The Energy and Environment Effect

Bill Hughes, Director of Multi-Science Publishing threatens to sue Gavin Schmidt unless he retracts this statement:

“The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line.”

In comments, let’s compile a list of E&E papers that would not have been published as they were had they been given substantive peer review.

Comments

  1. #1 Nick
    February 23, 2011

    Sorry but your post is bollocks.

    Follow the link and you will see there is absolutely no threat in the email.

    It’s a request to change a post.

    You need to retract your post because it isn’t factually true, and you are interested in the truth, aren’t you?

  2. #2 Peter Hartmann
    February 23, 2011

    Nick, did you come over from WUWT? There is a clear implicit threat in Hughes’ mail.

    p.

  3. #3 James Haughton
    February 23, 2011

    Nick the troll, when someone asserts that a remark “is a terribly damaging charge” and says they are prepared to “settle” for a retraction “at the moment”, there is a very strong implication of a legal threat that anyone who didn’t live under a bridge can read.

  4. #4 Peter Hartmann
    February 23, 2011

    here’s a list of E&E papers from 1999, with DOIs:

    http://pastebin.com/F9r5v8JC

    here are some of the more famous articles from E&E:

    * Willie Soon, Sallie L. Baliunas, Arthur B. Robinson, Zachary W. Robinson 1999: ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF INCREASED ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE

    * Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Craig Idso, Sherwood Idso, David R. Legates 2003: Reconstructing Climatic and Environmental Changes of the Past 1000 Years: A Reappraisal

    * Ernst-Georg Beck 2007: 180 years of atmospheric CO2 gas analysis by chemical methods

    p.

  5. #5 P. Lewis
    February 23, 2011

    It might be quicker to list those papers that would have been published elsewhere (in peer-reviewed journals) had they been published as they were in E&E.

    Right, that might be nearly the end of this thread then!

  6. #6 lord_sidcup
    February 23, 2011

    Nick, the subject line of Hughes email is:

    E&E libel

    I think Libel is a legal term that really only has one meaning.

  7. #7 Robert Murphy
    February 23, 2011

    “Solar Cycles 24 and 25 and Predicted Climate Response” by David C. Archibald, ENERGY &. ENVIRONMENT. VOLUME 17 No. 1 2006.

    It’s hard to be worse than that one.

  8. #8 jakerman
    February 23, 2011

    H/T the [Kfr and Greenfrye](http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/poptarts-450-climate-change-denier-lies/) for this quote from Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen:

    >”By the way, E&E is not a science journal and has published IPCC critiques to give a platform critical voices and ‘paradigms’ because of the enormous implications for energy policy, the energy industries and their employees and investors, and for research. We do not claim to be right …”

    >Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen [3 Sept, 2009](http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comments.asp?storycode=407763)

  9. #9 Marion Delgado
    February 23, 2011

    Christ, jakerman!

    IF that little assurance by Sonja is all it takes to run a peer-reviewed science journal, screw doing the right thing. Let’s start the prestigious Journal of Climate Baraminology or something. It’s probably lucrative.

    ” Our promise to you: we teach the controversy, and nothing we publish comes with any promise of accuracy or relevance! You can count on us! ”

    We’ll retain Monckton to write our peer reviews.

  10. #10 jakerman
    February 23, 2011

    Huang Feng has a very [interesting look at E&E](http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/poptarts-450-climate-change-denier-lies/).

    And here e is a very interesting comment aligned with Gavin’s view:

    >…See John Hunter’s experience here.

    >When E&E does do peer review, it seems that the process is not to choose as reviewers scientists who will scrutinize the quality of the science, but rather those who will approve of the conclusions. The result is that E&E has an appalling record for publishing work that no self-respecting journal would touch (see [here](http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/CliSciFrameset.html?http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/Contrarians.html), here, [here](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/beck-to-the-future/), here, and here).

