Interview with Prof. Nierenberg in 2000

Naomi Oreskes interviewed Prof. William Nierenberg in 2000.   These are the words of Professor Nierenberg (from the interview transcript):

I’m skeptical about whether the sea level rise is going to amount to anything. You see, the new numbers–they’re not new numbers. You see, the kinds of thing we’re talking about might be visible about 150 years from now. […]

Let me give you an example. There’s this writer, this reporter–very amusing to look at semantics–by the name of William Stevens, who’s been in the New York Times and has been talking to the wrong people regularly. I told him that in the beginning. He called me a year ago. First of all, he started off for years–he was talking about the majority of scientists. […]

Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. But you didn’t watch it. Then about a year and a half ago, two years ago, there was this chap, Robinson, that did send out a–on his own money, sent out a questionnaire to about 18,000 scientists who might know something about it. [This letter became known as Oregon Petition – AH] The questionnaire was simply about the Kyoto business. “Do you approve or disapprove of it?” And then there were three boxes. “Are you a Ph.D. scientist? Are you a geoscientist? Do you just have a degree in science?” The overwhelming–about one-third of them were Ph.D.s. About two-thirds of them were geoscientists. Even though he sent out 17,000, he got 20,000 sponsors. They just Xeroxed them and gave them to friends. They were overwhelming, I mean like 98 percent, totally opposed to Kyoto.   Not a word of that in the New York Times, not a word. Not Stevens. All these things show up there, but you know what happened? He changed his word. He went from “majority” and “fringe.” Right after that, he now talked about “mainstream.” Do you know what his name was yesterday when he was writing about the climate oscillations? That was yesterday or day before yesterday in Science Times. “The dominant thinking.” That’s been his change. It’s like the sea level. […]

Now, look. The sea level started that in forty years, by the year 2040, fifty years,
whatever, the sea level rise would be 25 feet. Then it dropped to 7 feet. Now it’s going to be 2 feet in 150 years. You won’t find a word of that. They don’t even talk about sea level rise. He doesn’t. Other people still talk about the atolls drowning. Well, what should I do as a scientist who has some personal respect? These aren’t my numbers. […]

The things that you heard the other day. People are now so corrupted in the business [of “climate science” – AH], when you have thirty people and you’re running a 50-million-dollar-a-year computing operation, turning out a bad model, they’re all bad. I can tell you in detail, and so can everybody else, what’s the matter with these models, and they make no effort. The physics is wrong, the basic physics. […]

The sea level rise is being measured very beautifully by the Poseidon satellite, and it’s
coming out between zero and 2 millimeters a year. […]

 I could show you a record of supporting climate before these kids were born. I was telling you about CALCOFI, and that work was on the climate basis because there’s good evidence that a lot of that was climate-induced. I can show you my record on that, but I don’t know what the hell they’re doing, with what climate’s got to do with what they’re doing when they’re making guesses about what CO2 is going to be 150 years from now. That has nothing to do with climate. Population growth and so on, where is climate related to that? […]

… -they’ve just concluded this so-called agreement on the modified foods, the biologically modified foods, and we’re pushing the hell out of it. The reason it’s being blocked by France and so on is not because they’re scared of it, it’s because they’d just be overwhelmed by food.
 This happened before. You wouldn’t know about the chicken war in the 1960s. When I was at NATO, I could watch it. Same thing. We were using hormones, you see, and the argument in France was it would affect the male virility. It did that until their industry caught up ten years later, you see. […]

[France also nicely benefits from climate alarmism by selling electricity from its nuclear power plants to the rest of Europe, closing coal power plants.  Despite that,  France Télévisions has just suspended its top meteorologist, Philippe Verdier, for publishing a book, skeptical of the climate change claims.]

Really what was at stake, it’s always the same thing, was we want to sell the stuff. And the French don’t want us to sell it, no matter what the cost, you see. … In other words, the Europeans are saying it isn’t science; it’s preventive. It’s something we imagine might happen, you see. Therefore, since maybe we imagine it could happen, the hell with the science. You see, we’re scared. But that’s the argument in Kyoto. Two-foot rise doesn’t bother anybody. So they went and they said, “How come you have that position in Kyoto?” That just happened the other day.

Source: OCEANOGRAPHY: THE MAKING OF A SCIENCE. Interviewers: Naomi Oreskes and Ron Rainger (74 pages)

Unrelated:  The Science of Global Warming. Lecture presented by William Nierenberg in June 1999 (48 min)