Lack of Environment

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

Lindzengate – an update report

with 65 comments

Members of my immediate family have contacted me asking me to explain exactly what I was asking Professor Lindzen and whether I have had any response. This is what I told them:

No news is bad news.
Although some will no doubt say that my first 1800-word email was out-of-order; and never going to receive a response from a busy man, I did get a response – warning me not to publish my email!   A warning I have ignored because it was mere bluster and intimidation.

However, I have since apologised for any contentious accusations I may have made, but I have still had no substantive response to any of my questions, even those in my third email to Lindzen; which I believe demand responses to which the whole World is entitled.

In between these two emails, was my second very brief email containing 17 simple statements (i.e. effectively rhetorical questions).  However, Lindzen has not responded – and cannot respond – to this because to do so he would have to reveal to the World that he is in a prison of denial from which death will probably be his only escape.  For the avoidance of doubt, this is not a death threat by me against him – it is merely a statement of my belief that even if he is now reprimanded for repeated poor practice – he will never recant from what I believe to be his ideologically-driven need to deny (human responsibility for) the reality of all our environmental problems. A 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.

Lindzen’s entire thesis depends on one thing.
To make things as clear as possible for you, Lindzen’s entire conspiracy theory stands or falls on his belief that he is right and everyone else is wrong.  He has 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.  Many climate scientists believe climate sensitivity could be as high as 4 Celsius and also that it is non-linear (i.e. as it warms up, less marginal CO2 change is required to achieve same temperature change => runaway greenhouse effect => Venus no.2 in 500 years).

At very least, if Lindzen is wrong about current climate sensitivity – and runaway greenhouse effect is avoided – when the Earth’s temperature eventually stabilises (i.e. decades after we stop increasing atmosheric CO2) it will be two-and-a-half times hotter than Lindzen thinks.

I just hope that you do not now dismiss me and the vast majority of the World’s climate scientists as environmental “alarmists” because, if you do, the Merchants of Doubt have won and we are all stuffed….


UPDATE (0915 hrs GMT 9 March 2012): I believe all the comments (to-date) are worth reading, but make sure you do not miss the video of the Q&A session of the Meeting (as posted here by its organisers) and my response…

65 Responses

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  1. […] Lack of Environment On the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems…. Skip to content HomeAboutBackgroundHistoryImagesModerationPrivacyRemuneration ← Be strong and courageous Lindzengate – an update report → […]

  2. It is ironic that you accuse Lindzen of bluster and intimidation and yet write
    “he is in a prison of denial from which death will probably be his only escape”.

    Perhaps you should take note of the advice above your comment box:
    “Please feel free to comment (if you can be polite)”.*

    Calm down and rethink your embarrassing outbursts.

    [*I acknowledge this was confrontational and has been modified; but I was getting a lot of impolite comments last week! – ML]

    Too Much Ranting

    8 March 2012 at 13:28

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion without actually being abusive. However, my comment, although deliberately emotive, is neither bluster nor intimidation; it is merely a statement of opinion (which is then fully explained and justified).

      Martin Lack

      8 March 2012 at 13:49

      • I do agree. Please take Eli Rabbit’s advice at Climate Etc. He is very much a high profile climate concerned blogger. See Rabbet Run blog for background.

        I’m afraid I think you have blown it with Lindzen. If you still can’t tone it down, I think most people would say he is under no obligation to give you any further replies… However much you think you ‘challenge’ him.

        Barry Woods

        8 March 2012 at 16:00

        • Your opinions are noted, Barry. However, as with all your other mind-bending comments, I believe you are just trying to intimidate me into silence:

          …It is not going to work.

          Martin Lack

          8 March 2012 at 16:07

  3. Let me see, Lindzen is 74 and a smoker (unless he had given up recently); and he is in denial of at least his poor recent record of having any theory hypothesis supporting his low climate sensitivity claims holding up against peer review. Thus, Martin’s expression is apt, although maybe just a tad ‘in your face’. Let us face it, the deniers, and Lomborg misappropriated the term skeptic (sic sceptic) long ago, waste no time in coming out with outrageous accusations that make Martin’s writing look like something from Enid Blyton.

