Richard Lindzen

richard-lindzen

Richard Lindzen

Credentials

  • Ph.D., Applied Mathematics, Harvard University (1964).
  • S.M., Applied Mathematics, Harvard University (1961).
  • A.B. (mcl), Physics, Harvard University (1960).

Source: [1]

Background

Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as the Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. [27]

Professor Lindzen's academic interests lie within the topics of “climate, planetary waves, monsoon meteorology, planetary atmospheres, and hydrodynamic instability.” 

Lindzen has published work with the conservative think-tank, the Cato Institute, a think tank that has received $125,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. In his 1995 article, “The Heat Is On,” Ross Gelbspan notes that Lindzen charged oil and coal organizations $2,500 per day for his consulting services.

Lindzen has described ExxonMobil as “the only principled oil and gas company I know in the US.” [2]

Stance on Climate Change

Richard Lindzen's scientific stance on climate change and anthropogenic global warming is that the earth goes through natural periods of global warming and cooling. 

According to Dr. Lindzen, the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are problematic and limited because they are based on computer models which Lindzen says are “generally recognized as experimental tools whose relation to the real world is questionable.” [3]

Furthermore, he feels that the issue of global warming is completely political, and that policy makers and the media not only manipulate science but also force scientists to produce work that supports a particular agenda. [4]

Key Quotes

November, 2015

“Demonization of CO2 is irrational at best and even modest warming is mostly beneficial. […] When someone says this is the warmest temperature on record. What are they talking about? It's just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period.” [32]

Fall 2013

“To say that climate change will be catastrophic hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions that do not emerge from empirical science.” [5]

“…there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.” [6]

2007

Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.” [33]

Key Deeds

June 13, 2016

Richard Lindzen was among individuals listed as creditors in Peabody Energy's 2016 bankruptcy filings, reports the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch). [42]

While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy's financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. [43]

Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie SoonRoy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for ProsperityAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilCFACTInstitute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. [44]

The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: [45]

These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]

Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]

The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.

We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”

Notable organizations also listed as creditors in the bankruptcy documents include:

May 18, 2016

Richard Lindzen was a signatory to a full page color advertisement in The New York Times titled “Abuse of Power” (PDF) sponsored by The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).  The ad serves as an open letter from 43 signatories including organizations and individuals in response to  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and the coalition of Attourneys General investigating groups denying man-made climate change[35][36]

Attempts to intimidate CEI and our allies and silence our policy research are unconstitutional,” said CEI president Kent Lassman. “The First Amendment protects us and everyone has a duty to respect it – even state attorneys general.  CEI will continue to fight for all Americans to support the causes in which they believe.” [35]

The Competitive Enterprise Institute received a subpoena from AG Walker on April 7, 2016. On April 20, CEI filed an objection to the subpoena calling it “offensive,” “un-American,” and “unlawful,” and are contending that AG Walker is “violating CEI’s First Amendment rights.”  [35]

The “freedom of speech” argument was echoed by ExxonMobil's legal team, as well as numerous other conservative groups including the Pacific Legal Foundation, and Heritage Foundation and the recently-formed Free Speech in Science Project, a group created by the same lawyers who defended the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the past. [37]

The CEI letter lists the following signatories:

March 29, 2016

Richard Lindzen was a featured speaker at a conference titled “The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 Is Good for the Earth” hosted by the CO2 Coalition and The New Criterion in New York City. [34]

According to the event description, “Members of the CO2 Coalition and  many other experts argue that carbon dioxide enrichment of the atmosphere provides manifold benefits for humanity. And observed surface warmings are much smaller than predicted by climate models.   Economic models that fail to include the benefits  of CO2 and the serious exaggerations of climate models  and are being used to advocate “cures” that are much worse than the non-existent disease.” Video of Lindzen's talk below. [34]

Other videos of the conference are available at The New Criterion's YouTube page. Featured speakers listed at the event included the following: [34]

April 18, 2016

Richard Lindzen offered a presentation entitled “Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say,” where he claims that there is “much agreement” between climate change deniers and scientists who believe in human-caused climate change. [38]

The video was hosted by PragerU, which also offers a presentation by Alex Epstein on why fossil fuels are “the greenest Energy,” and a variety of other videos from prominent climate change deniers including Bjorn Lomborg and Patrick Moore[39]  

According to their website, PragerU's mission is to “spread what we call 'Americanism' through the power of the Internet. Our five-minute videos are conservative sound bites that clarify profoundly significant and uniquely American concepts for more than 100 million people each year.” They focus on “Judeo-Christian” values including “freedom of speech, a free press, free markets and a strong military to protect and project those values.” [40]

According to Conservative Transparency, PragerU has received $215,000 from the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. [41]

Video of Lindzen's presentation below:


Transcript:

I’m an atmospheric physicist. I’ve published more than 200 scientific papers. For 30 years I taught at MIT, during which time the climate has changed remarkably little. But the cry of “global warming” has grown ever more shrill. In fact, it seems that the less the climate changes, the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get. So, let’s clear the air and create a more accurate picture of where we really stand on the issue of global warming or, as it is now called—“climate change.” 

