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Credibility up in smoke

April 23rd, 2006

Among the scientists taking a public position sceptical of global warming, Richard Lindzen has always seemed the most credible. Unlike nearly all “sceptics”, he’s a real climate scientist who has done significant research on climate change, and, also unlike most of them, there’s no* evidence that he has a partisan or financial axe to grind. His view that the evidence on climate change is insufficient to include that the observed increase in temperature is due to human activity therefore seems like one that should be taken seriously.

Or it would do if it were not for a 2001 Newsweek interview (no good link available, but Google a sentence or two and you can find it) What’s interesting here is not the (now somewhat out of date) statement of Lindzen’s views on climate change, but the following paragraph

Lindzen clearly relishes the role of naysayer. He’ll even expound on how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking. He speaks in full, impeccably logical paragraphs, and he punctuates his measured cadences with thoughtful drags on a cigarette.

Anyone who could draw this conclusion in the light of the evidence, and act on it as Lindzen has done, is clearly useless as a source of advice on any issue involving the analysis of statistical evidence.

Lindzen argues that we should be equally sceptical about both climate change and the link between smoking and cancer, but his argument can just as easily be turned around. If you accept Lindzen’s ‘impeccably logical’ view that the two arguments are comparable, you reach the conclusion that the link between human activity and climate change is now so well-established that it makes about as much sense to doubt it as to doubt the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, that is, no sense at all.

Unlike most of the professional climate sceptics (Singer, Seitz, Milloy and so on), who are also paid advocates for the tobacco industry, there’s no* evidence to suggest that Lindzen is acting from mercenary motives. It appears that he’s just an irresponsible contrarian as a matter of temperament.

Hat tips to Tim Lambert and Eli Rabett

*Update Well, not much. Sourcewatch reports allegations that Lindzen was consulting for oil and coal interests in the early 1990s, but I haven’t seen anything more recent than this.

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  1. Terje Petersen
    April 23rd, 2006 at 19:40 | #1

    There seems to be a lot of people interested in an end to Richard Lindzen credibility.

  2. Dogz
    April 24th, 2006 at 05:32 | #2

    Interesting how an opinion ascribed to Lindzen by a journalist back in 2001 supposedly destroys his credibility. Yet alarmist direct quotes from pro-AGW climate scientists themselves have no impact on their scientific standing, even though more often than not their statements have little or no scientific basis.

    [there are countless examples of unmitigated BS from the pro-AGW industry: for just two instances, take climateprediction.net's scaremongering last year on 11C temperature increases, or Tim Flannery's recent taxpayer-funded ads in South Australia claiming turning off your lights will ease global warming].

  3. rabee
    April 24th, 2006 at 11:01 | #3

    I went to his website and found that although he has published hundreds of papers on weather, he seems not to have published anything scientific on lung cancer, i.e., he doesn’t take his own views on the association between smoking and lung cancer seriously.

    In fact, his comment on lung cancer was probably a joke, which seemed appropriate since he was lighting up a cigarette.

    I’m sure that many economists also sound like idiots when they talk, over lunch, about things not related to economics or their area of expertise. That shouldn’t make their work in economics suspect.

  4. Terje
    April 24th, 2006 at 11:06 | #4

    I did spend a little bit of google time looking for references in which Richard Lindzen expressed a view on lung cancer. I could not find any direct quotes.

  5. jquiggin
    April 24th, 2006 at 11:33 | #5

    I don’t doubt that Lindzen’s published work in climate science is scientifically sound (that’s not to say he’s right in his conjectures, but he’s doing real science). He’s clearly a bright guy and an able scientist.

    The question is whether his policy judgement is similarly sound. If his views on one topic involving the interpretation of statisical evidence are silly, there’s good reason to doubt that he is sensible on other topics involving the same kinds of judgement.

    And anyone who is willing to be quoted in the national press as doubting the relationship between smoking and cancer, as a joke, displays very poor judgement.

    This impression is heightened by the fact that Lindzen shifts position a lot, being much more sceptical in the public media than he is when he signs off on joint statements with other serious climate researchers.

