Oops, didn’t think that one all the way through…

Such is the sheepish statement we should be hearing from enviro-activists accusing MIT’s Dr Richard Lindzen of being an “oil industry paid shill.”

To say the accusation is widespread that Dr Lindzen ‘charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services’ is something of an understatement, when you consider how many hits are found in an internet search for variants of it. As recently as July 27, 2013, the day after my GelbspanFiles blog post about Dr Willie Soon was reproduced at Anthony Watts’ blog, a commenter hurled this repetition:

… Dick Lindzen has told me that he charges his consulting clients in the energy business his usual rate of $2500 a day

(for those curious about it, it is only coincidence that the WUWT commenter shares my first name. He may be one and the same person identified by Watts a month later here and here.)

The entertaining aspect of that 2013 version and the others is how they are written in the present tense regarding the word “charges”. The big glitch is just how long ago this same statement was first seen publicly, in Ross Gelbspan’s December 1995 Harper’s magazine article:

Lindzen, for his part, charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services.

On page 54 in his 1997 book “The Heat is On”, he elaborated a bit more,

Lindzen told me that he charges $2,500 a day to consult for fossil fuel interests, but for his St. Paul testimony he charged Western Fuels less than that rate since it required ten days of preparation.

…. and this resulted from an event described just two pages prior, where Gelbspan says “In August 1995 Lindzen invited me to his home, where we talked for two hours.”

Stop and think about the 1995 to 2013 time frame, from the first to last assertion that he charges $2500 per day for his services. Would a man having Dr Lindzen’s PhD-level intelligence never consider the economics of inflation, and thus never raise the rate he charges over nearly two decades?

Oh, one more thing: In my July 26, 2013 blog post, I linked to a 2007 New York Times file which had Dr Lindzen’s direct statements about his industry funding (or lack thereof), but some key lines from that file are worth repeating:

My research has never been supported by any industrial source. …

I have accepted two lecture fees from oil and coal firms about 17 years ago. ….

During the early 90’s, I also served for a couple of days as an expert witness for Western Fuels in a court case in Minnesota. …  Again during this period, I responded to a request to testify before a Senate Committee. After testifying, I discovered that it is the practice of Congress not to cover any expenses … Since I was broke at the time, I accepted $300 from Western Fuels to cover some of the expenses. I should add that this policy on the part of Congress has the effect of largely restricting testimony to government employees and advocates. …

The above represents the totality of my paid association with oil and coal firms.

It is totally irrelevant if a person says they charge $20 per day or $20 million per day, if they never actually get the money, and there is still no relevance to the amount when no evidence exists to prove it was received under an agreement obligating the person to lie to the public.

Regarding what Gelbspan claims about Dr Lindzen’s wealth gained from industry payments versus Dr Lindzen’s own statements, it is no surprise to see the following from Dr Lindzen near the end of this 2012 online article (full text here):

When Gelbspan published his piece, I checked into whether I should sue for libel …. I quickly discovered that it would cost more than I could afford.

Considering the entire “$2500 per day” accusation originates from Gelbspan and nobody independently corroborates it, who could blame Dr Lindzen for seeing if he could sue him? The pure farce of it all is how the people repeating it don’t have the intellectual curiosity to wonder why the amount never changes.