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« Review of ‘What counts as good evidence for policy?’ | Main | Lindzen at the Oxford Union »

Lindzen at the Oxford Union - Cartoon Notes by Josh


Click the image for a larger version

The evening started well as I sat next to a charming intern at People & Planet, a student campainging group. A Chemistry graduate, she was exceptionally well informed on the Climate debate and had a whole sheaf of notes and papers, one being Richard Lindzen's paper "Does the Earth Have an Adaptive Infrared Iris?", thus the first cartoon. That there are young people who have a great knowledge of science and a passion for the poor bodes well for the future. (*Update: you can read her account of the evening here)

As others have already noted, Richard Lindzen was a calming breeze throughout the evening in comparison to David Rose's hurricane tour de force. I hope the final TV edit captures just how good they both were. And the official 'other side' of the debate, in Myles Allen and Mark Lynas, was almost absent. Both Myles and Mark seemed to agree more with Richard rather than with the presenter Mehdi. The real 'other side' passion in the room came from campaigners and activists.

My conclusion is this. It is all over for Climate Alarmism - the fat lady is singing into a half empty not half full half pint of lager and lime in a last chance saloon while she takes a vacation in the Maldives. Climate Science is finally 'fessing up to the fact that climate change is not alarming, that current climate policy is futile. So forget the symbolic Wind Farms and Carbon Footprints, let's focus on protecting the poor and innovation.

Cartoons by Josh

*Updated to include a link to Tara's Eco Science Blog & correct spelling H/t Matt


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Reader Comments (87)

Has anyone read her blog post on fracking? Clearly the work of someone who has swallowed the propaganda unthinkingly. And, face the fact, she thinks that sceptics are engaged in conspiracy thinking, so she has even swallowed the Lewandowsky bullshit as well.

Mar 9, 2013 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

'Michael Mann was once young.'

Well, Mann for one, has never grown up and by now likely doesn't see the need to do so at all, seeing as how nonstop juvenile ranting and bullying has worked out so well. I mean, 3 graduate degree courses? I'm also reminded of the very young Kate Alexander who practices censorship at her blog.

Mar 9, 2013 at 10:12 PM | Registered Commentershub

It's push-back time at Hughes-HQ. I have gone beyond being skeptical about "the climate". I am skeptical about "the environment". This is a man-made abstraction that creates links between totally unconnected things like printing or not printing your emails, polar bears, plastic bags, mercury-filled light bulbs, public transport and pretty much anything else.

To a true environmentalist, "the environment" includes everything that is outside his or her head. This environment is a frightening place: totally unstable with tipping points in every direction. Maybe even booby-trapped. Any change is automatically a change for the worse. This starts to describe not a rational assessment of the world but instead a psychological condition.

Mar 9, 2013 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

I think we should do a joint paper on this alarming trend.

This is probably best left to Cook and Lewandowsky. I suggest ...

"The Ideation of Thermo-trichological Correlation Conspiracies."

Mar 9, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

I just posted a comment to Tara’s blog about her misinformation about Dr. Lindzen but do not know if she will approve it, so I am posting it here as well,

Tara, you are confusing papers and dates and stating incorrect information.

Dr. Lindzen's did successfully publish his Iris hypothesis in a peer-reviewed science journal, "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society" in 2001,

Does the Earth Have an Adaptive Infrared Iris?
(Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp. 417-432, March 2001)
- Richard S. Lindzen, Ming-Dah Chou, Arthur Y. Hou

The NYT article you link to cites a comment on this paper but fails to include Dr. Lindzen's rebuttal,

* Comment on "No Evidence for Iris"
(Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 83, Issue 9, pp. 1345–1349, September 2002)
- Richard S. Lindzen, Ming-Dah Chou, Arthur Y. Hou

You are confusing this with a later paper the NYT's article also discusses, which again was published in a peer-reviewed science journal, "Geophysical Research Letters" in 2009,

On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data
(Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 36, Number 16, August 2009)
- Richard S. Lindzen, Yong-Sang Choi

This is the recent paper the NYT's article is discussing that was criticized to which Dr. Lindzen addressed all such criticisms and again published an updated version of the paper in a peer-reviewed science journal, "Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences" in 2011,

On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications
(Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, Volume 47, Number 4, pp. 377-390, August 2011)
- Richard S. Lindzen, Yong-Sang Choi

Thompson Reuters (ISI) Science Citation Index lists the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences as a peer-reviewed science journal.

Before being so sarcastic in the future please get your facts straight.

Mar 10, 2013 at 1:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterPoptech

Brilliant Josh


Mar 10, 2013 at 3:10 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Thanks Josh for yet another of your brilliant sketches of a little meeting, which are always the next best thing to being there - particularly for those of us who are locationally-challenged ;-)

Mar 10, 2013 at 7:50 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Great cartoon, and great discussion about the perennial “What happens next ?” question. I’ve done some calculations about where we’ll be in 25 years time, when, according to Pachauri, it’ll still be too soon to know whether no warming means it’s not warming.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I calculate that in 2038 Lindzen and Lawson will be getting on a bit, and Tara will be in the House of Lords or on the Climate Change Committee.
I’d like to calculate the relative wealth of China with its 7%p.a. growth and Europe with its 0-1% growth, but the compound interest is beyond me.

