Friday, May 16, 2014

Suffer Not A Heretic To Live

The German magazine Der Spiegel said meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson is "a cool head in the often heated conflict over global warming." Here's more of what they said about him 4 days ago:
Bengtsson was known for maintaining moderate positions even during the most vitriolic debates over global warming during the 1990s. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he discusses why he made the shift to the skeptics' camp...

Bengtsson: I have not changed my view on a fundamental level. I have never seen myself as an alarmist but rather as a scientist with a critical viewpoint, and in that sense I have always been a skeptic. I have devoted most of my career to developing models for predicting the weather, and in doing so I have learned the importance of validating forecasts against observed weather. As a result, that's an approach I strongly favor for "climate predictions." It's essential to validate model results, especially when dealing with complex systems such as the climate. It's essential do so properly if such predictions are to be considered credible.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You think there's a need for climate research to do some catching up in this regard?

Bengtsson: It is frustrating that climate science is not able to validate their simulations correctly. Since the end of the 20th century, the warming of the Earth has been much weaker than what climate models show.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But the IPCC report discusses these problems in detail.

Bengtsson: Yes, the scientific report does this but, at least in my view, not critically enough. It does not bring up the large difference between observational results and model simulations. I have full respect for the scientific work behind the IPCC reports but I do not appreciate the need for consensus. It is important, and I will say essential, that society and the political community is also made aware of areas where consensus does not exist. To aim for a simplistic course of action in an area that is as complex and as incompletely understood as the climate system does not make sense at all in my opinion.
That was 4 days ago. What's happened since then?
Professor Lennart Bengtsson - the leading scientist who three weeks ago signalled his defection to the climate sceptic camp by joining the board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation - has now dramatically been forced to resign from his position.

His views on the weakness of the "consensus" haven't changed. But as he admits in his resignation letter, he has been so badly bullied by his alarmist former colleagues that he is worried his health and career will suffer.
In his own words:
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. 
The tolerant left.

1 comment:

allen (in Michigan) said...

The environmentalist extremist community, never tolerant of dissent, is getting frantic now that their momentum's declining and unpleasant truths are becoming impossible to ignore.

Germany, long a major political success for extreme environmentalists, is quietly leaving the fold. After announcing the shuttering of their nuclear generator facilities to a great deal of fanfare they're to be replaced, to vastly less fanfare, by soft-coal electrical generating facilities. Contrary to the widely-touted claims about the cost of solar/wind power they're both ruinously expensive.

Spain, another victory for environmental extremism, has quietly brought all their solar/wind projects to a halt because they're uneconomic at a time when Spain's fiscal future is shaky. Same with Portugal.

If you've got the political clout you can ram through the building of solar/wind facilities despite their uneconomic nature but you can't change their uneconomic nature via that same political clout. Sooner or later the cost of that power has to show up in a way that can't be obscured with subsidies of various sorts and for Germany that's occurred in their crucial export market. So Germany's finding out the cost of environmentalist extremism and as German voters are starting to come to terms with the bill the political influence of the Green party is waning.

As that political clout diminishes what would have been a moral misdemeanor is now a moral felony and "off with his head" is the remedy for any degree of apostasy. But the underlying factors aren't changed as a result so the decline in influence continues.

At some point, just like the anti-gun lobby, the environmental extremists will be seen as a spent force. They'll still be noisy but very few, and a diminishing few, will pay them any attention. Politicians of the left will continue to pay homage to the issue but only with their mouth's. Action, other then symbolic action, will be entirely absent.

Even now the extreme environmentalist agenda's support to a great extent by commercial interests that are already receiving or hope to receive a bit of the river of subsidies necessitated by the uneconomic nature of environmentalism.

That does create some interesting juxtapositions. Archer Daniels Midland and Greenpeace. The Environmental Defense Fund and General Electric. Organizations representing people who despise free enterprise palling up with the wicked corporations. Scandalous!

Scandalous and indicative of necessity. But that politically-motivated and necessitated alliance won't stop the decline of the political fortunes of environmental extremism. I'm wondering if there's anything that will.