Ha ha: Lennart Bengtsson leaves advisory board of GWPF

So says the Onion, Germany’s finest news source.

This has so many shades of “Chinese academy endorses NIPCC report”. The back story: Lennart Bengtsson, sounding somewhere between very naive and emeritus, joins the GWPF, talking the usual nonsense (I believe most serious scientists are sceptics) indicating that either he really doesn’t know what’s going on, or is deliberately obfusticating. Now, it seems, his various respectable colleagues have pointed out his silliness to him. So he’s ditching the GWPF, because he doesn’t want to be an outcast. But he hasn’t got the grace to admit the foul-up is all his error.

Update: watching the wackos on this one is fun. There ought to be a prize for the most over-the-top Godwinism. So far the clear winner by quite a margin is NTZ with the gloriously hyperbolic Boko Haram Science…Thought-Tyranny, Vicious Hounding Shame, Blacken Climate Science Community. LB himself manages a merely silly It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. AW is dull; RP Jr is merely a tosser again, sigh.

Update: whilst LB has clearly gone off the rails wrt the GWPF, I should point out that he has a genuine solid scientific reputation; see his page at U Reading for example. And he has genuine recent publications in respectable journals as well. I went to ECMWF for their meteorology course for a month or two in ?1991? when I first joined BAS; he had just left as Director of ECMWF then, for MPI. His first publication was the year I was conceived.

Late update: Olle Häggström has a good background article on LB, available to anyone capable of speaking Foreign, or pressing the “translate” button in Chrome. Or, its up at Eli’s.

Climate Change Reconsidered – again

While you’re here, consider TPP’s review of NIPCC Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.

I win

Well, for the moment anyway:


Update: Why?

Its interesting to ponder why LB has gone off the rails.

In they Are Mad As Hell And Not Going to Take it Anymore, Eli links to some (translated, thank heavens) Swedish provided by MW (originally here, thanks, but I got busy) wherein LB says:

I surely do not imagine our romantic green Communists want a one-way ticket to North Korea. But if interested I will gladly contribute to the trip as long as it concerns a one way exit.

This rather hints towards right-wing views, which would fit neatly in with the GWPF. I provide my own speculation in answer to comment 56 below. Oh yeah, and I wrote something in my post above, too 🙂

DA also wonders. OH, in the comments notes that LB can appear a touch over-sensitive, which makes me wonder, again, whether his emails are entirely accurate.

Update: the Paper of Death

News about Lennart Bengtsson’s paper. It looks as though he may have been just a touch economical with the truth. Shades of Lindzen, Spencer et all to wearily al.: old folk who just can’t accept that sometimes, peer reviewers are right.

* Statement from IOP Publishing on story in The Times.
* Eli.
* expert reaction to claims climate research was ‘suppressed’ including LB (via QS)

The second referee is now available (see Eli and its now even worse for LB.


* Nigel Lawson’s climate-change denial charity ‘intimidated’ environmental expert
* Bengtsson burns his boats?-JA
* Lennart Bengtsson and his media gambit on climate change by MW at Uppsalainitiativet – some background.
* The Bengtsson Affair and the Global Warming Policy Foundation – by the GWPF’s David Henderson.

217 thoughts on “Ha ha: Lennart Bengtsson leaves advisory board of GWPF”

  1. TBZ – that really is a Who’s Who of climate scientists.

    OK, maybe it could more accurately be described as a list of people who aren’t actually climate scientists …. but that would be nitpicking.

    BTW – have you skeptically examined McIntyre’s 1000:1 cherry-pick? How did that analysis turn out?


  2. Kevin O’Neill said
    >>OK, maybe it could more accurately be described as a list of people who aren’t actually climate scientists <<

    what like William Connelloy & John Mashey

    In any case kevin;
    1. there certainly are climate scientists on that list

    2. Mashey used the exact words – "someone with scientific credibilty”

    3. the IPCC, in their reports use scientists from of many persuasions, as well as geographers, engineers & economists.

