Archive for the ‘Richard Lindzen’ Category
In the Preface to my book, The Denial of Science: Analysing climate change scepticism in the UK, I make clear that it was reading Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, that prompted me to do the research that my book summarises.
Therefore, I am delighted here to reproduce the review of my book by Vice-President of the Geological Society, Dr Colin Summerhayes, now published on Amazon.co.uk, in which this comparison is made. Although Dr Summerhayes has asked me to stress that his review his solely a statement of his personal opinions, he agreed that it would be appropriate for me to highlight the expertise that perhaps make his opinions significant: Dr Summerhayes is a marine geologist and oceanographer with a particular interest in the Antarctic. As such, since 2010, he has been an Emeritus Associate of the of the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) – a part of Cambridge University. Prior to that, Dr Summerhayes was Executive Director of the International Council for Science’s Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and, as such, was also one of the editors of the Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment report published by SCAR in 2002. For the record, Dr Summerhayes was also, to my knowledge, the only other non-sceptical person in the audience when Professor Richard Lindzen gave his now infamous talk in a Committee Room of the Palace of Westminster in February 2012 (which I refer to as Lindzengate).
However, without further ado, here is the review posted on Amazon by Dr Summerhayes:
In 2010, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway did a service to science when they documented the manufacture of doubt about human-caused global warming by many of the same people who brought us ‘safe’ cigarettes. Most of their book focussed on doubt generated in the USA. The attack on the science of global warming remains shrill, and it comes from within the UK as well. Martin Lack has provided much the same service as Oreskes and Conway by documenting the UK’s sources of doubt about this socially important topic. Lack starts out by addressing the philosophical roots of scepticism, its misappropriation for ideological reasons and the psychological causes of denial. He lists the main UK organizations, scientists, economists, journalists, politicians and others promulgating ‘denial’ of the science of human-induced climate change. Rather than labelling these ‘agents’ ‘deniers’, Lack prefers to label them ‘sceptic’ or ‘contrarian’, citing Robert Henson’s definition of the climate change contrarian position (in the 2008 second edition of “The Rough Guide to Climate Change”) as: “The atmosphere may not be warming; but if it is, this is probably due to natural variation; but if it isn’t, the amount of warming is probably not significant; but if it is, the benefits should outweigh the disadvantages; but if they don’t, technology should be able to solve problems as they arise; but if it can’t, we shouldn’t wreck the economy to fix the problem”. Scientific scepticism is healthy and widespread within the climate science community, the group of people who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to human-caused climate change. Their collective view could be called ‘scientific consensus, or scientific authority, or conventional scientific wisdom’. It is this ‘mainstream’ view that is attacked by the contrarians. Their common argument is that this or that particular point is wrong, hence the whole edifice is wrong. Such an approach displays a fatal misunderstanding of what Karl Popper meant by falsification. Read Lack and learn.
My book is now available in electronic form – search any online bookstore website for the ISBN 9781481783989 – and if it does not show up on Amazon.com please pester them until it does.
Today is the first anniversary of my trip to London to hear a certain Professor Richard S. Lindzen give a talk to an invited audience of climate change “sceptics” in a Committee Room inside the Palace of Westminster.
Having sat through a highly misleading presentation I was one of those who put up my hand to ask a question. However, having been invited to speak by the chair of the meeting, I attempted to address some of the misrepresentation of fact that I had just witnessed. I was then interrupted by Professor Lindzen and, having self-identified myself as a non-believer, was not allowed to ask a question.
This sequence of events has been the subject of much pedantic debate, on this blog and elsewhere, so the video (of the Q & A session following Lindzen’s talk) is embedded to provide proof of my version of events. To just see me not ask a question view from about 5:26 onwards.
Once the Question and Answer session was completed, I approached Professor Lindzen who, obviously confident he could rebut anything I said, kindly invited me to email my questions to him. This I did and, the rest, as they say, is history.
