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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Where's the Buzz?

On June 2nd, Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT, made a presentation at a conference showing empirically that the climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is 0.5 degrees Celsius. Since the climate models show a sensitivity that is 3 to 10 times larger, if Lindzen's findings are accurate, this would simultaneously invalidate the results of the climate models and eliminate the possibility of catastrophic man-made global warming. Indeed, at the end of his presentation, Lindzen states:
However, for the low sensitivity obtained from the actual climate system, we see that sensitivity is narrowly constrained to about 0.5C, and strongly implies that there is little to be concerned about.

In a normal field, these results would pretty much wrap things up, but global warming/climate change has developed so much momentum that it has a life of its own – quite removed from science. One can reasonably expect that opportunism of the weak will lead to efforts to alter the data (though the results presented here have survived several alterations of the data already).
It seems to me like this should be fairly big news. Lindzen is well known, with a long track record, from a relatively prestigious institution, with astounding results.

But there is remarkably little buzz. There's no mention that he's going to submit these results in a paper for peer review. The global warming skeptics don't seem to have much noticed these appealing results. The global warming believers haven't bothered to refute it.

The quiet seems strange to me. The debate has never lacked volume before.


erp said...

Climate warming/change is no longer a scientific debate. It's become a religious cult whose adherents rely on faith, not facts. The good professor's paper will have as much effect on the faithful as a scholarly dissertation with pictures of strata millions of years old, charts and graphs on impossibility of biblical chronology would have on fundamental Christians.

Bret said...


I can understand why the "faithful" would be ignoring it. But why are the "skeptics" ignoring it too?

erp said...

Bret, maybe they're not ignoring it, maybe like me they're tired of being looked upon as right wing whackos. My own kids think we're victims of Karl Rowe and Rush Limbaugh and refuse to even listen when we try to tell them that what they read in the media isn't true. Saw it on the internet is to them akin to saw it in the tea leaves.

Think about it. How could mom and dad retired for 20 years in a 50's throw-back little town in Florida know more about what's going on than the NYT and CNN?

The other day we had some work done by a local contractor whose business is tanking along with the rest of the economy. He was telling us all about how Bush destroyed the country, how the US is the most racist country in the world, how the polar bears are dying of global warming ...

How does he know? He watches the History Channel and cable news.

I caught my husband's eye and neither of us said anything. After all it's one thing when your kids think you're on the cusp of dementia, it's another when it's someone doing work for you.

How much harder is it when skeptics need to work for a living, interact with neighbors, go to PTA meetings, have kids in scouts, sports, etc.

It's your world now Bret. I hope you can find enough like-minded people to keep it spinning until this move toward global socialism is thoroughly debunked and discredited. The lives of my grandchildren are literally in your (pl.) hands.

Susan's Husband said...

How do you know the skeptics are ignoring it? Where would you expect evidence of attention? The usual right wing weblogs? If so, then yes, the non-notice is a bit odd.

Bret said...

Susan's Husband,

The places I would've expected to see it: (there was a short cryptic blurb on June 2, but then complete radio silence).

Perhaps some mention of it on Lindzen's home page at MIT.

Perhaps some mention in some MSM article (there was an allusion to it in some Australian newspapers).

I would've at least expected slightly crazy Monckton ( )to have picked it up.

It's been a month-and-a-half and nothing. This seems especially problematic with cap-and-trade looming.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why those blogs aren't trumpeting this, but more generally, this isn't going to end like a boxing match with a declared winner. These "scientific" anti-development scares that capture the public imagination remain part of leftist orthodoxy long after they are shown objectively to be a crock. All that happens is that the middle stops paying any attention and suddenly they dribble off the political radar screen. You will still find lots of academics echoing Erlich about famine from overpopulation or the Club of Rome about resource depletion.

They will soon find something new to anchor their anti-development ethos. Stay tuned for water crises. We're all going to die of thirst and nobody cares!!

Bret said...


I know the movement won't die by a knockout.

I'm looking for a handful of facts that disprove catastrophic warming from CO2 so I can get the evangelicals off my back (including the wife and kids). (I'm working on a post to that effect - just a couple more pieces and I'm there).

erp said...

Peter, have you read about communities which ban the return of salt to the sea after desalination? AOG has an excellent post on it.

Our little area here in Florida has been spending a lot of money "studying" ways to solve our water problems. Desalination would seem to be the answer, but nobody can think of a safe and inexpensive way to dispose of the leftover salt!

Bret, the GW movement won't die until the left has squeezed it dry ;-) and come up with a new impending calamity.

Have you told your family about earlier scares like the population explosion scare, famine scare, the running out natural resources scare, the new ice age scare, and probably some other scares I've forgotten, all of which were duds.

circus monkey said...

I've had enough of the weighty stuff. Could someone direct me to the partying section?

erp said...

Here's a John Stossel post on some of those scares I'd forgotten about.

Bret said...

circus monkey,

Yes, this site description does mention partying, but I'll have to admit that I'm not in much of a partying mood lately.

I think your site is gonna be the less "weighty" for a bit longer.

Anonymous said...


It's true Bret can be a bit of a downer on climate change, but you should see him when he tackles tax and fiscal policy. Talk about a wild and crazy guy!

Bret, when you finally put it all together and silence your domestic adversaries, could you send me a copy? I'm still chaffing over my son's Grade Six teacher who invited the class to go home and look for research on climate change, by which he obviously meant Sierra Club propaganda. Being a loving father, I found the best of the skeptics for him, which earned him the teacher asking him in front of the class whether he also believed the earth was flat.

He's going into Grade Ten now and has forgotten all about it, but I haven't and I know where that teacher lives.

Harry Eagar said...

I hadn't seen that, but the idea that sensitivity is constrained to about 0.5 degrees is old news to skeptics. Lubos Motl, for example, has demonstrated it several times over the years.

Lindzen has pretty well been demonized, so that a statement from him (when I saw Buzz, I thought the post was going to be about Aldrin) is not going to turn many heads.

I encounter the same phenomenon on a smaller scale in my work. There are some junk scientists shopping dubious theories about injection wells, but the one person who really knows about it will not go public. He has in the past been tied to developers, so he has concluded that he does more harm than good with public opinion by speaking out.