The editor of a science journal has resigned after admitting that a recent paper casting doubt on man-made climate change should not have been published.
The paper, by US scientists Roy Spencer and William Braswell, claimed that computer models of climate inflated projections of temperature increase. It was seized on by “sceptic” bloggers, but attacked by mainstream scientists.
Wolfgang Wagner, editor of Remote Sensing journal, says he agrees with the criticisms and is stepping down.
“Peer-reviewed journals are a pillar of modern science,” he writes in a resignation note published in Remote Sensing. “Their aim is to achieve highest scientific standards by carrying out a rigorous peer review that is, as a minimum requirement, supposed to be able to identify fundamental methodological errors or false claims.
“Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell… is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published…”
In essence, Dr Wagner, a professor of remote sensing at Vienna University of Technology, is blaming himself for this failing. But he also blames the researchers themselves for not referencing all the relevant research in their manuscript.
“The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted…, a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers…
Scientific papers that turn out to be flawed or fraudulent are usually retracted by the journals that publish them, with editorial resignations a rarity.
But Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said Dr Wagner had done the decent thing. “It was a mistake, he’s owned up to it and taken an honourable course, and I think he’s to be commended for it,” he told BBC News.
“I think it remains to be seen whether the authors follow a similar course.”
Since the authors of the crap article have their strongest commitment to right-wing politics and a “Christian” view of science – I think there is little or no likelihood of honor and ethics straying into their path.