Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

No cause for alarm? – You cannot be serious!

with 52 comments

This is a transcript of an email – copied to about 20 key contacts (i.e. the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, British and American journalists, and climate science bloggers around the world) – sent at 0900 hrs GMT today, Monday 5 March 2012.
***UPDATE: Please make sure you read this too (and/or instead)!***
—————————————————-

Professor Richard S. Lindzen
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston, MA.

Dear Professor Lindzen,

RE: Your presentation in the Palace of Westminster in London on 22 February 2012

In writing you this third email, I am hoping that it will not be spammed.  I say this because it seems very clear to me that I may have alienated you by previously making “contentious accusations”.  These having been that you have undertaken “previous advocacy work for and on behalf of the tobacco industry”; that you have “fought for so long on behalf of the tobacco industry to prevent legislation to minimise the harmful effects of smoking”; and that you are now “focused instead on helping the fossil fuel lobby deny that anthropogenic climate disruption is happening”These remarks were unsubstantiated potential slurs on your reputation for which I am now happy to publicly apologise.

I say “publicly” because, in addition to accepting this apology, I hope you will forgive me taking the liberty of copying this email to a number of my relevant contacts.  This is because you have publicly and repeatedly (since at least May 2010) questioned the integrity, reliability and/or sensibility of the conclusions of the vast majority of relevantly-qualified climate scientists, the IPCC, and the majority of the World’s relevant professional institutions – all of which consider that we do indeed have legitimate reason to be concerned over ongoing anthropogenic climate disruption.  However, just as James Hansen once described you and other “contrarians” as behaving like lawyers (who only present “arguments that favor their client”), I believe this is what you were doing in your presentation at Westminster – and have been doing repeatedly since at least May 2010.

You have repeatedly asserted that climate sensitivity is very low (i.e. 1 Celsius eventual temperature rise for a doubling of atmospheric CO2); whereas the genuine consensus view is that climate sensitivity is somewhere in excess of 2.5 Celsius.  I therefore believe that we have reached a momentous point in human history; and that bad decisions made now will have irreversible consequences.  This is a view recently endorsed by the economist William Nordhaus, who has concurred with numerous other assessments – such as the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change (2006) and the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook (2011) – that delaying de-carbonisation of the World’s power generation systems – and all other mitigating actions – will be a false economy.  If so, then despite being in the middle of a global debt crisis, we simply must change course; because we cannot afford not to.

In stark contrast to this, James Hansen has also suggested that “policy inaction is the aim of those that dispute global warming” and, once again, I believe this is your aim too.  What I am unclear about is your motive(s). However, even if I am entirely wrong, can you please explain why I came away from your Westminster presentation feeling like this?

For example, can you please explain:
– 1. How you can legitimately criticise both Science and the Guardian for publishing a letter signed by 255 prominent members of the National Academy of Sciences in May 2010, given that the Wall Street Journal refused to publish that letter – choosing instead to publish one signed by 16 “sceptics”; of whom you were 1 of only 4 legitimate climate scientists?
– 2. Why did you highlight the manipulation of graphs (e.g. by stretching their y-axes) as being the way that those with whom you disagree supposedly make things seem more alarming; and then do exactly the same thing with a number of your own graphs to make it seem that there is no cause for alarm? (e.g. see Skeptical Science)
– 3. The PDF of the presentation that is (or was) on the Internet does not include what I think was possibly the most misleading graph (i.e. the one showing a steeply inclined Keeling curve superimposed on temperature data [as per the screenshot from the video on my blog – see links below]), which appears to show no correlation with it over the short-term).  Is there any good reason why this omission should have occurred?

Therefore, far from being an environmental “alarmist”, I believe I am a realist and – because climate change denial has prevented significant energy policy changes for at least 24 years now - it seems to me that we are gambling the entire future habitability of planet Earth on you being right about climate sensitivity; when the vast majority of the evidence (including looking at 1990 modelling in the light of what actually happened to CO2 emissions) strongly suggests that you are in fact wrong.