There are basically three groups of people dealing with this issue. Groups one and two are scientists. Group three consists mostly, at its core, of politicians, environmentalists and the media. 

Group one is associated with the scientific part of the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change or IPCC (Working Group 1). These are scientists who mostly believe that recent climate change is primarily due to man’s burning of fossil fuels—oil, coal and natural gas. This releases C02, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and, they believe, this might eventually dangerously heat the planet. 

Group two is made up of scientists who don’t see this as an especially serious problem. This is the group I belong to. We’re usually referred to as skeptics. 

We note that there are many reasons why the climate changes—the sun, clouds, oceans, the orbital variations of the earth, as well as a myriad of other inputs. None of these is fully understood, and there is no evidence that CO2 emissions are the dominant factor. 

But actually there is much agreement between both groups of scientists. The following are such points of agreement:

1) The climate is always changing. 

2) CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should lead to some warming.

3) Atmospheric levels of CO2 have been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century. 

4) Over this period (the past two centuries), the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or one degree Celsius; but only since the 1960’s have man’s greenhouse emissions been sufficient to play a role. 

5) Given the complexity of climate, no confident prediction about future global mean temperature or its impact can be made. The IPCC acknowledged in its own 2007 report that “The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

November 19, 2015

Richard Lindzen was part of a group of climate change skeptics to speak at a “climate summit” arranged by the Texas Public Policy Foundation shortly before the UN climate summit in Paris. [32]

“Demonization of CO2 is irrational at best and even modest warming is mostly beneficial,” Lindzen said. “The most important thing to keep in mind is – when you ask 'is it warming, is it cooling', etc.  — is that we are talking about something tiny (temperature changes) and that is the crucial point.” [32]
Lindzen went on to claim that current climate change is “inconsequential,” saying that “When someone points to this and says this is the warmest temperature on record. What are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period. And they are arguing over hundredths of a degree when it is uncertain in tenths of a degree.” [32]
 
Lindzen also criticized EPA Chief Gina McCarthy's education: “I don’t want to be snobbish, but U Mass Boston is not a very good school.”
 

December, 2014

Richard Lindzen is a contributor to the book Climate Change: The Facts published by the Institute of Public Affairs and featuring “22 essays on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate.” The Institute of Public Affairs, while not revealing most of its funders, is known to have received funding from mining magnate Gina Rinehart and at least one major tobacco company. [23]

The book includes essays and articles from a range of climate change skeptics, with contributors including the following:

According to Editor Alan Moran in a post at Catallaxy Files blog on Climate Change: the facts 2014, Richard Lindzen “demonstrates that the climate is relatively insensi­tive to increases in greenhouse gases, and that in any event a warmer world would have a similar variability in weather to that we have always seen.” [24]

September 18, 2014

Richard Lindzen writes a blog post for the Cato Institute titled, “Reflections on Rapid Response to Unjustified Climate Alarm,” detailing Cato's Center for the Study of Science's “rapid response center,” which aims to “identify and correct inappropriate and generally bizarre claims on behalf of climate alarm.” [28] Lindzen writes that “climate alarm belongs to a class of issues characterized by a claim for which there is no evidence, that nonetheless appeals strongly to one of more interests of prejudices. Once the issue is adopted, evidence becomes irrelevant. Instead, the believer sees what he believes.” [28] Lindzen notes, “there is an important role for such a center … to reassure those who realize that this [climate alarm] is a fishy issue, that there remain scientists who are still concerned with the integrity of science … This is a problem that is truly worth of Cato's attention.” [28]

August 2013

Lindzen publishes an article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons entitled, “Science in the Public Square: Global Climate Alarmism and Historical Precendents.” [26]

January 27, 2012

Lindzen is a signatory to an Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal titled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” [20]

Other signatories include Claude Allègre, J. Scott Armstrong, Jan BreslowWilliam Happer, William KininmonthJames McGrath, Rodney Nichols, Burt Rutan, Harrison H. Schmitt, Nir Shaviv, Edward David, Michael Kelly, Henk Tennekes, and Antonino Zichichi.

Skeptical Science summarized how the list of signatories “only includes four scientists who have actually published climate research in peer-reviewed journals, and only two who have published climate research in the past three decades.” Also, almost half have received funding from oil companies and big industry. [21]

Media Transparency reported similar findings more in-depth here. [22]

March 8 - 10, 2009

Lindzen was a keynote speaker at the Heartland Institute's 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. [6]

Sponsors of the 2009 conference have collectively received over $47 million from energy companies and right-wing foundations.

