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Photo of Stefan Rahmstorf and Joseph Goebbels

Heil KlimaFuehrer Rahmstorf!



August 14, 2017

The intended audience of this article is really Germans, who suffer from Stefan Rahmstorf, but I (Dr. Duane Thresher) think Americans and the rest of the world will find it fascinating as well.

Full disclosure: Dr. Claudia Kubatzki is coauthor on several papers with Stefan Rahmstorf and was also at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) with him.

Who is Stefan Rahmstorf? Aside from a few hacks at the New York Times, their witless readers, and the climate change cabal at the American Geophysical Union not many Americans have ever heard of him ... and they should be thankful for that.

Stefan Rahmstorf is an alleged climate scientist from Germany. He, along with NASA's Gavin Schmidt, are the founders of the blog RealClimate.com, which pretends to be about climate science but is really about politics (suggested motto: "Climate change: believe it ... or else"). Gavin Schmidt is the leading American climate change warrior scientist and Stefan Rahmstorf is the German Gavin Schmidt.

I call Rahmstorf an "alleged" climate scientist because his climate background is very suspect.

Rahmstorf brags everywhere about doing a thesis in general relativity theory, after studying physics at the Universities of Ulm and Konstanz. First and most obviously, what does general relativity have to do with climate? Rahmstorf apparently thinks it makes him sound like some genius. But a thesis in Germany is for a "diplom", which the Germans pretend is a master's in the US but is really a bachelor's (see ahead). At that level what does doing a thesis in general relativity theory even mean? Did he add to or correct the theory? I doubt it. And why two universities?

Then Rahmstorf says during this time he also studied physical oceanography at the University of Wales (Bangor). With no degree to show for it that could mean anything. For example, maybe he took only one physical oceanography course, perhaps failing it, or maybe none. Maybe he just looked at the ocean.

Rahmstorf says he got his PhD in oceanography from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). I tried to look at his dissertation but access to it is restricted (my dissertation is here). Hiding something from vroniplag? (Americans, vroniplag is a German group that goes through dissertations of high-ranking Germans looking for plagiarism. They are incredibly successful. For an amazing example, the last German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, who would have been Rahmstorf's boss, was found to be a big-time plagiarizer and lost her PhD and her job. You can't make this stuff up!)

Rahmstorf says he got his "habilitation" (Americans, see ahead) at the University of Kiel.

Obviously the value of a degree depends on the quality of the institution it is received from. U.S. News & World Report's Best Global Universities is the definitive ranking and gives overall university rankings and rankings in fields. Let's look at the rankings of Rahmstorf's institutions:

University of Ulm -- #291 overall, #362 in physics.
Diplom, University of Konstanz -- #472 overall, #155 in Arts/Humanities?
University of Wales (Bangor) -- #574 overall, #144 in Environment/Ecology?
PhD, Victoria University of Wellington -- #477 overall, #153 in Geosciences.
Habilitation, University of Kiel -- #269 overall, #102 in Geosciences.

As indicated, the Germans do some funny stuff converting to American degrees. They pretend a diplom is equivalent to an American master's even though they have no bachelor's and the timing of a diplom is the same as an American bachelor's. Then they pretend their doctorate is equivalent to an American PhD even though the timing is the same as an American master's (moreover, a doctorate is just the result of a 3-year research contract, with the degree more like a parting gift). And then they pretend their habilitation has no equivalent in the US but the timing is the same as an American PhD.

It's obvious why the Germans came up with this system. When they come to the US to take American science jobs away from Americans it gives them a big (fraudulent) competitive edge: to the ignorant Americans hiring them they look like geniuses having finished their "PhD" in 3 years when an American science PhD takes 5 years or more.

German climate scientists often take no courses to get their doctorate or habilitation, which is extremely different from an American master's or PhD. Courses are what make American science PhD's so sought after by the rest of the world, who flock to American universities, including the Germans. This lack of courses often leaves German climate scientists remarkably ignorant of a field in anything but the narrow area they researched. I wouldn't even discuss climate science with Rahmstorf until he went back to a real university and took some actual climate courses.

Full disclosure: Dr. Claudia Kubatzki got all her degrees in Germany, had started a PhD in the US, and agrees with this assessment.

By now you are screaming, oh yeah, what about your degrees, Dr. Thresher?!

BS, MIT -- #2 overall, #1 in Computer Science.
MS, University of Arizona -- #73 overall, #34 in Geosciences.
PhD, Columbia University -- #9 overall, #4 in Geosciences.

