Meet Richard Muller, Lukewarmist

Richard Muller, head of the Berkeley Earth project, makes a fair and balanced response to a question regarding the “97% consensus.”  Are any of the US Senators listening?  Full text below from Forbes 97%: An Inconvenient Truth About The Oft-Cited Polling Of Climate Scientists including a reference to Will Happer, potentially Trump’s science advisor.

Read it and see that he sounds a lot like Richard Lindzen.

What are some widely cited studies in the news that are false?

Answer by Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, on Quora:

That 97% of all climate scientists accept that climate change is real, large, and a threat to the future of humanity. That 97% basically concur with the vast majority of claims made by Vice President Al Gore in his Nobel Peace Prize winning film, An Inconvenient Truth.

The question asked in typical surveys is neither of those. It is this: “Do you believe that humans are affecting climate?” My answer would be yes. Humans are responsible for about a 1 degree Celsius rise in the average temperature in the last 100 years. So I would be included as one of the 97% who believe.

Yet the observed changes that are scientifically established, in my vast survey of the science, are confined to temperature rise and the resulting small (4-inch) rise in sea level. (The huge “sea level rise” seen in Florida is actually subsidence of the land mass, and is not related to global warming.) There is no significant change in the rate of storms, or of violent storms, including hurricanes and volcanoes. The temperature variability is not increasing. There is no scientifically significant increase in floods or droughts. Even the widely reported warming of Alaska (“the canary in the mine”) doesn’t match the pattern of carbon dioxide increase–it may have an explanation in terms of changes in the northern Pacific and Atlantic currents. Moreover, the standard climate models have done a very poor job of predicting the temperature rise in Antarctica, so we must be cautious about the danger of confirmation bias.

My friend Will Happer believes that humans do affect the climate, particularly in cities where concrete and energy use cause what is called the “urban heat island effect.” So he would be included in the 97% who believe that humans affect climate, even though he is usually included among the more intense skeptics of the IPCC. He also feels that humans cause a small amount of global warming (he isn’t convinced it is as large as 1 degree), but he does not think it is heading towards a disaster; he has concluded that the increase in carbon dioxide is good for food production, and has helped mitigate global hunger. Yet he would be included in the 97%.

The problem is not with the survey, which asked a very general question. The problem is that many writers (and scientists!) look at that number and mischaracterize it. The 97% number is typically interpreted to mean that 97% accept the conclusions presented in An Inconvenient Truth by former Vice President Al Gore. That’s certainly not true; even many scientists who are deeply concerned by the small global warming (such as me) reject over 70% of the claims made by Mr. Gore in that movie (as did a judge in the UK; see the following link: Gore climate film’s nine ‘errors‘).


The pollsters aren’t to blame. Well, some of them are; they too can do a good poll and then misrepresent what it means. The real problem is that many people who fear global warming (include me) feel that it is necessary to exaggerate the meaning of the polls in order to get action from the public (don’t include me).

There is another way to misrepresent the results of the polls. Yes, 97% of those polled believe that there is human caused climate change. How did they reach that decision? Was it based on a careful reading of the IPCC report? Was it based on their knowledge of the potential systematic uncertainties inherent in the data? Or was it based on their fear that opponents to action are anti-science, so we scientists have to get together and support each other. There is a real danger in people with Ph.D.s joining a consensus that they haven’t vetted professionally.

I like to ask scientists who “believe” in global warming what they think of the data. Do they believe hurricanes are increasing? Almost never do I get the answer “Yes, I looked at that, and they are.” Of course they don’t say that, because if they did I would show them the actual data! Do they say, “I’ve looked at the temperature record, and I agree that the variability is going up”? No. Sometimes they will say, “There was a paper by Jim Hansen that showed the variability was increasing.” To which I reply, “I’ve written to Jim Hansen about that paper, and he agrees with me that it shows no such thing. He even expressed surprise that his paper has been so misinterpreted.”