March 8, 2007

Appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary.

The Great Global Warming Swindle also starred fellow skeptics Tim Ball, Roy Spencer, Fred Singer, Pat Michaels, Nir Shaviv, Nigel Lawson, Ian Clark, Piers Corbyn, Philip Stott, Paul ReiterPatrick Moore, Patrick Michaels, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Fred Singer, Paul Driessen, and others.

December 13, 2007

Lindzen was a signatory to a 2007 open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that declared “It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages.” [7]

The letter further explains how carbon dioxide is a “non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis” and why the IPCC's reports are “inadequate as justification” for implementing climate change policy.

November, 2005

Lindzen was also a signatory to the 2005 Leipzig Declaration which describes the Kyoto Protocol as “dangerously simplistic, quite ineffective, and economically destructive to jobs and standards-of-living.” [8]

The Declaration further states that “there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide.”

The Declaration, available in two versions, was penned by prominent climate-change denier Fred Singer's Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP).  SEPP has received at least $20,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

November, 2004

Lindzen made the claim that the climate would be significantly colder in 20 years.

When James Annan, a British climate researcher, approached Lindzen about solidifying a bet on the claim, Lindzen would only agree if Annan would accept a 50-to-1 payout (Annan did not agree to those terms).

Anan eventually made the $10,000 wager with two Russian Solar physicists, Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev. [9]

November 16, 2004

Lindzen signed a 2004 open letter to John McCain that refuted findings by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). [10]

The letter concludes that that past past warming in the arctic cannot be attributed to greenhouse gas concentrations:

“Arctic climate has and will continue to exhibit intricate patterns not reliably reproduced by global climate simulations, thus underscoring their scientific incompleteness and need for advances in Arctic climate science, in measurements, theory and models.” 

It was signed by numerous prominent climate change skeptics including R. Timothy Patterson, Tim Ball, David Legates, Pat Michaels, Gary D. Sharp, Roy W. Spencer, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas.

September 30, 2002

Lindzen was the main speaker for a congressional media briefing, sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition, entitled “On The Meaning of Global Warming Claims.” [11]

May 2, 2001

Testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the subject of climate change.

Lindzen concluded that “If we view Kyoto as an insurance policy, it is a policy where the
premium appears to exceed the potential damages, and where the coverage extends to only a small fraction of the potential damages.” [12]

1998

Lindzen is a signatory to the Oregon Petition, a controversial document first circulated in 1998 with an article that appeared to be a reprint of a National Academy of Science peer-reviewed article. 

The National Academy of Science has stated that it is not connected in any way with the Oregon Petition.

1995

According to Ross Gelbspan's 1995 article The Heat Is On, Lindzen was one of three expert witnesses that were hired to testify on behalf of Western Fuels Association, a “$400 million consortium: of coal suppliers and coal-powered utilities.” [13]

The hearings were to determine the environmental cost of burning coal by state power plants.

May 24-25, 1993

Lindzen took part in a conference titled “Scientific Integrity in the Public Policy Process,” that was organized by SEPP and George Mason University's International Institute.

The conference invited numerous journalists to a “special media session,” where the organizers went through the conference's overall themes which were described as follows:

“The conference discussion underscored two themes: (1) the need for stringent, open, external peer-review of the scientific basis of federal environmental actions, and (2) distortions in the teaching of environmental issues, i.e. 'Who peer-reviews what is being taught under the guise of environmental education?'” [14]

Lindzen spoke on a panel that accused any scientists supporting the conclusion of AGW (Anthropogenic [man-made] Global Warming) of “distorting the issues,” “distorting logic,” “using science to advance a political agenda,” and even “intimidating other scientists through coercion.”

June, 1992

Lindzen is a signatory to the Heidelberg Appeal. The Heidelberg Appeal was created by the International Centre for Scientific Ecology, a public relations front group, during the 1992 UN World Summit. Eventually the document was endorsed by 4,000 scientists who declared that “we are worried at the dawn of the twenty-first century, at the emergence of an irrational ideology [man-made global warming] which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development.” 

The document also says that “many essential human activities are carried out by manipulating hazardous substances, and that progress and development have always involved increasing control over hostile forces.” 

Dr. Fred Singer and the International Centre for Scientific Ecology consented to the tobacco giant Philip Morris' use of the Heidelberg Appeal to draw support to its European branch of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC)—TASSC Europe

TASSC was Philip Morris's front group initiated to question the science that showed the devastating effects of smoking on the human body.

Affiliations

Publications

According to his curriculum vitae and Google Scholar, Dr. Lindzen has published numerous articles in the field of climatology, with many appearing in peer- reviewed journals.

Resources

  1. “Curriculum Vitae: Richard Siegmund Lindzen” (PDF), MIT, February 10, 2010.

