The Climate Peer-Review Process: Hopelessly Broken

by Iain Murray on April 1, 2010

in Blog

The Climategate scandal showed how several of the world’s top climate scientists were hell bent on keeping “skeptical” views out of the scientific literature and in particular, the IPCC reports.  If you wanted an illustration of how this actually worked in practice, then economist Ross McKitrick has a doozy for you.

Ross realized that one of the IPCC’s central claims, one that could be regarded as foundational, was fabricated and provably false.  He wrote a paper demonstrating this and proceeded to be given the run-around by every climatic journal he submitted it to, despite mostly positive reviews.  In the end he had to publish it in a statistical journal, where it will likely be ignored by the climate science clique community.

Ross concludes:

In the aftermath of Climategate a lot of scientists working on global warming-related topics are upset that their field has apparently lost credibility with the public. The public seems to believe that climatology is beset with cliquish gatekeeping, wagon-circling, biased peer-review, faulty data and statistical incompetence. In response to these perceptions, some scientists are casting around, in op-eds and weblogs, for ideas on how to hit back at their critics. I would like to suggest that the climate science community consider instead whether the public might actually have a point.

Read the whole thing by downloading Ross’s paper here (PDF link).

Roger Pielke Jr agrees with Ross here, noting:

This is exactly the situation that has occurred in the context of disaster losses that I have documented on numerous occasions. In the case of disaster losses, not only did the IPCC make stuff up, but when challenged, went so far as to issue a press release emphasizing the accuracy of its made up stuff.


Cartoon from Cartoons By Josh.

Mervyn Sullivan April 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm

There is no worse form of corruption than moral corruption. What Ross McKitrick experienced in trying to get his paper published stinks of moral corruption.

What really is troublesome today is the fact that, despite all the adverse revelations about the 2007 IPCC Report, western governments around the world still treat the IPCC Report as the "gold standard" in science. They remain in a state of denial over all that has been revealed to be wrong with the IPCC and its 2007 report, and they remain true to the theology that CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is the key driver of catastrophic global warming and climate change… even though there now appears to be common ground that there has been no discernible increase in average global temperature over the last 15 years.

Governments also seem to prefer turning a blind eye to all the latest science that has been contradicting the 2007 IPCC Report. The only conclusion I can come to is that governments have been determined to regulate CO2 for the purpose of increasing government revenues on the pretext of doing something about global warming, which they still keep telling us is happening, even though it hasn't been happening for the last 15 years.

Tom April 4, 2010 at 3:48 am

Well Mervyn, turning a blind eye is easy of course, given the media's widespread failure to report these things. When people compliment the British media on this, they must be speaking relatively, because I live in England and can tell you that the TV news still won't shut up about global warming.

Certain newspapers, particularly the Telegraph, are far more commendable than the rest of the media. But I suspect far more people are influenced by the BBC, who are screaming consensus just as loudly as ever.

I'm not sure what proportion of people are turning a blind eye, how many are stupid and how many are just lying. But I'd say the government is guilty of manslaughter, having ignored extreme weather forecasts for no reason other than that they come from deniers of CO2 driven climate.

"It's the Sun, stupid," might be simplistic, and I can see why it annoys a lot of oceanographers and atmospheric scientists. But I can also see why solar physicists are excited, given the extraordinary details they're able to predict, so far ahead.

Another proportion I'm unsure of is how many of the winter's road deaths were preventable.

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