Has Nature Communications committed reckless endangerment?

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Here is an update on the case against Nature Communications and against the soi-disant “University” of California at Merced and various of its denizens in respect of a lamentable purported “study” that is in reality an unveiled personal attack on climate skeptics.

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The following letter, sent by me today (28 August 2019), shows that we are not only considering prosecution for fraud but also for reckless endangerment (U.S. criminal code), incitement to violence and breach of the peace (Justices of the Peace Act 1361, s. 1). I shall also be pursuing claims for libel and for breach of my right of privacy.

The “University” and the “learned” journal have failed to correct manifest errors in the “data” used by the co-authors of the purported “research” “study”: yet its lawyers, avoiding all mention of these errors, say there is a “public interest” in publishing what in truth amounts to nothing more than totalitarian propaganda accompanied by a widely-circulated hit-list of 386 named “deniers”, “denialists”, “contrarians” and “non-experts” unfairly and unfavourably contrasted with “expert” “scientists” who toe the Party Line on climate.

Hold on to your hats. Here goes:

Ms Lorena Anderson, senior writer, UC Merced

Ramesh Balasubramanian, IRB, UC Merced

Lyndon Branfield, Head of Legal (UK), Nature

Nathan Brostrom, Chanceller ad int., UC Merced

Jasper Franke, Earth Team, Nature Communications

David Gevaux, Nature Communications

Ms. F. Gillespie, Mng.Ed., Nature Communications

Eric Kalmin, Director, Records Mgmt., UC Merced

Deborah Motton, UC Merced

A.M. Petersen, Asst. Professor (Eng.), UC Merced

Ms Luanna Putney PhD, UC Merced

Ms E. De Ranieri, Editor, Nature Communications

Ms Magalena Skipper, Nature Communications

Samuel Traina, research vice-chancellor, UC Merced

E. Vincent, “climate communications”, UC Merced

A.L. Westerling, UC Merced

Mesdames, gentlemen, 28 August 2019

Fraud, breach of right of privacy and libel

This is a reply to communications from Ms. Luanna Putney, chief ethics and compliance officer of UC Merced dated 28 August 2019; from Ramesh Balasubrahamanian and Samuel Traina of the “review board” at UC Merced dated 27 August 2019; from Eric Kalmin, Director of Records Management and Practices in the Office of Legal Affairs at UC Merced dated 27 August 2019; from Lyndon Branfield, head of legal affairs (UK) for Springer Nature, publishers of Nature Communications, dated 27 August 2019; and from Ms. Elisa De Ranieri, editor in chief of Nature Communications. I am grateful to all of these for having replied to my letters requesting retraction of the fraudulent, malicious, libellous, inaccurate and incompetent purported “peer-reviewed” “research” “study” Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians by Petersen, Vincent and Westerling, published in Nature Communications earlier this month and removal from the website of the “University” of California at Merced of an associated press release.

I have received no replies from or on behalf of any of the three authors of the purported “study”. In particular, they have taken no steps whatsoever to remove the mentions of “CCC 7”, which a list widely circulated by them and by Nature Communications identifies as me, even though I have drawn their attention to material inaccuracies in those mentions of me.

I have received no reply from or on behalf of Ms Anderson, the author of the libellous press release, widely circulated in news media worldwide, describing those of us identified on the list of researchers variously described in the press release and in the purported “study” as (inter alia) “climate change deniers”, “denialists”, “contrarians” and “non-experts”, wilfully and unfairly contrasted with the “expert” “scientists” who toe the Party Line on climate.

For the reasons set forth herein and in earlier correspondence, I now renew the following requests already addressed to the recipients hereof or to their offices:

  1. Those who have not replied to date, or on behalf of whom no reply has been received, are strongly advised – in their own interest – to reply by the end of this week. Further time will not be given. Costs will be awarded against those who have not replied.
  2. The purported “study” and the associated press release are to be taken down, retracted and apologized for, and an undertaking of non-repetition of the frauds, errors, breaches of right of privacy and libels therein is to be given.
  3. It is to be made plain in the apology that the references to me in the purported “study” are inaccurate in that, inter alia, I am listed as not having had any peer-reviewed scientific publications. A list of my academic publications on the climate question is attached.
  4. If further time for investigation into the complaints by me and other victims is required, a timetable for the completion of that investigation is to be provided and, pending the outcome, either the offending purported “study” is to be taken down or, at minimum, the all references to “CCC 7”, which the widely-circulated hate-list identifies as me, are to be excised forthwith from the purported “study” online and in print. Failure to comply by the end of this week will invalidate the already tenuous claim on the part of some of the addressees hereof that the offending purported “study” was “peer-reviewed”, and will remove the protection that the law of the United Kingdom provides for research papers that are genuinely scholarly and genuinely peer-reviewed. You have been fairly warned.
  5. I require to see the following records, by the end of this week at the latest –

                a. All correspondence in relation to the grant for the purported “study”.

                b. All correspondence between the three authors, and between them and all third parties, in relation to the purported “study”, specifically including copies of pre-submission or peer reviews (if any) of the purported “study” before publication.

                c. All correspondence on the files of the chancellor’s office and of the IRB in relation to the purported “study”.

                d. All correspondence between the “University’s” press office, Ms Anderson, the three authors and any third parties in connection with the purported “study” and the press release issued by the “University” under Ms Anderson’s name.

I now respond to the communications received from some of the addressees, recentiores priores.

Research on human subjects

Ms Putney falsely characterizes the purported “study” as a “scholarly publication”. There is nothing of scholarship about it. It was fraudulent; poorly conceived; predicated upon the twin elementary logical fallacies of headcount and appeal to authority (argumentum ad populum and argumentum ad verecundiam); contrived for the purpose not of legitimate research but of widely circulating a blacklist of victims whom its authors publicly said should be denied “visibility” not only in news media but also in scientific research journals; conducted without preparing, submitting or obtaining approval for the research protocol by an independent research review board; contrary to the norms for research on human subjects; serially and materially inaccurate; in breach of my right of privacy even after I had drawn attention to the inaccuracies and other defects in the purported “study” and had asserted the right to be forgotten in terms of the European General Data Protection Regulation and related law; conducted by authors who, like their institution, have publicly and libellously stated their hatred, ridicule and contempt for their named victims in the most vicious terms, comparing us inter alia to Holocaust “deniers” or “denialists”; executed without the knowledge or consent of the named victims; and not withdrawn or even corrected when material errors were explicitly drawn to the authors’ attention. Scholarly? Schmolarly.

Ms Putney falsely describes the “research” conducted by the authors of the purported “study” as not constituting “human subjects research under the applicable laws and regulations”. In the State of California the relevant law is 45 CFR 46.101, which, at paragraph (g), states:

“This policy does not affect any foreign laws or regulations that may otherwise be applicable and that provide additional protections to human subjects of research.”

That law binds the addressees to comply with the rules in the United Kingdom, where the purported “study” was published. The policy for research involving human participants is set forth by the UK Research Integrity Office. Some relevant provisions flagrantly ignored by the addressees are as follows:

“Appropriate care should be taken when research projects involve … covert studies or other forms of research which do not involve full disclosure to participants”.

Reason: Data-scraping from the internet and suchlike dubious substitutes for legitimate scholarly research seldom produces accurate information. Accordingly, it is essential that intended research subjects be contacted and their permission to participate sought, so that – at minimum – the information about them that the researchers intend to publish will be accurate, and so that the data subjects may correct any inaccuracies before publication.

“The dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of participants must be the primary consideration in any research study. Research should be initiated and continued only if the anticipated benefits justify the risks involved.”

Reason: Scholarly research may not be used in the United Kingdom as a cover for libel. The prohibition on suit for libel in peer-reviewed publications carries with it a concomitant duty of care to named research subjects on the part of the researcher. The description of the named victims of the purported “study” on six occasions in the press release and on numerous occasions in the “study” as “deniers”, “climate change deniers”, “denialists”, “contrarians” and suchlike calculatedly pejorative terms, with the deliberate overtone of odious comparison with Holocaust “deniers”, is inconsistent with the requirement at United Kingdom law that the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of participants must be the primary consideration.

Several victims of the purported “study” have told me they now fear for their lives, because the “study” and the press release in their opinion express and are calculated wilfully to excite such hatred, ridicule and contempt for the named victims as to constitute reckless endangerment at United States federal law and incitement to violence as well as conduct likely to cause a breach of the Queen’s peace at United Kingdom law.

“Organizations and reseachers based abroad who participate in UK-hosted research projects should comply with the legal and ethical requirements existing in the UK as well as those of their own country.”

