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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“Are You Now, Or Have You Ever…” Leftist McCarthyism

Gay Patriot has this great post with commentary by Steyn Online! (BTW, the links that look bad — with a line through them — are still good.) The Left hates free speech, free-thought, and the like. They bow to ideology, not liberty.

What with Brendan Eich being ousted from Mozilla for not agreeing with the Progressive Left on gay marriage, university professors calling for “climate change deniers” to be thrown in prison for their heresies (Galileo Galilei would be having a good chuckle about that), and the University of Michigan and Brandeis University caving to Islamist demands not to let a feminist atheist critic of Islam speak on their campuses… it’s pretty clear the Progressive … and especially, the “Academic” … Left has adopted a Zero Tolerance policy for speech that falls outside their Dogma.

The brilliant Mark Steyn wrote a brilliant essay on the topic.

I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that. [Emphasis Mine]

But I don’t really think that many people these days are genuinely interested in ‘striking the balance’; they’ve drawn the line and they’re increasingly unashamed about which side of it they stand. What all the above stories have in common, whether nominally about Israel, gay marriage, climate change, Islam, or even freedom of the press, is that one side has cheerfully swapped that apocryphal Voltaire quote about disagreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it for the pithier Ring Lardner line: ‘“Shut up,” he explained.’

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Dissent Is Not Allowed — Climate McCarthyism

IPCC Report Supports Dissenters Position

The above graph is from the IPCC’s own data, and shows no warming — at all! (WUWT)

This comes from the Daily Mail:

  • Richard Tol claims he is fighting a sustained attack on his reputation
  • Professor from Sussex University is a highly respected climate economist
  • Criticised by campaigners after saying report summary was ‘alarmist’
  • In his opinion, it focused on ‘scare stories’

The professor who refused to sign last week’s high-profile UN climate report because it was too ‘alarmist’, has told The Mail on Sunday he has become the victim of a smear campaign.

Richard Tol claims he is fighting a sustained attack on his reputation by a key figure from a leading institution that researches the impact of global warming.

Prof Tol said: ‘This has all the characteristics of a smear campaign. It’s all about taking away my credibility as an expert.’

Prof Tol, from Sussex University, is a highly respected climate economist and one of two ‘co-ordinating lead authors’ of an important chapter in the 2,600-page report published last week by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

He has been widely criticised by green campaigners after he claimed that the much shorter ‘summary for policymakers’ – hammered out in all-night sessions between scientists and government officials over a week-long meeting in Yokohama, Japan – was overly ‘alarmist’.

In his view, the summary focused on ‘scare stories’ and suggestions the world faced ‘the four horsemen of the apocalypse’.

He said he did not want his name associated with it because he felt ‘uncomfortable’ with the way the summary exaggerated the economic impact of global warming.

The source of the alleged smear campaign is Bob Ward, director of policy at the London School of Economics’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.

Mr Ward – neither an economist nor a climate expert – claimed on the institute’s website that he was waging ‘an ongoing struggle’ to force Prof Tol to correct ‘errors’ in his work.

Mr Ward had earlier sent an email disparaging Prof Tol’s research to several leading IPCC scientists and officials.

The New McCarthyism -- of the Left

…Academics who deviate from the perceived ‘correct’ line risk vilification. The most recent example is Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University, who had the temerity to remove his name from a UN climate report because he said it was ‘alarmist’.

Another is Prof Roger Pielke Jnr of Colorado. His ‘crime’ is to have published evidence that, so far, hurricanes have not become more frequent, while financial losses from extreme weather have not increased as a result of climate change. His reward has been an organised campaign demanding he be sacked… (see more)

Via Climate Depot on more dissenters:

Another Scientist Dissents! Fmr. NASA scientist Dr. Les Woodcock ‘Laughs’ at Global Warming – Top Prof. Declares: ‘Global warming is nonsense’

Emeritus Professor Chemical Thermodynamics Dr. Leslie Woodcock of the University of Manchester’s School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science and a former NASA researcher, dissented on man-made global warming. Woodcock declared there was “professional misconduct by Government advisors around the world” when it comes to man-made climate change claims. Woodcock, who received his PhD from the University of London, (Full Bio here – les.woodcock@manchester.ac.uk) is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a founding editor of Molecular Simulation, and a recipient of a Max Planck Society Visiting Fellowship, has more than 70 published journal papers, explained: “The theory of ‘man-made climate change’ is an unsubstantiated hypothesis’ – water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is is 20 time more of it in our atmosphere (around one per cent of the atmosphere) whereas CO2 is only 0.04% – ‘Carbon dioxide has been made out to be some kind of toxic gas but the truth is it’s the gas of life. We breath it out, plants breath it in. The green lobby has created a do-good industry and it becomes a way of life, like a religion.”

‘When I ask the former NASA scientist about ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’, he laughs.’

Woodcock continued: “The temperature of the earth has been going up and down for millions of years, if there are extremes, it’s nothing to do with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it’s not permanent and it’s not caused by us. Global warming is nonsense.”

“If you talk to real scientists who have no political interest, they will tell you there is nothing in global warming. It’s an industry which creates vast amounts of money for some people.

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