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My Thunderer column in the Times on the bullying
of a distinguished climate scientist for having the temerity to
advise those who doubt the speed of climate change:
[update: links repaired below]
Lennart Bengtsson is about as distinguished as
climate scientists get. His decision two weeks ago to join the
academic advisory board (on which I also sit, unremunerated) of
Nigel Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation was greeted with
fury by many fellow climate scientists. Now in a McCarthyite move —
his analogy — they have bullied him into resigning by refusing to
collaborate with him unless he leaves.
The GWPF aims to ensure that the climate-change debate is more
balanced. Its members are not “deniers”, yet as Lord Lawson said in
a recent speech: “I have never in my life experienced the extremes
of personal hostility, vituperation and vilification that I, along
with other dissenters, of course, have received for my views on
global warming and global-warming policies.”
Professor Bengtsson’s resignation shows that the alleged
“consensus” on dangerous global warming involves suppressing
dissent by academic bullying. He emphasises that there is no
consensus about how fast and how far greenhouse warming will go,
let alone what can be done in response.
Evidence of such bullying emerged in the “Climategate” scandal of 2009, where some
climate scientists’ emails revealed them to be ready to threaten
and blackball colleagues, reporters and editors who expressed
sceptical views. I talk frequently to scientists who are
unconvinced that climate change is even close to being the world’s
most pressing environmental problem, but who will not put their
heads above the parapet for fear of what it would do to their
What is going on in academia when demonising and silencing your
opponents has become so acceptable? It’s not just climate change.
The nature-nurture debate is also policed by zealots, although less
so than in the 1970s when any mention of genes and behaviour led to
accusations of fascism.
Or consider Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who suffered genital
mutilation, attempted forced marriage, attempted assassination and
double exile for her views. The offer of an honorary degree from
Brandeis University on the anniversary of the Boston marathon
bombings (committed by Islamists) was withdrawn after pressure from
its women’s studies department (more on Aayan Hirsi Ali here).
Professor Bengtsson’s persecution shows precisely why
independent think-tanks such as the Global Warming Policy
Foundation are essential. Truly, the old joke is becoming ever more
true: what’s the opposite of diversity? University.
More on this story here:
Examples of the threatening and blackballing
of scientists, reporters and editors in the Climategate emails:
And here is what a climate scientist, Michael Schlesinger, wrote
to Andy Revkin of the New York Times shortly afterwards:
Shame on you for this gutter reportage. This is the second
time this week I have written you thereon, the first about giving
space in your blog to the Pielkes.
The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that
your reportage is very worrisome to most climate
scientists. Of course, your blog is your
blog. But, I sense that you are about to experience the
'Big Cutoff' from those of us who believe we can no longer trust
you, me included.
Unbelievable and unacceptable.
What are you doing and why?