  6. wilful
    April 24th, 2006 at 11:33 | #6

    I realise this is a naive view, but in the first instance can’t we just deal with Lindzen’s criticisms of ACC, see whether they’re valid or not, before we start getting into speculating about his psychology?

    As a climate change ‘believer’, I don’t mind the petroleum backed researchers coming up with valid, well-backed positions that refute central parts of the theory.

    I’ve not seen any instances of that, I’ve seen marginalia attacked and inflated in importance and more effort spent in promoting minority views than on answering the central questions, but I’m still interested in good criticisms.

  7. April 24th, 2006 at 11:46 | #7
  8. Joseph Clark
    April 24th, 2006 at 14:18 | #8

    John,

    Do you have any specific criticisms of Lindzen’s work?

  9. jquiggin
    April 24th, 2006 at 14:46 | #9

    I have plenty of criticisms of his claim that the evidence is insufficient to conclude that global warming is anthropogenic. This claim isn’t derived from his research*, but is his judgement, based on the same kind of assessment of stochastic trends that economists do, and very similar to the judgements involved in relating smoking and cancer.

    Lindzen is not offering an argument that can be critically assessed, but a judgement of the evidence backed by his authority as a prominent researcher. So, it’s reasonable to criticise his status as an authority.

    * He did a paper a while back suggesting that the atmosphere might have an “adaptive iris” that would generate negative feedbacks, but this idea didn’t survive subsequent analysis and he was a prominent sceptic well before that, so I don’t think it’s particularly relevant in this context.

  10. rog
    April 24th, 2006 at 15:13 | #10

    Surely a reference in one newsweek article is not sufficient to form a judgement?

  11. April 24th, 2006 at 15:19 | #11

    PrQ,
    I take it then that you have never joked that labour market opening is a good thing. If he was just lighting up a cigarette then it may have been an appropriate joke to make, as it would be if you were in a contract negotiation.
    If his professional judgement is one way and yours and many climate scientists judgement is the other way, can’t you just accept that there is a difference of opinion and move on? Surely there is nothing in science more important than a full and free debate. To critise his status as an authority merely because you disagree with his opinion is, IMHO, not an entirely scientific position to take.
    Besides, his status as an authority is only important if we are launching and appeal to authority argument – and this would then be recognised as being a weak argument style in any case.

  12. Ken Miles
    April 24th, 2006 at 16:31 | #12

    It doesn’t worry me that Lindzen is a smoking-cancer sceptic (but it doesn’t surprise me either – pseudoscience thinking tends to come in groups). What worries me more is that an intelligent knowledgeable person can come up with this drivel: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220

  13. April 24th, 2006 at 16:50 | #13

    Ken,

    Thanks for the link to the article. Three things of interest from the Lindzen article:-

    1. It is recent (12 April 2006).

    2. He clearly agrees with the idea that things are getting hotter:-

    First, let’s start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true.

    3. He claims that the “Iris effect” is still subject to debate.

    When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an “Iris Effect,” wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2. Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as “discredited.”

    Could you quote the bit that you thought was “drivel”.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  14. jquiggin
    April 24th, 2006 at 17:34 | #14

    “Besides, his status as an authority is only important if we are launching and appeal to authority argument – and this would then be recognised as being a weak argument style in any case. ”

    But we are taking just such an argument. Lindzen has signed numerous group letters of the form “60 (or 100 or 17000) scientists deny the reality of global warming”. These, rather than published scientific research, are offered as a counter to the mountains of research supporting the global warming hypothesis.

    Terje, the Iris effect paper came out years ago, and was refuted years ago. There’s been plenty of time for Lindzen or others to do new research supporting the hypothesis, so quibbles about the timing of responses strikes me as pretty weak.

  15. Ken Miles
    April 24th, 2006 at 18:11 | #15

    Terje, these links provide some attacks on Lindzen’s piece.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/lindzen-point-by-point/

    and

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/open-thread-on-lindzen-op-ed-in-wsj/

    The first criticism, is by one of Lindzen’s co-authors. The second isn’t as good, with all of the ad homs.

    It should be important to note that when climate skeptics do real science, they do get funded (for example, Spencer and Christy).