Reason: In jurisdictions such as that of the United States, there is no requirement – or, it seems, expectation – that scholarly research will be scholarly, and will be conducted in accordance with the internationally-recognized minimum norms and standards of civilized academic research. However, research published in the United Kingdom (and publication is one form of hosting) must comply with UK and European Union legal and ethical requirements. These requirements include obtaining the consent of research participants, consulting them to ensure accuracy, and promptly correcting any errors that are drawn to the authors’ attention.

“Organizations should set up systems to ensure appropriate ethical, regulatory and peer review of research projects involving human participants … The systems should include mechanisms to ensure that such research projects have been approved by all applicable bodies, ethical, regulatory or otherwise.”

Reason: At UK law, there is a particularly strong expectation that scholarly research will be properly regulated, since properly-regulated research is not subject to libel suit. For this reason, and for reasons of general propriety and maintenance of minimum acceptable academic standards, the authors of any proposed research study that is intended to name or otherwise identifies research subjects must ensure that they do not commence any such research unless and until they have submitted a properly-constructed and legitimate research protocol to the appropriate review body for prior approval before the research begins. In the present instance, it is admitted on behalf of the “University” of California at Merced that no such protocol was devised or submitted, and that no such approval was granted.

“Organizations should make sure that their researchers are aware of all of the above systems and have access to all relevant guidance and legal and ethical frameworks.”

Reason: In competent and genuine academic institutions, the regents and the faculty boards will exercise a competent supervision over researchers precisely so as to forestall the flagrant abuses in which the authors of the purported “study” have seen fit to indulge. It was the obligation of the “University’s” “review board” to ensure that all researchers intending to conduct research hosted in the United Kingdom were aware of the higher and more stringent requirements of academic probity, competence, integrity, accountability and civility on this side of the Atlantic. The “University’s” review board, however, on its own admission, failed to ensure that the authors of the purported “study” were informed of their obligations at United Kingdom and European Union law. Instead, upon complaint by me, it falsely stated that Californian law exempted the authors from the obligation to submit and obtain approval of a research protocol before naming their victims in a widely-circulated hate-list manifestly and explicitly intended to cause real harm to their victims.

“Researchers on projects involving human subjects must satisfy themselves that participants are enabled, by the provision of adequate accurate information in an appropriate form through suitable procedures, to give informed consent …”

Reason: Learned papers in academic journals are not Press reports. The obligation of accuracy, particularly when naming victims, is essential. Had I been told that the authors of the purported “study” were proposing to state that I had no peer-reviewed publications to my name, I should have had the opportunity to disabuse them of that notion. That point matters, because one of the premises of the “study” was that those of us who question the Party Line on climate have had fewer peer-reviewed publications than those with whose views the authors of the “study” identified themselves.

“Researchers should inform research participants that data gathered during the course of research may be disseminated not only in a report but also in different forms for academic or other subsequent publications and meetings, albeit not in an identifiable form, unless previously agreed to, and subject to limitations imposed by legislation or any applicable bodies, ethical, regulatory or otherwise.”

Reason: The UK rules specify that researchers must inform human subjects that data about them may be disseminated so that the subjects in question may verify that the information is accurate and, if they wish, request under the General Data Protection Regulation and other law that they be omitted from the research by virtue of what is known in European law as “the right to be forgotten” – a right which, in demanding that the inaccurate information about me that is still present in the offending purported “study” should be deleted, I now reassert for the avoidance of doubt. The data are, in any case, required by the UK rules to be anonymized – “not in an identifiable form” – unless the human subjects have given their consent for their names and data to be published. I have already withheld my consent and I now again withhold it. All data relating to “CCC 7”, a code that has already been ascribed to me in the widely-circulated hate-list naming the addressees’ victims, is to be deleted forthwith from the purported “study” Those data are inaccurate and, had the authors, their “University” and their “review board” complied with the UK requirements, I should have had the opportunity to register my disapproval and demand correction before, and not after, the damaging and offensive publication of these inaccurate data within a context of extreme malevolence that cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as “scholarly”.

It may be helpful if I summarize the principles that the UK rules require of researchers. These principles are excellence, honesty, integrity, cooperation, accountability, skill and safety.

Reason: The principles require excellence because otherwise the libelling of human subjects and the fabrication of data about them is mere journalism. On any view, the purported “study” and the word “excellence” do not go hand in hand.

The principles require honesty, and, in particular, they say of researchers that “they should do their utmost to ensure the accuracy of data and results”, because academic publications are not supposed to be used, as this purported “study” has been used, dishonestly to libel human subjects. I have already warned the addressees that the data and results concerning me are inaccurate; I have required correction; but none of the addressees has had the courtesy to reply to me on that point.

The principles require integrity and, in particular, that “organizations and researchers must comply with all legal and ethical requirements relevant to their field of study”, so that victims such as those named in the widely-circulated hate-list can be protected from libels dressed up as “research” and from fabricated information.

The principles require cooperation and, in particular, “the open exchange of ideas, research methods, data and results … subject to any considerations of confidentiality”. Since the authors of the purported “study” had furtively concealed their “research” from their named victims until publication, none of us had the opportunity either to make representations in advance about the poor construction of this misconceived propaganda masquerading as “research” or to correct the numerous errors in the data that were disseminated about us.

The principles require organizations and researchers to recognize that “in and through their work they are ultimately accountable to the general public and should act accordingly”. At no point, however, did the authors of the purported “study” take seriously in mind the possibility that the Party Line on the climate question, to which they naively adhere, may be in substance incorrect. Suppose, for instance, as my team has concluded, that official climatology has misdefined the temperature feedback, which thus does not cause up to nine-tenths of the much-exaggerated global warming that climatology predicts. Suppose that there is no scientific consensus, as my team found there was not, publishing our results in a peer-reviewed paper in 2015. Suppose that, as a peer-reviewed paper by me in 2013 demonstrated, the welfare loss from mitigating global warming exceeds by orders of magnitude any conceivable welfare benefit. Suppose that, as an associated team has discovered, the Earth’s atmosphere is in thermodynamic equilibrium and that, therefore, the greenhouse effect cannot cause warming. In that event, it is not we but the supporters of the Party Line on climate that are the “deniers”, “denialists” or “contrarians”. The authors of the purported “study”, by making what we consider to be the demonstrably false assumption that the Party Line is in all material respects correct, are in effect declaring that an open scientific question is settled, when in fact it is not. And what are the consequences for the general public? In the West, we must pay five or six times as much for our electrical power, and two or three times as much for gasoline, as we should have had to pay in the absence of global warming mitigation policies that are, in our scientific opinion, entirely supererogatory. Worse, because the nations that are the world’s largest emitters – notably China – are not obliged to make any restrictions on the use of coal, oil and gas, they are able to undercut Western manufactures not only because they pay poor wages and provide little health care, social benefits or pensions but also because the cost of energy both for manufacture and for vecture is loaded against us by our politicians’ belief in the Party Line on climate that the authors inexpertly espouse. Worse still, the World Bank will no longer lend to developing nations for the construction of coal-fired power stations or for the extraction of oil and gas to give them the energy that would lift them from poverty faster than anything else, on the pretext that the Party Line on climate is unimpugnable. But what if it is simply wrong, as on legitimate and serious scientific grounds we consider it to be wrong? Some 4.3 million people a year are dying by inhaling smoke from cooking fires because they cannot have electric stoves. Some 500,000 women a year are dying in childbirth because there is no electricity in the birthplace. One-sixth of the world’s population is dying 15 years before its time because there is no access to electrical power – “access” being ungenerously defined by the World Health Organization as the capacity to switch on just one 60 W lightbulb for an average of about four hours a day. If we are right, then the global warming mitigation policies advocated by adherents of the Party Line, such as the authors of the purported “study”, are nothing less than genocidal. Yet the authors are so un-self-aware, so un-self-critical, that they insist on the promulgation of their shoddy blacklist in the hope of silencing us so that the slaughter of the innocents and the bankrupting of the West’s workers can continue unchecked. Imagine what the High Court will think of the authors, of their “University” and of the once-respected Nature publishing group when the global-warming-policy-driven scale of the unemployment and business closure in the West, and of the mass loss of life in the South, is drawn to its attention, together with the now-overwhelming evidence not only that it is vastly cheaper to adapt than to attempt to mitigate and that the vaunted “consensus” does not in reality exist but also that the entire Party Line on global warming is based on a series of catastrophic errors of physics? The addressees have not, with respect, been sufficiently dispassionate to consider just how many jobs, businesses and human lives the Party Line to which they so misguidedly adhere is destroying. Climate Communism bids fair to kill no fewer in the 21st century than international-Socialist Communism killed in the 20th. That is why the addressees’ crude, totalitarian attempt to silence all opposition to the Party Line is not merely undesirable: it is culpable.

The UK’s research integrity principles require adequate training precisely so as to ensure that researchers such as the authors of the purported “study” are mindful of the damage that careless or deliberately prejudiced “research” can cause not only to their named victims but also to wider society. The authors were not at all mindful of their wider responsibilities, as is evidenced by their sullen refusal either to justify or to correct any of the data errors concerning their named victims that have been drawn to their attention.

