Meteorologist Says Climate Alarmists Used ‘McCarthy’ Tactics Against Him

When the federal government fearmongers over climate change, you can expect a collective media gasp. But not when alarmists are accused of pressuring and attacking skeptical scientists.

Meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson claims that after he joined a non-profit which expressed doubt in the global warming alarmist movement, he suffered a persistent campaign of hate and vitriol from alarmist scientists. He resigned from the group on May 14, citing fears for his health and safety. Broadcast news networks ignored Bengtsson and his claims while continuing to report on climate change. 

Bengtsson said that the meteorology community “has been transformed” to exert “enormous group pressure” on skeptics like himself. While the networks ignored this alleged scandal, the networks aired climate alarmism stories only weeks before.

Bengtsson is a professor of meteorology who has authored over 200 papers since 1963 and won numerous awards throughout his career. Bengtsson is also the former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, which Der Spiegel called “one of the world’s leading climate research centers.” Bengtsson was also once part of the U.N.’s IPCC, according to Climate Depot. He joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) on May 7. The GWPF’s goal is to “[restore] balance and trust to the climate debate” and said that the climate debate “is not yet settled,” according to its website.

Many climate skeptics heralded this move as further evidence that respected climate scientists were expressing skepticism with popular climate alarmist hypotheses. For example, Breitbart London’s James Delingpole wrote on May 8 that “Lennart’s is just the latest in a series of defections from the climate alarmist camp to the cause of realism.”

But alarmist scientists, for their part, came out strongly against Bengtsson for joining the GWPF. Upon resigning, Bengtsson decried the “enormous group pressure” against him by climate alarmist which he likened to “the time of McCarthy.” He even said this negative campaign made him “start to worry about [his] health and safety.”

Between his resignation on May 14 and May 19, ABC, CBS and NBC network morning and evening news have ignored the alleged bullying of this credentialed climate scientist. But not because the networks were reluctant to discuss climate change, as evident by their intense discussions of a “dire” climate report and of the “unstoppable” melting of Antarctica earlier this month.

In just the month of May, the networks promoted climate alarmism with their news reports about a White House climate report and a NASA study. After the White House released the alarmist National Climate Assessment Report, ABC, CBS and NBC pushed the report’s conclusions before a high-profile May 6 interview with President Barack Obama. CBS “This Morning” co-host Gayle King emphasized the Obama administration’s warning that “the pain will get worse.

All in all, the networks spent an amazing 27 minutes and 37 seconds on that report during morning and evening news shows, calling it “dire” and “alarming.” That was a huge amount of overall broadcast time illustrating the networks’ willingness to promote alarmism. The same networks were silent about Bengtsson’s claims.

On May 12 network evening news shows freaked out over a new NASA study on melting Antarctic sheet ice. CBS “Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley warned of “a big rise in sea level” while ABC anchor Diane Sawyer told “World News” that glaciers are melting so fast, it is now unstoppable.”

The claim that climate alarmists are bullying dissenting scientists and trying to force them into silence is nothing new, and neither is the networks’ omission of the story. Dr. Roy Spencer, a skeptical climatologist from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, wrote on May 16 that skeptical scientists “have put up with many years of unfair treatment by a handful of activist gate-keeping colleagues” saying this had “been going on for at least 20 years.”

This is far from the first time that the broadcast networks have ignored such behavior. Most notably, ABC, CBS and NBC attempted to ignore the November 2009 ClimateGate scandal, remaining silent for 13 days (covering it on the 14th day).

Sean Long
Sean Long is a former writer for MRC Business.