  16. Ken Miles
    April 24th, 2006 at 18:41 | #16

    Also, Lindzen claims that Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza “disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions” which is funny given that both are currently publishing in the scientific literature on climate change. For example, in 2002 they (along with other co-authors) published a paper which looked at improving the models used to quantify climate change (Formula for a baroclinic adjustment theory of climate – Tellus A Vol. 54 Pg. 260 2002).

  17. Frankis
    April 24th, 2006 at 18:43 | #17

    Never mind mere drivel, two very recent quotes from Lindzen prove him a liar.

    The latest was on April 12th with “… significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary”. http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=3711460e-bd5a-475d-a6be-4db87559d605
    That is, if “we’d” known years back what “we” know today then an international treaty would likely not have been signed.

    When some people, like Benny Peiser, sign statements such as that it may be because they’re simply out of their field, just singing along in harmony with people they admire. No need to attribute mendacity to them when delusion would suffice. For a scientist in the field like Lindzen though signing such makes him a liar as well as a fool. This is because six days earlier he’d whined to Wall St that he and his fellows can’t get published today because they won’t toe the consensus line on climate change: “… sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis”. http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220

    In short he claimed to speak for an international consensus position on 12th April, six days after having complained bitterly about how marginalized he and his bravely dissenting skeptic colleagues have been. He’s not in reality both marginalized and representative of a consensus position so it’s liar _and_ fool I’m afraid.

  18. richard mcenroe
    April 25th, 2006 at 00:53 | #18

    “Surely a reference in one newsweek article is not sufficient to form a judgement? ”

    Rog — One handful of mud is all that is required when you dissent from the The Revealed Truth of Climate Change.

  19. Bill Schumm
    April 25th, 2006 at 01:18 | #19

    It is interesting….in the first paragraph you tell us that Lindzen is “…a real climate scientist” and “has always seemed the most credible. ” Then at the end of your essay you tell us that “he’s just an irresponsible contrarian.”

    What happened in the course of a few minutes that caused you to launch into a childish fit of name-calling? Why, he actually said something that you disagree with. Never mind that what he did say is accurate…..the cigarette-lung cancer stuff is laden with politically correct “results” that are based on much dubious research.

  20. steve munn
    April 25th, 2006 at 04:44 | #20

    Dogz says: “there are countless examples of unmitigated BS from the pro-AGW industry: for just two instances, take climateprediction.net’s scaremongering last year on 11C temperature increases”

    You are making a false allegation Dogz. Climateprediction.net clearly denied that an 11C temperature increase was likely. Realclimate.org actually elaborate at length on this case. Either you do not understand the science or you have been misled by a dubious source. see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/how-not-to-write-a-press-release/#more-296

    Bill Schumm, maybe you would be taken more seriously if you provided evidence that “the cigarette lung cancer stuff is laden with politically correct ‘results’”. Any fool can fling this sort of unsubstantiated nonsense about.

    Could you kindly point me in the direction of one reputable medical association, research body, university or government department anywhere in the western world that supports your contention?

  21. April 25th, 2006 at 05:48 | #21

    Hmmmm.

    So if a scientist is perhaps mistaken in viewpoints that are outside of his/her primary field, then that scientist is somehow discredited?

    So, instead of smoking, would paying too much for automobile insurance qualify?

    As in: “Well he’s usually brilliant but he’s paying way too much for automobile insurance so his scientific faculties are bugger all.”?

    lol. Intelligent Design is looking better and better.

  22. Jack Lacton
    April 25th, 2006 at 08:13 | #22

    Hmmm…lots of ‘debate’ about Lindzen’s supposed bias from people who are…biased.

  23. Ken
    April 25th, 2006 at 10:39 | #23

    After reading Linzden’s article I found nothing that throws any real doubt on climate Science – It’s all about discrediting the motives of those doing work that has been accepted and endorsed by the top scientific institutions of the world. The piece is pure opinion piece clearly intended to sow doubt on the very good work being done in this field. Rather a lot of opinion stated as fact, vagueness about whether the opinions he disputes are hyped media versions by political advocates or statements by scientists.
    If something is believed, with sound scientific basis, to be a cause for alarm then it’s very reasonable for action to be taken on it, incuding more research into the phenomena, it’s effects and what can be done about it.
    Having read what he has to say has convinced me he’s not a voice of reason, but of advocacy, his arguments aimed at the ignorant not the knowledgeable, his method of persuasion based on political partisanship and pressing emotional buttons, not science. I’m supposed to consider him a reasoned and unbiased voice? Get real!

