Political Climate
Sep 13, 2007
IPCC Peer Review Process an Illusion, Finds SPPI Analysis

Published by the Science and Public Policy Institute, climate data analyst John McLean has written an analysis of the reviewer comments to the UN’s most recent IPCC Assessment Report released in April. In ”Peer Review? What Peer Review?” McLean writes, “The IPCC would have us believe that its reports are diligently reviewed by many hundreds of scientists and that these reviewers endorse the contents of the report. Analyses of reviewer comments show a very different and disturbing story.”

Many reviewer comments appear to be rejected with little or no justification for doing so. In particular there appears a disturbing pattern of rejecting reviewers’ citations of references by claiming that a greater number of papers say otherwise but then referring to just one paper to dispute the comments of other reviewers. Rejecting references to papers that challenge or weaken claims of serious man-made interference with climate serve to create from whole cloth a contrived, false “consensus.”

In Chapter 9, the key science chapter, the IPCC concludes that “it is very highly likely that greenhouse gas forcing has been the dominant cause of the observed global warming over the last 50 years”. The IPCC leads us to believe that this statement is very much supported by the majority of reviewers. The reality is that there is surprisingly little explicit support for this key notion. Among the 23 independent reviewers just 4 explicitly endorsed the chapter with its hypothesis, and one other endorsed only a specific section. Moreover, only 62 of the IPCC’s 308 reviewers commented on this chapter at all. As with other chapters, simple corrections, requests for clarifications or refinements to the text which did not challenge the IPCC’s conclusions are generally treated favourably, but comments which dispute the IPCC’s claims or their certainty are treated with far less indulgence.

In a related finding, McLean observes, “The dominance of research presupposing a human influence also means that the IPCC editing teams are likely to consist of people predisposed to view the situation in that light.” Adds McLean, “The problems continue into the authorship of these reports. According to IPCC documents, scientists are nominated by governments or explicitly invited by scientists already associated with the IPCC. What a wonderful way to position scientists who support a government agenda on climate and then fill out the IPCC with like-minded individuals.” Concludes McLean, “The IPCC reports appear to be largely based on a consensus of scientific papers, but those papers are the product of research for which the funding is strongly influenced by previous IPCC reports. This makes the claim of a human influence self-perpetuating and for a corruption of the normal scientific process.” Read this detailed analysis of the so-called peer review process here.

In a related story in the Wall Street Journal, Most Science Studies Appear to Be Tainted By Sloppy Analysis, medical scholar John Ioannidis believes scientists make more than their fair share of mistakes. By his calculations, most published research findings are wrong. Are scientists and scientific publishers vigilant enough about the findings they publish?  These flawed findings, for the most part, stem not from fraud or formal misconduct, but from more mundane misbehavior: miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis. “There is an increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims,” Dr. Ioannidis said. “A new claim about a research finding is more likely to be false than true.” The hotter the field of research the more likely its published findings should be viewed skeptically, he determined.

Sep 11, 2007
Oreskes Under Fire

Science and Public Policy Institute

Naomi Oreskes, a historian at the University of California, San Diego, faces questions after an academic researcher formally complained to Chancellor Marye Anne Fox that Oreskes had not read a draft paper by him before thrice publicly accusing him of “misrepresentation”. In 2004 Oreskes, in a Science essay,said none of 928 abstracts of science papers on “global climate change” published between 1993 and 2003 denied the “consensus” that most recent warming was manmade. Al Gore used this finding as the basis for his statement in An Inconvenient Truth that no scientist disagreed with the consensus that “global warming” might prove catastrophic. A widely-publicized statement this week, apparently by Oreskes, said three times that Klaus-Martin Schulte, a surgeon and researcher at King’s College Hospital, London, had misrepresented her. He complains she had not read his paper, which had not criticized her research, and demands an apology for professional discourtesy:

“Since no draft of my paper contains the statements attributed to me, the comments which have been made are based not on the paper itself but on media reports about it, though the statement fails to make this clear. Whether or not it was Oreskes who issued the statement, it has been widely publicized and the points made require answers from me.” Schulte, whose draft paper had not in fact criticized Oreskes’ research at all, found that several of 539 papers dated 2004 to early 2007 explicitly reject the “consensus”. Fewer than half endorse it even implicitly. Just one says climate change may prove “catastrophic.  Read more on the Oreskes battle here. Read open letter by Schulte to the chancellor responding point-by-point to Oreskes defensive charges here.

Sep 09, 2007
Global Warming Insanity

By Paul Driessen

The response of climate alarmists is fodder for psychological textbooks. Greenpeace says cataclysm skeptics are “climate criminals.” NASA scientist James Hansen calls us “court jesters.” Grist magazine
wants “Nuremberg-style war crimes trials.” Robert Kennedy, Jr. says we should be treated like “traitors.” Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit refused to reveal the methodology for his dire-sounding temperature data. “Why should I make the data available,” he asked, “when your aim is to find something wrong with it?” And Senator Barbara Boxer turned climate hearings into inquisitions for catastrophe skeptics, while Congressman Jim Costa walked out on a witness who pointed out that proposed legislation would dramatically increase energy and food prices, cost millions of jobs, and severely hurt poor families – while doing nothing to stabilize global temperatures.

Newsweek said climate holocaust “deniers” had received $19 million from industry, to subvert the“consensus” it claims exists about global warming. It made no mention of the $50 BILLION that alarmists and other beneficiaries have received since 1990 from governments, foundations and corporations – or of its 1975 article, which declared that scientists are “almost unanimous” in believing that a major cooling trend would usher in reduced agricultural productivity, famines and perhaps even a new Little Ice Age. (Newsweek contributing editor Robert Samuelson called the global warming “denial machine” article “highly contrived” and based on “discredited” accusations about industry funding.)

It’s time to ask: At what point do symbolic gestures and political grandstanding become “doing something” about climate change? At what point do they amount to insanity? Many suspect that anxiety about climate change was never really about preventing a global warming – or global cooling – catastrophe. Instead, they say, the real purpose is controlling energy use, economic growth and people’s lives. Alarmist efforts to intimidate climate catastrophe skeptics and legislate mandatory energy restrictions suggest that these suspicions are valid, and that climate doomsayers are becoming increasingly desperate.  Read more here.

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