Although I would advise against following links without first reading to the end of this post, for those of you that are unfamiliar with this particular history, it may be summarised as follows:
1. I sent Professor Lindzen 3 emails and never received any substantive answers to my questions. All I ever got was a perfunctory response in which Lindzen (1) feigned indignation at my suggestion that he had once helped the tobacco industry defend itself against the claim that smoking causes lung cancer; and (2) warned me not to publish my email. I ignored him.
2. In failing to answer any of my original questions, Lindzen has, in particular, failed to explain why he uses the same tactics he claims others use to mislead people (i.e. graphs whose axes have been stretched or compressed in order to make two correlating data sets appear not to correlate – as appended below).
3. Having failed to get Lindzen to answer my original questions, I submitted a formal complaint to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) because his behaviour was likely to bring climate scientists and/or MIT into disrepute. Without addressing the above very specific piece of hypocrisy from Lindzen, MIT refused to take any action.
4. I therefore complained to the American Geophysical Union (AGU), who astonishingly, admitted they had no code of conduct against which they could judge and/or censure Lindzen for what he had done.
5. Consequently, Professor Lindzen has continued to travel around the World giving talks and writing letters to Newspapers – repeating the same message: A message that reveals that he is either being wilfully deceptive of is so blinded by ideology that he cannot see how wrong he almost certainly is about climate sensitivity.
If any or all of this comes as a surprise to any readers, I would recommend that, before you dive into the links above, you start by reading this brief summary of exactly what it was I was unhappy about. You can then follow links from there (or here) depending on your level of curiosity.
Other than that, from the above-referenced brief summary, I have here extracted the image of the graph from Lindzen’s presentation (whose absence from the PDF version on the Internet has never been satisfactorily explained), with my caption explaining why it destroys any veil of objectivity that Lindzen might otherwise be able to hide behind.
There is, however, one final thing to note about this graph; something that has only become clear to me in the last few months: It has clearly been generated using the Wood for Trees website, which was set up by a non-climate scientist who admits that his website has repeatedly been used by climate sceptics to manipulate data to support invalid conclusions. So much so, in fact, that the home page now includes a warning against people doing this. Therefore:
What does it say about Lindzen that he would use a graph like this – obtained from such a website – in his presentation?
For this spoof of the Anglican version of the Nicene Creed I apologise to all those who lack a sense of humour:
We believe in some gods,
like Professor Ian Plimer,
writer of ‘Heaven and Earth’,
of all that is mean and not green.
We believe in some lords; John Christy
and in Richard Lindzen.
Endlessly they are proven wrong and yet still,
from their shite we recite,
true lies from sad guys,
opinions, not facts,
of one thing we are certain,
through them all truths were made.
For us and for our salvation
they came down from science:
by the power of our human folly,
they became embedded in ideology,
and made their plan.
For our sake they were crucified by climate scientists;
they suffered ‘death’ and were ‘buried’.
On the third day they rose again
in accordance with the sceptics;
they returned to their jobs,
and are seated in academic tenure.
They will come again in future to fudge the reason and the facts,
and their soapbox will have no end.
We believe in the wholly spurious, our god, the slither of doubt,
which precedes our judgement of evidence.
With the money and the vice it is worshiped and glorified.
It is supported through the profits…
We believe in one wholly cynical and irrational church.
We acknowledge one purpose; for the pursuance of greed.
We look for the perpetuation of growth,
and the life of the World to shun.
[Please be seated]
Copyright © Martin Lack 2013
This week, I was very pleased to discover that some of my recent output has been listed on a Weekly round-up of blogosphere posts related to anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) on the Science blogs website. However, I was even more grateful when I saw mention, within that round-up, of a very significant event in British politics last week.
