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 careers.
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degree from Brandeis University on the anniversary of the Boston marathon bombings (committed by Islamists) was withdrawn after pressure from its women’s studies department (more on Aayan Hirsi Ali here).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:
Andy: Copenhagen prostitutes? Climate prostitutes? 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. Copenhagen prostitutes? Unbelievable and unacceptable. What are you doing and why? Michael