Professor Richard Lindzen's Congressional Testimony

Dr. Richard Lindzen gives testimony before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on November 17th, 2010

The House Testimony on global warming yesterday had a number of excellent presentations, and you can watch the entire video here.

I’ve have professor Richard Lindzen’s presentation saved here in PDF form, and some key excerpts below. Part of his presentation looks like WUWT Sea Ice news. It is well worth the read.

Excerpts:

The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak –and commonly acknowledged as such.

Given that this has become a quasi-religious issue, it is hard to tell. However, my personal hope is that we will return to normative science, and try to understand how the climate actually behaves. Our present approach of dealing with climate as completely specified by a single number, globally averaged surface temperature anomaly, that is forced by another single number, atmospheric CO2levels, for example, clearly limits real understanding; so does the replacement of theory by model simulation. In point of fact, there has been progress along these lines and none of it demonstrates a prominent role for CO2. It has been possible to account for the cycle of ice ages simply with orbital variations (as was thought to be the case before global warming mania); tests of sensitivity independent of the assumption that warming is due to CO2(a circular assumption) show sensitivities lower than models show; the resolution of the early faint sun paradox which could not be resolved by greenhouse gases, is readily resolved by clouds acting as negative feedbacks.

We see that all the models are characterized by positive feedback factors (associated with amplifying the effect of changes in CO2), while the satellite data implies that the feedback should be negative. Similar results are being obtained by Roy Spencer.

This is not simply a technical matter. Without positive feedbacks, doubling CO2only produces 1C warming. Only with positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds does one get the large warmings that are associated with alarm. What the satellite data seems to show is that these positive feedbacks are model artifacts.

This becomes clearer when we relate feedbacks to climate sensitivity (ie the warming associated with a doubling of CO2).

Discussion of other progress in science can also be discussed if there is any interest. Our recent work on the early faint sun may prove particularly important. 2.5 billion years ago, when the sun was 20% less bright (compared to the 2% change in the radiative budget associated with doubling CO2), evidence suggests that the oceans were unfrozen and the temperature was not very different from today’s. No greenhouse gas solution has worked, but a negative cloud feedback does.

You now have some idea of why I think that there won’t be much warming due to CO2, and without significant global warming, it is impossible to tie catastrophes to such warming. Even with significant warming it would have been extremely difficult to make this connection.

Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating.

In the meantime, while I avoid making forecasts for tenths of a degree change in globally averaged temperature anomaly, I am quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are not on the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age.

===============================================

Entire presentation is available here: Lindzen_Testimony_11-17-2010 (PDF 1.4 MB)

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Stephen Wilde

“Our recent work on the early faint sun may prove particularly important. 2.5 billion years ago, when the sun was 20% less bright (compared to the 2% change in the radiative budget associated with doubling CO2), evidence suggests that the oceans were unfrozen and the temperature was not very different from today’s. No greenhouse gas solution has worked, but a negative cloud feedback does.”
As I said elswhere:
Despite a substantial increase in the power of the sun over billions of years the
temperature of the Earth has remained remarkably stable. My proposition is that
the reason for that is the existence of water in liquid form in the oceans combined
with a relatively stable total atmospheric density. If the power input from the sun
changes then the effect is simply to speed up or slow down the hydrological cycle.
An appropriate analogy is a pan of boiling water. However much the power input
increases the boiling point remains at 100C. The speed of boiling however does
change in response to the level of power input. The boiling point only changes if
the density of the air above and thus the pressure on the water surface changes. In
the case of the Earth’s atmosphere a change in solar input is met with a change in
evaporation rates and thus the speed of the whole hydrological cycle keeping the
overall temperature stable despite a change in solar power input.
from here:
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5497

owen from cornwall ontario

Very well said, but will any descision maker, or anyone from the MSM report it!!!
Owen

owen from cornwall ontario

Very well said, but will any descision maker listen, or anyone from the MSM report it!!!
Owen

James Bull

Sounds a very sensible and level headed approach, so he will probably get called all sorts of names and threatened in many ways.
Particularly liked this statement,
Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating.
Especially the last bit.
James

rc

The voice of reason.

I’ve always enjoyed his presentations.

Jeremy

And Susan Hockfield (MIT President) is on record for crying climate catastrophe wolf – along with her friend Jeffrey Immelt at GE.
Both no doubt stand to gain enormously from research funding and green energy related subsidies.
MIT was honored by a US Presidential visit in October 2009 – no doubt they got some thanks for their good work promoting the CAGW cause.
So transparently corrupt and so utterly disgusting.