Chuckle. Neither Rahmstorf nor I broke 100 ... but from opposite sides. For more about me see my About Us.

At this point Rahmstorf will point out his swollen list of publications. But among German climate scientists this is a joke. They can always find some disreputable journal to publish any piece of rubbish they come up with; see for example Herzschuh et al. in Global Ecology and Biogeography.

And peer review is a joke too. Instead of reading the papers, which would take forever since they are in English, the language of science, German climate scientists simply look at the author list and decide whether they like the author or have a deal with him. Plus if they use Gestapo tactics like Rahmstorf (and Gerrit Lohmann) they can force themselves on the author list of any paper they want and force it to be published.

I am proud to say I am not particularly well-published. I resisted publishing a lot of little papers ("islands of minutiae in a sea of trivia") and my few big papers were in opposition to climate dogma so were unpublishable.

A few years ago I became so disgusted with what climate science had become I quit. So now Rahmstorf will say he is a working scientist and I am not. But if you drive out all the good scientists with Gestapo tactics who would you expect to be left as the working scientists? (Note to Rahmstorf: feel free to try to contact my boss and libel me.)

So if Stefan Rahmstorf is such an unqualified climate scientist how did he get to be such an important one, at least in Germany? He uses Gestapo tactics -- contacting your boss, libeling you.

For example, Markus Lehmkuhl is a German science journalist and works for the German Science Journalists Association. He wrote an article about Stefan Rahmstorf, Ideology and climate change: How to silence journalists, describing how Rahmstorf brutalized a freelance journalist, Irene Meichsner, who dared question climate change even a little. The article begins:

"A freelance journalist becomes the target of the renowned climate researcher Stefan Rahmstorf, who in the struggle for the supposed truth does not stop short of personal defamation."

Even the most famous German liberal news magazine, Der Spiegel, generally among the climate change alarmists, published an article The Rough Methods of Climate Researcher Rahmstorf (in German and read by native-German Dr. Claudia Kubatzki) by Jan-Philipp Hein and Markus Becker.

The first paragraph makes it clear why the authors chose that title: "Journalists complain about attempts at intimidation, researchers distance themselves from the Potsdam professor." And a little further on: "If a journalist addresses climate change and brings forth arguments that Rahmstorf finds bad, there can be trouble. The professor of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) then writes letters. But not to the authors, but immediately to the responsible chief editors or department heads." Or, the authors add, he publishes his letter right on his homepage instead. Several examples of people disagreeing with Rahmstorf's Gestapo tactics then follow in the article.

Before you get hysterical about my Nazi-era comparisons (too late!), I am not the first to make these. There were some in the article that led up to the Spiegel article and among themselves the Germans make these comparisons. They are obvious.

Stefan Rahmstorf is the classic bully, as most dictators are. They are insecure about themselves and strike out preemptively. Rahmstorf has a sketchy climate science background and is insecure about this so if you disagree with him he has to attack you.

Rahmstorf has no real accomplishments in climate science so he has to seek fame any way he can. He has glommed onto the IPCC for this. He thinks because the IPCC won a Nobel PEACE Prize -- nothing to do with science -- that HE has won a Nobel SCIENCE Prize. But this leaves him having to protect the reputation of the IPCC like a rabid dog. The IPCC is highly questionable science by bureaucrats so protecting it is a full-time job.

I lived in Germany for several years. I thought Germans were overly sensitive about their past anti-Semitism. I don't believe the sins of the fathers are the sins of the sons. (Although welcoming millions of Jew-hating Muslims now does make them very suspect. Angie, you have some explaining to do.) That said there does seem to be something in the German character that allows dictators to rise and I think I know what it is. They can't imagine that anyone who would claim to be great is not really great so they let him get away with it, to their detriment. Let me tell you, Rahmstorf is not great, not even close. Germans should tell him to shut up while they still can.

As for Rahmstorf's importance in America ... he isn't. He did try to influence the US elections with a pathetically overdramatic Dear US voters, don't make a choice that your children will regret post in RealClimate.com but the only effect it had was to put Rahmstorf's crony Gavin Schmidt in a tenuous position. Schmidt is a US Government employee (NASA GISS) and it is against the law for him in his official capacity to take a side in elections. Plus he was stupid enough to back the wrong horse. I'll let you know how that works out for him.

Full disclosure: I worked with Gavin Schmidt, now head of NASA GISS, for 7 years while I was at NASA GISS. I am coauthor on several important papers with him. I was also at NASA GISS while James Hansen, the father of global warming, was its head and am coauthor on several important papers with him.