As expected, the chair of the IPCC led off the Copenhagen AGW summit with a dismissal of the Climategate scandal. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri sniffed at the entire controversy as merely a “theft,” echoing Barbara Boxer and apparently signaling the approach to be taken by everyone at the conference. In doing so, Pachauri defended the University of East Anglia CRU and the IPCC itself on the basis of peer review — which the e-mails exposed in Climategate show UEA-CRU actively attempting to undermine:
As Mark Steyn noted, the same people Pachauri hails as part of the scientific, peer-reviewed effort conspired to pervert peer review itself:
Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review.” When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.”
So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (“one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
Which in essence is what they did. The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style.
The more their echo chamber shriveled, the more Mann and Jones insisted that they and only they represent the “peer-reviewed” “consensus.” And gullible types like Ed Begley Jr. and Andrew Revkin of the New York Times fell for it hook, line, and tree-ring. The e-mails of “Andy” (as his CRU chums fondly know him) are especially pitiful. Confronted by serious questions from Stephen McIntyre, the dogged Ontario retiree whose Climate Audit website exposed the fraud of Dr. Mann’s global-warming “hockey stick” graph), “Andy” writes to Dr. Mann to say not to worry, he’s going to “cover” the story from a more oblique angle:
I’m going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre et al attacks.
peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?
And, amazingly, Dr. Mann does! “Re, your point at the end — you’ve taken the words out of my mouth.”
Climbing onto “peer review” as a moral high ground after the exposure of these exchanges is high irony, low chutzpah, or both.