Two days ago, I wrote that for me the real issue in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial is not so much my own personal freedom of speech but the broader freedom to speak given "the climate of fear that Mann and his fellow ayatollahs of alarmism have succeeded in imposing on an important scientific field":
If you're older, tenured, sufficiently eminent and can stand his acolytes jumping you in the parking lot and taking the hockey stick to you, you'll acknowledge that his greatest achievement is distinguished mainly for its "misrepresentations" and "falsifications".
But, if you're a younger scientist, you know that, if you cross Mann and the other climate mullahs, there goes tenure, there goes funding, there goes your career: you'll be cut off like Briffa's tree rings. I've been stunned to learn of the very real fear of retribution that pervades the climate world.
I was perhaps being over-optimistic about those "older, tenured, sufficiently eminent" scientists: being hockey-sticked in the parking lot is not to be dismissed lightly. As I mentioned yesterday, the Swedish scientist Lennart Bengtsson, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, winner of the 2005 Descartes Research Prize and the 2006 World Meteorological Organization IMO Prize and a man whose contributions to science far outweigh Michael Mann's, recently revealed that he was joining the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think-tank for rational skepticism founded in London by Nigel Lawson.
Retribution from the "climate community" was swift and merciless. And yesterday morning the 79-year old Professor Bengtsson announced:
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.
It has. For one thing, it's not "meteorology" anymore; it's about saving the planet. So what is this sinister GWPF which Bengtsson was foolish enough to get mixed up with? Well, its founder, Lord Lawson, formerly Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, wrote about it in Standpoint recently:
As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, the Foundation's Board of Trustees decided, from the outset, that it would neither solicit nor accept any money from the energy industry or from anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry. And to those who are not-regrettably-prepared to accept my word, I would point out that among our trustees are a bishop of the Church of England, a former private secretary to the Queen, and a former head of the Civil Service. Anyone who imagines that we are all engaged in a conspiracy to lie is clearly in an advanced stage of paranoia.
He's right. For a British think-tank, that's as boringly respectable as you can get: courtiers, civil servants and bishops. Nigel Lawson being a Conservative, he's rounded out the numbers with peers from the other main parties: Lord Donoughue, former senior advisor to two Labour Prime Ministers, and Baroness Nicholson, former Liberal Democrat MP - all very tripartisan. If you were trying to create a parody non-profit board on whom the torpor of respectability hung heavy, Nigel's is hard to beat. No swivel-eyed loons like me or Delingpole in sight.
Why can't Mann and the other "consensus" enforcers permit Professor Bengtsson to have tea and crumpets with the Bishop of Chester and the former Permanent Secretary to the Department of the Environment? As Steve McIntyre puts it in a piece called "The Cleansing of Lennart Bengtsson":
As a general point, it seems to me that, if climate change is as serious a problem as the climate "community" believes, then it will require large measures that need broadly based commitment from all walks of our society. Most "skeptics" are not acolytes of the Koch brothers, but people who have not thus far been convinced that the problem is as serious as represented or that the prescribed policies (wind, solar especially) provide any form of valid insurance against the risk. These are people that the climate "community" should be trying to persuade.
Begtsson's planned participation in GWPF seemed to me to be the sort of outreach to rational skeptics that ought to be praiseworthy within the climate "community".
Instead, the "community" has extended the fatwa. This is precisely the sort of action and attitude that can only engender and reinforce contempt for the "community" in the broader society.
Ah, but you're not looking at it from the enforcers' point of view. What would happen if Lennart Bengtsson were to sit down with Nigel Lawson and suffer no consequences? Likewise, what would happen if the psephological darling of the 2012 election Nate Silver were permitted to promote a "denier" like Roger Pielke, Jr and get away with it? That sort of thing could prove contagious: "Just give me ten who are stout-hearted men/And I'll soon show you ten thousand more!" as Nelson Eddy remarked in similar circumstances.
So it was necessary to make an example of Bengtsson, as it was a couple of weeks back for Pielke. Today, the latter commented on the former at Hans von Storch's site:
For experts in the climate issue, there is enormous social and peer pressure on what is acceptable to say and who it is acceptable to associate with. My recent experiences are quite similar to Bengtsson's...
Unfortunately, "climate mccarthyism" is not so far off. It has been practiced for a while...
The main problem here is not that people have strong views or call people names. It is that the elite in this community - including scientists, journalists, politicians -- have endorsed the climate mccarthyism campaign, and are often its most vigorous participants.
Hmm. I wonder who he has in mind. Meanwhile, Michael E Mann approvingly reTweeted the following:
People not wanting to coauthor scientific papers with you b/c you joined an anti-science advocacy group is not McCarthyism.
But they're only "anti-science" because you say so. Dr Judith Curry is a member of the National Research Council's Climate Research Committee, the co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences, the co-author of Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans, the winner of the Henry G Houghton Research Award from the American Meteorological Society, a former member of the National Academies Space Studies Board and Climate Research Group, and of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Working Group ...but she's "anti-science" because Michael Mann says so.
The ranks of anti-science continue to swell. Yesterday The Guardian had the temerity to publish a piece that included a quote from Mike Hulme on Mann's hockey stick:
The data was absolutely scanty.
So Mann, with the characteristic insecurity of the bully, spent half the day Tweeting about Hulme, starting with a suggestion that he ought to bone up on "actual science". Mike Hulme is Professor of Climate and Culture at King's College, London, editor of the journal Climate Change, former senior researcher at the Climatic Research Unit and Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia ...but he's anti-science because Michael Mann says so.
Kate McMillan's distillation:
There is no such thing as "climate science"... There is only The Cult.
At "ScienceBlogs", William Connolley scoffed at the idea that Mann and his consensus enforcers are the climate wing of Boko Haram. But the notion's not so obviously ridiculous to me. "Boko Haram" is Hausa for "western education is forbidden" - literally, "books" (boko) are forbidden, and books are western, so you don't need to come into contact with them. That's science Mann-style: You don't need to come into contact with anything other than the one true faith. And, if you do, look out. As Connolley's "ScienceBlogs" headline has it:
Ha Ha: Lennart Bengtsson Leaves Advisory Board of GWPF
As Connolley sees it, Bengtsson's "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."
Yeah, sure, whatever gets you through the night. Keep telling yourself that, and not that he's a 79-year old Swede who fears for his health and safety because of what Mann and his goons have done to the field he's worked in all his life. While "ScienceBlogs" is laughing, The Times of London reports that "the pressure had mainly come from climate scientists in the US". Hmm.
I've lately been meeting with potential witnesses for my end of the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial. And I always tell them the same thing: They don't have to do this, and I wouldn't think any less of them if they declined, but, if they decide to go ahead and testify for the defense, they must understand that the ayatollahs of alarmism will get out the hockey sticks and club them to a pulp, as they've just done to Professor Bengtsson. Most of them are firm in their commitment to stand up for the truth - but in a climate mob trial there's no witness protection program, alas.
That milieu seems more apt than the "Climate McCarthyism" thing, I'd say. A few weeks ago, I compared Michael Mann to Brando in The Godfather: He's the Warmfather whose tree ring you have to kiss. But, with hindsight, Brando-wise, Mann's more like Lee J Cobb in On The Warmerfront: a palooka like Mike Hulme don't know that when they come around asking whether you know anything about Johnny Tree-Rings and his hockey stick, a smart guy plays d-&-d, right?
But maybe it's time to take it to the next level:
Is Denying Climate Change a Threat to National Security?
~In light of what's happened to Lennart Bengtsson and others, I want to express my profound gratitude for your continued support of my pushback against Michael Mann, especially your enthusiasm for SteynOnline gift certificates.