Richard Muller


Richard Muller: Yep, Still Skeptical

Tagged by some as a “convert” to global warming, the Berkeley physicist talks about his work, some of its controversial funding, and his views on renewable energy

While Richard Muller has come around on global warming, he remains skeptical toward many aspects of climate science.

The outcome of Richard Muller’s sweeping independent audit of temperature data surprised a lot of people — including him. Known as the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study, or BEST, the project was rooted in Muller’s own skepticism toward some of the key data underlying conclusions that the UN’s influential climate panel has drawn about global warming.

The author of two books worth of science advice “for future presidents” now concedes that “global warming is real,” but he remains skeptical about a lot of things, like:

  • The objectivity of some of his colleagues
  • The link between climate change and severe weather
  • The future of some renewable energy sources, like solar thermal and geothermal

In the video clip (below), Muller talks about the perils of accepting scientific findings at face value.

Here are some more excerpts from our recent conversation: Continue reading

Muller on Climate: It’s All About China

Forget California, says the outspoken Berkeley physicist. It’s what China does that matters

Richard Muller

Despite some well-publicized recent conversions on climate matters, Richard Muller’s reputation as a climate skeptic is well earned. In two books, one published and one forthcoming, the UC Berkeley physicist offers counsel on physics and Energy for Future Presidents.

One thing Muller is highly skeptical of is California’s legislated climate strategy, a perspective that he laid out for me in a recent interview at his home in the Berkeley Hils. What matters, he says, is what China does. And little else:

CM: The point here is, and you’ve written about this, is that California can’t save the world in terms of cutting emissions, that no matter what we do, what matters is what China’s doing.

RM: Certainly, California is far too small a part of the global warming problem that anything we do here cannot really help. Even setting an example is something that, I think, is not something we are going to do. But if we can develop an industry that lowers the price of solar cells that lowers the price of wind, that makes nuclear safe, if we can do those things, then that could have a real impact on the future. Continue reading