Scientific American’s interview with Dr. Richard Muller

Photograph by Timothy Archibald - click to enlarge

Scientific American has an interview in “Science Talk” with Dr. Richard Muller, who is spokesman for the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project.

I enjoyed the photograph, particularly for the poster over his left shoulder in the background.

Both Steve McIntyre and I are mentioned prominently in the article, and once again Dr. Muller thanks us for our contributions to the debate.

One quote about Mann’s hockey-stick from Dr. Muller made it past SciAm’s usual boilerplate position on the issue, and I was quite surprised to see it in print.

Muller: A few years later, McIntyre came out and, indeed, showed that the hockey-stick chart was in fact incorrect. It had been affected by a very serious bug in the way scientists calculated their principal components.

I applaud SciAm for not censoring what many consider to be an inconvenient truth about the bad science of that iconic graph.

This is also surprising to see in print in SciAm.

Q: You’ve also said more than once that nothing we do in the U.S. to reduce emissions will make any difference because emissions from coal burned by India and China
are growing so rapidly.

Muller: In fact, if we cut back and China continues to grow and India continues to grow, our cutting back will not achieve any real good. The hope is that we’ll set an example that China and India will follow. But the way it’s presented by many people, for political purposes because it sounds more compelling, is that we are responsible for terrible global warming, and we have to cut back regardless of what other people do. And that is not looking at the numbers.

Regarding Dr. Muller, whether you love him or hate him, the article is well worth reading, and has been helpfully provided by Joe Romm of Climate Progress (who is predictably upset by all this, but then again a light breeze upsets him) on his website where you can view it here (PDF).

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82 Responses to Scientific American’s interview with Dr. Richard Muller

  1. Wondering Aloud says:

    I just like that his office looks like mine.

  2. omnologos says:

    I wrote in February this year that:

    Several attempts will be made by climate change conformists and True Believers to smear the work of BEST, and to prevent them from publishing their data

    I see they have started already. Perhaps the next bunch of BEST data won’t be as conformist as the first one?

  3. James Sexton says:

    ……helpfully provided by Joe Romm of Climate Progress (who is predictably upset by all this, but then again a light breeze upsets him)….

    lol, funny. Dr. Muller seems to be a hard one to pin down, but then it isn’t unheard of to have climatologist having brief moments of clarity. Reading the article, I can imagine Romm needing both medical and psychological help after reading it.

  4. ShrNfr says:

    I have given up on SciAm. The subscription will lapse. Too little objective science, too much political baloney. Sad. I grew up with it many years ago. It was worthwhile then.

  5. Paddy says:

    Why are manydenying that Dr Muller’s BEST program could be a false flag operation? Where is solid scientific skepticism when it is needed?

  6. omnologos says:

    Paddy – are you advocating “preventative skepticism”? Then I’m…skeptical of yor views even before knowing them in full.

  7. PhilJourdan says:

    ShrNfr says:
    May 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Sadly, I gave up on them shortly after Climategate as they were printing more PR than anything scientific (not to say that before that they were any better).

  8. Schadow says:

    James Sexton says:
    May 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

    …… Reading the article, I can imagine Romm needing both medical and psychological help after reading it.

    Romm and the Rommulans are already sputtering and fuming, starting yesterday. Talk of libel suits is rampant. Delicious.

  9. nvw says:

    Dr. Mueller’s position in the SA article is reasonable. But it is not the final word in the matter, leaving open several follow-up questions not addressed by the BEST project: a) If the temperature measurements are correct showing the planet warming over the past 100 years, is this due to natural variability similar to that seem in the past or can it only be explained by anthropogenic causes. b) If the temperature measurements are correct there is still evidence that temperature rises are not being correctly modeled by the IPCC climate models, despite what the SA article states.

  10. vboring says:

    The part people leave out is that China and India aren’t just following in our footsteps – they are emitting our emissions for us by manufacturing the goods we used to make everywhere else.

    If you track the CO2 emissions exported by outsourcing production of goods back to the country that consumes that good, there isn’t a country in the world with a dream of a chance of meeting Kyoto protocol goals without going through a great depression.

    Meanwhile, moving manufacturing to China means the real environmental problems get ignored as well as the imaginary ones.

  11. Mike M says:

    I think that pile in the background might actually be some of my unread mail – not that makes any difference to me beyond knowing where it is…

  12. Gary says:

    Maybe it’s the way the interview is presented, but Muller comes across as either a little unfocused on the questions or naive as to how his answers will be interpreted.

  13. disko Troop says:

    “The public is the jury and hears it on both sides. And when people hear such different results, they get very confused. And right now I believe the public is in a state of confusion because people have learned that some of the issues raised by legitimate skeptics are valid.”