To conclude, Professor Lindzen, I am an unemployed environmental advisor and/or lobbyist; I have no employer to embarrass, and no job to lose.  However, it seems to me that it would not be unreasonable for any objective observer to conclude that you have been indulging in the hypocritical obfuscation of many relevant facts; and the misdirection of your multiple audiences.  Therefore, because your presentation at Westminster was not one, could you please give me an unequivocal and clear statement of the reasons for what appears to me to be your entirely unwarranted optimism?

I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Yours very sincerely,

Martin C. Lack. BSc (Geology), MSc (Hydrogeology), MA (Environmental Politics).

N.B. My two previous emails to you were published as promised last week (subject to minor modification and enhancement with video and screenshot of the “missing” graph) at:
An open letter to Richard Lindzen (28 February 2012)
Prof. Lindzen – try this instead! (29 February 2012)

52 Responses

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  1. Good on yah, mate, good of you to apologize; now stick it up him once again, he won’t mind, that’s what science is all about :-)

    Donald

    5 March 2012 at 10:17

    • Have you read to the end?

      Martin Lack

      5 March 2012 at 10:22

      • Yeah, but in my opinion you didn’t push hard enough on the stick, the trick is to… [snip]. I wouldn’t have just asked the man for his reasons… [snip], I also would have… [snip] by asking for any research papers, experiments, analysis and other such scientific body of evidence on which he based his conclusions that believers of AGW are wrong and why he believes his body of evidence is correct.

        Donald

        5 March 2012 at 10:41

        • Might I suggest a little self-moderation (so as to save me the trouble)?

          Martin Lack

          5 March 2012 at 10:52

      • MAN!!! Those are sharp scissors you hold in your hand :-( :-)

        Donald

        5 March 2012 at 11:54

        • Donald, I think you need to bear in mind that this is likely to become a very well-read item on my blog. Unless, that is, the entire blog is taken down by WordPress (as was my old MyT blog after JD got upset with me); and/or a contract is taken out on me and I should die unexpectedly in a mysterious and freak accident… Can I just say that, if this should happen, it will be an absolute disgrace; and a day of great shame for the freedom of speech in pursuit of upholding the integrity of genuine climate science.

          Was that a statement of conspiracy theory??? There is but one way to find out… However, what is in fact far more likely is that I will join the ranks of those who have been subjected to very distasteful campaigns of harassment and intimidation designed to silence people speaking up for truth and sanity.

          Martin Lack

          5 March 2012 at 12:26

  2. Good for you for speaking up for truth and sanity, Martin!

    pendantry

    5 March 2012 at 15:08

  3. Martin, I read your Post earlier my morning (Arizona time) and was very impressed; well done.

    In terms of commenting, there were a number of things that came to mind. However, before so doing, by coincidence, I posted on Learning from Dogs at more or less the same time as your Post came out a piece from a good friend of mine for more than 30 years who is a skeptic, see http://learningfromdogs.com/2012/03/05/a-skeptics-view/ Dan is a smart and enquiring guy and is simply trying to get to the truth. That’s why the Post above is so valuable.

    The process of the scientific establishment of facts is, in the majority of cases very straightforward. Your own scientific education would validate that last sentence I’m sure. It’s all about a proposition that is put forward by a scientist which is then ‘attacked’ by peer review scientists until the proposition is either validated by the truth of cause and effect or fails that validation.

    Take the case of the velocity of light. It’s an observable fact and has been for well over a 1,000 years. Before that the early Greeks believed that the velocity of light was infinite, it got from ‘a’ to ‘b’ instantaneously. (Although subatomic particles are now thought to travel faster than the speed of light in a finding that could overturn that fundamental law of physics.)

    Take the case of ‘God’. I would propose that there is no way of establishing, in a scientific manner, whether or not God exists. One believes in God on the basis of faith alone.

    But in between the hard science of, say, determining the velocity of light and the philosophy of a God there are a number of other, let me use the term, soft sciences. For example, most of us would see a correlation between the way a child is brought up to the way he or she behaves as an adult. But proof, is there incontrovertible proof of such a correlation, is based on observations across a numerically valid group of people taking into account a whole range of social factors including culture. It would be much more difficult to ‘prove’ the link between upbringing and adult behaviours and atttitudes than it would between, say, gravity and falling objects.

