Thursday, May 15, 2014

McCarthyism my foot! Stoat has the story about Lennart Bengtsson and the GWPF...

Sou | 4:22 AM Go to the first of 62 comments. Add a comment

Update: It gets even sillier!

An elderly and decorated meteorologist from Sweden decided to cosy up to Nigel Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. (h/t Ernest Hurley). No-one is telling exactly why Lennart Bengtsson decided to join in the first place, or if they are I can't be bothered looking it up. Who in their right mind would be associated with the GWPF? Anyway, as Stoat wrote, he only lasted a week or two.

Dr Bengtsson is getting on in years (he's 79) but he is still working and publishing a lot. He has had an impressive enough career and is now a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Reading.

As to why climate scientists might not want to be associated with the GWPF, this is a sample of the sort of nonsense that Nigel Lawson and his organisation are known for. On the IPCC:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which published on Friday the first instalment of its latest report, is a deeply discredited organisation.

Nigel just made that up. The IPCC won a Nobel Peace Prize for heaven's sake! How about this GWPF article - about the man deniers love to hate. (Archived here):
Date: 05/12/11
In my Weekly Standard Climategate 2.0 article I refer to Michael “hockey stick” Mann as the Fredo of the climate mafia, because of his endless bluster and the obvious embarrassment he brings to his fellow scientists.

Lennart couldn't take the heat and got out of the GWPF kitchen

Thing is, Lennart Bengtsson, or whoever wrote his letter of resignation, is blaming it on scientists behaving well instead of accepting it's he who behaved badly - or had very poor judgement. He reckons he was pressured to leave and complained the pressure was affecting his health, poor chap. He should try walking a mile in the shoes of Phil Jones or Michael Mann or James Hansen or Ben Santer.  That'd toughen him up. Here's the letter, courtesy Anthony Watts:
I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.
Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.”

I think it's great if true. Climate scientists are alert to organisations like the GWPF and their shadowy benefactors.

It also looks like Lennart didn't have the courage of his convictions, whatever they were. Or maybe he was joining the Board for reasons not at all associated with global warming. Maybe he had visions of cigar and port with various privileged aristocracy after a meal in the peers' dining room in the Palace of Westminster. (For that he'd tolerate occasionally crossing paths with a physical trainer and a slightly unhinged economist.)

Most scientists are rather reserved

A scientist wrote to me recently saying (and I agree, with all of it): "most scientists are rather reserved when it comes to making resounding claims about results.  Probably a cause for alarm when a group that is otherwise reticent decides to speak up." And speaking up they are.

Now I don't know if Dr Bengtsson was "pressured" or not. If any of his colleagues did have a quiet word to Lennart, they were doing him a favour.

Deniers fail US modern political history!

Anthony Watts, among others, is up in arms that anyone would "pressure" a scientist! ha ha de ha ha. (If you're new to climate blogs, WUWT exists wholly and solely to pressure and lampoon scientists and reject science and try to delay climate change mitigation and adaption initiatives. Pretty much like the GWPF, but without its clout.)

Anthony has posted one of his longer articles (archived here). As usual it's almost all copy and pastes, since Anthony (wisely) doesn't do "original" very often.  The bits and pieces are from all over the deniosphere. Everyone in denier-ville is up in arms. If scientists voice concerns that a colleague is joining forces with a science denier organisation it's McCarthy-ism (in denier land). If a US Senator says he has a list of scientists that he wants criminally prosecuted it's not McCarthy-ism. (It's Inhofism.)

From the WUWT comments - pillory plus!

Bob Tisdale says:
May 14, 2014 at 6:27 am
Unfortunately, this is typical of the climate-science community. Pillory those who disagree with you.

LewSkannen says:
May 14, 2014 at 6:20 am
It is outrageous that he is under this pressure but I do not agree with surrendering.

jeremyp99 says:
May 14, 2014 at 6:40 am
Why am I not surprised. Any form on non-approved thinking or speaking is now seized upon and pilloried savagely. The end of the Enlightment. Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Climate Science.

thinair says:
March 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm
A mann with his head in the sand, and a wart on science, may he be swept away by the strong tides of freedom.

