Global warming debate: “A ninety-nine percent certainty of what?”

Last night “Larry King Live” hosted a debate on global warming featuring a large cast of characters that included Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK), Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, Bill Nye of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Julian Morris of International Policy Network, and Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel.

Perhaps the best exchanges took place between eminent cloud scientist Lindzen and the “Science Guy” Nye, clearly out of his depth. Lindzen politely skewered the “Science Guy” Nye whose slogan-speaking seemed to have little to do with science. Here’s an example from the transcript:

LINDZEN: Not at all. I think time will tell. I think Mr. Nye is speaking about energy. Energy sources and balance have changed over time, it will change. I have no idea what the energy mix will be 50 years from now. But I think if what he says about profitable, better sources are there, they will come online and they will come online without government fiat. Heidi says the science is solid and I can’t criticize her because she never says what science she’s talking about. This is a problem with so many facets, that the notion that scientists are in lox, that bonnet is silly.

NYE: This report has them at 99 percent certainty, this report that comes out this week —

LINDZEN: Ninety-nine percent certainty of what?

NYE: It was 60 five years ago.

LINDZEN: Of what?

NYE: That the world’s going to get warmer by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.2 Celsius.

LINDZEN: No, it didn’t say anything of the sort. It didn’t say that.

NYE: Ok, well, we’ll see what happens when the report comes out.

KING: Well how do we know if it’s not out yet?

LINDZEN: The report won’t come out until May.

NYE: Ok, so do you want to talk about the — you say that there is no global climate change? Is that your argument?

LINDZEN: I’m not saying anything of the sort. I’m saying temperature has changed —

NYE: Are you saying the problem is not serious?

KING: Let him finish.

LINDZEN: I’m saying that we have seen a rate of temperature change that is not outside the range of what the climate does by itself. So —

NYE: You’re saying the current rate is consistent with, for example, the ice score records? I that what you’re saying, it’s about the same speed as the record of the —

LINDZEN: The ice score records, excuse me, have a time resolution of 2,000 years. They couldn’t tell you what’s going on, on the scale you’re talking about.

NYE: I disagree with that statement right there.

LINDZEN: Do you want to make this small wager on it?

KING: Go ahead, Bill.

NYE: I’ll bet you a cup of coffee.

LINDZEN: how about a bottle of (INAUDIBLE).

NYE: I don’t know what that is.

LINDZEN: Sixty dollars for a bottle of scotch.

NYE: Sure, it sounds fancy.

KING: He’s from M.I.T. he knows what he’s talking about.