At first glance, Richard Muller's "conversion" from global-warming skeptic to true believer—based on research funded by global warming denialists—is a welcome surprise. Hey, people can change their minds! But on Stoat, William M. Connolley takes a more critical view. Connolley asks, "Everyone who has doubts gets to run their own re-analysis of the temperature record? Wouldn’t it be quicker if people just read the existing literature?" Most of the data used by Muller has been around for years, and so has his conclusion: that humans are rapidly raising the temperature of this planet by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Greg Laden writes, "It’s over. The whole climate denialism thing, that is." But some people will still say we're wrong.
On the face of it his story is that he was a skeptic that focused on the flaws and uncertainty of the data demonstrating global warming and that once the data was shown to be right he changed his position. That his lagging the vast majority of climate scientists by a couple of decades is just proof of his skepticism.
Another view is that he is following the money and his skepticism crumbled about the time that coal started to cut funding of denialism as its profits and market share has faltered. He has moved away from coal and toward natural gas as the cleaner alternative just as the gas industry is poised to take over.
If and when gas stumbles as the lead profit center and another energy source comes to the fore it could be assumed he will have another conversion. Every whore knows that it pays to cater to the market leader.
When coal was big he was pro-coal and against anything that might threaten it, like AGW. Now that coal is not leading and gas is in ascendancy he is enthusiastically a fan of natural gas and a supporter of AGW because it can be used to promote natural gas.
Certainly, he "gets to" reanalyze whatever data he can get his hands on, and so does everyone else. If everyone just swallowed existing literature whole, women with breast cancer would still be dying of bone marrow transplants. Sometimes existing literature is wrong. When there's a large body of literature from numerous research groups, it's extremely unlikely that fundamental conclusions are flawed or falsified, and extremely likely that re-analyses are a waste of time. Well, now Muller knows that. Abusing him for having done the work needed to confirm that in his own mind will only reinforce public suspicions that there's an elite group who want exclusive control over how climate data are interpreted and used.