    The challenge with the science of anthropogenic climate change is that cause and effect is not direct, as with dropping a brick on one’s toe, but subject to long and complex processes. So we are left with a high dependency on science to establish the probability of the link because if we wait for absolute proof of the link then the saying that comes to mind is, “Will the last one to leave the planet please turn the light off!”

    So when one reads in Martin’s Post that “both Science and the Guardian published a letter signed by 255 prominent members of the National Academy of Sciences in May 2010″ then one, as a concerned lay citizen, as I am, must take notice.

    Unlike Martin, I don’t know the facts. But I am convinced that the early warning signs of melting glaciers, acidification of the oceans, loss of polar ice, rising sea levels and more are extremely troubling aspects. For the sake of my children and my grandson I would rather trust the views of the majority of climate scientists now than risk the unimaginable consequences of Planet Earth slipping into a deadly, unstoppable feedback loop, a nightmare scenario that may not be that far in front of us!

    Therefore, Professor Richard S. Lindzen owes not only Martin and his supporters a full and frank reply, not only the 255 scientists referred to above, not only the world’s politicians and powerbrokers but all the citizens of this most beautiful of planets.

    Paul Handover

    Paul Handover

    5 March 2012 at 17:03

    • Many, many thanks for taking the time to write this, Paul. Just a few responses from me:
      - para.3 – “…which is then ‘attacked’ by peer review…” – I think most would have preferred you to say “tested”.
      - para.4 – Personally-speaking I think E=mc2 is intact, the scientists have made a mistake somewhere; it happens.
      - para.5 – Agreed but, ACD is not a faith-based belief system.
      - para.6 – I believe one of the things I have tried to emphasise is the cause and effect relationship that underlies concern regarding ACD. Natural temperature changes gave rise to CO2 changes in glacial-interglacial cycles. Because the Earth will always seek to correct radiative energy imbalance, an unnatural CO2 change must now cause – indeed is causing – a temperature change.
      - para.8 – These accelerating/positive feedbacks are exactly the things Lindzen denies are important.

      James Hansen is convinced that if we proceed to burn all the Earth’s fossil fuels just because we can – runaway greenhouse effect is a “dead certainty” (i.e. Hansen’s phrase). He then predicts an ice-free planet within 200 years and a waterless planet in 500 years. [Alternatively, if Developed countries leave all their coal and unconventional fossil fuel in the ground we may get away with just causing the Earth to become ice-free in say 200-300 years]. However, before anyone writes Hansen off as a nut-case, you should remember that he spent the first 10 years of his career working for NASA on the Pioneer mission to Venus, then, before the probe had even reached the planet, he walked away from that mission to focus on the Earth. This was because he became convinced that what had happened to Venus (surface temp and pressure 90 times that on Earth) could happen here too.

      It took him until 1988 to be certain but, unfortunately, ever since he went public with his opinion that human attribution for climate change had been identified (i.e. the Earth is warming and excess CO2 in the atmosphere is the main cause), the “fossil fuel lobby” has spent the last 24 years trying to tell everybody the science is uncertain and that there is no cause for alarm. (Just as similar vested interests spent decades telling us all smoking was not dangerous, organic chemicals are not toxic, CFC’s don’t damage the ozone layer, and acid rain isn’t killing trees). It’s an absolute disgrace but, if we humans trash the planet it will be because of these “Merchants of Doubt” (as in the book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway).

      So my question to the entire human population of planet Earth is this: Now that we know all this – why are we still arguing about it?

      Martin Lack

      5 March 2012 at 19:59

      • Your carefully crafted response to mine is much appreciated, Paul.

        Paul Handover

        5 March 2012 at 22:02

      • Now that we know all this – why are we still arguing about it?
        This sounds to me like a rhetorical question; but my answer would be:
        “Why? Because we don’t want to give up the cozy lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed — but we don’t want to admit that this is our real motive (not even to ourselves). While we continue to argue about it discuss the matter, we can carry on with business as usual….”

        pendantry

        6 March 2012 at 18:21

        • Your first assumption was correct but, thanks all the same.