    Thank you very much Dr. Muller for your faith in Joe Public. As a fully paid up member of the proletariat; the knuckle dragging, lobotomised, illiterate, rednecked scum that is in such confusion, I am grateful that you condescend to even refer to me let alone think I need persuading. Perhaps you could run up a few pictograms for me to look over to try and get my poor addled brain to understand the difference between truth and fiction. Tipping my hat to “Your Superiorness” as we speak. I hope that title meets your approval.

  14. elmer says:

    “SciAm” minus the “i” is “ScAm”

  15. R. Shearer says:

    “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, Of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
    Albert Einstein.

  16. Control The Language, Control the Thoughts says:

    Generally agreeable article. But I don’t like how Muller is clearly cowed into rejecting his status of ‘sceptic’ due to the supposed bastardisation of the word, right before he goes on to contradict his stance by highlighting certain apparently legitimate sceptics like McIntyre and Watts. Jeez Muller, get some balls, and take back the word! Own it! You know that scepticism in science is an essential quality, you said as much yourself. Just because certain elements choose to redefine the word as a term of abuse isn’t reason to act all two-faced – that’s just playing the stupid political game. It’s so true what they say: control the language, and you control the thoughts. That much is evidenced in the article.

  17. David Socrates says:

    What baffles me is why people are so concerned to second guess the official world temperature records when they do not show any sign of alarming global warming. See…

    http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/temps.html

    …which shows a distinctly un-alarming average long term (160 year) rise of 0.41degC per century, superimposed on which is an equally un-alarming ~67 year cyclic oscillation of only plus and minus 0.25degC. The long term rise is usually attributed to natural recovery from the Little Ice Age; and the cyclic oscillation to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

    Both are entirely natural phenomena. So what’s everyone’s problem?

  18. 007 says:

    I love the “The Coming Ice Age” poster on his office wall.

  19. George Crews says:

    From what is known so far about the BEST project, we will be able to be more confident about the reliability of the global temperature record. Thus, Dr. Muller and his team are providing a useful verification to some the important information needed for rationalizing the risk management of climate change. This is a good thing.

    That Dr. Muller has said some things that paint the leading alarmists as less than heroes may be upsetting to their admirers, but these comments are irrelevant to the important issue being addressed.

  20. Eric Anderson says:

    Great to see these quotes by Dr. Muller. I applaud him for making these statements and hope he will continue to pursue the best science, regardless of the outcome.

  21. PaulH says:

    The current incarnation of Scientific American magazine is little more than People magazine with a slightly science-y orientation, but I will read the article based upon your recommendation.

  22. 1DandyTroll says:

    “Muller: In fact, if we cut back and China continues to grow and India continues to grow, our cutting back will not achieve any real good. ”

    One would think that it would be prudent then to actually do the only good thing one can do: not do anything that is negative to ones economy, so as to have money to do what needs be done to adapt if needed. Oh, yeah, just like the Chinese folks.

  23. Eric says:

    I don’t know what parties pay Romm, however after having read his reaction to this piece they definitely don’t pay by the word. I’ve never read such a pseudo aggressive/defensive piece of writing in my life. The guy is certifiable.

  24. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    But the way it’s presented by many people, for political purposes because it sounds more compelling, is that we are responsible for terrible global warming, and we have to cut back regardless of what other people do. And that is not looking at the numbers.

    Thank you for bringing this up, Dr. Muller!

  25. Jeff Carlson says:

    Muller is just another political scientist … some days he sounds reasonable and other days he publishes grant bait to ensure he doesn’t have to beg for funding …

    He should not have published his findings to Congress when they were no where near finished … that is not science but simply a fund raising document release … he cannot be trusted to do pure science …

    Mark my words, you will regret associating your name to him …

  26. John says:

    Good interview. CO2 is rising, and it might (or might not) end up being a serious problem. We can’t deny that. But we need good science, that is what Muller is saying. Not the exaggeration we have been getting.

    Re Viboring’s comment: you are right. Our CO2 went down in part because manufacturing shifted to Asia, where more CO2 is emitted per unit made than had been in the US. It’s not a zero sum game; it is a less than zero sum game in that greater CO2 is emitted when manufacturing leaves the US.

    So why on earth are environmentalists doing this?

  27. James J. Hill says:

    For at least twenty years “Scientific” “American” has been neither.

  28. Latitude says:

    Now if he will just be as realistic about global warming as he is with China, India, etc…..

  29. Hoi Polloi says:

    The Hokey Schtick is a liability to the AGW crowd and Dr.Muller recognizes that perfectly and paves with BEST new roads for the AGW industry. It’s time Dr.Muller will research the climate models he’s accepting.

  30. Great essay by Princeton Physicist, William Happer about the quackery of CO2 and global warming:
    http://thetruthpeddler.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/noted-princeton-scientist-blasts-global-warming-alarmists/

  31. Jim Clarke says:

    Much ado about nothing! Not even Muller knows the results of his study! If the final conclusion of his work is that the UHI effect on the global temperature record is small, will any of you change your current opinion on man-made climate change?

