The Next Climate Scandal?

Times Cover copyThe 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.”

The issue of climate sensitivity is one of the keys to this entire matter, and the Climatistas are very sensitive about the subject.  The paper in question here, which will surely see the light of day somewhere, would be only the latest of several recent papers, some of them published in the peer-reviewed literature, that call into serious question the more extreme forecasts of climate response to greenhouse gases.  We reported on some of these papers here and here.

UPDATE: Roy Spencer has more on what he calls the “climate hypocalypse.”

Hat tip: Benny Peiser

Hat tip: Benny Peiser

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