Bjorn Lomborg: The McCarthyism In Climate Science

  • Date: 22/05/14
  • Bjorn Lomborg, Forbes

It is sad to observe the increasingly poisoned climate in climate science. Last week, the renowned climate scientist and former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Prof. Lennart Bengtsson, was forced to step down because of incessant threats. He had agreed to become an advisor to a non-alarmist climate think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) three weeks earlier. But he had to resign due to unbearable pressure from some of his “colleagues” in the climate science community. In hisresignation letter, Bengtsson wrote

“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.”

Regrettably, Bengtsson is by no means the only researcher that has been McCarthy-ed. In a similar fashion, Professor Judith Curry, a climatologist and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Professor Roger Pielke Jr of the University of Colorado Boulder are routinely smeared for their stances.

“So what is the impact on a scientist of the so-called climate McCarthyism? As a result of smearings by [Joe] Romm, [Michael] Mann, et al., I am excluded from serious consideration for administrative positions at universities, offices in professional societies, consideration for awards from professional societies, a number of people won’t collaborate with me, and anyone who wants to invite me to be a keynote speaker has to justify this in light of all the cr*p that shows up if you google ‘Judith Curry’.”
Global warming is real and a problem, but the way that any arguments besides the hyper-alarmist are attacked and branded as heresy is counterproductive and wrong. In the long run the even worse fallout could be an eventual diminished stature of all scientific discussion.

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