Lindzen on Climate Hysteria

http://thebsreport.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/climate.jpg

Resisting climate hysteria

by Richard S. Lindzen on Quadrant Online

July 26, 2009

A Case Against Precipitous Climate Action

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.

excerpts:

For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century. Supporting the notion that man has not been the cause of this unexceptional change in temperature is the fact that there is a distinct signature to greenhouse warming: surface warming should be accompanied by warming in the tropics around an altitude of about 9km that is about 2.5 times greater than at the surface. Measurements show that warming at these levels is only about 3/4 of what is seen at the surface, implying that only about a third of the surface warming is associated with the greenhouse effect, and, quite possibly, not all of even this really small warming is due to man (Lindzen, 2007, Douglass et al, 2007). This further implies that all models predicting significant warming are greatly overestimating warming. This should not be surprising (though inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data. Thus, Santer, et al (2008), argue that stretching uncertainties in observations and models might marginally eliminate the inconsistency. That the data should always need correcting to agree with models is totally implausible and indicative of a certain corruption within the climate science community).

Climate alarmists respond that some of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past decade. Given that we are in a relatively warm period, this is not surprising, but it says nothing about trends.

Given that the evidence (and I have noted only a few of many pieces of evidence) strongly implies that anthropogenic warming has been greatly exaggerated, the basis for alarm due to such warming is similarly diminished. However, a really important point is that the case for alarm would still be weak even if anthropogenic global warming were significant. Polar bears, arctic summer sea ice, regional droughts and floods, coral bleaching, hurricanes, alpine glaciers, malaria, etc. etc. all depend not on some global average of surface temperature anomaly, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind. The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal (a leading modeler refers to it as essentially guesswork). Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range. The odds of any specific catastrophe actually occurring are almost zero. This was equally true for earlier forecasts of famine for the 1980’s, global cooling in the 1970’s, Y2K and many others. Regionally, year to year fluctuations in temperature are over four times larger than fluctuations in the global mean.

In view of the above, one may reasonably ask why there is the current alarm, and, in particular, why the astounding upsurge in alarmism of the past 4 years. When an issue like global warming is around for over twenty years, numerous agendas are developed to exploit the issue. The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power, influence, and donations are reasonably clear. So too are the interests of bureaucrats for whom control of CO2 is a dream-come-true. After all, CO2 is a product of breathing itself. Politicians can see the possibility of taxation that will be cheerfully accepted because it is necessary for ‘saving’ the earth. Nations have seen how to exploit this issue in order to gain competitive advantages. But, by now, things have gone much further. The case of ENRON (a now bankrupt Texas energy firm) is illustrative in this respect.

And finally, there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue For them, their psychic welfare is at stake.

With all this at stake, one can readily suspect that there might be a sense of urgency provoked by the possibility that warming may have ceased and that the case for such warming as was seen being due in significant measure to man, disintegrating. For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed. However, for more serious leaders, the need to courageously resist hysteria is clear. Wasting resources on symbolically fighting ever present climate change is no substitute for prudence. Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence.

Read the complete essay with references at Quadrant Online

Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

h/t to Bob Carter

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David Segesta

Hooray!!!
Well as I’ve mentioned before, some articles make me want to stand up and cheer. Among climate scientists Richard Lindzen is like the designated driver in a room full of drunks.

savethesharks

WOW! Irrefutable logic and superior reasoning on the highest order.
THIS NEEDS TO BE PUBLISHED IN EVERY NEWSPAPER AND SCIENCE JOURNAL ACROSS THE PLANET.
Every person across the globe needs to read.
Anyone who attempts to avoid this, or tries to refute, will make themselves out to be a fool.
All I gotta say is that is, by far, THE the most bulletproof apologia I have ever read.
BRAVO!!
Long live the truth and the scientific method.
Chris
Norfolk, VA

It must be very depressing to be a “real atmospheric scientist” in today’s world of computer models, data manipulators, and politicians.

