Zimmerman's ExxonMobil Scientists

In Reference to: 
World Leadership Crisis

Zimmerman needs to retire.  I'm not joking.  He doesn't know a thing about climate science and is poorly qualified to speak as an authority on climate change.  I don't know how he could be relevant to his field of environmental philosophy any more; maybe he should go into energy since he seems to know a lot (more) about that.  Deep ecology and Eco-feminism will do you little good if that is all you have but no scientific background.

Is it possible for one to be so scientifically-illiterate, and also integral?

"The climate science itself became increasingly shaky as it became more and more scrutinized."

We suspect that this comment was made entirely based on events occurring at the time of taping, namely, the CRU email hacking incident which he refers to as "Climategate."  Zimmerman feels the science is becoming increasingly shaky because like most Americans, he falls prey to the mob mentality and appears to get most of his climate information not from mainstream science--but from dissenting scientists funded by Exxon-Mobil and from the mainstream media.

His claim that climate science is based on computer climate models gives the impression that climate science is entirely speculative and based on computer prediction models.  This is untrue.  Climate study is based just as much, if not more--on direct observation and physical data.  When all of the available data is entered into a computer, today's scientists are capable of reproducing past and present climates with very good accuracy.  The accuracy of past projections of future climate by computer climate models (now the present) confirm at present that climate models work very well to predict present, past, and future climate except possibly erring on the side of the conservative of late (due possibly to unknown positive feedback mechanisms being triggered but not being accounted for in the climate model).  This does not invalidate these models; but merely indicate that these computer models are likely to underestimate future climate change until they have a more precise knowledge of the effects of positive feedback mechanisms now being triggered and amplifying the sun's heat.

Zimmerman believes that carbon dioxide can be "good" for you and that a CO2 level of 1,000 ppm would result in a "greening" of the planet and that it might be "good for you" perhaps if the temperature were a little bit warmer. 

1,000 ppm is actually being predicted as a "worst case scenario" for 2100 and would result in at least a 5-7 C temperature rise and would be the end of human civilization as we know it

His repeated claims that "CO2 is only a sliver of the warming" (or something to that effect) and "it is SO MUCH MORE complicated than scientists think..." (when he himself lacks a basic understanding of climate) is not the position of mainstream science but of skeptical/denier talking points that are so commonplace in public discourse nowadays.

Whereas weather is unpredictable and chaotic, climate is based on long-term averaging and is not.

While there are numerous different drivers in climate, the predominant radiative forcing is CO2.  There are both positive and negative radiative forcings and feedback mechanisms.  One such example being the melting of sea ice, which results in a loss of albedo and triggers a positive feedback effect far outstripping any perceived "negative feedbacks" he claims to be occurring meanwhile.  Actually, his reference to "negative feedback" would merely be "negative forcing" (not "negative feedback") since negative feedback effects only occur when the planet is cooling to escalate and amplify the cooling; which does not occur when the planet is warming although a major negative forcing, such as the irruption of a supervolcano, can hypothetically trigger a negative feedback effect if forceful enough (citation needed).

Numerous independent studies have confirmed that since 1975, temperatures rose while solar activity showed little to no long-term trend.  The current forcing of the sun itself on climate is estimated to be at 0.1% and therefore negligible.

Mt. Kilimanjaro's decline is not due entirely to human emissions of CO2 as he correctly pointed out; but this does not mean that human-caused global warming is not the main cause of glacial land ice melts occurring worldwide.

Much ado was made in the interview about polar bears and how they are increasing in number due to man no longer hunting them down. We anticipate a major problem for polar bears if there are lots of polar bears while Arctic sea ice is decreasing at an increasingly accelerated rate.  He then downplayed the significance of Arctice sea ice loss by appealing to "scientific uncertainty" of whether the Arctic would be ice-free by 2050 or 2080.. Thereby admitting that Arctic will likely be ice-free within the century; yet 'not a problem' or concern of his; we gather..

I believe that a more accurate analysis of Arctic sea ice projected decline would place an ice-free Arctic at between 2025-2050, rather than between 2050-2080.  However: Zimmerman's appeal to scientific uncertainty was far overstated in that he failed to point out that the one thing that is very very obvious (even to the interviewer) in that at current rate of decline, it will most certainly be ice-free by the end of the century.

The biggest concern with Arctic sea ice is that the older, thicker ice that have remained year-round for years and years (such as the kind displayed very prominently on the front of both his videos) are melting quite fast and are being replaced with thin, seasonal ice.

Global dimming from aerosols reversed in trend in the mid 1990s.  Yes, black aerosols and CFCs are additional particulates added by human activity--but their influence on climate is far outweighed by CO2.

He speaks fondly of the Medieval Warm Period, when "there were  farmers in Greenland...":

"...A time when was hotter than today." See? 