    >However, if those are unconvincing, Carbon Fixated draws our attention to this gem EARTH’S HEAT SOURCE – THE SUN by Oliver K. Manuel E&E VOLUME 20 No. 1 2009: (full paper @icap)

    >Seriously, you have to read this (emphasis added):

  11. #11 kfr
    February 23, 2011

    anyone else find Richard Tol’s comment at RC a rather amusing self-parody, if in a completely unitentional way?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/ee-threatens-a-libel-suit/comment-page-3/#comment-201582

  12. #12 Dennis
    February 23, 2011

    I think this should also be an open invitiation for any climate scientsis who have peer reviewed articles for E&E (and passed them for publication) to step forward and say so.

  13. #13 Berbalang
    February 23, 2011

    Perhaps they are using a different definition of “peer review” and the papers are examined by people who have an equal understanding of Climate Science to that of the authors.
    Of course if the authors have no understanding of the subject…

  14. #14 Dikran Marsupial
    February 23, 2011

    Rather than merely make a lists, it would be more constructive to submit comments to E&E addressing the errors in the papers. If E&E refused to accept valid comments it would be an indication that there was a clear editorial problem. If the journal then became filled with comments papers, it would be an indication that there is clearly a problem with the peer-review. You never know, it might make E&E tighten up its review system, and blogs such as this would have to spend less time debunking obvious nonsense.

    In the most recent issue of the journal there is a paper with a fundamental factual error in the first sentence of the abstract, so it is pretty obvious there is a problem with the peer-review anyway.

  15. #15 Dikran Marsupial
    February 23, 2011

    The paper in question is this one

    Ryunosuke Kikuchi, “External Forces Acting on the Earth’s Climate: An Approach to Understanding the Complexity of Climate Change”, Energy and Environment, vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 953-968, December 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1260/0958-305X.21.8.953

    If the reviewers don’t know the distinction between adjustment time and residence time, they were not competent to review the paper (IMHO)

  16. #16 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    February 23, 2011

    > If the journal then became filled with comments papers, it would be an indication that there is clearly a problem with the peer-review

    But Sonja and other inactivists will then spin the boatload of comments by ‘ooh, this proves that healthy debate is possible on the global warming issue’!

    Instead of accidentally give E&E any semblance of credibility, I prefer to simply treat it as the rag tabloid that it is, and give it the amount of respect that a rag tabloid deserves.

  17. #17 Marco
    February 23, 2011

    When you are a scientist incapable of really understanding the intricate concepts of climate science (or various related disciplines) AND ideologically challenged, your peers perhaps are people who are equally incapable of really understanding the intricate concepts of climate science (or various related disciplines) and ideologically challenged…

  18. #18 Dikran Marsupial
    February 23, 2011

    frank@16 Healthy debate is possible on the global warming debate, it needs no proving, and E&E being full of comments papers demonstrating regular failure of the review process @ E&E would be difficult to spin as proof anyway.

    An “ad-journalem” is only useful as a rhetorical argument; if we are serious about the science, we should keep the argument scientific. A scientific argument against the paper carries far more weight. Otherwise we merely justify the “skeptics” that ignore papers published in regular climatology journals for being “part of the conspiracy”. Sauce for the goose and all that.

  19. #19 Wow
    February 23, 2011

    > Otherwise we merely justify the “skeptics” that ignore papers published in regular climatology journals for being “part of the conspiracy”. Sauce for the goose and all that.

    Hmm. When E&E accept a paper that proves that insulation doesn’t work (how can it? The insulation is colder than the thing it insulates, so how can it make it warmer?!?!), there really isn’t any sauce for the gander to have a gander at.

    I guess that since people who say David Ike is a nutter because he’s goofy enough to think lizard alien overlords are in power in disguse are, by making it a non-science retort are proving that Ike’s theories could be right..?

    Another false equivalency.

  20. #20 Majorajam
    February 23, 2011

    It might be more profitable by way of demonstrating the editor’s line to find papers published in E&E that specifically or otherwise importantly, (e.g. wrt to any of the central planks of denialism, e.g. certainty, paleoclimate, etc.) support the mainstream science.

    The very reason for the faux-equivalence one apparently sees at WUWT, or so I’ve heard, is that this line of attack can be very persuasive to your average punter. I wouldn’t be surprised if a gluttonous ideologue like Hughes left himself exposed there. Of course, sussing that out over years promises to be a fair bit of work.

