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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lindzen talar klarspråk

Atmosfärforskaren och MIT-professorn Richard Lindzen säger i en intervju med Chris Smith den 6:e april bl a att koldioxidskatter inte har några fördelar, bara nackdelar.

Chris introduktion av Lindzen:

"...one of the most esteemed climate scientists in the world. His name is professor Richard Lindzen. He’s been described by professor Tim Flannery as extremely credible, one of the reputable scientists around the world. A distinguished scientist in his field. And he has a string of qualifications, awards, and appointments to his name. He’s specialized in atmospheric tides, and ozone photochemistry. He’s published over 200 scientific papers, and importantly professor Lindzen was a lead author in the IPCC third assessment report on climate change. Now, recently he made a presentation about global warming, and how to approach the science. It was presented in Tel Aviv, and made some key points. At the heart of his presentation was an uneasiness about widely used terms such as global warming and climate change. You see, professor Lindzen is a true scientist and questions why science’s definitions of these basic terms haven’t yet been formulated. In simple terms he asks what do terms like these mean? And he goes further, being highly critical of clichés, such as settled science, and so on. He says that much of this is alarmist, and when you wade through all of this to the basic science the changes we are all panicking about are quite small."

Transkript av intervjun:

CS:Professor Lindzen’s at odds with a speech made by our Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Adelaide a fortnight ago -- and you’ll recall that, it was the Dunstan lecture. She said every credible scientist believes in climate change. She presented her case with a sense of urgency and panic saying "we have to act now!" She used this as the justification for her carbon dioxide tax, and the reason to go back on a core election promise.

Professor Richard Lindzen, welcome to the program!

RL: Thank you! Nice to be with you.

CS: It’s very interesting. We came across you because after the Prime Minister said that every reputable scientist agreed that man was warming the planet and we had to act now, our own professor -- our own climate commissioner -- Tim Flannery said that professor Richard Lindzen was indeed a reputable scientist but didn’t concur with what he was advocating, that is immediate change and a carbon tax in this country. So we found the reputable scientist that seems to fly in the face of what the Prime Minister is saying. What are your thoughts of what our Prime Minister has asserted there?

RL: Well, she’s, you know, played what I refer to as a [...] switch. There are some things that scientists, the most part, agree on. There’s not too much disagreement that there has been a very small increasing temperature -- and by temperature one usually refer to something called global mean temperature anomaly; you don’t average temperatures over the globe, you average the changes from their mean values somehow defined -- and this is pretty tiny, it’s a fraction of a degree. And there’s also a lot of agreement that increase in CO2, which has been measured, should contribute something to this. None of that is alarming.

CS: Okay, let’s go back a little bit. So therefore you say scientists agree that there is a slight warming of the planet, and that man contributes to that because of CO2 output. But let’s quantify that.

RL: Okay. If nothing else changed adding the amount of CO2 that we have added thus far should account for maybe a quarter of what we have seen. We’ve added some other greenhouse gases, methane, fluorocarbons -- Freon --, this sort of thing, and that should bring one to perhaps half a degree. If we double CO2 it’s well accepted that you should get about one degree warming, if nothing else happened.

CS: One degree warming over how long period?

RL: It depends on how long it would take to double the CO2, and that we don’t know. That depends on the technology, the economy, and so on. But one degree is reckoned as not very significant. The question then is if what we have seen so far suggesting that you have more than that. And the answer is no. In fact the models do say you should have seen 2 to 5 times more than you’ve already seen. You know, you have to then accept, if you believe the models, that you’re actually should have gotten far more warming that you have seen but some mysterious processes cancelled part of it.

CS: But hold on a second. We have had politicians and so-called scientists in this country alarming us, and making us feel guilty about our CO2 output and saying "we must act now" because sometimes it would take 1000 years for CO2 to break down and saying we need a carbon tax right away. We can’t even wait for an election for this. So are these alarmist steps that they have taken?

RL: Oh sure! I mean these people are being grotesquely dishonest. I mean I think that even Flannery acknowledged that Australia doing this would have no discernible impact for virtually a millennium, even if Australia’s output during that millennium was increasing exponentially. For Australia to act now is a bit bizarre and certainly cannot be justified by any impact it would have on Australia or anyone.

CS: Can I just get you to repeat that, professor? So for Australia to act now …it is foolish?