    Too Much Ranting (in the Marsh) sounds like a sleepy Cotswold village about to be the centre of attention in Midsummer Murders.

    Lionel A

    8 March 2012 at 15:34

  4. While the average global temperature on Earth has increased by 1 degree Celsius in the last century, in some places on Earth the temperature has increased by a phenomenal 11 Degrees; for some species, already adapted to life as it has been for millions of years such changes puts them in great danger. I’d love to see anybody deny such facts; Climate Warming is as profound a truth in the same manner that we all know the sun rises every morning.


    8 March 2012 at 16:06

    • Many thanks Donald. You are a veritable mine of information.

      Martin Lack

      8 March 2012 at 16:10

      • I don’t think anyone could intimidate you into silence Martin. Sounds like you thrill to the thought of it though. But when the crazier on your own side (e.g. Eli) suggest you are not coming across well, perhaps it is time to listen?

        Barry Woods

        8 March 2012 at 16:18

        • Using that magical CTRL+F I can find no mention of my name on the website to which you refer. However, if someone has anything they’d like to say to me they are welcome to come here and say it. I only ban people who can’t take “no” for an answer.

          NOTE: I eventually tracked down Eli’s comment and it turned-out he was taking a very myopic view of some fairly infantile exchanges (which I had unfortunately lowered myself to get involved in after much provocation).

          Martin Lack

          8 March 2012 at 16:30

      • Maybe I should turn Super-hero and call myself “Encyclopedia-Man”, then I could smash the evil skeptics with my …… Nah, best I stay mortal :-)


        8 March 2012 at 16:26

  5. […] Please make sure you read this too (and/or instead)!*** Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  6. […] Because this is such a long post you may wish to skip ahead and come back later (may be). If so, go this first or instead!*** ———————— Dear Professor […]

  7. On tone of argument, maybe John Cook hits it on the head with this:

    The philosophy I take when debunking myths is that responding to misinformation doesn’t need to be a combative, aggressive experience. On the contrary, responding to misinformation is an opportunity for teachable moments, placing the myths in the broader context of the full body of evidence. After I debunked each myth, the audience voted on whether they considered the myth busted.

    Full article here .

    One can always drive a point home with a little wit though.

    Lionel A

    8 March 2012 at 16:51

  8. Martin. Eli responded to you at Climate Etc, as I mentioned earlier. [snip – dealt with above]

    Barry Woods

    8 March 2012 at 17:16

    • Barry, I am not sitting on Judith Curry’s blog 24/7; and I only respond to people responding to me.

      I have tried to be reasonable with people over there and, in response, one or two (e.g. tonyb) are doing the same in return. However, with people like Rita Pidley (aka Peter Ridley) in there too – I am still inclined not to waste too much of my time.

      Having said all of that, because I seem to have been 1 of only 2 people in the audience capable of seeing through what Lindzen was doing (the kind of person that Lindzen would not have expected to be there), I believe I am very well placed to call him account for the huge damage he has done to science as a profession and for the way in which he has re-inforced erroneous beliefs in the minds of predominantly non-scientific, deeply-suggestible, “sceptics”. This is why I am not going to drop this issue. Far from it, my “inside knowledge” is now gaining attention on both Skeptical Science and Real Climate.

      Professor Lindzen may now have re-inserted the “misisng” slide into the PDF, but this does not change the fact that it was highly-misleading. The Keeling Curve and Temperature did not appear to correlate over the short term. Big Deal! If you stretched the temperature axis far enough, they would have correlated perfectly. Therefore, this (now not missing) graph neither proves nor disproves anything. Lindzen must know that. If he doesn’t know that he should not be at MIT.

      People seem to keep forgetting that I was actually in the room and I quite literally could not believe what Lindzen was doing. I have never seen anything like it in my life before; it was absolutely disgraceful.

      One thing I can guarantee; Lindzengate has barely begun.

      Martin Lack

      8 March 2012 at 17:56

      • Sorry, but I think you are dreaming. No-one knows that you or I exist; let alone care about “Lindzengate”. Try commenting at some high profile consensus minded blogs, like Deltoid, rabett run, only in it for the gold (tobis). If they think you are on to something, then go for it. They are certainly not any friends of mine.

