There’s plenty of controversy swirling around the fellowship termination of Caleb S. Rossiter, adjunct professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics and School of International Service, American University. Read the background here at Climate Depot.
The stated mission of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is to put “ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment“. These are noble aims, but can be achieved only by finding good solutions, solutions that can be reached only through open, honest discussion.
I was interested in getting reaction from other leading scientists, journalists and academics on the matter, and so I sent e-mails asking them to comment. Much to my satisfaction, most of them replied. Their comments on the Rossiter fellowship termination follow.
Willie Soon (USA)
Professor of Astrophysics
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
“For any objective reader and citizen of the world, this sort of bullying ought to inform everyone that science and its practice are now no longer free and willing. In fact, we are constantly being terrorized and threatened by the research funding gravy trains and large resources needed for science to progress and prosper. This is a scientific dark age we are living in because no more scientists of Professor Rossiter’s caliber are speaking out and telling the whole truth on any matters scientific. The idea of atmospheric CO2 being the one sure control knob for climate and future disasters is profoundly wrong – not only on scientific grounds but also on the moral and ethical grounds that Professor Rossiter’s op-ed in WSJ has exemplified. Thank God that the United Nations and various scientific institutions will not be able to silence us because we will never let them do that.”
Lennart Bengtsson (Sweden)
Professor of Meteorology, climate scientist
“As I myself have experienced recently, the ceiling of tolerance in climate change has become depressingly low, I might say almost non-existent. This is most worrisome for the health of science. I find Prof. Rossiter’s comments highly reasonable and it is obvious that without a healthy economical development of Africa along the lines we have seen in China, there is neither much hope for the people of Africa nor is there much hope that humankind will ultimately solve its environmental problems. The directors of the Institute for Policy Studies should ask themselves how life in Europe and United States would have been today without access to inexpensive energy in the form of coal during the last 250 years. I find the treatment of Prof. Rossiter in all respect both unintelligent and disgraceful.”
Fritz Vahrenholt (Germany)
Professor of Chemistry, co-author of The Neglected Sun
“The right to free expression and the freedom of science are the very foundation of democratic societies. When it comes to the ideology of climate alarmism, this obviously does not count for institutions like the IPS. This is regrettable. Caleb Rossiter is right: International climate policy has so far produced more damage than good for the people of the world.”
Judith Curry (USA)
Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
“Wikipedia describes IPS as a left-wing think tank. It is not clear whether Rossiter had a paid position there or not? It isn’t surprising to me that a think tank with a clear agenda would want to get rid of someone who ran counter to that agenda. If Rossiter lost a government funded position because of his views, well that would be a different story.”
S. Fred Singer (USA)
Professor of Atmospheric Physics
“I know Prof. Rossiter. Several years ago he invited me to deliver a talk on climate science to his students at American University. I got the impression that he had an open mind on the issue — and simply wanted to know the evidence, both pro and con, about human influence on climate change. I enjoyed meeting him. I had been meaning to contact him to bring him up to date. I also know the IPS; like many left-wing groups, it has a rigid position on issues and enforces orthodoxy. So I am not surprised — even though climate has nothing to do with war in Viet Nam.”
Lubos Motl (Czech Republic)
Professor of Physics
“As in so many cases, I am troubled to hear such news about scholars who are fired for their opinions. But in this case, I am not surprised or impressed because it’s some left-wing think tank – really an intellectually flavored organization of activists of a sort – so of course that they don’t tolerate someone who disagrees with some basic orthodoxy of a similar ideological color. This think tank is, hopefully, not pretending to be any open general public organization enjoying a monopoly over something that should be open to all people with some abilities and contributions above a certain threshold. It’s been cherry-picked, much like a political party, to contain people of certain opinions. I am not too troubled or shocked by that.”
Klaus-Eckart Puls (Germany)
Veteran meterologist, European Institute for Climate and Energy
“His fellowship was terminated because he had a diverging view. They said it themselves. That’s dogmatism, and not science or solution finding. This leads us to question if the IPS is a serious organization at all.”
