It looks like Australia is just about to elect the most anti-science government outside of North America: ‘Tony Abbott to win Australian election, final polls show’ (i.e. on UK’s Telegraph website). To mark this latest ‘victory’ for those duped by conspiracy theory explanations for climate science in particular (and the stupidity of libertarian ideological blindness in general), I have decided to reproduce below my response to my most recent reality-challenged follower, called ‘freedomfan’, who has suggested that Richard Lindzen’s beliefs are a good reason to think humanity is not sleepwalking into an environmental catastrophe.
Richard Lindzen may be a meteorologist but he is not well-respected. He shredded his scientific credibility a long time ago as a result of being willing to appear as an expert witness for tobacco companies trying to dispute the reality of inconvenient science. Sadly, he learnt nothing from doing this and has repeated his mistake with the fossil fuel industry. For someone who is gambling the future habitability on low climate sensitivity (when every time the issue is revisited the consensus view is that Lindzen is wrong), you seem remarkably confident in your own wishful thinking. This seems even more ill-judged when you consider that the International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency and the US Department of Defense all agree that anthropogenic climate disruption is happening; and that it is significant, bad, and worth preventing. Are they all in on the conspiracy to perpetuate scientific research funding; and/or justify higher taxes and authoritarian government? Quite frankly, it is more likely that the Moon Landings were faked (e.g. that flag was blowing in a breeze after all, right?). If there is no positive feedback mechanism (and/or massive inertia in the climate system), why have the glaciers, ice caps, ice shelves and sea ice all continued to melt? If there is no positive feedback mechanism, why is the Keeling Curve a curve (rather than a straight line)? Positive feedback mechanisms are everywhere in Nature (very few things are linear); because Nature is biological – and we are part of it. Here are 10 positive feedback mechanisms, which Guy McPherson has identified, that all need to be “disappeared” before your ambivalence towards the veracity of climate science becomes anywhere near being anything other than ideological blindness: – Methane hydrates are bubbling out the Arctic Ocean. – Warm Atlantic water is defrosting the Arctic Ocean. – Siberian methane vents are increasing in size. – Amazonian drought/fires released more CO2 than USA in 2010. – Peat decomposition in boreal forests is accelerating. – Methane is now being released from seabed in the Antarctic. – Wildfires are increasing in frequency and scale. – Increased CO2 is accelerating glacier disintegration. – Exposure to sunlight is accelerating the thawing of the permafrost. – Arctic drilling is being fast-tracked by Western governments. For links to data sources, see: What on Earth are we doing (19 February 2013).
Anyone in any doubt about Lindzen, should read the large number of posts on this blog in the ‘Lindzengate’ category. However, anyone in a hurry should start with: Lindzen is either negligent, incompetent, or deceitful (6 July 2012).