Mar 10, 2013 at 8:05 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

"I’d like to calculate the relative wealth of China with its 7%p.a. growth and Europe with its 0-1% growth, but the compound interest is beyond me".

A simple comparisson Geoff if I may be so bold would be Europe being somewhere at the bottom of Mount Tai and China nearer the top.

Mar 10, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn


"Young men think old men are fools, but old men know young men are fools" - George Chapman, 1605.

Mar 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo


Previously HuhneToTheSlammer?
Great quote, and very true.

Mar 10, 2013 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS


Yes, the same. It worked for Huhne, hope it will for Gummer. Next target Yeo ;-)

Mar 10, 2013 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

Well, I've just spent far more time that could have been spent on a more productive activity than looking for evidence on Tara's blog which would give me some reason to think that Josh's description of his brief encounter of the Tara-kind is a description I can believe in!

I found nothing on this blog which suggests to me that she has "a great knowledge of science" (or anything else for that matter).

Setting aside her "adorning (sic) grandparents" and volunteer affiliation with Friends of the Earth, her July 12, 2010 post suggests to me that her "great knowledge of science" has failed her in the past (and probably continues to do so).

From Tara's post Muir-Russell release post:

Sceptism and its consistent failures!

I have been reading a lot about this un-peer reviewed climate sceptic tom-foolery, and quite frankly, if you are going to a sceptic, hacking into scientists’ emails and making allegations that climate scientists have been with-holding data is not the way to go. Why? Well because you get caught and look like a bleedin’ eejit afterwards.

Climategate is cleared and it becomes apparent that climate sceptics are not seeing their arguments getting heard, so they play dirty.

Climategate, also known as the Climatic Research Unit email controversy began in November 2009 when hackers recovered and subsequently leaked documents from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU). As soon as climate sceptics got their hands on them, allegations were made that climate scientists rejected papers that contained results that ‘disproved man-made climate change’.

If she has learned anything in the years since then, as far as I can tell, it was not evident in her (few and far between) intervening posts.

But, considering the above, as Geoff Chambers noted, in 2038 she may well be sitting in the House of Lords or as a member of the Climate Change Committee.

Sorry, Josh, your sketches are still brilliant ... but Tara's writings strike me as being perfect examples of mediocrity forever!

Mar 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Thanks for the reference to Tara's Eco Science Blog. I found it only interesting as a bit of an eye-opener on how perceptions work. I only saw prejudices dressed up pretending to be something more. She seems to be simultaneously bored and angry, a bit twitchy.

Curious to see if she puts up David Roses comment, I saw him tweeting her asking to do so, seems he feels misrepresented by her.

If she doesn't then I'll add "empty echoey" to twitchy in my impression list. ;)

Mar 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I did some research on young greens like Tara in the UK Youth Climate Coalition, finding out what happened to them after they’d been groomed by WWF and sent to Copenhagen, Rio etc on taxpayers’ money funnelled vie the EU.
Like Josh I fell under their charm. Some were studying stuff like Global Health Science and are likely to become more useful members of society than I’ve ever been. One’s working in Beirut.
None of them commented, but I got 500 hits via Facebook, so someone was taking notice.
It’s not enough to think about long term effects of climate change. We should also be thinking about what happens to a society when the best of the younger generation get syphoned off into campaigning for some completely illusory cause.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Tara, it appears has no interest in being honest and has neither posted my comment nor made the correction regarding her misinformation regarding Dr. Lindzen.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPoptech

There's now another space to discuss Tara, ageism and a climate of kindness, where we might be able to go deeper on some very important issues and let this thread return to Richard Lindzen, whose surprise lunch with Jerry Ravetz yesterday is also I think well worth noting.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I also put a short comment on Tara's blog yesterday afternoon, saying "In fact Lindzen's iris hypothesis paper was published, in 2001. See your own link!" - it is still in moderation. I thought it was particularly interesting that she wrote that the paper was "never successfully published", but provided two links, both of which showed that the paper had been published.

Another great set of cartoons, thanks Josh. I think it's a bit hasty though to say it's all over for climate alarmism - there's a long way to go yet. Although there is a bit of a climate climbdown from some of the scientists, it will take a long time for this to get through to our ignorant and misled politicians.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Sorry, After reading Tara's post, I don't agree that she knows any science at all. Science is a method, not a list of purported facts. Her method is ageism, sexism, ad homenim, etc.

Mar 10, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterrwnj

Young Tara needs to brush up on her grammar:

... but I may of played a vital role ...