  24. jquiggin
    April 25th, 2006 at 11:41 | #24

    “So, instead of smoking, would paying too much for automobile insurance qualify?”

    There’s a spectrum here. Believing that the earth is flat would qualify, paying too much for insurance would not. I’ll leave it to you to judge where on this spectrum denying the link beteen smoking and cancer should fall.

  25. slatts
    April 25th, 2006 at 11:50 | #25

    Isn’t it embarrassing when really clever people laugh at your devoutly held nonsense?
    Mark Steyn:
    The answer to the first question was: Yes, it had begun. From 1940 to 1970, there was very slight global cooling. That’s why the doom-mongers decided the big bucks were in the new-ice-age blockbusters.
    And yet, amazingly, we’ve survived. Why? Because in 1970 the planet stopped its very slight global cooling and began to undergo very slight global warming. So in the ’80s, the doom-mongers cast off their thermal underwear, climbed into the leopardskin thongs, slathered themselves in sun cream and wired their publishers to change all references to “cooling” to “warming” for the paperback edition. That’s why, if you notice, the global-warming crowd begin their scare statistics with “since 1970,” an unlikely Year Zero which would not otherwise merit the significance the eco-crowd invest in it.

  26. jquiggin
    April 25th, 2006 at 13:38 | #26

    It’s certainly embarrassing to see anyone still paying attention to Mark Steyn. He can’t (or won’t) get his facts facts straight, even on matters of historical record.
    I gave up pointing out his ludicrous errors years ago, but Tim Lambert has covered quite a few of the more recent follies, including the one you cite.

  27. Patrick Caldon
    April 25th, 2006 at 14:14 | #27

    Dogz:

    Lighting comprises 8.8% of US residential power consumption according to the US DoE. Compact flourescents (conservatively) use a third as much power; were you to replace all incandescents with compact flourescents you’d reduce the residential power consumption by 6%, or total power consumption by 2-3%.

    I can’t find good figures for the cost savings associated with occupancy sensors in residential settings, but there are a few estimates for commercial settings putting this in the order of 30-50% of lighting consumption. Methodically turning lights off would presumably do better than this, since occupancy sensors typically delay a bit before turning off.

    These together would seem to account for roughly 7% of US residental power consumption, presumably the figures for Adelaide would be comparable. Residential power is roughly a sixth of total energy expenditure in a western economy; my somewhat handwaving estimate is that we get about 1% reduction in GHG production by using compact flourescents and methodically turning off lights or installing occupancy sensors. And the nice thing is that there’s a net positive economic benefit – both occupancy sensors and CFs pay for themselves in under 3 years, have a much longer lifespan, and negligible GHG contribution in their manufacture.

    Aside: it took me about half-an-hour to work out that your throwaway line was bollocks – I guess it took you about 10 seconds to compose that line. Less knee-jerk skepticism and more research mate.

  28. April 25th, 2006 at 14:15 | #28

    As you might expect, the Steyn passage that slatts quotes is mostly fictional. The only germ of truth is that in the 70s journalists (people like Steyn and slatts) were writing scare stories about a coming Ice Age. The scientists were not. See here.

  29. Dogz
    April 25th, 2006 at 14:32 | #29

    Steve Munn,

    Climateprediction.net clearly denied that an 11C temperature increase was likely. Realclimate.org actually elaborate at length on this case. Either you do not understand the science or you have been misled by a dubious source.

    Neither. From the press release issued by the climateprediction.net researchers themselves:

    Climateprediction.net project coordinator, Dr. David Frame, said: “the possibility of such high responses has profound implications. If the real world response were anywhere near the upper end of our range, even today’s levels of greenhouse gases could already be dangerously high.�

    The “consensus view” from the climate science community at the time of the publication of that paper was that it is very very unlikely that the real world response is anywhere near the upper end of the cp.net range. That view has not changed (with good reason). The cp.net scientists knew that.

