London 31 October: A new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals the extent to which current policy-making is reliant on untrustworthy peer-reviewed research, much of which cannot be replicated and “may be simply untrue”.
“Fraudulent research makes it past gatekeepers at even the most prestigious journals,” says Donna Laframboise, the study’s author and the investigative journalist behind the 2011 exposé of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.
The report, entitled Peer Review: Why Skepticism is Essential, describes the peer-review process as “haphazard and byzantine”, raising serious questions about the state of modern science and casting doubt on policies that claim to be ‘evidence-based’.
Laframboise explains: “A policy cannot be considered evidence-based if the evidence on which it depends was never independently verified… News from the worlds of astrobiology, ecology, economics, chemistry, computer science, management studies, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and physics all tell the same tale: ’peer-reviewed’ does not equal ’policy-ready’.”
This has striking implications for climate change policy, and particularly for the IPCC, which relies on the credibility of the peer-review process to provide support for its conclusions, and is quick to dismiss research that has not been peer-reviewed.
Laframboise describes how the now-disgraced former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri was once asked if an Indian environment ministry report might alter the IPCC’s pessimistic view of Himalayan glaciers. The ‘IPCC studies only peer-review science’, Rajendra Pachauri replied dismissively. Until the report’s data appears in ‘a decent credible publication’, he said, ‘we can just throw it into the dust- bin’.”