Over recent months, I have posted quite a lot of stuff about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and carbon capture and storage (CCS); culminating in the items I posted last week (discussed below). It is therefore ironic that I did not notice the row that erupted last week as a result of a public letter to the Secretary of State for the Energy and Climate Change (Ed Davey) from the Chairman of the government’s relevant independent advisory body (the Committee on Climate Change [CCC]) – former Conservative Environment Minister John Selwyn Gummer (now Lord Deben) – as publicised in The Guardian last Thursday.
The UK government published a draft Energy Bill in May this year, on which I commented at the time – in ‘A very unsustainable Energy Bill’. At that time, I was concerned about the stated aim of the UK government to become less reliant upon imported gas. More specifically, I was (and am) concerned that it is planning to replace this with oil shale gas (from fracking); rather than encouraging people to get off the grid altogether by investing in micro-generation (such as solar panels).
It seems, therefore, that anticipation had been growing that an announcement would soon be made that the UK is likely to remain reliant upon new gas-fired power generation (without CCS) well beyond 2030. If the UK pursues this strategy it will do so despite the following:
– 1. The widespread international agreement – of organisations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA); numerous scientists such as James Hansen; and even influential (and formerly sceptical) economists such as William Nordhaus – that humanity can no longer afford to delay decarbonising its energy generation systems.
– 2. The agreement reached at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 that – in energy generation a least – fossil fuel subsidies and fossil fuel use both need to be phased out.
– 3. The fact that the Earth has five times more conventional fossil fuel than is now considered safe to burn; and therefore now is not the time to be finding a whole load more unconventional fossil fuels to burn as well.
This all makes me wonder if George Osborne has been paying too much attention to what libertarian ideologues like Richard Lindzen are probably telling him. Wherever this transparently intellectually incoherent policy is coming from, it was clearly this refusal to phase out fossil fuel use (now that we know it is causing ACD) that drove Lord Deben to publish the CCC’s letter last Thursday. In it, he began by stating:
Extensive use of unabated gas-fired capacity (i.e. without [CCS] in 2030 and beyond would be incompatible with meeting legislated carbon budgets. These are, of course, designed to balance the costs and risks of meeting long-term objectives and they require significant investment in low-carbon power generation over the next two decades…
What is even more surprising is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer decided to respond so promptly – quite possibly due to the CCC’s suggestion that pursuing gas (from fracking) instead of equivalent investment in renewable energy could be illegal because (as the CCC letter continues):
Unabated gas-fired generation could therefore not form the basis for Government policy, given the need under the Climate Change Act to set policies to meet carbon budgets and the 2050 [emissions reduction] target.
As I made clear on my blog last week, having benefited from an exchange of emails with Professor Robert Mair (on fracking) and with Dr Bryan Lovell (on CCS), I remain convinced that pursuing fracking as a panacea to all our energy problems is insane; but have reluctantly come to accept that we may have to rely upon CCS if we are to avoid significant ACD. However, this is no excuse for doing as George Osborne has done – effectively telling his own independent advisors that, once again, the non-scientist knows what the best course of action is.
Indeed, apart from putting your hands over your ears and shouting “La la la, I can’t hear you!”, there can only one possible reasons for doing as George Osborne has done – he must believe we can continue to burn fossil fuels with impunity and/or doubt the reality of catastrophic ACD if we do not use CCS to prevent it.
I therefore think it is crunch time for the UK’s Coalition government. Prime Minister David Cameron, whom I support on many issues, famously said he wanted to make it “the greenest government ever”. Sadly, it seems to be failing significantly in many ways: In addition to crippling the green revolution at birth – by removing most of the incentives to get individual households to invest in Solar PV panels on their roofs (etc) – it now seems set to pursue energy independence in the form of fracking. As The Guardian concludes:
The argument over the [decarbonisation] target is now likely to reach the top of the government with pressure mounting on Cameron to face down critics of the government’s green policies and adopt the CCC recommendations in full.
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:
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:
In his written submission to the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works earlier this week, John Christy (PhD) describes himself as the “Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama’s State Climatologist and Director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.”
However, if he is so distinguished, why does he feel it necessary to rely upon Watts et al (2012), which the esteemed Professor apparently co-authored? Whatever the extent of Christy’s actual involvement, this unpublished paper is now receiving significant constructive (but very damaging) criticism; and being disavowed by one of the other high-profile co-authors – Steve McIntyre.
In the meantime, Watts et al (2012) has somewhat-predictably been applauded as yet another “final nail in the coffin of the ‘warmist’ myth of CAGW” (i.e. catastrophic anthropogenic global warming). To the authors, it seems, this whole climate change thing is a false alarm… It is a nice idea – and I truly wish I could believe it but – it is just a shame that, in order to come anywhere remotely close to validating their wishful thinking, Watts et al (2012) had to mangle the facts so comprehensively (see criticism linked-to above)…
A similar thing appears to be happening with Christy’s testimony to the US Senate Committee: WUWT have already uploaded video footage of it; and Dr Judith Curry (editor of the infamous Climate etc. blog) has even had her views aired on the website of the Global Wonky Policy Foundation. If Curry is to be believed, Christy has supposedly told the World the truth that very few other scientists (i.e. apart from her, Pat Michaels, Roy Spencer, and Richard Lindzen) are willing to tell.
So then, what exactly did Christy say? Well, for those of you without the time or inclination to read through the 22-page document – or maybe even the 1-page summary – he makes five very familiar points: All of them being part of the creed of those who have an ideologically-prejudiced need to dispute that human activity is the primary cause of the climate disruption we are now seeing (and so far we have not even raised global average temperatures by as much as 1 Celsius).
If you are familiar with my six pillars of climate denial by now, you may not be surprised by them as by the willingness of someone like Christy to keep repeating the same old myths (listed here with mainly pre-existing rebuttals on the Skeptical Science website in brackets):
(1) Global warming is not happening (The recent ‘extremes’ were exceeded in previous decades).
(2) Computer models are unreliable (Not as much warming as models predict).
(3) Global warming is an artefact of the measurement locations (Temperature record is unreliable).
(4) Sceptics are like Galileo (Consensus reports misrepresentative of climate science).
(5) Global warming is not bad (CO2 is plant food, and CO2 limits will hurt the poor).
Steven McIntyre may have disavowed his co-authorship of Watts et al (2012) but, clearly, Christy has done the complete opposite – This is what happens when a scientist is blinded by ideology.
I was so concerned by the way in which the online release of Watts et al (2012) appeared to be a deliberate attempt to distract attention from Richard Muller’s op-ed in the New York Times that I sent an email to a few of my key contacts in the blogosphere encouraging them to debunk it. Without claiming any responsibility for it, I am therefore very glad to see that this has now happened.
I was also very concerned to read Christy’s testimony and – despite seeing that it was completely (and correctly) ignored by Suzanne Goldenberg on the website of the Guardian newspaper – am left wondering how much damage was done? Given all the other evidence the Committee heard, will Christy now be dismissed as a charlatan (or will some Republicans continue to idolise him)?
It has been suggested to me in the past that people like Lindzen and Christy should not be given “the oxygen of publicity”; but publicity is not the problem. The problem is the ease with which they are able to play mind games with our politicians… As I said to a fellow-blogger recently:
“Many of those who profess to be sceptical are, in fact, ideologically opposed to anything or anyone who seems to be telling them what they ought to do or think. This is why humanity is now in such a bind. We lack the will to change (in fact we actively resist it). This means that the most effective solution is that which is least likely ever to materialise => prescriptive legislation. McKibbin’s analogy of gay-rights needing to be promoted by evangelical preachers is therefore spot-on: We will not change voluntarily and, without a demand for change, our politicians will not impose it upon us (until the stability of our democracy is itself imperilled by the social costs of failing to prevent significant environmental deterioration).”
However, must we really wait that long? I suspect we do not have the luxury of time to wait for everyone to agree that our climate is changing. But does that mean we must adopt a laissez-faire attitude to those who peddle misinformation? Can we afford to let them make a mockery of the concept of representative democracy like this?
Bill McKibbin certainly doesn’t think so (but you need to watch to the end of this short video to find out why):
This was a question posed to former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond this week, when he appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee of MPs on Wednesday. It is a question that I would like to ask Dr Richard Lindzen… In fact, I have asked the question and – just as Bob Diamond did – he has refused to answer it… Here is the evidence on which you should decide for yourself:
Many readers will recall that, following my visit to London to hear Lindzen speak to a room full of fake sceptics in the Palace of Westminster on 22 February this year, I attempted to get some answers to questions. Unfortunately, I failed. I have been particularly frustrated by one thing; possibly the most misleading aspect of Lindzen’s entire presentation – a combination of graphs of recent atmospheric CO2 and temperature data that was mysteriously omitted from the PDF of the presentation that was initially posted on the Internet. Although Lindzen never answered any of my questions, he did insert this slide into the PDF of his presentation despite my pointing out to him – MIT and the AGU – that it was essentially meaningless (as the y-axes could be stretched to show either correlation or no correlation as preferred by the speaker).
Here is a screenshot of the misleading graph from the video of the presentation:
This bears more than a passing resemblance to the World Climate Widget – a very similar-looking combination of graphs (i.e. manipulated to suggest that there is no correlation between recent atmospheric CO2 and temperature data) – that can be downloaded as a widget from Anthony Watts’ Watts Up With That? (WUWT) misinformation blog.
If you go to the WUWT widget page, you will find the two graphs in both of these images (above and right) are there presented separately. However, to prove my point – that anyone using these graphs to try and prove there is no correlation between long-term CO2 and temperature changes – just look at what happens when you take the graph of University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) global lower atmosphere data as used by WUWT (i.e. cooler than surface temperature data) and stretch it:
Therefore, for anyone – including Lindzen – to try and use the original combination of graphs to suggest there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature, this suggests that they are either negligent, incompetent, or deliberately trying to mislead people. For many people who are not scientists to be fooled by this is understandable but, for a prominent scientist like Lindzen to make this mistake – and not apologise for doing so – is unforgivable. Furthermore, it would seem that, no matter how many times he is criticised, he just keeps repeating the same old mistakes: Skeptical Science: Lindzen and Choi 2011 – Party Like It’s 2009
It would appear that, despite the best efforts of the majority of prominent climate scientists, Lindzen’s London Illusions are still fooling a lot of people. If you follow that last link, it will take you to the website of what I prefer to call The Global Wonky Policy Foundation, where it is reported that only 43% of the British adult population felt able to agree with the following statement: “Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities”.
It has been suggested to me that this question is carefully phrased to deter people from saying “yes” (i.e. they might agree that warming is occurring and/or that humans are the primary cause; but they might not agree that vehicles and factories are the primary source of emissions). However, this is ‘clutching at straws’ in my opinion; and leaves me wondering what percentage of the population would feel able to agree with this statement:
“The sunrise is a fact and is mostly caused by the Earth not being flat and spinning once a day whilst orbiting the Sun”…?
I reviewed the backstory to this yesterday; and concluded with the first of Monckton’s responses to me this week (which I cannot share with you because he has asked me not to publish them). However, you can get an idea of the main (coherent and vaguely sensible) points he made from what I said in return:
Dear Viscount Monckton,
Thank you for giving me the benefit of your superior knowledge of 11th Century history. I have never claimed to be an expert on this; or anything else.
However, neither do I repeatedly attempt to dismiss the opinions of the vast majority of relevantly-qualified active climate science researchers with a track-record of peer-reviewed publications – and the very carefully considered public statements of institutions with huge reputations – as all being part of some global conspiracy, stupidity, or insanity (and/or “murderers, tyrants or madmen” – according to the Heartland Institute).
