Second Science Journal Rejected Climate Sensitivity Paper Without Peer Review

  • Date: 18/05/14
  • David Rose, Mail on Sunday

Ground-breaking climate research that was controversially ‘covered up’ suggests the rate  that greenhouse gases are heating the Earth has been significantly exaggerated, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Renowned Swedish scientist Professor Lennart Bengtsson of Reading University was at the centre of an international row last week when his study was rejected by a leading science journal after it was said to be ‘harmful’ and have a ‘negative impact’.

The rejection sparked accusations that scientists had crossed an important line by censoring findings that were not helpful to their views.

Prof Bengtsson further claims one of the world’s most recognised science publications also decided not to use his research findings, because, he said, they were considered to be ‘uninteresting’.

Prof Bengtsson’s critical paper was co-authored with four colleagues. It focused on the growing gap between real temperatures and predictions made by computers.

In a recent key report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated the ‘climate sensitivity’ – the amount the world will warm each time carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere double – was between 1.5C and 4.5C.

According to Prof Bengtsson’s paper, it is more likely to be 1.2C to 2.7C. The implications of the difference are huge. If the planet is warming half as fast as previously thought  in response to emissions, many assumptions behind targets for reducing emissions and green energy subsidies are wrong.

The subsidies in turn have led to a significant increase in consumers’ power bills. Last week, it was revealed Environmental Research Letters had rejected his paper because it would be seized on by climate ‘sceptics’ in the media.

Later the journal said it had rejected the paper because the reviewers questioned the paper’s methods.

But another journal turned it down without it even being sent out for peer review. Prof Bengtsson says this only normally happens if the editors believe the work is ‘trivial’ or ‘unimportant’.

Prof Bengtsson, 79, is one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists. Last week he was forced to step down from the council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the sceptical think-tank  set up by Lord Lawson.

Prof Bengtsson said the pressure was so great he had feared for his health. He said he had been stunned by the ‘emotional’ reaction to his joining the GWPF.

‘The way some in the climate community behaved shocked me,’ he said. ‘It was as if I had been married for many years, and then discovered my wife was a completely different person.’

Prof Bengtsson said the paper  was now being considered by a third journal, after some revisions. But  he had asked for his name to be to  be removed in the wake of the row over the GWPF.

Mail on Sunday, 18 May 2014