Lack of Environment

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

Prof. Lindzen – try this instead!

with 33 comments

Misrepresentation of data?

Steeply inclined Keeling curve versus apparently non-correlating temperature – if you stretched the temperature axis enough it would appear to correlate quite well. Therefore slide neither proves not disproves anything.

Further to my somewhat over-long email to Professor Richard Lindzen on 23 February (on which yesterday’s post was based), and as a result of the subsequent exchange of emails between us, I extracted the key 17 questions buried in the original email; and turned them into 17 assertions that can either be accepted or disputed. This was sent to Professor Lindzen on 25 February 2012.

While waiting for Professor Lindzen to clarify his position, all readers are invited to see how many they are willing to concede may very well reflect reality:
1. The IPCC is too optimistic.
2. Holocene climatic stability is now endangered.
3. The ‘marketplace of ideas’ is a fallacy.
4. The notion of a scientific conspiracy is an illusion.
5. Some of your (Lindzen’s) graphs were potentially misleading.
6. Given (2), post-Industrial temperature rise is significant.
7. Given the inertia in the system, more warming is ‘in the pipeline’.
8. Sceptics are always ‘going down the up escalator’.
9. Therefore ‘global warming’ did not stop in 1998 (or at any other time).
10. Neither the Sun nor volcanoes are now the dominant climate forcing.
11. As CO2 is the only thing to have changed significantly, this is a ‘fair test’.
12. ACD is inevitable because the Earth’s energy balance must be restored.
13. Soon we will have to re-name the Glacier National Park in Montana.
14. It would be sensible to move to a low/zero carbon economy ASAP.
15. Environmental concern is based on palaeoclimatology not models.
16. Climate “sceptics” are not like Galileo.
17. Environmentalism is not the enemy of humanity.

How highly did you score?

There is one crucially-important factor (not stated as a question in the orginal email) – and that is Climate Sensitivity. If Professor lindzen is wrong, I think we’re all screwed… Unfortunately, just about every other legitimate climate scientist – apart from Judith Curry, Pat Michaels and Roy Spencer – thinks Professor Lindzen is indeed wrong.

So the big question is, what are we all going to do about it?

***UPDATE: Please make sure you read this too (and/or instead)!***

Written by Martin Lack

29 February 2012 at 00:02

33 Responses

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  1. 2055 – a vision of future ads in your local newspaper

    For sale: ENVIRO-SUITS : Made from 2″ plastic, guaranteed not to melt; Fully integrated, self air-conditioned, built in oxygen canister; capable of withstanding extreme heat … perfect for spending a day at the beach or gardening in your front lawn, one size fits all …. finally your children may spend more than 5 minutes under that blistering heat without shedding their skin.😦


    29 February 2012 at 06:23

    • Donald, where did you go to? You have missed all the fun over on Judith Curry’s blog! What are you saving yourself for? It must be awesome!

      Martin Lack

      29 February 2012 at 08:03

      • Lets just say that I have been peeling the climate skeptics salami and making a sandwich out of it.; I have been reading Judith blog but lately I prefer to sit in that very special IT room of mine watching some awesome links drop by … bit by bit I been posting them all over the internet and causing quite a stir. God loves me and will hopefully have mercy on my soul …. others, it appears … won’t :-)


        29 February 2012 at 08:20

  2. Re: ‘the big question’.

    It seems to me we’ll sit on our backsides, discussing it interminably. While we’re pondering the alternatives, we might occasionally call for immediate… discussion, but in the end we’ll all discover that we were living in the Age of Stupid.

    [Ford] Yes, well … I can see you’ve a lot to talk about. So thanks for the drink. Could you drop us off at the nearest convenient planet?
    [Captain] That’s a little difficult, you see. Our trajectory thingy was pre-set before we left Golgafrincham. I think it was partly due to the fact I’m not really very good at figures.
    [Ford] You mean we’re stuck here on this ship? When are you going to arrive at this planet?
    [Captain] We’re nearly there. Nearly there. I should be out of this bath, in fact … Oh, why stop just when I’m enjoying it?
    [Arthur] We are about to land, then?
    [Captain] Not exactly land, no. As far as I remember, we were programmed to crash on it.
    [Ford & Arthur] Crash?!
    [Captain] Some reason for it, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.
    [Ford] You’re all a load of useless bloody loonies!
    [Captain] Yes, that was it! That was the reason!
    Douglas Adams, Phlyarologist of the First Order. RIP.