          Martin Lack

          6 March 2012 at 18:33

  4. Martin,
    As I mentioned the other day I have been going through slide-by-slide the Lindzen presentation in Westminster; and the almost boiler plate copy provided as written testimony to a US House Science Committee hearing back in late 2010. I had intended to do a debunk, slide-by-slide, but have reverted (for reasons that you probably know about) to another tack that I had started; by going through the reasons for concern of a modal change in climate that could spring on us in the not too distant future.

    I will be drawing heavily on Richard Alley, Wally Broecker, and George Denton who, following up on earlier ice core data research, had a number of expeditions to Greenland during the first decade of this century. The paleoclimate science tells us that climate has suddenly switched from one state to another a number of times in the past. Also – as climate has approached such modal switches – wide swings in temperatures, storm tracks and other features become more commonplace. This will tackle Lindzen’s arguments from a different direction. As a hint have a look at:
    this page .

    Keep up the battle. I am behind you, or in front if you prefer, was used to that in HM forces.

    Lionel A

    5 March 2012 at 21:01

    • Many thanks Lionel. Glad someone is on my side. I have been really surprised by the ‘cease and desist’ messages seeping out of my former educational establishment. If they think I have been rude or unguarded in my choice of words then they have clearly not read those of others!

      Martin Lack

      5 March 2012 at 21:28

  5. Another of Lindzen’s points, in the “presentation” you refer to, is extremely puzzling to me. Perhaps someone can elucidate… The statement on slide 3:
    2. If one assumes all warming over the past century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, then the derived sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. The higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings from aerosols and solar variability as arbitrary adjustments.

    I think a qualitative/quasi-quantitative argument shows this is not correct. Most of the global warming that has occurred due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, which I’ve taken to be 0.8˚ C, has occurred over the past century and is primarily due to CO2 if it is due to GHGs as Lindzen suggests for the scenario he creates. I’ve conveniently used the pre-industrial ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration of 280 ppm as the baseline, start of century CO2 concentration and a current CO2 concentration of 393 ppm. A doubling of CO2 would result in a CO2 concentration of 560 ppm. So we have only a 40% in CO2 concentration, nowhere near a doubling of CO2, with a 0.8˚ C temperature increase and more warming in the pipeline due to the current CO2 level. It’s hard to see how Lindzen’s <1˚C climate sensitivity number could stand up to scrutiny.

    Certainly, my “analysis” wouldn’t pass any type of peer-review. And as I stated above, it’s more of a qualitative analysis that leads me to believe that Lindzen is way off in his. I do think my logic in general is correct. If it is not correct, I’d appreciate someone telling me why it is not correct. If the reality is more complex than the scenario I’ve described (and it is), then it seems likely that the reality is far more complex than the one Lindzen describes.

    Even as a climate science dilettante, I could see that the graphs Lindzen presented had been manipulated. They were clearly not as I’d seen previously. A problem I see with ACD proponent crowd is that they do respond forcefully and immediately to misrepresentations such as Lindzen’s. But, as Skeptical Science points out, it doesn’t take much time or effort to misrepresent; but it does take much time and effort to do the actual research and refute bogus claims by others.

    Consider yourself to be supported by me…the only condition is that you be correct on the science.

    Peter Goodman

    5 March 2012 at 22:31

    • I am flattered, Peter, that you would ask me as; on matters of scientific detail I would always defer to those with greater expertise. For example, Dana Nuccitelli on the SkepticalScience (SkS) website – his rebuttal of Lindzen’s pseudo science is truly devastating. The link is above at the end of my point number 2, but is easily overlooked. Here it is again, with the SkS article’s title for purposes of clarity:
      Lindzen’s London Illusions (7 March 2012) (please be patient if not yet visible)

      In essence, I believe you have got it right: As you say, CO2 is not the only GHG (although it is the dominant one). We must always be consistent and either talk about CO2 alone or CO2e (all GHGs combined). If Lindzen was trying to communicate a clear message effectively – he failed miserably. However, if he was merely seeking to tell an already “sceptical” audience what they wanted to hear – it was a masterpiece.

