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Richard Lindzen vs Aljazeera gladiators

Some time ago, mostly Arabic-language-based politically correct TV station Aljazeera bought Current TV, a failed U.S. TV station, from former vice-president Al Gore and his partner for hundreds of millions of dollars.

They apparently got more interested in the climate and decided to debate Prof Richard Lindzen of MIT, a famous climate skeptic, in "Head to Head" which is described as "Al Jazeera's new forum of ideas - a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, the economic crisis, democracy and intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union."

The video is 48 minutes long. Will you watch it?

The web page with some words and the video above is here:

Climate change: Fact or fiction?
My understanding is that Dick was hired as a bull while the brainwashed journalists indefinitely repeating the clichés about man-made climate change are supposed to be the gladiators.

At the beginning, Dick registers himself both as a skeptic and a denier, depending on what you mean. He says - and I also agree – that it's plausible that the CO2 emissions caused more than 50 percent of the warming in the last 50 or 90 years or whatever but what is the main mistake in the reasoning is that such an innocent assumption implies that there's a need to act, that there's an existential threat.

A hysterical white man asks about the catastrophe caused by the fact that we won't stop at doubling but we will continue indefinitely. Richard didn't really answer – or didn't get the opportunity to answer. It was a bit confusing. That's nice to be hysterical but even if we do, the temperatures will increase (counting the increase due to CO2) only linearly even if we expand the consumption of fossil fuels exponentially. That's due to the approximately logarithmic dependence. We obviously run out of the exponential trend at some point.

I had to turn the video off for five minutes because the dark-skinned jerk, the gladiator called Mehdi Hasan, just drove me up the wall with the constant insults against Richard who is "fringe" etc. I just hate this lynching, Nazi approach to finding the truth and I hate the people who are doing that. Yes, I want them to die. They're scum.

Just after 12 minutes when I started to think that Dick is amazingly brave to come to this den of aggressive morons, it became pretty clear that the audience in Oxford overwhelmingly supports Dick. A viewer started to talk about the perfect consensus that used to be imposed by the Inquisition and was rewarded by a loud applause. ;-)

After Mark Lynas' monologue, I had to suspend the video for extra five minutes to avoid vomiting. For him, the consensus is not just 97% as we sometimes hear but 99% and we have to stop "the experiment with the Earth". Dear green imbecile, the big experiment on the Earth has been running for 4.7 billion years and it will be running for extra 7.5 billion years when the Sun goes red giant. If you don't like it, please kindly f*ck off this blue, not green planet where you have absolutely no moral right to pollute the intellectual atmosphere.

Lots of debates about the funding by the Big Oil. Dick says that BP, Shell, and others mostly support the climate alarm. It's OK what he says and he's a preeminent scientist whom I like and admire but I would still admit that there are (a bit younger) folks, like Morano, who would be able to use the same time to overwhelm the audience with hundreds of relevant (and accurate) numbers and facts. Surprisingly, they (including Lynas) sort of agree and admit that fossil fuels are needed, the alarmists get more money, and the dirty-funding accusations are ludicrous.

The host behaves as if he were surprised that Dick doesn't like the environmental movement much. ;-) If he's really surprised, then it shows that he must have been living outside the real world so far. Lynas also talks about some of his disputes with the movement – he is pro-nuclear. Richard says that no one is going to change anything that matters. "Save the Planet" is an extreme slogan.

The host is offended that Richard is relaxed instead of hysterical – every good person should be hysterical which is also why the host's near countrymates demolished some skyscrapers in New York 12 years ago. He shoots idiotic proclamations about the costs-and-benefits by William Nordhaus, some hostility from opportunist Kerry Emanuel's mouth, and so on. I had to suspend the video to write this paragraph and drank 0.01 liters of domestic rum ;-) which allowed me to save 5 minutes from the otherwise required good-mood pause.

