Real Climate’s Stefan Rahmstorf–A History of Defamation

Yesterday we looked at the long history of attacks on Bjorn Lomborg by Konsensus Kooks. It was prompted by the latest such diatribe by Stefan Rahmstorf of Real Climate.


Lomborg should be used to this by now. But the rest of us shouldn’t. And for the latest fact-free attack to be authored by Stefan Rahmstorf is a little rich.

Stefan Rahmstorff has form on quasi-libelous attacks on his opponents. Der Spiegel, the German newspaper, reports that “Time and again he has not only gone after journalists, but also after scientists who have openly expressed views that Rahmstorf didn’t like.” Scientists such as Hans von Storch, for example.

That was after Rahmstorf attacked a German blogger and ended up in court. Der Speiegel wrote about it then: “The well-known climate scientist and government adviser Stefan Rahmstorf has been convicted of an attack against a journalist Blog”.

The journalist had criticized an IPCC report drawn on water supplies in two North African countries. As Der Spiegel writes, “Indeed, there was in the IPCC report inaccurate formulations as researchers admitted later.”

Rahmstorf accused her of not reading the IPCC report and of plagiarizing parts of her article. Both accusations were false. Both accusations were based on zero prior knowledge. Both accusations were defamatory and injured the reputation and livelihood of the journalist, who abandoned her coverage of climate change following the incident.

A German magazine on science journalism wrote of the affair, “[T]he malice, which Rahmstorf shows for the author of the article, seems like personal defamation that has no place in public disputes. Not even – or, should I say, especially not – when it comes to a subject as important as climate change. Much of Rahmstorf’s way of behaving in this case is reminiscent of what he has always argued against so eloquently: the facts are polished until they support a predetermined interpretation.”

So in terms of writing false attacks on your opponents, we might say Stefan Rahmstorf has official standing.

It is tempting to wonder if his long-time association with the insurance company Munich Re has something to do with this. Many scientists work either within or with the private sector–Judith Curry has her own company, for example.

But Munich Re stands to profit hugely from climate change, charging higher premiums for protection from climate disasters. If disasters are wrongly classified as due to climate change, it grows the market for Munich Re’s insurance. Hence the recent onslaught of poorly sourced and obviously inaccurate stories about Xtreme Weather etc. Very convenient untruths.

Munich Re also stands to benefit from fears of sea level rise, again being able to raise their premiums because of the supposed elevated risk. And Rahmstorf has written paper after paper announcing–shouting from the rooftops–that human caused climate change will bring large sea level rise. Readers interested in how that has played out over the years can click here.

As for the journalist Rahmstorf libeled?

“Irene Meichsner – who had to fight her legal battle for her reputation on her own – has had enough of climate issues for the time being. She no longer writes about this subject.”

Rahmstorf lost the battle, but won the war. Defamation worked and scared off a journalist. Hope the same doesn’t happen with Lomborg.


7 responses to “Real Climate’s Stefan Rahmstorf–A History of Defamation

  1. The science fiction of Rahmstorf was the direct input for the alarmistic report of the dutch delta committee, taxpayers are expected to cough up the money for higher dikes. (Note that the alarm starts in 2050, long after his retirement)

  2. I never read real climate, but I went ahead and read the piece, left a three line comment defending Lomborg.

  3. Wall Street Journal 30/8/2015:

    “Insurers Could Use More Calamity

    On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, insurers are suffering from years of calm seas and low rates.”

  4. Off topic, returning to the “endless oil supply at $50 per barrel” debate

  5. Pingback: Another New Term Is Added To The Climate Lexicon: Welcome To Your New ‘Semi-Empirical’ World | The Lukewarmer's Way

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s