    1 March 2012 at 12:38

    • Thanks Colin. Despite all the diversionary tactics and personal abuse vented in my direction on Dr Curry’s blog (and some continued mockery of me – now referred to as ‘Joshua’), one or two people have visited; and some even show signs of being capable of rational discussion. So maybe, just maybe, there is cause for some limited optimism.

      Martin Lack

      1 March 2012 at 13:05

      • UPDATE: Stow that final remark – none of the new visitors is actually willing to take on board any of the “new” information anyone here has given them! I think they will have to delete lots of stuff to make room for it; and/or their hard drives are corrupted and need re-formatting!

        Martin Lack

        3 March 2012 at 10:55

  3. Hey Martin. It’s me, your good friend, JK.

    I watched this presentation by Richard Muller of Berkeley. He is a supporter of AGW, but he really tries to cut through much of the current nonsense, and I think he gives as fair an assessment of the issues as anyone I have seen on the AGW side. He does a great job addressing many of the problems and concerns I have been trying to bring to your attention:

    I think this guy knows what a real scientist is. He is doing a project to go through all of raw temperature data because he simply doesn’t trust it. Even though I come to a different conclusion on AGW, from what I know about him, I would trust his data as I think he sincerely wants to find the truth, no matter what that ends up being. I only wish more AGW scientists were like him. I think he is a former skeptic, but I am not sure.

    Of course, Martin, I don’t expect or even care if you actually post this on your blog. I am just hoping that you will watch it, as I think it could be quite beneficial to you even if you never change your ultimate views. It might aid your ability and success in applying those views. And I am certain it will help you better present your case in the future.


    4 March 2012 at 19:41

    • John, Isn’t changing your email, user-ID, and/or IP address a contravention of WordPress rules and/or a de-facto admission that you are a Troll? No matter, I am delighted to permit this comment in order to comprehensively demonstrate once-and-for-all that you are a complete fool…

      This talk was posted on the Internet on the 1st of October 2010 – 17 months ago – since when Dr Muller has very publicly admitted he was wrong:

      If you continue to visit and post insane, pre-debunked nonsense, I will assume you want to be blacklisted again and, if that happens AND you then return under another new identity, I will report all three ID’s etc., to WordPress. Your decision.

      Martin Lack

      4 March 2012 at 20:10

      • Hey Martin, thanks for calling me names once again. Now I am a “troll,” and a “complete fool.” Despite me not agreeing with Muller which I told you right up front, I found his talk very worthy of listening to. So, I passed it along, as I thought it would help you with your current inability to present your own case. He brings up issues that, if you really want to promote an end to fossil fuels, that you will have to address productively.

        By the way, I completely identified myself to you, and told you that my intention was merely to communicate to you. You could make my post visible or not, your choice. And, you can present whatever information to WordPress you deem appropriate. [This I will indeed do if you are blacklisted twice and return a third time – ML]

        I read your linked article, and I found no mention of what it is that he admits he was wrong about. In the talk, he admits to supporting AGW, so I would hardly call him a skeptic. So, what exactly has he publicly admitted he was wrong about? Will you answer that one? I think it will be really relevant.

        And, by the way, I am much more persuaded by Muller to believe his conclusions about AGW (which support your side) than I am from anything on this blog. Your “arguments” have only solidified my findings and increased my skepticism. I notice that Judith Curry has partnered with Muller to submit a paper for peer review. No doubt, she is a “complete fool” also, right?

        So Martin, if you want to smear Muller and call me names publicly, no problema. It is certainly your style. But, privately, you could do much good for yourself to learn from Muller.


        4 March 2012 at 20:53

        • Unlike your friends in The Curry House, I do not not call people names just because I don’t agree with them or because I can’t falsify their arguments. I call people names when they demonstrably deserve to be labelled as such. Muller has since renounced his “scepticism”; and I think the time is long overdue that you should to.

