Media Ignores Story of Unjustified Retraction of a Climate Skeptical Paper Due to Bullying

While many media outlets ran stories this week about a scientific paper suggesting that Penguin chicks in Antarctica are dying by the thousands (despite evidence suggesting they aren’t), the mainstream media ignored another story that shows an ugly episode of bullying of a science journal by prominent climate scientists who demanded that a peer-reviewed paper they didn’t like be retracted.

The paper, A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming, said in its abstract, “In conclusion on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet.” This single phrase likely triggered the demands by prominent climate scientists for the paper to be retracted. Yet that claim is true, supported by real world data and numerous conclusions presented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report.

This is yet one more in a growing list of shameful episodes in the catalog of climate science calumnies. It features many of the same rogues gallery of climate researchers caught playing fast and loose with data and short-circuiting peer review in the infamous ClimateGate scandal of 2009, such as Dr. Michael E. Mann and Dr. Stefan Rahmsdorf who used their influence to get this paper retracted. Here is the notice from The European Physical Journal Plus, which has officially retracted the paper with this statement:

“Retraction Note: A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming

The Original Article was published on 13 January 2022

Retraction Note: Eur. Phys J. Plus (2022) 137:112

The Editors-in-Chief have retracted this article. Concerns were raised regarding the selection of the data, the analysis and the resulting conclusions of the article. The authors were invited to submit an addendum to the article, but post publication review of the concerns with the article and the submitted addendum concluded that the addendum was not suitable for publication and that the conclusions of the article were not supported by available evidence or data provided by the authors. In light of these concerns and based on the outcome of the post publication review, the Editors-in-Chief no longer have confidence in the results and conclusions reported in this article.

    • The authors disagree with this retraction.”

Mind you the paper had already gone through peer review and the Editors didn’t cite any specific instance of the use of bad data or the drawing of unsupported conclusions, rather, it seems, unwanted attention from large mainstream media organizations and pressure from prominent outside researchers lead to a failure of “confidence” in the results. When they let “the science” through the peer review process decide, the paper was approved and published. When climate alarmism raised its ugly head objecting, the paper was retracted. This cowardly decision was the subject of Team Climate Crisis Resorts to Bullying, Again published at WUWT ten days ago. At that date, the paper was simply “under dispute”.

So, over a year and a half after publication, with over 40 citations, the paper is retracted at the behest of the “ClimateGate gang.”

The retraction by the relatively small and obscure journal The European Physical Journal Plus, and its prominent publisher Springer, shows a core problem in study of climate change: the corruption climate science in the pursuit of a political agenda.

Commenting on this instance of apparent cowardice in the face of pressure, Tony Thomas writes in Quadrant-online, How Science is Done These Days:

There’s nothing new about mainstream climate scientists conspiring to bury papers that throw doubt on catastrophic global warming. The Climategate leaks showed co-compiler of the HadCRUT global temperature series Dr Phil Jones emailing Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, July 8, 2004:

I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth, a colleague] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Thanks to a science whistle-blower, there’s now documentation of a current exercise as bad as that captured in the Jones-Mann correspondence. This new and horrid saga – again involving Dr Mann – sets out to deplatform and destroy a peer-endorsed published paper by four Italian scientists. Their paper in European Physical Journal Plus is titled A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming and documents that extreme weather and related disasters are not generally increasing, contrary to the catastrophists feeding misinformation to the Guardian/ABC axis and other compliant media.

Calls for retractions began only after two Australian media outlets’, the Australian and Sky News Australia, reports on the study garnered more than 400,000 views and thousands of comments. Leading climate alarm promoters in the form of The Guardian, Agence France-Presse, and the Covering Climate Now, a cabal of some 500 media outlets with reach to a 2 billion audience, to respond with fury and publicly rake the journal over the coals.

Writing on the retraction in his substack article, “Think of the Implications of Publishing,” climate researcher, Roger Pielke Jr, Ph.D. said:

To be clear, there is absolutely no allegation of research fraud or misconduct here, just simple disagreement. Instead of countering arguments and evidence via the peer reviewed literature, activist scientists teamed up with activist journalists to pressure a publisher – Springer Nature, perhaps the world’s most important scientific publisher – to retract a paper. Sadly, the pressure campaign worked.

The abuse of the peer review process documented here is remarkable and stands as a warning that climate science is as deeply politicized as ever with scientists willing to exert influence on the publication process both out in the open and behind the scenes.

Prominent climatologist Judith Curry, Ph.D. tweeted concerning the controversial retraction, “Reprehensible behavior by journal editors in retracting a widely read climate paper (80,000 downloads) over politically inconvenient conclusions. Journal editors asked me to adjudicate, and my findings were in favor of the author.”

There is good news though, the lead author of the retracted paper, physicist Gianluca Alimonti, from the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Milan, Italy, and one of his co-authors, Luigi Marian, an agrometeorologist, have published a new paper “Is the number of global natural disasters increasing?” in the journal Environmental Hazards. Their answer? No, they are not increasing. We will wait and see if this paper is targeted by the Climategate Gang as well.

The media silence on this ugly episode episode of scientific bullying speaks volumes about their preferences for the kinds of facts, scientific scandals, and truths they choose to report – and ignore.

Anthony Watts
Anthony Watts
Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website

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  1. I compiled a long list of reinforcing layers of biases, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through PhD, grant writing, grant funding, paper writing, paper submitting, peer review, revisions, etc. During this process anything outside of the orthodoxy is sheered away. Now I have one more layer of bias to add, which is the post-publication pressure to retract the publication. However, this fits in with one of the earlier layers of bias, which is that scientists won’t 1) write a grant that might show negative results, 2) write a paper with negative results, 3) submit such a paper and 4) revise such a paper after peer review, because anything they do to get that negative data published will only hurt their career and make them targets of the climate jihadists.


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