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« Bengtsson and the left | Main | The community strikes back »

The MSM covers Bengtsson

A couple of articles in the MSM are good on the Bengtsson affair. The Mail covers some of the reactions from the less reputable climate scientists and their fellow travellers:

He was also abused on science blogs, with one describing the people who condemned him as ‘respectable’ and that his actions amounted to ‘silliness’.

Another described him as a ‘crybaby’.

The Times, meanwhile, notes that the main source of pressure on Bengtsson was from the USA:

He said the pressure had mainly come from climate scientists in the US, including one employed by the US government who threatened to withdraw as co-author of a forthcoming paper because of his link with the foundation.

Interesting times.

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Reader Comments (71)

Sorry about the website but the news is interesting

May 15, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

I wonder how his co-authors who didn't make threats now feel? I doubt that all of them condone this sort of behaviour.

May 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"climate science should be subject to a faith test"

A bit like the Spanish Inquisition, then..?

Nice for Gavin to admit that it is a matter of belief, though.

May 15, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"“Groups perceived to be acting in bad faith should not be surprised that they are toxic within the science community,” Schmidt tweeted."

It's so ironic it's painful!

May 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Well Gavin Schmidt would know all about acting in bad faith. He is an expert in the subject.

May 15, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Bob Ward either has some inside information, or is a complete dickhead:

Bob Ward ‏@ret_ward 38m
Lennart Bengtsson's claim that he started "to worry about my health and safety" now looks like a gross exaggeration:

The link goes to the MailOnline piece

May 15, 2014 at 1:04 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

'....a faith test...'

Oh, so it IS a religion, then...

May 15, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

"Bob Ward either has some inside information, or is a complete dickhead:"
No, he just read the piece to the end. LB says what has been bugging him:
"I received emails from colleagues all over the world telling me it was a "questionable" group.
'But what made me the most upset was when a colleague from the US resigned as co-author of a paper, simply because I was involved."

So people wrote saying they didn't think much of GWPF. And worst of all, someone took his name off a paper.

Is this the "McCarthyism"?

May 15, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

There is a reason why some people don't recognise bullying when they see it or can't empathise with those who suffer from it.

May 15, 2014 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Yes, it is McCarthyism. His decision of conscience was attacked not for any action but for his simple decision to join a group. A group that openly discusses and challenges pre-conceptions and popular beliefs.
Climate cowards cannot deal with open discussion and so do as all cowards do: rely on bullying to get their way.

May 15, 2014 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

What surprised me was that Bengtsson was still so active in his work at 79 years of age. Most people would be easing back and enjoying more free time to do what they liked. Imagine what the pressure would be like on a younger scientist. No wonder there are not many prepared to speak out. Actually now that all this has come out I think his plight will do more damage to the alarmists than if they had kept quiet and let him join GWPF. His actions tell the story and his words are still there. In fact I wonder whether his former "colleagues" will actually return to work with him again even now he has resigned. If he is ostracised he might think of re-joining GWPF again.

May 15, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek

"Yes, it is McCarthyism."
Tender flowers here. So it's McCarthyism to write and say the GWPF is "questionable"?

May 15, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

In Schmidt speak.....

bad faith = trying to disprove established (IPCC) theories = exclusion
good faith = working to support established (IPCC) theories = inclusion

(only one of these is science)

May 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

Some of us, me for example, seem to have placed more importance on the "health and safety" bit than Bengsston himself who was more upset about the loss of a co-authorship. Something doesn't ring right there. Maybe it was a throw-away line. I'm coming to think that although this event is certainly deplorable, maybe Nick's view, if I understand it is more realistic - that we are making more of this than Bengsston is.

May 15, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

I've left my question for Nick on Climate Audit. What amused and almost delighted me was the way the Mail headlined the story - under the main headline five bullet points with the last:

Group has been accused of being sceptic towards climate-change policies

Well yes. That really is the height of the accusations. How could they? :)

May 15, 2014 at 1:38 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Fears about unbelievers’ polluting the discourse, as some academics put it, illustrate the weakness of climate science: The evidence for harmful anthropogenic global warming is not strong enough to stand up for itself.

Can you have a better case showing the consensus-science skeptic-science divide?

A consensus is always "polluted" by unbelievers. This shows climate science is consensus science - it's just a group like a political party coming to a view largely irrespective of evidence.

This contrasts to skeptic-science. That's science as we skeptics feel it ought to be: evidence based, hypothesis testing and it's not who you are but how good your methodology which counts.

May 15, 2014 at 1:39 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

"So it's McCarthyism to write and say the GWPF is "questionable"?"

Stokes, I think you're actually a sceptic pretending to be an alarmist and saying ridiculous things to make the alarmists look foolish - well done, it's working - don't worry I won't tell anyone.

May 15, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

Richard, yes, that line caught my eye too - as if it's a crime.

Nick, did Bob send his file of all the emails Bengtsson received to you?

May 15, 2014 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Stokes, at long last, have you no sense of decency left?

May 15, 2014 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterTINSTAAFL

Very similar stories have come from a large number of skeptic-scientists. The clearest example is Salby who is still out of a job.

