Richard Muller: I Was Wrong on Global Warming

January 9, 2015

Physicist Richard Muller became a hero to the climate denial community a few years ago, after saying some pretty harsh things about climate science, and scientists.
He started the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project to double check estimates of global warming and, in his mind, answer the criticisms of existing temperature reconstructions.  Not surprisingly to the mainstream community, he came up with the same answer as all other groups over the last 40 years. The planet is warming, and the only plausible explanation is increased greenhouse gases.


My friend Collin Maessen, author of the blog Real Skeptic, invited Dr. Muller to an interview at last month’s American Geophysical Union meeting, and I sat in.
Below, my piece explaining the kerfuffle.

In 2013, I also interviewed one of Muller’s primary researchers, Robert Rohde.



29 Responses to “Richard Muller: I Was Wrong on Global Warming”

  1. Of course, Richard Muller’s solution was that we had to frack for gas. : (

    Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2015 10:46:42 +0000 To:

  2. I’d like to know if their record allowed them to comment on the Maunder Minimum. Whether or not that phenomenon corresponded to the sunspot minimum and whether or not the little ice age was a world wide occurrence or restricted to just the temperate, northern hemisphere.

    • toby52 Says:

      I think it is generally agreed that the Little Ice Age was world wide in its effects, or at least Northern Hemisphere.

      That is not the case for the Medieval Climate Anomaly (aka the Medieval Warm Period), which seems to have been mostly North Atlantic. Peter had at least one good video on deniers and the Medieval Warm Period myth.

  3. […] that solar variability was not responsible was to rule out out the primary alternative theory…. Richard Muller: I Was Wrong on Global Warming | Climate Denial Crock of the Week Sign in or Register Now to […]

  4. toby52 Says:

    I remember Muller conducting a needlessly hurtful professionall attack on Professor Michael Mann during his heyday as a hero of deniers, and a friend of Judith Curry.

    Perhaps, Peter, you might offer Dr Muller is chance to withdraw those remarks and bury the hatchet with an eminent climate scientist.

    • That’s actually one question I asked him. The response was so different from what I expected that the mental wreckage it caused in my brain skipped a couple of zip codes.

      Though I’m not sure when this part will become available as it’s part of a bigger video production that requires more work than just a simple interview edit.

    • No that was his current view : See below

      • toby52 Says:

        First half good, second part self-serving and erroneous e.g. Amundsen did not sail through an ice-free North-West Passage because he wintered in the Arctic, and it took him three years to complete his voyage. I hope this is Muller of a few years ago, and that he has cleaned up his act a bit since then. His overview of the science outside his own purview is superficial and more showman than savant.

        You can only wonder who the “thoughtful sceptics” are? Senator Inhofe? Judith Curry? Anthony Watts? Strange so many of Muller’s old sidekicks are still deniers.

        Amusing to see he still saw Al Gore as his main rival in the publicity stakes. My suspicion is that he secretly wants to be Al Gore

  5. I was looking for some acknowledgement of remorse from Dr. Muller in the interview, but instead saw nothing but a full-throated description of how good their work was. I think this is a case where the value of the data needs to be separated from the arrogance of the project’s lead scientist.

    • On the other hand, Dr. Muller was able to shake loose funding from the richest luke warmer (Bill Gates) and outright denier (Koch) to construct a good data set of global temperatures and get some new scientists (graduate students) started in their careers. And perhaps make the argument that his work drove home the final blow in the stake of the heart of global warming skeptics. Both Dr. Muller and Dr. Curry both disproved their own strongest criticisms of other’s work. Perhaps this was just the best way for them to provide a mea culpa?

  6. indy222 Says:

    Notice what’s missing from Muller’s self-promotional effort here, is any mention of doing the obvious – read the actual papers leading to the obvious truth, and find genuine flaw(s) which lead you to be “suspect” of the CO2/temp cause/effect. I can’t stand this guy! He gives a bad name to scientists. “Suspicion” without cause, is a simple excuse to grandstand, which is all he’s really good at. I would also highly question whether Perlmutter was “suspicious” of human-caused global warming. I know a ton of astronomers, as that’s what I am as well – and I don’t know any (well, except the disgraced Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas) who had doubts of human CO2 caused climate change back then.

  7. redskylite Says:

    Excellent interviews and short “duh” crock video, which I havn’t seen before. I guess scientists whether Climate Scientists or Physicists do not have to have to be great entertainers with likeable personalties and charisma, thankfully a few do (Richard B. Alley for one, IMHO). At least Richard Muller strongly agreed with and endorsed others regarding the smoking gun of GHGes and did not go on to become a “professional” contrarian or denier like some infamuous individuals. I wonder how much longer the fight against the dense denial must go on for, before any real change is made.

    I define real change as actually seeing the monthy NOAA/SCRIPPS atmospheric CO2 figures levelling off and starting a long gradual decline to safer levels, not a lot more heated debates, hot air and conferences.

    “Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil – and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil.”

  8. I wish more attention would be paid to the fact that Watts responded to the BEST study with his own paper on UHI, still claiming UHI to be true. Watts then promised to put his UHI paper up for peer review but ended up breaking his promise and never did so.

  9. […] There is more context and additional video here. […]

  10. Mike Says:

    That is precious! Thanks for sharing

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