    In contrast with this clear and unjustified alarmism from supposedly respectable scientists in the pro-AGW camp, JQ has pilloried Lindzen based on a second-hand account of what was probably a throwaway remark.

    I know who I think is exploting the GW debate for their own political ends, and it’s not Lindzen.

  30. Dogz
    April 25th, 2006 at 14:53 | #30

    Partick Caldon,

    Aside: it took me about half-an-hour to work out that your throwaway line was bollocks – I guess it took you about 10 seconds to compose that line. Less knee-jerk skepticism and more research mate.

    Pity you’re dead wrong. Even if turning off lights would result in a 1% reduction in GHGs produced by western countries (and I think you’ve over-estimated by at least a factor of two, but it doesn’t matter), it’s not going to do diddly-squat for global warming, which was my original point. Or do you think there’s a fundamental difference between a 2.99C temperature increase and a 3C temperature increase?

    The taxpayer-funded Flannery ads implied – nay, stated – that turning off lights would make a difference. That’s just plain wrong. Or at least it’s only correct in the same sense that global warming will be mitigated if we all exercise less.

    The money spent on the Flannery ads would have been far better spent on ads dispelling some of the misinformation concerning the safety of nuclear energy, which if adopted in place of fossil-fuel power generation will make a much bigger impact on global warming.

  31. Patrick Caldon
    April 25th, 2006 at 18:27 | #31

    Dogz:

    It may well be an overestimate (you’ll note that I state the latter part of the estimate has elements of “handwaving”) – but let’s suppose I’m a factor of 2 out and say it’s 0.5%.

    Do you seriously propose that the rational approach to AGW is to do one thing and let that fix the problem? Any idiot can see that that will either not work or cripple the economy. I would suggest to you that any workable approach which isn’t going to cripple the economy (and cripple us) is going to require doing a great many little things. Lights off/low power bulbs is but one of them.

    For instance, domestic appliances on “standby” currently use 11.6% of residential power in this country. There’s monstrous wastage in water heating which can be fixed with low-water-use appliances. PCs on for 24 hours use terrible quantities of energy. Air conditioning (which is about 15% of residential power) in the abscence of household insulation is incredibly expensive, and pretty stupid. All of these are a few percentage point gains, and gains just over the residential electricity portion of our electricity use. Programs like BASIX will all only gain us a few percent on AGW. Note that all of these are net-positive to the economy (but I’d have to check on BASIX); they involve a smallish additional capital expenditure which we can easily afford and will recoup over a period of 2-3 years, and involve appliances/equipment installed for more than that.

    Now you can rightly say that a few percent (or half a percent) means nothing. Here’s the tricky bit: you can add the percentages. That’s right; if we add these together we start to see larger and larger numbers. Note the savings are independent of each other. In the context of trying to save a little bit everywhere at minimal economic cost, turning off the lights will make a difference.

    I really can’t comment on your assertion that the money spent on the Flannery ads would be far better spent on pro-nuclear ads. To do this I’d need to work out the cost of the ads, the expected impact of the ads and the AGW effect of that, the expected effect of a pro-nuclear ad and the likelihood that this would lead to another plant getting constructed, and the AGW saving of this as opposed to whatever we were planning to build (which nowadays is probably gas, with a much better AGW footprint, and generally cheaper than either gas or coal). It’s another 10 second comment which would require (in this case) months to analyse, at which point the analysis will be moot anyway.

    As a suggestion, there are some excellent Flannery/lefty/anti-coal criticisms you could make and which might be supportable with evidence as opposed to throw away rhetoric. Indeed the Howard government’s standby device program is certainly money much better spent – you should have a look at that if you want a whipping horse for Flannery. If its Labor governments as opposed to Flannery himself you dislike have a look at the NSW govt’s desalination plans (shelved but probably not forgotten). If you are keyed up on generation as opposed to consumption have a look at gas plants. Good luck with the analysis!

