When “Peer-Reviewed” Is Used To Hold the Line (UPDATED)

(UPDATED) Via Fox News and Climate Depot:

Some are calling it the new “Climategate.”

A paper by Lennart Bengtsson, a respected research fellow and climatologist at Britain’s University of Reading, was rejected last February by a leading academic journal after a reviewer found it “harmful” to the climate change agenda. The incident is prompting new charges that the scientific community is muzzling dissent when it comes to global warming.

“[Bengtsson] has been a very prolific publisher and was considered one of the top scientists in the mainstream climate community,” said Marc Morano, of the website ClimateDepot.com, which is devoted to questioning global warming.

Bengtsson had grown increasingly skeptical of the scientific consensus, often cited by President Obama, that urgent action is needed to curb carbon emissions before climate change exacts an irreversible toll on the planet with extreme drought, storms and rising seas levels.

The president repeatedly has rejected naysayers in the climate debate — most recently, when he spoke May 9 in Mountainview, Calif. “We’ve still got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they’re wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate,” he said.

The administration recently released a comprehensive climate report that critics worry will be used to justify additional environmental regulations.

Bengtsson’s paper, submitted to the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that greenhouse gas emissions might be less harmful and cause less warming than computer models project. For that, Morano said, Bengtssonpaid a steep price.

“They’ve threatened him. They’ve bullied him. They’ve pulled his papers. They’re now going through everything they can to smear his reputation. And the ‘they’ I’m referring to is the global warming establishment,” Morano said.

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A good portion of the article is below, thanks to The Global Warming Policy Foundation, any more will require denaro [a subscription] (See also the Daily Mail for a fuller dealing with the topic): 

…The unnamed scientist concluded: “Actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of ‘errors’ and worse from the climate skeptic s media side.”

In other words, the truth hurts our advocacy. Scientists should not have a global warming or a skeptic “side.” According to the Oxford dictionary science is, The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Notice there is nothing about suppressing the observations and experiments you don’t like.

Professor Bengtsson resigned from the advisory board of Lord Lawson of Blaby’s climate skeptic think-tank this week after being subjected to what he described as McCarthy-style pressure from fellow academics.

Lord Lawson, the former Conservative chancellor, said that the pressure exerted by other climate scientists had been appalling and the comparison with McCarthyism was “fully warranted”.

And this study didn’t even argue that climate change is happening, only that it is happening more slowly…

(The Lid)

 

In an echo of the infamous “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s top academic journals rejected the work of five experts after a reviewer privately denounced it as “harmful”.

Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading and one of the authors of the study, said he suspected that intolerance of dissenting views on climate science was preventing his paper from being published. “The problem we now have in the climate community is that some scientists are mixing up their scientific role with that of a climate activist,” he added.

Professor Bengtsson’s paper challenged the finding of the UN’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the global average temperature would rise by up to 4.5C if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were allowed to double.

It suggested that the climate might be much less sensitive to greenhouse gases than had been claimed by the IPCC in its report last September, and recommended that more work be carried out “to reduce the underlying uncertainty”.

The five contributing scientists, from America and Sweden, submitted the paper to Environmental Research Letters, one of the most highly regarded journals, at the end of last year but were told in February that it had been rejected.

A scientist asked by the journal to assess the paper under the peer review process wrote that he strongly advised against publishing it because it was “less than helpful”.

The unnamed scientist concluded: “Actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of ‘errors’ and worse from the climate sceptics media side.”

Professor Bengtsson resigned from the advisory board of Lord Lawson of Blaby’s climate sceptic think-tank this week after being subjected to what he described as McCarthy-style pressure from fellow academics.

Lord Lawson, the former Conservative chancellor, said that the pressure exerted by other climate scientists had been appalling and the comparison with McCarthyism was “fully warranted”.

The claims are a stark reminder of events at the University of East Anglia in 2009. Scientists there were accused of manipulating data and suppressing critics of global warming predictions in the run-up to the crucial Copenhagen climate change conference.

They were later cleared, though the IPCC was found to have misrepresented their research by failing to reflect uncertainties over raw temperature data.

Professor Bengtsson, the former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, said he accepted that emissions would increase the global average temperature but the key question was how quickly.

He added that it was “utterly unacceptable” to advise against publishing a paper on the ground that the findings might be used by climate sceptics to advance their arguments. “It is an indication of how science is gradually being influenced by political views. The reality hasn’t been keeping up with the [computer] models. Therefore, if people are proposing to do major changes to the world’s economic system we must have much more solid information.”

Scientists from around the world sent messages of support to Professor Bengtsson. David Gee, a former geology professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, wrote: “The pressure on you from the climate community simply confirms the worst aspects of politicised science. I have been reprimanded myself for opposing the climate bandwagon, with its blind dedication to political ambitions…..

Mark Steyn (Steyn Online) has some commentary that underlies the “peer pressure” or the peer-review process:

Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review.” When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.”

So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (“one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Which in essence is what they did. The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in The Wall Street Journal Europe is unimprovable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style.

“Climategate” wasn’t only about the science – “Hide the decline” et al. It was also about the general thuggishness with which Mann and his gang treated anyone who disagreed with them, however mildly: The science is settled. Got it? Nice little peer-review journal you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it….

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