Curiousgeorge

True on all counts. The problem is that reason and fact have been, and always will be, bent to the wishes of those in power or who want power. Witness the influence of religious beliefs over the centuries, right up to the present day. When confronted with political power, science must serve it’s political masters or cease to exist.
Scientists such as Lindzen cannot win on reason and facts alone. They must present the powerful with more enticing alternatives.

layne Blanchard

Love reading anything Richard has written… but I have one question (from the photo) …what the heck is “Climate Justice”?
REPLY: See http://www.climatelaw.org/

Rick

well – Ocean heat transfer seems as reasonable to me as anything else as a climate change driver but I’d say there is absolutely no chance of convincing any alarmists of it.

savethesharks

“Scientists such as Lindzen cannot win on reason and facts alone. ”
We may be on a cusp in evolution where they can and we will.
CHRIS

Geoff Sherrington

The alarmist game can be played both ways. This anonymous email landed on my desk today:
“Some of you will recall that on July 8, 1947, a little over 60 years ago, witnesses claim that an unidentified flying object (UFO) with five aliens aboard crashed onto a sheep and mule ranch just outside Roswell, New Mexico. This is a well known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies and organizations.
‘However, what you may NOT know is that in the month of April 1948, nine months after that historic day, the following people were born:
Albert A. Gore, Jr.
Hillary Rodham
John F. Kerry
William J. Clinton
Howard Dean
Nancy Pelosi
Dianne Feinstein
Charles E. Schumer
Barbara Boxer”

Anthony why on earth do you reprint this rubbish.
REPLY: Well at least I’m capable of publishing. I suppose it is for the same reason you hate PHP. – Anthony

Evan Jones

As one wag put it, “But still it cools.”

Methow Ken

As already well-stated by others in earlier comments:
This is a truly outstanding piece of writing by Lindzen.
I can only add that I am reminded of a version of what somebody said on one blog or the other recently:
”The publicly expressed wish to ‘help’ humans save themselves from imminent catastrophe, is almost always a front for a hidden agenda of wanting to rule them (and/or tax them, in this case).
Anyway: As long as we have people and organizations like Richard Lindzen, Willie Soon, the Heartland Institute, Climate Audit, ICECAP, and (of course) WattsUpWithThat, there is valid reason to hope (as Chris said above) that truth and the objective scientific method will triumph over what has become the intolerant and dogmatic religion of AGW.

mccall

Dr Lindzen’s candor is as refreshing as it is observationally consistent.
As for the MODEL-RELIANT Dr Hansen’s latest tantrum in
http://solveclimate.com/blog/20090715/james-hansen-climate-tipping-points-and-political-leadership, I’m partial to paraphrasing the WarGames film climax retort,
“General (‘er Dr Hansen), you are listening to a MACHINE. Do the world a favor and don’t act like one!”

Jason

“Among climate scientists Richard Lindzen is like the designated driver in a room full of drunks.”
LOL. I think beer just came out of my nose.

Well, that’s all very clear and sensible.
It’ll never catch on.

mbabbitt

What I like about Professor Lindzen’s essay is his ability to show what it means to think outside of simple categories: Very warm or cold years should not right away get us thinking of climate trends one way or another. I view this as a very good example of true outside-of-the-box thinking. I guess it exemplifies the best of the scientific method.

Syl

“Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence.”
Ouch.
[Just a warning to certain alarmists to cover their [snip snips] before reading!}
Magnificent piece, Dr. Lindzen

Evan Jones

“General (’er Dr Hansen), you are listening to a MACHINE. Do the world a favor and don’t act like one!”
Point taken, but any machine so dumbass-Simple-Simon stupid that it couldn’t even figure out a way to win a nuclear war wasn’t really worth listening to in the first place.

rbateman

Couple of nuggest in there
:”The case of ENRON (a now bankrupt Texas energy firm) is illustrative in this respect.” –
California got both knees taken out by Ken Lay’s firm, and has never recovered. To this day, the repeated budget surgery has been non-stop, the slashing and butchery of the state’s infrastrucure is caught in an endless loop.
The patient diagnosis if Cap&Trade is implemented in the West is permanent cripple.
“Regionally, year to year fluctuations in temperature are over four times larger than fluctuations in the global mean.”
That’s easy to remember. Thank you Dr. Lindzen.

Sandy

“Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence.”
Nomination for QotW.

