Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby leans heavily on MIT scientist Richard Lindzen — and not for the first time — in arguing that global warming is nothing to worry about. Lindzen has a commentary in the current Newsweek suggesting that we should all calm down, a sentiment that Jacoby heartily endorses.
To their credit, Lindzen and Jacoby are too intellectually honest to assert something they know to be false. Neither is willing to deny that global warming is real, or that human activity is at least partly responsible. Indeed, this is how Lindzen opens his piece:
Judging from the media in recent months, the debate over global warming is now over. There has been a net warming of the earth over the last century and a half, and our greenhouse gas emissions are contributing at some level. Both of these statements are almost certainly true. What of it?
Both Lindzen and Jacoby go on to say that we should relax because global warming might be good for us. True, Lindzen does say that global warming might prove not to be as bad as current models predict. But his essential view is contained in this sentence: “A warmer climate could prove to be more beneficial than the one we have now.”
This is religion, not science — not far removed from Frosty Hardison, the guy who likes global warming because he believes it will hasten Jesus’ return to earth.
Jacoby and other conservative commentators should be careful about invoking Lindzen. The fact is that Lindzen accepts the science of human-caused global warming. Thus we are under no more obligation to accept Lindzen’s value judgments than we are those of Frosty Hardison.