Another global warming skeptic...
Robert Balling of Arizona State thinks that 'the global warming issue might fade away"...
Arizona State University climatologist Robert Balling attended the premiere of Al Gore's global-warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."He served on the United Nations' climate-change panel and studies how drought and warmer temperatures will affect the West.
He bikes to work and eats organic food.
But environmentalists hate him.
Balling, 54, has spoken and written extensively against the widely held scientific view that the documented rise in global temperatures is the result of human activity and that serious consequences will result.
Even if humans are warming the planet by causing the buildup of greenhouse gases, he says, the doomsday scenarios forecast by many climate scientists may never happen.
His views have elicited outrage from environmentalists and scorn from some fellow scientists.
The views also have resulted in conference invitations and research grants from industries with a stake in debunking the large body of research that supports a link between human activity and global warming.
Despite his notoriety as a hero of the skeptics, Balling's research and lifestyle contain surprising contradictions.
He is in charge of climate studies at the Decision Center for a Desert City, an ambitious ASU program that looks at how drought will affect the Phoenix region.
He's a registered independent and lives a lifestyle that the hardiest environmental activist would recognize as green.
For most of his career at ASU, Balling's work focused on climate issues such as the urban-heat-island effect, drought and desertification, many of the themes now viewed as possible consequences of climate change.
He was head of ASU's Office of Climatology for 16 years.
In 1992, he wrote the book "The Heated Debate." It assailed several aspects of mainstream climate science.
Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh began quoting the book. Sales took off. An invitation to address the directors of a coal company followed.
His reputation as a global-warming skeptic was made.
Balling's research over the years has explored sun activity, pollution from volcanoes, the urban-heat-island effect and errors in past temperature models as possible causes of rising temperatures.
His positions have modified over time. Today, he says that about half the warming recorded since 1975 can be attributed to greenhouse gases.