Scientists 'suppressed' paper over climate sceptic argument

Global warming impact on Australian Antarctic territory

Researcher claims his paper was rejected because it might help climate sceptics advance their case

LAST UPDATED AT 11:02 ON Fri 16 May 2014

SCIENTISTS deliberately suppressed research that cast doubt on the rate of global warming because it might be used by climate sceptics to advance their arguments, it has been claimed.

Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading, believes his paper was rejected by Environmental Research Letters, one of the world's top academic journals, because of intolerance of dissenting views on climate science.

The paper, co-authored with four other scientists from America and Sweden, was rejected earlier this year after a reviewer privately wrote that publishing it would be "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."

Bengtsson's paper challenged findings from 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.

The paper suggested that the climate might be much less sensitive to greenhouse gases and recommended more work be carried out "to reduce the underlying uncertainty".

Following the rejection, Bengtsson said: "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."

Bengtsson said he was also forced to step down from the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic think-tank, after he was subjected to "McCarthy" style pressure from other scientists.

The claims are a stark reminder of events at the University of East Anglia in 2009, dubbed 'Climategate', when scientists were accused of suppressing inconvenient data that did not support global warming predictions, says The Times. They were later cleared, but the IPCC was found to have misrepresented part of their research.

A spokesman for IOP Publishing, which publishes Environmental Research Letters, said that two independent peer-reviews had reported that the paper contained "errors" and "did not provide a significant advancement in the field", therefore failing to meet the journal's required acceptance criteria. · 

Disqus - noscript

The "errors" contained in the paper were clearly the conclusions, not the methodology of collecting or analyzing the data. The notion that academia is an open and truth-seeking forum couldn't be more false. Political considerations and financial incentives are as powerful as they are in government and commerce. One ought be skeptical of every "scientific finding" that promotes major personal or social change.

This is yet another example of how political-commercial interests are now the governing power behind every decision that is made for us, and on our behalf, by the 'governing classes'. Democracy has now become the political 'opium-of-the-masses' who misguidedly think that they control events by their collective 'votes', every five years, when in fact, all political parties are at-one with the business-concerns on whom they depend for support and through whom they are financed. Things in this country, and especially in America, have got completely out of hand. It's time for a change. It's time that Parliament went back to expressing the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. It's time for HONESTY and being told how things REALLY are.

The "error" was that he pointed out that real world observations differed from climate model predictions.

Hi,
“therefore failing to meet the journal's required acceptance criteria.” said IOP Publishing. Once involved in running a scientific journal I feel IOP acted in other interest that science and public health. A journal to flatly reject a paper with so much inference on the future of our planet is unusual, a journal has a number of options to advice a revision stating the editor and referees objections, in such cases this is normal practice. Usually the referees objections are passed on the author of the paper concerned. Maybe the journal has to modify its “ required acceptance criteria” mechanism to retain its reputation.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.