    I have always granted, for the sake of argument, that the surface temperature records were okay, and thrashed the climate crisis arguments from there. If this study indicates that the surface records are okay, my arguments are not weakened. If the study shows that the UHI is a significant player in the record, then it just makes it even easier to dismiss this crisis nonsense.

    It is important, for the sake of science, to correctly quantify the UHI effect in the global temperature record, but one can not hurt the position of the crisis skeptic with that quantification. And if the UHI effect is small, it does not bolster the arguments of those pushing a climate crisis. This is a no-win situation for the fear mongers and a no-lose situation for the crisis skeptics.

  32. Alpha Tango says:

    I find Dr Mulers comments refreshingly scientific and reasonable.

    The foaming at the mouth this has caused amongst the Rommulans and Mann is just icing on the cake, and tells you everything you need to know about those characters.

  33. kramer says:

    Re, Jim Clarke, May 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Jim, why not simply calculate the global temperature using the raw original unadjusted temperature data from all the temperature stations unaffected by UHI?

    If somebody did this, this would be my gold standard, no matter what it showed.

  34. Eric says:

    @ Jim Clark

    I feel you are running circles around your own argument. The larger argument argues how much warming we will see with doubling of co2. Why I am on this site spouting my nonsense as apposed to on a warmest site is simply the fact that the models are not working. The feedback mechanisms are not showing up to the party. If they do , then I’ll be rooting for the other side, such is human nature.

  35. kramer says:

    I just read the Sci Am article and I thought it was balanced. I then read the ClimateProgress article by Romm and Anthony is right, Romm’s panties are in a twist.

  36. richard verney says:

    John says:
    May 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm
    Re Viboring’s comment: you are right. Our CO2 went down in part because manufacturing shifted to Asia, where more CO2 is emitted per unit made than had been in the US. It’s not a zero sum game; it is a less than zero sum game in that greater CO2 is emitted when manufacturing leaves the US.
    So why on earth are environmentalists doing this?
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Its worse than we think since not only is more CO2 used in manufacturing (less stringent emission controls in countries such as China and India) but additionally more CO2 is used transporting the finished goods back to the market place in the developed world. Additionally (although this is not uniform and varies from counry to country and natural resources involved) more CO2 is expended in shipping the required raw materials into China and India etc to be used in the manufacturing process. It is certainly a diubke whammy if not a tripple whammy but for some unknown reason, the politicians just do not see it. Talk about being dumb.

    Until I see the BEST data plots nd full details of their methodology and adjustments, I am not going to comment on what they are achieving and whether any progress has been made. I do not wish to pre-judge them.

  37. Jim G says:

    Yep, discontinued my “Unscientific American” a while back and went for the “Discover” mag and it is about to be flushed as well. Is there anything out there of a general science nature worth receiving? Still getting Astronomy and Sky & Telescope even though they have aslo bought into the AGW scam but one of my main hobbies needs to be represented! They, though, are pretty specific to astronomy and it would be nice to read about what else is happening on the science front.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Regards,

    Jim

  38. Grant Hillemeyer says:

    I’ve heard this man interviewed many times and I trust in his integrity. We may end up having some disagreements with his method, but he’s the real deal. I still don’t understand how you can sort out temperature data without going over each station one by one. Can there be some one size fits all analysis of the data?

  39. L Nettles says:

    The Reaction at Climate Progress

    “Scientific American has published easily its worst article ever, a multi-libelous puff piece by Michael Lemonick lionizing the widely debunked Prof. Richard Muller. Its embarrassing title, “I Stick to the Science,” is a self-congratulatory quote from Muller as utterly false as most of most of his other statements in the piece.

    Leading climatologist Michael Mann has rightfully requested a retraction of the article’s defamatory claims. It also gratuitously libels Al Gore and Tom Friedman.”

  40. Jim says:

    Shouldn’t there be an asteroid over that dinosaur on his desk? (Not CO2, that is.)

  41. Al Gored says:

    This, from Muller, got printed there too!

    “I’ve been quoted as saying that both Gore and [New York Times columnist Thomas L.] Friedman are exaggerators. These are people who are so deeply concerned with the dangers of global warming that they cherry-pick the data, too, and they’re not really paying attention to the science, which is not surprising. They’re not scientists.
    But that’s not science. With science, you have to look at all the data and draw a balanced conclusion.”

    Given who OWNS Scientific American (and Nature), this may be a sign that the gang is backing away from the project… at least enough to try to restore their credibility.

    In the meantime, the interviewer parrots the party line… “Anthony Watts, whom some climate scientists consider a denier, not just a skeptic”

    What is the ‘scientific’ definition of a ‘denier’? LOL.

  42. Al Gored says:

    Jim G says:
    May 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    “discontinued my “Unscientific American” a while back and went for the “Discover” mag and it is about to be flushed as well. Is there anything out there of a general science nature worth receiving?”

