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Seminar: Global Warming: What Is It All About?

Date(s): December 9, 2008, 1:30-3:00pm

Location: Room 1117A, EPA East

Presenter(s): Richard Lindzen (MIT)

Description: This is the first of three seminars on the science of global warming from widely different viewpoints. While global warming is frequently presented as a single phenomenon that one either believes in or denies, the real situation is, unsurprisingly, much more complex in the presenter's view. There are, in fact, certain aspects of the issue on which a substantial measure of agreement exists: namely, that global mean temperature has increased a few tenths of a degree since the 19th Century, and that increases in atmospheric CO2 have contributed some part of this warming. He examines some approaches to determining exactly how much of observed warming is actually due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, and how explicit feedbacks are involved in these results. However, the connection of this warming to catastrophic projections is extremely tenuous in his view. Moreover, proposed mitigation policies have little relevance to warming regardless of the level of warming expected. Understanding these ‘disconnects’ not only helps one to assess the overall situation rationally, but also permits one to see how the issue is being improperly exploited in Dr. Lindzen's view.

Dr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has authored or co-authored over 200 professional journal articles.

Presentation Document: Global Warming: What Is It All About?

Seminar Category: Climate Science