Evan Jones

The essay is good.
It simply points out the apparent fact that positive feedbacks are out to lunch. But of course we knew all about that, already.
Unfortunately, the general public is relatively innocent regarding the concept and has some larnin’ to do. Let’s hope more of this sort of thing finds its way into the mainstream. (And the recent autumnal summers and ass-freezing winters carry a certain crude logic all their own.)

‘However, what you may NOT know is that in the month of April 1948, nine months after that historic day, the following people were born:
Albert A. Gore, Jr.
Hillary Rodham
John F. Kerry
William J. Clinton
Howard Dean
Nancy Pelosi
Dianne Feinstein
Charles E. Schumer
Barbara Boxer”
Nice idea but not so. Following dates from Wiki:
Gore – 31st March 48
Rodham – 26th October 47 (unless she’s the only famous woman to claim to be older than she is)
Kerry – 11th December 43 (clearly his teeth are younger than the rest of him)
Clinton – 19th August 46
Dean – 17th November 48
Pelosi – 26th March 40
Feinstein – 22nd June 33
Schumer – 23rd November 50
Boxer – 11th November 40

INGSOC

“For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed.”
Haste is a common indicator of poor judgement (and immaturity). Poor judgement leads to failure. Failure leads to change. Like climate change, it’s inevitable.

theduke

For your entertainment, here’s another version of the argument presented by Dr. Lindzen:
[snip – sorry after watching this, I don’t support such angry video arguments]

Anil Patrim

Sorry to post off topic (although the comments are all backslapping anyway) but is there a reason you (Anthony) filed a DMCA complaint against Greenman3610’s youtube video “Watts up with Watts”?
From Youtube:
“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Anthony Watts Surfacestations.org”
Surely his video falls under fair use. Relying on the nanny state to attack critics or am I missing something?
REPLY: I don’t care to discuss my reasons here as they are private and unrelated to this discussion. Google agreed that complaint was valid and removed the video. – Anthony

just Cait

Great article. We need more like that to counter groups such as ecoAmerica. On their website, http://ecoamerica.net/press/media/090520/truths, they have a download to their Climate and Energy ‘Truths’ (I put the quote around ‘truths’) and it is it says how the ecobrigade should speak to the ‘scientifically illerate’.
Some of their dictums:
Stay away from debating weather.
Stay away from debating science or specific policies.
We can successfully and should repeatedly characterize coal as “dirty” and nuclear as “unsafe.”
But my favorite of all is this one (NEW TERM ALERT):
Instead of using ‘global warming’ or ‘climate crisis’, the best new term is “deteriorating atmosphere” or “our deteriorating atmosphere”
(personalizing the term).
I was wondering what ‘climate change’ would morph into! Listen for it from the MSM.

Jimmy Haigh

mccall (20:22:33) :
Say what you like about Hansen but he is sticking steadfastly to his gun.

Dr. Lindzen makes so much sense. I have had the good fortune to see two debates between AGW proponents and skeptics in the past few days. In one, Richard Lindzen, Peter Stott, and Michael Crichton shred Gavin Schmidt, Richard Somerville, and some woman I had not heard of. When the debate was done, the majority had gone from favoring AGW to favoring sanity.
In the second, John Christy absolutely murderizes Richard Schlesinger. Not by attacking, but by being sane and reasonable. Schlesinger takes the usual AGW approach of “let’s just say it’s settled, and talk about dead polar bears and drowned cities”. Christy is low-key and never demeaning, and just oozes sanity and clearheadedness as he describes how little we really know. By the end of the debate, again the room had gone from believing in AGW to not.

Reed Coray

To “FatBigot” (20:53:44). I know truth is precious and false statements should be shown for what they are, but I wish you hadn’t ruined a pleasant delusion.

theduke

What I love most about Dr. Lindzen is that he has the courage to wander off the scientific reservation and engage in discussion and debate on cultural issues. If the whole AGW enthusiasm falls apart under it’s own weight in the future, it’s a good bet that Dr. Lindzen will be recognized as the person most responsible for exposing its dubious claims.

