Pharyngula

Another conversion story

Richard Muller used to be a doubter — he didn’t think global warming was a concern, and he didn’t think people were responsible for it. Now he has changed his mind, and he explains why.

Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

You mean, sometimes evidence works? Wow.

Comments

  1. #1 Poptech
    US
    July 29, 2012

    Muller was never a skeptic,

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2012/06/truth-about-richard-muller.html

    “If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion – which he does, but he’s very effective at it – then let him fly any plane he wants.”
    - Richard Muller, 2008

    “There is a consensus that global warming is real. …it’s going to get much, much worse.” – Richard Muller, 2008

    “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.” – Richard Muller, 2003

  2. #2 Orettefroro
    Cape Verde
    July 29, 2012
  3. #3 Mark Joseph
    July 29, 2012

    Glad to see this, even if doubt has been hinted at concerning Muller’s prior position.

    And, while completely off topic, don’t miss the giant squid cartoon today at http://www.gocomics.com/culdesac/2012/07/29/

  4. #4 Robert
    July 29, 2012

    Poptech –
    Being a global warming skeptic never meant he didn’t believe in global warming. Nobody who can read a graph would deny the earth is warming. Therefore he had no problem with Al Gore or others convincing people that the globe was warming and that it could cause problems. Mueller never had a hidden position in this.Skepticism in its non-political form is instead a matter of whether the warming is caused by humans and therefore whether we need to reduce emissions. His change in position therefore is not a change to believing in global warming, it is a change to believing in human caused global warming.

  5. #5 Tristan
    July 30, 2012

    2008 is four years ago, he clearly states three years ago is when he fell out with climate change

  6. #6 Rimantas
    July 30, 2012

    Heh, Fahrenheits in scientific context…

  7. #7 Juice
    July 30, 2012

    Three years ago he discovered the problems with the hockey stick. (Well, he discovered them for himself, the problems discovered by others.) BEST has yet to address this. Well, it probably never will because that was never within the scope of BEST.

    If you read reactions to the latest papers from BEST (which have not been accepted for publication, so this is science by press release) they are not kind. In an attempt to clear things up, BEST has made everything even more sloppy. Gud jerb.

  8. #8 SDReal
    July 31, 2012

    I had Richard Muller as my 3rd semester Physics instructor at Cal. Regardless of his position(s) on Global Warming, he was one of the absolute best professors I’ve had at any level. I liked him so much that I even dragged friends into his lectures with me on several occasions. He was a great professor to have to learn about relativity and quantum mechanics. He took for granted that his students were capable enough to learn the basics from reading the book so he spend most of the lecture time teaching us applications of the science, as opposed to just memorizing equations. I still have the notes somewhere where he showed the derivation of E=mc^2, attempting to mimic Einstein’s starting point. His adviser was Nobel Laureate, Luis Alvarez and he always had great stories to tell, some passed down to him from Dr. Alvarez.

  9. #9 Nader
    Iran
    August 7, 2012

    Everybody may think wrong. The point is that he corrected his. I wonder what will those who laugh at him do when find their false idea! It’s easy to judge, ethics demand more.

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