      Personally, I suspect Lindzen’s words are deliberately opaque; they sound authoritative but, if anything, they convey an impression opposite to that which the facts imply… For example, you should always be consistent and either talk about CO2 alone or CO2e (all GHGs combined). Otherwise, you get in a mess yourself; or you mess with people’s heads. The only thing that remains outstanding is to therefore establish which of these two things Lindzen was doing!

      Martin Lack

      5 March 2012 at 23:48

    • Lindzen said it was an “effective” doubling which includes other GHGs. If you asked him to be specific, I “bet” he would say that we are close to an 80% increase rather than a doubling.

      JK

      6 March 2012 at 00:52

      • It seems to me, John, that Professor Lindzen is not prepared to answer any questions I put to him; no matter how careful I am to avoid impugning his reputation (and Dana Nuccitelli on SkS is far less polite than I am). Unfortunately, it is not just me that deserves an answer; it is the entire population of the Planet that is being held as a hostage to fortune in the hope that Lindzen/Michaels/Spencer are right and 100′s of other climate scientists are wrong. And what appears to be Lindzen’s justification for dismissing the legitimacy, reliability and reality of that consensus? Yes, you guessed it – Conspiracy Theory.

        Martin Lack

        6 March 2012 at 01:05

      • Well, I already told you why he isn’t answering you. But, he answered my questions within an hour.

        JK

        6 March 2012 at 01:22

        • What did you ask him – “Can I have your autograph?”

          Martin Lack

          6 March 2012 at 10:24

      • Yes Martin, he sent me an autographed copy of your missing slide.

        JK

        6 March 2012 at 12:54

        • Make sure you look after it – it may prove to be quite rare.

          Martin Lack

          6 March 2012 at 13:50

  6. [...] biosphere.  In the last 24 hours I also wrote a long comment to Martin Lack’s latest post, No cause for alarm? – You cannot be serious!  So, don’t know about you, dear reader, but it felt appropriate for today’s Post to be [...]

  7. To all who are reading this blog:

    Although I do not expect or demand that any of you reciprocate, I would like to apologise for the way in which I charged into Judith Curry’s blog a week ago trying (and succeeding) to publicise my concerns about the nature and content of Richard Lindzen’s repeated presentations; and what I consider to be his highly-misleading “there is no cause for alarm” message.

    I have now calmed down a bit; and am trying very hard not to get frustrated by the intransigence and tactical avoidance measures being repeatedly deployed against me (both there and here). Therefore, I would be extremely grateful if people would stop attacking me personally; and start falsifying the argument I am making: It seems highly likely that Richard Lindzen is just telling you what you want to hear; and that he is in fact dangerously in error. Remember this is not just little ol’ me with an MA in Environmental Politics saying this; this is what the vast majority of climate scientists are saying (even if the Wall Street Journal will not print their letters)…

    Are you all really that willing to gamble the well-being of your children and grandchildren on the validity of the words of one prominent scientist who once acted in the defence of tobacco companies by questioning the link between smoking and the development of lung cancer? As a consequence of this one single act, Richard Lindzen probably delayed effective regulation of cigarette smoking – and compensation for those affected by it – for over 10 years (in which time many sufferers died). As such, Lindzen was a significant actor in the nearly 45 year-long hiatus between the science being firmly established and the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ being successfully prosecuted.

    We have already wasted nearly 25 years arguing with similar ‘Merchants of Doubt’ about whether or not the science of ACD is settled or not. I should therefore like to invite you (very politely) to stop being part of the problem and decide today to be part of the solution. This is because the majority of climate scientists – and increasing numbers of economists (like William Nordhaus) and businessmen (like Richard Branson) – say we do not have the luxury of another 20 years to waste.

    Yours hopefully,

    Martin Lack.

    Martin Lack

    6 March 2012 at 11:59

  8. “……we do not have the luxury of another 20 years to waste….”

