The old-school scientist that pop culture hates


Spent some time this week reading about man-caused global warming and that Aussie professor stuck in the ice in Antarctica. I’ll write more on that professor in my Sunday newspaper column. You are invited to tune it here or to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other fine Stephens Media newspapers.

In the meantime, let me introduce you to Richard Lindzen. He’s a renowned scientist (the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT) who doesn’t buy into the “alarmist” theory of global warming.

People hate him for that. And, that’s weird.

Here’s part of a piece by Ethan Epstein in The Weekly Standard on Lindzen:

“The Earth’s climate is immensely complex, but the basic principle behind the ‘greenhouse effect’ is easy to understand. The burning of oil, gas, and especially coal pumps carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere, where they allow the sun’s heat to penetrate to the Earth’s surface but impede its escape, thus causing the lower atmosphere and the Earth’s surface to warm. Essentially everybody, Lindzen included, agrees. The question at issue is how sensitive the planet is to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (this is called climate sensitivity), and how much the planet will heat up as a result of our pumping into the sky ever more CO2, which remains in the atmosphere for upwards of 1,000 years. (Carbon dioxide, it may be needless to point out, is not a poison. On the contrary, it is necessary for plant life.) “Lindzen doesn’t deny that the climate has changed or that the planet has warmed. ‘We all agree that temperature has increased since 1800,’ he tells me. There’s a caveat, though: It’s increased by ‘a very small amount. We’re talking about tenths of a degree [Celsius]. We all agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. All other things kept equal, [there has been] some warming. As a result, there’s hardly anyone serious who says that man has no role. And in many ways, those have never been the questions. The questions have always been, as they ought to be in science, how much?’

“Lindzen says not much at all—and he contends that the ‘alarmist’” vastly overstate the Earth’s climate sensitivity. “

For this kind of thinking, Lindzen is hated by a pop culture that is convinced that global warming not only exists, but it is man-caused and if we don’t change our ways, as in RIGHT NOW!, we’re all going to die.

Personally, I’m suspicious of those who have a stake in the cottage industry of selling others on the theory of man-caused global warming.

Anyway, I’m glad to find that at least one renowned scientist in the form of Lindzen doesn’t follow the herd. He’s worth knowing about.