ClimateGate Shows Attempted 'Manipulation' of Peer Review Process

For years the news media said that the scientific “consensus” was that global warming is man-made and harmful, and they have censored scientists with other viewpoints, after all the alarmist science was peer reviewed.

Skeptics were ridiculed or undermined for not having their studies reviewed while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was given a “peer reviewed” stamp of approval by media outlets.

A New York Times editorial in February 2007 called the IPCC report “a distillation of the best peer-reviewed science.” A Times article from Oct. 13, 2007 promoted the credibility of the IPCC report saying it “speaks in the measured voice of peer-reviewed research and government negotiations.”

The Washington Post also praised the IPCC on April 5, 2007. Juliet Eilperin wrote, “Scientists from around the world contributed to the report, whose details were being finalized in Brussels this week. The authors relied on peer-reviewed scientific reports to make their findings, and the report was subjected to rounds of outside review.”

But e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) indicate that some scientists may have attempted to prevent skeptical work from appearing in scientific publications.

In one of the alleged e-mails, Michael Mann, creator of the famous “hockey stick” graph of global warming, told CRU Director Phil Jones: “This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the ‘peer-reviewed literature’. Obviously, they found a solution to that--take over a journal!”

Mann was referring to a paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas saying it “couldn’t have cleared a ‘legitimate’ peer review process anywhere,” so the board of the publication Climate Research must have been “hijacked” by skeptics.

His conclusion? Stop using that publication and “encourage our colleagues” to stop submitting or citing papers from that journal.

In another of the leaked e-mails Jones wrote, “I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”

Even more disconcerting for those who think science should not be riddled with political gamesmanship, was another of Jones’ e-mails from July 8, 2004 with the subject line “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL.”

The other paper by MM is just garbage - as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well - frequently as I see it. 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 !

Even steadfast believers of man-made global warming are concerned by what the e-mails suggest. Environmentalist George Monbiot was quoted in the Nov. 30, 2009 USA Today saying Jones’ “message looks awful.” Monbiot called for Jones resignation, which Jones tendered temporarily on Dec. 2.

Climatologist Patrick Michaels, a Cato Institute senior fellow and Business & Media Institute Adviser, commented in a video about peer reviews of climate data and the CRU e-mails.

“Science is supposed to be driven by the free exchange of information,” Michaels said before citing an example of Jones refusing to share data with other climatologists. “Jones wrote back that we have 25 years or so invested in the data, why should we give you the data when you’re only purpose is for you to find something wrong with it.”

That is exactly the point of peer review according to Michaels: “to see if experiments are reproducible -- in other words: to try and find something wrong with it.”

Like this article? Sign up for “The Balance Sheet,” BMI’s weekly e-mail newsletter.