        Barry Woods

        8 March 2012 at 18:10

        • Barry, I have asked you a number of times now; please stop giving me the benefit of your “advice” and homespun psychology. Rightly or wrongly, I am of the opinion that you are merely trying to oppress and/or depress me. It is not going to work.

          With you, this “neither you nor I are important” stuff seems to be something of a mantra. Can I suggest you stop it; or replace it with “Om Mani Padme Hum” (but keep it to yourself). If you make any further comments like this again, I will have no choice but to assume my intuition is correct; and you will therefore be blacklisted.

          Martin Lack

          8 March 2012 at 18:22

  9. Having inhabited science-based fora, such as Skeptical Science, where there is great emphasis on staying calm and avoiding provocative language, it is rather a breath of fresh air to see you, Martin, brandishing a flaming sword and attacking the gates of the contrarian fortress. I have no opinion as to whether this is either wise or effective, but it does distinguish this blog from the common herd. I am much too self-effacing to take up cudgels myself, but I certainly wish you well in your “quest”. Just be careful to avoid bringing the actual science into disrepute; in other words, keep within the bounds of your own specialty and don’t try to argue points outside your skill set.

    I sometimes wonder whether the ACD (AGW) theory is not getting the attention it deserves in the main stream media, because there are so few proponents willing to be controversial enough to attract focus. I say, go for it. Carpe Jugular!


    9 March 2012 at 01:29

    • I did not see much that was calm in dana1981’s rebuttal of Lindzen’s talk on the Skeptical Science website. It makes me look very polite by comparison. However, I am extremely grateful for your moral support.

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 09:32

      • Dana dissected the information and the implications, leaving the reader to consider the motivation. You go straight to the point of displaying the misinformation and then questioning – or even declaiming – the motivation. The evidence points to a certain conclusion about motivation, but others are less likely to claim that motivation as a fact. In other words, you are willing to say what other people are only thinking. That exposes you to more risk, but it is refreshing to see. Just be sure you can back up what you claim, in case the worm turns on you with a lawyer in tow.


        10 March 2012 at 00:33

        • Your concern for me is genuinely appreciated, Owlbrudder. However, I believe I have been very careful to avoid stating opinion as fact. This should be sufficient to eschew litigation but, if not, I will have to join the ranks of John Abraham and Peter Gleick… Actually, Monckton never did sue Abraham – why was that again…?

          Martin Lack

          10 March 2012 at 06:09

      • Actually, Monckton never did sue Abraham – why was that again…? – ROTFL


        10 March 2012 at 08:23

  10. Martin,

    It is highly unlikely that you will ever get a response from Professor Lindzen to your questions. It actually seems better that you drop these endeavors and work on something that is actually achievable.

    At the same time, I disagree, at least in part, with Barry Woods. People may not know that he exists, but many people are aware that you exist and furthermore, they are aware of your efforts to “spread the word” regarding AGW. Mr. Woods suggestion that you comment to like-minded blogs is the equivalent of asking you to “preach to the choir.” If Mr Woods doesn’t want to hear the pro-AGW viewpoint, there is always the WUWT Website.

    Peter Goodman

    9 March 2012 at 04:23

    • Those that would seek to oppress and/or depress me seem to be in the majority… Why is that?

      Lord Monckton’s opening and closing speeches are both atrocious inversions of reality (see video below). We have come to expect it of him; but we should not expect it, nor tolerate it, when it comes from the mouth of someone who is held up by the “sceptics” as the oracle of all truth and enlightenment. This is absolute nonsense.

      Whether Lindzen is paid directly or indirectly by Conservative Think Tanks (CTTs) to travel around the world spreading his nonsensical conspiracy theories and misleading information in such a highly hypocritical and obfuscatory fashion is now immaterial. It would seem that, irrespective of intent, he is quite clearly doing their bidding:
      “Environmental scepticism is an elite-driven reaction to global environmentalism, organised by core actors within the conservative movement. Promoting scepticism is a key tactic of the anti-environmental counter-movement co-ordinated by CTTs.”
      [Jacques (2008, p.364)].

