A fascinating new interview with Prof Richard Muller, quote: On Climategate – "What they did was, I think, shameful. And it was scientific malpractice"

Guest Post by Barry Woods

The Progressive Radio Network website had a fascinating interview with Prof Richard Muller last week following his ‘man of the moment’ opinion piece – “The Conversion of a Climate Change Sceptic” in the New York Times (28th July 2012). This is how the interview was trailed, just a few days afterwards and was presumably it was thought of as quite a scoop.

“The “man of the moment” on climate change will join  us – Dr. Richard Muller of BEST  (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) and a physics professor at UC Berkeley has  made headlines this week with his op-ed acknowledging that not only is climate change real, but that humans are “almost entirely the  cause”. Muller’s research is funded in part by the Koch Brothers so this should  be interesting.” – Progressive Radio Network 1st August 2012

What I found fascinating about the interview, was that the  interviewers did not seem quite prepared for his scepticism on a number of issues that followed, not least what I think can only be described as his repetition of his earlier (Oct 2010) damming criticism of the scientists involved in the climategate emails.

Interviewer: “…now that you have validated the information that was in dispute, supposedly, in the Climategate matter, is it fair to say, once and for all, that that is a settled matter, that should be all be [inaudible] and set aside?”

Prof Richard Muller: No, no, no. Just the opposite. Actually, that’s not really accurate at all. The data they used in Climategate was proxy data. I wrote a book on the using of that.

What they did was, I think, shameful. And it was scientific malpractice. If they were licensed scientists, they should have to lose their licence.”

The interviewer challenged this, stating that there were at least 8 investigations that found the scientists innocent of data manipulation, and asked (incredulously?) were they all fixes? to which Prof Richard Muller responded:

Richard Muller: “… The standards held over there at the University of East Anglia are just not up to what we consider standard scientific methods….”

And later on in the interview:

Richard Muller: “What’s wrong is what they said. The conclusions that Michael Mann drew, that it’s the warmest it’s been in a thousand years – I was on an international academy review panel that looked at that. Our conclusion was: he could not draw those conclusions.”

Equally fascinating to me as the interview progressed was my perception of how the interviewers questions, responses and tone towards  Prof Richard Muller changed, how they seemed quite shaken and how they became I thought, quite combative.  Perhaps because it was so unusual for them to have their own pre-conceptions and/or worldviews of climategate and claims of extreme weather events linked to climate change  challenged and corrected. When Prof Richard Muller criticised Al Gore’s exaggerations on a number of occasions, it drew I thought a quite an inadvertently amusing response.

Betsy Rosenberg: “Okay, I’m going to challenge you on that. I was one of the thousands of people that were trained by Al Gore and – okay, if you don’t believe Al Gore, that’s one thing. But he had sitting next to him, the whole three days of the training, a climate scientist named Michael McCracken, and I don’t know if you have an opinion on him”

I have reproduced a full transcript of the interview at the end of the article, but I would really recommend listening to the podcast to hear the tone  of the questions and get a feel for the interview. Prof Richard Muller clearly accepts global warming as a concern, and clearly believes now that humans are a major cause of the recent warming (criticisms of the BEST papers will no doubt eventually get sorted out – either way – by science itself eventually)

Yet, I think his many concerns expressed in the interview about exaggerations of linking current extreme weather events to climate change to grab headlines, I’m sure will echo with many sceptical bloggers thoughts and concerns.

Hurricanes Katrina, Al Gore & Bill McKibben

As the interview progressed it did seem to me that the interviewers felt they needed to counter this apparent  ‘scepticism’ of climate change.  When all to me that Prof Richard Muller seemed to be doing is presenting scientific scepticism of the more alarmist exaggerations of the media and activists, with respect to claiming current weather and extreme events were NOW linked to climate change.

Richard Muller: “And in global warming theory, you expect the temperature difference to decrease, because the Poles warm more than the Equator. So it’s plausible that storms will go up, plausible that they will go down, but Hurricane Katrina was just – a place – a hurricane that hit a city that was unprepared. It was not an extremely intense storm.”

D.R. Tucker: “Okay, so from that perspective, I want to bring up a piece that Bill McKibben wrote last fall. “We know that Hurricane Irene’s middle name was Global Warming”. Was that an accurate statement [Richard Muller is laughing] or -”

Richard Muller: “Oh, you know, this is really unfortunate, because right after Katrina, 2005, people said “We can now expect a whole bunch of more storms”. In the next year, not a single hurricane hit the U.S.”

When people exaggerate, they try to come up with dramatic examples to convince the public. That’s the wrong way to go. You have to respect the public. You have to give them the honest truth and not the exaggerated truth. People now feel as if they’ve been misled.”

Record Temperatures, Wildfires,  Intense Storms and Dust Bowls

The interviewer kept asking asked about some of the icons of AGW (Hurricane Katrina) hurricanes, tornadoes,  record temps, droughts, storms, wildfires, etc clearly thinking this was proof of climate change (man-made) occurring now. Prof Muller had to interrupt once or twice to get his thoughts and corrections to these statements across.

Richard Muller: “Okay, let me give you a little background on that. The NOAA announced that this is the warmest year on record for the United States – that immediately surprised me because I’ve been looking at the world record, and I’d seen that the temperature had actually gone down, compared to the last five years.

So I looked it up, and sure enough, the 2% of the world that happens to be the United States is a record warm, the 98% of the world, the rest of it, was actually cool.

Okay, we’re having a heat spell. To call that “global warming” – and the globe isn’t warming – is just an attempt to grab headlines ..  to get the public interested in this important issue.”

And later on:

Richard Muller: “But that doesn’t mean that we’re seeing increased wildfires. It doesn’t mean we’re seeing increased tornadoes. We’re not, we’re not. Yes, the temperature’s going up, yes it’s greenhouse gases. But to exaggerate it, by bringing in all these other things, I think, tends to mislead the public. And when they learn that they’re wrong, when in 2006 there are no hurricanes hitting the U.S. despite predictions, they tend to become somewhat cynical about science. I think that’s really unfortunate.

Betsy Rosenberg: “I don’t think it was so much predicting increased quantity hurricanes, as intense storms, and let’s –

Richard Muller: “Intense storms have not increased! They have not increased.”

Betsy Rosenberg: “What about – do you think that all – we just had an incredible wave of fires, and the droughts are continuing, and cattle are, you know, being slaughtered because they can’t get enough corn -”

Richard Muller: “The greatest drought since 1930, right?”

Betsy Rosenberg: “Is that all something you’d expect to see, you know, in a normal fluctuation?”

Richard Muller: “We saw it in 1930 – was the dustbowl. So yes – these things happen, and they are normal fluctuations, driven primarily by El Nino and the Gulf Stream. And these large changes are not due to two-thirds of one degree Celsius.”

The Koch Brothers

It seems to be almost an article of faith amongst environmentalists and the climate concerned that the Koch Brother and the fossil fuel industry (Exxon usually) are funding denial and misinformation based purely on corporate greed. The interviewers had earlier mentioned the ‘irony’ of the Koch brothers funding the Best project;

Betsy Rosenberg: “Okay. Before we do get in to drill down a bit – pardon the expression – to what led you to have this conversion, you know, you’re getting a kind of mixed response, I would say. First, climate activists applauded you because they noticed the irony that some of your research is funded by the Koch brothers, and would love to hear what you think about that irony.”

Later on, as the conversation had become more ‘questioning’ and the interviewers seemed to me, to become more interested in his relationship with the Koch Brothers, had he met them, what are their ‘real’ views, etc.

