Monday, September 04, 2017

Richard Muller on Moving From AGW Skeptic to Believer

From an Q&A with Richard Muller in Physics Today (2/10/17; paywalled):
PT: When talking about global warming, you’ve described yourself as a “converted skeptic.” What persuaded you to move from skeptic to believer? Does your experience suggest strategies for talking to current climate skeptics?
MULLER: I was a skeptic because there were five major issues that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was not adequately addressing. My daughter Elizabeth and I formed the nonprofit Berkeley Earth to examine those, and remarkably, we were able to address all five issues. We enlisted some great team members who were experts at objective analysis of big data, including [Nobel-winning astrophysicist] Saul Perlmutter and [the late Berkeley physicist] Art Rosenfeld.

All of the issues legitimately raised by skeptics were potential biases: data selection, temperature-station siting, data adjustment, and heat island. The fifth was potential bias from the large number of adjusted parameters that were used in the global climate models, and from the instability of those enormous simulations. We came up with a solid analysis of each of the biases and were able to conclude, using our independent work, that global warming was real and caused by humans. We can go farther than the IPCC by attributing 90% of the warming of the past 260 years to humans. We’ve kept our work open and transparent.

I get along very well with skeptics, largely because I respect them. Most of their complaints against climate change are legitimate. Most headlines and most comments made by politicians―and by many scientists!―on this subject are either exaggerated, misleading, or false; that’s why there are so many skeptics. I’ve talked privately to very prominent scientists who admitted to me that they exaggerate on purpose to garner public concern and action. But I think such exaggerations are counterproductive; they lead to a mistrust in science.
All well and good. Separately, I still remember when Muller wrongfully scorned the Michael Mann and the hockey stick, and as far as I know he never corrected himself on that, or apologized. He should.

There's more about this in Wikipedia.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Sure Muller get along with the skeptics: