Has Nature Communications committed reckless endangerment?

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley | August 28, 2019

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.

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 MercedRamesh 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,


Viscount Monckton of Brenchley