D.R. Tucker: “Dr. Muller, I think part of the frustration on my part, and – I hope I can speak for Betsy here – on her part, is that you note, okay, that it’s getting warmer. The problem here is that when you have industries, including – and you know, we’ve been talking about this before – entities such as the Charles Koch Foundation, that have been funding people who run around saying, without any evidence whatsoever, that it’s getting cooler, it tends to make you a little – in my case, anyway – irritated.”

This theme continued:

Betsy Rosenberg: “…. And how would you characterise their [Koch Brothers] view of science and climate change, truly, because the – ”

Richard Muller: “Well, what they have said to me is that -”

Betsy Rosenberg: “- we’ve every reason to think they’re actively denying it. And yet your daughter was quoted as saying they have a real interest in getting to the bottom of the science. Is that accurate?”

Richard Muller: “No, no, that’s a cartoon characterisation that comes about from some articles that – people… The idea, for example that all generals are in favour of nuclear war, and that everybody in industry is a denier, is just a very naive viewpoint.”

Prof Richard Muller clearly expressing here that this is a naive and simplistic world view, perhaps shattering (perhaps not) a few illusions.

Climategate & UEA

Prof Richard Muller came to the attention of many people and gained a reputaton as a ‘sceptic’ because of a video where he takes to task the exaggerations of the IPCC, Al Gore and is really critical of the scientists involved in climategate (‘Hide the Decline’ summarised here), but he was never actually a sceptic of AGW itself.

And despite the recent announcement by the Norfolk constabulary that climategate was an orchestrated outside attack, Prof Richard Muller again repeats in the interview what I feel many people feel really happened.

Richard Muller: “… What they were saying was for the last thousand years, it has not been this warm. I think that conclusion is wrong. And… global warming is right, but they were, again, exaggerating. They withheld the data, as they said in their emails – by the way, most people don’t believe those emails were hacked, they were leaked by a member of the team – they hoped [?] the data -”

D.R. Tucker: “Which member? Which member? Wait a second – which member?”

Betsy Rosenberg: “Why would they do that?”

Richard Muller [laughing]: “I think some of the members of the team were pretty upset with the exaggerations that they were reporting.”

Perhaps one day the leaker/hacker will come forward, but my own thoughts are that because the emails were released only in part at the time, that the leaker was trying to get their concerns into the open, but also protect the wider reputation of climate science as a whole and that of the scientific institutions involved and science itself.

For one example, if the information regarding  Roger Harrabin’s (BBC) CMEP project (funded by the Tyndall Centre) and that Roger Harrabin also being on of Tyndall Centre had been released at the time, when the BBC  and Roger were reporting about climategate in the run up to Copenhagen, the emails would I think have made a much greater impact. But that is my own personal opinion. (background)

Respect the Public

Professor Richard Muller, for the avoidance of doubt clearly believes climate change (man-made) to be of a serious concern for the future. I just hope that his following words are given due consideration from those on all sides of the debate, though those with the most power, political influence and scientific authority should just perhaps take the greatest care.

Richard Muller:When people exaggerate, they try to come up with dramatic examples to convince the public. That’s the wrong way to go. You have to respect the public. You have to give them the honest truth and not the exaggerated truth. People now feel as if they’ve been misled.

They say to me:

“What do you mean, the polar bears aren’t dying because of global warming?”

“What do you mean, the Himalayas aren’t melting because of global warming?”

You get this stuff, and I think the public is smarter than most people think.

Vice President Al Gore had so many exaggerations in his movie, that I think there’s a backlash now. And I think part of the reason why people – now why the polls show less interest in the United States – is because so many of the proponents exaggerated. And they can get away with that for a few years, but eventually the public learns that it wasn’t true.”

Of course ‘truths’ are interpretations of facts, and there can also be many different, sincere  interpretations (‘right’ or ‘wrong’) of facts and opinions of what constitutes ‘honest truths’.  In time, I have no doubt that science, climate science and even ‘climate change science’ will find the factual answers, and perhaps some truths as well. Hopefully, along the way the public will not lose the trust they have,(which on the whole, I  think the public still have) in climate science, ‘climate change science’ and science as a whole.

As always, as I am a ‘sceptical’ blogger, writing for a mainstream sceptical blog I am sharing my opinion of this interview just for your interest. Please don’t take my word for it. All links, the audio, other opinions of this interview and a full transcript are listed below, for your further consideration and discussion.

Links/Thanks

Progressive Radio Network: On the Green Front–Dr. Richard Muller–1st Aug 2012

Downloadable podcast (Prof Muller starts around 10 mins) –  podcast url

Interviewer D.R. Tucker guest blogged about the interview a couple of days later  – Bradblog url

New York Times 28th July 2012: The Conversion of a Climate Change Sceptic Prof Richard Muller

Spiked Online has  some interesting thoughts –  Call me a converted skeptic.

Prof Richard Muller:  Global Warming — The Current Status: The Science, the Scandal, the Prospects for a Treaty  – 1st Oct 2010

Washington Post, 4th August 2012 – Prof James Hansen: Climate change is here — and worse than we thought

Hat tip to Tom Nelson, for tweeting about the Bradblog write-up of the interview: url

Transcript reproduced below, with a big thank you to @AlexCull (climate Resistance regular) who transcribed it at short notice following a tweet to see if anybody could do this for me. I also borrowed the title he gave the transcript. (my bold below)

Original Transcription link: “What they did was, I think, shameful. And it was scientific malpractice.” Prof Richard Muller – Progressive Radio Network Interview

Transcription: On the Green Front – Dr. Richard Muller – 08/01/12

Richard Muller: Lead scientist, Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project

Betsy Rosenberg: Radio host, The Green Front

D.R. Tucker: Conservative author and radio show host

Betsy Rosenberg: Well, thanks so much for joining us, especially on short notice. And we have seen you just about everywhere, and it’s really a pleasure to have you on. And, you know, we are advocates here for believing that climate scientists know what they’re talking about, so we’ve watched your story and your evolution, you know, really closely, with great interest.

And, by the way, my co-host – I don’t know whether you heard this at the beginning – D.R.Tucker, I found him through the blogosphere when he wrote a column about his conversion from being a climate change sceptic to a believer. And he can tell the story better, and those regular listeners to this show know that it was actually reading the 2007 IPCC report that made him, you know, wake up and smell the carbon, so to speak. [D.R. Tucker laughs.] And I call him my favourite Republican, because he is obsessed with this subject matter as I am. So, why don’t you two say hello

D.R. Tucker: Yes, so, Richard, how are you doing?

Richard Muller: I’m doing great. How are you?

D.R. Tucker: Congratulations on your great piece in the New York Times earlier this week.

Richard Muller: Well, thank you. Of course, I think the key work are [sic] the five papers we’ve put online, our computer programs and our analysis, and right away, our due [?] credit to Robert Rohde, who is a young scientist, who’s an absolute genius, and he was able to guide us to the best statistical methods, and collect the data and put it online in a format that now other people can use it too. So, in the end we stand by not my opinion but by the science that we’ve done.

Betsy Rosenberg: And, by the way, I should mention… the formal introduction, Richard, of course, founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project known as BEST, along with his daughter Elizabeth, who kindly got you lined up to be on our show. And you are also a Professor of Physics, so you certainly, you know, are an interesting figure to have had this evolution, for lack of a –

Richard Muller: And also the author of a new book that just came out that I hope you’ll mention.

Betsy Rosenberg: Ah, go ahead, tell us the name.

Richard Muller: It’s Energy for Future Presidents, and it actually has a description of the Berkeley Earth message on how we did it and what our results are, for a lay audience. So I think people will find that a good introduction.

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay. Before we do get in to drill down a bit – pardon the expression – to what led you to have this conversion, you know, you’re getting a kind of mixed response, I would say. First, climate activists applauded you because they noticed the irony that some of your research is funded by the Koch brothers, and would love to hear what you think about that irony. And also some criticism, that you’re just seeking publicity, you’ve got a new book out, and what took you so long?