Peter Stroud says:
August 26, 2013 at 9:13 am
I am sure that no other branch of science has supported so many scoundrels. Mann is one of many. His work has been falsified, but he still defends it. But he is one of quite a few. However, he and his ilk are still winning where it counts. Politicians still trust every word they utter, and go about saying that AGW is the most dangerous threat the world has ever seen. Some say it is more threatening than international terrorism. We sceptics have a long way to go before the governments of the world join us. 

Steven Hill from Ky (the welfare state) says:
August 26, 2013 at 10:25 am
I am so sick of the bunch of liars that get awards for fraud….King Obama, Fat Boy Gore and the Court Jester Mann.

Steve Koch says:
February 23, 2010 at 9:57 am
The next step is to institute a class action suit against the perpetrators of the AGW fraud (i.e. Hansen, Mann, Jones, Pauchari, Gore, etc). The discovery process alone should yield mountains of muck.

Jean Parisot says:
February 23, 2010 at 10:11 am
Has anyone filed an SEC complaint (and/or it’s UK equivalent) with regards to the various AGW alarmists manipulating the market for investment products without proper disclosure of interests? 

High Treason says:
September 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm
We certainly need to continue to kick them while they are down. They must never be allowed to rise again to peddle blatant lies disguised as “science” in the pursuit of hidden political agendas.The Left, who dominate the CAGW agenda will surely rise again to install the ultra green agenda they dare not tell us about. If it were so great, why not tell us all? No, they know the People would not approve, but they do it anyway, because THEY think it is good for us. Yeah, sure. Now is the time to go on the attack and have the warmists fully exposed and their acts of treason adequately punished, and I do not mean the BS of saying “sorry.” “Sorry we lied and subverted science in the quest of destroying society and humanity to install an insane Fabian Utopia with us Lefties as the inheritors of the earth with the rest of you as our slaves.” (sob, sob) Perhaps a vote on the correct punishment as a warning to those that may try this again.I shall start the vote- extreme public torture and stripping of all assets. Big businesses that have been complicit(Bilderburg group, I am writing to you) will have to find new CEOs. Punishment is not so much retribution as a warning to those that may transgress in the future. The issue here is that the crime is the highest category of treason the human race has ever seen thus far. 

Oh, sorry - those last few weren't about Lennart Bengtsson or the GWPF, they were pillories from other articles at WUWT :(

PS There are some comments in this thread, which Ernest Hurley took off topic and which prompted me to write this article.


Cugel said...

I think Bengtsson is the sort of reactionary who'd find the GWPF entirely unobjectionable. His comment about knowing many scientists who question AGW, when his actual colleagues are apparently aghast, suggests that his social circle is not a wide one. He won't need one in UK academia; there's no shortage of fellow reactionaries to mix with, especially when Oxford's just up the road.

You're close to the mark with your "cigars and port" comment, but I suspect Bengtsson's already established in that reactionary club. Some chap asked him to sign-up to this GWPF thing and he naturally obliged. As chaps do, don't you know.

Cugel said...

I find this story most cheering. The Denialati are getting increasingly marginalised, if not shunned, by decent society. Nothing for them to do know but descend further into lunacy. Such fun to watch.

Luboš Motl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
William Connolley said...

Lubos! How nice to see you commenting here. Do come over to my place too. We all know your "death threats" are a joke, albeit not a particularly humourous one.

"Your humble correspondent has been brutally harassed by this fascist clique many times" - dahling, you too are beginning to sound like a bit of a delicate flower. Are you sure you're up to this? Perhaps you should go and lie down for a while in a darkened room with some smelling salts.

I'm afraid your rhetoric is rather dull; you're not even close to matching NTZ. Would you like to have another go?

George Montgomery said...

There's Zetorians on the starboard bow!

I see that Abbe Hyupsing Qong from the planet Zetor has disgraced himself again with his call for the death penalty [ Homepage of Abbe Hyupsing Qong (adopted name: Lubos Motl)]

It's life, Sou, but not as we know it.

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't be quite so pleased with ourselves. Just like the email "scandal", this will eventually bite us in the ass. We're already losing public support and, now, this? The deniers have won. Washington won't do anything. Canada already pulled out. Australia is gutting its programs and a repeal is around the corner. Germany is rethinking its energy program. How dumb are we? I'd say we're pretty dumb.