Dave Springer

Lindzen speaks the truth. The deniers IMO are the warmists who must deny a compelling list of contrary observations in order to have faith in the “model” predictions.

Martin Lewitt

I thought Professor Lindzen’s summary of the issues at dispute was excellent, but he missed some points he could have made in responses. For instance much was made of the fact that there are currently about twice as many record highs as record lows. While attempts are made to adjust global average temperature anomaly for the urban heat island effect, these records are not so adjusted and might well be significantly explained by the UHI. Another point I wish Lindzen had made in response to the positive feedback from water vapor, was that the increases in precipitation are a negative feedback that is under represented in the models by a factor of two or three (per Wentz) and of course the increases in water vapor probably also impact cloud cover and type. So despite the positive feedback from water vapor, NET feedback may be negative, and Lindzen mentioned data that indicated the net feedback might be negative.

old construction worker

“Given that this has become a quasi-religious issue, it is hard to tell. However, my personal hope is that we will return to normative science, and try to understand how the climate actually behaves.” And as a tax payer/consumer, I’m willing pay for honest research.
“I am quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are not on the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age.” I hope it’s that far out in human years.

Steve Keohane

This is a great presentation by Dr Lindzen. Another indication of the wheels coming off the CAGW bus is this from the mainstream comic strip, ‘Pearls Before Swine’, today’s strip Nov. 11, http://comics.com/pearls_before_swine/

chris y

My favorite quote from Lindzen’s presentation-
“Given the above, the notion that alarming warming is ‘settled science’ should be offensive to any sentient individual…”
Definition of sentient- –adjective
1. having the power of perception by the senses; conscious.
2. characterized by sensation and consciousness.
Antonyms- ignorant, unaware, unfamiliar, uninformed, unknowledgeable, unwitting, impassive, indifferent, senseless, unconscious, unmindful, unresponsive
Used in a sentence-
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alarmists (CACA’s) are not sentient individuals.

Morley Sutter

Marvelous excerpts! The link to the PDF version does not seem to work.

Roger Longstaff

An excellent post!
What permission needs to be obtained to send a copy to the UK government, who are intent on spending £18 billion p.a. of money borrowed by UK taxpayers in order to combat non-existent AGW?
If Prof Lindzen would do this himself it would carry much more weight.

REPLY:
His testimony is a matter of public record, thus public domain. Send it to anyone, anywhere. – Anthony

Greed feedbacks Greed, Global warmers feedback Global warmers, Craziness feedbacks Craziness , thus nuts begin to reproduce exponentially, unless sanity stops it. Common hard working people must restore common sense and sanity, characteristics which are not usually found among not working people or, more precisely, among the sons and daughters of “Mommy and Daddy” , the so called “pseudo-intelligentsia” and politicians by inheritance.
However, what remains unexplainable and deserves research is the most weird behavior of those who fund these craziness, people who after achieving several or hundreds of billions, obtained by them or by their parents or grandparents, try to get much more billions and trillions, though this will not give them a more happy life and turn them into immortal beings, and what is worst, it is really impossible to understand why, at a certain point in their peculiar and leisure existence,they develop the urgent need to “change the world” according to their nanny fantasies and, in order to achieve this goal, make use (thanks to their inexhaustible wallets) of known national and international institutions, NGO’s funded also by them or their employees, and pretend, in an incredible madness, to govern upon the whole world.
This is what is behind this mind alteration and it should be stopped.

Troels Halken

Does anyone have a link to his written testimony? Or is that the pdf?
Troels
REPLY: Yes, that’s the PDF I supplied. – Anthony

sHx

I wish to thank the House Committee on Science and Technology for the opportunity to present my views on the issue of climate change –or as it was once referred to: global warming. The written testimony is, of course, far more detailed than my oral summary will be. In the summary, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing: it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes. The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak –and commonly acknowledged as such.

Excellent summary.

John Marshall

As the incoming energy increases so does the energy loss. The balance is maintained.
Historically climates have been warmer and colder and solar radiance has been fairly constant. Other cycles control climate not some trace gas.