      Therefore, this is nothing less than a battle to uphold integrity and intellectual honesty in the public discourse of complex science; and to prevent the entire human race from sleep-walking into an environmental catastrophe.

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 09:12

      • Martin, I’m not trying to oppress or depress you. I just believe that your attempt to get a response from Prof. Lindzen will fail. And I see no point in continuing your efforts to get a response from him. It seems, to me at least, better to point out his “errors” and attempt to post them to various denier Websites as well as to have them published. But…do as you wish. As Churchill said “Failure is not an option. It is a privilege reserved for those who try.”

        Peter Goodman

        9 March 2012 at 18:37

        • I know this will make me sound like the facilitator of a self-help group but, thanks for sharing that, Peter. I have no intention of sending Professor Lindzen any more emails. He’s had his chance to reply to me. I have posted my thoughts here; and on both Real Climate and SkepticalScience and, do you know what, they finally seem to get what I have been banging on about all this time. It’s funny that, isn’t it, may be I was ahead of them because I was 1 of only 2 genuine sceptics in the room. Some of them might even say, “I was an eye witness at the scene of the crime”, but I could not possibly comment.

          However, I have now moved on; so why not join me on my journey to show the World I can talk about something other than Richard Lindzen and/or James Delingpole… Why not look at today’s post and let me know what you think of mining in Wilderness areas such as Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctica?

          Martin Lack

          9 March 2012 at 20:20

        • I had wondered why Skeptical Science and Real Climate had not responded quickly and forcefully to Lindzen’s presentation. Then I remembered a quote by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens): “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” I will move on to today’s post.

          Peter Goodman

          9 March 2012 at 20:51

        • Very apt. Thank-you, Peter.

          I hope you like the Antarctica post and, as of today (10 March), now also some of my favourite photos of the Himalayas

          Martin Lack

          10 March 2012 at 06:13

  11. Questions & Answers Session following MIT Prof Richard S. Lindzen’s seminar on Reconsidering the Climate Change Act Global Warming: How to approach the science (Climate models and the evidence ?) at the UK House of Commons in Committee Room 14 held on the 22nd of February 2012.

    UPDATE: Peter Ridley has (kindly?) provided a transcript of this Q&A session via a link to his own blog that you will find here.

    9 March 2012 at 07:39

    • Thanks for this Fay. I did get it via email too (apologies for not replying). It is very interesting to see this again, if for no other reason that – over on Judith Curry’s blog and here – so-called “sceptics” have engaged in a great deal of pedantic debate and obfuscation regarding whether or not I was right to say “I was not allowed to ask a question”. In addition, Lord Mockton ridiculed me on Simon Carr’s Independent blog for “rambling”… However, as I have said, I now accept that I invited being prevented from asking a question by seeking to address (from 05:28 onwards in this video) some of Lindzen’s blatant misdirection of the audience. Furthermore, in retrospect, this was not a debate and my attempt to turn it into one was inappropriate.

      The above notwithstanding, far from “rambling”, up until Lindzen interrupted me (why was that I wonder?), I had made a very clear statement (to the effect that concern over ACD is based on palaeoclimatology rather than on modelling)… And what was Lindzen’s response? A combination of outright denial, mockery of me, and/or yet more obfuscation of relevant facts (unless he just doesn’t know them).

      In addition, none of this changes the fact that Lindzen’s talk was full of hypocrisy and obfuscation, which I believe resulted in the misdirection of a generally “already sceptical” audience. Therefore, I believe the World still deserves an explanation from Lindzen for his descent into pure unadulterated conspiracy theory.

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 08:58

      • Hey Martin,
        This is the very first issue that you and I discussed! As you might imagine, Lindzen was about to quote Roe who compared the Milankovitch cycles to time rate of change in ice volume rather than just ice volume. Roe found that the “help” effect from CO2 was not necessary for the cycle. But you interrupted him before he could finish.


        9 March 2012 at 10:47

        • I am afraid my perception of events is different from yours and, since I was actually there, I think mine is more accurate.

          Firstly, Lindzen interrupted me because, I suspect, he realised I was in serious danger of bringing some sense into the proceedings: I did at least get to mention radiative energy imbalance – but was prevented from distinguishing natural (Temp-driven) from unnatural (CO2-driven) change.