Dr. Sebastian Lüning (Germany)
Specialist for Geology of Africa
Co-author of The Neglected Sun
“The ‘Institute for Policy Studies’ should change its name to ‘Church for Policy Studies’ if the directors restrict freedom of opinions to its scientists. Prof. Rossiter addresses a very valid point in his commentary that deserves detailed discussion. Africa suffers from a great number of current problems among which climate change is only near the end of the list.”
Tim Ball (Canada)
Professor of Geology
“I have no sympathy for Caleb Rossiter. He is not a victim. He got thrown into a small club of people who have been demonized for daring to question, for daring to practice skeptical science, for daring to speak out by default. The sad part is we wouldn’t be hearing about him now if it wasn’t for the termination of his fellowship.
Where was he when Rachel Carson condemned at least 90 million Africans to death because she falsely accused DDT of causing cancer and her husbands death? Where was he when I and Paul Driessen (EcoImperialism) were writing about thousands of Africans dying because of high food prices caused by US farmers growing corn with government subsidies to drive American cars?
Now we read about his concerns as if he is the first to discover what has been going on for years. The situation in Africa and around the world is a result of the leftist policies he supported and no doubt taught his students. Face the reality that you not only wasted your life, but did so in a way like Rachel Carson.
It is far too late to come with a mea culpa or even a mea maxima culpa. It is likely he would still be pushing his leftist agenda if the fellowship wasn’t terminated. Is he going to expose what is wrong with the message of the Institute for Policy Studies from now on?”
Nicola Scafetta (Italy)
Professor of Physics, Duke University
“In science issues are solved by applying the scientific method. Those who believe that a proposed theory is wrong, present their arguments and a discussion follows. The scientific method is structured in such a way that science can fix itself of the wrong theories. Therefore, the promoters of the anthropogenic global warming theory have nothing to worry if they are interested in science and are on ‘Nature’s side’, as they claim to be. They just need to practice their patience and the scientific method to rebut the critiques.
On the contrary, the campaign to silence dissent to the anthropogenic global warming theory has nothing to do with science. It is just a political plot finalized to intimidate scientists with the goal to prevent them from doing their job. The only positive aspects of this sad situation is that politics cannot substitute the scientific method nor stop it. At most politics can slow down the scientific progress with some damage to society, but it cannot really stop it.
Since 2009 I have published more than 20 papers further developing the study on natural climatic variability and its possible physical causes. The latest update is here
Today, many papers are being published on related topics and an increasing number of them are reaching my same 2009 conclusion that at least half of the observed warming since 1950 is naturally caused by climatic oscillations (e.g. by a 60 year plus other oscillations). To me it seems evident that the anthropogenic global warming theory as proposed by the IPCC does not have a future.
Understanding how climate truly works will be beneficial for everybody. So, I cannot but hope that scientists will have the full freedom to investigate climate change without the inappropriate political interference and that they get the deserved recognition for their truly scientific work and accomplishments.”
Hans Labohm (Holland)
“This is the umpteenth example of a scientist being excommunicated by his colleagues because he refuses to ignore facts and is not willing to toe the party line. Throughout the years I have witnessed many similar cases in my own country, The Netherlands, and have been familiar with many other cases abroad. It is part of a hideous tendency of Lysenkoism in the field of climate science. It is inconsistent with the spirit of truth-seeking which should be the main driving force behind science. Every scientist, whether he or she is a climatologist or not, whether he or she is pro AGW or not, should speak up loudly against these kind of practices and should condemn them unequivocally.”
Dirk Maxeiner (Germany)
Veteran science journalist/publicist
“The handling of Caleb S. Rossiter is an expression of a peculiar new worship of stars that stops at nothing. […] Attention is being shifted from the concrete problems of today’s living people and over to future generations. Many people in Africa are suffering from horrendous conditions, dirty water, and polluted air. These are among the leading causes of death for children. They could be helped today. But the public is more concerned about the Africans as possible climate victims 100 years in the future. The simplest rules for sustainable action seems to have been forgotten. It is called: Whoever wants to survive tomorrow must first survive today.”