RL: Oh sure! I mean it’s a heavy cost with no benefit. And it’s no benefit for you, no benefit for your children, no benefit for your grandchildren, no benefit for your great great great grandchildren. I mean, what’s the point of that?

CS: For Australia to affect world temperatures on its own, because there’s an argument that we need to go down this path on our own, we would make no difference to global warming?

RL: Absolutely! The evidence is pretty good that even if everyone did it in the whole world that wouldn’t make a lot of difference.

CS: What difference would it make if everyone went along and stopped the production of CO2 at the moment?

RL: Oh, that would be a moral disaster, because it would mean that much of the world would preclude development, and so they’d be more vulnerable to the disasters that occur regardless of man, I mean earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, all these things occur naturally and one’s vulnerability to this decreases as your wealth increases, or your vulnerability increases as your wealth decreases.

CS: So, if the world went along down the path of stopping the emission of CO2 tomorrow, what benefit would that make to the world? Our Tim Flannery says it would take a thousand years for any change at all.

RL: Again, the crucial thing is sensitivity. What do you expect that doubling of CO2 to do? If it’s only a degree then you could go through at least two doublings, and probably exhaust much of your fossil fuel before you would do anything that would bother anyone.

CS: So why are we being inundated with the guilt trip? Why are we being told by our own Prime Minister here that we need to act now, and we can’t wait -- we’ve got to save the planet for future generations. How would you describe words like that from our Prime Minister?

RL: Oh, I think either it’s ignorance or cynicism. I mean, you know I understand that your Prime Minister is heading a minority government and depends on the greens for her coalition. You know, for them it’s a power trip.

CS: It’s a fear campaign too? Would you agree?

RL: Well, you know fear is a mechanism for prompting people to do things that are irrational.

CS: We keep getting told the polar caps are melting. What’s the true evidence connected to that?

RL: None. You know it’s again an issue of defining what you’re talking about. In the North Pole you don’t have a cap. You have sea ice. It’s very variable, and as far as Greenland and Antarctica go there’s no evidence of any significant change -- or, you know, again, your measurement aren’t that great but any report you hear are, again, focusing on tiny changes that would have no implication. If you look at a certain time period you might have hit two warmings and one cooling, so the net is a warming, but it’s, you know, no difference from flipping a coin three times. You gonna get two heads or two tails.

CS: Very good. You‘d be very good at the game we play in Australia called "Two Up" I think!

RL: [Laugh]

CS: Can I ask you about carbon dioxide and how it differentiates itself from carbon. Quite often the media here in Australia like to talk about carbon taxes and the impact it’s having on the warming of this planet by showing wonderful pictures of dark plumes of smoke coming out of coal fired power stations. This is not necessarily the CO2 that warms the planet -- right? -- on its own?

RL: CO2 is invisible. If you have dark smoke coming out of a smoke stack you really need a scrubber. I mean, you getting soot out of it, and so on. You’re not burning very well. If you burnt completely you wouldn’t have any of that junk. You just have clear CO2.

CS: What do you think we’ll be saying in 40 years time and looking back at this period of alarm?

RL: Oh, I think it’ll definitely fall into, you know, the category of popular delusions. People will look in wonder at this age, and wonder how science broke down, and in a period of technological advance that the public could be swayed by arguments that make no sense and get hysterical over it.

CS: It’s hard for normal lay people like ourselves to believe that scientists in the world could be prone to hysterics, but you’re saying that that’s the case?

RL: Well you know, you have to remember this is an issue where what most scientists agree on has nothing to do with the alarm. I think the real problem is so many scientists have gone along with it without pointing out that what is established reasonably well has nothing to do with the urgency that’s being promoted, which is largely a political matter. For a lot of people it’s also something I call the quest for cheap virtue. People need a cause, and they sort of feel puffed up by having a cause like saving the earth, and they don’t really care that they hurting people -- that they may be involved in an immoral cause, and so on. They’re perfectly happy to just go along with it, because they were told it’s virtuous.

CS: I think you’ve just nailed the number one reason for the alarm in the world, and in particular right here in Australia with people that like to be seen as noble and saving the planet, and that is ego driven, not science driven. I thank you so much for your time!

RL: Okay! Well listen …good luck. [Laugh] I hope you’re spared the policies that are being proposed.

CS: We can only protest and trying to put the facts on the table for people. Professor, thank you very much for your time.

RL: Good luck. Bye-bye.

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