Richard Muller: Well, I’m not seeking publicity. Publicity is finding us. Everybody is calling us up and wants to talk to us. I think it’s because, for the last several years, we have actually developed a reputation of being objective, and depending on the science. We’re a group of twelve of us, including truly eminent people like Carl Rosenfeld, who’s won international awards for energy conservation.

And the last December, one of our team members, Saul Perlmutter, won the Nobel Prize for the work he did in astrophysics. So I have a superb team. We are doing work that is objective and which, wherever the data leads, that’s where we’ll be. I think that we did establish that reputation. I think that’s why we’re getting the attention now.

D.R. Tucker: It’s, uh… Dr. Muller, I wanted just to bring up a specific point which you made in your op-ed, which you note that – you write at one point that Hurricane Katrina cannot be specifically linked to global warming. And I read that and I actually raised by eyebrows, because I remember a piece written by Ross Gelbspan in the Boston Globe, in August 2005, when he knew that Hurricane Katrina’s – quote – “real name is global warming” – unquote.

And I thought he meant it in the sense that storms like Katrina are the inevitable consequence of what happens when we constantly pump – without any sort of limitations – CO2 – you know, greenhouse gases and CO2 – into the atmosphere. So, even if your interpretation is correct, that Katrina had nothing to do with global warming, is it fair to say that if we don’t take any steps to reduce emissions, we are going to have more superstorms like Katrina?

Richard Muller: Oh, no. No, no. First, you have to recognise that according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the number of hurricanes has been going down. The next thing you need to know is that Katrina was not a superstorm, it was only a Category 3 when it hit New Orleans. Just happened to be the first Category 3 that hit New Orleans in decades.

And they were unprepared for it – it was Category 5 when it was out to sea, and now we call it Category 5 because we have satellites and we can detect things out at sea.

But the number of hurricanes has been constant – in fact, it has been going down slightly. The theory doesn’t predict more intense storms. The theory says that’s a possibility, but intense storms come about when there are big temperature differences between the Equator and the Poles – that’s what drives the energy up and makes the hurricanes.

And in global warming theory, you expect the temperature difference to decrease, because the Poles warm more than the Equator. So it’s plausible that storms will go up, plausible that they will go down, but Hurricane Katrina was just – a place – a hurricane that hit a city that was unprepared. It was not an extremely intense storm.

D.R. Tucker: Okay, so from that perspective, I want to bring up a piece that Bill McKibben wrote last fall. “We know that Hurricane Irene’s middle name was Global Warming”. Was that an accurate statement [Richard Muller is laughing] or –

Richard Muller: Oh, you know, this is really unfortunate, because right after Katrina, 2005, people said “We can now expect a whole bunch of more storms”. In the next year, not a single hurricane hit the U.S.

When people exaggerate, they try to come up with dramatic examples to convince the public. That’s the wrong way to go. You have to respect the public. You have to give them the honest truth and not the exaggerated truth. People now feel as if they’ve been misled.

They say to me:

“What do you mean, the polar bears aren’t dying because of global warming?”

“What do you mean, the Himalayas aren’t melting because of global warming?”

You get this stuff, and I think the public is smarter than most people think.

Vice President Al Gore had so many exaggerations in his movie, that I think there’s a backlash now. And I think part of the reason why people – now why the polls show less interest in the United States – is because so many of the proponents exaggerated. And they can get away with that for a few years, but eventually the public learns that it wasn’t true.

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay, I’m going to challenge you on that. I was one of the thousands of people that were trained by Al Gore and – okay, if you don’t believe Al Gore, that’s one thing. But he had sitting next to him, the whole three days of the training, a climate scientist named Michael McCracken, and I don’t know if you have an opinion on him.

But what he said – which gave me goose bumps – was that the movie was actually milder, that since the film had come out, that turned out to be – the film version, the slide show at the time, when we saw An Inconvenient Truth, was conservative, that things were actually getting worse.

Richard Muller: Well, no. In my previous book – not the new energy book but in Physics for Future Presidents – I go through that film in some detail, and I show all the exaggerations. You have to recognise that Al Gore should be considered a sceptic or a denier. Because what he is saying is so far exaggerated from what the IPCC consensus is, but it’s on the other side. So why do they call sceptics who think it’s less bad “sceptics”, but people who think it’s more bad  – Gore should be considered a sceptic too, because most of what’s in that film…

When he shows New York City being flooded, and the IPCC is predicting that sea level will rise by maybe one foot or two foot – but he shows New York City being flooded?

When he shows the polar bears being hurt by global warming? When the scientific studies show that there’s no evidence of that, whatsoever? No. It’s, unfortunately, exaggerated, and that hurts people who, like me, believe that the evidence is now strong, that humans are to blame and there’s something we need to do.

But so much of the public has been – feel like they’ve been fooled. And there’s a backlash now, and I think that’s unfortunate.

Betsy Rosenberg: Well, we could argue that, I would take the whole hour to do that, because I certainly would challenge some of that, and you’re the physicist –

Richard Muller: I would be happy to come back for an hour some time, and I enjoy this, because –

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay.

Richard Muller: – science is often missed in the kind of training that Al Gore gives, which is to send a message, but not to look at, independently.

Betsy Rosenberg: Well, do you think that Al Gore did a service to the country, in terms of beginning to wake Americans up to this problem that you’re now acknowledging as real?

Richard Muller: Well, once – when he did that, when he did that – and I was worried that eventually it would be shown to be an exaggeration and the public would have a backlash, I think that’s now been vindicated. I think that’s exactly what’s happening.

D.R. Tucker: It’s an interesting point. Dr. Muller, I sort of wanted to bring up the issue or the instant that first brought me to your attention [sic], which was the so-called Climategate matter, where you noted at the time, in some of your media appearances, that it appeared at that point that there was some sort of chicanery going on, and that’s why you wanted to, sort of, check the data and check the figures. Now that you have validated, you know, some of the – now that you have validated the information that was in dispute, supposedly, in the Climategate matter, is it fair to say, once and for all, that that is a settled matter, that should be all be [inaudible] and set aside?

Richard Muller: No, no, no. Just the opposite. Actually, that’s not really accurate at all. The data they used in Climategate was proxy data. I wrote a book on the using of that. What they did was, I think, shameful. And it was scientific malpractice. If they were licensed scientists, they should have to lose their licence. What they did is they held back the discordant data. Now, their data had to do with the temperature older than 400,000 years – I’m sorry, older than 400 years. That’s what the main thing they were producing was.

What they were saying was for the last thousand years, it has not been this warm. I think that conclusion is wrong. And… global warming is right, but they were, again, exaggerating. They withheld the data, as they said in their emails – by the way, most people don’t believe those emails were hacked, they were leaked by a member of the team – they hoped [?] the data –

D.R. Tucker: Which member? Which member? Wait a second – which member?

Betsy Rosenberg: Why would they do that?

Richard Muller [laughing]: I think some of the members of the team were pretty upset with the exaggerations that they were reporting.

D.R. Tucker: And if that is indeed the case, then why – I believe there were eight different investigations in the U.S. and the UK, all of which found the scientists innocent of data manipulation. And so, were all eight fixes? It seems kind of odd.

Richard Muller: It was not data manipulation, it was data hiding. This was  –

D.R. Tucker: [inaudible] – data manipulation?

Richard Muller: What’s that? Look, if they had done this at Berkeley or Stanford, I think they would have been shamed.

D.R. Tucker: Really?

