Richard Lindzen’s conversation with Jordan Peterson

Richard Lindzen, a retired atmospheric physicist. Per Wikipedia, “He is the author of more than 200 scientific papers. From 1972 to 1982, he served as the Gordon McKay Professor of Dynamic Meteorology at Harvard University. In 1983, he was appointed as the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at he Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he would remain until his retirement in 2013.

In this conversation, he explains why the climate alarmist narrative is wrong.

Richard Lindzen’s Conversation with Jordan Peterson

January, 2023

What is the climate alarmist narrative?

  1. Climate change is significant.
  2. The main driver is the greenhouse effect.
  3. the greenhouse effect is mainly determined by an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, which causes heat from the sun to be trapped rather than re-radiated back to space.
  4. Most of the rise in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is caused by man. [wrong]
  5. The increase in CO2 causes global warming.
  6. The feedback loops in the atmospheric system are positive, i.e., reinforcing.

What’s wrong with the alarmist narrative?

  • Even a 1.5⁰C projected increase depends on positive feedbacks which are not occurring. Infrared feedback has not been shown to be positive. Climate models, the basis for alarmism,  assume big positive feedback loops. It bears repeating that they are not occurring in nature
  • The effect of CO2 is less than the margin of error for the measurement of the effect of water vapor. We are spending trillions on trying to reduce something whose effect is less than the margin of error in the measurement of the effect of water vapor which is by far the most potent greenhouse gas.
  • The alarmist narrative depends assumes that the effect of greenhouse gas emissions is amplified at the poles. This is not correct. Scientists don’t see an amplification of the greenhouse effect at high latitudes.
  • All a 1.5⁰ C change in temperature at the equator would do would be to increase the temperature everywhere by 1.5⁰ C everywhere. Most people would not notice the change.
  • The whole picture of the greenhouse effect is misconceived. Even if there were amplification at higher latitudes, it would not be due to the greenhouse effect. Instead, it would be due to processes in the extra tropics, ,i.e., processes north and south of 30⁰ latitude.
  • “Tipping points” in a climate system are virtually unheard of because the climate system has virtually infinite degrees of freedom, i.e., ways it can react. Runaway effects only occur in systems with few degrees of freedom.
  • The effect of CO2 on surface temperature is about 2-3 watts per meter squared (W/m²). By contrast, orbital variations create a change in solar radiation in summer in the arctic of 100W/m².
  • The claim that “97% of scientists agree that man is causing climate change” has been shown to be bogus; and, the IPCC report never said climate change is an existential threat.
  • Climate models can’t handle clouds and water vapor; there is no basis for assertions about positive feedbacks.

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Ground rules for comments 

I strongly welcome comments, but  ask you to abide by the principle, “Always respect the person, never respect the idea.”  A thoughtful analysis of why the views  I present are wrong helps all of us get closer to discerning what is true, but civility must rule.



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