Climate Change Peer Review Gate Keeping

My father-in-law was the Chair of the Sociology Department at Yale and was widely known for his research on social issues. He invited me to attend a lecture at Yale by a visiting professor and on the ride home we got into a discussion of the peer review process. It was Dr Hollingshead’s view that peer review was a gate keeping process by the established academics to protect their careers and their work from being challenged by the lesser known. It was his opinion that new ideas come to the forefront on generational boundaries, when the gate keepers retire or die off.

Here is an example demonstrating how the peer review process was used to suppress contrary ideas on the sensitivity of the climate to CO2. The Powerline Blog has the details:

The lead story in The Times of London today declares “Scientists in Cover Up of ‘Damaging’ Climate View.” The Times thinks the story, concerning peer reviewers suppressing a scientific paper purely for political reasons, may amount to the next “Climategate,” on par with the scandal of the leaked emails back in 2009. This may be media hype, but at the very least it is another clear signal of the kind of enforced climate conformism we noted here on Wednesday, especially since it involves Lennart Bengtsson. The complete story is behind a paywall, but we’ve managed to get more of the copy of Ben Webster’s story from Benny Peiser:

Research which heaped doubt on the rate of global warming was deliberately suppressed by scientists because it was “less than helpful” to their cause, it was claimed last night.

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 Intergovernmental 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. . .

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.”

More HERE. Including a link to Dr John Spencer views on the academic bullying of Professor Bengtsson, what he calls the “climate hypocalypse.”


About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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