10 Mar 2009, 6:44pm
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Dispatch from the International Conference on Climate Change in New York

Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine, March 9, 2009 [here]

March 8, New York—”Global warming alarmism has always been a political movement,” declared Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen during his keynote address at the second International Conference on Climate Change.

Organized by the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free market think tank, the conference has 700 registered participants who are attending the three day meeting in New York. Lindzen and Czech Republic and European Union President Vaclav Klaus were the featured speakers at the conference’s opening dinner. …

Klaus confessed that he was puzzled by the environmentalist ideologues’ approach to technological progress. They oppose the technological progress that free unregulated markets make possible. On the other hand, environmentalists want to mandate what they call clean technologies. “They want to operate technologies that have only one defect,” said Klaus. “They have not been invented.” Klaus added, “There is no known and economically feasible a way for an economy to survive on expensive unreliable clean green energy.”

Klaus called into question the common notion of inter-generational equity—that the current generation should sacrifice now to benefit future generations. Should we have a preference for future generations over poor people today? Klaus ended by observing that environmentalist ideologues say that they want to “save the planet. The question is from what and for whom?”

Lindzen decried what he sees as the intellectual corruption that global warming alarmism has brought to climatology. He noted that many climatologists are happy to issue ambiguous statements that are then spun by activists into alarms. The result is increased funding for climate research, so no one publicly complains about the spinning. Most of the funding for climate research would not be there were it not for the global warming issue. Lindzen added, “Most science funded under the rubric of climate does not actually deal with climate, but rather with the alleged impact of arbitrarily assumed climate change.” …

Lindzen also stated that the global mean temperature has not increased since 1995, even if one includes the anomalous big El Nino year of 1998. He added that this lack of warming is not a dispositive argument against anthropogenic global warming. Nevertheless, the lack of a recent discernible warming trend will have an impact on the public as debates about policies to cut emissions and increase energy prices to mitigate warming go forward. … [more]

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