[ExI] Richard Lindzen on climate hysteria

Alfio Puglisi alfio.puglisi at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 22:37:46 UTC 2009

On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 11:53 PM, John K Clark<jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> Alfio Puglisi <alfio.puglisi at gmail.com>
>> it is entirely possible that in a 10 years period the warming signal may
>> be masked by the natural variation.
> If the signal is that weak then it sounds to me like it's nothing to get all
> hot and bothered about; and besides, "entirely possible" is just not good
> enough.

I quantified the signal, and the noise. In that context, "entirely
possible" is a statistical truism. About the bothering, whether the
noise masks the signal over 5, 10 or 50 years depends on the relative
magnitude of those numbers, and have nothing to do on whether you
should be bothered or not.

> You're telling millions of people that they must starve to death and you're
> telling about a billion more to remain in poverty, because despite all the
> empty talk about renewable energy, realistically that is the price you're
> going to have to pay if you really want to get serious about stopping carbon
> emissions

Stop this hyperbole. The IPCC quantified the additional expense in
energy investment at max $2T over 25 years (with a lower estimate of
"negligible"), in the whole world. This is on top of $20T already
planned under business as usual, so I don't see this big difference.
(see IPCC AR4, chaper 4.3).

by the way, what is your estimate of people starving to death or
remaining in poverty if we don't take action?.

>> The problem is not the "right" or "wrong" temperature, nor a "change".
>> The problem is when the rate of change outstrips the ability of the
>> ecosystem to adapt.
> If you picked any time at random in the last 100 million years you can be
> almost certain that is was warmer than now, possibly MUCH warmer; at one
> time Antarctica was subtropical and the home of cold blooded reptiles, and
> yet back then the continent was only slightly further north than it is now.
> And in spite of all this the ecosystem on this planet adapted, life still
> exists.

You are missing the point entirely. I said that the problem is not the
change, nor the actual temperature, but the speed at which climatic
parameters change. For example, the rapid up and down changes that you
can see in this graph of the last ice ages:


work out to be at max ~ 10°C over 10,000 years, or 0.1°C/century. Our
current rate is already more than ten times that, and it is projected
to accelerate further.

>> Similar considerations can be made about the rate of sea level rise with
>> respect to human infrastructure.
> And that's another thing that I find very puzzling, if it's been getting so
> damn hot then ice is going to melt, so where the hell has all that water
> gone?
> The sea has risen about 6 inches during the last century, and it has risen
> about 6 inches a century for the last 6 thousand years. Not very surprising
> really, the sea has risen 410 feet in the last 20 thousand years and you
> wouldn't expect a powerful trend like that to stop on a dime.

Finally some numbers. But you don't cite your sources, so I don't know
why they are so wrong. Here are the correct (approximate) ones:

16,000 to 6,000 years ago: almost 4 foot/century  (the post-glacial
rise that you mentiones)
Last 6,000 years:  about 2 inches/century (stability. the "powerful
trend" basically stopped).
Last century:  7 inches/century
Last 20 years:  10 inches/century
Next century:  3-4 foot/century

You can derive these trends looking at these various graphs:


The last two numbers come from the text of the article:


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