Also, it appears the opinion of ONE board member is all it takes, so much for consensus.
Richard Toll provides this communication:
Rejection letter by ERL:
Article under review for Environmental Research Letters
Comment on: “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the literature” – Professor Dr Richard S J Tol
BOARD MEMBER’S REPORT
The comment raises a number of issues with the recent study by Cook et al. It is written in a rather opinionated style, seen e.g. in the entire introductory section making political points, and in off-hand remarks like labelling Skeptical Science a “polemic blog” or in sweeping generalisations like the paper “may strengthen the belief that all is not well in climate research”.
It reads more like a blog post than a scientific comment.
The specification for ERL comments is:
“A Comment in Environmental Research Letters should make a real
contribution to the development of the subject, raising important issues about errors, controversial points or misleading results in work published in the journal recently.”
I do not think this manuscript satisfies those criteria. It is in a large part an opinion piece, in other parts it suggests better ways of analysing the published literature (e.g. using a larger database rather than just Web of Science). These are all valid points for the further discussion following the publication of a paper – colleagues will have different opinions on interpreting the results or on how this could have been done better, and it is perfectly valid to express these opinions and to go ahead and actually do the research better in order to advance the field.
I do not see that the submission has identified any clear errors in the Cook et al. paper that would call its conclusions into question – in fact he agrees that the consensus documented by Cook et al. exists. The author offers much speculation (e.g. about raters perhaps getting tired) which has no place in the scientific literature, he offers minor corrections – e.g. that the endorsement level should not be 98% but 97.6% if only explicit endorsements are counted. He spends much time on the issue of implicit endorsements, about which one can of course have different opinions, but the issue is clearly stated in the Cook et al. paper so this does not call for a published comment on the paper. He also offers an alternative interpretation of the trends – which is fine, it is always possible to interpret data differently.
All these things are valid issues for the usual discourse that exists in many informal avenues like conferences or blogs, but they do not constitute material for a formal comment.
Meanwhile the email address of the editor, Daniel Kammen is here for those that wish to query him: http://kammen.berkeley.edu/
Kammen as editor-in-chief of ERL, has an interesting blog on the paper. From his bio there, he seems to be mostly a celebrity policy wonk, and I’m puzzled about the “1935” as he lists it here: http://blogs.berkeley.edu/author/dkammen/
Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy
Daniel M. Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at UC Berkeley, where he holds appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the department of Nuclear Engineering. From 2010 to 2011 he worked for the World Bank, as its inaugural chief technical specialist for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Kammen is the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), the co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. He received his undergraduate (Cornell A., B. ’84) and graduate (Harvard M. A. ’86, Ph.D. ’88) training in physics. After postdoctoral work at Caltech and Harvard, Kammen was professor and chair of Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (1993-98). He moved to the UC Berkeley in 1998. Kammen is a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He hosted the Discovery Channel series ‘Ecopolis’ and has appeared on ‘NOV’ as well as ’60 Minutes.’
Of course, I suppose that we can’t expect much from an organization that has an admitted document thief on their editorial board.