Energy and Environment

Please note, this page has been archived since 2011 and will not be updated. 

Energy and Environment is a journal publishing articles on energy technology and policy. It is most widely known for its publication of articles that challenge mainstream scientific research on climate change.

The journal is published by Multi-Science Publishing Company, which states that it publishes journals that "fill gaps in the scientific literature". The journal describes itself as "an interdisciplinary journal aimed at natural scientists, technologists and the international social science and policy communities covering the direct and indirect environmental impacts of energy acquisition, transport, production and use". It has been described by Real Climate, a website run by scientists working on research on the earth's climate, as "a journal for climate sceptics", and papers published in Energy and Environment have been widely cited by climate sceptics as alternative perspectives on climate change science.

Energy and Environment is edited by Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Emeritus Reader for the Department of Geography at the University of Hull. In correspondence with the Chronicle of Higher Education, she stated that by editing Energy and Environment she is "following [her] political agenda - a bit, anyway". She identifies herself as a climate sceptic, and states that in her role as editor she has "published peer-reviewed papers and opinion pieces by all the best known 'sceptics'" and knows a number of them "personally". She suggests that Energy and Environment has therefore "attracted, inter alia, papers from IPCC-critical and therefore IPCC-excluded scientists".

Dr Boehmer-Christiansen has argued that "most climate change [research] since the late 1980s has been government- and grant-funded with the clearly stated objective that it must support a decarbonisation agenda for the energy sector".

Energy and Environment is co-edited by Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, previously a part-time Senior Lecturer in Sports Science at Liverpool John Moores University, and a prominent critic of the climate change research community.

Professor Bjørn Lomborg, is listed as a member of Energy and Environment's editorial board but appears to have resigned in 2010, apparently to avoid being closely associated with the journal's sceptic editorial views. His resignation from Energy and Environment came shortly after his thinktank commissioned its first research into how best to mitigate climate change in 2009.

In 2003, an article by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick was published by Energy and Environment criticizing the statistical methodology behind Michael Mann and colleagues' research into global warming. McIntyre and McKitrick's article challenged the statistical methods that showed global temperature readings to have sharply increased in the 20th Century, but was refuted by a team of climate researchers in a peer-reviewed article in 2005.

Senator James Inhofe, the Chairman of the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, cited studies in Energy and Environment to support of his assertion in a 2009 Senate Minority Report that "[o]ver 700 dissenting scientists… from around the globe [have] challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)". Senator Inhofe has also cited the opinions of authors regularly published in Energy and Environment, including Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Richard Lindzen, Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, in speeches to the Senate that criticise climate change research and media coverage of the topic (2003, 2005, 2006).

It is unclear whether Energy and Environment 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". ISI listing is a generally accepted standard of relevance in the natural sciences. SCOPUS, a similarly prominent academic citation and abstracts database, lists Energy and Environment as a trade journal: "a serial publication covering and intended to reach a specific industry, trade or type of business". SCOPUS defines trade journals as "seldom refereed" and with "few or no references". EBSCO, another citation and abstracts database, describes Energy and Environment as a peer-reviewed academic journal.

In February 2011 Bill Hughes, director of Multi-Science publishing, threatened Real Climate's Gavin Schmidt with a libel suit unless he retracted a statement about the journal. Schmidt alleged that Energy and Environment have "effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor's political line". Schmidt described the fallout of such a situation:

"[Y]ou end up with a backwater of poorly presented and incoherent contributions that make no impact on the mainstream scientific literature or conversation. It simply isn't worth wading through the dross in the hope of finding something interesting."

Schmidt has refused to retract the statement.