ADVERTISEMENT

Politics in Peer Review?

Mainstream climatologists perceive flaws in a paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, the two Harvard-Smithsonian researchers who produced results skeptical of human-induced global warming. Some conclude that politics drove the paper's publication in Climate Research. One of the journal's editors, Chris de Freitas of the University of Auckland, has frequently editorialized in the New Zealand press against the overwhelmingly accepted conclusions of the IPCC. And at least three scientists who were on the journal's peer-review panel--Wolfgang Cramer, Tom Wigley and Danny Harvey--have complained that de Freitas has published papers they have deemed unacceptable without notifying them.

Wigley says that such action is very unusual; de Freitas responds that he "was not too concerned [about Wigley's complaint] as periodically I receive diametrically opposed assessments from experts," especially, he says, "as the work in question was a critical assessment of Wigley's own work."

The Soon and Baliunas paper produced political results in one respect: it seems to have emboldened the Bush administration to edit a June Environmental Protection Agency report so that it no longer represented a scientific consensus about climate change. The New York Times reported that, as a result, the EPA decided to publish much weaker statements about global warming. --David Appell

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Special Universe

Get the latest Special Collector's edition

Secrets of the Universe: Past, Present, Future

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X