Anti-scientic intimidation of Journal Editors and Publishers by IPCC Authors

Posted: February 7, 2014 by tallbloke in Accountability, books, Legal, media

No system is perfect, and sometimes papers with errors in them get past peer review into the scientific literature via journal publication. The checks and balances in the system operate to deal with this. The scientific method works through the process of the proposal and rebuttal of hypotheses, conducted in the scientific literature in as rational and objective manner as possible. If one group of scientists get papers published and another group believe their work to contain errors, they write a rebuttal paper pointing out the errors and get it published in the same journal the original work was published in, or in another journal if the editors don’t accept their rebuttal paper.

However, in the highly politicised and emotive world of climate science, things work differently, as the excerpts from the email chain below demonstrate:

josh_three_stooges> >>>—–Original Message—–
> >>>From: Phil Jones []
> >>>Sent: Wednesday, 16 April 2003 6:23 PM
> >>>To: Mike Hulme;
> >>>;;;
> >>>; Subject: Re: Recent
> >>>climate sceptic research and the journal Climate Research
> >>>> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Dear All,
> >>> There have been a number of emails on these two papers. They
> >>> are bad.
> >>>I’ll be seeing
> >>> Hans von Storch next week and I’ll be telling him in person what
> >>> a
> >>>disservice he’s doing
> >>> to the science and the status of Climate Research.
> >>> I’ve already told Hans I want nothing more to do with the
> >>> journal. Tom
> >>>Crowley may be
> >>> writing something – find out also next week, but at the EGS last
> >>> week Ray
> >>>Bradley, Mike
> >>> Mann, Malcolm Hughes and others decided it would be best to do
> >>> nothing.
> >>>Papers
> >>> that respond to work like this never get cited – a point I’m
> >>> trying to
> >>>get across to Hans.
> >>> We all have better papers to write than waste our time
> >>> responding to
> >>>drivel like this.
> >>>
> >>> Cheers
> >>> Phil
> >>
> >>Prof. Phil Jones
> >>Climatic Research Unit

> >>At 16:19 17/04/03 +1000, wrote:
> >>>Dear all,
> >>>
> >>>I just want to throw in some thoughts re appropriate responses to
> >>>all this – probably obvious to some of you, but clearly different
> >>>from some views expressed. This is not solely a reply to Phil
> >>>Jones, as I have read lots of other emails today including all
> >>>those interesting ones from Michael Mann.
> >>>
> >>>1. I completely understand the frustration by some at having to
> >>>consider a reply to these nonsense papers, and I agree that such
> >>>replies will not get cited much and may in fact draw attention to
> >>>papers which deserve to be ignored. ….

> >>>(a) Prepare a background briefing document for wide private
> >>>circulation, which refutes the claims and lists competent
> >>>authorities who might be consulted for advice on this issue. (b)
> >>>Ensure that such misleading papers do not continue to appear in the
> >>>offending journals by getting proper scientific standards applied
> >>>to refereeing and editing. Whether that is done publicly or
> >>>privately may not matter so much, as long as it happens. It could
> >>>be through boycotting the journals, but that might leave them even
> >>>freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good
> >>>as getting the offending editors removed and proper processes in
> >>>place. Pressure or ultimatums to the publishers might work, or
> >>>concerted lobbying by other co-editors or leading authors. (c) A
> >>>journalistic expose of the unscientific practices might work and
> >>>embarass the sceptics/industry lobbies (if they are capable of
> >>>being embarassed) e.g., through a reliable lead reporter for
> >>>Science or Nature. Offending editors could be labelled as “rogue
> >>>editors”, in line with current international practice? Or is that
> >>>defamatory? (d) Legal action might be useful for authors who
> >>>consider themselves libelled, and there could be financial support
> >>>for such actions (Jim Salinger might have contacts here). However,
> >>>we would need to be very careful to be moderate and reasonable in
> >>>our reponses to avoid counter legal actions.
> >>>
> >>>4. I thoroughly agree that just entering in to a public slanging
> >>>match with the offending authors (or editors for that matter) on a
> >>>one-to-one basis is not the way to go. We need some more concerted
> >>>action. ….

