Thursday, April 22, 2010

Prof Lindzen on Earth Day

Prof Lindzen states the chicken littles are in denial. I have heard Prof Lindzen speak a number of times. He has written a number of papers which basically take apart the chicken little hypothesis point by point. Fortunately, even if the chicken littles are in denial, the general public has become very sceptical.

Who would guess from this statement, that the feedback effects are the crucial question? Without these positive feedbacks assumed by computer modelers, there would be no significant problem, and the various catastrophes that depend on numerous factors would no longer be related to anthropogenic global warming. That is to say, the issue relevant to policy is far from settled. Nonetheless, the letter concludes: "Our academies will provide the scientific backdrop for the political and business leaders who must create effective policies to steer the world toward a low-carbon economy." In other words, the answer is settled even if the science is not.

In France, several distinguished scientists have recently published books criticizing the alarmist focus on carbon emissions. The gist of all the books was the scientific standards for establishing the alarmist concern were low, and the language, in some instances, was intemperate. In response, a letter signed by 489 French climate scientists was addressed to "the highest French scientific bodies: the Ministry of Research, National Center for Scientific Research, and Academy of Sciences" appealing to them to defend climate science against the attacks. There appeared to be no recognition that calling on the funding agencies to take sides in a scientific argument is hardly conducive to free exchange.

The controversy was (and continues to be) covered extensively by the French press. In many respects, the French situation is better than in the U.S., insofar as the "highest scientific bodies" have not officially taken public stances—yet.

Despite all this it does appear that the public at large is becoming increasingly aware that something other than science is going on with regard to climate change, and that the proposed policies are likely to cause severe problems for the world economy. Climategate may thus have had an effect after all. But it is unwise to assume that those who have carved out agendas to exploit the issue will simply let go without a battle. One can only hope that the climate alarmists will lose so that we can go back to dealing with real science and real environmental problems such as assuring clean air and water. The latter should be an appropriate goal for Earth Day.

Mr. Lindzen is professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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