    Man, I know the denialists are feeling their oats now, but it still comes as something of a surprise that this guy feels he can get away with push back on his propaganda rag. The tops of social manias are often marked by such euphoria as is now on parade in denialville. Perhaps their bubble is finally getting ready to pop.

  21. #21 Hank Roberts
    February 23, 2011

    Has Hughes displayed confusion by assuming that “any” means “all” in his complaint? Or is this one of those British English usages like “public” school? He’s also apparently got a geometry problem, confusing “point [of view]” with “[political] line” — making his complaint even harder to understand.

    Of course finding some way to misunderstand something is how they do their job, isn’t it?

  22. #22 Philip S
    February 23, 2011

    I can’t speak for the US, but I know something about libel law in the UK, which is generally regarded as exceptionally favorable to plaintiffs.
    From what I can see, if Hughes is threatening a libel action then that action is extremely unlikely to succeed. This is because Schmidt’s piece quite clearly falls under the heading of ‘fair comment’. The exact nature of what constitutes ‘substantive peer review’ is open to debate and differences of opinion. Since no clear and measurable standard exists, only broadly observed conventions, Schmidt’s remarks need only be true if E&E’s anti-AGM articles do no not pass the ‘substantive peer review’ standard in the opinion of anyone in the field – including himself. A single witness, produced by the defence – say, an editor at a peer-reviewed publication – who was willing to say that the R&R’s peer review process was different from his or her own, would be enough to render the plaintiff’s case effectively void. Indeed, so weak would be the plaintiff’s case, that a counter-claim for vexatious litigation would quite likely follow – and win.
    I suspect Hughes was advised along these lines by his company lawyers. That is why no direct reference to legal action was made in his e-mail. If you really want someone to retract something, and you think you have a case, you don’t send a vaguely menacing e-mail; you serve them notice that you intend to seek damages, while indicating that a retraction might suffice. (This I know from personal experience).
    In short, Schmidt should ignore Hughes’s e-mail. It contains a hollow threat.

  23. #23 Jeremy C
    February 23, 2011

    Oh my lovelies. You don’t get it do you. E&E is an example of the revolutionary paradigm, ‘peer-to-peer’ by the sage Delingpole. This makes this thread redundant.

  24. #24 Fran Barlow
    February 23, 2011

    Well summarised Phillip S …

    One might add that in practice, any detailed review by a court of the “substantive peer review process” at E & E would inevitably taint the journal — defining it as ‘controversial’ and one suspects those who are assocuated with it would be more than a little nervous about how it would all play out for them.

    So as you say, hollow threat.

  25. #25 Hans Erren
    February 23, 2011

    “The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like Nature and Science that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line.”

    The evidence for this is overwhelming.

  26. #26 jakerman
    February 23, 2011

    John Mashey post this very interesting revelation [at RC](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/ee-threatens-a-libel-suit/comment-page-1/#comment-201468):

    >*“As to “peer review,” Ms. Boehmer-Christiansen has acknowledged in an email to Dr. Tim Osborn of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (U.K.), that in her rush to get the McIntyre and McKitrick piece into print for political reasons Energy & Environment dispensed with what scientists consider peer review (“I was rushing you to get this paper out for policy impact reasons, e.g. publication well before COP9”). As Ms. Boehmer-Christiansen added, the “paper was amended until the very last moment. There was a trade off in favour of policy.”*

  27. #27 Chris O'Neill
    February 23, 2011

    “The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like Nature

    It’s fun googling “The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like Nature”.

  28. #28 jakerman
    February 23, 2011

    You mean [like this](http://lmgtfy.com/?q=%22The+evidence+for+this+is+in+precisely+what+happens+in+venues+like+Nature%22&l=1) Chris?

    Google algorithms might eventually link back to here!

  29. #29 frankis
    February 23, 2011

    @11 kfr yes I do find that an interesting comment by Richard Tol! I’ve agreed with Richard before that papers ought to be judged on their merits rather than the journal in which they appear, but why would anyone capable of publishing in a journal of science even consider submitting to an out and proud antiscientist like Boehmer-Christiansen?