Neither of us is a climate scientist, we are both just interested amateurs: You are interested because you see environmentalists as attacking the primacy of the free market in the affairs of mankind. I am interested because I see libertarian ideology as “treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation” (former World Bank economist, Herman E Daly).
I don’t need to quote or even misquote scientific research. There is only one of us that is denying what the majority of scientists are telling us; and the small minority that continue to tell you what you want to hear have never been truly objective – they have allowed their political and/or religious views to cloud their judgement (one Richard S Lindzen being a case in point). However, one by one, they will either die of old age or admit they were wrong; as have done physicist Richard Muller and economist William Nordhaus.
The only question that therefore remains is just how expensive will dealing with the effects of anthropogenic climate disruption be by the time the fossil fuel lobby funded climate change denial machine finally loses the fight it appears to have picked with history, science and reason.
I was wondering what could possibly cause you to preface your email with the word “confidential” but then I found it: However, it is absolutely ridiculous and contemptible for someone like yourself – who has no scientific training or qualifications – to label [...Ooops - that's confidential I'm afraid!...] as being scientifically illiterate. All the more so since every single attempt you have made to besmirch his reputation and/or challenge his academic position has been comprehensively rebutted. At least the AGU agreed with me that what Lindzen has been doing is questionable (but admitted they had no Code of Conduct via which to reprimand him for his “propagation of misinformation about scientific research”).
Dear Mr. Lack,
[Sorry - Confidentiality has been invoked by the author]
Monckton of Brenchley.
Dear Viscount Monckton,
Whilst I am grateful to you for taking the trouble to respond to me (rather than ignore me), I do wish you would stop repeating falsehoods for no reason: I have not used your responses without your permission. On the contrary, as I have said previously, I asked for permission; you declined it; and I did not publish.
Since neither of us is a climate scientist; we must both appeal to the authority of others. Whereas you appeal to that of a minority of scientists who insist the majority are wrong; I appeal to the authority of the majority who insist the minority are prejudiced against accepting human responsibility for any and all our environmental problems.
Your position requires the existence of a scientific and/or governmental conspiracy on an unprecedented scale – for which here is no evidence (that has not been already comprehensively debunked). I know it may have become something of a personal mantra but no-one has yet falsified my argument that:
There is simply no evidence for your left-wing conspiracy to over-tax and over-regulate people (so as to make everyone poorer). Whereas, there is a great deal of evidence for a right-wing conspiracy to under-tax and under-regulate industry (so as to make a few people richer).
See: To all who say AGW is junk science (4 October 2011)
For your information, I do not hate Professor Lindzen, you, or any other so-called “sceptic”. However, because of its increasingly-obvious adverse consequences, I am very angry about the ideologically-prejudiced and irrational nature of the fight so-called “sceptics” have picked with history and science. Gordon Brown once equated your position with that of Flat Earthers. In my opinion, this was a rare occasion on which he was right about something.
Although I am grateful to you for engaging with me, I do not feel that you are taking on board anything I say. Furthermore, since I am now repeating myself as well, I think these exchanges have reached their natural end…
Last night’s Horizon programme on BBC TV was entitled ‘Global Weirding’. I had not heard of this term before but, apparently, it was not just dreamt up by the programme producers in a moment of appalling uncreativity.
The negative review of the programme that Andrew Marszal has posted on the Telegraph website (and most of the comments thereon) provides further validation of Dr Tari Sharot’s work on Optimism Bias; about which I and Paul Handover (of Learning from Dogs fame) have both blogged recently.
It is almost incredible that people (I use the term in a very loose sense) can watch a programme like this and yet remain comfortable in their bubble of unreality. Because they (apparently) watched the programme, Cognitive Dissonance does not explain their failure to recognise its significance (i.e. cognitive dissonance sufferers would not have watched the programme). However, Optimism Bias explains their behaviour perfectly. Yes, these people show commendable “bravery” (or is it unwarranted confidence in their rightness of their delusion?) for watching the programme but, nevertheless, the filter they use when watching stuff like this has a sanitising effect that makes a reverse-osmosis water purifier seem like the first phase of a sand and gravel processing plant!
