The under-pressure head of an international energy treaty launched an extraordinary — and swear-y — online attack against an academic Monday, then doubled down when questioned about his tirade.
Guy Lentz, secretary-general of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), lashed out at Columbia University researcher Martin Dietrich Brauch over his criticism of the treaty, saying one of his articles was “totally stupid” and “awfully long.”
“Who is paying those clowns for this kind of shit?” he asked on Twitter, adding: “Hey man, wake up, wonderland is for kids.”
Lentz’s comments come as the treaty faces heavy fire from green groups and a number of EU governments over the protections it offers fossil fuel investments from government policies aimed at cutting emissions.
A reform process, which concluded over the summer, brought “no improvements,” Spain’s Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera told POLITICO last week as she confirmed Spain would follow Italy, Poland and Australia in leaving the treaty.
Spain’s exit has led to speculation that more EU countries could decide to leave the deal or that a group of EU countries could block the proposed reforms.
When another academic questioned Lentz’s behavior on Twitter, the ECT boss responded: “Waouw all the green army is showing off today ..very interesting,” adding, “(Take your time for answering..it looks like you need it) !!”
Lentz’s Twitter account has since been deleted, but Brauch has a screenshot of the initial tweet. In response to a request for comment from POLITICO, Lentz replied in a WhatsApp message that the email was “useless,” adding “Y choose your side . Fair enough. I think we ll stop here our ‘partnership.’”
“Guy Lentz’s disparaging tweet, along with his systemic blocking of academics and other experts, is a flailing attempt to distract from the real concerns and issues that I and many others are raising about the ECT,” Brauch told POLITICO. “It is regrettable that the head of the Secretariat of the ECT is unwilling or unable to engage in open and respectful discussion about the treaty, which has outsized negative impacts on global climate goals.”
Reacting to Lentz’s tweets, Green MEP Anna Cavazzini said: “Academic voices are crucial in every policy debate. Researchers present compelling arguments to show that the ECT modernization isn’t compatible with the objectives of the Paris agreement. They must be heard.”
The EU intervened to ensure Lentz was appointed as head of the Brussels-based ECT last year. The European Commission didn’t respond to requests for comment.