The principles require that “organizations and researchers should ensure the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of all involved in research and avoid unreasonable risk or harm to research subjects … and others. … Research should be initiated and continued only if the anticipated benefits justify the risks involved.” The present “research” should be discontinued forthwith because, particularly given the intemperate terms in which the authors have expressed themselves not only in the purported “study” but also in the concomitant press release, these objectionable documents constitute both reckless endangerment and incitement to violence and breach of the peace.

For these reasons, the maladroit attempt by Ms Putney, Mr Balasubramanian and Mr Traina on behalf of the “University” to misstate the law of California by asserting, falsely, that the named victims of the purported “study” were not covered by the law on human subjects involved in research is a very grave matter. The High Court cannot be expected to tolerate such institutional misconduct. Californian law obliges researchers to comply with the requirements of nations in which their research is hosted, but, for the reasons set forth supra, neither the authors of the purported “study” nor their “University” nor its “review board” nor Nature Communications have thus complied. They remain in militant breach of the rules.

Freedom-of-information request by me

Mr Kalmin, on behalf of the “University”, has falsely stated that my surely straightforward request for all correspondence related to a single purported “study” by three named authors at the “University” as “an overly broad, fishing-expedition-type request”. Nonsense. The three authors, the review board, the chancellor’s office and the press office can and, in my submission, should produce all relevant records by the end of this week. The suggestion that this simple and well-focused request, which is appropriately and proportionately limited in its scope, will require eight weeks just to produce a preliminary reply is unacceptable, and is manifestly a delaying tactic. I require the records by the end of this week, failing which any costs arising in subsequent proceedings because the records were not to hand by that time will be borne by the “University”. I require to see the records listed earlier herein by the end of this week without fail, and all other relevant records as soon as may be.

Nature Communications

Mr Branfield, replying to me on behalf of Nature Communications, says the journal “is looking into this matter, it is being treated with care, priority and is being taken very seriously.” If the matter is “being taken very seriously”, why has none of the data errors reported to the journal by me and, to my knowledge, by or on behalf of other victims named on the hate-list widely circulated by the journal been corrected? If the matter is being treated with “care”, why has my request to have all identifiers citing me as “CCC 7” not been removed forthwith in accordance with the right to be forgotten at European law? And, if it is being treated with “priority” why have I not been given any indication of how long the journal proposes to take in making its enquiries before it corrects the data errors and removes all identifiable references to me?

I now turn to the series of unbecoming and disfiguring pretexts for the journal’s continuing misconduct offered by Mr Branfield.

Mr Branfield says: “I am advised that the list of names was included for academic reasons in order to support the analysis and for the usual reproducibility purposes”. Nonsense. The rules for the identification of human research subjects by name are quite clear, and have been discussed supra. Had the authors of the study evinced any purpose other than their stated purpose (see the “University’s” press release passim) of circulating a blacklist of alleged “deniers”, “denialists”, “contrarians”, “non-experts” etc., etc., ad nauseam, with the intention of stifling and silencing those of us who disagree with the Party Line on climate to which they so perfervidly but futilely cling, they would have consulted their “review board” to discuss how to ensure reproducibility without identifying those research subjects who, like me, withheld and withhold their consent to participate or to be named. No legitimate academic purpose whatsoever was served by the authors’ failure to submit a protocol for approval to their “review board”, or by their furtiveness in having failed to notify each of their named victims that false and inaccurate information about them, combined with grievously libellous epithets, was to be widely published to their detriment – a detriment aggravated by the spurious cloak of pseudo-respectability that they sought to throw over themselves by their pretence, in which the journal and their “University” conspire, that the purported “study” constituted serious, academic research. Mr Eschenbach’s post-publication review, which I had reported to the journal but which Mr Branfield has been very careful to avoid mentioning, demonstrates beyond any doubt that this was no academic research project.

In the circumstances, Mr Branfield’s seeking to cloak this mess of sewage in “the special importance of the public interest” and in a purported “waiver of deletion and notification rights in cases like the one in hand where the publication is in the public interest” must fail, and fail abjectly.

Where is the public interest in pretending that those of us who publish academic research questioning the Party Line on climate are “deniers”, “denialists”, “contrarians”, “non-experts” etc., to be contrasted unfavourably with the “expert” “scientists” favoured by the authors of the purported “study”? There is none. Why, then, has Mr Branfield altogether neglected to respond to my complaint about the use of these repellent and unjustifiable terms of libel?

Where is the public interest in publishing false, fabricated data about the academic publication record of those of us named as victims in the purported “study”, and in refusing to correct it? There is none. Why has Mr Branfield neglected to reply at all to my request that the errors standing against my name in the purported “study” should be corrected?

Where is the public interest in falsely stating, as the purported study does and as Mr Branfield does, that “it is the majority scientific view that contemporary climate-change is real, manmade, will have a negative impact on the environment and on society, and therefore requires urgent global action”? There is none, for that statement is in all material respects fals, as Mr Branfield well knows. In earlier correspondence I had already drawn the journal’s and the “University’s” attention to the fact that the official “consensus” proposition says no more than that the global warming of recent decades is chiefly anthropogenic. Yet, as Legates et al. (2015) demonstrate in a peer-reviewed paper, only 41 of 11,944 papers on climate and related topics published after peer review in the learned journals over the 21 years 1991-2011 even go so far as to say that recent warming was chiefly anthropogenic. The police in Queensland, the UK and elsewhere are investigating the false and fraudulent assertion in two allegedly-peer-reviewed papers by researchers originally at the University of Queensland and at the University of Reading among others that 97.1%, rather than 0.3%, of that sample had said that global warming was chiefly manmade.

Where is the public interest in imagining, as Mr Branfield does, that science was or is or ever can be done by “consensus”? There is none. As noted supra, argument from the imagined (and, in fact, imaginary) “consensus” of supposed “experts” is an unholy conflation of two Aristotelian logical fallacies: that of argumentum ad populum, the headcount fallacy, and of argumentum ad verecundiam, the fallacy of argument from appeal to authority. In short, had the authors of the purported “study” submitted their research proposal to any competent review board at any true university, they would have been told that the entire basis of their proposed protocol was unsound and misconceived. What does Mr Branfield suppose was the purpose of the manifestly, militantly anti-scientific approach of the authors of the proposed “study” and of his clients the journal? If the “science” were really as settled as Mr Branfield would wish the High Court to believe, then there would be no need for the defendants to resort to shop-worn logical fallacies, to fraud, to denial of my right to be forgotten, and to libel. It is precisely because those who have libelled us know full well that the “science” is not as Mr Branfield would like the High Court to believe that they have resorted to fraudulent publication of inaccurate information about named and libelled individuals. Can his nose not sense the stench of desperation on his clients’ part?

Where is the public interest in falsely asserting, as the purported “study” and Mr Branfield assert, that the “deniers”, “denialists”, “contrarians” and “non-experts” “receive more media attention” than the “expert” “scientists”? Why has Mr Branfield, in making what he falsely asserts to be a serious reply to my complaints to his clients the journal, failed to take account – for instance – of Mr Eschenbach’s conclusion that just one true-believer in the Party Line – Al Gore – has received about one and a half times as many media mentions as all 386 named victims of his clients’ fraudulent and libellous publication, added together? That one telling – indeed, damning – statistic demonstrates what garbage the purported “study” is, and how pathetically inadequate and defective is its methodology. It is surely as evident to Mr Branfield as it is to everyone else that the purported “study” was malicious politics masquerading as though it were science. There is not and cannot be any “public interest” whatsoever in doing anything other than taking down this embarrassing item of totalitarian propaganda – for that is all it was meant to be, and that is all it is.

Mr Branfield, dangerously from his clients’ point of view, says that the (objectively false) notion that “deniers”, “denialists”, “contrarians”, “non-experts” etc. etc. ad nauseam receive “more media attention” than the “expert” “scientists” of whom his clients the journal approve and with whom they identify themselves “is of great public interest because an imbalance will give the general public, who base much of their understanding of the science on its media exposure, the sense that there is sufficient ambiguity about the scientific consensus on climate change. This public opinion in turn may influence policymakers and may disrupt society’s ability to take the large-scale, coherent and unified actions required to combat the effects of climate change.”

