My apologies for misspelling his name. But I am not misrepresenting his 2003 “skeptical” viewpoints wrt GW.
Let’s read all
of Muller’s 2003 writing that David’s link quoted from:
The disagreement is not political; most of it arises from valid issues involving physics and mathematics. First the physics. An accurate thermometer wasn't invented until 1724 (by Fahrenheit), and good worldwide records didn't exist prior to the 1900s. For earlier eras, we depend on indirect estimates called proxies. These include the widths of tree rings, the ratio of oxygen isotopes in glacial ice, variations in species of microscopic animals trapped in sediment (different kinds thrive at different temperatures), and even historical records of harbor closures from ice. Of course, these proxies also respond to other elements of weather, such as rainfall, cloud cover, and storm patterns. Moreover, most proxies are sensitive to local conditions, and extrapolating to global climate can be hazardous. Chose the wrong proxies and you'll get the wrong answer.
The math questions involve the procedures for combining data sets. Mann used a well-known approach called principle component analysis. This method extracts from a set of proxy records the behavior that they have in common. It can be more sensitive than simply averaging data, since it typically suppresses nonglobal variations that appear in only a few records. But to use it, the proxy records must be sampled at the same times and have the same length. The data available to Mann and his colleagues weren't, so they had to be averaged, interpolated, and extrapolated. That required subjective judgments which-unfortunately-could have biased the conclusions.
When I first read the Mann papers in 1998, I was disappointed that they did not discuss such systematic biases in much detail, particularly since their conclusions repealed the medieval warm period. In most fields of science, researchers who express the most self-doubt and who understate their conclusions are the ones that are most respected. Scientists regard with disdain those who play their conclusions to the press. I was worried about the hockey stick from the beginning. When I wrote my book on paleoclimate (published in 2000), I initially included the hockey stick graph in the introductory chapter. In the second draft, I cut the figure, although I left a reference. I didn't trust it enough.
Last month's article by McIntyre and McKitrick raised pertinent questions. They had been given access (by Mann) to details of the work that were not publicly available. Independent analysis and (when possible) independent data sets are ultimately the arbiter of truth. This is precisely the way that science should, and usually does, proceed. That's why Nobel Prizes are often awarded one to three decades after the work was completed-to avoid mistakes. Truth is not easy to find, but a slow process is the only one that works reliably.
It was unfortunate that many scientists endorsed the hockey stick before it could be subjected to the tedious review of time. Ironically, it appears that these scientists skipped the vetting precisely because the results were so important.
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. I would love to believe that the results of Mann et al. are correct, and that the last few years have been the warmest in a millennium.
Love to believe? My own words make me shudder. They trigger my scientist's instinct for caution. When a conclusion is attractive, I am tempted to lower my standards, to do shoddy work. But that is not the way to truth. When the conclusions are attractive, we must be extra cautious.
The public debate does not make that easy. Political journalists have jumped in, with discussion not only of the science, but of the political backgrounds of the scientists and their potential biases from funding sources. Scientists themselves are also at fault. Some are finding fame and glory, and even a sense that they are important. (That's remarkably rare in science.) We drift into ad hominem counterattacks. Criticize the hockey stick and some colleagues seem to think you have a political agenda-I've discovered this myself. Accept the hockey stick, and others accuse you of uncritical thought.
There are also the valid concerns of politicians who have to make decisions in a timely way. In 1947, Harry Truman grew so annoyed at the prevarications of economists that he joked that he wanted a one-armed advisor-who could not hedge his conclusions with the phrase "on the other hand."
Some people think that science is served by open debate between left-handed and right-handed advocates, just as in politics. But the history of science shows it is best done by people who have two hands each. Present results with caution, and insist on equivocating. Leave it to the president and his advisors to make decisions based on uncertain conclusions. Don't exaggerate the results. Use both hands. We cannot afford to lower our standards merely because the problem is so urgent.
David’s linked article (as usual for his links) takes words out of context (like the red
ones, ignoring the green
ones). Overall that2003 writing from Muller is about 94% GW skeptical
with a 6% CYA(just in case) GW alarmist
. Count the words.
As for his comments to Wired Magazine in 2008 (also linked in David’s linked article trying to prove Muller was an alarmist by selective quotation) here they are:
Wired: And the third physics issue for presidents?
Muller: Global warming. There is a consensus that global warming is real. There has not been much so far, but it’s going to get much, much worse. The thing I would tell the president is that the global warming, according to the global consensus — that’s the IPCC
scientists, who won the Nobel Prize — the global warming of the future is going to come from the developing world. It’s the exploding economies of China and India and Asia that are going to be responsible for the CO2.
This causes a political problem because they are poor and have a low standard of living and shouldn’t have to pay for emissions cuts.
So, the only way this is going to work is that we pay the expense of them cutting back.If all we do is set an example, the example we’ll have set is that once you’re a wealthy nation, you can cut back on CO2.
If that’s the example, they will wait until they are wealthy and then they’ll cut back and it’ll be too late.
Of course, if either one of the candidates said, we have to send
$100 billion to China, they’d lose. But after the election maybe they can talk about that.
Doing feel-good things in the U.S. is fine. Going to biofuels is good for energy independence. Going to solar and nuclear is also good for energy independence and also good for global warming. But the U.S. is going to contribute less than 1 degree of warming to future warming.
The future is primarily going to come from China. Their economy is growing at 10 percent a year. And their carbon footprint is growing even faster, 10 or 12 percent per year. The developing world is taking off.
The OECD countries [a group of wealthier nations] are now contributing much less than one-half of the carbon dioxide. The non-OECD countries are growing and growing in their energy use. And we have to be happy about that. It’s a good thing because it means their standard of living is getting better. It’s even a good thing for population control to have people who are happy and healthy.
text are David’s linked article selective quotes. Those quotes are not representative. He mostly diverts the discussion from what the future US President should do in the USA to trying to control others like China/India/Asia (again while throwing a few CYA words).
I also have his 2008 book Physics for Future Presidents
where Part V (pages 251 through 344) discuss Global Warming and Energy. He mainly comes across as a pure “science” arbiter in these pages between what he calls two extremes (GW alarmists and GW skeptics). Mostly he says (as in the Wired interview about his book), don’t do much as far as the US carbon footprint reduction is concerned (and keep up the drilling in Alaska page 276-277), but try to control China and India’s carbon emissions (that’s where the real harm will come from). But overall, I’d say there has been a slight movement from his GW skepticism of 2003 to a more nuanced view in 2008 (he advocates for certain alternative energies like nuclear, clean coal, carbon credits in Chapters 24/25). But clearly not to the point of being an GW alarmist (for instance he poohs poohs recycling, energy usage reduction, electric/hybrid cars, Kyoto, and solar energy in his chapter on “Non-Solutions” in Chapter 23 and the Hockey stick on pages 292-295). He was not there yet in 2008.
I take Muller’s current word (July 2012) about his “conversion”:
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.
far more than David’s selective quotes.
Now Muller is with the alarmists (and A
GW as well) more so than the 2007 IPCC. And btw, the 2012 IPCC is already showing signs of being more “alarmist" than IPCC 2007 (which was watered down in the Summary for Policymakers review by countries). That is because the DATA is more abundantly clear (especially Arctic melting, ocean temp increases, and incidence of extreme weather). These “alarmists” scientists are not “false alarmists”.
The further one delves into the actual DATA as Muller has done, the more alarmist an open minded scientist becomes. Ideologues are difficult to change especially with strong funding from self-serving industry that bankroll the denialist movement. This time the Koch Brothers got what they deserve.
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.