    No, we do not have such a luxury, this link will hopefully explain what it will take to reduce global warming :-(

    http://dogsofdoubt.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/the-madness-of-global-warming/

    Donald

    6 March 2012 at 12:31

    • Donald, your email address is still not working. Therefore, FYI, please note the following (and I hope you’re proud of me):

      Being very frustrated with the absence of any response from the media (I think this is what is known the trade as selecting the nuclear option)… I have just posted most of the above comment in an email to just about everyone I know (about 300 people!)… Pleading with them to read it and hopefully forward it. Therefore, if it was not already, the facts of history are now all firmly in the public domain.

      Martin Lack

      6 March 2012 at 13:50

      • Personally I have decided to change tracks, what I now do is to visit all the sites where people either blog or comment on global warming issues and invite them to visit each other, I leave links from one site to another and offer invitations for them to check out sites which they might not know about. By this method I hope to interlink everybody involved in the warming movement so that by being united they gain more strength.

        As well I write blogs (as you now know) on the issue of how heat is creating AGW in the hope that people will understand how warming is occurring because I have long noted that we have concentrated too much on taking about the effects of AGW between ourselves and not concentrating enough on the public who do not understand science and cannot make any sense of the things scientists say amongst themselves.

        I’ve given up trying to convince deniers because I’ve come to the conclusion that only 26% of the population do not believe in AGW and their numbers are dropping drastically with each day that passes, I feel that what we need to do now is to maintain pressure on those who do believe in the hope that we might convince them to take action themselves and not just sit waiting for others to find solutions for them.

        http://www.kansascity.com/2012/03/05/3469513/more-americans-now-believe-in.html

        The skeptics, as far as I am now concerned are a dead and irrelevant issue no longer worthy of consideration. Having run out of BS all they can now do is to roam the web commenting on ancient history and the very tired issues of anomalies which matter not a hoot anymore, as well as insulting, belittling and denigrating many of us in the hope of changing the discussions in our own sites from one of science to one in which personal attacks help to deflect the real issues.

        They know very well that readers come looking for information and will not return to our sites if all they see there is gossip and other such personal matters they don’t care about; they have Facebook for that.

        If I may make a suggestion to all readers: Don’t give the deniers any more chances, kill their discussions as soon as they bring them up… ignore them, remove them from the tired debate of the already proven AGW issue and concentrate solely on solutions and informing the public on how AGW works and how will affect their future. Deniers no longer matter, they are finished because “the debate is over”, all they are doing by bringing people like Lindzen onto new podiums is trying to reignite the debate… don’t debate them anymore. Destroy their doubt creating methods by removing them from our podiums and therefore the public eye. It works.

        Donald

        6 March 2012 at 23:04

        • Thanks for that link. Had seen it on EcoAffect.org – excellent website for news items.

          Martin Lack

          7 March 2012 at 03:21

        • Your reflective comment about changing tracks is spot-on in my opinion. I would add one further aspect to your “They know very well that readers come looking for information and will not return to our sites if all they see there is gossip and other such personal matters they don’t care about; they have Facebook for that.”

          That is that those readers looking for information are, just as importantly, looking for guidance and solutions. It’s tough because so much of the evidence is truly frightening but ‘hope’ is the only way forward.

          As was quoted on pedantry’s blogsite last June:

          “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
          Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

          People only care when there is hope of change. So let’s promote the change the peoples of this Planet are looking for.

          Regards to all.

          Paul Handover

          7 March 2012 at 15:23

      • Communications Strategist Anna Fahey has some great ideas to help web masters like ourselves explains climate warming to our readers.

        http://daily.sightline.org/blog_series/talking-weather-and-climate/

        Donald

        7 March 2012 at 06:05

    • That’s a powerful (pardon the pun) article you refer to, Donald. I may quote some of that in a Post I’m preparing for this coming Thursday.

      Paul Handover

      6 March 2012 at 15:28

      • Paul, yes you may quote any and all blogs on my site and even repost them there if you wish.

        PerfectStranger

        6 March 2012 at 19:28

        • I see, said the blind man. I would never have guessed it was you. Thanks for coming out of the closet, Donald. I will update your email address straight away.