Relaxed Richard says that if there's no doable solution that matters, it makes no sense to make symbolic acts. People should be free to get stronger, smarter, and reach whatever conclusions they're led to. Applause. David Rose of Mail on Sunday, pretending to be mostly skeptic, says that he surely wants emissions to go down – they need to – and it's being claimed that everyone in the debate agrees. Well, I surely think that Richard doesn't and I don't. So Richard repeats some things about the futile symbols that clearly imply that he disagrees. Myles Allen says some of the same junk as David Rose – that we ultimately need to decarbonize the economy. He only differs from other brainwashed alarmists in the technicalities. Richard is smiling.

Richard answers a woman's question – oil industry has (financial and survival) interests like everyone else. What a surprise. Someone asks whether the alarmist case relies on computer models. Richard effectively says that the estimates of the sensitivity do. Discussions on whether the non-specialists in the IPCC voted on the key IPCC statements. A dark-skinned woman asks what causes the hotter summers etc. if not her SUV and whether she should really buy a bigger SUV and pretend she can do it, LOL. ;-) Dick says that the assumptions are wrong, the summers aren't hotter. Richard explains that in a quasi-continuous function, it's pretty much guaranteed that most of the recent years have to be among the top ten etc. if there were a warming trend. Not shocking.

He didn't have the time to tell the woman that she has the freedom to buy a bigger car. Too bad that she will remain oppressed. Richard explains that the year-to-year variability of the local temperature vastly exceeds the annual increase of the global mean temperature that no one can feel. Allen screamed at Dick that he had to agree about the warmer summers but Dick didn't and I wouldn't, either.

A confused male visitor hysterically asks about the "sum" of the climate sensitivity, biological sensitivity, penal sensitivity, pylon alergy and several other sensitivities. LOL. Not even your humble correspondent knows how to add these apples, oranges, and comets up. I didn't find Dick's answer optimal but he's right when he said that the humans have shown a bigger capacity to create social instabilities etc. than the environmental ones.

Someone asked whether the IPCC's message to policymaker is pure junk or it contains something usable. Dick was sad that he couldn't give a specific answer. ;-) Richard says that scientists say innocent things, environmental activists translate them to scary stories, politicians get alarmed and pay the scientists, and so on, with some exponential growth. A younger woman who registered as an alarmist asked about the link between CO2 and the death of her relative. ;-) For Richard, it's specious to attribute deaths caused by weather phenomena – which have occurred for millions of years – to the man-made activities. A hysterically alarmed Asian man asks about a hypothetical catastrophe for the poor nations again. XY people will die. What is Dick's conscience and threshold for action? It depends on the action. If it is symbolic, we will never reach Richard's threshold.

It's surely funny when these intellectual dwarfs are trying to beat Richard in something he knows so well – they say that Richard is "being challenged" – but they should still be praised relatively to Al Gore from whom they bought a TV station because he wouldn't dare to debate Richard at all.

Hat tip: Mr Jan V.

BTW Alena Vitásková, the chief of the Czech State Energy Regulation Bureau, had to be given a special police protection yesterday. It's a result of an April 2013 assassination attempt when another car was trying to push her out of the superhighway. The State Security Council met to discuss the incident immediately in April but 3 months passed before an answer was given. The primary suspects are people doing business with photovoltaic energy and those with biofuel. She was investigating their efforts to get extra subsidies earlier and other things. These renewable gangsters should be treated like Taliban.

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reader hro001 said...

Lubos, I've just taken a much needed pause from watching this on my iPad ... and I totally agree with your criticisms of AJ's Hassan. He's an arrogant, ignorant - and very rude - little parrot who knows so little that he has to keep referring to his notes for his "arguments" and "talking points".

My hat's off to Richard Lindzen for tolerating Hassan - and for getting his points across in spite of Hassan's "look at me, folks. aren't I wonderful" disrespectful and predictable attempts to monopolize the conversation.

