berkeley earth surface temperature project

Conversion Fever! Why The Media Adores Former Climate Skeptics

If you’ve been following the science of global warming for over a decade—as I have—you might find the recent conversion of Berkeley physicist Richard Muller into a climate believer kind of underwhelming. That’s certainly the reaction of many longtime climate scientists, with whom Muller now, finally, agrees.

At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of just a few years!” climatologist Michael Mann tweeted. Climate scientist Ken Caldeira also had an amusing take, as quoted by Joe Romm: “I am glad that Muller et al have taken a look at the data and have come to essentially the same conclusion that nearly everyone else had come to more than a decade ago.”

Why, then, does Muller draw New York Times op-ed attention for his conversion? Is it really news that one individual physicist has finally come to agree that the science of climate change is very solid?

Why Hard Core Climate “Skeptics” Don’t Change Their Minds

Richard Muller teaching

I’ve been watching with interest the blogosphere uproar over the release of results from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project centered around physicist Richard Muller [pictured left], which now claims to confirm that the world is indeed warming. 

As Joe Romm notes, this is mainly newsworthy not for the finding itself—we’ve known this to be true for ages—but because Muller had talked as though he was coming from the other side, the skeptical side, and had received Koch funding. And as Romm notes, the uber-skeptic blogger Anthony Watts had said of Muller’s undertaking, “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.

Now, however, Watts is blasting the Muller group for releasing results short of peer review, and calling for an open peer review process and “transparency” so no “pals” handle the papers.

In other words, it appears to me as though Watts is building a series of arguments and complaints that will allow him to *not* “accept whatever results they produce, even if it prove my premise wrong.”

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