I say “dangerously” because Mr Branfield, on behalf of his clients the journal, is making the truth or falsity of the principal claims of official climatology the central (albeit worm-eaten) plank in their defence. I put him and his clients, and all other addresses, on notice, therefore, that unless the requests I set out at the beginning of this letter are complied with by the end of this week, proceedings for libel may be instituted next week, and that I shall be inviting the Serious Fraud Office to pay close attention to the proceedings. If the journal or any of the addressees attempts a defence on the basis of the Party Line on climate, I shall call expert witnesses to demonstrate that much of it is at best exaggerated and at worst downright false; that it is rooted in fundamental scientific errors; that even if the science were right the economic case for adaptation rather than for mitigation is overwhelming; and that, in any event, the “consensus” that Mr Branfield seeks to pray in aid is a totalitarian political construct that does not exist in papers published in the peer-reviewed journals.

As to Mr Branfield’s comments about the rules for research on human subjects, I have demonstrated supra that those rules indeed apply, and that his clients the journal flagrantly flouted them. I shall be directing a complaint to the United Kingdom Research Integrity Office unless the requests enumerated at the beginning of this letter have been met to my satisfaction by the end of this week. I reserve all my rights and pleas at law.

Yours faithfully,

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Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

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136 thoughts on “Has Nature Communications committed reckless endangerment?

  1. Masterful as always!

    One question:

    DeSmogBlog was clearly used as the crucial source of most of the 386 names. Could not your list of persons being put on notice of possible libel proceedings be expanded to include the DeSmogBlog hosts? I realize libel in the US is hard to win, but perhaps you and your lawyers could come up with an approach that will at least cause some trouble.

    • Many thanks to Mr Wallace for his kind comments. One would have to mount a separate action against Desmogblog, which was founded and funded by an internet-gaming fraudster whom a court ordered to repay $185 million in ill-gotten gains. Ever since I pointed this fact out on a live debate on Canadian radio with a Desmogblog functionary some years ago, and the functionary lied to the effect that the fraudster had not been convicted of anything, and I responded with the case reference and an extract from the judgment, Desmogblog has mounted savage personal attacks on me by way of getting its own back.

      That the authors of the purported “study” should have used this obviously tainted source as one of only three sources for their Mickey-Mouse “research” shows all too clearly that this was a hit-job, not a serious contribution to the scientific literature.

      • If I may take minor exception to your assertion, m’Lord, I would refine it to say that John Lefebvre is really more of just the financier / co-founder of Desmog. At my own GelbspanFiles blog’s Part 2 on this Nature Communications fiasco ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=8925 ), I detail who the other self-admitted co-founder was, Ross Gelbspan. Lefebreve only contributed 6 posts to Desmog, Gelbspan over 500. Co-founder James Hoggan says more than once that Desmog was built on Gelbspan’s works, which were never to debunk skeptic climate scientists with science facts, Gelbspan’s works were intended to smear skeptic scientists as liars-for-hire who were on the payroll of the fossil fuel industry. Fred Singer told me way back in 2009 that he would sue Gelbspan for libel/slander ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Singer-response-1024×770.jpg ) if only he could afford to do so, and Richard Lindzen said the same in a 2012 online interview ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/TDC-Gelb-Lindzen.jpg ). On this Petersen / Vincent / Westerling paper, perhaps the question for investigators to ask now is whether Desmog’s (UK arm) claim ( https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/08/13/climate-deniers-receive-more-media-attention-climate-scientists-research ) that the “database was assembled partly through data gathered by DeSmog, which did not have any role in the research” is true or not.

      • There comes a point when you realize that you have been a dummy. Over the past 20 years I have heard the same rhetoric about doom scenarios regarding AGW and have largely accepted it, despite being aware that the threat was often over-blown. In the past few weeks we have, again, seen Michael Mann refusing to release his data. Now Nature Communications have produced a ridiculous article that engages in nothing but ad hominin attacks, appeals to authority and name-calling; there is no argument. This is Soviet type propaganda. Monckton I have been very critical of you in the past and I apologise. Nothing has shown that AGW is at least as much about politics as it is science then this Nature Communications hit. You were and are right.

  2. Typo fals = false
    We need more of this so take them to the cleaners and the best of luck.
    It is interesting to see that Michael Mann’s court cases have not been going well. I have high hopes that Mark Steyn will win his case as well if the court ever gets off its butt.

    • Moderators, please correct the typo kindly mentioned by mikebartnz. He is quite right about the utility of the courts: by the very nature of the forum, both sides get fairly heard – and that, of course, is devastating to the true-believers in the Party Line, which cannot withstand scrutiny, as Al Gore discovered when we beat him in the High Court in 2007. The judge said: “The Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view.”

      • Christopher, correction warranted:

        It is the second time this statement has appeared in your searing responses and it is for those with specialist knowledge to submit corrections of fact when possible. Here goes.

        “Some 4.3 million people a year are dying by inhaling smoke from cooking fires because they cannot have electric stoves.”

        This figure, 4.3 million deaths per year, is, unfortunately, as false as many other internet-circulated memes about the climate, though in this case it is promoted by “WHO publications” planted to induce a particular misinterpretation by the public, and indeed by researchers, of public health-related attributions made by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) exercise.

        The GBD estimates annually the shortening of lives (premature deaths) due to the estimated inhalation of estimated smoke emissions from an estimated number of cooking fires. The misinterpretation is this: that the figure “4.3 million” is “their cause of death”. The GBD exercise is for informing public health policy, a cause of death is all about medicine. GBD does not attribute “causes of death”, they list causes of death from medical certificates and they attribute premature deaths to numerous possible contributing factors. GBD deals with population cohorts, not individuals and no one has 4.3m death certificates claiming smoke as a cause of death.

        A careful examination of the trail of “attributions” based on population and death statistics shows there is no such number of “deaths” claimed anywhere. The number “4.3 million” relates not to a cause of death, but to the number of people who are said to have “died prematurely”, which is to say, before the age of 86. According to the WHO, everyone should live to the age of 86. Anyone who died earlier, is said to have “died prematurely” and that permits them to assign a probability of a host of things that contributed to the difference between their age at death and 86. This probability (GBD) assigns fractions of that “premature” period to some 76 “contributing factors”. At no point does the GBD exercise claim that any one person died from inhalation of cooking fire smoke or specific long term consequences thereof. Their claim is no more than that cooking fire smoke “contributes to premature death” – of everyone, a little bit. No consideration is given for people who die “post-maturely”. Cooking fire smoke cannot contribute to a longer life, apparently, only a shorter one. In fact nothing contributes to a longer life.

        Thus the actual quote from this mis-remembered meme says that it is estimated, and therefore attributed, that “inhaling cooking fire smoke contributes to the premature deaths of 4.3 million people per year.” The WHO does not state how much of that life-shortening pollution any particular person inhales, nor do they claim that 4.3 million “died” from inhaling such smoke. Add the false meme to the list of terrors currently in fashion.

        To fully describe the farcical nature of the number 4.3m requires a long sentence. I will break it down:
        The total number of deaths in a country is tallied for a year.
        The total mass of (in this case solid) fuel burned for cooking is estimated.
        The emissions from those cooking fires are estimated.
        The PM2.5 concentration in the kitchens in which the cooking took place is estimated as “exposure”.
        The inhalation of smoke by occupants is estimated (outdoor cooking assumes zero) based on the estimated exposure and the estimated amount of time the cook spent in the room.
        The disease consequence from the estimated inhalation is estimated.
        The estimated disease consequence is checked against possible disease symptoms that may have led to illness or death from a related illness and an attribution number generated;
        Alternatively a portion of the disease consequence is estimated to create a number of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) by which is meant “years spent suffering” prior to death from the estimated disease consequences of the estimated inhalation of an estimated concentration of PM2.5 based on estimated emissions rate from an estimated mass of fuel burned in an estimated number of kitchens with an estimated rate of air exchange in an estimated number of homes.

        Thus, it is quite possible that no single person “died” as a result from the inhalation of cooking fire smoke in 2018 or in any other year. No one knows and no one is checking. It is estimations all the way down.

        These estimates and claims arise from the stacking of the relevant WHO committee by another university in California which promotes a curious model incorporating these estimates. No one actually believes the resulting number, but it is helpful for fund-raising, so we are informed by someone in the WHO dealing directly with this matter.

          • This again, is a mis-statement. They are still referring to the number of premature deaths to which cooking fire have “contributed”. The figure 3.8m is for cooking fires producing indoor air pollution (IAP). The figure 4.3m refers to “household air pollution” (HAP) including infiltrated PM2.5 originating from outside the home.

            I was over-simplifying. The exercise known as IHME (funded by the Gates Foundation) attempts to convert the GBD premature death estimates into a reduced ‘equivalent number of deaths” as if abstract DALY’s can be converted to “causes of death”. This is not even subtle.

            Now they want to sell avoided DALY’s known as aDALY’s. If you thought carbon trading was a scam, check out the math behind an aDALY.

