E+E libel: Gavin strikes again

The story so far: “Energy and Environment” threatens to sue RealClimate, and RC tells them they are a bunch of bozos.

But now the Grauniad picks up the story. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen attempts to fight back by asserting that Every paper that is submitted to the journal is vetted by a number of experts but noticeably does *not* use the magic phrase “peer review”. So it looks like E+E are going to concede by default, which leaves their reputation in tatters: as Gavin says:

You would need a new editor, new board of advisors, and a scrupulous adherence to real peer review, perhaps … using an open review process… But this is very unlikely to happen since their entire raison d’√™tre is political, not scientific.

But if you’d rather have a quote from SB-C, how about

being published in E&E is for debate, not evidence of ‘truth’


* Peer Review At E&E: A Case Study – the Iron Sun! What more could we need?
* Zero tolerance for pseudo-science?
* RP Jr


  1. #1 J Bowers

    That’s a proper, “Yeah, yeah. Go on, try it.” look on Gavin’s face.

    Plimer also took a pasting the other day, by the way:

    Senator LUDLAM–He can publish another work of science fiction


  2. #2 John Mashey

    I object.

    Gavin did *not* actually use the term “bozos,” a vague pejorative, as opposed to the concrete specifics that he did mention.

  3. #3 Adam R.

    I worry for Gavin. Paying attention to ankle biters like E&E and Dotty Dame Curry is distracting from his important work and may betray him into a false step. He should in all sincerity tell them to f* off–and ignore them henceforth.

  4. #4 David B. Benson

    Adam R. — Gavin Schmidt is hard working and exceedingly bright; afterall his PhD is in Mathematics. :-)

    So he is doing just the right things; don’t worry.

  5. #5 Eli Rabett

    It’s a parse.

  6. #6 Steve Bloom

    JB, as I recall the circumstances Gavin was going for a sexy look in that particular photo.

    [Gavin is well known for being sexy -W]

  7. #7 Hank Roberts

    > bunch of bozos

    Wrong collective there.
    Bananas come in bunches.
    Bozos come in buses or busloads.

  8. #8 J Bowers

    @ Steve Bloom. Like I said,….

  9. #9 Dunc

    So it looks like E+E are going to concede by default, which leaves their reputation in tatters:

    Seems more likely to reinforce the only reputation they have that I know of… E+E: where bad papers go to die.

  10. #10 J Bowers

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


    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.


  11. #11 Marco

    J Bowers: I’m quite interested to learn what the publisher wrote that apparently upset Skea and Lomborg. Sounds to me like the publisher (Hughes) isn’t the world’s most ethical person.

  12. #12 J Bowers

    Marco, BigCityLib has the skinny:


    Two of my editorial board have resigned over E&E taking too strong a position on the climate science debate (Lomborg and Skea, both with much public exposure…

  13. #13 Marco

    J Bowers: ah, but read the latest message from Sonja, it suggests the *publisher* wrote something that Lomborg and Skea did not like. Combined with that older message, this suggests Hughes wanted E&E to publish even more ‘contrarian’ stuff.

    And as a P.S.: Bill Hughes sent another mail to Gavin, stating he has no intention to sue, even though he considers the remarks libelous.

  14. #14 Omega Centauri

    Off topic.
    Weatherunderground is trying to recruit a climate scientist. In case William or anyone here cares to apply.

  15. #15 Sou

    Seems Hughes has conceded that Gavin is not alone in his opinion of EE and Hughes is not going to sue him or realclimate.

    In a second letter to Gavin, Hughes apologised profusely. He apologised firstly if his previous letter gave Gavin discomfort, and admitted that he, Hughes, is ‘well accustomed’ to people ‘straying across the line from insults’ in regard to EE. Effectively Hughes said that that Gavin has plenty of company in not holding a high opinion of EE.

    The matter now appears to be closed.

  16. #16 John Mashey

    re: #15
    I’m not sure I’d interpret the 2nd letter quite the same way. Hughes still maintained (twice) that it was libel, just said he won’t do anything about it.

  17. #17 H

    Well, in the second letter he stated his opinion.
    I’d guess the business’s attorneys did not share his opinion.

  18. #18 Brian Schmidt

    I’m late to the party, but if someone: a. can afford a lawyer; and b. writes a demand letter on their own instead of having the lawyer write it; then c. you can tell pretty easily that they have a weak case.

    No guarantee, but it suggests that they’re not putting serious resources into the issue and/or no lawyer was willing to sign the ridiculous statement for what the client was willing to pay.

    And it turns out to have been an unserious threat.

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