Geoff Sherrington

The important part of this thread is Richard Lindzen’s essay. Richard came to Melbourne about 1992 and I had the pleasure of meeting him. As I am a teetotaller, he was not in a room full of drunks.
Could not resist the fun followed up by FatBigot (20:53:44) : “Nice idea but not so. Following dates from Wiki:
Gore – 31st March 48
Rodham – 26th October 47 (unless she’s the only famous woman to claim to be older than she is) etc etc.
It shows at least that
(a) if you have not done your research, state that the source is unverified
(b) If you wish to check the facts, don’t believe everything in Wiki. For example, re Hillary, ‘In her autobiography, Living History, Sen. Clinton describes her maternal grandmother as “one of nine children from a family of French Canadian, Scottish and Native American ancestry”. No records have been found to support this claimed Native American ancestry.’ From http://www.wargs.com/political/rodham.html Maybe Indians had different calendars.
(c) Seemingly unrelated comparisons can sometimes be useful, for example Roswell UFOs compared with the IPCC Summary for Policymakers. It’s all investigative research with a common readership of settled scientists.

page48

I really like Richard Lindzen and appreciate his efforts. However, I wish he would stop insulting the public. It wasn’t the public who started the scare-mongering about climate and it isn’t the public, in general, that propagates it. It is the climate scientists.

Jimmy Haigh

Looking at the picture at the top of the thread, is this the first time in history that rent-a-mob has been on the side of the establishment?

UK Sceptic

Another astute piece of climate change analysis that will never be converted into column inches by the hostile to reasoning, alarmist MSM.

Jimmy Haigh

I’ve just Googled ‘Sam Vilain’ and I only got this:
http://www.perlfoundation.org/perl5/index.cgi?sam_vilain

papertiger

You ever get accused of being an oil company shill?
Tom Knudson of the SacBee, who has been reporting the Global Warming beat, found out who the real oil company stooges are, and he printed it in Sunday’s edition. Energy firms help pay for [Calif} state regulators far-flung trips.
He names names. He takes quotes from the guilty, and no prisoners.
This is a game changer of a report, augering a wholesale political climate change in Sacramento.

davidc

How are they going to say he’s not a climate scientist?

papertiger

Someone needs to delete about 1k worth of comments on the tip page.

Bob D

Jimmy Haigh (22:46:45) :
I’ve just Googled ‘Sam Vilain’ and I only got this:
http://www.perlfoundation.org/perl5/index.cgi?sam_vilain

He’s one of our locals here in NZ. I ran into him the other day when I was bored (Note to self – get a life):
The Standard. Funny how few of these guys seem able to rise above personal attacks and ad homs. And apparently I’m an oil company shill too. Seems I’m in good company.

John Peter

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/5916353/Climate-change-helped-the-Incas-build-civilisation.html
Just as well the Incas did not have messrs Gore and Hansen to tell them to fight climate change instead of benefitting from the warming.
I wonder what fate is awaiting Dr Alex Chepstow Lusty. Surely it not politically correct to publish such “denier” propaganda that there could have been such warming and yet the world did not it a “tipping point” from which there was no retreat.

rbateman

page48 (22:22:57) :
Weather has been a favorite topic of discussion amongst folks since man started talking. It runs along at the level of pure instinct.
This is the 1st time that it has been used as a weapon on us in modern times.
Before that, ancient religions sacrificed to the sun god, etc. in secret rites designed to control us through fear. This whole thing is a throwback.
PolyScience invents new gods to make us tremble.
Not working.
When they are gone, we can safely talk about the weather again, and enjoy it.

Warmists philosophy –
To reduce CO2 forcing we need to increase government forcing.

Alan the Brit

Common Sense, how refreshing!

JAN

FatBigot (20:53:44) :
“Nice idea but not so. ”
Hm, does that mean that the only bona fide Alien on that list is one A. A. Gore jr.?

fredlightfoot

Now,
if Obama could only read,
but perhaps, someone,
who reads, and likes talking
alone?

Ron de Haan

79 billion buys a lot of climate hysteria, especially when political and commercial gain is at stake.
Some people however will recognize themselves in the mirror created by Lindzen.
I am talking about those “intelligent ” people in powerful positions who believe they have to join the hoax because of “moral” issues.