            This “attribution” is the origin of the claims for things like “122 people in the USA die from the unregulated release of benzyl mercaptan into the atmosphere” each year. In fact no one died from such a release, it is simple a way of restating “risk” in the form of estimated “deaths” within a total population, being equivalent to a larger number of estimated “risks”. The claim for “deaths from emissions of mercury from coal combustion in the USA” is similarly created out of thin air. In the back rooms this is known as “killing people with numbers”.

            Another such claim is that 1600 people in Toronto “died” per year from the emissions from the Nanticoke coal-fired power plant on Lake Erie, 100 km to the West. Not one person “died” – these numbers are the result of an “attribution exercise” based on an assumed toxicity, assumed exposure, and assumed disease consequence. Medically, it is nonsense. A few papers 210-2012 report the uncertainty about these numbers. You would be shocked to see them. It is something like: Cooking fire smoke, estimate 100,000 to 7,000,000. Therefore a central estimate of 3.5m.

            I didn’t name names (yet). The WHO admits these “cooking fire smoke” death figures are promoted to raise funds because when they do not claim a “crisis” they have been unable to do so. I can share with you privately who said that.

    • Thank you, Tom in Oregon City! The pen, as they say, is mightier than the sword. And all that Nature Communications has is a bent matchstick.

      • Perhaps the pen is mightier than the sword if you can avoid a sword fight, but during the melee I would rather have a sword. If I don’t posses a sword I’ll never get to wield my pen.

    • In response to Loydo, the higher one is on the Nature Communications blacklist the more times one has been libelled in the Marxstream media. The entire barmy premise of this bogus “research” was that “denialists” were getting more media exposure than “expert” “scientists”. Setting aside the fact that this is not a subject for genuine scientific research, the truth is that skeptics attract more attention from the Marxstream media because we are being attacked for daring to question the climate-Communist Party Line. Yet – mind-bogglingly – the “researchers” failed to draw any distinction between favorable and unfavorable mentions in the media. That omission is just one reason why this entire project can be proven – and will be proven – to have been nothing more than crude, totalitarian propaganda.

        • Don’t whine. Ion Mihai Pacepa, for 33 years the head of the Disinformation Directorate of the MGB and then of the KGB, recruited one million willing, unpaid, Western Communists whose principal task was to besmirch the personal reputations of all who were thought effective in opposing the Communist Party line worldwide. It was Pacepa who invented the phrase “Reds under the beds” to put off innocents like Loydo from seeing what was going on.

          The denigration of personal reputations, rather than serious scientific debate, is the hallmark of the Climate Communist movement worldwide: today’s totalitarians have learned their shoddy technique all too well from the million Marxist hate-speech specialists: see, for instance, Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which advocate precisely this technique, or see the hate-filled “study” in Nature Communications.

          • “The denigration of personal reputations, rather than serious scientific debate, is the hallmark of the Climate Communist movement worldwide…”

            Uh huh, Mann, Gore, Thunberg, etc, etc, thousands of personally denigrating comments, yet you fall silent on their acount.

            I wouldn’t describe the denizens here as Communists Monkers, would you?

            Hope you don’t mind me calling you Monkers, it must take you back to boarding school, what?

          • Here is a direct quote:

            (First, some background) — The anti-war movement during the Vietnam war was a big part of an orchestrated Soviet operation to sew discord and turn “students” against the government in an effort to undermine the war in Southeast Asia.

            “As a spy chief and a general in the former Soviet satellite of Romania, I produced the very same fabricated vitriol Navy Lt. John Kerry repeated to the U.S. Congress almost word for word and planted it in leftist movements throughout Europe. KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, “our most significant success.”

            — Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Soviet bloc, in the National Review, February 26, 2004

        • Loydo: First, don’t take any red pills you find under the bed, or anywhere else on the floor. Steely Dan did a song about taking the red one found on the floor.
          What a lame attempt at invective. Loydo, I’ve seen better from you, maybe you’re just intimidated by the noble title, puts you off your game, huh?
          So you’re ok if I publish my findings comparing Loydos to illiterate fools. Turns out (spoiler alert) the illiterates get published more, which I find to be just awful.

          • Cool Steely Dan allusion.

            The late, great Walter Becker’s mom was British, but she separated from his dad when he was still a boy and returned to Merrie Olde.

          • Loydo seems more the “Abracadabra” type…the recurring apparent sunrise followed by apparent sunset cycle must be accomplished by magic in his world.

    • Loydo,

      That was your feeble contribution to the thread, you didn’t offer a counterpoint or make a cogent observation.

      Tell me kid, what harm has Viscount Monckton done to you?

      I have been harmed a little bit by such people, but far less than many skeptics who have to put up with death threats and other odious intentions sent to them. I had my forum mail shut down to prevent my reading them, which would have introduced a lot of unwanted stress into my life.

  3. Superb! That should give some pause for thought. The last thing the climate cabal wants is to have its web of lies & deceit shown for what it really is. I truly admire your vim & vigour in pursuing these people and setting them straight.

    • Mr Rae is very kind. In my opinion, we who have had to endure libel, and in my case elaborate entrapment, for many years have been too shy of using the courts to bring our detractors to book. Now that the true cost of global-warming mitigation policy in jobs and industries destroyed and, above all, in lives lost is beginning to be all too apparent, we can no longer allow the totalitarians to continue their campaign of destruction.

  4. As I recall, at a climate change march it was a sceptic scientist’s window that had a bullet put through it.
    As I recall, it was climate activists who have recently repeatedly broken the law (XR, for instance).
    As I recall, the murderous attack on the New Zealand mosque was justified in the killer’s mind on environmentalist grounds.

    There is a clear case that Nature Communications have endangered the lives of there targeted victims. It doesn’t matter that most environmentalists are not psychopaths. It matters that some are.

      • IIRC, the bullets (about four) went through the window of the office next to Dr. Christie’s. There was no march going one in that case.

        • From https://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=bullets+fired

          Dr. Spencer writes on his blog:

          A total of seven shots were fired into our National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building here at UAH over the weekend.

          All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy’s office is (my office is in another part of the building).

          Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence. When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way. It doesn’t matter that we don’t “deny global warming”; the fact we disagree with its seriousness and the level of human involvment in warming is enough to send some radicals into a tizzy.

          Our street is fairly quiet, so I doubt the shots were fired during Saturday’s march here. It was probably late night Saturday or Sunday for the shooter to have a chance of being unnoticed.

          Maybe the “March For Science” should have been called the “March To Silence”.

          UPDATE2: Dr. Spencer writes via email:

          Local news reports that UAH police have classified this as a “random shooting”. So, the seven Belgian 5.7 millimeter bullets which hit windows and bricks around John Christy’s office from 70 yards away were apparently deemed to be “random” occurrence. (Despite my personal defense training, I probably would have struggled to get that tight a “random” cluster with a semi-automatic pistol.) News story:Nothing to see here, move along.

          Marc Morano notes:

          Imagine if there had been a big skeptics March near Penn State and Michael Mann’s offices had similar type “random” shooting. Would the media and Mann have said nothing to see here?

          • Most grateful to Mr Knights and to Dr Spencer for their clarifications. This does indeed look like a deliberate shooting, and it is interesting, though depressingly unsurprising, that the Marxstream media did not give it the attention it deserved.

    • Mr Courtney makes the excellent point that Nature Communications, by allowing its journal to be perverted towards open hate speech, enthusiastically furthered and worsened by the disgraceful press release put out by the “University” of California at Merced, is indeed guilty of reckless endangerment, in that a window of John Christy’s office at the University of Alabama at Huntsville was smashed by a bullet that could have killed him. The bullet was no doubt fired by an environmental extremist radicalized by precisely the sort of junk science in which Nature Communications has here imprudently indulged.

    • My fellow Courtney: I enjoy your posts, which are usually funny, clever commentary. When you get serious, as in this comment, it’s quite powerful. I recall that both recent USA shootings, in El Paso and Dayton, were carried out by men who thought themselves environmentalists. Media very quiet on the point in both cases, focused on the anti-immigrant talk of the El Paso shooter. If the media in US refuse to see that their coverage is breeding these types, Nature Communications folks will be blind to it. And we’ll have another. Thanks.

    • Many thanks to MuskOx12. My purpose in answering the correspondence at some length was to give the issues in the case a fair airing before issuing proceedings, so that the defendants can be given a reasonable opportunity to answer before the proceedings are lodged at the High Court. In that way, if there are any legitimate reasons why we should not sue, the defendants will have been given every opportunity to understand our concerns and to respond thereto.

      For instance, I should regard it as an indication of good faith if the lawyers acting for Nature Communications were to arrange for the immediate correction of the error related to me in the authors’ database, together with removing all references to “CCC 7” – the label attached to me in the list the journal widely circulated – from the offending purported “study”.

      The High Court very much encourages this preliminary clearing of the air, and expects potential litigants to give their opponents the fairest possible chance to understand their concerns and to respond to them. That is why I listed very specifically the points I wanted the defendants to address, gave them a clear and reasonable time limit, and explained fully why what they had done was wrong in law as well as in science.

