can see and carbon dioxide emissions that you a) cannot see and b) is very difficult to prove is harming us.

  4. I sometimes think about the issues you all have presented so well in the blog and the comments as a fairly simple question: If we do not know whether or not the climate is changing, and we do know that climate change could have catastrophic effects on our own species, shouldn’t we preparing ourselves for the worst possible outcome? What do we have to lose? Some money, but, in the great scheme of things, not a lot. We build out a clean renewable energy world and then we have one! Wow! Clean renewable energy is smarter no matter what else is going; once the infrastructure is built, it is essentially free and limitless.

  5. Alex H. says:

    Living in a very conservative state, I often feel helpless to try and speak about global warming amongst friends and colleagues. It usually makes me feel angry so I don’t even bother anymore. I did find some hope from that article that was sent out earlier this quarter, “How to address climate skeptics”. Technically, I haven’t read it yet, but I do have a printed copy to read when I’m on the plane to Seattle. I find it very difficult to reach out to someone who has polar opposite views. Perhaps, if we could remove global warming from a political and cultural issue towards an environmental and sustainable business conversation, we might have a chance at addressing the problem.

    • Dave K says:

      Alex- I like your idea of turning the issue (back) into an environmental and sustainable business conversation, rather than a political and cultural one. It’s been a while, but I have a feeling that’s where the conversation started and somehow it got tied up in the cluster-F of American society. Thanks!

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