A really good question would be: “Have you studied climate change enough that you would put your scientific credentials on the line that most of what is said in An Inconvenient Truth is based on accurate scientific results? My guess is that a large majority of the climate scientists would answer no to that question, and the true percentage of scientists who support the statement I made in the opening paragraph of this comment, that true percentage would be under 30%. That is an unscientific guestimate, based on my experience in asking many scientists about the claims of Al Gore.

This question originally appeared on Quora. the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Compare Muller’s statement with a short video by Lindzen.



  1. Climatism · February 16, 2017

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Good post Ron in exposing/explaining the overblown “97%” meme.
    More importantly, IMHO, “global warming” aka “climate change” is fundamentally about temperature change.
    So, it is important to realise that the temperatures 100% of public and scientists receive are distributed and all-too-often ‘marketed’ by literally a handful of “scientists”. Predominantly AGW ‘activist’ scientists from a handful of gov directors acting as the gatekeepers of global temperature : NASA (Schmidt), NOAA (fmr Tom Karl) NCDC (T.Peterson), BoM, CSIRO, MetUK (Julia Slingo).
    So, a literal handful of activists control the 97% belief system and “Climate Crisis Inc.” simply with their ‘pens, phones and…ideology’.


  2. joekano76 · February 16, 2017

    Reblogged this on Floating-voter.


  3. TinyCO2 · February 16, 2017

    That interview is a good find.

    Muller presents a picture that doesn’t usually get as far as the media but his BEST global temperature construct makes these opinions unimportant. The creation of the series and its tacit support for the crumbly data it uses makes him a warmist through and through. I have no doubt that if you use the same data, you get similar results. It has warmed and no matter what, you’ll see that in the data. It doesn’t mean that the data isn’t very poor, doesn’t cover enough of the planet and hasn’t been massaged to within an inch of its life. Dodgy temperature data is being fed into other calculations that require a high degree (pun) of accuracy and I’m not just talking about climate models. A week doesn’t seem to go by without some study trumpeting current conditions the worst in x years due to man made climate change. I no longer have faith in the calibration or attribution of those studies.

    I wonder if his renewal of his luke warmer credentials is down to the NOAA data scandal? His attitude after BEST was produced, was very much ‘I’m now a believer’. How were those outside the climate science inner circle supposed to judge that? Wasn’t it logical for them to asume that he was endorsing it all? By all, I mean Al Gore’s version.

    There were rumours that HadCRUT was about to lurch closer to GISS’s global trend, I wonder if that’s been ditched?

    To replace the pause, I do think that we have seen a bit of a step up. I doubt the pause will return to pre 2015 levels but it might settle on the next step. Either way, it’s short of the scare stories of the noughties. It can’t be long before the scientists realise that they’ll have to dial the emergency back.


    • Ron Clutz · February 16, 2017

      Thoughtful comment, tiny. Muller is a tightrope walker, burnishing his warmist credentials with BEST, as you say, while famously trashing Mann’s hockeystick, and now dissing Al Gore’s movie. It could well be that he sees the wind blowing in a different direction after Trump’s election. The optimist in me hopes that people like Lindzen, Happer and Muller could somehow redeem scientific credibility from the ditch where climate scientist/activists have driven.


    • manicbeancounter · February 21, 2017

      Tiny. Like Ron it is a thoughtful comment. I think that that BEST land data set does have issues. One crucial one is that whilst temperature variability might seem to be greater on the recent times, back in the nineteenth century that variability is much less. This is fairly easy to understand from the well-laid out data. They produce climate anomalies for specific places. Try Anchorage, on the edge of the Arctic, where due to the situation temperature variability is much greater than further south such as Seattle or San Francisco. The averaging process of BEST gives an average temperature including all the temperature stations, in the area, and I believe up to 2500 miles away. In the twentieth century that was fine. There were lots of weather stations,. Go back to the mid twentieth century and there is not a single weather station (I believe) in Alaska or Western Canada. Certainly not in the Arctic.
      With a bit of digging it is possible to pinpoint a place and get a list of all the weather stations from a particular point, starting with the nearest, and the dates of the data.


  4. Hifast · March 9, 2017

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s