Guest post by Michael Oxenham
Best use of taxpayers’ money?
I have been an admirer and daily reader of WUWT for over 5 years, which, together with many other sites, links and papers have given me, I feel, a good insight into the climate debate. Veterinary research projects related to global warming/climate change have not featured on your site very often, so you may be interested in this short post from a concerned taxpayer and retired veterinarian. – Michael Oxenham
VETERINARY RESEARCH AND GLOBAL WARMING
On 25th February ’12 the Veterinary Record, the weekly journal of the BVA, published a news report of a research project, which had coined the title, ‘Ruminomics’. This was essentially to investigate the possibility of reducing the methane and nitrogen emissions from dairy cattle by varying their genome and their ruminal microbiome. This was all clearly predicated on the conjecture that these emissions cause or drive global warming/climate change. The project was described as a 4-year study in partnership with 11 European organisations, coordinated by Prof. John Wallace of Aberdeen University. It was funded by a grant of €7.7m from the EU Commission. Regrettably this seems to be a classic case of a ‘follow the money’ project.
On 24th March ’12 the VR published my letter of comment under the title ‘Best use of taxpayers’ money?’ In it I expressed my incredulity at the size of the grant and that I knew of no published empirical data or falsifiable experiments that demonstrate a link between these emissions (and CO2 for that matter) and GW/CC. The Editor strangely censored one sentence from this letter, which was – ‘I am bound to ask if due diligence was followed in the award of these funds’ – my point being that if the grant application had not been accompanied by references to published empirical data or falsifiable experiments of a link between methane and GW, then due diligence had not been followed.
Interestingly a previous letter of mine was published in the VR on 18th Dec. ’10. In it I commented, inter alia, that I hoped the keepers of the public purse would, in future, closely scrutinise fund applications which had GW/CC tagged on to the project title. I mention this because previously several of my letters to the VR on Veterinary GW/CC topics have been totally or partly censored. I get the impression therefore that there is a Guardian-type ideology in the Editor’s office. For example a BVA committee produced a very dodgy ‘Brief’ on how members could help in tackling GW/CC. My letter challenging various statements in the ‘Brief’ was totally censored.
It was strange but significant, that no one from the ‘Ruminomics’ team challenged my comments of 24th March. If ‘results’ of the project are submitted for publication, I hope reviewers will look at them with due diligence.
A side issue of this matter was that the GWPF wished to reproduce my 24th March letter in full. However the publishers of the VR, the BMJ Group, demanded a copyright fee of $895. The Foundation considered this to be an outrageous sum for a letter of comment of about 118 words. So for copyright reasons I have only been able to cite parts of that letter.
The facts of this story remind me of the late Prof Hal Lewis’s observations in his resignation letter from the APS in 2010.