Richard Muller: The standards held over there at the University of East Anglia are just not up to what we consider standard scientific methods. When you withhold data, that is discordant. And they refused to release it until it came out in this leak. Anyway, that’s off the subject, because I do believe in global warming.

What’s wrong is what they said. The conclusions that Michael Mann drew, that it’s the warmest it’s been in a thousand years – I was on an international academy review panel that looked at that. Our conclusion was: he could not draw those conclusions.

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay. We have a show in the near future with Michael Mann on. Will you come on and you guys can debate, because I think that would make some interesting –

Richard Muller: Well, I would like to have him – Michael Mann characterised me as a scientist who’s never done anything in his life. And I thought that was highly misleading – he didn’t mention the awards, the discoveries I’ve done, all the work I’ve done.

It was basically an ad hominem attack, when in fact the data shows that he is wrong.

Look – global warming is real and it’s caused by humans. The trouble is, there’s so much nonsense out there that this misleads people. The problem isn’t what we have so far, the problem’s what’s coming up in the future –

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay –

Richard Muller: – and that’s what we have to worry about.

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay, would you call nonsense what’s happened in the past month, alone – record drought, record heat, record fires, all kinds of bad [?] weather that –

Richard Muller [laughing]: Okay, let me give you a little background on that. The NOAA announced that this is the warmest year on record for the United States – that immediately surprised me because I’ve been looking at the world record, and I’d seen that the temperature had actually gone down, compared to the last five years.

So I looked it up, and sure enough, the 2% of the world that happens to be the United States is a record warm, the 98% of the world, the rest of it, was actually cool.

Okay, we’re having a heat spell. To call that “global warming” – and the globe isn’t warming – is just an attempt to grab headlines [interference on the phone line, Prof. Muller’s voice is breaking up], to get the public interested in this important issue. [Line is really bad now, but he says what sounds like “But I don’t think it should be done in such a fashion”.

Betsy Rosenberg: I hope we’re not losing anyone… but I do know that we’ve already broken, you know, tens of thousands of records, I mean, something like – was it 40,000 heat records?

D.R. Tucker: Yeah, I believe so, I believe so.

Betsy Rosenberg: How can you ignore that?

Richard Muller: Well, you know my position is that – my position is that the world has warmed. On average. And when the world has warmed, you expect records to be broken. And that’s true. The last decade is the warmest it’s been in 250 years.

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay, just a couple of weeks ago –

Richard Muller: Warming is taking place. What’s not taking place are all these other things.

Betsy Rosenberg: Well, what about the – more than half of the country is, you know, having extreme drought conditions and states of emergency. Would you attribute that to climate change? The droughts and the fires –

Richard Muller: Well, it depends on what you mean by climate. This microclimate that’s due primarily to changes in ocean currents, such as El Nino and the Gulf Stream – we had this in the 1930s, when we had terrible droughts. That wasn’t due to climate change. But now when there’s a terrible drought, people say “climate change”. The fact is –

Betsy Rosenberg: We’re breaking records –

Richard Muller: – variability has not increased. It is warmer, but no – I don’t think there is any good scientific evidence to attribute that to climate change.

D.R. Tucker: Dr. Muller, I think part of the frustration on my part, and – I hope I can speak for Betsy here – on her part, is that you note, okay, that it’s getting warmer. The problem here is that when you have industries, including – and you know, we’ve been talking about this before – entities such as the Charles Koch Foundation, that have been funding people who run around saying, without any evidence whatsoever, that it’s getting cooler, it tends to make you a little – in my case, anyway – irritated.

I know I want to speak to that – I mean, I find that quite perverse that people are asserting things without evidence, on the – within a certain political movement in this country, a movement I used to be a part of. Do you have any thoughts on that? You mentioned that certain allegations claiming that certain things are global warming, when they’re not, does a disservice to science, but when people are blatantly going on – shall we say – Fox Business Channel, saying “It’s getting cooler”, when it’s not, does that also not do a disservice to science?

Richard Muller: Oh, absolutely. I think both sides have been equally bad on this. Many of the people who are concerned about global warming have ignored the legitimate criticisms of many of the sceptics. I believe that’s why the Koch Foundation funded us, because we showed them that we understood those criticisms and could look at them in an objective way. Which we did. But that’s important to do. There are people on both sides who have done this, and I don’t particularly see that Fox News is any worse on one side that MSNBC is on the other.

Betsy Rosenberg: We would argue that, but we only have a couple of minutes and I have to ask you: do you know David and Charles Koch personally at all?

Richard Muller: I have met them. I have met them.

Betsy Rosenberg: And how would you characterise their view of science and climate change, truly, because the –

Richard Muller: Well, what they have said to me is that-

Betsy Rosenberg: – we’ve every reason to think they’re actively denying it. And yet your daughter was quoted as saying they have a real interest in getting to the bottom of the science. Is that accurate?

Richard Muller: No, no, that’s a cartoon characterisation that comes about from some articles that – people… The idea, for example that all generals are in favour of nuclear war, and that everybody in industry is a denier, is just a very naive viewpoint.

They emphasised to me that what they wanted was to get the science right. If we could address these issues, which were valid issues, then they wanted to know what the real answer was. I think they had legitimate concerns. I think, three years ago, everybody should have had legitimate concerns, because the issues being raised, like the quality of the temperature stations, like the adjustments to the data that had been made, like the fact that the UK group was only using 7% of the data, these were real issues that needed to be addressed.

And we did. And we came to the conclusion that global warming is real, and the evidence points very strongly to 100% of it being due to humans. But that evidence had to be examined, before you could really reach this strong conclusion. We reached a stronger conclusion than the UN.

Betsy Rosenberg: And since you came to your conclusions, which matches what 98% of the world’s climate scientists – expert in their fields – say, have you talked to the Koch brothers or been in touch with them, and might this change their views or where they put their money, in light of your “coming out”, for want of a better term?

Richard Muller: You know, I can’t tell where the Foundation is going to put its money – that’s beyond me – but I think when you say I’ve now reached agreement with 98%, I actually disagree with most of that 98% on many of the things they say, if not most things. Global warming is real, but the things they attribute to climate change, I think, are mostly wrong and demonstrably wrong.

Betsy Rosenberg: With all the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, why – and you’re a physicist. Why is that – shouldn’t be – I’m not a scientist but it’s not rocket science that we are tampering with the atmosphere, and that is changing our weather patterns.

Richard Muller: Absolutely. But the change so far has been less than one degree Celsius. Two thirds of one degree Celsius. The problem is not that anything has happened so far. The problem is that we expect, with the continued emissions, particularly in the developing world, particularly based on coal, that this will go much higher.

And, based on what we have done in my group, I expect that to happen. And I expect it to get much, much warmer than it’s ever been, during the era of homo sapiens. But that doesn’t mean that we’re seeing increased wildfires. It doesn’t mean we’re seeing increased tornadoes. We’re not, we’re not.

Yes, the temperature’s going up, yes it’s greenhouse gases. But to exaggerate it, by bringing in all these other things, I think, tends to mislead the public. And when they learn that they’re wrong, when in 2006 there are no hurricanes hitting the U.S. despite predictions, they tend to become somewhat cynical about science. I think that’s really unfortunate.

Betsy Rosenberg: I don’t think it was so much predicting increased quantity hurricanes, as intense storms, and let’s..

Richard Muller: Intense storms have not increased! They have not increased.

Betsy Rosenberg: What about – do you think that all – we just had an incredible wave of fires, and the droughts are continuing, and cattle are, you know, being slaughtered because they can’t get enough corn –

Richard Muller: The greatest drought since 1930, right?

Betsy Rosenberg: Is that all something you’d expect to see, you know, in a normal fluctuation?

