Monday, February 22, 2010

The Gagging of Henk Tennekes

What is so appalling was how easily an obviously competent scientist was turned out of a key position merely because he chose to simply point out the obvious issues with the emerging global warming theory.

This is a repeat of the Lysenko tale under Stalin.  We once thought we were immune.  Now money does what Stalin did.

In fact political groupings form around funding initiatives and there is obviously huge pressure to suppress consenting opinion mostly because the scientist involved likely have no respect for the granters of the funds.  After all we do not want to confuse these fine citizens with detail.

A simple call to arms to save the world – that they can understand.  The arrogance is breathtaking.

It is insane of course; science has never worked like that.

I want you to think about something.  A discovery was announced a month ago that just might outright cure all cancers.  This will, if correct, abruptly end that cost factor in health medicine.  I also think the adoption of other protocols will largely end most incapacity among the elderly within the next decade.

So as we face rising potential costs we have also major reductions appearing.

You know that everyone is focused on the cost part of the equation as if reduction was impossible.

We live in a profoundly imperfect world in which far too many interests try to rig outcomes to suit their narrow interests.  The only justice comes when this is revealed.  I will not voice a silly platitude about it been inevitable.  It was not until the climategate emails were released.  To that minute, evidence had been suppressed for fifteen years.  That is a long piece out of a good man’s life.

We have a society that wants people to win or lose.  That process ensures that half of the best are often sidelined as this man was.

Gagged! Thrown out on the street! In the nineties, Henk Tennekes was made to clear his  desk and resign as Director of the KNMI (Dutch Meteorological Institute).

His sin? In a newspaper column the world-renowned meteorologist had disproved all the bold claims about climate change. Swearing in high places! And in the meantime, “hard proof” for the greenhouse effect evaporated. After all the scandal surrounding the UN IPCC panel, the skeptics voice  can finally be heard. Time for the rehabilitation of Holland’s first climate exile?

Rehabilitation of the country’s first CO2-exile

By Edwin Timmer

ARNHEM - “I worry a lot these days. I worry about the arrogance of scientists who blithely claim that they are here to solve the climate problem, as long as they receive massive increases in funding. I worry about the way they covet new supercomputers. Others talk about ”stabilizing the climate“. I’m terrified of the arrogance, vanity and recklessness of those words. Why is it so  difficult to demonstrate a little humility?“ Is this a response to recent climate scandals? Sober criticism of the failed IPCC UN climate panel that exaggerated the melting of the glaciers? No, these are extracts from a column which appeared exactly twenty(!) years ago in a British scientific journal. When the then Director of Policy Development at the KNMI (Holland’s Met Office,) Henk Tennekes put the cat among the pigeons. Watch out for all the unsubstantiated claims about climate! “My role as research director was regarded by the people around me as primarily that of provider of the next even bigger computer. But I wanted to get to the heart of the problem. Are these forecast models reliable? Not funny, everyone thought. Looking for the truth?

You must be mad!

That means you have to accept the fallibility of these models. That’s much too dangerous. Most  of the KNMI researchers were happy if they could just sit in the cafeteria with their like-minded colleagues.”

Greenhouse Theory

The now 73-year-old scientist still persists in his fundamental criticism of climate modelling, for instance the often-heard argument that ‘95 percent of the greenhouse theory remains valid’. 

Tennekes: “Why does the IPCC ignore the oceans? The top 2½ meters of all sea-water contain as much heat as the total amount of heat in the atmosphere. Why has the topmost kilometre of the oceans turned colder during the last five years? We don’t know. Until we understand what is happening with the heat in the oceans, the models which aim to predict the climate are totally useless. Tennekes himself acknowledges that he has never been the easiest person to deal with. “I was a troublemaker, and have a horrible temper,” he says whilst gazing out over the snow from his home in the Molenbeke district of Arnhem. “I lose my temper and get angry easily. When that column was published, my associates complained behind my back to the big boss, Harry Fijnaut.”

