Are you negligent, incompetent or complicit?

This was a question posed to former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond this week, when he appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee of MPs on Wednesday. It is a question that I would like to ask Dr Richard Lindzen… In fact, I have asked the question and – just as Bob Diamond did – he has refused to answer it… Here is the evidence on which you should decide for yourself: Many readers will recall that, following my visit to London to hear Lindzen speak to a room full of fake sceptics in the Palace of Westminster on 22 February this year, I attempted to get some answers to questions. Unfortunately, I failed. I have been particularly frustrated by one thing; possibly the most misleading aspect of Lindzen’s entire presentation – a combination of graphs of recent atmospheric CO2 and temperature data that was mysteriously omitted from the PDF of the presentation that was initially posted on the Internet.  Although Lindzen never answered any of my questions, he did insert this slide into the PDF of his presentation despite my pointing out to him – MIT and the AGU – that it was essentially meaningless (as the y-axes could be stretched to show either correlation or no correlation as preferred by the speaker). Here is a screenshot of the misleading graph from the video of the presentation:

Misrepresentation of data?

Steeply inclined Keeling curve versus apparently non-correlating temperature – if you stretched the temperature axis enough it would appear to correlate quite well. Therefore slide neither proves not disproves anything.

This bears more than a passing resemblance to the World Climate Widget – a very similar-looking combination of graphs (i.e. manipulated to suggest that there is no correlation between recent atmospheric CO2 and temperature data) – that can be downloaded as a widget from Anthony Watts’ Watts Up With That? (WUWT) misinformation blog. If you go to the WUWT widget page, you will find the two graphs in both of these images (above and right) are there presented separately. However, to prove my point – that anyone using these graphs to try and prove there is no correlation between long-term CO2 and temperature changes – just look at what happens when you take the graph of University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) global lower atmosphere data as used by WUWT (i.e. cooler than surface temperature data) and stretch it:
Clearing the fog of data misrepresentation created by Lindzen et al. - Note the clear upward trend in the temperature graph on the left (it was there all the time).

Clearing the fog of data misrepresentation created by Lindzen et al. – Note the clear upward trend in the temperature graph on the left (it was there all the time).

Therefore, for anyone – including Lindzen – to try and use the original combination of graphs to suggest there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature, this suggests that they are either negligent, incompetent, or deliberately trying to mislead people. For many people who are not scientists to be fooled by this is understandable but, for a prominent scientist like Lindzen to make this mistake – and not apologise for doing so – is unforgivable. Furthermore, it would seem that, no matter how many times he is criticised, he just keeps repeating the same old mistakes: Skeptical Science: Lindzen and Choi 2011 – Party Like It’s 2009 It would appear that, despite the best efforts of the majority of prominent climate scientists, Lindzen’s London Illusions are still fooling a lot of people. If you follow that last link, it will take you to the website of what I prefer to call The Global Wonky Policy Foundation, where it is reported that only 43% of the British adult population felt able to agree with the following statement: “Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities”. It has been suggested to me that this question is carefully phrased to deter people from saying “yes” (i.e. they might agree that warming is occurring and/or that humans are the primary cause; but they might not agree that vehicles and factories are the primary source of emissions). However, this is ‘clutching at straws’ in my opinion; and leaves me wondering what percentage of the population would feel able to agree with this statement:

“The sunrise is a fact and is mostly caused by the Earth not being flat and spinning once a day whilst orbiting the Sun”…?

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About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Cognitive Dissonance, Confirmation Bias, Denial, Environment, Lindzengate, Richard Lindzen, Scepticism. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Are you negligent, incompetent or complicit?

  1. Neal J. King says:

    There is a collection of Lindzen’s misstatements and refutations: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Lindzen_Illusions.htm

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    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks for thinking of me, Neal. You are not the first person to mention that to me (which I came across back in February). Indeed, having made contact with Skeptical Science, they even referred to my email to Lindzen in their own post about the misleading presentation in London (which I witnessed first-hand). This is one of the many sources cited by Lionel A Smith (someone who has been on Lindzen’s trail a lot longer than most), which I included in the list you will find appended to the bottom of this post from last month.

