Climate McCarthyism: The Scandal Grows
Professor Lennart Bengtsson - the scientist at the heart of the "Climate McCarthyism" row - has hit back at his critics by accusing them of suppressing one of his studies for political reasons.
The paper, which Prof Bengtsson wrote with four co-authors, suggested that climate is probably less sensitive to greenhouse gases than is admitted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and that more research needs to be done to "reduce the underlying uncertainty". However, when submitted for publication in the leading journal Environmental Research Letters, the paper failed the peer-review process and was rejected.
One of the peer-reviewers reportedly wrote:
‘It is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of “errors” and worse from the climate sceptics media side.’
This, Prof Bengtsson told the Times, was "utterly unacceptable" and "an indication of how science is gradually being influenced by political views."
‘The problem we now have in the climate community is that some scientists are mixing up their scientific role with that of a climate activist.’
In truth, to anyone familiar with the Climategate emails there will be nothing surprising or unusual in this incident or this claim. As the emails leaked in 2009 made abundantly clear, the organised suppression of sceptical papers in learned journals by the alarmist establishment has long been rife within the field of climate science.
What's more significant is that this story has made it to the front page of the Times. Like most of the mainstream media, the Times has been remarkably slow to latch onto the corruption, malfeasance, waste, dishonesty, bullying and lies which are rife throughout the climate change industry. If it hadn't been for the internet and sites like Watts Up With That? and blogposts like this one the Climategate scandal would have passed almost without notice.
Finally, it seems, the MSM is beginning to wake up to something it really ought to have picked up on long ago: the greatest and most expensive scientific scandal in history, in which a cabal of lavishly grant-funded, activist-scientists from Britain to Australia, Germany to the US, has exaggerated the evidence for "man-made global warming" and attempted ruthlessly to suppress the work of sceptical scientists who dispute the "consensus."
Professor Bengtsson's McCarthyite purging may one day come to be seen as the climate alarmists' "Bridge Too Far" moment. As Judith Curry, climatologist and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has argued, "It has the potential to do as much harm to climate science as did the Climategate emails."
The reason, quite simply, is that it shows the climate change establishment in such an appalling light. These people have long traded on the public's acceptance that they are the "experts", the guys we can trust. Yet here they are shown behaving not like loftily-minded seekers-after-truth but simple playground bullies. One German physicist is said hysterically to have compared Bengtsson's decision to join the Global Warming Policy Foundation (a politically neutral think tank) to joining the Ku Klux Klan. Another warmist scientist - an American one this time - petulantly refused to be named as co-author on any of Bengtsson's papers, a form of professional assassination.
This does all rather invite the question: if the climate establishment is really so sure of the solidity of the science underpinning its doomsday predictions, how come it needs to adopt such desperate, unethical and unscientific methods to shut out dissenting voices?
The Bengtsson scandal comes at the end of an exceedingly bad week for the cause of climate alarmism. In other news, still further scorn has been poured on the methodology of the Cook et al paper on the "97 per cent consensus."
John Cook is an Australian alarmist who a year ago produced a paper purporting to show that 97 per cent of studies supported the "consensus" on man-made global warming. It was eagerly seized on by the left-wing activists who run President Obama's Twitter account, who gleefully tweeted under the name @barackobama "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous" - with a link to the paper.
But the paper, in fact, showed nothing of the kind. Recently a researcher named Brandon Shollenberger gained access to some of the data used in Cook's paper and found the statistical methodology to be fatally flawed. However, when he raised these points with Cook's employer the University of Queensland he received a stiff lawyer's letter forbidding him from contacting Cook or even making any mention that he had been sent the letter.
Given how often the "97 per cent" consensus figure is quoted by politicians and scientists alike to justify the extreme measures being adopted to "combat climate change", you can well understand why the alarmist establishment is so eager to suppress this inconvenient truth.
Their ability to do so for much longer, however, looks increasingly doubtful. The word is out: establishment climate science is little more than pseudo-science, propped up by bullying political activists, but unsupported by real-world data.