Energy and Environment – “journal of choice for climate skeptics” Analysing the 900+ skeptic papers part III
- 21 Apr 2011, 16:30
- Christian Hunt
Post 3 of 3
The list of '900+' papers
linked to by the Global Warming Policy Foundation as supporting
climate scepticism included more articles published in Energy and
Environment than any other journal.
We reported last week that
nine out of the top 10 authors listed by the GWPF were linked to
ExxonMobil. We also discovered that prominent scientists
featured on the list
didn't agree that their work supported skepticism about
anthropogenic global warming - and had unsuccessfully asked for
their work to be removed from similar lists in the past.
We used the same data analysis tools to examine where the papers
on the list were published. The most cited journal by a clear
margin was Energy and Environment, which
provided 131 papers to the list - almost 15 percent of the
Energy and Environment's editor Sonja-Boehmer Christiansen has said
that she is "following [her] political agenda" in editing the
journal, which is co-edited by Benny
Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy
Christiansen noted in evidence submitted to the UK Parliament
that E&E has been characterised as "
a journal of choice for climate skeptics," also stating: "If
this [is] so, it happened by default as other publication
opportunities were closed to them…"
It is unclear whether E&E is peer-reviewed. The journal is
not listed by the ISI Web of
Knowledge, which provides "comprehensive
coverage of the world's most important and influential
journals". E&E has been
described by Gavin Schmidt of the science blog RealClimate as
having "effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any
papers that follow the editor's political line".
One way to consider a journal's relative importance within its
field is to examine its impact factor - the number of times the
average journal paper is cited over a two year period.
SCImago journal rank
shows that the average paper published in E&E has an impact
factor of around 0.42 - less than one citation every four years.
Nature, one of the most central scientific journals in this field,
has an impact factor of around 30. The Journal of Climate, a
mainstream but smaller climate journal, has an impact factor of
SCImago also provides citation information for every journal it
lists - the first graph shows the number of times journal articles
in E&E were cited in individual years. The second, by way of
comparison, shows the same information for the Journal of
Citation statistics for Energy and Environment.
Citation statistics for the Journal of Climate.
It's clear that E&E's papers are cited relatively
infrequently - suggesting the inclusion of a substantial number of
them on the '900+' list does not demonstrate widespread
disagreement with the scientific consensus on climate change, but
rather that these views are confined to a small climate skeptic
So in summary, what is the significance of this list of
There are a few respected scientists who are skeptical about
man-made climate change - Richard Lindzen is one. Similarly, it's
possible to find scientific papers which question the theory -
particularly if you look further back in time before scientific
certainty on this issue solidified.
But by examining this list in more detail, it becomes clear that
rather than capturing broad scientific opposition to the reality of
manmade climate change:
A significant chunk of the list is authored by a small group of
writers with extensive links to each other and to the oil
The most cited source for the 'peer reviewed papers' featured is
a minor journal which appears to have a political agenda to promote
Not only do many of the other papers on the list either support
the scientific consensus on climate change, or not discuss human
influence on the climate, we found several cases where scientists
featured on the list described the inclusion of their work as
It seems like these facts should make the genuinely skeptical
reassess how significant this list of papers is.
part 1: 9/10 top authors linked to Exxon
2: "Using our paper is misleading"