Richard Muller: We saw it in 1930 – was the dustbowl. So yes – these things happen, and they are normal fluctuations, driven primarily by El Nino and the Gulf Stream. And these large changes are not due to two thirds of one degree Celsius.

Betsy Rosenberg: They are?

D.R. Tucker: Dr. Muller, you mentioned – as we’ve just made reference to, on the Rachel Maddow’s show – your contention that a cleaner form of fracking is needed to, sort of, both supply the world’s energy needs and also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What’s your take on nuclear energy? Do you think that’s something that also has to be ramped up, or do you think the risks are –

Richard Muller: Well, I think nuclear energy can be made clean. I believe that the nuclear waste storage, again, is greatly exaggerated. On the other hand, I don’t think that nuclear’s going to be able to compete economically with natural gas. The same is true of wind and solar. I’m in real favour of wind and solar.

My book, my new book, Energy for Future Presidents, goes into detail on wind and solar, and shows how they’ll work. But the real problem is the cost of natural gas has come down so low, that nuclear, wind – the only thing that can compete with natural gas – with clean-fracked natural gas – is energy conservation and energy efficiency. It’s the only thing that can compete. And those are actually much, much better, because you can make a huge profit by putting some insulation into your ceiling.

Betsy Rosenberg: And if conservation is really key, Dr. Muller, how are Americans going to learn how to conserve more? Certainly, we need policies that, you know, incentivise energy efficiency, but – this is our pet peeve, here – with not one, you know, media show on mainstream platforms, talking about these issues – energy and the need to create cleaner forms of it –

how Americans can take part in this crisis, how are they going to learn about this, what to do? Especially if we have a pretty short time frame to turn things around, which perhaps you do agree with that.

Richard Muller: Well, I’m hoping that my new book addresses those issues. I think people need to recognise that energy conservation doesn’t mean making a sacrifice for the good of the world. It means making money. A little bit of insulation on your house pays for itself – an interest rate that’s 20 to 40% per year.

I mean, that’s better than you could have gotten from Madoff’s ponzi scheme before [?] honest. It’s enormous return on investment in energy conservation. I think too much energy conservation has been sold as “make a sacrifice”. Now, if you want to be cynical, you could say “Of course, that’s what the oil and gas companies do – they want you to think that energy conservation is making a sacrifice”.

In fact, it’s highly profitable. And I talk a lot about that in my book. I give the numbers, I show how you can invest and get a great return on your income. So that is something that we need – to stop saying “sacrifice and do energy conservation”. Let’s use “technical energy conservation”, and in technical energy conservation, you buy a little more insulation for your house, and you’re better off.

Betsy Rosenberg: Okay, you have to go, and we have to go to a spot, but just one last quick question. And that’s: do you support fracking, and do you really think there is something that is, you know, a safe way to extract natural gas

Richard Muller: Well, I totally don’t support the old kind of fracking, but I think clean fracking – in which you just fine the hell out of the companies if they spill anything or upset the water tables – they can fix it up – compared to developing really cheap solar, developing really clean fracking, I think, is relatively straightforward.

The earthquake danger is really quite small; I believe they can minimise that, too. So I think clean fracking is something we have to do, technologically, but I think it can be done – largely, by fining the companies if they spill.

D.R. Tucker: Good point, good point.

Betsy Rosenberg: Thank you for your comments, and, Dr. Richard Muller, again we really appreciate you being available on short notice, and we don’t agree with everything you’ve said, but that’s okay. We appreciate –

Richard Muller: Okay, well, call me back some time –

Betsy Rosenberg: We will –

Richard Muller: – and thank you very much.

Betsy Rosenberg: – we’ll go back with Michael Mann at the same time. And, D.R Tucker, you’re going to stay with us – we’ll have your friend Charles Bandy up in a few minutes. Maybe he heard some of that conversation and can comment. And then, in our last segment, we’ll be talking more about fracking, drilling down with Lisa Bardack. We’ll be right back.

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but my own thoughts are that because the emails were released only in part at the time, that the leaker was trying to get their concerns into the open, but also protect the wider reputation of climate science as a whole and that of the scientific institutions involved and science itself.

Exactly. Had this been some “Anonymous” “hacker” or WikiLeaks or anything like that, the entire load of mail would have been released. Some “hacker” out on the internet would have had no reason to “pick and choose” particular emails nor would they have known WHAT to choose.
The release of the “Climategate” emails fits the profile of exactly what happens in an organization or a family when an outside facade is being created that does not match the internal reality and the people inside get sick of the unethical charade and someone lets the skeletons out of the closet to end it. Climategate was not the action of some random internet vandal posting stolen backup files on pastebin. This was someone who knew exactly what they wanted brought to light and who (based on the timing of it with various climate conferences) thought there was a great disservice being done to the people of the world or for some other reason related to wanting to expose unethical practices.

Ibbo

That interview is amazing.
Its as though he has realised everything been reported in the MSM is a complete rubbish, as people have been saying all along yet still “Believes”.
All the data is telling him that there is nothing AT all to worry about, yet he has been so caught up in academic circles for decades he can’t quite bring him self to say the CAGW is a non-issue.
Its as though you can see the thought process between the scientist in him, and the person who can’t quite believe that its really is as bad as us “Skeptics” have been saying.

SanityP

Anthony, I am seeing double, I think you posted everything twice.
Other than that, I like this post a lot. Mr. Muller sounds almost normal when reading the transcripts of his responses.

SanityP

Sorry, I meant Barry Woods of course, sorry.

My guess on this; The Team and all associated are going to try and take credit for the skeptical arguments raised over the last 20 years. Five to ten years from now they will be issues that ‘climate science’ is dealing with, and of course they will attempt to rewrite history so as to somehow claim that they are the ones who saw all these problems and stepped in just in time to solve them. The ’emperor’ is going to claim that he knew he was naked all along, and he was just on his way to get some real clothes when people inconveniently saw him in his birthday suit and made a big deal out of what was really a bump in the road on the way to him getting a new suit.

noaaprogrammer

Maybe Richard Muller is a clever mole for the sceptic side by masquerading as a converted AGW proponent!

Mike Fowle

Thanks Barry. I listened to that interview when you posted the link on Bishop Hill and it is very interesting. The contrast between the smug introduction, lets all snigger at these deniers stuff contrasted with the dismay as Muller demolishes their sacred cows is enjoyable. I could agree with Muller in general terms. But I would have been more impressed with Muller, had I not read Ross McKitrick’s posting on Steve McIntyre’s blog, which reveals how Muller published his study despite the call for revision (and rejection by the journal it was intended for).

Skiphil

At least Muller takes them to task on all the foolish fake attribution issues for extreme events, storms and droughts etc. Funny to see how distressed the psychobabble left becomes when any of their talking points are challenged. They cannot even have a rational discussion, they just keeep spewing talking points back at Muller as they become incensed.
btw, less importance, but this “D.R. Tucker” looks like a total fake — anyone know more about him? I seriously doubt his own “conversion” story of “I was one of those evil conservative deniers”….. he’s probably just found a handy hook to becoming beloved by leftist tools like Betsy Rosenberg and his BradBlog as the “token Republican who’s on our side now”….

paddylol

Very interesting. It is noteworthy that Dr Muller did no impress a science writer for Der Spiegel Magazing. See: http://notrickszone.com/2012/08/08/richard-muller-is-a-fake-german-der-spiegel-magazine-writes/

paddylol

Opps, is should read ” . . . Dr Muller did not impress . . .”