          Martin Lack

          6 March 2012 at 19:31

  9. Martin,
    I think you are a well reasoned man but like Richard you are reaching beyond that which you can support .

    Your opinion includes things will likely be proven correct (man impacts the enviroment) but your position greatly simplifies the complexity of the subject matter and implies a knowledge which does not exist. No one and I mean no one (on either side of this argument) has managed to produce anything which matches the observables. Hence, without this pillar of physics we are having a discussion (an extremely important one)

    Svalgaard (expert that argue) of significant stature believes that the science of climate is so complex that it might not be understood for a “century….”. If he can be this humble what makes you lesser lights so borish? You have a good argument but please.

    garryd

    7 March 2012 at 04:09

    • Thanks for your polite input. I am not seeking to act as either judge or jury. All I have asked for is an explanation for Lindzen’s unwarranted optimism on climate sensitivity; and his insistence that we should ignore a genuine, well-established consensus of scientific opinion – that is continually being re-validated by ongoing observations of ice caps, ice shelves, sea ice, glaciers, permafrost, ocean acidification, salinity and temperature; with the latter now giving rise to increased frequency of extreme weather events of all kinds* – based solely on his tranparently “contrarian” views.

      * Please note that all of these things were predicted as early as 1988 but were deliberately left out of all IPCC reports (so as not “to scare the horses”) – resulting in under-reporting of the nature, scale and urgency of the problem we now face:
      Biello, D (2007), ‘Conservative Climate: Consensus document may understate the climate change problem’, Scientific American, March 18, 2007.

      Martin Lack

      7 March 2012 at 04:51

  10. I note that RealClimate now have a post up on Lindzen in Westminter , Lindzen playing footloose and fancy free with facts is not going unnoticed where it counts. As we know Lindzen is developing something of a track record for deception, even if only self deception.

    Lionel A

    7 March 2012 at 10:55

    • Thanks for providing the link to that Lionel. I had spotted it on SkS but not yet copied it over here…

      Where exactly does it count?… If this information does not transfer from the blogosphere to the mainstream media we will achieve very little. I am currently still hoping that Alan Rusbridger, George Monbiot and/or Suzanne Goldenberg will pick up the ball I have handed them and run with it… Failing that, Robin McKie – who posted this excellent review of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars in the Guardian and Observer last weekend.

      Martin Lack

      7 March 2012 at 11:05

  11. Dang it! Had a post to go and the the external network went AWOL.

    What I was indicating by my remark, ‘Lindzen playing footloose and fancy free with facts is not going unnoticed where it counts’ is that the matter had been raised at, probably, the most credible climate science blog and thus be more difficult for the mainstream media to ignore.

    OTOH. Doh! No balance required.

    Now I may be occupied for a day or two, my eagerly awaited copy of Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars arrived yesterday. I am also re-reading ‘The Fate of Greenland: Exceptional Storytelling, Extraordinary Photography’ along with ‘The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future’ and ‘The Great Ocean Conveyor: Discovering the Trigger for Abrupt Climate Change’. In other words all the other stuff Lindzen is ignoring and in the hope that his audience will too.

    Lionel A

    7 March 2012 at 16:28

    • Have you eyes in the back of your head (and the sides, and the soles of your feet, and the palms of your hand)? This is a level of multi-tasking I have yet to see even after watching the 1998 TV documentary Why Men Don’t Iron…!

      There still seems to be a great deal of confusion over at RC about where the meeting took place (i.e. it was not in the House of Commons or the House of Lords); and who heard it (i.e. only a handful of MPs and journalists were present; the remainder of the audience being a bunch of salivating Lindzenites – with the notable exception of me and Colin Summerhayes [VP of the Geological Society]).

      I have pointed this error out (as have others) but new commenters don’t seem to be reading very carefully; so what hope would non-scientific journalists have had? Indeed the two UK reports of the meeting – by Simon Carr and James Delingpole are unsurprising adulations of Lindzen and inversions of reality. Some commenters are also repeating things that clearly demonstrate they have visited SkS; but have not come here. This is a shame because, even if I do say so myself, there is information and/or ideas and/or points made here that I have not seen elsewhere.

      Lionel, have you seen my email to MIT (now copied to my MP with a demand that she forward it to Ed Davey immediately because Lindzen may have libeled representatives of HM Government and any UK-based IPCC contributory authors)? That should give people something to think about. I just hope they both act fast as the Radcliffe Science Library is due to move to the South of France(?) in a year’s time.

