Richard Lindzen, 2010 House Testimony

Global Warming: How to approach the science.
Richard Lindzen. Testimony at House Subcommittee on Science and Technology hearing on A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response. November 17, 2010. Selected quotes, emphasis is mine.

“In my long experience with the issue of global warming, I’ve come to realize that the vast majority of laymen including policymakers do not actually know what the scientific debate is about. In this testimony, I will try to clarify this. Some of you may, for example, be surprised to hear that the debate is not about whether it is warming or not or even about whether man is contributing some portion of whatever is happening. I’ll explain this in this testimony. Unfortunately, some part of the confusion is explicitly due to members of the scientific community whose role as partisans has dominated any other role they may be playing.”

“Quite apart from the science itself, there are numerous reasons why an intelligent observer should be suspicious of the presentation of alarm.
1. The claim of ‘incontrovertibility.’
2. Arguing from ‘authority’ in lieu of scientific reasoning and data or even elementary logic.
3. Use of term ‘global warming’ without either definition or quantification.
4. Identification of complex phenomena with multiple causes with global warming and even as ‘proof’ of global warming.
5. Conflation of existence of climate change with anthropogenic climate change.”


“The claims that the earth has been warming, that there is a greenhouse effect, and that man’s activities have contributed to warming, are trivially true and essentially meaningless in terms of alarm.”


“Two separate but frequently conflated issues are essential for alarm:
1) The magnitude of warming, and
2) The relation of warming of any magnitude to the projected catastrophe.”


“Some current problems with science
1. Questionable data. (Climategate and involvement of all three centers tracking global average temperature anomaly.) …
2. More sophisticated data is being analyzed with the aim of supporting rather than testing models (validation rather than testing)…
3. Sensitivity is a crucial issue…
4. Models cannot be tested by comparing models with models…”


“Where do we go from here? Given that this has become a quasi-religious issue, it is hard to tell.”


“Discussion of other progress in science can also be discussed if there is any interest. Our recent work on the early faint sun may prove particularly important. 2.5 billion years ago, when the sun was 20% less bright (compared to the 2% change in the radiative budget associated with doubling CO2), evidence suggests that the oceans were unfrozen and the temperature was not very different from today’s. No greenhouse gas solution has worked, but a negative cloud feedback does. You now have some idea of why I think that there won’t be much warming due to CO2, and without significant global warming, it is impossible to tie catastrophes to such warming. Even with significant warming it would have been extremely difficult to make this connection.”