As he always does, Lindzen gets heard because he speaks quietly, calmly and convincingly.

In this instance, I was reminded of a very effective lesson I learned long ago as a "student teacher": When faced with a noisy class, do not attempt to
outshout the students; simply lower your voice, and they will quiet down and pay attention;-)

reader Honza said...

Lubosi, I think that the statement "...temperatures will increase (counting the increase due to CO2) only linearly even if we expand the consumption of fossil fuels exponentially. " is incorrect. Obviously there is only a certain amount of energy entering the system and consequently the amount of energy possibly absorbed by CO2 has an upper limit. And we are almost there anyway. On the top of it, you cannot increase concentration of CO2 exponentially for very long. You can double only ~11 times from the current concentration until you have entirely CO2 atmosphere, and that causes way different problems than the temperature increase. Yet, at 2 oC per doubling, it would be only 22 oC of temperature increase.;-)

My point is that saying that temperature increases linearly makes impression that it can get arbitrarily high, which is not really the case.

reader Luboš Motl said...

No, Honzo, if you think that the rise of T stops completely at a concentration of CO2 (smaller than 100 percent), then you're wrong. It just doesn't work like that. New wavelengths are becoming relevant as the (any) greenhouse gas rises.

Also, if you're talking about the academic issues, then it's not quite true that you have to stop at 100%. The magnitude of the greenhouse gas is clearly governed by the absolute, not relative, amount of CO2 so you may continue doubling CO2 even after you reach 100%.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Thanks for your kind words. And Dick is amazingly relaxed. ;-) This is contributed - I hope - by his getting a fee for undergoing this experience.

Your recommendation how to deal with loud students surely sounds counterintuitive! ;-)

reader Honza said...

I do not quite agree with that. If you have some amount of incoming energy (W0) no matter how distributed by wavelengths, you can absorb only some portion of that energy W<W0, or possibly all of it, but never more than that. Even as the concentration of your CO2 approaches infinity, you still will not absorb more that what is incoming.

In your link you have the logarithmic formula which works, as you say, up to 1000 ppm, but above that it has to come to something like W=W0(1-exp(-c[CO2])) (Lambert Beer law)

Also, I maintain that CO2 concentration itself would become problem much earlier than the temperature increase.

reader Honza said...

I do not quite agree with that. If you have some amount of incoming energy (W0) no matter how distributed by wavelengths, you can absorb only some portion of that energy W<W0, or at best all of it. As you state in the linked article, the logarithmic aproximation works up to about 1000 ppm. But overall it has to follow Lambert Bare law and the absorbed enerby has to be something like
W=W0.(1-exp(-c.[CO2])) And this does not depend on the wavelength distribution of the incoming energy.You can raise the concentration of CO2 to infinity, it still will not absorb more energy than what is incoming.

Separate from that, I hope that you agree that concentration of CO2 as such would present a problem much sooner that its effect on temperature.

reader Honza said...

I do not quite agree with that. If you have some amount of incoming energy (W0) no matter how distributed by wavelengths, you can absorb only some portion of that energy W<w0, or at best all of it. As you state in the linked article, the logarithmic aproximation works up to about 1000 ppm. But overall it has to follow Lambert Bare law and the absorbed enerby has to be something like

W = W0(1-exp(-c[CO2])) And this doe not epend on the vwelength distribution of the incoming energy.You can rase the conrrcentration of CO2 to infinity, it still will not absorb more energy than what is coming.

Separate from that, I hope that you agree that concentration of CO2 as such would present a problem much sooner that its efect on temperature.

reader Shannon said...

Renewable energy is promising for the mafia in Europe.

reader Casper said...

Although generally an admirer of Dr. Lindzen I could not help thinking that this was not one of his best performances. Perhaps he is getting a bit old for the job.