    Not that I know of. This and other sites on the net make such magazines obsolete.

    Save a tree.

  43. Allen63 says:

    Hopefully, as self described “true Scientists”, the BEST team will be able to “scientifically prove” that their methodology leads to a truly “accurate” description of the temperature record. “Accurate enough” to isolate any AGW signature/contribution that might exist — or demonstrate that one does not exist.

    Today, based on my own knowledge, I think such a “proof” will be impossible. How they handle that will reflect on their credibility.

    Of course, I could be wrong. And, I would happily accept “genuine”, logically, scientifically, and statistically sound proof that the BEST reconstruction is “accurate”.

  44. Jer0me says:

    big picture
    Muller enraged climate skeptics after
    testifying before congress that he em-
    braced the mainstream view that earth
    is warming as climate models project.

    Enraged? Really?

    Disappointed a few, perhaps….

  45. Jer0me says:

    I include among the skeptics people
    such as Watts and McIntyre, who are do-
    ing, in my opinion, a great service to the
    community by asking questions that are
    legitimate, doing a great deal of work in
    and out—that is something that is part of
    the scientifc process.

    Finally!

  46. Jer0me says:

    Seems pretty fair and balanced, apart from the surrounding gumph that was obviously placed in afterwards and does not relate to the interview. That bit just shows the standard SA prejudice.

    It’s nice to see someone like Muller being objective. Even if his conclusions do not agree with mine, I would give him and his conclusions respect because of this alone. I hope Congress ask him the right questions, but I predict they will not.

  47. Jer0me says:

    L Nettles says:
    May 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    The Reaction at Climate Progress

    “Scientific American has published easily its worst article ever, a multi-libelous puff piece by Michael Lemonick lionizing the widely debunked Prof. Richard Muller. Its embarrassing title, “I Stick to the Science,” is a self-congratulatory quote from Muller as utterly false as most of most of his other statements in the piece.

    Leading climatologist Michael Mann has rightfully requested a retraction of the article’s defamatory claims. It also gratuitously libels Al Gore and Tom Friedman.”

    Hah, Hah!

    BTW, is it actually possible to make more of an idiot of Al than he does himself?

  48. Dave Springer says:

    Hmmm… my latest SciAm is in the back seat of the car. Haven’t even glanced at the cover yet.

    Joe Romm’s reaction is enough to make one roll on the floor laughing.

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/05/22/scientific-american-lemonick-richard-muller/

    This guy is quite the character.

  49. DJ says:

    I hold dearly the hope that the once great magazine Scientific American, which has disappointingly transformed into Political American, will once again transform itself back to being a non-biased Scientific American magazine, and one that I will eagerly renew my subscription to.

  50. D. J. Hawkins says:

    I’ve noticed here and elswhere people discussing the urban heat island (UHI) effect. I know that AGWers dismiss the idea, but I’m wondering what, exactly defines the extent of the UHI? Do they get distinct borders, or do they shade into a suburban heat island (SHI)? What, if any, is the criteria for the SHI? Percent impermiable cover? Land use classification? Who gets to pick? Given population density, New Jersey might be considered 30-50% UHI by area (just a guess; please, pick no nits!).

    My sense is that maybe most of the stations in the US and perhaps elsewhere are already in UHI’s or SHI’s and the reason there’s no observable trend is there’s no or little non-UHI area to compare it to!

  51. Dave Springer says:

    The Muller article is fairly short (but in the “new” Scientific American of the past year they’re all fairly short) and begins on page 84 just short of the last page (92) before the back cover where it’s least likely to be read compared to everything else.

    Muller isn’t half as damning as Joe Romm would have you believe. The only real negative I saw was Muller saying the Hockey Stick was bogus. I guess if the Hockey Team is still using the Hockey Stick that’s bad but I was under the impression everyone already knew it was bullshit.

  52. Dave Springer says:

    Please note I predicted before Muller even got started with BEST that they would find no fundamental difference between their analysis of the instrumental record and the extant analysis. I made that prediction primarily because I don’t think the instrumental record is significantly flawed by UHI. It’s flawed by imprecision and lack of global coverage. The only point at which the instrumental record becomes sufficient in precision and coverage for the task is in the satellite era beginning in 1979 and that happens to align with oceanic oscillations which predict a temperature rise from natural causes. Even in this case it’s questionable whether the satellite record has the required precision given how many times it’s been “corrected” over the past 31 years.

    To rely on an instrumental record which just about completely misses ocean surface temperature and huge swaths of the continents it has very little credibility in establishing any reliable global average temperature. What we need is a damned accurate measure of global average ocean temperature. Good luck with that. We only have a few years of data with adequate surface coverage and they still don’t dive deeper than 2000 meters which misses a full half of the ocean’s volume which lies below 2000 meters.

  53. John Hooper says:

    I find it hard to believe that any hard core scientist would be using a MacBook.