          Despite this, and despite the fact that I have conclusively proved that I am not anti- any of the things you say I am – I am quite sure you will go on saying them. But that will never make them true.

          I think it may be time for you to read How to be a climate change ‘sceptic’ (again?).

          Martin Lack

          4 March 2012 at 21:53

      • Hey Martin,
        While I await your decision on the “moderation” of my last post, here is a recent interview with Muller:

        Seriously, Martin, this guy is your best friend. Again, he makes your case better than you do, but he is reasonable. I can’t for the life of me understand why you would want to smear him.


        4 March 2012 at 21:22

        • I’m sorry John, you are confusing me now. I am not hostile to Muller. He has admitted that he was wrong about surface temperatures. In your origninal post here (using your new ID) you described him as doing a project to look at all the data again. However, given that the video you posted was 17 months old it is not surprising to find that he completed this BEST study 4 months ago and had to admit he had not found what he was looking for: He had hoped to conclude warming is not happening; but had to admit that it is. If he then wishes to try and pretend he has not done all of this – that is a matter for him. However, most climate scientists applauded his intellectual honesty for admitting he got it wrong.

          Re-reading my “Questions for Dr Richard A Muller” post it seems very clear to me that:
          1. I applauded Muller’s honesty for publishing the BEST data even though it did not tell him what he had hoped it would.
          2. I asked him to also admit that his BEST study validated the reality of the MBH98 Hockey Stick (which I still don’t think he has).

          With regard to the latter, the Heartland Institute appear to have taken down the video of him criticising MH98 but, almost a year ago, on my old blog, I flagged-up the erroneous nature of his trotting out the “hide the decline” email/myth:

          As I said, to my knowledge, Muller has still not publicly acknowledged he was wrong about this but, hey, one embarrassing climb-down per year is enough I suppose. However, I am grateful to him for acknowledging what error he has; and look forward to many others doing the same – like William Nordhaus has now done too:
          Why the global warming skeptics are wrong (2 March 2012).

          Martin Lack

          4 March 2012 at 22:23

        • FYI John. Given that traffic peaked this week at over 600 hits per day, I am now moderating ALL comments. So please don’t take it personally.

          Martin Lack

          4 March 2012 at 22:34

      • Martin,

        You didn’t answer what it was that Muller publicly admitted he was wrong about? In the talk I cited, he was already believed in AGW. [Yes I bloody well did – ML]


        4 March 2012 at 22:27

        • Muller may be trying to re-write history but the Koch Brothers and many others who funded the BEST study expected it to prove (as per WUWT) that warming was an artifact of weather station location. In point of fact the BEST study proved this was not the case. Therefore, whereas BEST set out to prove warming is not taking place, they had to admit that it is.

          I am sorry but, if you repeat your question a third time, when it is quite clear that you are wrong about this on so many levels. I will assume you do indeed wish to be blacklisted for a second time because:
          1. Changing your ID to re-gain access to a site is against WordPress rules; and
          2. One commonly-accepted definition of a “troll” is someone who repeats question/assertions that have just been proven false.

          Martin Lack

          4 March 2012 at 22:41

      • You are confused? I posted a link to Muller’s talk because I thought you could learn something from it. He takes a reasoned approach to AGW which makes him very credible. I don’t see him admitting he was wrong about anything. He wanted to review the data because he didn’t trust the people presenting the data because of the way they refused to be open and public about it. Good for him. He restates this in the interview that I cited. But that has very little to do with the reasons I thought you could benefit from his presentation.

        He considers all of the ramifications of fossil fuel use or proscription. He acknowledges the significant impact that banning fossil fuel use would have on the very poorest people living in developing countries. Good for him! He also reasonably describes the effects of AGW which don’t include extreme weather like hurricanes. As both Muller and Lindzen acknowledge, AGW will bring less temperature difference between the equator and the poles, which will lower the occurrence of hurricanes.

        He still thinks it is a problem, possibly a catastrophic problem. But his reasonableness lends him much credibility. That is where you should focus if you really want to someday persuade anyone or change anyone’s mind.