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  2. jpgreenword says:

    Many people would rather believe something that lines up with their pre conceived notions. A little voice in the brain tells them “I don’t believe in AGW because it would mean changing the way I live.” And god forbid we, as a society, admit that the continued combustion of fossil fuels is a mistake.

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  3. jpgreenword says:

    And regarding the question in the title of your post… as it applies to Mr. Lindzen… from what I’ve read in your posts, I’d say it is a combination of incompetent and complicit.

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    • Rick Altman says:

      Irrespective of motive or intent, how come he is repeatedly allowed to do it? Is it because the majority of climate scientists have dismissed him as irrelevant?

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      • jpgreenword says:

        There are so many people out there who want to support someone that contradicts the science that Mr. Lindzen will always find an audience willing to hear what he has to say. In my opinion.

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      • Rick Altman says:

        That’s “Dr” Lindzen, please. The man may be ideologically blinded to the reality just about every other climate scientist on the planet (apart from Pat Michaels and Roy Spencer) accepts… but I think it unlikely he will ever be stripped of his PhD.

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      • jpgreenword says:

        My apologies!

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      • Rick Altman says:

        No worries. I just don’t want people thinking I have anything against Dr Lindzen personally! I am attacking his dodgy presentation; not him. 🙂

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  4. Drew says:

    Good on you Rick. I just read some of the exchange with Peter Freeman on the tail of your “About” page. You have the patience of a saint! Its a pity that clowns like him take up so much of your, and other advocates’ valuable time. Keep up the good work!

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    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks Drew. Yes, that exchange with Peter Freeman was rather epic. John Kozowski has wasted a lot of my time as well; I think there is at least one post specifically addressed to him; and how could I fail to mention John/Douglas Swallow (whose ability to repeat himself and not follow instructions is becoming legendary)…

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  5. Karen says:

    It looks like you are the one stretching the truth there Rick, are you a Altmaney for the UN ?

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    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks for the ‘Hit and Run’, would you care to do a handbrake turn, come back, and tell me where exactly I am wrong about this? What has any of this got to do with the UN (unless of course you are a conspiracy theorist)?

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      • Lionel A says:

        KarenMackSpotBot is a conspiracy theorist and general ignoramus as we know from his sad efforts here: Deltoid Sorry for pointing this entity in your direction. Whilst you are over there Rick have a look over the ‘Tim Curtin’s incompetence…’ thread.

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      • Rick Altman says:

        From where did you refer this gender-bender (in name only)?

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    • jpgreenword says:

      I got into a debate with some on a different blog and they brought up the UN as well. I’ll never understand why people think that the UN is so “evil” (especially when it comes to climate change) and wanting to take over the world. It is made up of over one hundred nations. Probably the most powerful and influential of which is the US – not exactly a great supporter of the fight against climate change. And all those IPCC reports have to be approved by all the nations involved. It’s not as if they are some independent, all-powerful body. By the way, was the use of the word “Altmaney” with a capitol “L” a play on words… “Altmaney”… Rick Altman?

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  6. Lionel A says:

    It would appear that the ‘Complicit’ conclusion would be the correct one. Was not this High Tory at that Monckton inspired Lindzen misdirection farrago earlier this year. Although the ‘Complicit’ conclusion could be very eleemosynary of me given the consequences of any further delay given that the Arctic is now responding to the forcing applied by human activity about thirty years ago which is about as much time as the ‘one time scientists now advocates for fossil fuel interests’ have lost us by their gerrymandering. PS Lionel A here – WordPress has been playing silly bu***rs with me.

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  7. Pingback: Lindzengate – one year on | Anthropocene Reality

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