  54. Rhoda Ramirez says:

    Dave Springer, if more scientists accept the idea that the Hockey Stick is bogus, what would that do to all the other papers that were written that assumed the data contained therein were accurate? Just think of the dove cotes that are shaken by THAT idea!

  55. Brian H says:

    Muller is mendaciously mealy-mouthed. Calling Friedman and Gore “exaggerators” is pathetic. They are egregious dissembling hypesters.

  56. keith says:

    I agree with Muller; Gore and Friedman are exaggerators – with reference to their focus on promoting AGW supporting datums and hiding anything under the rug that goes against AGW – that’s not science, it’s marketing. Also its not libel to call them exaggerators when the basis of that statement can be proven, and the argument from authority won’t wash either.

    Also I hope all the pro AGW subscribers quit – it will take the pressure off the need to keep bending over to publish pro AGW articles and hopefully bring some much needed balance back.

  57. barry says:

    “Maybe it’s the way the interview is presented, but Muller comes across as either a little unfocused on the questions or naive as to how his answers will be interpreted.”

    Muller is apolitical. It’s refreshing, and exactly what you want in a scientist.

    Some people have political lenses on so tight that everyone else looks like a political animal too.

  58. rbateman says:

    I can’t get past the rise of a trace gas to a level still measured in parts per million is somehow responsible for terrible global warming.

    As far as China and India go, they are quite pleased at how much the U.S. has given up in terms of manufacturing, technology and tooling, laughing all the way to the Global Market. Truth be told, there isn’t much left for the U.S. to give up aside from its resources.

  59. Tom in Florida says:

    From the Climate Progress article:
    “As Mann writes, …. There is no room for such dishonesty when it comes to discussions of science.”

    As clear an example of the pot calling the kettle black as ever seen.

  60. TerryMN says:

    The only difference between Joe Romm and Harold Camping is that the latter [had the seeds/was stupid enough] to pick and name a date of the impending doom…

  61. Rachelle Young says:

    I gave up on Scientific American years ago after reading an article about doing physics in a group sharing, commune type of environment rather than in the “arrogant” fashion of Richard Feynman whom I admired enormously.

    I realized then that a number of earlier articles I had read seemed to be pushing a political and social philosophy rather than just providing interesting science. I haven’t picked up a copy since.

    It must have been an accident that some honesty slipped into this article.

  62. philincalifornia says:

    Rhoda Ramirez says:
    May 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    Dave Springer, if more scientists accept the idea that the Hockey Stick is bogus, what would that do to all the other papers that were written that assumed the data contained therein were accurate? Just think of the dove cotes that are shaken by THAT idea!
    ———————————————————–
    Rhoda, I can’t even believe there is one person on the planet (including Mann) who doesn’t know that the hockey stick is bogus, as in scientific fraud. I mean, just look at this stupid s***:

    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2009/images/Fig.final_11.jpg

    I suppose there are are still tribes out there in the Amazon jungle who don’t have the internet. Good luck with getting them on the jury Mike.

    (I admit, I did cherrypick a particularly ludicrous one, but it was from a warmist site).

  63. Uber says:

    Is this the beginning of the slippery slope for SciAm? Next thing we know the words ‘intelligent design’ will be appearing in the hallowed journal of naturalism. Oh dear, it will mean the end of science and the end of the world. Again.

  64. Schadow says:

    Eric says:
    May 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    “I don’t know what parties pay Romm, however after having read his reaction to this piece they definitely don’t pay by the word. I’ve never read such a pseudo aggressive/defensive piece of writing in my life. The guy is certifiable.”

    Romm is paid by the “Center for Progress”, run by John Podesta and funded by George Soros.

    Romm is sort of a brilliant guy but has lost his scientific soul in promoting the AGW hoax. My favorite symptom of his psychosis is his serious, adamant insistence that Al Gore is indeed a scientist; the evidence being the Nobel Peace Prize.(!)

  65. Al Gored says:

    Uber says:
    May 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    “Is this the beginning of the slippery slope for SciAm?”

    That started most spectacularly with the politicized group attack on Bjorn Lomborg’s book The Skeptical Environmentalist.

    Any facade of objective science reporting was flushed down the toilet with that mob scene.

    So maybe they have now reached some tipping point and will crawl out of that sewer.

    If you’re looking for ‘intelligent design,’ try Popular Mechanics. At least they had some interesting ones the last time I looked, long, long ago.

  66. ferd berple says:

    And so, because China and India built a large number of low efficiency coal plants, total global production of CO2 increases as a result of Kyoto.

    Australia, by imposing an ETS mechanism, will send its manufacturing to China, which will produce the goods using Australian raw materials such as coal, in power plants that are less efficient than AUstralian plants, and then ship the goods back to Australia.

    Wonderful example Australia! Your plan will actually increase global CO2, while making it appear that in Australia at least, CO2 production is down.

