Richard Lindzen on the Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus (1992)

Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus – an article by Richard Lindzen from 1992, still relevant today! Some quotes (emphasis is mine):

“By early 1989 the popular media were declaring that “all scientists” agreed that warming was real and catastrophic in its potential. By the fall of 1989 some media were becoming aware that there was controversy. Cries followed from environmentalists that skeptics were receiving excessive exposure. – Same as today,  except that the “skeptics” are  called “deniers” now.

“I must state at the outset, that, as a scientist, I can find no substantive basis for the warming scenarios being popularly described. Moreover, according to many studies I have read by economists, agronomists, and hydrologists, there would be little difficulty adapting to such warming if it were to occur. Such was also the conclusion of the recent National Research Council’s report on adapting to global change. Many aspects of the catastrophic scenario have already been largely discounted by the scientific community.”

“Before even considering “greenhouse theory,” it may be helpful to begin with the issue that is almost always taken as a given–that carbon dioxide will inevitably increase to values double and even quadruple present values.  … An improved model developed at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg shows that even the “business as usual” scenario does not double carbon dioxide by the year 2100. It seems unlikely moreover that the indefinite future of energy belongs to coal. I also find it difficult to believe that technology will not lead to improved nuclear reactors within fifty years.”

The present hysteria formally began in the summer of 1988, although preparations had been put in place at least three years earlier.” – the article was published in 1992

“James Hansen … in testimony before Sen. Al Gore’s Committee on Science, Technology and Space, said, in effect, that he was 99 percent certain that temperature had increased and that there was some greenhouse warming. He made no statement concerning the relation between the two. Despite the fact that those remarks were virtually meaningless, they led the environmental advocacy movement to adopt the issue immediately. “

“Redford proclaimed that it was time to stop research and begin acting. I suppose that that was a reasonable suggestion for an actor to make, but it is also indicative of the overall attitude toward science. Barbara Streisand personally undertook to support the research of Michael Oppenheimer at the Environmental Defense Fund, although he is primarily an advocate and not a climatologist. Meryl Streep made an appeal on public television to stop warming. A bill was even prepared to guarantee Americans a stable climate. “

“The notion of ‘scientific unanimity’ is currently intimately tied to the Working Group I report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued in September 1990. That panel consists largely of scientists posted to it by government agencies. “

“The point is that carbon dioxide is vitally central to industry, transportation, modern life, and life in general. It has been joked that carbon dioxide controls would permit us to inhale as much as we wish; only exhaling would be controlled. The remarkable centrality of carbon dioxide means that dealing with the threat of warming fits in with a great variety of preexisting agendas …”

“Clearly, ‘global warming’ is a tempting issue for many very important groups to exploit. “

“… one might expect that industry could be vulnerable, and, indeed, it may be. At least in the United States, however, industries seem to be primarily concerned with improving their public image, often by supporting environmental activists. “

“… the vastly increased number of scientists and others involving themselves in climate as well as the gigantic programs attaching themselves to climate have substantially outstripped the increases in funding. Perhaps more important are the pressures being brought to bear on scientists to get the ‘right’ results. Such pressures are inevitable, given how far out on a limb much of the scientific community has gone. The situation is compounded by the fact that some of the strongest proponents of ‘global warming’ in Congress are also among the major supporters of science (Sen. Gore is notable among those).

“At the same time, political pressures on dissidents from the ‘popular vision’ increased. Sen. Gore publicly admonished ‘skeptics” in a lengthy New York Times op-ed piece. In a perverse example of double-speak he associated the “true believers” in warming with Galileo. He also referred, in another article, to the summer of 1988 as the Kristallnacht before the warming holocaust.”

Al Gore and his accomplices immediately proceeded to silence “skeptics.”

“In the winter of 1989 Reginald Newell, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lost National Science Foundation funding for data analyses that were failing to show net warming over the past century. Reviewers suggested that his results were dangerous to humanity.”

“In the spring of 1989 I prepared a critique of global warming, which I submitted to Science, a magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The paper was rejected without review as being of no interest to the readership. I then submitted the paper to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, where it was accepted after review, rereviewed, and reaccepted–an unusual procedure to say the least. In the meantime, the paper was attacked in Science before it had even been published. The paper circulated for about six months as samizdat.”

Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The original article: in the Regulation Journal by Cato Institute, Spring 1992, Vol. 15 No. 2.

More by Richard Lindzen …

Originally posted on Sep 20, 2015