  32. Chris O’Neill
    April 25th, 2006 at 20:47 | #32

    Applying Dogz argument, there is no fundamental difference between a 0C rise and a 3C rise because there is no fundamental difference between a 0C rise and a 0.01C rise, no fundamental difference between a 0.01C rise and a 0.02C rise etc. His argument is an Argument of the Beard which includes the argument:

    “Similarly, all piles of stones are small, since if you add one stone to a small pile of stones it remains small.”

    By the same argument, all reductions in global warming are small, since if you add one small reduction to a small pile of reductions it remains small.

  33. Dogz
    April 25th, 2006 at 21:02 | #33

    Patrick Caldon,

    On your argument any measure that reduces GHGs is worthy of throwing taxpayer dollars at in the form of advertising. Clearly that’s not a sensible policy; if one has to waste taxpayer money in advertising, it makes sense to at least invest it in advertising that is likely to have the greatest impact on global warming.

    Since you’re obviously quite the analyst, and since you’re such an advocate of the Flannery ads, I am sure you can tell us exactly how many tonnes of CO2 emissions have been saved per taxpayer dollar by the ads?

    Or maybe I could save you some time: the answer is almost certainly zero, within the margin of experimental error. If you had seen the ads you would realise they had a lot more to do with establishing the green credentials of the South Australian Labor Party prior to a state election than global warming.

  34. Dogz
    April 25th, 2006 at 21:16 | #34

    Applying Chris O’Neilll’s argument, we should all refrain from exercise because that generates more GHGs than sitting still.

    The argument is not about whether any individual measure affects global warming (at some level, every measure does), but whether an expensive advertising campaign focused on turning off domestic lighting is the best use of taxpayer funds.

    In the case of the Flannery ads they were very obviously crafted to serve the ulterior purpose of bolstering an incumbent government’s green credentials immediately prior to a state election. Any actual impact on greenhouse emissions was entirely incidental (and almost certainly zero in any case).

  35. rog
    April 25th, 2006 at 22:28 | #35

    John, I had thought that France’s collaboration via the Vichy Govt with the Nazi holocaust would have precluded them from WW2.

  36. SJ
    April 25th, 2006 at 22:40 | #36

    Dogz says:

    Pity you’re dead wrong. Even if turning off lights would result in a 1% reduction in GHGs produced by western countries (and I think you’ve over-estimated by at least a factor of two, but it doesn’t matter), it’s not going to do diddly-squat for global warming, which was my original point. Or do you think there’s a fundamental difference between a 2.99C temperature increase and a 3C temperature increase?

    The taxpayer-funded Flannery ads implied – nay, stated – that turning off lights would make a difference. That’s just plain wrong. Or at least it’s only correct in the same sense that global warming will be mitigated if we all exercise less.

    Yeah, yeah. Don’t do anything because any single thing is not enough.

    Tell the truth. Did your math education include anything from the Newton/Leibniz era, or did it all come from ancient Greece?

  37. colin
    April 26th, 2006 at 00:47 | #37

    Certainly amusing to see people commenting outside their field of expertise.(Assuming they have one).I would be very cautious about opposing people like Lindzen-or even worse Freeman Dyson-in anything.

    They’re a lot more intelligent than I.

  38. burrah
    April 26th, 2006 at 01:49 | #38

    Link to Gil Spencer: Global warming is scary in more ways than one

    Please don’t quote large slabs of other people’s text as comments, Burrah. I’ve deleted the text and left the link to Spencer. For readers info, Spencer’s piece repeats the llong-exploded claim that Hansen’s 1988 predictions were in error. As usual, Tim Lambert has the details on this

  39. rog
    April 26th, 2006 at 08:08 | #39

    re Steyn, I still have no ideas how France could be “on the side of the good guys”, their refusal to properly join the Allies led to the British sinking of their naval fleet in Algeria.

    The rounding up of jewish men women and children and subsequent transportation east to the Nazi concentration camps must surely also distance France from “the good guys”

    It should be remembered that the Govt of France chose to sign a treaty with Germany during WW2. Whilst having been invaded and occupied by Germany Poland and Norway continued to fight in exile as did de Gaulle’s Free French forces.

  40. jquiggin
    April 26th, 2006 at 09:05 | #40

    So you’re only on the side of the good guys, if you’re far enough back from the front not to face invasion, Rog? I must tell my Polish and Norwegian (not to mention Belgian) friends about this.