If this isn't McCarthyism - only being allowed a job if you toe the alarmist line - then I don't know what would be.

What do they want - for skeptic scientists to be beaten up on the street? Would they then admit they are victimised?

(And yes I doubt it - it'll be "they beat themselves up" ... "they deserved it" .. or "crybaby".)

May 15, 2014 at 1:54 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

For those who are down playing the "health and safety" aspect of this, need to consider two things. Firstly stress IS a health and safety issue particularly for a 79 year old. Suddenly having people you assumed were reasonable people and/or friends turn on you would be very stressful, no matter how secure your financial position. Slights from those nearest to you are far more damaging than casual abuse from a stranger. Secondly while he may not have received death threats but he would be aware that the level of vitriol emerging from colleagues might escalate into something more physical once the flame had been set alight in the heart of an unhinged stranger. Let's face it, the green community has a few of those, like any other walk of life, including ours. All that at only 3 weeks in. Do you blame him for not wanting to see how far it could go?

May 15, 2014 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"Nick, did Bob send his file of all the emails Bengtsson received to you?"
No. All we know is what LB has said. Some people criticised the GWPF. But worst of all, somebody didn't want to be a co-author. If that's what upset him the most, they can't have been the sort of emails Phil Jones was getting.

May 15, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

The thing about Mark Steyn is that he really goes for it. Thus the caption under the photo of the captured girls in full hijabs:

The Department of Climate Science at Boku Haram releases new video showing formerly apostate climate scientists now contentedly collecting West African tree-ring data for Dr Mann's next hockey stick

Why didn't I find analogies with Boku Haram funny until that moment? Whatever, we also pray for those poor young women.

May 15, 2014 at 2:13 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Nick Stokes, you've already linked to the post where Bishop Hill regulars and host widely condemned the threatening emails sent to Phil Jones. I'm still waiting for you to show even a dop of regret about this. I won't hold my breath.

May 15, 2014 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Readers might be interested in one William Connolley, no science qualification, who wrote this:

It is referenced here:

May 15, 2014 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

I apologised for you on Climate Audit on behalf of Australians with morality.
We will see if Steve lets it through.

It really is as simple as deploring the described pressure tactics, while noting the reference to concerns for health and safety. Most people, I think, would relate to that, especially the more experienced. And moral.

May 15, 2014 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Correction needed to that Schmidt tweet.
Replace the word 'science' with 'climate work'.
Much of climate work is not credible science.;
Also, there are larger sectors of science in general whose leading lights have not prostituted their respective and respected science.

May 15, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

J Jones from a few years back (here), when the climate team went after J Curry for talking about 'Hide the decline"

“People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It’s not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here. Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.

However, “hide the decline” is an entirely different matter. This is not a complicated technical matter on which reasonable people can disagree: it is a straightforward and blatant breach of the fundamental principles of honesty and self-criticism that lie at the heart of all true science."

full comment here;

May 15, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Mr. Mark Steyn, alludes his bile and so, he illuminates a vivid picture.

And if I might say, very well said.

May 15, 2014 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

So Mr Stokes just to ask do you also dismiss those in your camp who allege getting so called 'abuse ' and 'online harassment' [from ? well who knows as they never produce any evidence !] even to the extent of screaming they are getting 'death threats ' ! lol whwhich later turned out to be big steaming crock ?
'looks like a gross exaggeration' to me !

May 15, 2014 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMat

"I apologised for you on Climate Audit on behalf of Australians with morality."
Geoff, well, thanks, I guess. It hasn't turned up.

Yes, I have been much accused of immorality, for what is simple scepticism. All I see is people writing to a very well-connected scientist, saying that he shouldn't join the GWPF. You guys are pretty fee with letting people know how you feel. Would, say, the Bishop taking a job at CRU not get your fingers working?

Hunter says it is McCarthyism to write saying the GWPF is questionable. Would it be McCarthyism to write saying the IPCC is questionable? Has no-one here done that?

And I know - GWPF good, IPCC bad. But that's opinion, not morality.

May 15, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

"So Mr Stokes just to ask do you also dismiss those in your camp who allege getting so called 'abuse ' and 'online harassment' "
Again, exercise a bit of scepticism. Or at least reading. Prof LB has not alleged getting abuse. He says he has been getting emails criticising the GWPF.

May 15, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

"Would, say, the Bishop taking a job at CRU not get your fingers working?" We'd be quick to congratulate him, yes.

We were very pleased when one of our members joined the Union of Concerned Scientists. We don't expect the propaganda to go to his fluffy little head.

Many sceptics have worked for the IPCC.

Questioning the GWPF or the IPCC is not McCarthyism, pillorying someone for just working with those organisations is.

May 15, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

McCarthyism indeed.

Many fine Americans were unjustly called "silly' during the height of the communist scare.

May 15, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael

From a dictionary:

"Good Faith--

Honesty; a sincere intention to deal fairly with others.

Good faith is an abstract and comprehensive term that encompasses a sincere belief or motive without any malice or the desire to defraud others. It derives from the translation of the Latin term bona fide, and courts use the two terms interchangeably."

