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Physicist Freeman Dyson: Obama has the Wrong Idea about Climate Change

Physicist Freeman Dyson: Obama has the Wrong Idea about Climate Change

Democrat and leading theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson says that Obama “took the wrong side” when it comes to climate change. Dyson describes himself as “100% Democrat,” and although he likes Obama, he argues that it is in fact the Republicans who are on the “right side” this time. 

Dyson is not a new face in the scientific or political world. During WWII, he worked as a civilian scientist for the Royal Air Force. He moved to the United States in 1947 and earned a permanent post at Princeton in 1953. The United States government has called on him more than once for advice on scientific and technical matters. In other words, when he says something, people listen. 

Climate change “is not a scientific mystery, but a human mystery,” says Dyson. “How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?” he asked during an interview with The Register’s Andrew Orlowski. 

Dyson began studying climate trends in the 1980s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory – long before the topic appeared on the political scene. He offers a simple explanation for what many believe to be a crisis: “What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger,” he says. 

“The rise of the oceans is a real problem and while they’re not rising as fast as people say, they’re still rising,” he said, offering a matter of fact solution. “That could be stopped if you could arrange that it snows a bit more in Antarctica. That’s something that could be quite feasible, but it’s not been looked at much.” 

Dyson also spoke about land management, suggesting that we focus on building up topsoil. He warned that Western resolutions to limit coal burning will be useless if India and China don’t agree to do the same. “Pollution is quite separate to the climate problem: one can be solved, and the other cannot, and the public doesn’t understand that,” he said, ruminating on how filthy England was when the country relied on coal.  

A short-term solution to pollution, he explained, would be replacing coal with shale gas: “As far as the next 50 years are concerned, there are two main forces of energy, which are coal and shale gas. Emissions have been going down in the US while they’re going up in Europe, and that’s because of shale gas. It’s only half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal. China may in fact be able to develop shale gas on a big scale and that means they burn a lot less coal.” 

Furthermore, as reported by Breitbart earlier this week, Dyson argues that the benefits of carbon dioxide actually outweigh the risks. 

Part of the problem, explains Dyson, is that climate change alarmists are using models that predict catastrophe to push their agenda. “It’s true that there’s a large community of people who make their money by scaring the public, so money is certainly involved to some extent, but I don’t think that’s the full explanation,” said Dyson. 

He compares today’s mood to that just before World War I: “Before WWI, there was this insane craving for doom.” There was “the feeling we’d gone soft and degenerate, and war would be good for us all…in some ways it’s in the air today.” 

Freeman Dyson was born in Britain in 1923 and is best known for his work in solid-state physics, quantum electrodynamics, nuclear engineering, and astronomy. He is a member of the Royal Society of London and the National Academy of Sciences. Honors include the Templeton Prize, the Enrico Fermi Award, and the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize. Dyson became a naturalized U. S. citizen in 1957. 


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