Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

The Journal of Climate & the IPCC

We’re supposed to trust the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) because much of the research on which it relies was published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

But what happens when the people who are in charge of these journals are the same ones who write IPCC reports?

Today’s exhibit is the Journal of Climate. It’s published by the American Meteorological Society – which certainly sounds reputable. But let’s take a look at its IPCC connections.

It’s chief editor, Anthony J. Broccoli, was a contributing author and expert reviewer for the IPCC’s 2007 report (known as AR4).

Nathan Gillett, one of its editors, served in four separate AR4 capacities – as a lead author, an expert reviewer for both Working Group 1 and Working Group 2, and as an expert reviewer of the Synthesis Report. He is now a lead author for the upcoming IPCC report (AR5).

Marika Holland, another editor at the Journal of Climate, contributed to two chapters of the 2007 climate bible.

Editor Andrew Pitman was an IPCC lead author, a contributing author, and an expert reviewer for the 2007 edition. Moreover, he’s involved in the upcoming report as a review editor.

As editor James Renwick’s bio page makes clear, he was a contributing author to the 2001 IPCC report, a lead author for the 2007 report, and is currently a lead author for AR5.

Editor Brian Soden was a 2007 contributing author and an expert reviewer who is currently serving as an AR5 lead author.

Editor Shang-Ping Xie is currently an AR5 lead author, and editor Michael Alexander was a 2007 IPCC expert reviewer.

Other personnel associated with the Journal of Climate may be found under the headings Editors Emeritus and Associate Editors. Prominent IPCC participants such as Michael E. Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Andrew Weaver, Francis Zwiers, Gabriele Hegerl and Peter Stott appear on these lists.

Is this not too incestuous for words?

Is no one concerned that there is no distance whatsoever – never mind anything approaching a  firewall – between the people who decide whether a study deserves to join the haloed ranks of the scientific peer-reviewed literature – and the people who then write IPCC reports declaring what this peer-reviewed literature tells us about climate change?

And let’s not even talk about what percentage of the published papers authored by some of those mentioned above earned their peer-reviewed status via the Journal of Climate. That’s another story for another day.

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