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Nobel Winner boycotts journals Nature, Science, and Cell for damage to science

The pursuit of knowledge does not fit well into human institutions, the 9 – 5 regime, career plans, nor the profit motive. Cracks are everywhere. The message grows that science is being exploited and distorted.

Randy Schekman received his Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine yesterday. At the same time he has declared that his lab will not be sending papers to the top-tier journals Nature, Science and Cell because they are damaging science. He calls for more open access papers saying “science must break the tyranny of the luxury journals”

Randy Schekman in the Guardian

“I am a scientist. Mine is a professional world that achieves great things for humanity. But it is disfigured by inappropriate incentives. The prevailing structures of personal reputation and career advancement mean the biggest rewards often follow the flashiest work, not the best. Those of us who follow these incentives are being entirely rational – I have followed them myself – but we do not always best serve our profession’s interests, let alone those of humanity and society.

Chiefly, he points out that the “luxury” journals manage themselves as brand-names, and choose papers for reasons other than their scientific advances. The journals seek “sexy”, provocative papers that will improve their citation rating and impact factor.

The exclusive brands are then marketed with a gimmick called “impact factor” – a score for each journal, measuring the number of times its papers are cited by subsequent research. Better papers, the theory goes, are cited more often, so better journals boast higher scores. Yet it is a deeply flawed measure, pursuing which has become an end in itself – and is as damaging to science as the bonus culture is to banking.

Scientists pursue research that will be rewarded through publication in the brand-name journals, and the vital work of replication falls by the wayside.

A paper can become highly cited because it is good science – or because it is eye-catching, provocative or wrong. Luxury-journal editors know this, so they accept papers that will make waves because they explore sexy subjects or make challenging claims. This influences the science that scientists do. It builds bubbles in fashionable fields where researchers can make the bold claims these journals want, while discouraging other important work, such as replication studies.

Poor quality papers means more retractions, or worse, no retraction at all…

In extreme cases, the lure of the luxury journal can encourage the cutting of corners, and contribute to the escalating number of papers that are retracted as flawed or fraudulent. Science alone has recently retracted high-profile papers reporting cloned human embryos, links between littering and violence, and the genetic profiles of centenarians. Perhaps worse, it has not retracted claims that a microbe is able to use arsenic in its DNA instead of phosphorus, despite overwhelming scientific criticism.

Open access science is the way to go:

There is a better way, through the new breed of open-access journals that are free for anybody to read, and have no expensive subscriptions to promote. Born on the web, they can accept all papers that meet quality standards, with no artificial caps. Many are edited by working scientists, who can assess the worth of papers without regard for citations. As I know from my editorship of eLife, an open access journal funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Max Planck Society, they are publishing world-class science every week.

In my opinion the real problem is death-by-committee — at every point individual responsibility is turned over to a group. Peer review becomes a committee decision, government grants are all committee recommendations and only when one person is held responsible for deciding an outcome will we get better processes and better outcomes.

Funders and universities, too, have a role to play. They must tell the committees that decide on grants and positions not to judge papers by where they are published. It is the quality of the science, not the journal’s brand, that matters. Most importantly of all, we scientists need to take action. Like many successful researchers, I have published in the big brands, including the papers that won me the Nobel prize for medicine, which I will be honoured to collect tomorrow. But no longer. I have now committed my lab to avoiding luxury journals, and I encourage others to do likewise.

Just as Wall Street needs to break the hold of the bonus culture, which drives risk-taking that is rational for individuals but damaging to the financial system, so science must break the tyranny of the luxury journals. The result will be better research that better serves science and society.

To correct the groupthink that is destroying science, editors who publish rubbish (like MBH98) need to be held accountable. Government Ministers which allow “bodies” like the ARC to approve junk applications need to feel the heat. As usual, The Media IS the Problem. If Nature‘s failings were investigated by “science” journalists and exposed in features, they would quickly change their attitude. But few science journalists even know what science is.

Note that Schekman is editor of an open access journal called eLife, so there is a potential conflict of interest and a motive to complain. But there are no shortage of others who agree, and it does not make his words less true.

Daniel Sirkis, a postdoc in Schekman’s lab, said many scientists wasted a lot of time trying to get their work into Cell, Science and Nature. “It’s true I could have a harder time getting my foot in the door of certain elite institutions without papers in these journals during my postdoc, but I don’t think I’d want to do science at a place that had this as one of their most important criteria for hiring anyway,” he told the Guardian.

Sebastian Springer, a biochemist at Jacobs University in Bremen, who worked with Schekman at the University of California, Berkeley, said he agreed there were major problems in scientific publishing, but no better model yet existed. “The system is not meritocratic. You don’t necessarily see the best papers published in those journals. The editors are not professional scientists, they are journalists which isn’t necessarily the greatest problem, but they emphasise novelty over solid work,” he said

Schekman also claims the brand names artificially limit the number of articles they publish, though I find that point unconvincing. I’m more interested in getting science beyond the tyranny of peer review and government dependency. In my opinion the brand name of Nature has been hopeless compromised by its open activism, rather than it’s open attitude.  That they will publish name-calling, hypocritical and pointless papers, yet turn down important corrections, tells us all we need to know about the quality of this once great publication.

Nature is the journal of UnScience.


My posts on the scandal of Nature pretending “denier” is a scientific term

I consider these to be among of the best posts I’ve written. As I said “All this mess could be cleared up with an email.” I asked Bain to name the observations that deniers deny. He never did.

“If those papers (God forbid) do not exist, then the true deniers would turn out to be the researchers who denied that empirical evidence is key to scientific confidence in a theory. The true deniers would not be the skeptics who asked for evidence, but the name-calling researchers who did not test their own assumptions.” – Jo

H/t A friend in Europe.

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Nobel Winner boycotts journals Nature, Science, and Cell for damage to science, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

76 comments to Nobel Winner boycotts journals Nature, Science, and Cell for damage to science

  • #

    Has this piece by Randy Schekman been peer reviewed? Seems so.

    A certain Australian sceptical scientist said pretty much the same this year.


  • #
    What the!

    Yawn! Someone else has just woken up too….
    Off to the shower now or I will late for work.


  • #

    I agree, the likes of Science and Nature have lost the plot and are best avoided as much of the “science” they present is false and truly unscientific.


  • #

    Well done, sir! Strike a blow for the real scientific method, which is the pursuit of truth not consensus.


  • #

    I note Jo, that Dr Bain has been pretty quiet since sticking his unscientific nose in. I had a few rounds of e-mail with him myself that set him straight on a few things mostly math. I wonder what he thinks about global warming these days?


  • #
    Rick Bradford

    The pursuit of knowledge does not fit well into human institutions…

    To the Modern Left, the pursuit of knowledge is a hate crime.

    Knowledge, they say, is inevitably subjective, and when knowledge leads on to judgment, is therefore nothing more than bigotry and discrimination.

    Mindless indiscrimination is the thing to aim for, aka “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten“, a famous Leftist manual for the happy life.


  • #

    given this thread is more or less about media spin, hopefully this won’t be considered O/T!

    10 Dec: Australian: AAP: Kym Agius: $192 Qld power price hike
    THE carbon tax, an overly generous solar scheme and the cost of generating electricity will drive Queensland’s power bills up $192 next year.
    State Treasurer Tim Nicholls quickly pressured federal Labor to agree to abolish the carbon tax in the Senate, but wouldn’t commit to homegrown action by further containing the state’s Solar Bonus Scheme…
    And, the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme is also set to double, adding another $57.
    QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts refused to install solar panels and didn’t agree with the Labor policy when introduced in 2008.
    The Newman government last year cut the price it pays to new solar household which feed in excess electricity to the grid, from 44 cents a kilowatt hour to just eight cents.
    Mr Roberts believes a cut to 7.5 cents would be more reasonable in July 2014…
    ***The opposition says the Newman government will now preside over three consecutive electricity price rises, despite promising to reduce bills by $120 a year…

    ***the cheek of the Opposition.

    nice Fairfax headline suggesting CAGW policies aren’t really behind the rises:

    Fairfax Brisbane Times: Electricity bills to rise regardless of carbon tax, QCA show
    “Typical” residential households will also find $225 embedded in network charges to pay for the solar feed-in tariff by 2015-16.
    The government has already reduced the solar feed-in tariff from 44 cents to 8 cents for new customers. The 8 cents price will expire on July 1, 2014. The government is still considering what it will do after that, but it hasn’t ruled out further reducing the tariff…
    ???Despite more countries moving towards a carbon tax arrangement, Mr McArdle said his government could only deal with the here and now.
    “I’m dealing with what we are dealing with here, in this state, and in this nation and in this point of time,” he said.
    “This carbon tax is adding significantly to the power bills of Queenslanders.
    “I have no doubt that Queenslanders do not want to pay higher prices and today is unwelcome news, but if the [federal] government can take a step to cut the power price and the increase, why doesn’t the Greens and the Labor Senators simply do that? It is a sweep of the pen, $116 will be saved and that is the best thing which can happen today.”…


  • #

    this news must have irked Packham:

    11 Dec: Australian: Ben Packham: Joe Hockey eases investment restrictions on China’s Yanzhou coal company
    JOE Hockey has sent a message to Chinese state-owned enterprises they are welcome to seek 100 per cent stakes in Australian companies, in a new foreign investment decision removing investment restrictions on China’s Yanzhou Coal Mining Company.
    Joe Hockey: “In commitments provided to me, Yanzhou has undertaken to continue to support Yancoal’s ongoing operations in Australia, thereby maintaining its position as a major regional employer.”…

    FT headline, a little condescending:

    11 Dec: UK Financial Times: Australia coal: Beggars can’t be choosers
    Is coal deal waiver good news for other blocked bids?
    The link between the two deals can be boiled down to what’s hot, and what’s not. Mining is still bubbling away in investment terms. The sector has attracted one-fifth, or $6.3bn, of cross-border deals into Australia this year, according to Dealogic. Over the past decade, the sector has drawn more than 25 per cent of all overseas inflows. The prospects for coal, however, are ***chilly…

    ***chilly? time will tell.


  • #

    10 Dec: UK Independent: Oliver Wright: New Nobel laureate Randy Schekman hits out at academic publishers over their publication of only the ‘flashiest’ research
    His comments elicited an irritated response from the big publishers. Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief at Nature, insisted they only selected research for publication on the basis of “scientific significance”.
    “That in turn may lead to citation impact and media coverage, but Nature editors aren’t driven by those considerations, and couldn’t predict them even if they wished to do so,” he said.
    But Professor Schekman appeared to receive the backing of Professor Peter Higgs, whose work in the 1960s led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. Receiving his Nobel Prize on Tuesday, he said he doubted a similar breakthrough could be achieved today, due to the expectations on academics to collaborate and churn out papers.
    “It’s difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964,” he said, adding that he became “an embarrassment to the department when they did research assessment exercises” as he very rarely had things published.


  • #

    Is the CSIRO favouring O/S papers also.

    What of Australian Journals, the majority are covered by CSIRO about 28 or so.

    They say it publishes journals presenting the latest research by leading Australian and overseas scientists and covering a broad range of subjects. Researching this website reveals the following:

    1. Many of the Editors, Advisory editors etc are not from Australia.
    2. A large portion of the papers published are not Australian.
    3. Many subjects are on Climate Change.

    I don’t mind Australian Scientific Journals publishing overseas papers, but I thought CSIRO was an independent body that would publish that satisfy the criteria for science across ALL areas. The thing that worries me is the committees that review these papers for publications are probably leaning toward grant and funding from various sources.

    Is this an institutional problem not only unique to the CSIRO journals in Australia?


    • #
      Gee Aye

      CSIRO journals have morphed and fluxed (editorial policy, editor affiliation, name etc) over time so that they now join the many, so called, international journals. Journals are costly to run and administrate and hard to justify if they keep themselves parochial. CSIROs plan is to trade on its “good name” as an institution of “quality science” so that authors seeking to publish in respected but minor journals will choose a CSIRO journal.

      Please note my quotes. I put them there so that I don’t get the inevitable distraction response of “how can you say that CSIRO is…”


  • #

    In the world of publishing, the “good story” wins the space. Publishers earnestly believe that a “good read” is what gets subscriptions and opportunity sales at the newsstand. Wouldn’t you buy a magazine that has the banner “Aliens Abduct & Probe Mann” simply because of the fascination? :-)

    Which might work for newspapers and news weeklies, but it doesn’t serve areas such as science. In science, the important stuff is often turgid, barely comprehensible even with those familiar with the subject matter and almost invariable, at least to a non-expert, very, very boring. Not “a good read”.

    Scientific publishing hasn’t yet evolved to embrace the (effectively) infinite space in the virtual world that is accessible through an Internet. And, probably as a consequence, that of direct relationships established between research in disparate fields that are somehow related, through a common association of underlying knowledge and technologies. (e.g. statistics and MBH98)

    It’s hard to make a commercial case for scientific publishers to move to such a paradigm. I think it inevitable that the scientific world will anyway; leaving the publishers entrenched in tradition, splashing in a rapidly-evaporating puddle of subscriptions.


    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro


      I am surprised that you didn’t mention, especially since I have been following you on that site for nine months now. ;-)

      For the benefit of other readers, I will add some context:

      To quote from their website, “’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research. We want to make science faster and more open”.