        And finally, he acknowledges your biggest problem. Curtailing fossil fuel use in the developed world will virtually have no effect on the AGW problem. The developing world will far surpass the developed world in CO2 output per capita. Now, this is not a position against which you can form an argument. You need to come up with a solution.


        4 March 2012 at 22:44

        • My God, you are sailing close to the wind.

          I believe I admitted to you a very long time ago that there are no easy options. However, if you would actually go away and read what people like William Nordaus are now saying (i.e. as recently as last Friday) you will see that the message is – de-carbonising the World economy is something we simply MUST do because the consequences of delay will make the cost of achieving the same degree of mitigation much more expensive if we wait to tackle the problem.

          Martin Lack

          4 March 2012 at 22:58

      • Yes Martin, I understand your message:
        “de-carbonising the World economy is something we simply MUST do because the consequences of delay will make the cost of achieving the same degree of mitigation much more expensive if we wait to tackle the problem.”

        But now you must face your problem. The developing world isn’t going to de-carbonize, and not only that, their CO2 output will grow so fast that even if we stopped using fossil fuels completely, it wouldn’t do anything to affect AGW (assuming your models are correct.)

        So how do you solve this problem? It, again, is why I suggested Muller’s talk. How are you going to get the developing world to reduce emissions?

        PS. Have you ever sailed close to the wind? I can assure you it is quite glorious.


        4 March 2012 at 23:07

        • John. Look. This is very important. It is not my message. It is the message of Sir Nicholas Stern, the International Energy Agency, and now William Nordhaus. Why don’t you go and Occupy their blogs and ask them how we should solve the problem? However, for what it is worth (I am absolutely sure I have said this all before but no matter…)

          If you had bothered to keep reading Hansen’s book you would have found that he admits OPEC countries are not going to stop exporting what they’ve got and developing nations are not going to stop burning coal. That is why we who bear the greatest historical responsibility for ACD must de-carbonise ASAP; leaving those who can least afford to invest in alternatives (but who stand to be impacted first, hardest and longest by ACD) to carry-on polluting the atmosphere (if they must).

          Despite all of this, I still think the bottom line is this: The whole world (everybody) needs to stop looking at Renewable Energy as a cost; and start treating it as a benefit; as an investment in our own future – and in the future of our children and our grandchildren. The clue, I think, was there in the title of Hansen’s book: Storms of my Grandchildren!

          Martin Lack

          4 March 2012 at 23:21

      • So Martin, take that to its conclusion. We negatively impact our economies at great expense, while the developing world, who happens to contain a great deal more people than we do, just goes on their merry way putting multiples of amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere than we ever did. What is the effect of our fossil fuel ban? A symbolic gesture? It will have no effect on warming according to the models! The marginal effect of CO2 is not linear, it is logarithmic! It will all be for nothing!
        And why? Just so you can feel good about yourself? You advocate things that will cost dearly but have no measurable effect? That is simply not thinking clearly.
        BTW, did you listen to those three Muller links?


        4 March 2012 at 23:35

        • Why should I listen to anything you say – you’re not listening to me; you just repeatedly misrepresent my position.

          In any case, I already understand Muller’s position. It is you that does not appear to do so; or are you now finally going to stop asking me what it is he has admitted to being wrong about (i.e. that warming was not actually happening – it was all heat island effect)?

          I said “if they must”; and then qualified that by saying it would be best if everybody saw renewable enrgy as an investment in our common future. As I keep pointing out to you delay is a false economy, it will only get much more expensive to mitigate impacts as those impacts grow in magnitude. As Sir Nichoal Stern sau in 2009 (i.e. in Blueprint for a safer Planet); tackling ACD is not like deciding whether or not to build a bridge now or in 20 years time – normal economic rules do not apply – ACD is an unprecedented threat to all life on Earth. Nordhaus now agrees. When will you?

          Non-WP account holders now welcome (but don’t abuse your privilege).

          Martin Lack

          5 March 2012 at 20:31

      • Martin,
        What do you think of fracking?


