I don’t care that the director or CEO of an advocacy organization concerned with poverty is an active academic. Indeed, my view of active academics is that many are largely incompetent in areas of life other than their specialized field. If that. So really, if you told me there is this great advocacy organization out there run by a well established active academic I’d figure you had that wrong, or I’d worry a little about the organization. On the other hand, everyone should care that university positions be given to active academics with credentials. So, when the University of Western Australia got paid off (apparently) to give Bjørn Lomborg a faculty position everyone looked at the UWA and said, “WUT?”
That was a situation up with which the members of that university community would not put, to coin a phrase, and the public outcry put a quick end to it. This is appropriate, because according to a new post by Stefan Rahmstorf at RealClimate, “… apart from one paper in 1996, Lomborg has never published anything in any field of science that was interesting or useful to other scientists, or even just worth the bother of contradicting in the scientific literature.”
I’ve talked about Lomborg here before. Here I noted,
There is currently a twitter argument happening, along with a bit of a blogging swarm, over a chimera of a remark made by John Stossle and Bjorn Lomborg. They made the claim that a million electric cars would have no benefit with resect to Carbon emissions. The crux of the argument is that there is a Carbon cost to manufacturing and running electric cars. When we manufacture anything, we emit Carbon, and when we make electricity to run the cars, we emit Carbon, etc. etc.
We also talked about how Lomborg is wrong on electric cars here. Lomborg has been stunningly wrong on climate change, which is mainly what he is known for these days (being wrong on climate change, that is). And his wrongness on sea level rise and Bangladesh is not only stunning as well, but also, downright dangerous.
Stefan’s post looks in detail at two things (and in less detail at many other things). First, is the question of whether or not Lomborg is an actual practicing academic with a good publication record and all that. He is not. Stefan’s analysis is clear.
Second, is a more detailed look at Lomborg, sea level rise, Bangladesh, and all that. This is especially interesting because Stefan is one of the world’s leading experts on sea level rise. He has two peer reviewed papers on the “top ten most cited” on the Web of Science (which has well ove 40,000 sea level rise related papers), which are heavily cited. Stefan’s post is a must-read because of Stefan’s overview of sea level rise, aside from the stuff about Lomborg. Go read it.
So go read the post, learn about Bjørn Lomborg’s academic qualifications, how wrong he has been about sea level rise, and some other good stuff.
I suspect we are not going to see much more about Bjørn going forward.