Figure 1: Reconstructed surface temperature anomaly for Medieval Warm Period (950 to 1250 A.D.). Temperature anomalies are defined relative to the 1961– 1990 reference period mean. Gray areas indicates regions where adequate temperature data are unavailable.  Courtesy SkepticalScience

(As long as you are in Greenland..)

"Medieval Warm Period" was not a global warming but only a regional warming in some parts of North America, Greenland, and Arctic regions.  If you were living in those regions during Medieval times, it was warmer.  Some parts of Eurasia were also slightly warmer but only very slightly.  All other parts of Earth--it was substantially cooler than today.  Some regions were even colder than the Little Ice Age.  For this reason, many scientists of today no longer refer to this period as the "Medieval Warm Period" but rather, as "the Medieval Climate Anomaly."

Let's compare the "Medieval Warm Period" to today:


Figure 3: Surface temperature anomaly for period 1999 to 2008. Temperature anomalies are defined relative to the 1961– 1990 reference period mean. Gray areas indicates regions where adequate temperature data are unavailable (NASA GISS)

UPDATE 1 Dec 2009: gp2 has also created a temperature pattern for the last decade using NOAA data. This time, the colour scale matches exactly the colour scale used in the Medieval Warm Period figure.

Figure 4: Surface temperature anomaly for period 1999 to 2008. Temperature anomalies are defined relative to the 1961– 1990 reference period mean. Gray areas indicates regions where adequate temperature data are unavailable (NOAA)

No, today is much warmer than Medieval Warm Period.

He claims that the "Hockey Stick Graph" was "debunked."  This is false.  We gather that he is basing his idea on a single study from 2003 that claimed to "debunk it" or maybe from Senator Inhofe in the Senate committee hearings (or whatevuh) when they attempted to investigate the shape of the "Hockey Stick" to argue that it was not "hockey-shaped," as argued by Al Gore.

Numerous studies based on a variety of different proxy data well beyond 2003 continue to confirm the validity of the "Hockey Stick" graph.

This argument bores me to tears and deniers are forever trying to "debunk it"; so I will simply leave a link so as to not make people nod off:

Zimmerman's argument on cloud cover is yet to be confirmed.  However, there has been no observed correlation between cloud formation and temperature in the past 30 years.  Nor with cosmic rays.  He did not cite the sources of any of his scientific claims.

 The two "climate experts" that he cited, Richard Lindzen and Willie Soon, are climate change skeptics but are actually meteorologists and physicists; not climate scientists.  Zimmerman claims that Richard Lindzen is perhaps the "most highly-ranked climate scientist in the world." 

Lindzen is not only a climate change skeptic--He is said to expound on how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking and is tied to Cato and Heartland Institutes.  Both scientists are funded by Exxon-Mobil.

Richard Lindzen

rofessor of Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Member, Annapolis Center Science and Economic Advisory Council. Contributing Expert, Cato Institute. Contributing Expert, George C. Marshall Institute. Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Lindzen is one of the highest prolife climate skeptic scientists, arguably because he has been a member of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and contributed to the Second Assessment Report. He regularly takes issue with the general conclusions drawn from the IPCC's reports and has been at the forefront of the consistent attacks on the IPCC since the early 1990's. His prolific writings assert that climate change science is inconclusive. His opinions are cited throughout the ExxonMobil funded groups and he regularly appears at events organised by them.

Ross Gelbspan reported in 1995 that Lindzen "charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled 'Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,' was underwritten by OPEC." ("The Heat is On: The warming of the world's climate sparks a blaze of denial," Harper's magazine, December 1995.) Lindzen signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration.

Willie Soon

Research Physicist, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Senior Scientist, George Marshall Institute. Science Director, Tech Central Station. Chief scientific researcher at the frontiers of Freedom's Center for Science and Public Policy which was set up after $100,000 ExxonMobil grant in 2002.

Dr. Soon is a leading climate change skeptic and has published multiple climate-related studies with fellow George Marshall and Harvard-Smithsonian scientist Sallie Baliunas.

Willie Soon is a physicist at the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory.


16 May, 2003


Published, with fellow sceptic

Sallie Baliunas

, an article in the Climate Research journal which reviewed the work of a number of climate scientists who concluded that the last century is the hottest in the last 1000 years. The article, partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute, caused the resignation of three of the journal's editors, in protest at the peer review process. The peer review process was conducted by

New Zealand

sceptic scientist Chris de Freitas. The Soon/Baliunas article was widely picked up by Exxon-funded groups and led to a Senate hearing chaired by James Inhofe (R-OK)



Jeff Nesmith, Cox News

Why is this important?

This is where he is getting his scientific information.

Just thought everyone should know where he is getting his scientific information on climate change.