    However, since Australia is moving its manufacturing to China, paid for by the Australian tax payers, the average Australian will have a lot less money to spend on goods that require CO2 to manufacture. So in the end, maybe Australia will produce less CO2 because they will have less money to spend.

  67. Ed Barbar says:

    Well, I for one applaud Dr. Muller for his integrity. At the end of his work you will know there are no “hidden declines” or anything of that nature. The man is a realist, as far as I can tell. He believes in Science and where it leads, not in manipulation. That’s my read anyway.

    Dr. Muller applauds the efforts of Anthony Watts and Steven McIntyre. To me that shows high integrity. I can’t think of any other reason for mentioning those names so many times, other than the value he believes these two bring to the table, especially with regards to understanding what seems so simple : what IS the earth’s temperature past and present?

    I suspect it will take several years after the data is published to validate the conclusions, but in the end it will be open, it will be something that represents an honest evaluation of the data. It won’t be pushed out of ego, but out of real curiosity and scientific rigor. Who else would open the Camino without the assurance of its underlying integrity?

    At present I think Muller represents an important scientific asset. I hope he continues to have and stays worthy of the support of Anthony, Steve McIntyre, and all wattsupwiththat folks.

  68. Romm is clearly deluded. he thinks I am a denier

  69. Jer0me says:

    There is fun stuff over at CP. Thinks like:

    Respectfully, and keeping in mind that IANAL, but I’m not so sure that a libel suit can’t be won as long as a good case can be made for it. Libel suits filed by denialists against their critics have been withdrawn, and the fossil fuel companies haven’t seemed to be so eager to support the accuser then. In fact here is a link from “Watts Up With That?” on April 8, 2011 asking for donations in a case to help defend Timothy Ball from a suit by Michael Mann. Help asked for Dr. Tim Ball in legal battle with Dr. Mann
    Therefore obviously similar suits have been filed before (Go, Mann!), yet there seems to be a lack of oil money for the defense in this case.

    IMO, I rather doubt that the fossil fuel companies actually care about those that speak as AGW deniers to the public. “There will always be more waiting in the wings, the next one will just need to be more careful”, is probably what the corporate heads will think if such a suit goes against a denialist.

    Also, I think that part of the problem for the fossil fuel companies is that they don’t want to be too blatant about their support, especially in cases of alleged libel, because they need to make sure that those speaking against acting on climate change have at least the appearance of objectivity. That is why most of their money is in the form of political contributions donations to “Think-Tanks”, for “speaking engagements”, etc. People that are familiar with the debate know about the connection, but if they are too obvious about their efforts then it will be much harder to create the illusion of doubt among the general public that they need to maintain. Many people still think that there is a big scientific debate ongoing about the reality of AGW, the fossil fuel interests need to maintain that false perception.

    Again IANAL, but I have to wonder if being too directly involved in those charged with libel may possibly make them vulnerable to such suits as well? In other words they don’t want to be seen as part of the accused party in any case of libel and wind up as a defendant. Perhaps that is another reason for distance in past suits? Not that they couldn’t afford it financially, but it’s important to maintain the appearance of a major scientific debate on climate change for those in the public that are still “on the fence”.

    In short, IMO if there is a good case to be made for a libel suit (and that can vary depending on the countries involved) I don’t think that it’s likely for the oil companies to join in such a legal fight if they can avoid it since they apparently haven’t done so in the past. If there is a good case to be made (again depending on the laws of the countries involved) I see no reason not to purse it if possible. Trying to be “the bigger person” and not taking action in such matters is just handing them an easy victory and encouraging any further inaccurate claims.

    So, rather than look at the evidence that there is NO money from Big Oil to defend such cases, they build a ‘castles in the sand’ argument for why that is. The really obvious conclusion would be that Big Oil is not funding these people, but that just passes way over their heads (being in the sane).

    Big Oil => Big Wind & Big Solar, dummies, and they are funding CAGW for all it’s worth and cleaning up on the tax subsidies!

  70. Jer0me says:

    Oh dear. Australia is now being sold a bill of goods:

    http://climatecommission.govspace.gov.au/files/2011/05/4108-CC-Science-Update-PRINT-CHANGES.pdf

    The evidence that the
    Earth’s surface is warming
    Rapidly is now exceptionally
    Strong, and beyond doubt.
    Evidence for changes
    In other aspects of the
    Climate system is also
    Strengthening. The primary
    Cause of the observed
    Warming and associated
    Changes since the mid-20th
    Century – human emissions
    Of greenhouse gases – is
    Also known with a high
    Level of confidence.

    and

    For the most recent
    10-year period (2001-2010),
    Global average temperature
    Was 0.46 °c above the 1961-1990
    Average, the warmest
    Decade on record.

    and

    Indeed, a climate change
    (warming) signal is now
    Clear in an increasing
    Number of australian and
    Global observations of
    The responses of biological
    Species and ecosystems
    (e.g., parmesan 2006; root
    Et al. 2005; ipcc 2007b).

    and

    – There is no credible evidence that changes in
    incoming solar radiation can be the cause of
    the current warming trend.