          I firmly believe Lindzen knew this was what I was about to say and, therefore, interrupted me to stop me saying it.

          As Lionel has said, Lindzen was just obfuscating while Lord Monckton loaded the torpedoes.

          Martin Lack

          9 March 2012 at 17:04

      • Martin, I would submit to you that your perception of your own question [It was not a question; it was a statement – ML] is not very relevant. The only thing that is relevant is how one listening to it would perceive it, and Lindzen perceived it exactly like I did which is why he went into the explanation of Roe that I already cited to you. Did you read Roe?

        According to Roe, CO2 does not play a significant role in the ice age cycles: “In other words, variations in melting precede variations in CO2. Thus, the relatively small amplitude of the CO2 radiative forcing and the absence of a lead over dV/dt both suggest that CO2 variations play a relatively weak role in driving changes in global ice volume compared to insolation variations.”

        You made a statement of a theory to Lindzen and told him that it was “bizarre” that he didn’t mention it. He then stated “I don’t think there is any case to be made for that.” When he tried to explain Roe’s finding that CO2 is not important in Milankovitch cycles, you interrupted him causing Monckton to move on to another questioner.


        9 March 2012 at 18:13

        • None of that changes the fact that all I was stating is the consensus view. I would refute the suggestion that my explanation for CO2 changes lagging behind temp is a just a theory but, since you will no doubt insist that it is just that; it is better understood than the theory of gravity. I presume that you would not want to dispute that one as well?

          Lindzen’s response (as would appear to be yours) is to say that the consensus is wrong. In my very well-considered (as opposed to ideologically-prejudiced) opinion, this is willful blindness on a level not seen since the days of the Flat Earth Society.

          Martin Lack

          9 March 2012 at 20:07

  12. As Eli Rabett has suggested, Martin was not coming across well. I have suggested that Martin try his arguments at some pro-AGW sites to see how they come across there. If those guys think it’s not the best approach, perhaps modify approach for elsewhere.. Constructive, I thought.

    With respect to websites, the general public don’t even know WUWT exits!! (despite 100 mill views). That is the point I was trying to make with respect to Martin’s and mine (and many other blogs). In my ‘real’ life I don’t know anybody who has heard of any of the blogs sceptical or pro.

    Barry Woods

    9 March 2012 at 11:23

    • Barry, as I have said, Eli Rabett was taking an entirely myopic view of the situation by suggesting that I was the one that needed to stop being childish. As I have already explained, whereas I had only reluctantly and very recently started to do this, other contributors on Judith Curry’s blog had been doing for over a week.

      If you attempt to misrepresent this situation one more time I will have no option but to blacklist you.

      Meanwhile: Why am I still hearing that “Om Mani Padme Hum” from you (I asked you to keep it to yourself)?

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 17:09

  13. Watching that made me consider that Lindzen’s answers had a statistically significant element of waffle.

    Lionel A

    9 March 2012 at 11:43

    • Nice one – as per the CO2 and temperature rises since 1900AD, which are significant too. (I say this merely for the benefit of those that might otherwise be at statistically significant risk of failing to get the joke.)

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 17:27

  14. Just thought you would appreciate this (which is being circulated, etc)

    ERRATUM: NASA-GISS Data slide 12 on original PDF/PPT and page 9 in the

    Prof. Richard Lindzen writes:

    Please accept my apologies for using the graph from Howard Hayden that
    purported to suggest that GISS had manipulated the temperature data.
    I asked Howard to check how he arrived at this conclusion. Here is
    his response:

    Please accept my sincere apologies for misrepresenting NASA-GISS data.
    I downloaded temperature data from to make a
    graph in 2009. About a month ago, I went to the same file to get the
    more recent points and was surprised to find a considerably different
    data set. The formatting of the data set was the same, and I did not
    notice that the heading said that the data referred to meteorological
    stations only. As a consequence I concluded, incorrectly, that
    NASA-GISS had manipulated the data. I am making every effort to
    correct my error.