        6 March 2012 at 14:14

        • I should have thought, John, that anyone could work out the answer to this question based on my reliance upon James Hansen (more than once but most recently here).

          However for the record – and for the sake of complete transparency – I believe that arguing against fracking and/or all forms of unconventional fossil fuel exploration and/or use from an immediate environmental impact can only be done on a case-by-case basis. However, I believe we should nevertheless leave them all in the ground because Hansen is convinced that if we proceed to burn all the Earth’s fossil fuels just because we can – the runaway greenhouse effect will be a “dead certainty” (i.e. his phrase). Therefore, since the World seems reluctant to embrace Fast Breeder Reactor technology (I firmly believe it will have to one day), we need to focus on rapidly up-scaling all forms of renewable energy instead. Do you know something? I am almost certain that I have said this to you before (I wonder why that is).

          Martin Lack

          6 March 2012 at 14:45

      • Martin,

        I only ask because it sure seems like it might be an interim tool in your mitigation plan, and at the same time promote a very cheap energy source, natural gas. Since the world is not about to stop fossil fuel use any time soon, lining up its interest in cheap energy with yours of a lower CO2 emitting energy source would seem to go hand in hand.


        6 March 2012 at 15:11

        • Either you did not read what I said; or you are continuing to cling to the idea that your opinions are more valid than James Hansen’s – good luck out there in ‘the marketplace of ideas’. I really do hope you don’t get taken for a ride.

          Like I said before, if people want it to be, spending money on renewable energy could be seen as an investment in our common future. Certainly, all those that have a choice should now choose to move away from fossil fuels, so as to limit the damage done by those that do not have the luxury of a choice.
          “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke?)

          Martin Lack

          6 March 2012 at 15:30

  4. 600 hits…. All thanks to Judith Curry!?

    Barry Woods

    4 March 2012 at 22:59

    • No, the week prior to that it had peaked at 300 (up from sub-100 a month ago).

      Barry, it’s nice to know you are still keeping an eye on my blog. I know I can be a bit forceful with my opinions but, can you not see now why I was so suspicious? Just look what JK is doing here; it is almost unbelievable!

      BTW, I really did mean ALL that (polite) stuff I said to you on the PIG post (i.e. after you went off in a huff and/or with a sigh).

      Martin Lack

      4 March 2012 at 23:07

  5. You posed 17 interesting questions that I would like to address:

    1. The IPCC is too optimistic.
    Certainly. The scientific analysis is reviewed by bureaucrats before publication and this results in a tempering, or toning down, of the more dramatic outcomes. An example is the omission of any analysis of sea level rise (SLR) due to dynamic changes to ice sheets, because such dynamic change is very difficult to predict; thus, SLR projections in the latest IPCC report are certainly understated.

    2. Holocene climatic stability is now endangered.
    The pre-existing stable Holocene climate is now changing. It will eventually stabilise in a new state. Whether we refer to the new era still as Holocene, or as Anthropocene, remains to be cene (sorry – couldn’t resist).

    3. The ‘marketplace of ideas’ is a fallacy.
    According to Wikipedia, ‘The “marketplace of ideas” belief holds that the truth or the best policy arises out of the competition of widely various ideas in free, transparent public discourse’. Taking this definition, it is clearly a fallacy:
    a) the Truth is always the Truth, regardless of what we think is the Truth. Public discourse may result in people believing a particular idea, but that does not inherently make that idea True.
    b) the ‘best policy’ is always conditional: best for whom? Public discourse may cause people to agree upon a course of action, but that is not guaranteed to make it the ‘best’ course.
    In fact, the agreed “truth” or “best policy” will generally be that supported by the proponent who is most successful at influencing public opinion, irrespective of its ultimate merit.

    4. The notion of a scientific conspiracy is an illusion.
    There have been scientific conspiracies, but only a very gullible observer would conclude that thousands of researchers around the world are engaged in a conspiracy to promote AGW and suppress evidence that does not support the theory. It would plainly be impossible to keep everyone ‘on message’ over the multiple generations and diverse disciplines such a conspiracy would have to manage. If there was a conspiracy, it would have leaked long ago. Quod erat demonstrandum.