    – Neither multi-decadal or century-scale patterns
    of natural variability, such as the Medieval Warm
    Period, nor shorter term patterns of variability,
    such as ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation)
    or the North Atlantic Oscillation, can explain the
    globally coherent warming trend observed since
    the middle of the 20th century.

    – There is a very large body of internally consistent
    observations, experiments, analyses, and physical
    theory that points to the increasing atmospheric
    concentration of greenhouse gases, with carbon
    dioxide (CO2
    ) the most important, as the ultimate
    cause for the observed warming.

    – Improved understanding of the sensitivity of the
    climate system to the increasing atmospheric CO2

    concentration has provided further evidence of its
    role in the current warming trend, and provided
    more confdence in projections of the level of
    future warming.

    and

    The IPCC AR4 has been intensively and exhaustively
    scrutinised, including formal reviews such as that by
    the InterAcademy Council (2010), and only two peripheral
    errors, both of them in the WG 2 report on impacts and
    adaptation, have yet been found (in a publication containing
    approximately 2.5 million words!). No errors have been
    found in any of the main conclusions, nor have any errors
    been found in the 996-page WG 1 report, which describes
    our understanding of how and why the climate system is
    changing. The IPCC AR4 WG 1 report provides the scientifc
    input to the development of climate policy. Several offcial
    “assessments of the assessment” have concluded that the
    conclusions of the AR4 are sound (InterAcademy Council
    2010; Royal Society 2010; National Research Council 2010).

    and

    Global sea level has risen by about 20 cm since the 1880s,
    When the first global estimates could be made.

  71. Jimbo says:

    Muller: In fact, if we cut back and China continues to grow and India continues to grow, our cutting back will not achieve any real good.

    It might also mean that US industry moves to China, India and other countries with less stringent c02 reduction policies. ;O)

  72. Chris Wright says:

    For many years, since I read his book ‘Nemesis’, I have had the very highest regard for Richard Muller. His career has been very distinguished, and I’m surprised there’s been virtually no discussion of his career.
    He was closely involved with the Alvarez group, which found that the dinosaurs had most likely been destroyed by a massive asteroid or comet strike (the dinosaur on his desk is no coincidence). Alvarez was Muller’s mentor. One thing he learned from Alvarez was that science depended on proof, and that the consensus was no proof at all. Indeed, as they worked on and promoted the asteroid theory, they found themselves having to fight against the massed ranks of the geological consensus. Of course the evidence, such as the iridium layers found all around the globe, finally won the argument. The consensus turned out to be wrong – does this sound familiar?

    As Muller involves himself ever deeper in climate change, I hope he remembers the lessons he learned as a young scientist from one of the great scientists of the last century, namely Luis W. Alvarez.
    If you can get a copy of ‘Nemesis’, do so – I thoroughly recommend it. It’s the best science book I have read.
    Chris

  73. Scientifik Amerikan is on a mission. To hide behind the old venerable name and promote Green propaganda. As early as 1993. http://greenfraud.blogspot.com/2011/03/neither-scientific-nor-american-but-all.html (with a collection of cover pages)

    Sold to Holtzbrink in 1986. Their latest accompishment (the 2009 Jacobson & Delucchi fiction) is still in full bloom.

  74. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:

    Facts do not come easy,
    Facts are now wasted by many,
    Facts made U.S. what we are,
    Facts will teach U.S. lessons,
    Facts care only about themselves,
    and
    Facts need care.

  75. Roger Knights says:

    John Hooper says:
    May 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I find it hard to believe that any hard core scientist would be using a MacBook.

    It’s true that much scientific software requires Windows. But the Mac can run Windows, under its “Bootcamp” app, or under a software system like Parallels.

  76. Arno Arrak says:

    I see Muller as a thinking person misled by fake climate information I am trying to expose. When the Lemonick interview appeared on SciAm Web site I posted two comments, one directed at Muller and one at a commentator who needed to be educated. That was on May 22nd. On May 23rd I checked and both were gone – censored. SciAm does not allow unkind words to be said about global warming. I am attaching them below.
    ***********************