> At 08:34 17/04/03 -0400, Michael E. Mann wrote:
> >Dear Phil et al,
> >
> >I’m going to try to get ahold of Dick Kerr today to see if I can get
> >his interest in doing a story. My guess is that Dick will go for it.
> >If so, I’d like to give him a list of names of people to contact for
> >comments.
> >
> >Who is game?
> >
> >thanks,
> >
> >mike


The ‘offending papers’ were written by Willie Soon and Sallie Balliunas. One of them was a review paper listing paleological evidence for the existence of a ‘Medieval Warm Period’ which covered locations worldwide. This proved that the hypothesis of Mann, Jones, Bradley and the core IPCC cabal that the MWP was restricted to a small area of the Globe around the northern Atlantic and Europe was incorrect.

There are several takeaways from this exchange.

This group of climatologists would prefer to be writing papers pushing their own hypothesis that will get cited and thus enhance their career records than attempting to rebut papers they don’t like which won’t.

In any case, they don’t have time to write rebuttals, being so busy winging off to exotic locations such as Marrakesh for IPCC meetings where they intend to discuss their smear campaign in more detail.

But they can find time to organise the co-ordinated intimidation of the editors of learned journals, the journal’s publishers, and the authors of “the offending papers”, using contacts in the partisan press to assist.


After the activities of these IPCC authors came to light in 2009, several ‘Inquiries’ were launched which whitewashed their actions. We were told that although they’d done nothing wrong, ‘lessons had been learned’ and it was now time to ‘move on’. The editor under attack was forced to resign, as did Hans von Storch, ostensibly because he disagreed with the other editors, but in reality, simply to escape the affray. I doubt he would publicly contest Soon and Balliunas’ findings on the MWP. The gory details are here

Fast forward now to 2014. Another IPCC author, James Annan, sees a collection of papers in a special edition of a recently established journal called ‘Pattern Recognition in Physics’. He doesn’t like the implications of the scientific results contained in them, and decides to take action. Does he:

a) Follow the scientific method and write a rebuttal to submit to PRP containing detailed scientific reasoning demonstrating the papers to be in error? or does he take the following course of action:

b) “The problems at the journal were was first brought to my attention by ThingsBreak just last night, I emailed various people to express my concerns and the journal (which was already under close scrutiny by the publisher)[1] was closed down within 24h.”

This malicious posting actually holds up the scandalous activities of his IPCC colleagues in 2003 as an exemplar of how to do it.

So much for ‘learning lessons’….

This shameful abuse of the scientific process has to stop. The IPCC authors are desperately trying to save their ailing theory that minor trace gases and aerosols in the atmosphere emitted by humans control the Earth’s climate and are going to cause dangerous warming of the Eaarth’s climate system in the near future.

In order to do that they are shutting down scientific debate and suppressing  theory which is able, in our case, to hindcast climatic variations reconstructed from proxy records going back 1000 years, demonstrate evidence that the Sun is the main climate driver, and predict with a reasonable level of confidence the future evolution of solar variation on decadal to centennial timescales. That projection shows that the Sun is entering an extended period of low activity which may last more than 30 years. The conclusion in our special edition was that our findings cast doubt on the IPCC project’s prediction of continued or even accelerated warming.

This is what so “alarmed” Copernicus Publishing’s chief Martin Rasmussen that he shut down the journal, only later justifying this action by adding a spurious claim that our work was “beyond the aims and scope of the journal” and the as yet unstubstantiated defamatory claim that our peer review process was “nepotistic”.

As Joanne Nova said in her excellent article about the debacle:

Science is not done by peer or pal review, but by evidence and reason


[1] The ‘close scrutiny’ James Annan refers to was the result of the Publisher’s attention being drawn to an internet page where it was alleged that the journal’s chief editors was ‘a self plagiarist’ (He had re-used six lines from a book chapter he had contributed, in a paper he later published), and that another editor (who has over 580 peer reviewed papers to his name) had expressed a belief in dowsing. (My father, a chartered civil engineer in the water industry used to occasionally employ a dowser to find water pipes and underground streams incorrectly marked on maps. He told me the dowser was often able not only to locate the line of flow, but also determine the depth to within a foot.)