Dumb Scientist said...

Dr. Motl, your modest proposal is intriguing. Why is a brilliant scientist like you not the lead spokesman for the GWPF, WUWT, etc.? Please let me know if I can help you get on TV, so the public can benefit from your insights. I'll do anything I can to help spread your sage advice far and wide. Just to throw out a few ideas: maybe we could collect donations to help pay for your travel expenses? Maybe we could contact whoever at the BBC is wasting airtime on Lawson and Montford, etc. and steer them your way?

Neven said...

The concern troll means They, not We.

David Sanger said...

Unfortunately the good scientist's complaints are only hearsay; no-one has actually seen any comments by his fellow scientists about his decision to sign on the GWPF. So really we have no idea what was said or why he felt pressured.

Better to wait and see I think before jumping to conclusions.

Lars Karlsson said...

Luboš Motl is such a stout defender of tolerance: "physically liquidate", "death penalty".

David Sanger said...

Intersting comment by Swedish scientist-blogger Olle Häggström on Quark Soup referring to an interchange on the Uppsala Initiative blog:

"A permanent feature of Lennart Bengtsson's rhetoric is his complaint on the climate issue politicization, as in a DN interview with him in 2013 . This position, combined with his actions in general, becomes verging on incomprehensible if one does not realize that Bengtsson with the climate issue politicization refers only to politicization in different direction than the one he wants."

Ernest Hurley said...

Cheers Sue , you have made me famous ! If anyone would like to contact me feel free to write to ernestfhurley@gmail.com
I would love to receive a lot of fan mail ! I shall treasure it ,savour it and send it to that polish footballer in due course ,, wotshisname? Landofhopeandgloryski?
Something like that.

Millicent said...

There might be a few tips for you here:


Personally I think "the deniers have won" was a dead give away. Seriously, that one is on the Coco the clown level.

Bernard J. said...

Security to the psychiatric ward - Codes Black
and Green...

Bernard J. said...

At the risk of incurring friendly fire I have some sympathy for the notion that the Denialati have the upper hand... I suspect that history will see that a large part of the failure to mitigate well stemmed from active and highly successful lay, coprorate and government campaigns to prevent effective response.


...the fault of this denialist success is NOT with those warning about global warming, but instead arises from the inherent selfishness and the willful ignorance of the the people and the societies that refuse to listen to these warnings.

One can lead an equine to water but one cannot force it to drink. With respect to the matter of human-caused global warming the ass was led gently to the lapping waves of Lake Understanding, and then carefully splashed with its clear waters, and then sternly slapped on the rump and finally pushed without apology into the deep.

And still not a drop of knowledge permeates into the ass's head - but this is hardly the fault of the handler that has tried everything to quench the ass's need for education.

Bernard J. said...


Perhaps Freudian, but pretty much interchangable...

Bernard J. said...

Yeah, snip.

And block.

Raoul said...

Shouldn't we warn the distinguished Dr Motl that his blogger profile has been compromised, and that someone is posting incoherent ramblings on his behalf?

cRR Kampen said...

According to polls this year Holland is the most climate revisionist country in the world. One of the reasons, of course, is the country got away bloody easily with CC yet.
The other reason surfaced today as the economic quarter numbers came in. Economy suddenly at -1.4% after three quarters of growth.

Cause: exceptionally mild winter. Holland is a big natural gas exporter (and user). The big gas finds in this country in the 19sixties made it extremely prosperous. How important it is shows now.

Germany, a buyer of gas but also become a forerunner on renewables, got an economical boost from same warm winter.

We got a pretty bad problem here because the end of fossil is nigh.

cRR Kampen said...

The correct term is: infamous.

And Then There's Physics said...

Lubos - WTF?

David Sanger - well said.

Millicent said...

"At the risk of incurring friendly fire I have some sympathy for the notion that the Denialati have the upper hand"

But what our visiting concern troll would claim as 'a win' has everybody - including him - facing disaster. Only he will have all the numpties who listened to his crap looking in his direction and reaching for the meat cleavers. That's not a win by any rational standard.

Lionel A said...

"Germany is rethinking its energy program."

Indeed it looks that way, but not in the way you think it would appear:

Germany Sets New Record, Generating 74 Percent Of Power Needs From Renewable Energy.