      Martin Lack

      7 March 2012 at 16:36

  12. [...] Lack of Environment On the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems…. Skip to content HomeAboutBackgroundHistoryImagesModerationPrivacyRemuneration ← No cause for alarm? – You cannot be serious! [...]

  13. [...] as 17 simple statements via which I invited Professor Lindzen to explain his position. There is no cause for concern? You cannot be serious! (5 March 2012) - about 900 words – plus some very interesting comments from me and [...]

  14. Monumental Special Pleading from a Character Assassin? You should simply be ashamed of yourself, and show that you learned something from Dr. Lindzen’s presentation.

    “In stark contrast to this, James Hansen has also suggested that “policy inaction is the aim of those that dispute global warming” and, once again, I believe this is your aim too. What I am unclear about is your motive(s).”

    “Policy Inaction” is also for those who believe the actual facts; who also may be interested in Personal Liberty, National Sovereignty, and Global Prosperity. As for Dr. Lindzen’s “motive(s)” [sic], try “professional learned opinion given the facts” or “that’s what my training and years of experience show.”

    “On the politics & psychology underlying the denial of all environmental problems”

    So, are you simply an insane ambassador of the carbon plot, seeking validation through blogging?

    If there were anything to be gained by taking you seriously, you can bet that Dr. Lindzen would’ve.

    It is no wonder that you are admittedly “unclear” on some things.

    Warm Regards,
    James C
    Columbus, Ohio, USA

    James C

    1 July 2012 at 05:33

    • Dear James, Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      In sending this third email to Professor Lindzen, I was going out of my way to apologise if I had offended him. Personally, I suspect he was not offended at all (as I have been far more polite than many others have been). But, of course, feigned indignation is a popular method for avoiding answering difficult questions. Therefore, I am not the only one who has tried (and failed) to get Lindzen to answer difficult questions.

      However, since I was actually there when Lindzen gave his presentation, I seem to have been just about the only one that spotted the most misleading graph (of atmospheric CO2 versus Temperature), which was mysteriously omitted from the PDF of the presentation posted on the Internet. Although Lindzen has never answered any of my questions, he did insert this graph into the PDF of his presentation; despite my pointing out to him – MIT and the AGU – that the graph was essentially meaningless (as the y axes could be stretched to show either correlation or no correlation as preferred by the speaker). It seems to me that there can be only two possible reasons for this, either Lindzen does not understand why this graph is misleading; or he does not care that it is misleading. The fact that it is misleading is further validated by its use in the World Climate Widget on the Watts Up With That? misinformation blog.

      Rather than attack me, would you care to answer any of the questions I asked Lindzen or falsify any of my arguments? To be sure, it is not the consensus that must justify its position; it is those who dispute the reality, reliability and/or reasonableness of that consensus who have a case to answer.

      If Climate change is a hoax, as you appear to suggest, the latest addition to your political and scientific conspiracy theory must now be the US Court of Appeal, which has upheld the right of the EPA to treat CO2 as a pollutant (because too much of anything is not good for you).

      Just out of interest, what is your opinion on the assassination of JFK, the reality of the Moon Landings, the cause of 9/11, or the validity of Obama’s birth certificate?

      Martin Lack

      1 July 2012 at 09:14

  15. [...] signed by sixteen prominent scientists (of which only 4 are climate scientists, and one of those is Richard Lindzen). It began with the words: A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to [...]

  16. [...] be phased out.  This all makes me wonder if George Osborne has been paying too much attention to what people like Richard Lindzen are probably telling him. – 3. The fact that the Earth has five times more conventional fossil fuel than is now [...]

  17. [...] concern over ACD as “climate alarmism”.  However, use of such a pejorative term (implying that there is no cause for alarm) can only be justified by belief that the modern consensus regarding climate science is unreliable, [...]

  18. [...] thing is that I did not hear about this before it happened.  On the contrary, because I attended Richard Lindzen’s misrepresentation of the truth in London on 22 February this year, I was sent an invite to the Green Isn’t Working counter-demonstration, organised [...]


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