    As you point out, all the occupied countries had collaborationists but more importantly all had resistance movements and exiled fighters. If you’re going to count them as being on the wrong side, I suggest you keep quiet on the subject, particularly on Anzac Day.

  41. rog
    April 26th, 2006 at 09:43 | #41

    I dont know what you are talking about John, the Polish and Norwegians did not surrender and continued to fight. Despite what you say the govt of France was not on the side of the allies.

    You can say what you like to your friends, my family were in WW1 and WW2.

    And you can stick your suggestions.

  42. rog
    April 26th, 2006 at 09:45 | #42

    …one is still in France.

  43. jquiggin
    April 26th, 2006 at 10:06 | #43

    Steyn gives no credit to either Norway or Poland, only to the Anglosphere. If you want to defend them, take it up with him.

  44. avaroo
    April 26th, 2006 at 10:21 | #44

    Steyn is not dismissive of Norway or Poland’s efforts to fend off the nazis.

  45. avaroo
    April 26th, 2006 at 10:39 | #45

    The Norwegians do need to do some re-thinking though. Ever since they awarded Kofi Annan the Nobel prize even after he ignored the Rwandan genocide, I’ve thought they were off track. Now, they’re welcoming Hamas. Not sure they’re thinking as clearly as they did in WWII.

  46. rog
    April 26th, 2006 at 11:34 | #46

    John, you said “Steyn’s whole ideological position would collapse if he had to admit that France was on the side of the good guys.”

    As you say France was on the “frontline” but under the Vichy Govt as an ally of Germany only.

    After the armistice was signed France’s refusal to commit their navy to the Allies was a serious failure on their part and the subsequent flight to Berlin of key Vichy Govt members indicated the high degree of Nazi collaboration.

  47. rog
    April 26th, 2006 at 12:03 | #47

    There has been a lot written on the collaboration of the Vichy Govt, at trial Petain argued that they collaborated to protect France from the worst excesses of the Nazis. In fact France was not spared Nazi horrors as the Vichy Govt implemented Nazi policy and the substantial evidence presented at his trial found him guilty.

    Laval and others had aalready been hung.

    Gerhard Hirschfeld; “Collaboration had not prevented the worst from happening but rather had made it possible and in any case paved the road to Auschwitz “

  48. burrah
    April 26th, 2006 at 14:03 | #48

    Slatts said, quoting Steyn.
    “That’s why, if you notice, the global-warming crowd begin their scare statistics with “since 1970,â€? an unlikely Year Zero which would not otherwise merit the significance the eco-crowd invest in it.”
    Well just as the Christians and Muslims have their year zero, 1970 is very special for the swampies.

  49. avaroo
    April 26th, 2006 at 14:37 | #49

    swampies? LOL

    Envirogelicals is a good one too.

  50. derrida derider
    April 26th, 2006 at 14:59 | #50

    John, I reckon you should just not bothering replying to the anti-GW zealots. It’s clear no evidence short of the establishment of a banana-growing industry in Antarctica will convince them – and even then they’d find a way to blame it on Islamofascism. Concentrate instead on the more debatable and relevant issues of how we should deal with it, where your professional expertise really helps.

  51. Seeker
    April 26th, 2006 at 15:02 | #51

    Avaroo says: “The Norwegians do need to do some re-thinking though. Ever since they awarded Kofi Annan the Nobel prize..”

    The Norwegians hand out the Nobel prizes? I am pretty sure Sweden might have something to say about that.

  52. avaroo
    April 26th, 2006 at 15:11 | #52

    Actually, Norway is the home of most of the Nobel Peace Prize grantors.

  53. avaroo
    April 26th, 2006 at 15:17 | #53

    “By the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee since 1901.

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee, whose five members are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget), is entrusted both with the preparatory work related to prize adjudication and with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize.”

    http://nobelprize.org/peace/prize-awarder/index.html

  54. Seeker
    April 26th, 2006 at 16:41 | #54

    Ya got me there, Avaroo, the peace prize is indeed the only Nobel prize not awarded by a Swedish Institution.