Pattern Recognition in Physics is restarting away from Copernicus Publishing. Chief Editor Sid-Ali Ouadeul welcomes submissions from all scientists.

  1. hunter says:

    Well stated. The reason the ‘team’ engages in this sort of bullying and thuggery is because they have gotten away with it so far and that it works. Look how they got otherwise insightful skeptics to behave, as well as derail an entire publication.

  2. Johnbuk says:

    Yes, well done Roger. I wish the restarted publication every success (is it still under the wing of Lord Monkton?).
    What the stupid “team” fails to realise is that for the layman such as me who are looking at the whole climate debate this type of behaviour only serves to make our minds up.

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    These people were trained in the world of physics, that had perfected this method of “control of the message”. Control of the message means control of the money, Big Government Money! The world of physics is even further removed from peoples examination so there is little chance of their being caught in their manipulations. Their experiments cost so much that no one is likely to redo the work and discover the fraud. Papers are published and then cited by more papers and it becomes fact. Small wonder the world of physics is as flawed as it is. Climatologists are small potatoes compared to the Big Kids. Politicians find the pronouncements of Climatologists useful for their own designs and are helping them, that will fade as soon as the people wise up and that “wind” changes. The lure of “Government” money has allowed too much of our resources to be redirected by special interest groups to the detriment of real scientific advancement. That wind is turning as the World Wide Web is breaking down the
    Control of the Message. The new “Peer” review is on the Internet. 😎
    Time to drive BS (Bad Science) from the field! pg

  4. Brian H says:

    The emails reveal they most fear post-publication emails (actual peers doing actual review, critique, and replication). Pops the comfy pal/groupthink bubble, doncha know.

  5. Steven Mosher says:

    ‘Dr.Sid-Ali Ouadfeul is currently an associate professor at the Department of Geophysics, Geology and Reservoir Engineering, Algerian Petroleum Institute-IAP Corporate University, Algeria. ”

    another own goal.

    [Reply] You’ll talk about anything except the actual science involved, so you’ll get ignored around here. tb

  6. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on CraigM350 and commented:
    This shameful abuse of the scientific process has to stop. 
    Say no more.
    Say no more.

  7. hunter says:

    Why is it ok for environmental activists to write parts of the IPCC report, but an associate professor of geophysics is an “own goal”?
    It seems odd that skeptics are held to standards that the promoters of doom and gloom and consensus are not held to. You *know* from your own book that the ‘team’ engages in blatant self-dealing and used, and still uses, intimidation to shut down skeptical or dissident views.
    Yet you seem to only get exercised over this. It seems very inverted.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Hunter, asking Mosher to justify team wassup’s hypocrisy and faux outrage is a forlorn exercise. Driveby snark shots are his M.O.

  9. Steve Richards says:

    100% with you until you mentioned a belief in dowsing!!!!!!

  10. tallbloke says:

    I mentioned evidence not belief.

  11. […] of Tallbloke’s Talkshop recently had an interesting post on the suppression of science that’s well worth reading. The harboring of disagreement with […]

  12. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Steve Richards; I have operated dowsing rods. Not sure how or why they work but they definitely work. Interesting thing is, they work for some people and not others. Belief has nothing to do with it A brother-in-law wanted a well site on his ranch dowsed and he could not get the rods to work. I was visiting and he asked me to try. I had NO experience but said sure, I try most anything once. In my hands they danced like the antenna of an ant. In his hands they were dead as can be. On several attempts the rods moved with such strength that they bent themselves on my sides. So on one pass I walked behind him with my hand on his shoulder. The rods danced as if they were in my hands! No conscience effort that I can tell. I fact I have tried to manually manipulate the rods to no effect. I don’t even know what the movements mean, as I have no training in that field. I just Know They Work For Me! pg

    I use 1/8″ welding rod bent to “L” with 1/4″ copper tube bearing handles to reduce any frictional hand movement. No handle bearing bare “L”rods work just as well, just a bit stiffer in their movement. pg