Ernest Hurley said...

To be very fair to Sou , she has published most of my comments , I do not check back to see if they have been deleted subsequently.
I am hopeful that I can entice her from the dark side towards the light .Time will tell but I,m not holding my breath.
At any rate I hope that we can all appreciate each others views and opinions and WUWT should stop blocking people unless they are absolute trolls.I think the arguments have progressed from the name calling early days and everyone is a bit more savvy about the Science.

And Then There's Physics said...

WUWT should stop blocking people unless they are absolute trolls.
Actually, WUWT would benefit from starting to block people who are absolute trolls. That would - IMO - remove a large fraction of the current commenters and the site would improve immensely.

numerobis said...

It's the charge of the freeze peach brigade!

If you get called on it when you say something intensely stupid or, even better, offensive, just call for help by McCarthy and the first amendment. Lysenko and Wegner can be relied on for help in scientific cases too.

BBD said...


In case you hadn't noticed the common view here is that it is good that a respected meteorologist be bullied and harrassed into abandoning the public expression of his viewpoint.

That is Dr Bengtsson's rather obviously self-serving framing that you are parroting there.

An alternative view is that he made a serious error of judgement from which he has now retreated - with a notable failure to acknowledge his own culpability in the matter.

Personally, I find it heartening that once Dr Bengtsson was made aware of the true nature of the GWPF - and the contempt in which it is held by real scientists everywhere - he felt he had to withdraw his support at once.

thefordprefect said...

The Letter :"I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen. It ..."

I see no threats, just other scientists not wanting to be associated with his new position.

Perhaps there were real threats like other climate scientists receive, but he does not mention them.

If I were writing papers on racial integration would I like to co-author them with a member of the KKK. I think not

ligne said...

yeah, those fascists!

And Then There's Physics said...

Seriously, we should trust the word of someone who is happy to imply that his friends/colleagues are behaving like facists? I have no idea what they actually said to him, so it is possible - I guess - but Godwin's law also springs to mind.

Millicent said...

May 15, 2014 at 8:55 PM

"Miriam was blocked and banned from WUWT .... This isn't a site for freedom of expression for dissenting views."

So funny.

Anonymous said...

Greg: Can you show proof that he has been bullied and harassed. I'm sure that you yourself, being a "sceptic" and all that, would have expected to see proof that there had been a Mccarthy like campaign against him before you accepted these allegations.

Anonymous said...

I see it this way: signing on with the GWPF means you are stupid, evil or senile. Co-authoring papers with people who are stupid, evil or senile is a bad idea. So if I were a practicing climate scientist, I would avoid co-authoring papers with people who have signed up with the GWPF.


Sou said...

Comments from the banned have been binned. My apologies for the disruption.

Cugel said...

Congrats, Sou, you have become a bestower of fame. A trendsetter, no less. You might want to consider cashing in with some discreet product placement (nothing vulgar, of course).

Sou said...

Ernest, it takes something extreme for someone to get banned from HW. (I'm no Anthony Watts.)

If any comments disappear from a thread, you will usually find them at the HotWhoppery. I don't recall ever having to delete one of your comments.

Nik said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cRR Kampen said...

PrintScreened that. I love the coming out of the real rats who speak of their mirror images.

"Apologizing the reaction by the climate fascists is unforgivable and as far as I can say, William Connolley and the cripple on this blog should get a death penalty."

This is no joke. History is crystal on what happens when this sort comes to power.
Climate revisionists mean it. They may not mean it now, but that changes the moment this type has the means - simple sociopsychological phenomenon.

Cure by Sandy 2.0 or 'Milleniumhochwasser' 3.0 (they happen every dozen years in Europe now, and guess what's happening in the upper Donau region as we speak).

cRR Kampen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marco said...

His reference to McCarthyism gets decidedly funny when you know Bengtsson once offered to pay the one-way emigration ticket of socialists and communists.

Nik said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BBD said...

Did he? Is there a link to this act of magnanimity? I think it deserves a wider audience amongst those concerned that Dr Bengtsson is a apolitical seeker after truth fallen victim to dark forces.

idunno said...