    It seems to me to have been an innocent error, given that the URLs
    were the same. I am, of course, cc‘ing Benny Peiser and Fay Kelly
    Tuncay in London to post this in reference to slide 12 of my
    presentation (page 9 in the printed booklet – P.Foster, SMP Ltd), and
    I am asking them to remove this slide from the file. This doesn‘t
    alter the primary point of the discussion that a few tenths of a
    degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science.
    The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter
    subject to confirmation bias.

    Barry Woods

    9 March 2012 at 11:44

    • Barry, I am editing your comments because you are repeating yourself.

      With regard to Lindzen’s apology, I had noted it’s receipt at Real Climate; as delivered there by his personal courier (JK).

      As I am not a mainstream climate scientist (but feel no need to second guess those who are), I am staying well away from debates about NASA-GISS graphs and CO2 Doubling percentages.

      However, I did notice that Lindzen has also now apologised for the omission of the Keeling Curve -v- Recent Temperature graph. This is an intriguing thing to do because, the caption I have inserted beneath the screenshot of this missing slide on my earlier posts reads as follows:
      “If you stretched the temperature axis far enough, they would have correlated perfectly. Therefore, this ‘missing’ graph neither proves nor disproves anything.”

      That being the case, the fact that Lindzen has unashamedly re-inserted this graph (rather than apologising for showing it in the first place) implies that he doesn’t even appreciate why it is so meaningless and misleading. This is why I was so gobsmacked by the whole thing. It was either complete incompetence or transparently disingenuous.

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 16:57

  15. Add to my above, Monckton torpedoed you, without a doubt.

    As I noticed another’s remark elsewhere these ‘meetings’ are often arranged such that the time allowed for questions is very limited and often a speaker friendly plant, or three, are in the audience to divert attention from inconvenient arguments when other measures fail.

    Lionel A

    9 March 2012 at 11:50

  16. At least the anti-science clique were all in one room at one time and out of harm’s way. The choirmaster was merely singing with his choir. I’m closer to John Cook’s point of view in some respects. I try to avoid outright anger – albeit with some embarassing failures.:-) For my part, I no longer focus on trying to correct those who would deceive; I’m not sure the devil takes back souls on exchange. Some of them are acting wittingly, some are acting unwittingly. But no amount of data on my part will ever convince them. I am wasting my time (bad) and their time (maybe that’s not so bad). Just yesterday I wasted 30 minutes with a so-called sceptic who inisisted Mike Hulme said there was no consensus, whilst reading directly from his website.

    I’m now more interested in the waverers. Now that an artificial controversy has been created it’s an opportunity to speak with those who have been confused. I’m with Barry Woods here, the public miss the minutiae. They can’t discern the difference between a site run by a Fox weatherman and a Nobel prize winner – and most don’t even know either exists. And on that basis I’d love to know who was in the room. Maybe we should ask Zac Goldmsith?

    John Havery Samuel

    9 March 2012 at 19:42

    • Some interesting points well made, John. Thanks. Apart from James Delingpole, the attendees have been listed here (and I have reviewed them all on this blog over the last 6 months too). Forgive my ignorance, I know he is someone who born rich but, why should we ask Zac Goldsmith?

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 20:28

  17. Martin you may find this summary of Lindzen-think of interest:

    Richard Lindzen vs the aerosol forcing .

    Lionel A

    9 March 2012 at 20:24

    • Thanks for that Lionel. I must confess I find Fred Moolten to be someone who is “intoxicated with the exuberance of his own verbosity” but, apart from that would just lament, as James Hansen does, NASA’s failure to invest in appropriate satellite programs that would have plugged this glaring gap in our knwoledge by now if they had chosen differently.

      Martin Lack

      9 March 2012 at 20:32

  18. […] having created an account; something I said I would never do as nobody is interested in me – Barry Woods would be proud of me for saying […]

  19. Dear Mr. Lack,

    May I humbly suggest another approach to Professor Lindzen and his many claims? Acknowledge that he has branched out to a new career: comedy.