Ian

Anthony Not often RealClimate get a story out before WUWT does but on this occasion they have. Unsurprisingly they have a different view of Professor Muller’s opinions than is given on WUWT. I’ve said at RC and reiterate here that constant sniping by warmists at sceptics and vice versa isn’t really very illuminating as regards the science. Is there any possibility that Climate Change/global warming/CAGW-call it what you will can be debated without rancour and hostility? This might help those less well versed in the science can gain a more balanced perspective from both sides than currently is the case.
[Reply: Both sides can post their views here. Not so at RealClimate, which heavily censors the comments of scientific skeptics. ~dbs, mod.]

u.k.(us)

Nice work Barry Woods.

Jeff D.

Anthony speaks of confirmation bias as being the most probable culprit driving the masses of researchers to their silly conclusions. I personally would like to believe that but I am pretty sure the motivation for most of offenders is just good old $$.
I do think that Anthony is correct in giving them a way out the door with conformation bias being the excuse. Their work was built on layers of others suffering the same problem. We trusted others, how could we know??
Right now this whole mess is like a bare knuckles cage match to the death with no where for the team to run. Muller on the other hand is trying to cheat and take the middle ground. We are wrong , the team is wrong, just look at my data it says so!

SanityP

Dr Muller speculating on the climategate insider is interesting. The idea of an insider very close to the core had not occured to me before. Insider, yes, but inside the “team” ? oh my.

Bennett

“Betsy Rosenberg: What about – do you think that all – we just had an incredible wave of fires, and the droughts are continuing, and cattle are, you know, being slaughtered because they can’t get enough corn -“
I’m surprised she wasn’t able to fit starving babies, less rainbows, and My Little Pony into that sentence.

DirkH

Muller tries to occupy the skeptic position by condemning Jones et.al., and then uses this position to proclaim that he’s a converted skeptic because his own splendid work convinced him otherwise. Did he mention his daughter’s product, GreenGov – Makes your Government Greener?
No.
Thought so.

DirkH

Ian says:
August 9, 2012 at 11:10 am
“I’ve said at RC and reiterate here that constant sniping by warmists at sceptics and vice versa isn’t really very illuminating as regards the science. ”
Ian, the warmists do not like to talk about the real world. They like to talk about their models and what they project (and maybe, just maybe, they might explain to you what the exact difference between a projection and a prediction is. Hint: A projection is worthless.)
So, warmism is only relevant to people who assign any meaning to the climate models. I don’t. They’re expensive junk.
And as the warmists know fully well the amount of flakey assumptions that are the fundament of their models and of their entire livelihoods and careers and book sales and lecture journeys they will NOT EVER debate that outside of their inner circle. Rather you will see the devil sprinkle himself with sacred water.

mwhite

paddylol says: —- Yes, from his sceptic days
Richard Muller
December 17, 2003
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/402357/medieval-global-warming/
“Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate. I would love to believe that the results of Mann et al. are correct, and that the last few years have been the warmest in a millennium.”

Follow the Money

“Is there any possibility that Climate Change/global warming/CAGW-call it what you will can be debated without rancour and hostility?”
No, because if it is calmly discussed that climate sensitivity exists, but is very small, the scare factor to impel funding falls away. Also, the debate is not really propelled by scientists, but by public relations firms hired by the big banks, nuke and natural gas industries, GE, etc. Their own various money interests drive and mold the debate. The Progressives will mostly never admit that, and it they realize that BP and Shell is funding them, they will project and point at Exxon. They also invoke “Koch” as a traditional hate-object, like the righties who scream about “Soros.” Two sides of the same stuck-on-stupid coin.

Jimbo

When people exaggerate, they try to come up with dramatic examples to convince the public. That’s the wrong way to go. You have to respect the public. You have to give them the honest truth and not the exaggerated truth. People now feel as if they’ve been misled.”

Snowfall is now just a thing of the past. 😉
When these fools make sh!t up people just yawn and roll eyes. They have become fear weary.

Mike Fowle

Ian,
I had a look at Real Climate, and imagine you are referring to the post “Let the Games Begin”. It seemed to me complacent beyond parody with no attempt whatsoever to engage in any sort of debate. Incidentally, I live in East Anglia in the UK, so it pains me enormously that the UEA could behave the way it has. A betrayal of science. I am with Muller on that.

Also, I would like to see the whole concept of “skeptic” better defined. Nobody doubts that we have warmed since the end of the LIA. The skepticism surrounds whether or not that any warming that has happened since then is caused by human activity and if the warming is beyond previously seen natural climate variation. If CO2 rise is responsible for any significant portion of temperature rise from 1975 to 2004, then what was responsible for the rise from 1910 to 1939 when human CO2 emissions could not have been a factor? The point is that it looks very bad in that they have created a “crisis” that benefits them financially and professionally. Would a climatologist been “internationally renowned” in the news media in 1930? Would the University of East Anglia’s Tyndall Centre be profiting handsomely from Defra for implementing regulatory suggestions from the UNFCCC if the basis for those regulatory suggestions were not injected by scientists from the University of East Anglia’s Hadley Centre via the IPCC process? There are a lot of people making a lot of money out of this and nobody has shown to any reasonable degree that it is unusual or unnatural.

John Greenfraud

They immediately use the Koch brothers ‘dog whistle’ in an attempt to discredit Muller when he strays off the expected narrative. Not data, not logic, not facts, just an immediate pre-programmed emotional appeal using demagoguery and fallacy. Comical and sad all at the same time.

Rob Potter

Strikes me that Muller is a bit of a publicity hound – how many times does he plug his book in this interview?
He makes some very good points about the over the top claims about the current level of warming, but then does the same thing himself by saying how much worse it is going to get! His thoughts on how to make fracking clean are interesting too; “you just fine the hell out of the companies if they spill anything”. I guess that works – considering the fact that nothing has been spilt, but that is not how it comes across.

For example: http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/people/Robert-Watson “Role at Tyndall: Director of Strategic Development. Professor Robert T. Watson is also DEFRA Chief Scientist”
Tyndall is or has been under contract by DEFRA to produce guidelines on such things as “sustainable development” and implementing other policy guidelines produced by the UNFCCC. Tyndall Centre is part of the University of East Anglia. The UNFCCC policy suggestions come from IPCC assessments. UEA scientists from the climate center have played a significant role in developing those assessments. Does Penn State also do contract work in the US for implementing various policies that are an indirect result of Penn State’s researchers driving the input to those policy recommendations? How many other organizations make money on implementation of environmental policies that are derived from their input into the policy recommendation process?
How many NGOs stand to benefit locally from input to the UN in various capacities at the international level?
It is one great big giant money machine that is robbing the taxpayers of the world blind.

So Muller is not CONVERTED “skeptic?” But a practicing scientific skeptic? I find his claim to have been an “agnostic” unjustified. But practicing skeptic works for me.
Thus, his basis for claiming AGW is true is the warming since the Little Ice Age, coinciding with the rise in CO2 (from burning fossil fuels, of course). Surely he realizes the problem of separating – or rather NOT separating – out natural variability from the temperature record.
Therefore, his basis for declaring AGW true is not without foundation, but subject to several conditions: is the temperature rise over the past couple centuries entirely man-made? Certainly not. But then what portion of it is?
And UHI/LUC contamination of the temperature record? He claims it is not a problem. Others, from Roger Pielke, Sr., to Anthony Watts, disagree. And as far as I can tell, neither he nor the BEST group have understood the basis for these criticisms. If you cannot understand and refute them, then they have not been engaged – and thereby, for those who do understand their merits, they remain unaddressed.
Then there is the problem of the margin of error in the records he and BEST have. According to Stanford nuclear chemist Pat Frank, they are +-1.2C degrees, making them pretty much useless for the determination Muller makes of them.
I would most like to see Muller respond to this last criticism.
What I gather from having listened to the interview twice is that he is trying to be careful – not grandstanding – as he has been dubbed in the AGW-skeptic community since his NYTimes op-ed “conversion” piece. While we may disagree with his convinced conclusions, his carefulness is arriving at them must be applauded.

davidmhoffer

Muller is at once jumping aboard the cagw gravy train, seizing the reigns, and tossing members of “the team” off into the ditch. From a marketing perspective, this is a stroke of genius. Become the poster child for cagw while discrediting the likes of Mann, Jones, Briffa, Santer, etc etc. He wants the field to himself, and he’s doing a not bad job of getting it. From a pure poltiics perspective, the middle ground is where victory lies. He’s seizing the opportunity to grab the middle ground. He takes the “I’m a converted skeptic” line to put himself in opposition to skeptics and, when the MSM is least expecting it, throws “the team” under the Climategate bus, distancing himself from the alarmists.
Whatever one thinks about his science, one must admit his strategy is brilliant.

