Friday, November 29, 2002

Hard Choices, No. 1 -- Supplemental:

Debate on Climate Change

(twelve years ago . . . )

kairos focus web:

A good place to begin to look at how the Global Warming debate began, the key isues, and what is the state of play is the Cato Institute paper by Dr Richard Lindzen, the introduction to which follows:

The Cato Review of Business & Government


Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus

Richard S. Lindzen

Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Most of the literate world today regards "global warming'' as both real and dangerous. Indeed, the diplomatic activity concerning warming might lead one to believe that it is the major crisis confronting mankind. The June 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, focused on international agreements to deal with that threat, and the heads of state from dozens of countries attended. I must state at the outset, that, as a scientist, I can find no substantive basis for the warming scenarios being popularly described. Moreover, according to many studies I have read by economists, agronomists, and hydrologists, there would be little difficulty adapting to such warming if it were to occur. Such was also the conclusion of the recent National Research Council's report on adapting to global change. Many aspects of the catastrophic scenario have already been largely discounted by the scientific community. For example, fears of massive sea-level increases accompanied many of the early discussions of global warming, but those estimates have been steadily reduced by orders of magnitude, and now it is widely agreed that even the potential contribution of warming to sea-level rise would be swamped by other more important factors.

To show why I assert that there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons, I shall briefly review the science associated with those predictions. MORE

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