    I am perfectly serious. His Harvard PhD, MIT professorship, and long CV make his new gig work like a charm — he can get all “sciency” at the drop of a hat. Watch how effortlessly he segues from his fake NASA-GISS temperature history chart to adiabatics; from “alarm” alarums to the equator-to-pole gradient; from polar bear pictures to the lapse rate at the mesopause. That Dick Lindzen — he’s such a kidder!

    Think I’m kidding? Watch the masters at work, like Abbott and Costello:
    or the Marx Brothers:

    Lindzen’s audiences loves his shtick! A “scientist” shows deniers how to laugh at those nerdy white-coat guys who are trying to spoil the party? They love it! And it costs Lindzen nothing.

    As for me, we can’t switch to clean energy too soon. I’m with Joe Romm, Jim Hansen, Bill McKibben, the RealClimate team, Amory Lovins, and the rest. I appreciate their tireless efforts — laying out the science, debunking the deniers. And not being a comedian myself, I wouldn’t know how to handle Lindzen, Monckton, or their buddies. But isn’t most comedy about serious issues? AGW is about the whole enchilada.

    As Chico so often tells Groucho, “Whatever you say, Boss.”

    Mark Shapiro

    12 March 2012 at 03:03

    • Dear Mark, Thank you for these comedic but, nonetheless, very telling remarks. Lindzengate has moved on and, it would seem, most scientists feel AGU is more likely than MIT to take disciplinary action. However, I hope that someone will because, having been involved with the denial of the risks of smoking for over a decade, Lindzen switched horses some time ago but stayed in the saddle; and has been very effective at delaying sensible energy policy changes for over a decade. As I will show tomorrow, he would therefore appear to have contributed to causing a developing environmental catastrophe that will eventually result in the deaths of millions of people.

      BTW, I can find your comments in various places (such as ThinkProgress) but can’t see that you have your own blog or website? Can you enlighten me?

      Martin Lack

      12 March 2012 at 08:32

  20. Martin –

    I barely have time to read blogs and comment occasionally, so I don’t write one. I read Joe Romm’s ClimateProgress, RealClimate, and SkepticalScience regularly, but only after checking news with Paul Krugman, Andrew Sullivan, and others.

    We all wrestle with the question of how to respond to those-who-want-no-restrictions-on-burning. I am ever grateful to the scientists who take time and effort to debunk the bunkum. Their service is essential. But we must include humor in our suite of responses. My own outrage and spluttering only goes so far — and generally in the wrong direction.

    Let us remind people that Lindzen et al are entertaining us! “It’s okay to burn stuff!” “Don’t be alarmed!”

    I don’t recommend that scientists do comedy. Yuck. But scientists don’t always do science. Lindzen is doing something else. I suggest he is doing comedy. It doesn’t make me laugh — it is meant to make people feel completely free — free to burn.

    Lindzen’s audience had some good chuckles, at climate scientists’ expense. And they left feeling smarter than all those other scientists, and free to burn.

    Mark Shapiro

    12 March 2012 at 18:02

    • Thanks Mark.

      Apparently, this is not news (although I think it is pretty damning evidence of a longstanding campaign of denial led by the fossil fuel lobby), so I feel much happier about re-posting it here…

      The American Petroleum Institute’s 1998 Draft of a Global Climate Science Communications Plan, which stated that…

      Victory Will Be Achieved When:

      Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”
      Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
      Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”
      Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy
      Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent science appears to be out of touch with reality.

      Given that this document has been in the public domain for several years, I just don’t understand how the FFL can continue to deny that they are engaged in an ongoing campaign to deny, downplay or dismiss the reality of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) being caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Once again, as it was with the executives of tobacco companies, this is another case of…

      Doubt is our product!

      Martin Lack

      12 March 2012 at 18:30

      • The API’s strategy number III is interesting:

        Global Climate Science Data Center Budget — $5,000,000 (Spread over two years minimum)

        III. National Direct Outreach and Education: Develop and implement a direct outreach program to inform and educate members of Congress, state officials, industry leadership, and school teachers/students about uncertainties in climate science. This strategy will enable Congress, state officials and industry leaders will be able to raise such serious questions about the Kyoto treaty’s scientific underpinnings that American policy-makers not only will refuse to endorse it, they will seek to prevent progress toward implementation at the Buenos Aires meeting in November or through other ways. Informing teachers/students about uncertainties in climate science will begin to erect a barrier against further efforts to impose Kyoto-like measures in the future.

