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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 20 January, 2020

Climate change sceptic 'converted' by own research

Richard A Muller founded a research project into the rise in earth surface temperature… and the findings surprised even him.

Richard Muller, left, and his daughter, Elizabeth Muller, right, pose with a map from their study on climate
Richard Muller, left, and his daughter, Elizabeth Muller, right, pose with a map from their study on climate
Image: Paul Sakuma/AP/Press Association Images

ONE OF THE world’s leading climate change sceptics has said that research he undertook into the subject has made him a ‘converted sceptic’.

Richard A Muller, a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley, and faculty senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkely Laboratory, wrote in the New York Times about the recent findings in his major research project into global warming.

Muller and his daughter Elizabeth founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project after Muller saw problems in other climate change studies that he said threw doubt on whether global warming exists.

Their project collected data from 16 different sources and reviewed data from more than 39,000 temperature measurement stations worldwide.


The findings are online at the study’s official website and show that the rise in average world land temperature globe is approximately 1.5 degrees centigrade in the past 250 years, and about 0.9 degrees in the past 50 years.

Muller said that it “appears likely” that human emission of greenhouses gases caused this increase.

The study looked at the shape of the observed temperature rise on the earth’s surface, and the greenhouse gas increase.

Muller said his findings shouldn’t end scepticism on the subject, but they should be considered seriously. He also said he remains sceptical about some of what is attributed to climate change, finding claims exaggerated or wrong.

For its next step, Berkeley Earth will look at the total warming of the oceans. It is doing this in order to obtain “a more accurate figure for the total amount of global warming observable”.

Muller said that that land temperature should increase as carbon dioxide emissions increase, and that warming will “proceed at a steady pace”.

The study received funding totally $623,087 for its first phase and has $400,000 raised so far for its second phase, which is ongoing. The Bill Gates-founded Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research donated $100,000.


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