James Sexton

Dr. Lindzen once again properly articulates the issue. He always does such a great job. I’m not too overly optimistic about this setting, though. I seriously doubt many he was speaking to have the ability to digest and comprehend the meaning of his words, and those few that do, are more concerned about whether they look good for the cameras and getting re-elected than actually doing something positive for this nation. I wish I were wrong, but time and again we see that congress usually misses the mark. I am, however, optimistic about the overall direction of the debate. But, to get a message through to this group of people, their constituency is voice that has the best chance of getting heard.

Pointman

Today’s installment of the Cancun Week special is available at
http://ourmaninsichuan.wordpress.com/
It’s an assessment of the political approach by China to Cancun.
Pointman

R T Barker

Well said Dr Lindzen.
From this layman’s perspective, the planet Earth seems to have a dynamically stable climate despite 4 billion plus years of untold disruptions. That implies a negative feedback somewhere and the likely suspect is H2O.

What’s not to love about this man.
I consider his a true HERO of our insane, post-normal times.
More power to your elbow Richard!

Athelstan

Extend unto them, a reasoned and rational scientific synopsis and in so doing, drive the alarmists out the ‘temple’, Dr. Lindzen!
Logic?…..science?…….rationale?
They wont know what is hitting ’em.

Pascvaks

Lindzen is a Classic! Would that we had a few 10’s of thousands more like him.

There speaks a real scientist, not some bogus charlatan as we see in the climategate emails.

morgo

about time I hope al gore reads this and every body that believes in global warming but i think thay will not take any notice, thay have there heads in the sand

stephen richards

An order of magnitude better than Judith’s. Judith always starts from the premise that CO² produces significant global warming and works forward from that and while I praise her ‘adapt and enjoy’ attitude her testimony was full of socio-jargon designed to baffle the more intellectually challenged members of congress.
Dr L is clear, concise, precise and provably correct. However, the make up of the witness list implies an attempt to bias the issue toward the alarmlists. I don’t hold out much hope of any Damascas moments among your congressmen/women.
This is not the moment for holdings one’s breath except in a suicidal attempt.

James Sexton

I like this statement, “In fact, the arctic is notoriously variable; similar statements are available for 1957, and the Skate surfaced at the N. Pole in 1959. So much for ‘unprecedented.”
Do the alarmists ever respond to Lindzen?

kwik

stu says:
November 18, 2010 at 7:44 am
“What’s not to love about this man.
I consider his a true HERO of our insane, post-normal times.”
Hear, Hear !!!!

The paradox of the faint young sun is solved by realising that once the planet was almost entirely covered in oceans. As the ocean crust began to move, the continents formed, and without life, became powerful reflectors of sunlight. The rate at which this happened made good the rate at which the sun warmed. To read more and to see the graph, visit:
http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/climate1.htm#faint_young_sun

DanB

This guy is good. And presents a well thought out, cogent and scientifically defensible counter to the alarmists arguments. No wonder the mainstream media and the warmists dislike him.

How many here will sign up to Lindzen’s summary?
that’s a good poll question.

jorgekafkazar

“… tests of sensitivity independent of the assumption that warming is due to CO2(a circular assumption) show sensitivities lower than models show; the resolution of the early faint sun paradox which could not be resolved by greenhouse gases, is readily resolved by clouds acting as negative feedbacks….”
“Note that much of the ‘error’ in the regressions arises because radiatively important factors like clouds and aerosols vary due to many factors apart from SST. For observations there is also instrumental error, though relative errors over short time scales are likely to small.”
I’m not certain that the polysyllabic phraseology and scientific jargon will penetrate Congressional crania. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know…Pelosis.

EthicallyCivil

His point in earlier presentations is that it’s all about phase space. If the feedbacks are positive we have an unstable system, with the attending catastrophes and tipping points for any proposed warming from CO2 doubling. With positive feedback — we are *already* diverging. In short, it’s already too late, we’re up a creek — period.
If, however, you have *negative* feedbacks — the impact of CO2 doubling in minimized and mitigated.
So let’s “play scientist” eh? What does the paleo record show? Does the the Earth system show strong run-away warming events? Is there evidences of accelerated warming in the presence increasing CO2 levels? Have we in fact diverged and become either Venus or Mars at any time in our history?
Bonus points if you know what side of phase space we’re in. Thank you Mr. LaPlace.

Russ R

Dr. Spencer has a short video on Accuweather, where he discusses the issues with modeling cloud behavior. Good to see some voices of reason getting some visability.
You just can’t “fool all of the people, all of the time”.
http://www.accuweather.com/video/28984389001/clouds-key-role-in-climate-change.asp

Esther Cook

John Marshall says:
November 18, 2010 at 7:15 am
As the incoming energy increases so does the energy loss. The balance is maintained.

