IPCC, CRU Climate Science Product of Public Relations and Peer Review

by Dr. Tim Ball on March 30, 2012

in Government,Politics,Theory

It’s coincidence that Public Relations (PR) and Peer Review (PR) have the same initials, but apparently there’s a connection in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Climatic Research Unit (CRU) science. Their science was politically driven, which is likely why they use PR companies to counteract problems. Repeated patterns and comments in official climate science suggest orchestration. Requests for debates are invariably rejected with “the debate is over.” Every time a problem appeared, public relations people appeared and strategized a defence, usually to divert from the problem. When the emails were leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) a public relations person was engaged. Website Desmogblog is the brainchild of James Hoggan, Board Chairman of the David Suzuki Foundation and President of a PR firm. In a December 2011 email to Mann, DeSmogBlog writer Richard Littlemore says,

…(as I am sure you have noticed: we’re all about PR here, not much about science).

Evidence it’s a PR battle is Mike Mann’s 2004 email to CRU Director Phil Jones. Confronted by challenging questions, they apparently developed a defensive mentality.

I’ve personally stopped responding to these, they’re going to get a few of these op-ed pieces out here and there, but the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing (sic) the PR battle. That’s what the site is about. By the way, Gavin did come up w/ the name!

The “site” is the web site RealClimate, named by Gavin (Schmidt). But science doesn’t need PR, so why do climate scientists need it?

The PR battle involved proving superiority in credibility, rigour, and quality of published work. A March 2003 email from Mann to Jones implies a part was exploitation of peer review.

This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”.

As one university library tells students,

Peer review ensures that an article — and therefore the journal and the scholarship of the discipline as a whole — maintains a high standard of quality, accuracy, and academic integrity.

Are CRU the only arbiters of quality and accuracy? Apparently, as Mann said in a March 2003 email,

The Soon & Baliunas paper couldn’t have cleared a ‘legitimate’ peer review process anywhere. That leaves only one possibility–that the peer-review process at Climate Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board. And it isn’t just De Frietas, unfortunately I think this group also includes a member of my own department… The skeptics appear to have staged a ‘coup’ at “Climate Research” (it was a mediocre journal to begin with, but now its a mediocre journal with a definite ‘purpose’). […] Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal!

They weren’t finished.

So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…

In an amazing threat Phil Jones wrote,

I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.

They apparently forced resignation of James Saiers editor of Geophysical Research Letters (GRL).

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report rules they only consider peer reviewed articles making them necessary. IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri bragged,

The process is so robust – almost to a fault – that I’m not sure there is too much scope for error. Where there are gaps we are very candid in admitting we don’t know enough about this subject. … Given that it is all on the basis of peer-reviewed literature. I’m not sure there is any better process that anyone could have followed.

This was a false claim. A study of the 2007 Report found,

Forty citizen auditors from 12 countries examined 18,500 sources cited in the report – finding 5,600 to be not peer-reviewed.

Peer review became an incestuous system as they published together and apparently peer reviewed each others work, as the Wegman Report identified. It was a critical in the public relations battle. But peer review works against innovation and perpetuates prevailing wisdoms. Editors can practice peer review censorship by selecting high priests of the prevailing wisdom to review and reject articles they consider heresy. Secrecy made the peer review process, the CRU emails disclosed, possible. Editors weren’t required to disclose reviewers’ names. There’s no reason for secrecy and it contradicts a fundamental tenant of law: the right to face your accuser.

CRU emails reveal the extent of attempts to block publication of McIntyre and McKitrick’s (MM) analysis of the hockey stick graph. Using RealClimate, Mann and Schmidt launched a PR attack on the peer review process that approved publication of MMs first article. They referenced an article ‘in press’ by Rutherford et al with the Journal of Climate, but Mann was one of the authors. Equally troubling is the editorship of that Journal. Donna Laframboise writes,

We’re supposed to trust the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) because much of the research on which it relies was published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. But what happens when the people who are in charge of these journals are the same ones who write IPCC reports?

She identifies 14 people involved in the Journal and the IPCC, including Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt. Laframboise asks, “Is this not too incestuous for words?” Possibly, but likely more appropriate is Mann’s accusation against skeptics.

This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. […] Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal!

It’s more than coincidence that in climate science Peer Review (PR) and Public Relations (PR) share initials.