Top MIT Expert Calls Kyoto Agreement 'Absurd'

Dr. Richard Lindzen is critical of forecoming IPCC report calling it a children's exercise.

Published: 06-Mar-2001

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 6, 2001--The Kyoto Treaty on climate change "is absurd," says Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, one of the world's foremost atmospheric scientists.

In an interview posted today, Dr. Lindzen also tells TechCentralStation host James Glassman that the latest summary of the upcoming United Nation's climate change report that he helped author, "was very much a children's exercise of what might possibly happen" prepared by a "peculiar group" with "no technical competence."

"I think the Kyoto Treaty is absurd," Lindzen comments. "We've already signed on to the framework convention in 1990 saying that we'll always want the Kyoto-type process going on. So one has to think through a variety of decisions and get out of this loop."

In the interview, Lindzen says that there is very little consensus on global warming in the scientific community, a fact reflected in the U.N. report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "The very structure of the (IPCC) report acknowledges that there are hundreds of different specialties that now call themselves climate, which didn't 10 years ago. And they all want a piece of the action. That itself is a problem." Finally, he says that "almost all" of those in the "peculiar group" who prepared the latest summary of the report's findings - which predicted dire global warming effects around the world - "have no technical competence."

Linzden also discusses a new study out this month that he conducted with NASA scientists, which shows that clouds over the tropics "act as an effective thermostat." Said Lindzen, "We estimate on a global basis that this will take models that are predicting between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees warming due to doubling carbon dioxide and cut it back to about a half to one (degrees Centigrade)."

"Our personal feeling," Lindzen says, "is that you're not going to see due to man's activities...much more than a degree and probably a lot less by 2100." Dr. Lindzen is a consultant to the Global Modeling and Simulation Group at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The interview was conducted by James K. Glassman, host of TechCentralStation, a website that covers the intersection between technology, investing and public policy. To read the rest of the interview, log on to

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