In a new column in Forbes, Bjorn Lomborg hypes up the short-lived Global Warming Policy Foundation membership of Lennart Bengtsson as if the story had just appeared, but in actuality he’s rehashing a week-old manufactured controversy that Bengtsson himself has walked back on. The story is a zombie, revived by Lomborg and propped back up as if in the hope that no one will notice it’s already dead.
The following is a guest post by Climate Nexus:
Lomborg hypes already-debunked Bengtsson story
in new Forbes column
In a new column in Forbes, Bjorn Lomborg hypes up the short-lived Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) membership of Lennart Bengtsson. Lomborg writes as if he’s living in a time warp where the story has just appeared, but in actuality he’s rehashing a week-old manufactured controversy that Bengtsson himself has walked back on. The vast gulf between Lomborg’s reporting and the actual progression of events is some of the best evidence yet that Lomborg is utterly biased.
Let’s review what’s happened so far:
Environmental Research Letters provided full transparency. The journal that supposedly “suppressed” Bengtsson’s paper took the unusual step of issuing a statement (on May 16) clarifying that his paper was rejected because of scientific inadequacies. To back up that claim, ERL published the full text of the reviewer comments. This ended the speculation as to whether the paper was rejected on ideological grounds and showed that the one line suggesting such had been taken completely out of context.
Bengtsson and other scientists confirmed that there was nothing unusual about the paper’s rejection. In a statement to the British Science Media Centre, Bengtsson clarified that he did not think that there was any purposeful “suppression” or “cover-up” of dissenting climate science views. Other scientists commented that most papers submitted to top journals get rejected, and that this paper specifically had limited scientific merit. Dr. Simon Lewis even suggested, “I suspect that the rejection of a scientific paper hitting the news is simply because Professor Bengtsson has strong links to campaigners at the Global Warming Policy Foundation.” These statements also came out on May 16.
Media added context that the GWPF is a political rather than scientific organization. The word “policy” is right there in the organization’s name. Bloggers at the Guardian explained the many instances where the GWPF has attacked climate science and climate scientists, as well as the fact that the GWPF is in the process of launching an even more politically charged campaign arm. Bengtsson certainly has the right to be involved with advocacy groups if he wishes, but it’s unreasonable to join a group that attacks scientists and then be surprised when those same scientists are displeased. The Guardian post came out May 19 and was recapped in the International Business Times on the 20th.
Despite all of these developments, Lomborg still writes a post on the 22nd bemoaning the “sad” state of climate science and the “smears” endured by poor Bengtsson. There’s no mention of the fact that the reviews were released in full, or that Bengtsson walked back his statements about the “suppression” of the paper. Only Bengtsson’s earlier, more outraged quote is present. The story is a zombie, revived by Lomborg and propped back up as if in the hope that no one will notice it’s already dead.
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Some earlier posts by Climate Nexus:
Lomborg’s threadbare techno-optimism resurfaces in Washington Post, Australian (September 16, 2013)
Also on Lomborg:
On Bjorn Lomborg and the “middle ground” (October 15, 2010)