An MIT professor of meteorology is dismissing global-warming alarmists as a discredited “cult” whose members are becoming more hysterical as emerging evidence continues to contradict their beliefs.
During an appearance on this writer’s radio show Monday, MIT Professor emeritus Richard Lindzen discussed the religious nature of the movement.
“As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical. I think that’s what’s happening here. Think about it,” he said. “You’ve led an unpleasant life, you haven’t led a very virtuous life, but now you’re told, you get absolution if you watch your carbon footprint. It’s salvation!”
Lindzen, 74, has issued calm dismissals of warmist apocalypse, reducing his critics to sputtering rage.
Last week, government agencies including NASA announced that 2014 was the “hottest year” in “recorded history,” as The New York Times put it in an early edition. Last year has since been demoted by the Times to the hottest “since record-keeping began in 1880.”
But that may not be true. Now the same agencies have acknowledged that there’s only a 38 percent chance that 2014 was the hottest year on record. And even if it was, it was only by two-100ths of a degree.
Lindzen scoffs at the public-sector-generated hysteria, which included one warmist blogger breathlessly writing that the heat record had been “shattered.”
“Seventy percent of the earth is oceans, we can’t measure those temperatures very well. They can be off a half a degree, a quarter of a degree. Even two-10ths of a degree of change would be tiny but two-100ths is ludicrous. Anyone who starts crowing about those numbers shows that they’re putting spin on nothing.”
Last week, after scoffing at Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ call for a Senate vote on global warming, Lindzen was subjected to another barrage of diatribes. At his listed MIT phone number, Prof. Lindzen received a typical anonymous call:
“I think people like you should actually be in jail,” the male caller told him, “because you must know where this is all leading now… the people you support and take your money from to make these outrageously anti-human comments (also ‘know’)… In other words, you’re a sociopath!”
Lindzen chuckled when the voicemail was replayed.
This writer asked him if, as has been alleged in some of the warmist blogs, he is taking money from the energy industry.
“Oh, it would be great!” he said with a laugh. “You have all these people, the Gores and so on, making hundreds of millions of dollars on this, Exxon Mobil giving $100 million to Stanford for people who are working on promoting this hysteria. The notion that the fossil-fuel industry cares – they don’t. As long as they can pass the costs on to you, it’s a new profit center.”
Lindzen said he was fortunate to have gained tenure just as the “climate change” movement was beginning, because now non-believers are often ostracized in academia. In his career he has watched the hysteria of the 1970’s over “global cooling” morph into “global warming.”
“They use climate to push an agenda. But what do you have left when global warming falls apart? Global normalcy? We have to do something about ‘normalcy?’”
As for CO2, Lindzen said that until recently, periods of greater warmth were referred to as “climate optimum.” Optimum is derived from a Latin word meaning “best.”
“Nobody ever questioned that those were the good periods. All of a sudden you were able to inculcate people with the notion that you have to be afraid of warmth.”
The warmists’ ultimate solution is to reduce the standard of living for most of mankind. That proposition is being resisted most vigorously by nations with developing economies such as China and India, both of which have refused to sign on to any restrictive, Obama-backed climate treaties. Lindzen understands their reluctance.
“Anything you do to impoverish people, and certainly all the planned policies will impoverish people, is actually costing lives. But the environmental movement has never cared about that.”