|THE LOMBORG STORY
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|Lomborg´s complaint to the minister
In Lomborg´s words, UVVU´s verdict against him is the only event in his career that has rattled him. He would not recognize the verdict, but try to find a way to have it overruled.
His solution was to lodge a complaint about UVVU to the Minister of Research, Helge Sander. This was actually written for him by the Professor of Environmental Law at the Copenhagen University, Peter Pagh. Pagh wrote a 22 page "responsum", in which he detailed all small and large errors made by UVVU during the treatment of the case. Some items of complaint were rather ridiculous - e.g. a complaint that UVVU should not have published the verdict in English - but other items were relevant. The most obvious item was that UVVU had not in their ruling given any specific examples of errors in Lomborg´s book. Another item was that Lomborg had not been given sufficient time to see the verdict and correct possible factual errors before it was published. A third item was that, although UVVU in their decision wrote much about the importance of peer reviews, they had not investigated whether TSE had been peer reviewed before it was published by Cambridge University Press.
This complaint was sent to the Ministry on 13th Feb. 2003. In addition, two other supporters of Lomborg sent complaints, viz. a Dane (L. Thomsen) on 17th Jan., and the Dutchman Arthur Rörsch on 7th April.
I (Kåre Fog) speculated whether it would be a good move to do the same, and finally decided that I would indeed also lodge a complaint. I, too, was dissatisfied that UVVU had not commented upon the specific cases of alleged dishonesty, which in my view documented that Lomborg had misled deliberately. I lodged my complaint on 15th March, which was followed by a complaint by Henrik Stiesdal and Mette Hertz on 23rd April.
In July, the Ministry decided that only Lomborg had the right to complain. The reason given was that the Danish rules on public administration allow only complaints when essential, individual interests are involved, whereas complaints motivated by altruistic or idealistic motives are not allowed !
The Ministry´s decision, a document of nearly 70 pages, was published 17th Dec. 2003. The main conclusion was that UVVU had made so many errors that their verdict was declared invalid. The main point was the lack of specific statements on actual errors. Another point was that UVVU were allowed to distinguish between subjective and objective dishonesty in their premises, but not in their conclusion. Furthermore, in the view of the Ministry, UVVU had not documented that TSE was a scientific publication, i.e. it is doubtful whether they were allowed to evaluate it at all. This is a strange opinion, because Lomborg had invoked the scientific value of TSE when he was accepted by the Danish state as a director of the Environmental Assessment Institute.
It was now up to UVVU to decide whether they would hear the case again. There were two options for such a hearing. One would be to establish ad hoc working groups with external expertise that carried out a new investigation of whether Lomborg had misled deliberately. It could be anticipated that this would last another 6 to 12 months, or maybe even more. The other option would be to rely on the information that UVVU had gathered themselves. They expected that this would not lead to any conclusions different from what had been concluded already, especially because it is customary in Danish public administration that a complaint cannot lead to a change to the worse from the point of view of the plaintiff. Based on this reasoning UVVU decided on 12th Mar. 2004 that they would not hear the case again.
The ministry has informed UVVU that UVVU´s decision of 7th Jan. 2003 is no longer valid, because of the formal errors made in the treatment of the case. And because UVVU has decided not to hear the case again, there will not appear any new decision to replace the one that has been cancelled. Even the decision that Lomborg is "objectively dishonest" and has acted at variance with "good scientific practice" is no longer valid. There simply does not any longer exist any decision. Perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of this is that people in general are confused, and there is no authority to lean on when you want to find out what is right and wrong in this case.
On 7th Jan. 2004, two of the original plaintiffs, H. Stiesdal and M. Hertz, lodged a complaint about the Ministry´s decision to the Danish ombudsman. Their claim was that the Ministry, as well as UVVU, had been concerned only with The Sceptical Environmentalist, and thus had not dealt with their complaint, which was about Lomborg´s writings in the newspaper Politiken.
On 14th Mar. 2004, the other Danish plaintiff, Kåre Fog, lodged another complaint to the Danish ombudsman, in which UVVU´s decision of 12th Mar. is criticised. This complaint was rejected on 27th Dec. 2004.
Download a summary of the ministry´s decision of 17th Dec.
2003: As a web site