    And on the use of the word "nitpicking" kevin, I see your privy to posts I've sent that are still being held in moderation, as this one will be!

    [I don’t know anything about Kevin’s privy; generally nowadays people have indoor toilets. But yes, you’re in the moderation list; are you surprised? -W]


  3. Kevin: minor correction:
    It was only 100:1 cherry pick 10,000:100, I’ve looked at the R code . Of course that was atop a bogus persistence needed to generate the curves to be cherry picked.


  4. John, yes – I confused the Wegman report’s 10,000:12 with McIntyre’s 10,000:100 …. I’m just cherry-picking any report McIntyre was associated with 🙂


  5. “Clued in,” was he?

    I quote his latest interview:

    ” Even more alarming is the tendency of giving people the impression that weather events are becoming more extreme, and that this has actually already occurred. Apart from a possible increase in precipitation and a possible intensification of tropical hurricanes that has not yet been detected, there are no indications of extreme weather in the model simulations, and even less so in current observations.

    This has convincingly been demonstrated and also held up by the IPCC. Damages are increasing, as are damages from earth quakes, but this due to the growing economy. It is also important to stress that injuries suffered by humans during extreme weather has decreased substantially due to better weather forecasts.

    What is perhaps most worrying is the increased tendency of pseudo-science in climate research. This is revealed through the bias in publication records towards only reporting results that support one climate hypothesis, while refraining from publishing results that deviate. Even extremely cold weather, as this year’s winter in north Eastern USA and Canada, is regarded as a consequence of the greenhouse effect.

    Were Karl Popper alive today we would certainly have met with fierce critique of this behavior. It is also demonstrated in journals’ reluctance to address issues contradicting simplified climate assessments, such as the long period during the last 17 years with insignificant or no warming over the oceans, and the increase in sea-ice cover around the Antarctic. My colleagues and I have been met with scant understanding when trying to point out that observations indicate lower climate sensitivity than model calculations indicate. Such behavior may not even be intentional but rather attributed to an effect that my colleague Hans von Storch calls a social construct.

    That I have taken a stand trying to put the climate debate onto new tracks has resulted in rather violent protests. I have not only been labeled a sceptic but even a denier, and faced harsh criticism from colleagues. Even contemplating my connections with GWPF was deemed unheard of and scandalous.”


    [LB isn’t clued in, far from it. His friends, the ones that told him the GWPF are a bunch of wackos, are the ones who are clued in. As yuo’ve convincingly demonstrated above, LB is well off the rails.

    Its worth highlighting how self-serving and self-obsessed his trying to put the climate debate onto new tracks is. What he actually did, was to join a bunch of wackos, leak deliberately partial information, and make inflammatory statements. None of that helped a more constructive debate; there’s no sign at all of LB trying to move towards more constructive debate. What I see is someone who has deliberately politicised science, and then criticised unnamed “others” for doing what he has done himself -W]


  6. Bengtsson also shows a remarkable unfamiliarity with the literature when he claims “journals’ reluctance to address issues contradicting simplified climate assessments, such as the long period during the last 17 years with insignificant or no warming over the oceans, and the increase in sea-ice cover around the Antarctic.”


  7. “Were Karl Popper alive today we would certainly have met with fierce critique of this behavior” quoth LB

    I’m not so sure. Late in his career Popper admitted her was wrong about evolution and he knew his answer to the question of what marked science from non-science was flawed. Plenty of things we accept at pseudoscience (astrology, homeopathy, ESP) are falsifiable but are not science. The other aspect, usually ignored by pseudoskeptics and deniers, is that there has to be a scientific explanation too. Anthropogenic climate change has that.

    As a further question, why can so few scientists name more than one philosopher of science?


  8. Appropriate terms, in italics below , for describing Lennart Bengston’s (LB’s)comments.

    Example 1,
    I stumbled on this 24 year old quote, which has been recycled by Judith Curry and others and attributed to LB. The date is important although I missed it at first.