To me, the programme producers seem to have gone to great lengths to avoid being accused of bias or being “alarmist”; and just allowed the data (i.e. collective noun) to tell its own story. Therefore, to continue to believe that the Sun or natural variability is capable of explaining the fact that, for example, Texas can experience record-breaking rainfall and record-breaking drought in consecutive years would appear to be pushing Optimism Bias into the realms of insanity. As if to underline this point, Weatherdem recently posted this characteristically well-executed summary of weather data; demonstrating just how abnormal current weather patterns are in the USA.
Amongst the evidence supporting an anthropogenic cause for the ongoing climatic disruption we are experiencing are the facts that:
– If it were the Sun, the atmosphere would not be warming from the ground upwards; whereas if the warming is being caused by an energy imbalance (i.e. outgoing long-wave radiation being prevented from escaping into Space) this is exactly what you would expect.
– If it were the Sun, the warming would be most obvious in sub-tropical latitudes, whereas if it is energy imbalance the warming will be most pronounced in polar latitudes; exactly what is happening.
Then we have the evidence of solar expert Dr Mike Lockwood who very pointedly conceded that, although blamed for causing the Little Ice Age (1650-1700AD), the Sun is not responsible for the extremely cold UK winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11. On the contrary, the Horizon programme gave a perfectly plausible explanation for what did cause this extreme cold weather (and all the other extremes featured); and also explained how it is that none of this extreme (cold) weather changes the fact that, on average, the world is warming up.
Katharine Hayhoe was seen very clearly making the point that as the Earth has warmed-up, so the average humidity of the atmosphere has increased by 4%. Thus, even though large parts of the USA, UK and Australia may be in drought, when the rain does fall it is likely to be very heavy and, in the meantime, someone somewhere else is undoubtedly getting more than they expected (or probably needed!). Along with warming oceans giving rise to more frequent and more intense storms, increased average humidity is part of a pattern of atmospheric behaviour that was predicted over 20 years ago.
People like me often cite James Hansen’s testimony before US Congress in 1988 as the time since which many humans have been in active denial of the truth. However, the reality of the situation is that the denial started much earlier than that, may be even as early as when President Lyndon Johnson first admitted that we have a problem in 1965. Then there is the case of John Mercer being ridiculed in 1978 for daring to suggest we have a problem (whose treatment James Hansen cited as a reason for widespread scientific reticence in 2007)… Certainly, not much has changed since 1982, when Mike MacCracken was busy telling anyone who would listen (and many would not) that we have a problem.
So, you see, James Hansen did not walk away from the Pioneer Mission to Venus on a mere whim, he took note of what his fellow scientists were telling him and decided that this was something upon which he should focus; and we should be grateful that he did. What we should be somewhat less than grateful for is the orchestrated nature of the campaign to discredit him and many other climate scientists that then arose out of the mendacious work of people like Robert Jastrow, Bill Nierenberg, Frederick Seitz, and Fred Singer… When the Devil was handing out crimes against humanity, they clearly mis-heard him as having been offering “times aspent in true sanity”…
However, compared to this, we should (IMHO) be positively enraged by the fact that the work of these Cold War physicists (with no Communists to fight), has been continued right up to the present day by equally ideologically-blinded experts in ultimately selfish and self-defeating obscurantism such as – yes you guessed it – MIT’s Richard Lindzen; but also the likes of Princeton’s Will Happer. Believe me, if I was seeking a Stalinist revolution, such truth-challenged people (a Barry Bickmore has called them) really would be first on my trains to re-education camps in Siberia (and would thereby count themselves lucky to have avoided the firing squad).