        So this is just one organisation committing $5 million 1997 dollars on just one strategy: to sow doubt about the science behind Kyoto and the whole AGW scenario. Puts the Heartland Institute into the shade, doesn’t it?


        12 March 2012 at 23:27

        • Yes it does; and I think that is why Donald alerted me to it’s existence on Nothing new under the Sun (18 February 2012). The API tried and succeeded to “neuter” the UNFCCC process, and got away with it even after their political interference became known! How is it that we are still fighting this campaign of denial today? I just don’t get it!

          Martin Lack

          13 March 2012 at 03:49

  21. […] In addition to all of the above, with my thanks to Fay Kelly Tuncay (who organised the meeting), there is a video of the question and answer session that followed the presentation, in which you can see me attempting to address what I felt to be Professor Lindzen’s misrepresentation and/or obfuscation of relevant palaeoclimatic data and, consequently, being prevented from asking a question.  This video and comments relating to it may be found in the comments section beneath Lindzengate – an update report (8 March 2012). […]

  22. […] I appreciate that I gave you a great deal of information to consider (all of which has now been published on my blog), I cannot see how you can justify using Professor Lindzen’s somewhat perfunctory apology for […]

    • A whitewash? a cover-up? or a docile attempt at reneging on their duties? It is a shame to find out that the world of academia I once used to love has now descended into the darkness of the abyss of neglect of responsibility for the truth of science, little wonder therefore that I left science to these fools more than 10 years ago.

      Give me the world of engineering anytime, at least they work in a world where ethics and self-respect for an institution count a lot more than the actions of a foolish old man who never knows when to stop accusing others of the very deeds he is guilty of. 😦


      22 March 2012 at 08:58

      • Feel free to actually re-post this comment in response to today’s post…:-)

        Martin Lack

        22 March 2012 at 09:18

  23. […] As if this had not happened before, it certainly happened when I attended his talk at the Palace of Westminster on 22 February 2012: Having discovered that he had given a similar talk as a Keynote Address to the Heartland Institute’s International Climate Change Conference in May 2010, I went prepared with 3 questions. However, I was so amazed by the level of selective data omission and/or misrepresentation that I blew my chance to ask a question by trying to redress even his most basic failure to acknowledge the relevance of palaeoclimatic data th…. […]

  24. […] personal dealings with Monckton began when I attempted to redress the misleading presentation of one Richard S Lindzen at a meeting in London on 22 February this year that Monckton chaired. Having departed from my own […]

  25. […] will conclude by repeating the 3 questions I never got to ask Professor Richard Lindzen (because I first tried to address his failure to present relevant information to an already-prejudiced audience) when he came to London earlier this year peddling his conspiracy […]

  26. “… and also that it is non-linear (i.e. as it warms up, less marginal CO2 change is required to achieve same temperature change …”

    Really? I don’t think this is correct.


    6 November 2015 at 12:32

    • In which case, I think (as Oscar Wilde might have put it), ‘reports of your correctness are greatly exaggerated’.

      Martin Lack

      8 November 2015 at 18:10

      • OK, perhaps I am not understanding something. But I am not sure why you are pointing me at an article about non-linear feedbacks when I was referring to non-linear climate sensitivity of CO2 (a forcing).

        Should the sentence not be “…as it warms up, more marginal CO2 change is required to achieve same temperature change …”?

        [No it should not. That would imply negative feedbacks wee acting to reverse the change in temperature. That may have been the case with all natural climate change but it is not the case with the unnatural change that is now occurring. Humans have, in effect, broken the Earth’s thermostat.
        See: – ML]

        Ens Josh

        8 November 2015 at 19:48

        • If, dear EJ, you read the blog article with sufficient care(*), I think you will find that the non-linearity of climate sensitivity to CO2 is mentioned. It is precisely because of the existence of positive feedback mechanisms that climate sensitivity can become non-linear.

          * Hint: try CTRL+’climate sensitivity’ and/or read the second paragraph of the blog post.

          Martin Lack

          15 November 2015 at 19:55

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