    • 4. Arno Arrak 06:17 PM 5/22/11
    Dr. Muller ends his interview this way: “Hey, scientific community, give me advice on this. What do you do when your country asks you for your best state of knowledge of the world’s climate change?” In this spirit, may I suggest that you give them the best advice possible? BEST as now conceived is not the best possible advice because you are not addressing the real temperature problem. I never thought UHI that Watts complains about would be enough to produce the amount of massive distortion that my work has uncovered. It is documented in my book What Warming? available on Amazon.com. The book has been out for a year and a half . The real temperature problem can only be understood by comparing satellite temperature curves with ground-based curves as done in the book. To start with, lets concentrate on the twenty year period from 1978 and 1997, the the period NASA, NOAA and the Met office call late twentieth century warming. Problem is that satellites cannot see this warming. What they do see is a temperature oscillation, up and down by half a degree for twenty years, but no rise. These peaks correspond to El Nino periods of ENSO (see Figure 15 in my book). The valleys in between are cool La Nina periods. They have been with us since the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea. I plotted their data on the same graph with the satellite temperatures and found that ENSO oscillations could easily be seen in HadCRUT3 from the Met Office. The locations match but the depth of the valleys between the peaks is different. They have been reduced to approximately half of what satellites show. NOAA (my Figure 27) is worse and eliminates even the existence of the valleys from their curve. There is no natural process that can selectively raise up temperature valleys between the peaks and yet leave the peaks in place. I have no doubt that this warming has been both illegitimate and anthropogenic from the start. It continues to this day. Clearly it requires coordination to do this. This is criminal conspiracy. I personally would discontinue the use of any temperature curves from these agencies and resort to using satellite temperatures exclusively. But since these big boys are calling the tune it is not likely to happen. What must be done is to unmask the source of these distortions, using criminal investigation if necessary. This, Dr. Muller, is what BEST should be doing to answer your country s call for the best state of knowledge of the world’s climate change.
    Reply | Report Abuse | Link to this

    ****************************
    • 5. Arno Arrak in reply to Mark F. Wrone 07:23 PM 5/22/11
    Mark – you seem to be a true believer who does not want to listen to anything bad about warming. I too read Watts and I think he is honest even though he may not report your favorite parts of an article the way you would like. But have you ever considered the possibility that you might be wrong? What if all that hullabaloo about global warming turns out to be nonsense? We have all been told that the world is warming and that the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide is responsible for it. Did you know that the actual existence of this greenhouse effect has never been directly verified by measurements of infrared absorption by the real atmosphere? What you would have to do is to periodically measure how much infrared the atmosphere absorbs and then construct a time series showing that it increases as carbon dioxide goes up. None of the labs that are supported by the billions of dollars spent on study of climate change has seen fit to do it. Fortunately Ferenc Miskolczi found a back door way to get this information anyway. Using NOAA database of weather balloon observations that goes back to 1948 he showed that the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared where carbon dioxide absorbs had not changed for the last 61 years. During this same period of time the amount of carbon dioxide in the air increased by 21.6 percent. This means that the greenhouse absorption signature of this added carbon dioxide is totally missing. This is an empirical observation of nature, not derived from any calculations, and overrides any calculations from theory that do not agree with it. No Absorption, no greenhouse effect, case closed. This has further consequences because this non-existent greenhouse effect is what they feed into their computers to predict dangerous global warming. Putting a nonexistet entity into a computer is putting garbage into a computer. And when you put garbage in you get garbage out. GIGO, in short. Super-GIGO in fact because it comes from supercomputers they cheated out of Uncle Sam by scare tactics.

  77. Jim G says:

    Jimbo says:
    May 24, 2011 at 4:52 am
    “Muller: In fact, if we cut back and China continues to grow and India continues to grow, our cutting back will not achieve any real good.

    It might also mean that US industry moves to China, India and other countries with less stringent c02 reduction policies. ;O)”

    US industry is doing that now, in any event. The really humorous thing is that good old Kalifonia does not want to pollute their environment with power generation but they eventually get all the smoke from China anyway.

  78. Bruce Cobb says:

    Muller gets a few things right, and seems to have the much-sought-after (by NOAA, anyway) scientific integrity, but mostly he’s just plain wrong. Perhaps he just needs to try a bit harder.

  79. Dave Springer says:

    Ed Barbar says:
    May 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    “Well, I for one applaud Dr. Muller for his integrity. At the end of his work you will know there are no “hidden declines” or anything of that nature. ”

    Yes there are hidden declines. Muller already affirmed the Hockey Stick is bogus. Or didn’t you actually read the article? At the end of his work you will know that are indeed hidden declines and things of that nature. Of course you’ll happily go on denying them because that’s what real deniers do. There are more deniers of facts on the hysterical AGW side of the debate than anywhere else.

  80. Zaphod says:

    I stopped getting Sci-Am because I got tired of them ignoring the evidence against AGW theory.
    It would be nice if they returned to objective reporting and analysis and only supported the unproven in their opinion columns.

  81. Brian H says:

    Note that Romm’s new boss is George Soros.

  82. mike restin says:

    Bruce Cobb says:
    May 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm
    “Muller gets a few things right, and seems to have the much-sought-after (by NOAA, anyway) scientific integrity, but mostly he’s just plain wrong. Perhaps he just needs to try a bit harder.”

    ———————————

    Bruce, can you cite what is plain wrong and why?

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