JimB

“page48 (22:22:57) :
I really like Richard Lindzen and appreciate his efforts. However, I wish he would stop insulting the public. It wasn’t the public who started the scare-mongering about climate and it isn’t the public, in general, that propagates it. It is the climate scientists.”
Unfortunately, I disagree with this. The public is entirely “in the mix”, as very few , if any, actually take the time to investigate any of these claims that are, in fact, leading to a wholesale gutting of our economy and our way of life. The “if Katie Curic says so, it MUST be true!” crowd are what’s allowing this to go on. If the “public” would spend a bit more time investigating what’s going on around them and a little less time trying to figure out if Michael Jackson’s drugs were all legally perscribed, I think we’d be a bit better off.
Ask the normal, average, everyday person in your neighborhood if they believe that global warming is real, and most will say yes.
Ask them if they’re aware that not a single experiment has ever been performed that indicates C02 is responsible, and the tilt light starts lighting up on their forehead.
Ask them if they’re aware that what the famous IPCC actually said was “Well, we can’t find anything else to account for the warming, so it must be C02.” and they just won’t believe you.
It will begin changing when the pocketbooks start emptying, but by then it may well be too late. I can only begin to imagine what it will take to get the global-warming-virus out of our legal system. Likely to be thousands of laws/fees on the federal/state level, who knows how many local ordinances. They’re already in place in many areas.
And don’t forget that a major portion of the budget is to be funded by taxes/fees levied on C02. Admit that it’s not a problem, fees go away?…what programs get cut?…and what politician is going to openly agree that a major portion of the funding for his/her programs is based on a lie?
JimB

Stefan

just Cait (21:21:17) :
Great article. We need more like that to counter groups such as ecoAmerica. On their website, http://ecoamerica.net/press/media/090520/truths, they have a download to their Climate and Energy ‘Truths’ (I put the quote around ‘truths’) and it is it says how the ecobrigade should speak to the ’scientifically illerate’.
Some of their dictums:
Stay away from debating weather.
Stay away from debating science or specific policies.

I’d like to quote a great saying:
“God is in the details.”

VG

Well done Anthony truth = truth I still have not met any meteorologist who believes in AGW (they are by nature very conservative as they see real data every day!)
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=greenman3610&view=videos#play/all/uploads-all/0/dcxVwEfq4bM
BTW : better remove this fellow ASAP above
Tl1xtor (03:00:29) : I think its porn

Chris Wright

@ Mickey Langan (21:27:58) :
I’m familiar with the first debate you mentioned, but not the second. Do you have a link to the John Christy debate? Many thanks,
Chris
*************************************
It’s an excellent piece by Richard Lindzen, but one thing did catch my eye. He said: “Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth….”
I would have agreed with this a year ago, but that was before I heard about the astonishing opinion polls. They show that, in both the UK and US, a healthy majority believe that the warming was natural. A tracking poll shows a consistent trend towards increasing scepticism. Possibly Richard Lindzen wasn’t aware of this. It would appear that the general public have a better idea about climate change than the ‘experts’. And this despite the almost completely one-sided and biased coverage in the media.
If the media started to become more balanced in their coverage then public opinion would start to shift even more. At some point, at least in democratic countries such as the US and UK, climate change will start to move up the agenda – but not in the way the climate scientists and politicians expected. Eventually the public will put two and two together: that climate change is natural, and the world may even start to get colder – and that at the same time our governments are planning to squander trillions of dollars to solve the ‘problem’.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking. But maybe, just maybe, in a few years the situation may have changed beyond recognition so that some measure of sanity prevails. As I said, it’s probably wishful thinking!

VG

Another developing story (really is not.. its only boring ol’ weather) but this was the last “NH ice” post on CA
“Yesterday’s question (‘how long can 2009 keep this pace up’) has been answered today: 2009’s 100K+ run has finally come to a stop.
7/26/09 7244375 -71250”
We “may” be seeing the end on the NH ice melt story as “a cold run” may be starting to kick in due to Solar activity). We saw a cycle 23 region last week and now no spots for 14 days again! We may be in for a real solar minimun = which could be some REAL climate change for a change LOL
COLA is showing again some pretty cool weather across the USA for the next weeks (again it means absolutely nothing in climate terms ie no cooling, no warming, just NORMAL WEATHER)
http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp1.html