Thursday, October 11, 2012
Physics Research Conference
A Converted Skeptic: Climate Change and its Human Origins
Richard Muller, UC Berkeley
Three years ago I was not convinced that global warming was occurring. but after an intensive reexamination of the surface temperature thermometer records, our Berkeley Earth group concluded that most of the warming of the past 250 years is indeed due to humans. Still, most of what most people think they know about climate change is exaggerated or false; neither hurricanes nor tornadoes are increasing, polar bears are not dying, and we are not about to be flooded by sea-level rise. Nevertheless, I regard continuing global warming as a serious threat. The fact that most of the future warming will come from emissions in China and India severely limits what we can do to stop it. Any solution requires two key components: (1) more effective use of energy, through efficiency and conservation, and (2) a switch around the world from coal to natural gas, a conversion that necessarily involve extensive fracking. I'll discuss how to make fracking clean.