  55. rog
    April 26th, 2006 at 17:38 | #55

    So, is Lidzens credibility ‘up in smoke’ based on one article in Newsweek? I doubt it.

    And is Mark Steyn guilty of a gross distortion of the truth because he did not include France as an ally in WW2?

    I don’t think so.

  56. StephenL
    April 26th, 2006 at 17:51 | #56

    Dogz, I take it you don’t vote (or wouldn’t if it wasn’t for the risk of fines) after all one vote is obviously going to be irrelevant.

  57. Dogz
    April 26th, 2006 at 18:53 | #57

    StephenL, SJ,

    read my lips:


    The argument is not about whether any individual measure affects global warming (at some level, every measure does), but whether an expensive advertising campaign focused on turning off domestic lighting is the best use of taxpayer funds.

  58. April 26th, 2006 at 23:11 | #58

    Rog says: Laval and others had aalready been hung.

    Put to death, yes; hung, no. Laval was shot, as were Robert Brasillach and various other Frenchmen convicted of collaborating with the German occupiers.

  59. Frankis
    April 27th, 2006 at 00:03 | #59

    Lindzen has no credibility because he’s publicly made two contradictory statements, in writing, signed, knowing that at least one of them was a lie as he uttered it. See my first comment above for the details.

    When he says “we” would not do today something that was done by international consensus a decade ago he tells us that he speaks for an international consensus today. But six days earlier he’d whined about the “sinister” conspiracy of alarmists – his sillyspeak namecalling of those who actually do represent an international scientific consensus – who lap up the grant funding that he and his “dissenting” colleagues deserve. It is at this stage of our exacting analysis, rog, that we realize that he’s either lying now, or he was then. True he’s a fool as well – but not so silly as to not have known that he was lying at the time.

    Truth and candor (or their absence) today go unnoticed (unlamented) by our purblind, blog warring ideologues and their pet contrarian poseurs like Lindzen, as they all prattle on about “science”. If they don’t respect a notion of the possibility of truth or its absence … why would we care about their opinions on “science”?

  60. April 27th, 2006 at 01:30 | #60

    Um… the wider recognition of smoking as a cancer risk was indeed delayed by early PC effects. The problem was that it was the Nazis who first brought the matter out.

    One problem was that at the Nuremberg Trials the prosecution had asserted that there was no scientific merit in any concentration camp experiments. Unfortunately things like hypothermia research intended to help Luftwaffe pilots downed at sea turned out to be useful to the Canadians. It became rather important to downplay anything that might however tenuously appear to discredit the prosecution’s completely unnecessary spurious claim.

  61. steve munn
    April 27th, 2006 at 05:01 | #61

    I’m not sure why collaboration with the Nazis features on this post.

    Anyway it is well worth remembering that collaboration was more widespread that we would like to believe. Even the plucky Brits in the Channel Islands mostly passively collaborated or in somes cases actively collaborated with their Nazi occupiers. The Jews for instance were dispatched to the concentration camps without much fuss and local good samaritans who helped the Russian and Spanish slave labourers were dobbed in by their neighbours.

    see http://www.guardian.co.uk/GWeekly/Story/0,3939,322570,00.html

  62. rog
    April 27th, 2006 at 07:22 | #62

    The Vichy Govt was regarded by France as an illegal govt run by traitor.

    This argument was unsustainable and in 1995 Chirac acknowledged the responsibility of the French state when he said “Yes, the criminal folly of the occupier was assisted by French, by the French state.”

    “France, homeland of the Enlightenment and of human rights, land of welcome and asylum, France, on that very day, accomplished the irreparable,” he said. “Failing her promise, she delivered those she was to protect to their murderers.”

  63. Chris O’Neill
    May 5th, 2006 at 20:16 | #63

    According to Dogz “Applying Chris O’Neilll’s argument, we should all refrain from exercise because that generates more GHGs than sitting still”

    except of course that food can and should come from a non-GHG source of energy (the Sun) whereas electric lights are powered by GHG-producing power stations.

    Trust a denialist like Dogz to be ignorant of the difference.

  64. Honus
    October 6th, 2006 at 12:53 | #64

    Has anyone looked at this site yet?

    http://www.envirogelical.com

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