Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, came to the defense of fellow scientists who don't support man-made global warming and were part of a recent Democratic witch hunt.
Lindzen says in an opinion piece he wrote for The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday that he is among those "who question the popular alarm over allegedly man-made global warming."
Those who don't adopt the mainstream view that an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to the onset of global warming have been "relentlessly attacked" by those "individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios," he wrote.
And "the attacks have taken a threatening turn," he added.
Lindzen explains that "the science itself" shows that since "the last warming episode of 1978-98 ... observations support a much reduced and essentially harmless climate response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide."
And that "there is experimental support for the increased importance of variations in solar radiation on climate and a renewed awareness of the importance of natural unforced climate variability that is largely absent in current climate models," among other factors such as the effect of "cloud processes," which appear to weaken the "impact of carbon dioxide" on the atmosphere, he wrote.
Despite such evidence, those who have promulgated data that doesn't support the mainstream view that "climate change is our greatest problem" have faced vindictive attacks by Democratic lawmakers, Lindzen wrote.
"The latest example began with an article published in The New York Times on Feb. 22 about Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics," he explained.
"Mr. Soon has, for over 25 years, argued for a primary role of solar variability on climate. But as Greenpeace noted in 2011, Mr. Soon was, in small measure, supported by fossil-fuel companies over a period of 10 years," the former MIT professor wrote.
"The Times reintroduced this old material as news, arguing that Mr. Soon had failed to list this support in a recent paper in Science Bulletin of which he was one of four authors."
"Two days later Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, used the Times article as the basis for a hunting expedition into anything said, written and communicated by seven individuals — David Legates, John Christy, Judith Curry, Robert Balling, Roger Pielke Jr., Steven Hayward and me — about testimony we gave to Congress or other governmental bodies," Lindzen wrote in his piece for The Wall Street Journal.
"We were selected solely on the basis of our objections to alarmist claims about the climate."
Grijalva sent letters "to the presidents
of the universities employing us," in which he asked for the universities to disclose "all of our outside funding, and communications about this funding, including 'consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation, and any other monies.'"
According to Lindzen, the Arizona Democrat was attempting to find out if "alleged conflicts of interest or failure to disclose his funding sources in science journals might not also apply to us."
Lindzen says the letters sent a "perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense — and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress."
Letters were also sent to energy companies, industrial organizations, and right-of-center think tanks in an attempt to discover "alleged influence peddling" by Democratic Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Barbara Boxer of California.
Grijalva admitted to the National Journal
that the letters were probably "overreach," Lindzen said after "the American Meteorological Society responded with appropriate indignation at the singling out of scientists for their scientific positions, as did many individual scientists."
"Where all this will lead is still hard to tell," Lindzen concluded.
"At least Mr. Grijalva’s letters should help clarify for many the essentially political nature of the alarms over the climate, and the damage it is doing to science, the environment, and the well-being of the world’s poorest."
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