The scientific community is all about asking rigorous questions and letting the facts speak for themselves — except, it seems, when it comes to climate change.
A study casting doubt on global warming fears was rejected by a prestigious journal on the grounds that it would be, as one reviewer wrote, “less than helpful” to the cause of climate change.
Professor Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading and one of the report’s five authors, told the Times of London his work was thrown out for political, not scientific, reasons.
“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,” Bengtsson said.
The study challenged the prevailing consensus about the atmosphere’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases, meaning carbon dioxide and other pollutants might not cause global temperatures to rise as rapidly as organizations like the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have argued.
Bengtsson and his colleagues submitted their study to the journal Environmental Research Letters, but were told it had been rejected during the peer-review process.
“(The study) is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of ‘errors’ and worse from the climate sceptics media side,” wrote one reviewer.
Bengtsson condemned the move as politically motivated.
“It is an indication of how science is gradually being influenced by political views,” Bengtsson said. “The reality hasn’t been keeping up with the (computer) models.”
He also noted the danger of implementing restrictive emissions regimes, like the Kyoto Protocol, on the basis on questionable science.
“If people are proposing to do major changes to the world’s economic system,” Bengtsson said, “we must have much more solid information.”
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