      If the defendants do not respond correctly, or at all, then even if they win the case (which I consider unlikely), they will have to pay their own costs and may even be ordered to meet mine.

      If the defendants reply constructively and properly, then there will be no need for us to go to court. If they reply but do not meet my requests to my satisfaction, the issues will have been narrowed down and I shall be able to focus the pleadings sharply on the points at which the defendants’ misconduct has caused the gravest harm and was most gravely and obviously wrong.

      Long preliminary correspondence makes for short, focused proceedings.

  5. If there’s a “CCC 7” list (for Climate Change Contrarians 7?), are there also other versions of the list, or just more lists?

    I suppose you could ask them, but will they tell you what the 7 means?

    • In response to Mr Pawelek, the list appears to rank climate skeptics in the order in which they receive attention in the Marxstream media. One of the many fundamental mistakes in the construction of the Nature Communications “research”, as my good friend Willis Eschenbach discovered when he analyzed the data (and no one does that better than he) was that the authors did not draw a distinction between mentions of us that were favorable and mentions that were unfavorable. Those of us high on the list tended to have attracted more unfavorable mentions.

      • Much as I admire your command of the English language I do sometimes think that your points would come over more clearly if you shortened your text a bit. It is quite hard to follow sometimes.

        • I apologize to Susan, but in pre-action correspondence it is necessary to raise all relevant concerns inj sufficient detail to allow the potential defendants to be fully aware of them and to have the fairest chance to respond.

          There is no obligation on anyone to read my postings. If they are too long, go and make a pot of tea.

    • BillJ

      Unless you can compete with Chris Monckton on the subject of the English language (which clearly you can’t judging by your one line response) I suggest you keep your comments to yourself.

    • Chris said in an earlier thread that there was a legal reason for doing this. Perhaps some of it is overkill.

    • Hmmm.
      Personal opinion against English grammar, syntax and sentence and word structure?

      Personal opinion is a massive fail.

    • Billj, just copy 1 “University” and paste it at the appropriate occurrence.

      Easy read, easy done.

  6. I wish Viscount Monckton of Brenchley the best of luck with his pursuit of those breaching science in a totalitarian manner. However I hope also that should this matter go to the courts that the judge is not a left climate alarmist.

    • Tony Anderson

      This isn’t a question of the climate; it’s challenging the libellous claim that Chris Monckton, and all the others the article defames as ‘denialists’, deny the climate changes, which is patently untrue.

      The case will be judged on that basis not on whether climate changes or not, or what causes a changing climate.

      With a bit of luck and a following wind it might stop any publication ever referring to climate sceptics as ‘denialists’ ever again.

      • In response to HotScot, the libel is not so much to the effect that we deny the climate changes as to the effect that we question whether the slight warming of recent decades is chiefly anthropogenic, whether it is net-costly in welfare-benefit terms, and whether mitigating it is cheaper than adapting to it.

        The use of the word “deniers” or “denialists”, with its deliberate overtones of Holocaust denial, is a very serious libel. The defendants have had that libel drawn to their attention but have not, thus far, answered our concern on this point. If they continue to fail to answer it before the proceedings commence, they will find themselves at a considerable disadvantage in the High Court when we draw the judge’s attention to their failure to rectify this monstrous libel.

      • I think Lord Moncton nailed it.
        My only concern with that masterful response was with the “suppose” paragraph.
        (I.e., shouldn’t we attempt to take one hill at a time, and not risk the war?)

        In the US, logic and process are not common capabilities of left leaning judges.

        It would not be unusual in the States to find a jurist who so firmly believes in the “party line”that he or she would pick on that one paragraph, ignoring all of the other rock solid legal points, and rule in favor of Merced, using the Climate Communications editor’s warped rationale of “the public good”. (That agreement with the complainant would “undermine science”.)
        (The DC judge in the Mann/Steyn case appears to be such an example.)

        Hopefully a Magistrate in the UK would have a better legal understanding of the situation (as did the Magistrate in the Inconvenient Truth hearing).

        • Mr Daddis raises a good point. From the responses of the potential defendants to date, it looks as though the climate question will itself be on trial during these proceedings. Therefore, we shall be producing expert evidence to the effect that the “science” is not as settled as They have sought to maintain.

    • Many thanks to Steve Richards, Matthew Marler and Tony Anderson, who have long been stalwarts in the fight for truth and freedom.

      I have done my best to set out our grounds for concern and give the defendants the fairest chance to respond and to make good in a proportionate and sensible way.

      • Monckton of Brenchley: Many thanks to Steve Richards, Matthew Marler and Tony Anderson, who have long been stalwarts in the fight for truth and freedom.

        I’m not ‘umble as Uriah Heep anyway, but with this boost to my self-esteem, I thought I might proffer some stylistic advice, mindful that Monckton’s writing, unlike mine, is a joy to read.

        1. When referencing this study, use the lexical Study, not “study” — the second introduces the extraneous and time consuming debate of what constitutes a “true” study.

        2. When referencing UC Merced, write UC Merced or the University, not “university”, again not to get sidetracked in a long debate about what constitutes a “true” university.

        3. Avoid references to “communism”, “Communism”, “Party Line” and such. Not that I think you are wrong, but that they are extraneous to the specific damages claimed in your letter. The damage claim is independent of whether the agents were or were not motivated by communism.

        As they say in tennis and baseball, “Keep your eye on the ball”, and don’t be distracted by the advertising, cheering, booing, etc. Win this case.

        and,

        Best wishes generally.

        ps The post was a delight to read, but we are the choir, and I think your message ought to reach beyond the choir.

    • When I read Christopher’s writing, I actually hear him speaking the words. It’s weird.

      • How kind Roy Spencer is! It has been said that the best speeches read well, and the best written words sound well.

  7. Best of luck to you sir!
    If there is any justice, these people will rue the day they set out on their despicable misadventure.

  8. Christopher,

    First class! I could dispute a few phrases but urge you to ignore any such nit-picking.

    This is our first real chance to sink the AGW scare in the public’s mind.
    So, as the saying goes, “Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes”.

    I can do little to help now, but I am continuing the reduction of my pain relief in case something arises that I usefully can do to help.

    Richard

      • Matt,

        Thanks for your concern.

        However, trying to keep an ability to think at this time is NOT “daft”.
        I am on the ‘Nature Blacklist’ because I have been fighting the nonsensical global warming scare for decades, and we now have a chance to stop the scare.

        You know I can’t do much now but I will do what I can to help defeat the scare; for example, I refuted some concern trolls in the previous WUWT thread on this subject.

        Richard

        • Speaking as a son who has not been able to council his own father for over 30 years, please listen to Matt. You have run the race and fought the good fight. Let others pick up the baton.

        • A noble death like mighty Beowulf may sound like a good idea but please remember that you aren’t getting any better, you will not be as you once were and the tale only ends satisfactorily if the dragon is slain.

          Harming yourself to lose a battle is not courageous. It is misjudged.
          Fight the battles you are meant to be fighting now.

        • Richard S Courtney, I’m happy to hear from you. I’ve enjoyed your first class contributions since early in the new millennium to what is clearly now a battle to preserve western civilization, science, freedom and truth. I also know that you had begun your fight many years before I got involved.

          I also recognized Matt to be your son immediately from the logic and thoughtfulness of his always on the mark comments. With less success than I had hoped for, you both were an inspiration for me to try to take my tendency to rant down a few pegs . I knew you had become ill a number if years ago and I wish for you the best that it can be.

    • I am so very sorry to hear that Richard Courtney is far from well. I wish him the speediest recovery, and I do hope that he will not in any way prejudice that recovery on our account – though his suggestion that he might do so is characteristically generous.

    • Richard S Courtney:
      Focus on the things you enjoy, not on a case that ay last years.

      You’ve accomplished a yeoman’s effort just educating us WUWT denizens over the years; including teaching many of us to think.
      I, for one, appreciate your detailed rebuttals and responses.

      Surround yourself with what gives you joy. let healing work.

  9. Christopher, Thank you for progressing this.
    The media including academic media must be reigned in. Their ready denigration of anyone who dares to oppose their “preferred” narrative has to stop.
    I wish you luck, and am ready to commit when you call for crowd funding support should that day arrive.

    • Mr Evans is very generous. We are indeed considering asking for financial help. But first we are giving the defendants every chance to respond constructively and put right the wrong they have done. If they take the sensible course, they will find us equally constructive in our response.

      If, however, they continue to circulate the libels without either correcting their inaccurate data about me or removing all identifiers concerning me from the purported “study”, then I shall draft pleadings in a High Court case for libel (in the UK, no county court is permitted to hear libel cases: only the High Court can do that).

