Lack of Environment

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

And then there were three…

with 15 comments

Back in January this year, an Op-Ed appeared in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), entitled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming”, 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 consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true.

Unfortunately, they are at it again, only this time, the Op-Ed in the WSJ, entitled “‘Climate Consensus’ Data Need a More Careful Look”, is only signed by three of the original 16, namely Mssrs Cohen, Happer, and Lindzen. It began with the words:

…Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp speaks of “the trend—a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather.” We have seen quite a few such claims this summer season, and Mr. Krupp insists that we accept them as “true.”… But repetition of a fib does not make it true.

However, when scientists write articles in newspapers that begin by accusing other scientists of telling lies, I think people should know that what they are about to read is not science;

it is propaganda.

One of the first comments posted in response to the Wall Street Sixteen in January was this by Barrie Harrop:

Voluminous historical evidence shows that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the planet’s main thermostat, and that raising CO2 concentrations warms the planet. We have done that in spades by burning fossil fuels, raising atmospheric levels from a pre-industrial 280 parts per million to the current 387 ppm. Politicians still debate what a dangerous level might be, but… James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, says we passed the danger threshold more than 20 years ago, when we exceeded 350 ppm…

…To keep the big polar ice sheets largely intact and prevent massive flooding will require limiting warming to just 2 °C. The widely-accepted target to achieve that is 450 ppm, but if the slow feedbacks are correct we will have to pull CO2 levels back under 350 ppm to reach that target.

One of the first comments posted in response to the Wall Street Three this week was this by Paul Vincelli:

Gentlemen, as professional scientists, you undoubtedly know that an op-ed piece in a major newspaper has absolutely no impact on scientific progress, no matter how influential it is on public opinion. If you believe what you wrote, please submit your ideas, with supporting data analysis, to peer-reviewed journals. In the meantime, the rest of us scientists will continue to draw from the overwhelming body of published scientific evidence that supports the op-ed piece written by Fred Krupp.

Further words from me would almost seem superfluous but, hell, that has never stopped me before (and did not do so on this occasion either), so I posted a comment on the WSJ website yesterday as well:

Oh dear. Yet more contrarians willing to line up and invert reality by claiming Dr Field and/or Dr McCarthy attempted to mislead the EPW Senate Committee on Aug 1, when all the evidence shows that, whether intentionally or otherwise, it was Christy who was in danger of misleading the Senators.

When will the media stop reporting as news the opinion of some who say the sky is pink (when in fact we can all see that it is blue)?

I trust you will not delete this comment just because I refer to Skeptical Science website:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/christy-once-again-misinforms-congress.html
http://www.skepticalscience.com/pielke-jr-mcintyre-assist-christy-extreme-weather-obfuscation.html

Will Professor Lindzen please just retire to the South of France.

To their credit, the WSJ did not delete this comment. However, regrettably, they never seem to actually print rebuttals to the original misleading pieces. So, for the record, here are two regarding the original Wall Street Sixteen:

From a distinguished group of genuine climate scientists; and

From the highly-respected economist William D Nordhaus.

Written by Martin Lack

16 August 2012 at 00:02

15 Responses

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  1. The 2 degree Celsius rise is an obvious error. A rise of 2C global, clearly would mean no more ice.

    Average temperature in Paris in July August is no more than 24 C. Say that the average, 4,000 kilometers north, is five degrees Celsius during the melt months (about what Thule gets, and is). So roughly one loses 20 C in 4,000 kms. So one degree C every 200 kms. Thus one would think that the ice would go 400kms north. however the temp rise in the Arctic has been several times that of the global temp.
    Conclusion: a global 2 degree Celsius rise would make the ice completely disappear from low altitude elevations. No more sea ice.

    This is confirmed because sea temps were just 2C lower over the mid Atlantic during the great glaciations, or something like that…

    Patrice Ayme

    16 August 2012 at 01:31

    • Dear Patrice, I don’t doubt the veracity of anything you have said but, to whose error are you referring and where was it made? I have searched both pieces in the WSJ and can only find one mention of ‘Celsius’; namely Lindzen’s assertion that climate sensitivity* is low: “It is increasingly clear that doubling CO2 is unlikely to increase global temperature more than about one degree Celsius” – which has been comprehensively and repeatedly shown to by very unlikely/impossible) given the warming that has already occurred.