It's a pity - she looks like a nice enough Irish lass. I imagine that she has been 'educated' in both Ireland and England. When secondary and tertiary education standards are so obviously lacking, it's not at all surprising that some of the young and impressionable would be susceptible to CAGW propaganda.

Mar 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

What Tara has in common with the HJ member is that they are both mere foot-soldiers. Cannon Fodder. Though we may regret their naivete, our battle is not with them. We have to concentrate on the adults, the high command. The scientists who cheat and manipulate to advocate their view. Those who claim certainty where none exists. Tara, and BB for that matter, are not important.

Mar 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Oops. My last was meant for Richard Drake's discussion about Tara, not here.

Mar 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

"When I was twenty I thought my Father knew nothing, when I reached thirty I was amazed at how much he had learned in ten years."

Mar 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Giver he a break. She's probably had more posts in the last 24hrs than she's had in total before.Hopefully all reasonably polite. She possibly won't even check for a few days particularly if it is half term.

Then how does she answer us? It will come as a suprise that there are real people who disagree with her. The warmist side has a tendency to think we're computer generated comment bots. Complex comments can't be answered with stock answers. Even if she never replies, be happy you've given her something to dwell upon.

I agree with Josh, she expected a sceptic rout and didn't get one. Depressing. It's too soon for her to have actually listened to the arguments fairly. Maybe next time? Personally I'd love to see a debate between some of the uknowns on both sides. Perhaps then people like Tara could see that we're real people with genuine concerns.

Mar 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

... could see that we're real people with genuine concerns

And that the side the enviros have supported all these years, is completely and absolutely wrong, ... on everything.

Mar 10, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Registered Commentershub

Having looked at her blog I see the activist mentality hasn't changed since I was at uni.

Mar 10, 2013 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

And that the side the enviros have supported all these years, is completely and absolutely wrong, ... on everything.
Mar 10, 2013 at 6:17 PM |shub

I think would take at least two debates maybe three. LOL. Four if we include the benefits of capitalism.

Mar 10, 2013 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

oooh -look who is leading all these nice young folk astray at People and Planet

George Monbiot

(Tara is activism and events intern - at People and PLanet
what a small green social network the inhabit)

Mar 10, 2013 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

People might want to check out that Tara has got round to moderating her blog and put up all the pending comments by the looks of it.

Mar 11, 2013 at 7:59 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Tara's first comment - "Thank you Steve for that really great explanation. I had no idea his theory began with his published papers on ‘cumulus drying’. You could definitely write a very interesting book on this."

Tara - if you drop by, who is Steve Bloom and why do you think he could write an interesting book on Lindzen's career? What evidence do you have that there is any substance to his comment? Can his views be cross referenced and checked?

Mar 11, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

it was the weekend, and young people generally have better things to do than moderate their blogs, frequently.. last time I had to moderat my blog, I'd forgotten my admin password, and had to recover it.

Mar 11, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

shub: "Tara is young. She has lots of time to figure out this stuff."

The young have a particular advantage that is rarely wasted - the vast majority do grow up.

Which is of course why some extreme factions want to do them the disservice of giving them the vote at a very early age, while they still know everything.

Mar 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRibbit

Marginally 'off-topic' - but firmly on the 'who's ACTUALLY involved with Big Oil..?' meme - has everyone seen the hilarious photo of Greenpeace's 'Rainbow Warrior' being refuelled by - er - a BP tanker..?
(I saw it somewhere on Wattsupwiththat...)
I always thought it must run on fairy breath and sunbeams...!

Mar 11, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

David, nice find. Here is the pic

Mar 11, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

Yes, amusing find, from a Kiwi blog that's been going ten years that I've never seen before. What a thing the blogosphere proves itself to be, every day. But I want to take issue with the idea that this is even marginally off-topic. The Big Oil bogeyman was again in full view at the Oxford debate celebrated by Josh's cartoon, from everything I've read. Green hypocrisy in this area has never been more on topic.

Mar 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I had the misfortune to look at this Tara person's blog and quickly clicked it shut when I saw the 97% of all scientists nonsense being spouted. We shouldn't give this child any more exposure as she clearly wouldn't know the scientific method if it fell on her.

Mar 13, 2013 at 1:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

For future reference as a rebuttal to the aegism argument,

With age really DOES come wisdom: Scientists prove older people are less impulsive (The Daily Mail, June 25, 2010)

"The elderly brain is less dopamine- dependent, making people less impulsive and controlled by emotion. [...] Brain scans had identified four brain regions that contribute to wisdom. The elderly have more activity in these regions than the young, which results in their wiser judgments."

Reasoning about social conflicts improves into old age
(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 107, Issue 16, pp. 7246-7250, April 2010)
- Igor Grossmann et al.

"We show that relative to young and middle-aged people, older people make more use of higher-order reasoning schemes that emphasize the need for multiple perspectives, allow for compromise, and recognize the limits of knowledge."

Mar 15, 2013 at 2:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPoptech

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