Institute of Physics Chastises IPCC Scientists, Calls for Widespread Reforms

Published March 2, 2010

The Institute of Physics, a worldwide scientific body devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics, has sent a stinging letter to the British Parliament calling for widespread reforms in the climate science community. The letter criticizes global warming alarmists at the heart of the Climategate scandal for manipulating data, abusing the scientific method, and strong-arming the peer-review publication process.

The Institute of Physics observes the scandal extends far beyond simply a few scientists behaving badly, calling into question the methodology and assertions of alarmist scientists at international institutions involved with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

With 36,000 members—more than 10 times the number of participants in IPCC—and an objective, unbiased point of view, the Institute of Physics’ rebuke of many of the world’s most prominent alarmist scientists carries enormous weight within the scientific community.

Scientific Method Abused
The letter said the leaked emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the heart of the Climategate scandal call the entire IPCC process into question.

“The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and coordinated refusals to comply with honorable scientific traditions and freedom of information law,” the letter continues. “The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself—most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.”

Peer-Review Subversion
Suppressing the publication of raw data and methodology—which form the very heart of the scientific method—is only one of the troubling categories of misconduct perpetrated by the Climategate figures, the Institute’s letter explains. The Climategate figures also engaged in concerted efforts to distort and introduce bias into the peer-review process of article publication.

“There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ‘self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practiced in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation,” the letter explains.

Wider Inquiry Called For
Moreover, the emails show there has been a wider effort—extending well beyond the central Climategate figures—to manipulate or destroy data and strong-arm the peer-review process.

“[M]ost of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other leading institutions involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change. In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field,” the letter observed.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.