NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

CLIMATE OF FEAR

April 14, 2006

Ambiguous scientific statements about the impending climate catastrophe are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, says Richard Lindzen, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After all, he explains, who puts money into science -- whether for AIDS, space exploration, or for climate -- when there is nothing really alarming?

Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the growth of federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy, says Lindzen:

  • Those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them; they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.
  • Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse.
  • There are peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom; at Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interests.

Alarm, rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding, says Lindzen. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.

Source: Richard Lindzen, "Climate of Fear," Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2006.

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