Henk, within two years you’ll be out on the street“ said Harry. In fact, it took him three years because he first had to invent a reorganization which would make my position superfluous. That’s how those top level bureaucrats arrange things. He wouldn’t even allow me a dismissal on grounds of ’incompatibility of characters.’

Climate Outcast

And so Tennekes became the first climate exile in the Netherlands. In retrospect the incident is illustrative of how during the past twenty years climate research – and accompanying alarming statements „appears to have fallen into the hands of a small clique that tolerates no contradiction, and equates dissenters to Holocaust deniers. Tennekes: “KNMI’ers still avoid me like the plague, because I say something different from the group dogma. First you must believe in something, only then you are allowed to participate in their discussions” In 1986, Tennekes unleashed a revolution in weather forecasting in a speech to the Royal Meteorological Society. That speech made him world-famous among his peers. The slogan he launched in that speech was: “No forecast is complete without a forecast of forecast skill. His eyes twinkle when he recalls that event. For the IPCC this was a warning of biblical proportions. Once Tennekes was out on the street, he was floored, a psychological wreck. Moreover, there were problems with his pension. “There are few professors who earn as little as me.” Teaching college-level courses for retired people (in the UK these are called U3A, University for the 3rd Age) and his passion for flying and birds helped him get through it. Not only did Tennekes write the first book ever about turbulence in the ’70’s, he recently rewrote his book ’The Simple Science of Flight’, used by high school seniors and college students the world over. The bartailed godwit flies non-stop over the Pacific Ocean in a week. Eleven thousand kilometers from Alaska to New Zealand! How is it possible? How can it feed itself? Other species of wading birds manage only 5,000 kilometers!

What is at hand here? The bar-tailed godwit has much better aerodynamics than we thought. Enormously efficient flying muscles. And it undergoes crazy physiological changes during the flight. All of its fat and half of its flight muscles are burned up by the time it reaches its destination. Even its heart has shrunk. People have no idea of the flexibility of living things! “ His enthusiasm falters when he thinks of the World Wildlife Fund or the Society for the Protection of Birds, which see climate change as a major threat to animals. Tennekes buries his head in his hands and moans: “That’s not science, that’s advocacy. Environmental Clubs are based on the idea that each bird and each territory must remain the same forever. But nature is not static! Put a bird on an island and within one hundred years you have a new species. I get really annoyed by the idea that we’re here to save nature. That’s a terrible overstatement of our  abilities”. “The notion that the climate is the biggest catastrophe of our time, is pure grandstanding.

Who’s taken in by all this climate talk? Moreover, the general public is systematically exposed to nightmare scenarios. I find that  scandalous. Yes, as far as the climate debate goes, I’m becoming blunter every day. When IPCC says that sea level will rise fifty centimeters in a hundred years, it’s an exaggeration, but I’ll let them get away with it. If Al Gore makes six meters of it, then I’ll swear loudly. If Rob van Dorland of KNMI then smirks and says that Gore was perhaps  ”exaggerating a little“, then I’ll swear even more loudly. You’re fooling us! ”

New Ice Age

“I am much more anxious about the cooling of the earth. The ultimate fate of this planet is a new ice age. If the main wheat belts of the Northern hemisphere fail to produce their much needed harvest, heaven knows how we will feed ourselves. Well, it could be that warming will lead to a disaster. I still want to accept that. But you must weigh this unknown risk against other problems. Why should we spend insane amounts to prevent CO2 emissions, while the risk is uncertain and any potential benefits of the solution unsure? With much less money we could eradicate malaria from this planet. Or fight HIV, before the entire African population decimates itself“.

Intimate clique

“No, I’m not surprised about the fuss surrounding current climate research. This storm has been brewing for years. The contributions of climate skeptics disappear unnoticed in the rubbishbin.

IPCC is run by an intimate clique of only a few dozen people. I believe that Minister Cramer (Environment) is a victim of the spin-doctors who surround her, people who believe ’good causes’ are served best by evil means. But these green bureaucrats do not understand the meaning of the proverb. It is the road to HELL that is paved with good intentions, not the road to HEAVEN. You can print that.“

Translation: Richard Sumner (UK)

No comments: