Richard Muller, covert agent for the climate conspiracy: the “sceptic” response to Muller’s BEST paper

Climate Depot working hard to make it a “debate”

Its Muller vs Watts!

The denial movement is in a hilarious state of conniption over the latest paper from Richard Muller and BEST that conclusively demonstrate average temperatures have risen 1.5c above the norm since the late 18th century:

According to a new Berkeley Earth study released today, the average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by 1.5 °C over the past 250 years. The good match between the new temperature record and historical carbon dioxide records suggests that the most straightforward explanation for this warming is human greenhouse gas emissions. 

All Muller has done is confirm what tens of thousands of other scientists have done over the past several decades.

The work is notable only because Muller was a prominent sceptic and has undergone his very own (and very public) “road to Damascus”:

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.

My personal response to Muller’s work is “meh”.

Sure, it fuels the climate debate saga and gives us something to talk about. But what is more interesting is the response from the denial machine which can be characterized as denial, bait-and-switch and conspiracy mongering.

Anthony Watts breaks the irony meter once again by claiming Muller’s work failed peer review:

Whoa, this is heavy. Ross McKitrick, who was a peer review referee for the BEST papers with the Journal of Geophysical Research got fed up with Muller’s media blitzing and tells his story

Watts clearly lacks self awareness, as his entire blog exists to showcase his vanity research on temperature records that has a) never been peer reviewed and b) is not fit to be published in a respected scientific journal.


In response to Muller’s work, Anthony Watt’s is peddling some dreary “research” in a vain attempt to distract the masses.

Watts is beating the same tired old drum about temperature records being flawed due to the fact they’re all situated near cooling towers or some such gibberish in a series of non-peer reviewed papers released to draw attention away from Muller’s work

Wott’s up with that? says it best:

So… Anthony Watts’ science revelation is that his inkjet has finished printing a typo-ridden do-over of his attack on US surface station weather data, “to be submitted for publication”, with his usual denialist pals (McIntyre, Christie, Jones).  

Strange that Anthony’s promoting his sciencey-ness before publication (let alone acceptance). Didn’t he rail against the practice when he didn’t like former pal Dr. Muller’s temperature analysis? I guess that was then and this is… now. 

Let’s see who he tries to submit this too (Journal of Geophysics, anyone? Oops, all the planted editors have decamped) and how the peer-review turns out. Should be funny to watch him squirm and sputter.

The entire denial movement is aghast, not merely because “one of them” has switched teams. More so because Muller’s conversion is making news around the globe. It has established a narrative or anecdote the deniers don’t want circulating:

Did you hear about the scientists who doubted climate change, but after checking the data himself found it to be real?

It’s exactly the kind of meme, or narrative the sceptics fear and they’re working damn hard to try and spin Muller’s work while also attacking the man himself.

Thus the notorious spinmeister, Marc Morano, and the entire denial machine is doing their best to turn the science into a debate between Richard Muller and Anthony Watts. When it comes to the actual science of climate change these two men are irrelevant: however, what matters to Muller and Watts is what they think, and what they have personally have to add to the debate.

Still, if you want more than just the Hatfield and McCoy comedy of Muller and Watts there’s always the conspiracy angle. And without fail, our old friends Jo Nova and Lord Monckton deliver.

Tin-foil hat brigade brings the crazy

Monckton  has posted his own take on Muller’s research on Jo Nova’s site and sees the entire episode – surprise! – as a conspiracy:

He was posing, I said, as a skeptical scientist; his results would broadly confirm the pre-existing temperature series; when his research ended, he would declare himself to have been converted from scepticism to the belief that merely because the world had warmed the warming must be our fault; and publication of his results would be exploited as a triumphant and final confirmation of the “global warming” orthodoxy.


Muller was a deep under-cover agent that fooled both the Koch brothers (billionaire climate deniers) who funded his work and Anthony Watts who several years back stated he would accept the results of Muller’s work.

Those cunning scientists!

Is there nothing they can’t do?

11 thoughts on “Richard Muller, covert agent for the climate conspiracy: the “sceptic” response to Muller’s BEST paper

  1. john byatt says:

    Some expert opinion on the Watts paper.

    Comment, worst paper ever?

  2. john byatt says:


    Gregor VertacnikJuly 30, 2012
    I’ve just read the Watt’s paper. As a climatologist experienced in monitoring, data quality control and also homogenisation I must say this is one of the worst papers about climate change I’ve ever read.

    The role of station relocation, sensor change and time-of-observation bias has already been discussed in the Victor’s blog so I will concentrate at only one example.

    Let’s look at the USHCN v2 database. The list of stations is here:

    Take stations with IDs 262780, 265168, 266779 – three medium elevation sites from Nevada (the last one is Reno). You can download the raw data from:

    If you look at the annual mean temperature time series of the three stations, you would notice a huge discrepancy. It is obvious such data cannot be used directly to study climate change …

    I also don’t understand why all the trends in the paper are written with 3 decimal digits without any error estimation. Are the authors so confident in the results or is it just the lack of mathematical background?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      John thanks for your comments – I’d be interested in publishing your views as a post if your interested.

      Mike @ WtD

      • john byatt says:

        Mike I do not have the expertise to comment which is why I defer to experts such as Victor Venema and Gregor Vertacnik,
        see Victor’s professional qualifications at link and also google Gregor.

        My initial view on the posting of the paper was that it is in effect claiming that the US surface trend is one and a half times lower than the US UAH lower trop data, also see comments re that on victor’s blog

      • john byatt says:

        dhogazaJuly 30, 2012 @ Variable variabilities

        “Secondly, tropospheric data is expected to have higher trends.”

        It’s not quite that simple. True for global averages, with most of the difference occuring in the tropics.

        Got a cite that supports the notion that the US48 lower trop trend is exptected to be 1.5 times higher than the CONUS surface temp trend? Or are you just extrapolating from what’s expected *globally*?

  3. john byatt says:

    Victor also took down the Watts claimed new paper, that turned out to be a graduation thesis.



  4. Nick says:

    Watt’s only real talent lies in absurd PR,as this pissing competition with Muller illustrates. What a waste of time and electricity.

    It’s rich that Monckton should attack Muller for ‘posing’ as a ‘skeptical scientist’,given his own posing as any kind of scientist before suitably credulous audiences. The man’s enablers have a lot to explain.

    In his Nova-rant,Monckton has bizarrely insisted on putting an umlaut over the ‘u’ in Muller every time the name is written,knowing full well that Muller does not present his name this way.

    The motivation for this action? Signalling to his core audience of Colonel Blimps that Muller is really a German and cannot be trusted of course. And he thought it was worth doing…

  5. snafu says:


    [Update July 30: JGR told me “This paper was rejected and the editor recommended that the author resubmit it as a new paper.”]

    • Nick says:

      Oh,devastating [sarc]. An invitation to resubmit! Still,McKitrick would know all about rejection..which is why you’ll find his climate musings on E&E…. the rejection of this paper on UHI means of course that the glaciers of North America will reverse their retreats [sarc]

  6. Robert says:

    “Muller was a deep under-cover agent that fooled both the Koch brothers (billionaire climate deniers) who funded his work and Anthony Watts who several years back stated he would accept the results of Muller’s work.”

    And we would have gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids!

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