Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is turning out to be one of the most interesting and controversial new players in the climate arena. It's still early in the year, but it's looking like he'll be the Judith Curry of 2011. Fresh off his recent congressional testimony (which turned out to be a deep disappointment to Marc Morano), he gives this wide-ranging interview with NPR's Talk of the Town. Muller says enough stuff that is sure to make both Romm and Watts fume, and as you all know, that's the sweet spot in this debate. (Like a smart politician, though, Muller also salutes Watts and the hard-working climate science community.) To me, this is the money quote in the NPR interview, and one of the most obvious but least said things:
People want to pigeonhole everybody in this field just to simplify the argument.
And here's an observation he makes that could easily be laid at the media's doorstep:
But the public discussion tends to be not on the key science, but on the spectacular things that the exaggerators tend to say or the deniers deny, things like are the Himalayas going to melt? Or what's happening with hurricanes? Are they increasing? These things are - the conclusions of the scientists on those things are actually quite mild and quite soft and equivocal.
All that's left is for Muller to set up a blog and start throwing some elbows, but he's hip to what that entails:
It's a full-time job, if you're going to do nothing other than just answer the blogs and answer the public criticism.
Welcome to the Thunderdome, Dr. Muller. UPDATE: Some interesting, varied reax to Muller's NPR interview. Michael Tobis calls it "carefully prepared, precisely calibrated spin." Judith Curry is impressed and highlights her favorite excerpts. Roger Pielke Jr. calls Muller's comments on Climategate "spot on." William Connolley sees more proof that Muller is "rubbish."