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Richard Lindzen

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Richard Lindzen was an atmospheric physicist at MIT until May 2013;[1] as expected, he is now a "Distinguished Senior Fellow" at the Cato Institute.[2] He is also affiliated with the industry shill front group Heartland Institute.[3]

Lindzen has had a long career in climatology and worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. However, he became infamously embarrassing for MIT over the last decade as a member of the Bjørn Lomborg "It's not that bad!" school of global warming. Though Lindzen fully accepts anthropogenic global warming, he claims that predictions made by other climatologists' models are "alarmist" and that temperatures will increase by less than one degree Celsius. He maintains this position[4] even though the one degree barrier has already been broken. Managing to incorrectly predict the past is, in a bizarre way, quite an impressive feat for any scientist.

Argument from authority, personified[edit]

Lindzen is probably the one most responsible for the denialist talking point about models not taking clouds into account. The Lindzen-Choi paper is the most often cited, but it's been trashed by other scientists for poor methodology and overstating its conclusions.[5][6] Naturally, Lindzen's skepticism has attracted funding from fossil fuel interests and he's worked on projects underwritten by Exxon and OPEC.[7] He is trotted out by deniers as "proof" that "real scientists disagree" about global warming and that there is no scientific consensus, even though he does accept the theory (just not most of the predictions made by the IPCC). His op-eds in popular media have increasingly fallen back on refuted denier talking points as well. This makes him a massive enabler.

He has also appeared at the Heartland Institute's conferences as the keynote speaker. This makes him a really massive enabler.[8]

In the 90's, Dick reportedly charged "$2,500 a day for his 'consulting services'".[9]

Lindzen's talent seems to be making repeatedly failed predictions as well as failing to get much of his material published in peer-reviewed journals in his more "skeptical" days.

Some other stuff he's been wrong about:

  • Claiming that the link between smoking and lung cancer is "weak."[10]
  • Satellite measurements showing no warming.[11]
  • Decrease in water vapor would allow carbon dioxide to escape from the atmosphere. (He has since accepted this as refuted and calls it an "old view.")[12]
  • Solar and volcanic forcings were severely downplayed to fudge data.[13]
  • Misrepresenting the link between warming and hurricanes.[14]

The Nutty Professor[edit]

While Lindzen was once merely 'skeptical' of the anthropogenic GHG effect's results, he appears to have become increasingly unhinged with age. Despite once considering those who dispute the anthropic GHG effect 'nutty', Dick wrote in the wingnut publication Merion West[15] in April 2017, attempting to discredit basically all widely accepted tenets of climate science. Not too different from his usual WSJ ramblings. Too bad he forgot to disclose his thoughtful gifts from Peabody.[16]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]