The Climate Peer-Review Process: Hopelessly Broken

The Climategate scandal showed how several of the world’s top climate scientists were hell bent on keeping “skeptical” views out of the scientific literature and in particular, the IPCC reports.  If you wanted an illustration of how this actually worked in practice, then economist Ross McKitrick has a doozy for you.

Ross realized that one of the IPCC’s central claims, one that could be regarded as foundational, was fabricated and provably false.  He wrote a paper demonstrating this and proceeded to be given the run-around by every climatic journal he submitted it to, despite mostly positive reviews.  In the end he had to publish it in a statistical journal, where it will likely be ignored by the climate science clique community.

Ross concludes:

In the aftermath of Climategate a lot of scientists working on global warming-related topics are upset that their field has apparently lost credibility with the public. The public seems to believe that climatology is beset with cliquish gatekeeping, wagon-circling, biased peer-review, faulty data and statistical incompetence. In response to these perceptions, some scientists are casting around, in op-eds and weblogs, for ideas on how to hit back at their critics. I would like to suggest that the climate science community consider instead whether the public might actually have a point.

Read the whole thing by downloading Ross’s paper here (PDF link).

Roger Pielke Jr agrees with Ross here, noting:

This is exactly the situation that has occurred in the context of disaster losses that I have documented on numerous occasions. In the case of disaster losses, not only did the IPCC make stuff up, but when challenged, went so far as to issue a press release emphasizing the accuracy of its made up stuff.


Cartoon from Cartoons By Josh.