    Note that Richard also happily associates his name with [Tim Curtin's](http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2007/02/19/another-own-goal-for-the-denialists/#comment-167115) and Lomborg’s. I think Richard has a huge ego with a tin ear for (bad) character in his associates. (Which sounds like autism or Asperger’s or similar, not that it mtters).

  30. #30 James Haughton
    February 24, 2011

    Here’s one: H.R. Jelbring. The Greenhouse Effect as a Function of Atmospheric Mass, Energy & Environment, Volume 14, Number 2 – 3, May 2003, pp. 351-356, http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

    “Venus is hot because it has a dense atmosphere, not because of any silly CO2 nonsense”.

  31. #31 Donald Oats
    February 24, 2011

    Perhaps it is “peer review” like “Have you peered at it yet?” or here “Lord Lawson, could you (re paper by Mr Magoo” for F&F) view this please?” (well, he is a peer)

    BTW, rhetorical question: can reputation be damaged (by written word in the form that libel laws deal with) when it is already so low? Here, reputation could be measured informally, or more seriously, formally by journal ranking in the case of journals, or by citation analysis of articles appearing withing (a journal in question), etc?

    Whether informal or formal the answer is the same I think!

  32. #32 jakerman
    February 24, 2011

    The google bots have done their job and [my prediction](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/the_energy_and_environment_eff.php#comment-3364904) has come true!

  33. #33 jakerman
    February 24, 2011

    For posterity, that search used to find no documents matching.

  34. #34 jakerman
    February 25, 2011

    H/T to ‘silence’ at Tamino’s for this link:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2011/02/peer-review-at-e.html

    It provides SBC’s email re OM’ s paper, very much sustantiating Gavin’s crique.

    >Manuel is that guy that thinks the Sun is like a giant, really hot ball-bearing.

    >In any case, Manuel first starts circling denialists blogs and forums in 2007, including the Climatesceptics mailing list, of which I am a proud member. In late 2007, Sonja reached out to Manuel, who had been promoting his ideas on the list, as follows:

    >>*Dear Oliver*
    >>*Would you have time to write a rather readable paper for me, addressing not the science community or even climate scpetics, but the energy policy community, with your challenging ideas?*

    >>*References would be ‘scientific ‘ of course. It could be a Viewpoint, relatively short and not peer reviewed, or a proper review paper, whioch would be.If interested, ask Louise for more detail, please.*
    >>Best wishes*

    >>*Sonja*

  35. #35 lord_sidcup
    February 25, 2011

    This is now being covered by The Guardian:

    [Real Climate faces libel suite](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/25/real-climate-libel-threat)

  36. #36 Hank Roberts
    February 25, 2011

    E’n'E appears to have gotten Lomborg off the masthead, unless this is a different page than the one I saw a few days ago: http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/121493/

    Another oddity here, this is their list of what they’ve published — how many in each category:

    Article Category

    Research article (493)
    Original (79)
    Editorial (51)
    Research Article (44)
    Regular paper (39)
    Short communication (33)
    Research-Article (33)
    Book review (32)
    Miscellaneous (27)
    Commentary (11)
    Conference report (8)
    Letter section (8)
    Case report (6)
    Book-Review (6)
    Book Review (5)
    Review article (4)
    Obituary (1)
    Introduction (1)
    Letter to the editor (1)
    BookReview (1)
    ________________
    Note the odd classification system they’re using there:
    Research article (493)
    Research Article (44)
    Research-Article (33)

  37. #37 J Bowers
    February 26, 2011

    BigCityLib’s uncovered a nugget from the ClimateSceptic Mailing List.

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2011/02/sonja-boehmer-christiansen-on-e-vs.html

    Evidence that there definitely was a libel suit under consideration, contrary to a lot of claims.

    “…There is quite a wide discussion about what to do. Multi-science is not rich and I have no time for legal matters!! Most think it is just not worth it. I think we could thank Gavin for the publicity and withdraw our threat, but this decision is not really mine. Benny certainly does not want to sue.

    sonja”