CLAIM #2: "Global warming, so far, has not been very much. In the last 50 years it’s been two-thirds of a degree Celsius, while one degree Fahrenheit, and that hasn’t been much"
THE REALITY: Its more like 1C (1.5F), and that's more than 25% of the difference in global temperature between an Ice Age and today. Moreover, its just the tip of the iceberg. If we continue with business as usual w.r.t. fossil fuel burning, we will likely see anywhere between 3-5C (5-9F) additional warming of the globe, more than that for continents like the U.S., and nearly twice that for the Arctic.
CLAIM #3: "We need to act in a way that recognizes the problem isn’t with us."
THE REALITY: The problem is burning of carbon and increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases due to that. The U.S., and all industrial and developing countries contribute to this through our historical and/or continuing or emerging reliance on fossil fuels for energy. To deny any responsibility at all on the part of any major country that relies on fossil fuels (including the U.S.) seems disingenuous at best.
CLAIM #4: "The Koch Foundation..made it clear to us that the reason they funded us was that we did recognize that these issues [SCIENCE THAT HAS BEEN ACCEPTED FOR TWO DECADES OR MORE] were real."
THE REALITY: The Koch brothers are the single largest funder in the world now of climate change denial and disinformation (see the discussion on this SourceWatch page: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Industries as well the extensive documentation in my book "The Hockey Stick & the Climate Wars"). It would seem that Richard Muller has served as a useful foil for the Koch Brothers, allowing them to claim they have funded a real scientist looking into the basic science, while that scientist-- Muller---props himself up by using the "Berkeley" imprimatur (UC Berkeley has not in any way sanctioned this effort), appearing to accept the basic science, and goes out on the talk circuit, writing op-eds, etc. systematically downplaying the actual state of the science, dismissing key climate change impacts and denying the degree of risk that climate change actually represents. I would suspect that the Koch Brothers are quite happy with Muller right now, and I would have been very surprised had he stepped even lightly on their toes during his various interviews, which he of course has not. He has instead heaped great praise on them, as in this latest interview.
CLAIM #5: Michael Mann did not accept [DISPUTE OVER WHETHER EARTH IS WARMING AND/OR IS AT LEAST IN PART HUMAN-CAUSED] as real.
THE REALITY: As I stated the other day (http://www.facebook.com/MichaelMannScientist/posts/404262676296607): "Muller's announcement last year that the Earth is indeed warming brought him up to date w/ where the scientific community was in the the 1980s. His announcement this week that the warming can only be explained by human influences, brings him up to date with where the science was in the mid 1990s. At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of a few years!"
CLAIM #6: "[Michael Mann] has claimed that there was no Medieval warm period."
CLAIM #7: [Michael Mann has claimed] that it’s been the warmest now that it has been 1000 years.
THE REALITY: At best, a straw man as it drops the important qualifiers we have always used in describing our findings, and ignores the dozens of other confirmatory studies, including the IPCC (more on that below) and National Academy of Science (more on that later). My co-authors and I have in fact claimed, based on our work (and now the work of many others) that it is *likely* that the warmth of the most recent decades exceeds that of at least the past 1,000 years at the hemispheric scale (note that we defined "likely" as a proposition for which there is roughly a 67% chance of being true).
Where this is a straw man is that this is hardly based on the work of my co-authors and me, but rather, dozens of different teams that have independently come to this conclusion over the past decade+ since our original '98/'99 "Hockey Stick" work. Indeed, the IPCC in their 2007 (Fourth Assessment Report or 'AR4') came to even stronger conclusions, raising the confidence to "very likely" (90% confidence) for the past 400 years, and extending the "likely" conclusion back 1300 years (i.e. further back than the original 1000 year timeframe of our '98/'99 work). See the AR4 "Summary for Policy Makers" on this point (http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-a-palaeoclimatic.html): "Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years". See also the discussion in "The Hockey Stick & the Climate Wars" (http://bit.ly/sRasaq) about all of these issues.
CLAIM #8: "[Richard Muller] was part of that National Academy study that basically demonstrated that [Mann's] conclusions were wrong."
THE REALITY: A double-fibber whopper! First of all, Muller was no more "a part of that" study than I was. Despite what a reasonable listener would likely deduce from what he claimed, Muller was *not* an author of the report. There were dozens of researchers whose input was solicited for the report, which includes Muller, and which includes me.
More importantly however, the NAS actually came to the opposite of what Muller states. They reaffirmed our key findings [see e.g. Nature's summary of the report (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7097/full/4411032a.html) "Academy affirms hockey-stick graph"; the New York Times “Science Panel Backs Study on Warming Climate”; the Washington Post “Study Confirms Past Few Decades Warmest on Record"; the BBC “Backing for ‘Hockey Stick’ Graph"].
The NAS report stated that our original conclusions were broadly supported by the evidence: “Th e basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) . . . that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years . . . has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes the additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and documentation of the spatial coherence of recent warming . . . and also the pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators.” The report concluded that “based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium.”
In a press release, the NAS committee asserted that there was “high confidence that [the] planet is warmest in 400 years,” “less confidence in temperature reconstructions prior to 1600,” and “little confi dence” prior to a.d. 900. The panel made it clear that their conclusions were consistent with those of MBH99. They noted that our work was “the first to include explicit statistical error bars” and reminded readers of the original MBH99 findings that “the error bars were relatively small back to about a.d . 1600, but much larger for a.d . 1000–1600,” explaining that “the lower precision during earlier times is caused primarily by the limited availability of annually resolved paleoclimate data.”
The report authors made clear in their press conference that they backed the key conclusions of our original work. Chair Gerald North stated that “We roughly agree with the substance of their findings.” Andrew Revkin of the New York Times, noting that we had indeed emphasized the importance of uncertainties and caveats in our original millennial hockey stick analysis (MBH99), asked the panel at the press conference who, if anyone, may have been responsible for any overstating of our conclusions. North stated that “the community probably took the results to be more definitive than Mann and colleagues intended.”
You can find extensive discussion of the Academy report and the discredited, dueling "Wegman Report" solicited by fossil fuel lap dog Joe Barton (R-TX) in my chapter "A Tale of Two Reports" and all the surrounding political theater, in "The Hockey Stick & the Climate Wars" (http://bit.ly/sRasaq).