How strange that Schmidt twists that to mean agreeing with his "faith", since he is one of the keepers of "the faith."

May 15, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

Seems that "Lawson Haram"* have kidnapped the acadaemic freedom of 200 Climate Scientists. #
.. and the world's media hasn't yet woken up

* I mean Ward, Schmidt & the rest of the eco-bullies
# not just the acadaemic freedom of 200, but that of all climate scientists at main western institutions.

May 15, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I am sorry but in non-academic professional circles, engineering, project management this would not be an issue.

This is the TRUE basis of the profession, an underlying layer of common interest. It is reflected in the guilds and societies that grew up. And why they grew up.

Premier League football managers can share a glass of wine after a game. Attend conferences in the summer sharing ideas.

As has been said many times before this only happens in the political arena. Climate science is not science but politics.

The issue is not that Bengtsson took any ideas with him, he took his reputation with him. That was the danger.

May 15, 2014 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur's Seat

Toleration is not a characteristic of the dramagreens.
.. To maintain their fantasy universe version view that "all climate scientists agree with green dogma" they simply say that if like Bengtsson you dissent then you are not a (proper) climate scientist and try and get you kicked out .ask other experts like Salby ad Bob Carter.

May 15, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I feel terrible for Professor Bengtsson, as you get older you become much more easily stressed, my father has become increasingly nervous about anything out of the ordinary such as people ringing on the door.

Bob Ward is a vile piece of work and one day he will hopefully get his comeuppance.

May 15, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

LB onboard would boost GWPF's credibility to almost unassailable levels. The unpalatable alternatives were: a) let the man alone with his own free choice, and live with the possibility of being on the losing side in fair debate, or b) hound him out by low but plausibly deniable tactics, running the risk of the inevitable (and wholly apt) comparisons with McCarthyism, or Mullahs and their fatwas. I guess they chose - consciously or otherwise - what appeared to them to be the least bad option. Once again, we see what a mad, bad world our climate scientists inhabit. But that's just my conspiracy ideation, of course.

May 15, 2014 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterigsy

The GWPF is guilty of saying climate change won't be so bad as the models said it will. This is of course what all climate scientists know to be true but actually admitting it can start to bring the entire house of cards down with consequent academic job losses, funding cuts and an end to windmill farms. Can't have that! Real science welcomes robust skepticism.

May 15, 2014 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Nick wrote this at CA -- "He took a political stand which was unpopular with his colleagues."

Bengtsson thought he was doing science. Nick sets us straight. It's all about politics. And politics is how we decide who gets to have a monopoly on violence.

May 15, 2014 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

Highly amusing to see all the little drama queens having fainting spells.

If McCarthyism had consisted of little more than people who publicized their joining of the Communist Party being mildly rebuked for 'silliness' or being that that it was 'questionable' (oh, the condemnation!), the term 'McCarthyism' wouldn't exist.

May 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael

OK then, if Professor Bengtsson continues to be treated badly, he may as well rejoin the GWPF, and can he please list all the people who have been nasty to him?

May 15, 2014 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaymam

Mr. Stokes is engaging in what lawyers might call "a gloss", that is, by making something that goes against your case look better or acceptable by deception or superficial treatment.

There is a reason why people swear to tell " the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" instead of just telling "the truth".

May 15, 2014 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterfortunatecookie

Has Bengtsson kept all the abusive threatening Emails Texts Tweets Letters and a log of all the phone conversations.

May 15, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

May 15, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

Not that we didn't know what sort of scientist you are but you have now garnished us with the confirmation. You really do not have any decency left, do you ?
Talk about sell your soul to the devil.

May 15, 2014 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

May 15, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenter jaffa

Great comment on Stokes. The most effective part of his act is the "full attack dog mode."

May 15, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Here is James Hansen, the father of climate science endorsing extreme eco fascist, Keith Farnish. Not very PC.


Farnish writes

The only way to prevent global ecological collapse and thus ensure the survival of humanity is to rid the world of Industrial Civilization .

Keith Farnish also wrote

Unloading essentially means the removal of an existing burden: for instance, removing grazing domesticated animals, razing cities to the ground, blowing up dams and switching off the greenhouse gas emissions machine. The process of ecological unloading is an accumulation of many of the things I have already explained in this chapter, along with an (almost certainly necessary) element of sabotage.

Hansen's Amazon UK review reads

Keith Farnish has it right:, time has practically run out, and the 'system' is the problem. Governments are under the thumb of fossil fuel special interests - they will not look after our and the planet's well-being until we force them to do so, and that is going to require enormous effort. --Professor James Hansen, GISS, NASA

May 15, 2014 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Jferguson (May 15, 2014 at 1:36 PM)
Maybe we've been making too much of the phrase “health and safety”. It rings oddly to a British ear, since it's become a kind of joke – a stock phrase for official busibodiness which puts a stop to any potentially dangerous activity, however slight the risk.
English is not Bengtsson's first language, so he may have just picked up the phrase and used it without realising its connotations. Without taking him too literally, it's clear what he means. He is 79 after all, and could do without the hassle.

May 15, 2014 at 4:25 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

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