Claim: Climate scientists are being censored

TheNZThrower

Active Member
An Epoch Times article (EDIT: link added) claimed that climate skeptic Patrick J. Michaels had his paper refused by multiple journals as they had to past a higher standard than other papers:
Academic research that casts doubt about the consensus dogma is rarely seen in academic journals, a phenomenon that began in the 1990s. Michaels said in UK Channel 4’s 1990 documentary The Greenhouse Conspiracy that if a person’s point of view is politically unacceptable, then there will be trouble. His paper was rejected by more than one academic journal. When he asked a journal editor why, the answer was that his paper must pass a higher evaluation standard than others.
There exists a transcript of the documentary, in which Michaels says the following:
People who have a point of view which may not be politically acceptable are going to have problems. That's not surprising. I have had experiences with editors of more than one journal who have said that my papers have been rejected because they are held to a higher standard of review than others. I believe this is because what they say is not popular. That's OK: I'm a big boy. I know I would have been more successful if I had said the world is coming to an end, but I can't bring myself to do that.
Here is the documentary itself where Michaels makes the aforementioned statement (timestamp 46:21):

Now why is it the case that his papers are subject to a higher degree of scrutiny, as I'm not that familiar with the peer review process. AFAIK, this could mean that certain journals rejected his papers before he found one that was willing to publish it, not that he has papers that were never published by any journal at all.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
An Epoch Times article claimed that climate skeptic Patrick J. Michaels had his paper refused by multiple journals as they had to past a higher standard than other papers:
Academic research that casts doubt about the consensus dogma is rarely seen in academic journals, a phenomenon that began in the 1990s. Michaels said in UK Channel 4’s 1990 documentary The Greenhouse Conspiracy that if a person’s point of view is politically unacceptable, then there will be trouble. His paper was rejected by more than one academic journal. When he asked a journal editor why, the answer was that his paper must pass a higher evaluation standard than others.
Content from External Source
For context, this is the source:
Article:

Chapter Sixteen, Part II: The Communism Behind Environmentalism (UPDATED)​

The specter of communism did not disappear with the disintegration of the Communist Party in Eastern Europe​

The Epoch Times is serializing an adaptation from the Chinese of a new book, How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World, by the editorial team of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.
It helps here to remember that the Epoch Times was founded by Chinese who had fled communist China.

The article starts its assault on climate change (branding it as "dogma") with this:
Climatology is a young subject with only a few decades of history. Yet the hypotheses surrounding global warming have been prematurely taken as fact.
Content from External Source
Climatology is in fact a field with a history as long as nuclear physics or computer science, and climate change had been well established within the field by 1990.
Article:
A few people worked to lift meteorology and climatology above the traditional statistical approach. Helmut Landsberg's 1941 textbook Physical Climatology and a 1944 Climatology textbook written by two other meteorologists demonstrated how familiar physical principles underlay the general features of global climate, and provided a rallying-point for those who wanted to make the field truly scientific.

Leading the movement was a group at the University of Chicago, where in 1942 Carl-Gustav Rossby had created a department of meteorology.

The new thinking was displayed in full at a 1965 symposium held in Boulder, Colorado on "Causes of Climate Change." While the meeting made little special impression at the time, in retrospect it was a landmark.

The greenhouse effect had been so well established by 1990 that the Sagan Standard, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", would have applied to papers denying it. Michaels's "evidence" would not have been good enough.

Further discussion of Michaels's claim would profit from examining a copy of the allegedly rejected paper. I suspect history will not have been kind to it.
 
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Ann K

Active Member
Now why is it the case that his papers are subject to a higher degree of scrutiny, as I'm not that familiar with the peer review process. AFAIK, this could mean that certain journals rejected his papers before he found one that was willing to publish it, not that he has papers that were never published by any journal at all.
If it is a scientific publication, he is going to have to have evidence for his conclusions. Although the occasional lemon gets through, in most cases peer reviewers (those with a high degree of familiarity with the subject) are not going to accept opinions or obviously cherry-picked data.

I suspect that his statement about a higher degree of scrutiny (if it is true at all and not just an excuse on his part for not getting it published) refers to the fact that overthrowing an overwhelming consensus is a serious matter, one which requires very solid evidence sufficient to invalidate the mountains of evidence which already exist to the contrary.

His statement throwing politics into the mix is unfortunate, and probably more indicative of his own political bias. Politics has no legitimate place in scientific study, but that camel's nose is well and truly under the tent.
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
Anyways, The Epoch Times claim that in Michael's book, he claimed that the governor of Virginia has demanded he can no longer speak on the issue as a state climatologist:
Because he insisted that changes in the climate would not lead to disaster — and this optimistic stance was inconsistent with the consensus dogma — he was told one day by the governor of Virginia that he could not speak on global warming as a state climatologist. He ultimately chose to resign.
Looking to contemporary articles, DesmogBlog claims that this was a result of conflicts of interest between Michaels and an electricity co-operative (IREA) that gets most of its power from coal:
DeSmogBlog and ABC News uncovered a leaked memo written by the president of the Intermountain Rural Electrical Association that linked to Patrick Michaels’ consulting firm.

In the memo, Stan Lewandowski, General Manager of IREA discusses a coordinated campaign by Koch Industries, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Michaels, and other key groups to push back against “alarmism” on climate change: (emphasis added)...
They then quote the Washington Post, who mentioned that the governor of Virginia requested he not use the title of State Climatologist when conducting his consulting business:
This summer, news reports revealed that Michaels had asked for money for his research from coal-burning utilities. Such companies often are criticized for emitting pollutants that lead to global warming, and critics have said this fundraising proves that Michaels's views are calculated to please his financial backers. Michaels said it doesn't prove anything.

"I was working on climate change long before I worked as a consultant" to outside groups, he wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post, "and my views have been quite consistent over that period."

After the fundraising reports came out, the Kaine administration investigated how Michaels had come by his title, and officials determined that he worked for the university, not the governor. So they sent Michaels a letter asking him to make it clear that he was not speaking for the state during his "outside activities" or consulting.
So whaddya guys make of it? Is there any information I may have missed?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The Epoch Times claim that in Michael's book, he claimed that the governor of Virginia has demanded he can no longer speak on the issue as a state climatologist:
I'm not sure how much bearing this has on the original claim. The use of a title (or not) doesn't seem like much of a censorship issue to me.
 

Ann K

Active Member
They then quote the Washington Post, who mentioned that the governor of Virginia requested he not use the title of State Climatologist when conducting his consulting business:
it sounds as if he tried to use an official state title in conducting his personal business, which is definitely a no-no. It smacks suspiciously of two different problems: touting his own importance, and a nudge-and-wink statement of "Hire me, I have influence".
 

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