Anybody who imagines that the theory of projected catastrophic man-made global warming is a matter of reason – or “settled” science — is woefully naïve. It is religion. Perceived infidelity leads to harsh moral condemnation. Heresy must be silenced.
An egregious example occurred this week when, less than a month after agreeing to join the Academic Advisory Council of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, GWPF, one of the world’s leading skeptical organizations, the eminent Swedish climatologist Lennart Bengtsson announced that he felt forced to resign. He had come under assault from supposed “colleagues” all over the world. Professor Bengtsson, who is approaching 80, said he was concerned not only for his health, but for his safety.
Described as “a kindly, mild-mannered Swedish grandfather,” Professor Bengtsson has had a long and distinguished international career in meteorology and climate research. He was head of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg from 1991 to 2000. In 2000 he became a professor at the University of Reading. Since 2008, he has been Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland. He has won numerous awards, is a member of many learned societies, and has over 200 publications to his name.
Professor Bengtsson said his decision to join the GWPF had led to “enormous group pressure… from all over the world,” which he found unbearable. In his letter of resignation, he noted that he did not see how he would be able to conduct his normal work if the onslaught continued. “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.”
Nigel Lawson, the former British Chancellor of the Exchequer who formed the GWPF, responded that it was “an appalling state of affairs, and your reference to McCarthyism is fully warranted.”
David Henderson, chairman of the GWPF’s academic council and a former chief economist for the OECD, noted that Professor Bengtsson had suffered “a degree of intolerance, and a rejection of the principle of open scientific inquiry, which are truly shocking.”
Professor Bengtsson said that most protests about his decision to join the GWPF came from the U.S., where the administration of Barack Obama has become almost deranged on climate, which the president has picked as a “legacy issue.”
Perhaps the degree of vituperation is related to the fact that alarmist reports, such as the recent voluminous U.S. National Climate Assessment Report, NCAR, now tend to be ignored. This is not analogous to the boy who cried wolf. The wolf turned up. This is more like the boy who cried unicorn.
Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, suggested that the NCAR established that the phrase “climate change” had now become virtually meaningless. All bad weather is now climate change. All climate change is caused by humans.
Professor Bengtsson has long expressed skepticism about the certainty professed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, the fount of “official” climate science. He has in particular questioned its downplaying of the significance for its models of the lack of warming in the 21st century.
In an interview with Dutch journalist Marcel Crok, Professor Bengtsson said “The whole concept behind IPCC is basically wrong.” He rejected the claim that there was any scientific consensus, and said that skepticism was the proper stance of a scientist.