Yes, but the equilibrium shifts. The temperature (at sea level atmospheric pressure) will rise if the CO2 has any net effect. How much is the question, and what effect would that have on all terran life forms SHOULD be the question.

James Sexton

Steven Mosher says:
November 18, 2010 at 9:07 am
How many here will sign up to Lindzen’s summary?
that’s a good poll question.
========================================================
As in being in general agreement?

Michael T

Well…I sent Richard Lindzen’s testimony to the UK Conservative Party Chairman’s office – this was the reply (in quick time, I have to say):
“Dear Mr. Taylor,
I am writing on behalf of Baroness Warsi to thank you for your recent email.
The new administration will be united behind three key principles: freedom, fairness and responsibility; and united behind one key purpose – to give our country the strong, stable and determined leadership that we need for the long term.
We have now published a document setting out the coalition’s programme for government. It explains the approach we will take in a series of important areas. You can read about our plans in more detail from the following link:
http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/409088/pfg_coalition.pdf
I would also like to highlight the latest news and announcements from the Department for Energy and Climate Change too. These details are on their website:
http://www.decc.gov.uk/
Thank you, once again, for taking the time to write.
Yours sincerely,
David Beal
Correspondence Unit
Conservative Campaign Headquarters ”
Section 10 in the first link is just laughable, isn’t it? They just don’t get it.
Thanks for all of the good stuff that I read here – I used to say that, in my sixties, I would be happy to learn at least two new things every day – I’m easily topping that on WUWT.
Michael

Henry Galt

James Sexton says:
November 18, 2010 at 8:36 am
Do the alarmists ever respond to Lindzen? “”
That is a leading question if ever I heard one.
“He is in the thrall of oil companies, out of his depth, out of his field, out of his mind, out of order, out of touch and an out and out cad and bounder”
The fact that he is right is not sufficient for any other responses – viz the swift answer to Michael T from HM gov above.

Ray

Stephen Wilde says:
November 18, 2010 at 6:24 am
Very interesting. Water evaporation is endothermic. The faster you evaporate water the faster and lower the temperature drops. So an increase in solar energy will make the oceans evaporate faster but at the same time it will cool them down faster and to lower temperatures.

Hu McCulloch

Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition.

I respectfully disagree. Skepticism is the honorable scientific position. Its opposite is gullibility, naivete, or unwariness. A readiness to believe the sky is falling even when it’s not.

WA777

Try this for the slide presentation:
Lindzen, Ph.D., Richard S. “Testimony Of Richard Lindzen To The Subcommittee On Energy And Environment, Committee On Science And Technology, U.S House Of Representatives, November 17, 2010.” Text. Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, November 17, 2010. http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/file/Commdocs/hearings/2010/Energy/17nov/Lindzen_Testimony.pdf
REPLY: which is the same one I have linked in the story. – Anthony

G. Karst

Lindzen was exceptional because not only does he understand the true science, but he can also discern the true issues. No other panel participant was his peer in that aspect. GK

Kev-in-UK

Lindzen is one heck of a cool chap – and deserves an awful lot of respect and credit for the way he conducts himself AND his presentations of the science

richard telford

“It has been possible to account for the cycle of ice ages simply with orbital variations”
If “simply” is taken to imply without feedbacks then I would be delighted to read a reference supporting this.

Gary wilson

If the models were truly physical there is no need to assume a positive or negative feed back. The true feedback sign should be an output of the model ,not an input.

harrywr2

richard telford says:
November 18, 2010 at 10:50 am
“If “simply” is taken to imply without feedbacks then I would be delighted to read a reference supporting this.”
Lindzen and Pan 1993
http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/171nocephf.pdf

James Sexton

Henry Galt says:
November 18, 2010 at 10:08 am
James Sexton says:
November 18, 2010 at 8:36 am
Do the alarmists ever respond to Lindzen? “”
That is a leading question if ever I heard one.
======================================================
Heh, guilty. But also, an observation. I recall many rigorous detailed attacks on several skeptics. But I don’t recall any substantive attacks on Dr. Lindzen’s assertions. And here, in congressional testimony, he’s mocking the alarmists! Daring just one to directly challenge him. And then Heidi Cullen testifies……… Man, that is just beautiful!

Vince Causey

A great response from a great man. One day they will toss out that old statue of Lincoln and replace it with a statue of Lindzen.