      *A note to the curious: http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sensitivity.htm

      Martin Lack

      16 August 2012 at 08:43

  2. So, we are already at +0.8 degrees Celsius. The emissions we’ve already put into the atmosphere mean we have another +0.8 degrees Celsius “in the pipeline” no matter what we do. So that adds up to +1.6 degrees Celsius … This means that, no matter what we do, we are going to pass the 1.5 degrees Celsius increase that many scientists say we must avoid exceeding. And it means we only have 0.4 degrees Celsius to work with before busting through the politically motivated 2 degree Celsius target… And we are still bickering about whether climate disruption is true?!? Humans can be so dumb!

    jpgreenword

    16 August 2012 at 10:05

  3. Sent a message on this to SkS

    Lionel A

    16 August 2012 at 16:27

  4. Articles such as this The futurologist: an interview with climate conflict expert Ian Shields should be put under Lindzen’s nose and he should be made to critique it using sound scientific peer reviewed papers before being allowed to retire to the South of France. Does France really want him anyway?

    When defence organisations on both sides of the pound take climate change seriously then so should we and Lindzen should be out out to grass.

    The WSJ is a disgrace to humanity, peruse some of replies to other articles highlighted in that Masthead and cry for the common man.

    Lionel A

    16 August 2012 at 16:43

    • Thanks Lionel. Whether or not Southern France wants him may be immaterial. Unless he wises up to the folly of his own propaganda he could find himself living in France but feeling like he is in Algeria.

      Martin Lack

      16 August 2012 at 17:36

      • Clearly a global rise of + 1.5 Celsius means no ice in the Arctic, including Greenland coming unhinged. The global melt of this July will probably be renewed next year, and the glaciers will rush into the sea. High class prostitutes are paid by the plutocracy to mesmerize people with lies, and the more they lie, the more they get paid.

        BTW my prognostic about South France is that, as many regions next to the sea, it will get wetter. Think Costa Rica, not Algeria. Also accelerated melting of Greenland means highly variable weather in Europe, including extreme cold, as the northern Gulf Stream shuts down. There is evidence that this is starting to happen.

        Patrice Ayme

        16 August 2012 at 18:24

        • Thanks Patrice. I think it was one of British (Geology) Professor Iain Stewart’s many climate change programmes (e.g. The Climate Wars) that suggested that the French/Italian Riviera could become like Tunisia/Algeria… My recollection is that he was talking solely about average temperatures; not rainfall. It is certainly the case that, as well as being very hot for several weeks last summer, the thunderstorms when we were actually there (near Nice) were the first of that intensity for many many years (allegedly)… Very Costa Rican (I should imagine).

          Martin Lack

          16 August 2012 at 19:42

  5. Warmer air holds more water, that’s why cold fronts are rainy. Some have claimed the water content has already gone up 5%. Many places next to the sea can expect more precipitations. Sometimes catastrophic. This has already happened on the Cote d’Azur.
    PA

    Patrice Ayme

    17 August 2012 at 06:30

    • Thanks Patrice. OK, so we are agreed it is raining very hard more often. Can we also agree that North African temperatures are going to become more frequent on the Riviera too?

      Martin Lack

      17 August 2012 at 08:27

      • Well we did agree already, as the increased precipitations are caused by the increased temperatures, and, furthermore, that is demonstrated by the massive thunderstorms that tend to bring most of it.

        Patrice Ayme

        17 August 2012 at 22:06

  6. SkS now have a post up about the WSJ Three
    and
    doug_bostrom (as ever) has it nailed in reply 8. It is way past time that
    Lindzen was publicly humiliated and with a high profile, one to match his
    ego.
    SkS now have a post up about the WSJ Three and doug_bostrom (as ever) has it nailed in replies 8and 14. It is way past time that Lindzen was publicly humiliated and with a high profile, one to match his ego.

    This latest episode of the S&L scandal (no not this S&L scandal) but the Siegfried Fred Singer & Richard Siegmund Lindzen scandal. Two scientists trading on their reputations to spread misinformation.

    The following is from Wiki

    Third-party characterizations of Lindzen

    The April 30, 2012 New York Times article included the comments of several other experts. Christopher S. Bretherton, an atmospheric researcher at the University of Washington, said Lindzen is “feeding upon an audience that wants to hear a certain message, and wants to hear it put forth by people with enough scientific reputation that it can be sustained for a while, even if it’s wrong science. I don’t think it’s intellectually honest at all.” Kerry A. Emanuel, another M.I.T. scientist, said of Lindzen’s views “Even if there were no political implications, it just seems deeply unprofessional and irresponsible to look at this and say, ‘We’re sure it’s not a problem.’ It’s a special kind of risk, because it’s a risk to the collective civilization.

    For more of a connection between Siegfried & Siegmund the the Wabbit had this it here If Richard Lindzen shows up at your door, slam it..

    SKS have added another post aimed at Pat Michaels brand of misinformation.

    Lionel A

    22 August 2012 at 11:46

    • Thanks for this comment, Lionel. Dana Nuccitelli had told me this SkS post was in the pipeline; but thanks for reminding me and for the link to it.

      Martin Lack

      22 August 2012 at 17:57


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