    If you talk to the greenhouse mafia about these observations, they provide some answers, but those are not real. There is no proper support for the claim that the greenhouse effect should already be visible. It is sometimes stated that the Southern Hemisphere is warming. But there are so few observational sites over there that it is very difficult to draw any definitive conclusions about the temperature in the Southern Hemisphere.

    ‘Mafia’ labels this comment as public relations activism or contrarian advocacy..

    There are no references,

    [If I google that, I find http://www.staatvanhetklimaat.nl/2014/05/13/bengtsson-in-1990-one-cannot-oversell-the-greenhouse-effect/ which claims it to be the translation of an article, the text of which they don’t provide. I don’t think “mafia” is credible for a 30 year old article from LB; I think they’ve made that up. I don’t know how much of the rest they’ve made up -W]

    but there is a 30 year old article in “The Warming Papers” Eds. Archer and Pierrehumbert p.208. Jones P.D. et al, (1986) on global temperatures up to 1984 which discusses some of the same uncertainties; but its conclusions are rather different:


    With regards to the hypothesised warming due to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the overall change is in the right direction and of the correct magnitude.

    Other examples. Fast forward to Sep 12th 2011.

    For these writers is the “hockey stick” shape of the temperature curve for the last 500-1000 years taboo. This shape of the temperature curve, however, is more than reasonable and actually consistent with the current knowledge of the image.

    LB on UI,Google trans.

    18 months later the emphasis has changed, 15/3/13

    Here, in my view, both Mann and Co. as well as their detractors got way too much attention despite the fact that one can not find much substance in their writings.

    LB on SI (1), Google trans. comment 12

    It even tries to promote the idea that global warming has stopped it being emphasized that 1998 was the warmest year on record (“other researchers have documented a decade-long cooling period Following the record heat of 1998”)…….
    …. The last decade is actually more than 0.2 ° C warmer than the previous one, where in 1998 were included.

    From LB,Sep12th,2009 on UI(1) above.

    But starting from the same data,only two and a half months later, he tries to steer his readers in a different direction :

    The last ten years, the temperature has been flat.

    LB 28th.Nov.2009; trans Google;

    Returning to the UI (1) link above LB dismisses the NIPCC with

    For serious citizen I can only suggest to ignore this dubious report and wait for the IPCC’s next assessment in 2014. Meantime, the IPCC’s excellent and well-balanced evaluation from 2007 used.

    Four and half years later this has morphed into:

    The whole concept behind IPCC is basically wrong.

    1st May 2014

    and he appears to have allowed this to be used in a headline.

    References to other comments in Stoat. The paper LB co-authored in 2013 mentioned after #75 and #97 makes some allowance for both aerosols and committed warming, whereas a completely different impression has been given by excluding these effects from the May 3rd.interview with von Storch discussed in #42 of the May 28th. archives.

    It appears that

    Olle Häggström
    was right when he used the

    metaphor of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

    to describe LB. LB’s erratic behaviour towards the IOP’s journals is another example. See also MW’s useful article mentioned at the top.


  9. I’m not sure Jekyll/Hyde is a good model, as that was an oscillation between two extreme states, as a opposed to a transition from one state to another, that seems sudden, but when examined more carefully, is found to have earlier precursors.

    Still, it is a rare case for someone with a long, strong mainstream research track record in climate science to go off like this.


  10. >erratic

    Science! As Tom Toles reminds us:
    “The brain is a collection of semi-connected potential selves and behaviors (that are in some tension with each other) waiting to be deployed depending on external circumstances. The sense of a Unitary Self, while not non-existent is to a great extent an illusion of the brain’s need to explain its behavior to itself, and others, as more consistent than it actually is….”


  11. Re: #213

    Yes, perhaps, but that is if you restrict yourself to a rather literal interpretation. If so, don’t forget that one of the potions gradually ran out, sadly, leaving Hyde as the only available state. ,


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