      I shall then circulate the pleadings to as many of those on the Nature Communications hate-list as I can reach, and shall invite them to join in. Several have already come forward. Everyone contacted will then have the opportunity to comment on the pleadings, make any necessary amendments and then, if they wish to join in, sign up.

      Only then will we be ready to put up a GoFundMe page. At that point I shall invite our kind host here to allow me to draw everyone’s attention to it.

  10. Christopher, thank you. That was an enjoyable read first thing in the morning. Because of it, I began my day with a smile.

    Regards,
    Bob

  11. Well done good sir !
    It’s about time someone slapped these moronic watermelons upside the head…

    • Many thanks to Bob Tisdale and to Hokey Schtick for their kind comments. Always good to spread a smile.

  12. Apart from congratultions on such a thoroughly complete destruction of the “authors” claims can I say thank you for broadening my understanding on so many levels of English law.

    • In response to Andy in Epson, please don’t take me as an authority on the law. I have a good working knowledge of constitutional law (and have on occasion been consulted by leading firms on that subject), but – as the old saying goes – everyone who acts for himself has a fool for a client. We shall have to see whether the GoFundMe campaign is likely to raise enough funds to mount a proper defense.

  13. What the pulp writers clearly did not consider is that their list can work both ways. When the ‘climate crisis’ crap comes crashing down and the litigation begins in earnest for damages that list will be a treasure trove for the lawyers with names of people and institutes to sue.

    • Mr Zuiderwijk makes an excellent point. For far too long the Marxstream media have flouted the libel laws because they are too uncritical of the climate-Communist Party Line to realize that it is in many material respects flat-out wrong. It will not be long now before everyone realizes that the “science” behind global warming was in certain material respects erroneous. When that day dawns, the BBC, the Guardian and other Marxstream media outlets will rue the day they decided to throw journalistic impartiality under the overweight, underpowered electric bus.

  14. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/08/17/the-nature-communications-hate-list-a-fast-moving-story/#comment-2773544

    Don’t waste your time and money on a petty defamation lawsuit.

    Let’s sue the climate alarmist institutions, the ones who have money and their financial sponsors, under USA Civil RICO. If we win, we get TRIPLE DAMAGES for the billions or trillions of dollars wasted by the US government due to false claims of global warming, wilder weather, etc.

    Contact me through my website. We raise the funds by crowd funding, and hire a competent law firm.

    This should have been done when I first proposed it – in 2013 or earlier.

    Regards, Allan

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/09/21/salmon-climate-and-accountability/#comment-1349527

    [excerpt]

    On Accountability:

    I wrote this to a friend in the USA one year ago (in 2013):

    I am an engineer, not a lawyer, but to be clear I was thinking of a class action (or similar) lawsuit, rather than an individual lawsuit from yourself or anyone else.

    I suggest that there have been many parties that have been damaged by global warming alarmism. Perhaps the most notable are people who have been forced to pay excessive rates for electricity due to CO2-mandated wind and solar power schemes. Would the people of California qualify? Any other states? I suggest the people of Great Britain, Germany and possibly even Ontario would qualify, but the USA is where this lawsuit would do the most good.

    There is an interesting field of US law that employs the RICO (anti-racketeering) statutes to provide treble (triple) damages in civil cases. That might be a suitable approach.

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Racketeering

    • In response to Mr Macrae, I have long been attracted by the notion of a series of RICO lawsuits against the numerous U.S. institutions that have corruptly profiteered by pretending that global warming is a problem when it is far more likely to be a benefit.

      If Mr Macray would like to get in touch with me, we can discuss this further.

  15. Please don’t limit your actions just to UC Merced and Nature. Go after the publisher of the yellow rag and the whole UC system and its chancellors.

  16. To me the most egregious mistake in the study is the apparent lack of IRB approval prior to commencing the study. I have gone through IRB training, submitted proposals for IRB review, and have been part of some minor publications based on those studies. The requirements are very specific. All protocols, nature and quantity of study participants, and consent forms must be included. If informed consent is not to be obtained then clear justification must be given based on a limited number of acceptable criteria. Small errors, such as exceeding the projected number of participants by even one are the basis of severe reprimand. It is mind boggling to me that the authors did not feel the need to even try for approval.

    • I agree with MikeP that the failure of the authors of the purported “study” to make any attempt to apply for IRB approval is deplorable. So is the IRB’s statement that no such approval was required because there was no direct interaction between the authors and their named victims. The lawyers advising the “University” of California at Merced were unaware that the California statute governing conduct of research involving human subjects requires compliance with the rules prevailing in any country where the “research” is hosted. Since the “research” was published in the UK, Californian law requires that it should comply with the rules in the UK. As the head posting makes clear, it does not thus comply.

    • I’m not knowledgeable in any of these legal matters but it does seem to me that the question of consent of the subjects, and of IRB approval, is rather begged by the clear fact that the Nature Communications paper is examining, not the subjects themselves, but the publications and promotions of the subjects, which are signed and already in the public domain. Will not Lord Monckton’s suit fail immediately upon this point?

      [of course, I hope that I’m wrong]

      • Mothcatcher may like to read the head posting, where it is made plain that, though in Californian “law” research on human subjects is defined as such only where the researchers and the subjects interact, Californian law also says that researchers must also follow the practice in the countries where the research is “hosted” – in the present instance, in the United Kingdom.

        As the head posting also makes clear, there are sound reasons why IRB approval should have been sought, and why – as is usual in proper scientific research – those who are to be named in that research are contacted in advance and given the opportunity to participate, and to correct any errors that may arise.

        • My apologies for a late reply. I hope that someone is listening still. My point is slightly different to that addressed in the head posting. The paper is not examining the subjects directly, but is examining their publications and published references to them, which are already available to all. No reasonable exception may be taken by the subjects to the use of references to their public visibility.

          The use of descriptors such as ‘denier’ could, I suppose, be actionable. And certainly some subjects may object to their ‘classification ‘ in the paper, and seek a correction, but that is a relatively minor matter.

  17. This is an epic, tour de force, indictment of the bad faith by the AGW alarmists (who are probably driven by desperation at this point because their narrative is collapsing).

    I do have one quibble. Lord Monckton of Brenchley states “…that even if the science were right the economic case for adaptation rather than for mitigation is overwhelming;…”

    Jut a few tens of millions of dollars spent on judiciously seeding the oceans with iron could control or even completely reverse the increase in atmospheric CO2 caused by man. So I would have written:

    “…that even if the science were right the economic case for adaptation rather than for mitigation (including large-scale de-industrialization offered in various policy proposals such as the “Green New Deal”) is overwhelming;…”

  18. Thanks to MOB.
    I find a delicious irony in all these Laws to protect the downtrodden.
    Problem is that when they are turned around the Authors rarely see it coming because these Laws are only meant to protect one side.
    Gee I hope this goes well!!
    I know you will nail them if possible!

  19. How about getting Amazon and Walmart on board, they both got hoodwinked by Musk because they were responding to the “Consensus” fraud.

    • Now, that’s a most interesting suggestion. It would of course have to be a separate lawsuit, since Amazon and Walmart are not parties to the present case. However, their lawyers would certainly be intrigued to learn that the entire basis for alarm about supposedly “catastrophic” global warming is founded upon elementary errors of physics, of economics and of statistics.

  20. “The following letter, sent by me today (28 August 2019), shows that we are not only considering prosecution for fraud but also for reckless endangerment (U.S. criminal code), incitement to violence and breach of the peace (Justices of the Peace Act 1361, s. 1).”

    No, you aren’t. US law does not under any circumstances allow for private prosecution of criminal code violations. You can file complaints with the relevant authorities, but your complaint would not obligate them to actually prosecute.

    • I am well aware of the U.S. Supreme Court decision depriving the citizen of the right that we enjoy here in the UK – the right to prosecute privately for criminal offenses when the State refuses to do so. MattS appears not to have heard of the RICO statute, which empowers the private citizen to bring private prosecutions against perpetrators of fraud and suchlike offenses. During any such case, associated offenses perpetrated by the accused – such as reckless endangerment – may be pleaded at the same time.

      • “MattS appears not to have heard of the RICO statute, which empowers the private citizen to bring private prosecutions against perpetrators of fraud and suchlike offenses.”

        Yes, I’ve hear of RICO and you are drastically misrepresenting it.

        Under RICO, as a private citizen, you can bring a civil suit for monetary damages, but no, not even the RICO act would allow you to bring a criminal prosecution as a private citizen with criminal penalties on the table.

        • … and if a civil suit for RICO damages succeeds, it is the usual practice of the public authorities to prosecute.

    • Merced County Sheriff?

      Forget about CA AG.

      Even in the county, UCM is a big employer. And it voted for Obama twice and Clinton in 2016.