    5. Some of your (Lindzen’s) graphs were potentially misleading.
    Graphs and statistics are always potentially misleading. They always require careful explanation and robust context. We should be asking “is Prof. Lindzen habitually careful and robust with the truth?” and his track record would be the answer.

    6. Given (2), post-Industrial temperature rise is significant.
    Statistically, or linguistically? I am not a statistician, so I cannot answer for that, but as a passenger on lifeboat Earth, I regard any global warming has having potential effects I would describe as significant, in the common English usage of the word. I tend to regard drought, flood and famine as ‘significant’, especially if they happen to me.

    7. Given the inertia in the system, more warming is ‘in the pipeline’.
    If we accept that warming is occurring and why, it follows that warming will continue until the Earth’s energy budget balances once again. The $64 million dollar questions are “how much more warming?” and “by when?”. [I know you were being metaphorical but the total cost of damage likely to be done by ACD is currently estimated likely to lie between 35 and 70 Trillion USD – depending on how soon we decide it is worth acting! – ML]

    8. Sceptics are always ‘going down the up escalator’.
    No, that is too general. True sceptics, as distinct from deniers, are examining the evidence and coming to a range of conclusions. On the other hand, those who deny the proposition that “we are causing AGW and it will be bad for us” have a whole spectrum of opinions. Some deny it is happening, so they are not on an escalator at all. Some accept that it is happening and we are causing it, but have a different view of whether it will be bad for us. All appear to be missing some vital piece of the big picture.

    9. Therefore ‘global warming’ did not stop in 1998 (or at any other time).
    Agreed: see 7. above.

    10. Neither the Sun nor volcanoes are now the dominant climate forcing.
    The Sun is always the dominant forcing; the Sun is not the dominant forcing for the _changes_ we are currently experiencing. In other words, the Sun provides the base-line forcing and our anthropogenic changes to CO2 levels are providing the current changes to our climate.

    11. As CO2 is the only thing to have changed significantly, this is a ‘fair test’.
    Agreed, unless someone comes up with a plausible alternative (leprechauns, anyone?).

    12. ACD is inevitable because the Earth’s energy balance must be restored.
    Agreed. See 7 above.

    13. Soon we will have to re-name the Glacier National Park in Montana.
    No, keep the name, to remind us of how life used to be.

    14. It would be sensible to move to a low/zero carbon economy ASAP.
    Civilisation as we know it depends upon a carbon-intensive economy. We change at our peril. We remain the same at our peril. Either way, we lose civilisation as we know it.

    15. Environmental concern is based on palaeoclimatology not models.
    … and oceanography, astronomy, quantum physics, …

    16. Climate “sceptics” are not like Galileo.
    None has appeared so yet. I keep waiting for one to appear.

    17. Environmentalism is not the enemy of humanity.
    Humanity is the enemy of humanity and environmentalism is a human pursuit.


    8 March 2012 at 02:45

    • 17 out of 17, Owlbrudder. Five gold stars. Although the questions were effectively rhetorical for most sane people, thank you so much for taking the time to demonstrate exactly why Professor Lindzen has not responded – because he would have scored 0 out of 17. He is stuck in a prison of Denial from which I fear death will be his only escape.

      Martin Lack

      8 March 2012 at 08:59

  6. […] I blogosphere friend of mine, Owlbrudder, has now demonstrated what I mean by all of this by replying to my 17 statements – affirming the validity of each and every one of them. […]

  7. […] Lack of Environment On the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems…. Skip to content HomeAboutBackgroundHistoryImagesModerationPrivacyRemuneration ← Climategate 2.0 – the first nail in coffin of climate change denial Prof. Lindzen – try this instead! → […]

  8. […] An open letter to Richard Lindzen (28 February 2012) – 1800 word email with questions from me. Prof. Lindzen – try this instead! (29 February 2012) – Many of my questions re-formulated as 17 simple statements via which I invited Professor Lindzen […]

  9. […] CO2 content) overlaid upon fairly static temperature data for the last decade or so – see the screenshot from the video… which I understand has now been re-inserted into the PDF and PPT versions of the […]

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