Monday, May 14, 2012

Paul Reiter Asks To Be Removed From Heartland Experts List

This morning I received the following email from Paul Reiter, a well-known medical entomologist at  the Pasteur Institute in Paris.  He, like Chris Landsea, has some disagreements with very specific aspects of the IPCC position on AGW (noted below).  However, with regards to the Heartland's latest initiative...Well, read the email:

Dear Mr Murphy,

I am appalled by this poster campaign. More than appalled, I am disgusted. I am also very upset that my name is associated with such propaganda.

I am not a climatologist, nor a glaciologist, nor an expert in sea levels etc. I am a scientist, a specialist in mosquito-borne diseases, particularly the mosquito-borne viral diseases. I have worked in this field for my entire professional life.

Several years ago (perhaps 2005) the Heartland Institute invited me to New York give a presentation on climate change and mosquito-borne disease.

I have long been critical of false claims made by non-specialists, claims that although intuitive, are quite outside the bounds of science. Claims, for example, that malaria would soon move into southern Europe because of higher global temperatures, that malaria had already moved to higher altitudes in East Africa, that the Asian Tiger mosquito has moved into temperate regions (Italy), that dengue is on the increase throughout the world and that the recent outbreak of chikungunya in northern Italy was "the first outbreak of a tropical disease in temperate Europe"... all because of climate change

These statements are not only made by activists, they come from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC), the Environmental Protection Agency EPA etc.

More correctly, a quick check on the web will confirm that the same persons, though not specialists in my field, have repeatedly served as lead authors, contributory authors etc. in the public health chapter of the IPCC reports, with repeated emphasis on mosquito-borne diseases. In addition, these pseudo-scientists have repeatedly posed as "experts" t persons in positions of great power (the supreme example is Mr Al Gore).

Moreover, these persons and these organizations have (and continue) to use the terminology of science to further their agenda whilst being careful to exclude the contribution of persons like Chris Landsea and myself.

An account of this background is given in my testimony to the House of Lords:

To me, such persons—the great majority of whom are non-scientists—are peddling misleading and harmful information to the public and thereby distorting appreciation of the true problems in global Public Health

It has been in the context of such shenanigans that I have repeatedly tried to set the record straight by peer-reviewed articles in the professional scientific press

Examples include:

Despite these publications and several others (not to mention articles by my professional peers in other prestigious journals including Nature and Science) I was and continue to be denounced as a skeptic and a stooge of the oil industry. An example is a recent book by Dr Paul Epstein in which he denounces me and a colleague from the University of Oxford as "naysayers" and "deniers" with various derogatory (and libellous?) statements. The term "denier" is particularly odious; it is clearly an allusion to holocaust deniers.

After more than 10 years of sticking my neck out (for which I have suffered several set-backs to my career) it was clear that however many articles I would write, the same falsehoods would continue to be scattered in the public domain by persons who clearly had little respect for science.

It was in this context that I agreed to speak at the meeting of the Heartland Institute. Several other scientists, experts in their field but denounced as "skeptics" (I particularly remember a specialist in Polar Bear biology) were present.

At the meeting I was asked if I would serve as a technical advisor on my field. My personal politics are far removed from those of the Heartland Institute but, given that the voice of "skeptics"—bona fide scientists—has little opportunity for exposure to the public, I agreed to serve in this capacity provided that it was quite clear that I would only speak on my own field of expertise.

I now thoroughly regret having agreed to their request. I am horrified that my name should be associated with such a distasteful, revolting campaign. To me it is worthy of the worst propaganda of the 20th century.

In summary, I am horrified that you should have found my name in association with this sort of claim.

I copy this message to Mr Joseph Bast and demand that my name be removed from any mention by the Heartland Institute.

I would also mention that I am deeply disappointed to see this change in the policies of his Institute. At the time that I had dealings with it I considered it refreshing that Mr Bast and his group were open to honest science and balanced debate.

I now see that this is no longer the case.

Yours sincerely

Paul Reiter


Just the facts, please said...

Great stuff BCL. Keep it up. Reminds one of your successful Uncle Ben's campaign.

Terrence said...

Wow. You do get results. I'm impressed.