  21. When they pick fights with misters Steyn, Ball & Monckton I really have to question their sanity. If they want to bully people they may want to start by picking on those who won’t fight back. That trio remind me of a left hook, right cross and uppercut.

  22. Does anyone worry that when libel is being advocated as a weapon of scientific debate, than phrases like

    Climate Communism bids fair to kill no fewer in the 21st century than international-Socialist Communism killed in the 20th. That is why the addressees’ crude, totalitarian attempt to silence all opposition to the Party Line is not merely undesirable: it is culpable.

    might come back to haunt the author?

    • Excess winter deaths, possibly in the millions, can be shown caused by energy starvation, due to the false religion of CACCA.

      Throw in grand theft of untold wealth squandered on Green energy schemes.

      • Good luck proving that in court. However my main worry was in labeling the addressee a totalitarian attempting to silence all opposition – especially when that’s put in the context of mass-murder.

          • Missing my point about describing someone as a totalitarian. But none of your articles seem to say anything about “climate-communism”. In fact they all seem to be talking about fuel poverty, which can have many causes, including poverty as well as the price of fuel.

            Note that in the UK excess winter deaths have dropped considerably since the 1950, despite a rising population. Arguing that all the current deaths are caused solely by the increasing fuel prices caused by “climate-communism”, and that this is in some ways comparable Stalinist death camps, would be a tall order. Much harder would be showing that someone was culpable in this by publishing some articles and not publishing others.

          • Any barrister worth his or her salt could show the connection between rising energy prices, thanks to “renewables” touted by CACCA-spewing “consensus” preachers, and excess deaths.

            Excess winter deaths declined under fossil fuel expansion, but have increased under insane CACCA-mania.

            The connection between mass-murdering communists and CACCA anti-human aparatchiks is thus valid.

          • Any barrister worth his or her salt could show the connection between rising energy prices, thanks to “renewables” touted by CACCA-spewing “consensus” preachers, and excess deaths.

            Again missing my point, but a connection between fuel prices and excess deaths is not the same as claiming more people will be killed by “climate-communists” than killed by all of international communism during the 20th century.

            Excess winter deaths declined under fossil fuel expansion, but have increased under insane CACCA-mania.

            Fossil fuels were mainly responsible for the large number of deaths in the 1950s. It was the introduction of clean air acts that saw a massive reduction in smog related deaths.

            When do you think “insane CACCA-mania” started? I can’t see any obvious long term increase in England and Wales excess winter deaths – see figure 1.

            https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/2017to2018provisionaland2016to2017final

            There was a bit of a spike in the late 90s, but for most of the 21st century deaths were lower than ever. Only in the last few years has there been a bit of a move upwards, especially in the last year, but it’s difficult to relate this to any specific energy policy.

            The connection between mass-murdering communists and CACCA anti-human aparatchiks is thus valid.

            Connection? I don’t know what you’ve got against the Chicago Area Camera Club Association, but calling anyone “anti-human” is making my point. Monckton is suggesting not just that the numbers are similar, but that the named individual is culpable in mass murder – which some might consider libellous.

          • According to the World Health Organization, some 4 million people die each year by inhaling smoke from cooking fires because they do not have access to electricity. The WHO also estimates that some 500,000 women a year die in childbirth because there is no electricity in the birthplace. The 1.2 billion people a year who do not have access to electricity die 15-20 years sooner on average than than those of us who do. The World Bank cites “global warming” as its excuse for refusing to fund coal-fired power stations or oil and gas extraction in countries desperate for electricity to lift their citizens out of poverty, diseases and death. And all this because a few malevolent pseudo-“scientists” got their math wrong 40 years ago and imagined that there would be far more “global warming” than is at all likely, or than is occurring.

          • Chris,

            Tens of millions of little people dead from energy starvation is just breaking eggs to make the glorious globalist omelette.

          • According to the World Health Organization, some 4 million people die each year …

            Once again this is missing the, maybe too subtle, point I was trying to make. You are claiming libel over a single word, one you’ve used yourself, whilst simultaneously calling people totalitarians and comparing them to Stalin. The problem with the passage I quoted isn’t so much with the dubious claim that “climate communists” are likely to kill more people than Stalin et al, it’s the fact that you accuse someone of being complicit in this, and describe them as culpable in these killings, and say they are silencing all opposition.

            As to the numbers of people killed, this wouldn’t necessarily be a libelous claim as you don’t attribute it to any real people, only the fantasy climate communists. But if you did have to defend it in court I doubt that pointing to numbers of people dying prematurely from smoky environments would be a convincing argument. You would need to demonstrate how many of the 3.8 million a year deaths are a direct result of green policies. How many of these deaths can be prevented by building new coal power stations? And will there be other deaths associated with greater coal production? By the way, I notice the WHO also say that 4.2 million people die from outdoor air pollution, more than are killed by indoor pollution.

            Even if you could prove that more people die as a result of green policies than from 20th century communism, it still wouldn’t help with the tone of your statement, saying these people are being killed climate communists. That could be interpreted to mean that there was a deliberate policy to kill people, not just accidents caused by people getting their sums wrong.

  23. I do hope you win. I also hope you do not spend literally decades in court. Dr. Tim Ball has finally finally won. (I do not think Mann is serious about appealing.) Unfortunately no one knows because no press covers it. mark Steyn’s case is still in limbo. The courts are an effective weapon but they move glacially and cost dearly.

    • Many thanks to Roy Spencer for his kind words. We should not allow the Age of Enlightenment to go down without a fight.

  24. If someone is found guilty of massive fraud – like Madoff with his investment ponzi scheme -he ends up going to jail. Why, if the fraud in the climate manipulation schemes probably far exceeds those of people like Madoff can we not through legal recourse bring fraud charges against those who are benefiting from huge amounts of government (taxpayer) support?

  25. I just tried to access the paper at Nature Comm. I was trying to get the lists of names of the CCC and CCS groups. I was expecting to see that the CCC group contained a mixture of scientists, journalists, politicians, and others involved in the general conversation. I was expecting also to see that the CCS group contained only publishing “climate scientists” and no journalists, politicians or others. I was curious to see if Al Gore, or Bill Nye, or even the inimitable supergirl Greta would have made the CCS list. Not seeing such on the CCS list of course would have confirmed my apples-to-oranges impression of the work itself.

    When I looked, I could not find that information. There is a note that the author has modified the paper on 29 Aug and those modifications have taken out any individual identifying information in the body of the article itself. Likely they will do something about the supplementary information as well. It looks like they are trying to cover their bottoms by taking out individual identifying information, which would only leave the fact that the premise of the study is so inherently false as to be more suitable of publication on Desmogblog or SkepSci than a “peer reviewed” journal.

  26. My lawyers told me the key to winning a case was to find one simple, clearcut item the judge could sink his or her teeth into.

    Publishing scientific research on someone without their consent is clearly unethical and typically forbidden.

    I expect a judge would not be happy to see his name dragged through the mud in some scientific publication.

    This has nothing to do with climate. It is an attempt to use scientific research to get around libel and public safety laws.

    • Lest there remain any doubt about how to properly conduct research involving humans, as published in Nature:

      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41533-019-0144-8.pdf

      “Ethics
      “Participation in this intervention study was voluntary. Each participant signed an informed consent form, or in case of illiteracy, thumb-printed and signed by the village leader. The study was approved by each local research ethical review board: the Mulago Research and Ethics Committee (971;05/24/2016), the Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy (188/DHYD-HD;06/27/2016) and the National Center of Cardiology and Internal Medicine in Bishkek Ethics Committee (5;03/03/2016).”

      That is a typical entry on a paper dealing with human subjects.

      Obviously none of the subjects were identifiable by name, which if it happened, would end the careers of the researchers involved.

  27. Unless this matter goes to court I would not expect the other parties to take it very seriously. Their most likely course of action would be to delay, spin, play for time and run the clock out.

    These sort of hate lists are no joke. Just ask the doctors that have been maimed and killed over the abortion debate.

  28. “So is the IRB’s statement that no such approval was required because there was no direct interaction between the authors and their named victims.”
    =====
    Surely the purpose of the IRB is to prevent harm. I can’t see a judge or jury accepting this defence.

    Telling lies behind someone’s back for example can be extremely harmful. Yet there is no direct interaction.

  29. This matter might also be a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. 4 or 5 of the Articles would appear to apply.

    • Mr Berple maks several useful points. We shall indeed aim to focus the action as best we can. The clearest libel is in the use of “denier” and “denialist” both in the paper and in the shoddy press release from the “university”. The fact that IRB cover was not sought, and that the “IRB” at the “university” thought that no such cover was required, says little for the probity or integrity of research at the “university”, and still less for the probity or integrity of the “researchers”.

      • Lord, you have our full support and we congratulate you on your determination in this fight. We wish you good luck and thank you for your action. Claude (French climatorialist)

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