Lennart Bengtsson, 79, the former director of the Hamburg-based Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, one of the world’s leading climate research centers, has resigned his recent appointment to the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the British “global warming skeptic” organization set up by former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson. He said the resignation was due to intense international pressure, especially from the U.S., which he described as like “the time of McCarthy.” Bengtsson had agreed to join the GWPF council last month, but sent the following message yesterday:
“I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that it 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.”
Britain’s daily Mail Online reports that the Swedish climatologist’s “defection” was the biggest switch from the pro-climate change lobby to the skeptic camp to date. Bengtsson told Mail Online that “I received emails from colleagues all over the world telling me it was a ‘questionable’ group. But what made me the most upset was when a colleague from the U.S. resigned as co-author of a paper, simply because I was involved. I thought joining the organisation would provide a platform for me to bring more common sense into the global climate change debate. I have been very concerned about tensions in the climate change community between activists and people who have questions. It has led to a bad atmosphere and a declining level in the quality of science.”
He believes one of the reasons for this is the U.S. government’s expanding role on climate change, writes Mail Online.
Nigel Lawson said the reference to “McCarthyism” was “fully warranted.” According to the council’s chairman, Professor Henderson, it was the “climate science community in the U.S.” which reacted negatively to the appointment.