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If I waved a magic wand and gave the world unlimited clean and cheap energy tomorrow, I expect many climate scientists would be horrified

Patrick Brown, the co-director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute in California, has blown the whistle on an open secret about climate science: it’s biased in favour of alarmism. He published a paper in Nature magazine on the effect of climate change on wildfires. In it he told the truth: there was an effect. But not the whole truth: other factors play a big role in fires too. On Maui, the failure of the electric utility to manage vegetation along power lines was a probable cause of the devastating recent fires, but climate change proved a convenient excuse.

Editors at journals such as Nature seem to prefer publishing simplistic, negative news and speculation about climate change. “It is standard practice to calculate impacts for scary hypothetical future warming scenarios that strain credibility,” wrote Brown. So, after learning this lesson the hard way when his nuanced papers were rejected, he adapted his latest to suit their apparent prejudices – and it was published. Nature’s editor, Magdalena Skipper, responded by trying to shoot the messenger, criticising Brown’s deception as “poor research practices”.

One of the biggest measurable impacts of increased carbon dioxide is global greening – the recent increase in green vegetation on the planet, equivalent to twice the area of the United States and counting. But as I discovered when I broke a story on this in 2015, pointing this out brings a hail of professorial hate down on your head. I was even singled out in a Boston University press release for daring to suggest that more green vegetation might not be bad news.

Those who argue that climate change is real and a problem, but that other environmental issues are more urgent – overfishing of the oceans, invasive alien species, reliance of poor Africans on bushmeat and charcoal, to name three – are treated as heretics to be persecuted.

It’s not just climate change. The main science journals have been quick to accept the Chinese regime’s insistence that a lab leak could not have caused the pandemic, refusing to publish several papers that argued otherwise and to investigate the issue, while rushing into print half-baked studies that seemed to implicate the seafood market in Wuhan. One such study purported to have found possible evidence that raccoon dogs were infected and was hyped. The total debunking of that study last month by Professor Jesse Bloom was ignored.

Taxpayer, you are not hearing the whole truth from the academics you fund.

By Matt Ridley | Tagged:  climate  energy  telegraph