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MIT Meteorologist Richard Lindzen
MIT Climate Scientist Calls Fears of Global Warming 'Silly' - Equates Concern to "Little Kids" Attempting to "Scare Each Other"
By EPW Blog
Friday, February 2, 2007
MIT Meteorologist Richard Lindzen's appearance on CNN's Larry King Live on January 31, 2007 at 9:00 PM EST
Plus: Watch Video of Senator Inhofe & Senator Barbara Boxer on Larry King Last Night
MIT's Richard Lindzen called fears of manmade global warming "silly" and debated PBS's Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and the controversial Weather Channel host Heidi Cullen on last night's Larry King Live. At one point, CNN host Larry King cautioned Nye against making a bet with Lindzen over who was correct about the science of global warming.
"[Lindzen's] from M.I.T. he knows what he's talking about," King warned Nye.
Lindzen mocked fears of global warming by comparing them to children's imaginations. "I think it's mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves," Lindzen said.
Lindzen, a past UN IPCC contributor, also explained how only a dozen scientists were involved in writing the 2001(Third Assessment Report) IPCC media hyped Summary For Policymakers that purported to speak for thousands of scientists. Check out transcript below and see Lindzen confront Nye about his unsupportable climate claims and see Nye back down.
Excerpts of MIT Professor of Atmospheric Science Richard Lindzen on CNN's Larry King Live - /p>
Selected Excerpts From Larry King Live January 31, 2007:
RICHARD S. LINDZEN, MIT PROFESSOR OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE- On Global Warming Fears: I think it's mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves.
And there's a lot of confusion in this and, you know, at the heart of it, we're talking of a few tenths of a degree change in temperature. None of it in the last eight years, by the way. And if we had warming, it should be accomplished by less storminess. But because the temperature itself is so unspectacular, we have developed all sorts of fear of prospect scenarios -- of flooding, of plague, of increased storminess when the physics says we should see less.
Lindzen on "Symbolic' Solutions to Global Warming Lindzen:
"[I]f there's anything that there is a consensus on, [it is that we] will do very little to affect climate. So right now despite all of the claims to the contrary, we're talking about symbolism. And I think Julian's point is correct. Do you spend a lot? Do you distort a great deal in the economy for symbolism? And I think future generations are not going to blame us for anything except for being silly, for letting a few tenths of a degree panic us.
And I think nobody is arguing about whether our climate is changing. It's always changing. Sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age. The experts on it in the IPCC have freely acknowledged there's no strong evidence it's accelerating.
Lindzen Says UN IPCC does not Reflect Thousands of Scientists ‚Äì Only a Dozen or so Scientists:
Senator Inhofe was absolutely right. All that's coming out Friday is a summary for policymakers that is not prepared by scientists. Rob is wrong. It's not 2,500 people offering their consensus, I participated in that. Each person who is an author writes one or two pages in conjunction with someone else. They travel around the world several times a year for several years to write it and the summary for policymakers has the input of about 13 of the scientists, but ultimately, it is written by representatives of governments, of environmental organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, and industrial organizations, each seeking their own benefit.
Lindzen Debates Bill Nye, PBS TV's the "Science Guy" on Scientific Accuracy
LINDZEN: Not at all. I think time will tell. I think Mr. Nye is speaking about energy. Energy sources and balance have changed over time, it will change. I have no idea what the energy mix will be 50 years from now. But I think if what he says about profitable, better sources are there, they will come online and they will come online without government fiat. Heidi [Cullen] says the science is solid and I can't criticize her because she never says what science she's talking about. This is a problem with so many facets, that the notion that scientists are in lock, that bonnet is silly.
LARRY KING: Yes.
Bill Nye, where is Richard Lindzen wrong?
BILL NYE, "THE SCIENCE GUY," SCIENTIST, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, TV PERSONALITY: Well, he -- I'm not sure, because I'm not -- I'm not an expert on his ideas.
But the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC report, which comes out Friday, is pretty compelling. And, as you know, I'm a member of the advisory board of the Union of Concerned Scientists and I find my colleagues pretty compelling, much more so than his -- his view is -- is a minority on a scale that's -- that's impressive. It's probably 100,000 to one or so, scientists versus him.
KING: All right, Richard, are you... NYE: But I don't want it to get to be a personal attack. And...
KING: OK, Richard, are you -- are you one of the alone ones in this?
LINDZEN: You know, on what I was just saying, I was saying textbook material. And if the textbooks are out voiced by environmental advocacy groups like Union of Concerned Scientists by 100,000 to one -- that would be bizarre. We should close down our schools.
This makes no sense, what Mr. Nye is saying. I'm simply saying his comments about the Gulf Stream are wrong. And his comments about heat transport are wrong. And that is not 100,000 to one. That is...
NYE: Yes, just to clarify, I said that -- Larry asked me about fresh water falling on the ocean.
NYE: That's what I'm saying.
LINDZEN: And fresh water...
NYE: That would be the ultimate consequence.
LINDZEN: Yes. And all I'm saying is the thermohaline circulation is not the major driver of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is not what people are...
NYE: So you're saying that we shouldn't be concerned about global climate change because...
LINDZEN: Nobody is saying...
NYE: ... wind developments the -- the Gulf Stream?
LINDZEN: Nobody it saying anything...
NYE: That's not enough for me.
LINDZEN: Well, nobody is saying anything of the sort. We are simply saying that if you wish to issue scare remarks, you should make them accurate, according to the science.
NYE: So it will be very dangerous if the world gets two degrees Fahrenheit warmer in, say, the next 50 years?
NYE: It will be dangerous for almost everybody.
LINDZEN: In what sense?
NYE: Now, do you disagree with that?
LINDZEN: Yes, of course, I do. I mean there is no study that suggests that two degrees Fahrenheit will make the world appreciably more dangerous. It will...
KING: All right, I've got to break in here.
NYE: This report has them at 99 percent certainty, this report that comes out this week --
LINDZEN: Ninety-nine percent certainty of what?
NYE: It was 60 five years ago.
LINDZEN: Of what?
NYE: That the world's going to get warmer by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.2 Celsius.
LINDZEN: No, it didn't say anything of the sort. It didn't say that.
NYE: Ok, well, we'll see what happens when the report comes out.
KING: Well how do we know if it's not out yet?
LINDZEN: The report won't come out until May.
NYE: Ok, so do you want to talk about the -- you say that there is no global climate change? Is that your argument?
LINDZEN: I'm not saying anything of the sort. I'm saying temperature has changed --
NYE: Are you saying the problem is not serious?
KING: Let him finish.
LINDZEN: I'm saying that we have seen a rate of temperature change that is not outside the range of what the climate does by itself. So --
NYE: You're saying the current rate is consistent with, for example, the ice score records? I that what you're saying, it's about the same speed as the record of the --
LINDZEN: The ice score records, excuse me, have a time resolution of 2,000 years. They couldn't tell you what's going on, on the scale you're talking about.
NYE: I disagree with that statement right there.
LINDZEN: Do you want to make this small wager on it?
KING: Go ahead, Bill.
NYE: I'll bet you a cup of coffee.
LINDZEN: how about a bottle of (INAUDIBLE).
NYE: I don't know what that is.
LINDZEN: Sixty dollars for a bottle of scotch.
NYE: Sure, it sounds fancy.
KING: He's from M.I.T. he knows what he's talking about. Thank you all very much. We will not leave this topic alone. Heidi Cullen, Bill Nye, Richard Lindzen and Julian Morris.