Bob Kutz

“I was one of the thousands of people that were trained by Al Gore and . . .. ”
Whatever else Betsy has to say or ask, after that sentence, is of no consequence.
Her “ispe dixit” argument renders her an infant.
One is almost tempted to asked her if the training involved the release of Al’s ‘chakras’.

Eric H.

I liked that Dr. Muller stuck to the facts, as I think he understands them, and didn’t join the “in” crowd and their exaggerated claims. What is ironic is that many warming believers, such as these two, claim to be on the side of science but have no problem arguing their obviously biased point of view with a scientist who is very much involved in the science. I think it will be interesting to see how the science progresses from here especially with some of the new work on the surface temperature record comes to fruition.

Richard Muller: “Oh, you know, this is really unfortunate, because right after Katrina, 2005, people said “We can now expect a whole bunch of more storms”. In the next year, not a single hurricane hit the U.S.”
I watch three web sites during hurricane season in the northern hemisphere: National Hurricane Center , the Central Pacific Hurricane Center , and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center . This year, much like last year, the hurricane/cyclone incidence is quite low. In fact, I don’t think there has been a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean yet this year.

So Muller is not CONVERTED “skeptic?” But a practicing scientific skeptic?

My personal opinion: He is trying to find a clever way to remain skeptical yet not kill the business for his environmental consultancy. He comes out as saying CO2 certainly has an impact which supports his consultancy, Muller & Associates, which aims toward CO2 mitigation/reduction. He is attempting to create a situation where he can have a foot on both sides of the fence and still pan some gold out of the “global warming” money stream.

Ted

As I quickly read this this it is mostly a slap down of warmist. I will have to digest it more slowly but Muller has so many facets. I can’t believe he believes the BEST data is on the up and up, after reading his reply’s to to questions.
I think I like him, sort off ???

I’d already posted on JoNova’s site that I had begun to think Dr. Muller was despicable, but this interview brought my opinion of him up, some…
What I don’t get is how he claims to be a physicist yet is concerned about CO2 increasing further and causing our climate to get much much warmer… I’d like to see his version of the math that proves his point. Nor do I understand his coolaid belief without proof that man has caused all of the increased warming. That conclusion is just plain bizarre, even if the data supported his version of the graphs and calculations.
It would be good for Dr. Muller to sort out his CO2/Temp physics and related statistics before going back on that show to debate Manniacal. Otherwise I’d have to think this is a setup for a floating underhanded pitch to Mannic so that the team could hit a public home run on loaded bases.

MrX

Listened to the interview. Even the part before the interview. Man, they are so SMUG. They laugh at anyone that disagrees with them. They ridicule them. They snicker. They call them deniers every chance they get. The hate oozes out of them.
Then came the interview and as it progressed, they were alarmed all right, but not by man made climate change. Their world view was being systematically destroyed. This is not the interview they were looking for.
I’d normally laugh at this. But it’s so sad that they have such misconceptions. This exchange was jaw dropping.

Richard Muller: The greatest drought since 1930, right?
Betsy Rosenberg: Is that all something you’d expect to see, you know, in a normal fluctuation?
Richard Muller: We saw it in 1930

Long awkward silence, and then Muller continued his explanation. She knew the answer. Yet she persisted with the lie. And Muller’s response made it incontrovertible. But what do you expect from someone that’s proud to announce that she’s been trained by Al Gore himself.

Titan 28

Muller is a strange breed of cat. He’s a physicist, so he must be pretty smart (though smart, of course, has little to nothing to do with intellectual and moral choices). Yet some of what he says seems utterly outrageous. He said, if I recall correctly, that ‘100% of global warming is human caused.’ Now, I don’t think even the Team over at RC would make so strong a claim. I suspect he only pretends to be a skeptic. I agree with much of what he says, and get rolling along, then he takes this leap that seems in no way to be connected to the evidence or to what he said earlier. Could there be something wrong with his head? A leak in the attic? Is he underneath it all just another AlGore type publicity hound?

JJ

Just another act in the Kabuki, and Muller is playing his part with all the “Beef and Boards” skill he can muster.
Muller is a shill. He talks about his short term turn around of his opinion. He fails to note that said turn around was a full 360 degrees.
The word for this is “spin”.

Doug Proctor

Most interesting! The kool-aid drinkers: “trained” by Al Gore. In awe of Al Gore, they mean. Unable to determine the fundamentals of a scientific/technical discussion, clearly. If it is on PowerPoint, obviously good work has been done.
As for Muller: again, interesting. As much as I have disdain for Muller, he has grasped the point that 0.6C of global temperature change since 1965 has not and cannot be responsible for any weather event or even magnification of any weather event beyond normal variability. He also recognizes the lack of ethical behaviour and what the lawyers might call “adverse inference” when the Team hid the data and deleted the data (from the Stick). He made an interesting comment that Gore should be called a skeptic of the warmist side: since Gore holds to a much worse prediction, Gore actually disbelieves the results of the IPCC. So Gore is technically a skeptic – actually, he’s a denier of consensus science!
Al is part of the vilified 2%: how does that make the warmists feel?
Muller essentially audited the interpretative process pushed by Hansen, and assumed that the post-modified data he had was correct. It would be interesting for Muller to audit the Watts et al 2012 paper and get his feedback.
Imagine: Muller the reformed skeptic who disagrees with Gore, agrees with the IPCC on interpretation but agrees with Watts et al on data quality.
I like it, I like it. Like a tennis match, back and forth until we run out of time.

Ian H

I don’t agree with everything Muller says or does. But what I do like about him is that he has set up shop in the vacant space in the middle ground of what has become an extremely polarized debate. By reclaiming the middle ground Muller is doing us all a service. A polarized debate is a very unhealthy one. People shout. People call each other names. Nobody listens. Nobody changes their minds. But when there is a middle ground with a bunch of people in it, it stops being a war between “US” and “THEM” and starts to become a discussion where people talk about facts and details and can change their minds.
The use of the word “denier” was a deliberate attempt to cl;ear out the middle ground and polarise debate. It was and is despicable. Muller is in a small way undoing some of that harm.

Ian

Moderator’s reply to my comment @ 11.12am “Both sides can post their views here. Not so at RealClimate, which heavily censors the comments of scientific skeptics. ~dbs, mod.]” Too true. Most of my comments never see the light of day on RC. For example a comment in which I expressed much the same sentiments as here was axed without ceremony.

Richard M

As many have said, Muller is trying to be the *best* of both sides. He’s got his business and he does not want to jeopardize it. OTOH, he’s smart enough to know the evidence for the “C” in CAGW is flimsy at best. So, he wants to have his credibility after it all comes tumbling down.
I bet he got a good laugh (later) at the propaganda sucking reporters.

trained by Al Gore

Sounds sorta creepy in a kundalini kind of way.