Nevertheless it is certainly a bizarre experience to watch the climate believers pump out their hysterical nonsense. I don't know whats worse: listening to bible thumping religious fundamentalists or fully paid up climate believers. One almost expects to hear the 'Praise Jesus' replies coming from the audience at the appropriate doom-mongering moments.

reader Peter F. said...

Am reluctant to watch this video that will remind me of that we share this world with stupid scum because of the risk of suffering a stroke or dying from overdosing on rum. Or maybe I could watch, and recover to feel fine now, after half a bottle of wine?! %-}

reader NikFromNYC said...

What they never talk about is the clear fact that scientific fraud forms the basis of the hockey stick team's central enabling support of IPCC claims, now including Steig's smearing of the Peninsula hotspot over the whole Antarctic continent, Mann's cheer leading of Marcott's hockey stick that had no such input data, and Cook's crazy version of the 97% consensus claim that is also a textbook example of lying with statistics. Without strong examples of such obvious fraud being raised in such debates, alarmists successfully assume the role of saints, and frankly now that Republicans are on board, great inertia has suddenly been added to ever getting the next demographic or two to spot the deception.

The geeks who form much of Internet culture have just finally had their white guilt soft Marxist spell broken by the NSA scandal, so they are primed to listen to reason, if only skeptics would stop letting arcane statistical arguments control the debate, concealing that there is brazen fraud at the center of the alarmist position. The public is figuring this out much more forcefully than academics but so far it's only conservatives whose religious activism causes hives in liberals.

Your own early frontline efforts to counter cultists about were amusing due to how you successfully brought out their very worst nature, in public.

reader Jason said...

I wish I could find a single article on this blog that doesn't contain nasty insults like calling people stupid , Scums , cranks etc . It seems that you can't resist insulting people .

reader Bart said...

Honza has the usual confusion between energy and power, or temporal flux of energy. There is a certain amount of energy per unit of time entering the system. The only limit to how much energy can accumulate is how much of a temperature increase is needed to produce enough outbound radiated energy flux to balance the incoming.

The thing that kills the entire AGW panic is something most have not yet apprehended: atmospheric concentration of CO2 is not dependent on human inputs. Atmospheric concentration of CO2 is determined by the natural equilibrium level established by oceanic outgassing and temperatures. The relationship is almost trivially evident in the data. It accounts for both the short term variation as well as the long term trend. Since human inputs also have a trend, there is no room for any significant additional contribution by them. All inputs are rapidly sequestered, but natural inputs are large enough to overwhelm them, and dominate. When you integrate the temperature relationship, you get the atmospheric concentration to a very high level of fidelity, as you must because of the uniqueness of the solutions of differential equations.

reader Tom Trevor said...

He never was too good at debates, but if by "the job" you mean as a scientist, I am sure he up to the job.

reader John in L du B said...

Ok Lubos, this thing about Ms. Vitaskova is just weird. Last week I told my wife that green organizations are now so corrupt that they rival the mafia and it is only a matter of time before they will also become murderous like the mafia in order to protect their corruption.
I don't take any satisfaction in being prophetic. I just think it's sad, pathetic and scary for us all.

reader Bernd Felsche said...

Nothing seems to upset an alarmist more than not becoming alarmed.

reader Brian H said...

By 14 minutes I anticipated the rest; RL being harrassed by dwarves, cut off whenever possible. Enough.

I actually support Jinan Cao: GHGs are (by definition) the parts of the atmosphere capable of radiating. Absent them, almost no heat would escape the atmosphere, except perhaps by thermal blowing away of mass. Ergo, they are cooling agents, and thru simple feedback loops keep temperatures within narrow bounds.

Note that their activity is modulated and dominated by water. And life. The Earth's 20% free oxygen in the air would not be there, or even traces, without aggressive stripping of C from CO2 by plants. So there must have been, both anciently and recently, lots of CO2.

I guess man's role and duty is to undo the suicidal geological sequestration of CO2 by plankton and plants and keep the game and cycles going for a while longer. Burn, baby, burn!

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