  2. Lesley Curwen. “Science climate conflict warms up,” BBC News, April 26, 2007.

  3. Richard S. Lindzen. “Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus,” Regulation (CATO Institute), Vol. 15, No. 2 (Spring 1992).

  4. Richard S. Lindzen. “Don't Believe the Hype,” Wall Street Journal (Opinion), July 2, 2006. Archived July 5, 2006.

  5. Craig D. Rose. “Sempra forums set to address global warming,” U-T San Diego, February 14, 2007.

  6. Is Global Warming a Myth?”, Scientific American, April 8, 2009.

  7. Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” December 13, 2007. Reprinted by the Science and Public Policy Institute.

  8. SIGNATORIES TO THE LEIPZIG DECLARATION,” Science and Environmental Policy Project. Archived September 28, 2006.

  9. David Adam. “Climate change sceptics bet $10,000 on cooler world,” The Guardian, August 19, 2005.

  10. Climate Experts Respond to Arctic Climate Impact Assessment” (Press Release), Frontier Center For Public Policy, November 20, 2004.

  11. MIT Climatologist Richard S. Lindzen To Address Cooler Heads Coalition,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, September 30, 2002.

  12. “Testimony of Richard S. Lindzen before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on 2 May 2001” (PDF). Accessed January, 2012, from eaps.mit.edu.

  13. Ross Gelbspan. “THE HEAT IS ON: The warming of the world's climate sparks a blaze of denial,” Harper's Magazine, December 1995. Republished at dieoff.org.

  14. Scientific Integrity in the Public Policy Process: Conference

  15. Richard S. Lindzen,” The Independent Institute. Accessed January, 2012.

  16. Heartland Experts: Mr. Richard Lindzen,” The Heartland Institute. Accessed January, 2012.

  17. Academic Advisory Council,” The Global Warming Policy Foundation. Accessed January, 2012.

  18. Dr. Richard Lindzen,” George C. Marshall Institute. Accessed January, 2012.

  19. Richard S. Lindzen,” Tech Central Station. Archived September 21, 2003.

  20. No Need to Panic About Global Warming,” The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2012.

  21. The Latest Denialist Plea for Climate Change Inaction,” Skeptical Science, January 31, 2012.

  22. The Journal Hires Dentists To Do Heart Surgery,” Media Transparency, January 30, 2012.

  23. Institute of Public Affairs,” SourceWatch. Accessed May 27, 2015.

  24. Alan Moran. “Climate Change: the facts 2014,” Catallaxy Files (blog), December 16, 2014.

  25. Greenpeace Investigations on Richard Lindzen.

  26. Richard S. Lindzen,” SourceWatch Profile.

  27. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Richard Lindzen.

  28. Science in the Public Square: Global Climate Alarmism and Historical Precendents,” Journal of American Physicans and Surgeons, Fall 2013.

  29. Richard Lindzen,” Cato Institute, Accessed May 5, 2014.

  30. Richard Lindzen. “Reflections on Rapid Response to Unjustified Climate Alarm,” Cato Institute, September 18, 2014. Archived October 1, 2014.

  31. About,” Co2Coalition. Archived September 4, 2015.

  32. Marc Morano. “Prominent Scientists Declare Climate Claims Ahead of UN Summit 'Irrational' – 'Based On Nonsense' – 'Leading us down a false path',” Climate Depot, November 19, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6dRDNqepY

  33. Quote by Richard Lindzen in Chris Horner's book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” 2007 via Google Books.

  34. The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 is Good for the Earth,” CO2 Coalition, April 25, 2016. Archived May 7, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hKp4uAL0

  35. CEI Runs “Abuse of Power” Ad In New York Times,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 18, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016.

  36. “Abuse of Power: All Americans have the right to support causes they believe in” (PDF), Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  37. Steve Horn. “Exxon's Lawyer in Climate Science Probe Has History Helping Big Tobacco and NFL Defend Against Health Claims,” DeSmogBlog, May 10, 2016.

  38. CLIMATE CHANGE: WHAT DO SCIENTISTS SAY?” PragerU, April 18, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016.

  39. Environmental Sceience,” PragerU. Archived May 31, 2016.

  40. What We Do,” PragerU.com. Archived May 31, 2016.

  41. Prager U,” Conservative Transparency. Search Performed May 31, 2016.

  42. Nick Surgey. “Peabody Coal Bankruptcy Reveals Climate Denial Network Funding,” PRWatch, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6iPmXjc4W

  43. In re: Peabody Energy Corporation, et al. Debtors,” United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division, Case 16-42529, May 27, 2016. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

  44. Farron Cousins. “Court Documents Show Coal Giant Peabody Energy Funded Dozens Of Climate Denial Groups,” DeSmogBlog, June 13, 2016.

  45. Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson. “Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change,” The Guardian, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6iPnEUG1o