Ah the HAZARDS of live interviews! I’m reminded of the LIVE interview NPR did about 20 years ago with German ex-patriot who had been working on developing the harvesting of Igaunas for food, from the Brazilian rain forest. The NPR interviewer made some comment about “saving the rain forests quickly…” and the German woman, (with that nice Germain accent…which makes it somewhat delicious) said, “Well, to do that you simply kill all the peasants….”
LONG…DEAD…SILENCE. After the interviewer regained a little composure, she inquired in some polite way, “Why would that ‘save the rain forests?”…The German lady explained that the rainforests were NOT being “cut down” by the “Rancharos” for grazing, but by the peasents who live near the rain forests..who engage in “slash and burn” agriculture. I.e., cutting down trees, burning them to supply “potash” to make aerable soil, farming it out over 8 to 10 years, and then moving further into to the rain forests…leaving the burned out land, only able to grow grasses where the ranchers would graze the cattle. (The iguana cultivation was to offer an alternative to the beef production…yum, tastes like chicken!)
WHOOPS, live interview…SO NPR learns it’s lesson right? Well, in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Horoshima, they decided that interviewing a Candian POW who was in a camp on the edge of the city when the bomb went off would be a great way to illustrate the “horrors of war” and of those nasty nuclear weapons.
The interviewer strove to set up just that idea, but then asked the fateful question, “What was the reaction you and your fellow prisoners had to this horrible devestation??”
Well, the fellow (in his ’80’s) was sharp of mind…and had a great memory. He described the absolute pandamonium among the Japanese (so far, so good), then he began to describe the complete CELEBRATION AND JOY among himself and his fellow POW’s.
The interviewer was (as in the first case) trying to do DAMAGE CONTROL from that point on. But the good old codger wouldn’t let up. He made it clear: “We KNEW we had WON THE WAR!” We knew the Japanese would either surrender or DIE…and as far as we were concerned, EVEN IF WE DIED WITH THEM we’d be HAPPY!”….
Lesson learned: LIVE INTERVIEWS by people with AGENDAS are potential I.E.D.’s which might blow up in any direction.
Dr. Mueller, I SALUTE you!
Max

Jimbo

It’s good to see some Warmists have their science invested in the future of global warming. I hope this ain’t the new internet bubble for these guys.
Muller & Associates
http://mullerandassociates.com/investors/

Richard Muller is lead author of just published “A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature”. Line 210 states “Tmax minus Tmin has some surprising properties” and Fig. 4 depicts this showing a declining curve from around 11.7 Deg C in 1900 to around 11.45 in 1930, then essentially flat until 1950. then resuming the same rate of descent as the earlier one onward in time.
I have theorized that this curve illustrates the “growing urban heat-sink night-warming archipelagoes” syndrome, a.k.a. the “growing heat island” effect on land-based temp measurements… The curve in Muller’s Fig 4 descends almost linearly from 1900 to 1930, a period of consistent urban growth, then remains perfectly flat until around 1950 during the depression and world war II when the building of more factories, more shopping centers and buildings with related asphalt roads, parking lots, etc. stopped dead. After 1950 the curve continues to descend at the same rate as before 1930, corresponding to the resumption of urban building growth due to the postwar economic recovery.
My theory holds that the increasing number of roads, parking lots and buildings creates a heat sink of increasingly giant size so long as urban growth continues. This heat sink stores heat from solar radiation during daylight hours, then through conduction, convection and radiation delivers this heat energy into the air of the surrounding locality as well as to outer space through re-radiation. This tends to reduce the nightly drop in air temperature that would have occurred for that locality if cropland or woodland (both poor heat sinks) had not been replaced with big asphalt etc. heat sinks within a growing heat-sink archipelago.

rabbit

Even those who fully agree that AGW is occuring are denounced as “deniers” if they don’t support the wildest predictions of climate catastrophe. It has become such a religion that the least bit of skepticism — considered healthy in most sciences — is condemned as apostasy.

cd_uk

To be honest I didn’t even read this – I’m fed up with reading things about Muller and what he says. Muller is a self-publicist. I can’t gather where he stands on this issue at all; he’s like a puff of smoke. I know science is nuanced but this takes it to a whole new level.
Where are the Kriging-fecking-variance maps for each year of the BEST series – these are not publicly available! Without these you’re error bars for your time series are meaningless. Please? Am I wrong here but elementary geostats gives you a measure of confidence for your final grid (per location) – we need these. I have asked for these from others involved and all I get is blank! Probably because I’m missing something but I’m still to be told what.

JJ

Richard M says:
As many have said, Muller is trying to be the *best* of both sides. He’s got his business and he does not want to jeopardize it. OTOH, he’s smart enough to know the evidence for the “C” in CAGW is flimsy at best. So, he wants to have his credibility after it all comes tumbling down.

No.
Muller has his faith in CAGW, and he has put his money where that faith lies – his business interest in providing CAGW ‘solutions’.
What he sees is that said business relies on other people belieiving in CAGW. No believers, no market for his “solutions”. And he sees the public belief in CAGW dropping off rapidly. He also knows that the public’s belief in CAGW has absolutely nothing to do with the science. It is crowd psychology. And he also knows that the “converted skeptic” meme has great influence on crowd psychology. It also carries a certain celebrity status with fawning CAGW media types, and can garner big $$$ in pointless number massaging exercises to tide him over the economic downturn.
He’s playing his part in the charade, and being paid well for it.

It is crowd psychology. And he also knows that the “converted skeptic” meme has great influence on crowd psychology.

Yep. It is what I call “hypervalidating” of their argument. It causes one to think “gee, if this guy flipped to the other position, maybe I should have another look” and it also provides validation for one flipping position themselves. They can point to Muller and say “see, that guy did, too”. Most people are herd followers. Muller just showed up with a new bandwagon and some people are going to jump on it, yet he still leaves a foot on the other side of the fence by offering enough criticism of the other side so skeptics don’t close their mind to him completely. It’s manipulative. Look at the bottom line of his actions: Several times now his papers have been turned down for publication and each time he has run directly to the press telling them exactly what they want to hear. THAT is his mission, the PR, not the science.

Fascinating, Thanks!
And a little bit of trivia for me:

Betsy Rosenberg: “Okay, I’m going to challenge you on that. I was one of the thousands of people that were trained by Al Gore and – okay, if you don’t believe Al Gore, that’s one thing. But he had sitting next to him, the whole three days of the training, a climate scientist named Michael McCracken, and I don’t know if you have an opinion on him”

I had no idea MacCracken was involve with Al Gore. Fool is me! I knew nothing of him until Santer forwarded my inquires to him. McCracken has been very helpful for my research on Madrid 1995, copying and sending a great pile of documents. But his initial challenge to me, in his condition of correspondence, was that, I seem to be arguing against catastrophic AGW. In his view (and he sent a published paper on this) this is not to argue the science but to argue non-scienctific spin. To attack scientists and the IPCC as though they support such extreme views is to argue a strawman. And now…there he was sitting next to Al Gore ‘the whole three days….’

zefal

Hey Betsy, Nice impression of Wile E. Coyote.
Richard Muller has always believed in AGW but was only a skeptic in the scientific sense: That the hypothesis would have to be confirmed by science. Still don’t trust Muller at all because of his deception on this point and his recent behavior.
When’s Bets going to have all the scientists who were believers who are now skeptics on her show?
That’s what’s called a “rhetorical question”.
What should be done is to get all the scientists whose emails/data were leaked/hacked to sign a paper that specifies that if the person(s) was/were from an inside leaker and he/she/they come forward that they would not be fired and that they, the scientists, would agree to wash and wax his/her/their cars and of all the people who they smeared who autopsied the emails and data.
That’s what’s called “fat chance”.
Thanks Mr. Watts for listening to this because I couldn’t stomach it.