Lomborg hypes already-debunked Bengtsson story in new Forbes column

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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)

In Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bjorn Lomborg urges delay with misleading stats (January 25, 2013)

Wall Street Journal’s attempts to politicize National Climate Assessment fall flat (May 9, 2014)

Wall Street Journal misquotes IPCC to advocate inaction on climate change (April 7, 2014)

Assessing IPCC climate report, The Economist draws conclusion at odds with report itself (April 4, 2014)

Also on Lomborg:

On Bjorn Lomborg and the “middle ground” (October 15, 2010)

Washington Post feeds global warming disinformation campaign with Bjorn Lomborg feature (October 11, 2007)

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3 Responses to Lomborg hypes already-debunked Bengtsson story in new Forbes column

  1. A Siegel says:

    George Will or Bjorn Lomborg?

    Who is more dangerous to humanity's future?

    I vote for the deceptive Smiling Dane.

    As to why, see: http://getenergysmartnow.com/2010/04/21/energy-bookshelf-the-lomborg-deception-leads-to-a-question-does-the-washington-post-have-any-honor-left/

    You?

  2. Fernando Leanme says:

    I searched the Forbes column, which was dated four days ago. I suspect such a publication has certain standards, therefore for a Forbes reader the opinion piece by Lomborg may have been timely.

    I also fail to see why Lennart Bengtsson´s becoming a member of the scientific advisory panel for the Global Warming Policy Foundation should be objectionable to any scientists. The way I see it, scientists who have expertise in climatology can and should share it with policy wonks and government officials.

    There are an infinity of options humanity can use to solve the global warming problem. Some of these options may not be to my liking, some may not be to your liking, and so on and so forth. But groups seeking to find solutions and propose reasonable options should do so with sound scientific advice.

    When they degraded that organization´s ability to get sound scientific advice the individuals who attacked Lennart Bengtsson made a serious mistake. This is troublesome because the issue isn´t really about science or climatology. I suspect there´s a general agreement that global warming is an issue which needs to be handled, but we do have profound disagreements regarding the means, and this falls more in the fields of economics and government policies.

    • Rick - Climate Science Watch says:

      Re: "groups seeking to find solutions and propose reasonable options should do so with sound scientific advice."

      Yes. But GWPF is not regarded as such a group by many climate scientists. Rather, it is seen as a group that spun up in the wake of the bogus "climategate email scandal," taking advantage of that unwarranted attack on climate scientists to join in a campaign that is seen as spreading misinformation about the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. It's the mainstream leading climate scientists who have been systematically vilified and attacked for years now, by a global warming denial machine that has essentially lost the scientific argument and relies now on manufactured controversies, such as the Bengtsson affair. I don't know if Bengtsson has been personally attacked. Colleagues may legitimately criticize him for his association with the GWPF. If a colleague doesn't wish to co-author papers with him, well that's tough, but so what? Why he didn't stick to his guns, I don't know. His colleagues have been subjected to much worse in the attacks on climate science and scientists. The Climate Nexus post is a good one, pointing out how Lomborg jumped in to promote a totally misleading story -- something he is famous for doing -- and setting the record straight, which I doubt Forbes would do.

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