It's a shame that the GDR disappeared otherwise we would have been able to offer one-way tickets there for these raving socialists. Now there's unfortunately not many orthodox countries left soon and I surely do not imagine our romantic green Communists want a one-way ticket to North Korea. But if interested I will gladly contribute to the trip as long as it concerns a one way exit. Perhaps you could arrange a Gallup study, then it can not be ruled out that I underestimated utresebehovet. 5

H/T Rabbett Run

numerobis said...

Playing whack-a-Nik looks like no fun.

I wonder if they actually do have that Ph.D. from two universities, or if that's made up too.

numerobis said...

It's terribly sad how anglophone world leaders are mostly just sitting around fiddling. Luckily, not everyone in the world speak English as a native language. Unluckily, the anglos make up the richest, most carbon-intensive economies.

Marco said...

BBD, original (in Swedish) here:

But this one is quite telling also:
In which an open letter asking for a moratorium on any policy decisions that would increase GHG emissions will, according to Bengtsson, then lead to banning "incorrect" ideas and books, and even book burnings ("Nästa steg blir väl att bannlysa det felaktiga tänkandet eller bannlysa eller rent av bränna olämpliga böcker"). Apparently, the proposal reminds him of the 1930s' intellectual atmosphere, too ("Att jag läst tillräckligt om 1930-talets intellektuella atmosfär i Europa är tillräckligt för att ge mig verkliga obehagskänslor").

Ernest Hurley said...

You do understand that papers need to be peer reviewed?
So unless your paper is relevant, truthful, stands up to scientific scrutiny ,is robust enough to explain certain principles without fear of contradiction or exposure as being unfit for purpose ,then it will not get published?
There are loads of examples I could cite , but I would rather leave on a happy note.

PL said...

Ernest, your comment doesn't follow from the previous one. (Don't worry; we've used to that.) The (single) potential co-author who has apparently (undocumented so far) decided not to publish with Bengtsson because of his affiliation with GWPF didn't to my knowledge say that their paper would be rejected because of Bengtsson's name on it: he/she simply doesn't want to be known as "Dr X, who works with Bengtsson of the GWPF".

I don't see any McCarthyism in that.

Millicent said...

No McCarthyism. But it seems that sceptics have the right of 'freedom of association' and climate scientists do not.

BBD said...

idunno and Marco

Thank you both.

And oh dear, Dr Bengtsson.

Wuggles said...

You go Nik! By the way, can we have a look at that PhD of yours? Does it really say "Nonsense"?

Wuggles said...

I think one of the commenters at Stoat has it right: Bengtsson just wanted to be introduced to Nigella Lawson, and things didn't work out.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

:-) :-) :-)

Sou said...

Comments notated as deleted by me (blog administrator) for not complying with the comment policy have been moved to the HotWhoppery.

John Mashey said...

I wonder how the comments to Dr. Bengtsson compare with:

the office breakin @ Andrew Weaver's

dead rat on doorstep for Ben Santer

hate mails sent to Katharine Hayhoe

those cataloged in Pseudoskeptics Exposed In The SalbyStorm. (GWPF participated, somewhat)
That of course is especially relevant to Oz, given the amount of discourse found @ NOVA. The phrase book will likely not be a surprise here, but there were some innovations.

Anonymous said...

As I was saying: Here is tomorrow's front page of the Times.

Lars Karlsson said...

Anonymous 6:20 PM, that is going to be very bad for Bengtsson:


ligne said...

what's that, denialists quote-mining perfectly reasonable statements to make it look like mainstream scientists are close-minded and dishonest? oh no, i can't imagine them ever doing anything like that.

Millicent said...

Thanks for the link to the IOP statement. It is hard to see why he left the GWPF: it would seem to be his natural home.

Lars Karlsson said...

Bengtsson makes a statement:

“I do not believe there is any systematic “cover up” of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics’ work is being “deliberately suppressed”, as The Times front page suggests. I am worried by a wider trend that science is being gradually being influenced by political views. Policy decisions need to be based on solid fact."


MikeH said...

"I am worried by a wider trend that science is being gradually being influenced by political views."

This is from the person who joined and then resigned from the GWPF.

David Sanger said...

well there's a difference between understanding the science and then discussing the policy implications from the perspective of your political philosophy, and seeking to undermine the science for political purposes.