      Right now only two people peer review a paper on behalf of a journal. In a field like machine learning, or breast cancer, where there may be 50,000 people researchers worldwide, what 2 people think in not a statistically significant sample size. You can ask any two people what they think, and you’ll get a different opinion. We need a broader-based peer review system that surfaces opinions on a paper from the entire scientific community.

      That is what their site does, and instead of taking years to be published, papers are available as soon as they are submitted. And it is the potential reviewers who decide what they are going to review, not the journal editors.

      It is my observation, that the boundaries between various scientific disciplines are becoming more blurred, with “climate science” being a classic example (it has a category all on its own on, about which I will not comment).

      And don’t look for any publications from me, because there aren’t any. I am merely a lurker on that particular site.


      • #

        Whatever you do, don’t confuse me with my distant cousin Jürgen!


        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          No, It is definitely you (or somebody with the same name)* and I have read every word.

          * Murphy’s Law was not written by Murphy. It was written by another fella with the same name – Spike Milligan.


    • #

      Bernd says…

      Which might work for newspapers and news weeklies, but it doesn’t serve areas such as science. In science, the important stuff is often turgid, barely comprehensible even with those familiar with the subject matter and almost invariable, at least to a non-expert, very, very boring. Not “a good read”.

      I don’t know, maybe the journals could really make those titles work.

      “Science Discovers God!” – Higgs Boson.
      “Your Uncle really is a Hairy Ape” – Darwinian Evolution.
      “Aliens are watching you – the search goes on” – SETI.
      “China and California – One astounding fact that will amaze you.” – Plate Tectonics.
      “You can live forever with this one special trick” – Special Relativity.
      “Entropy is discovered to be the Master of the Universe”. – 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.
      “Star bends light – Venus seen moving backwards” – General Relativity
      “Star eats light and everything else too” – Black holes
      “Really, Really tiny things Really, Really do matter – Really” – Particle Physics
      “Science discovers that everything is One – Buddhists rejoice” – E = MC2.
      “A weird link between Germs and Stomach Ulcers that you will never believe” – Bacteria found to cause Stomach ulcers.

      and then there is

      “Man causes Catastrophic Global Warming with emissions of CO2″ – Intentionally left Blank, as there is no science to point to. (Note pass give to SETI…)

      Cheers ExWarmist


  • #

    So, would it be safe to say that Nature, Science and Cell have replaced the The Journal of Irreproducible Results?


  • #
    Peter Miller

    “Death by committee”

    This could well be mankind’s epitaph.

    I have been on more committees than I care to think about – mostly they get in the way of getting things done and/or are only used for legal reasons to demonstrate ‘due care’ was taken in the decision making process. There is almost always some individual, who seems obsessed with hearing the sound of his or her own voice, but has little or nothing to contribute other than in the protocol of the meetings.

    The journals Nature, Science and Cell represent a typical elite, as with all elites they have a tendency to atrophy and become ever weaker through inbreeding. Change is vigorously resisted, new ideas and newcomers are unwelcome and cosy clubs of ‘right minded’ individuals, acting as gatekeepers, are the inevitable result.

    Dare I say it? “Just like today’s Global Warming Industry.”


    • #

      Peter, might I just add that your excellent post could be usefully read in conjunction with this memorable and outstanding duet as thematic back ground?


    • #

      It seems in committees there is always a large quantity of Golgafrinchams of the Ark B variety (the HMV type). Its at times like those that you really appreciate a first rate telephone sanitiser and a particularly long bath. :-)


  • #

    Jo,there is this widely held misconception about ‘the tyranny of peer reviewers’ that this field of ‘climate sciences’ are experiencing and which does not exist in the experimental sciences. This whole sad saga of non-existing global warming and greenhouse effects is due to the simple fact that all involved are using purely theoretical number called ‘annual global temperature’ as a reference to the real temperature that can be only detected by the calibrated thermometer. Since the global temperature does not exist and cannot be measured, it is impossible to validate it and therefore everybody is producing trend analysis in non-existing space that cannot be falsified. As a result, the group that publishes more papers with the same conclusion then claims this infamous ‘consensus’ which does not exists in experimental sciences, where the review system works just fine. I should know since I have been doing it for last 15 years. One other point worth mentioning is that in real sciences where data can be validated by the experts in the particular field it takes only 1 single paper to invalidate thousands of papers previously published, along the lines “..100 papers cannot prove me right but 1 paper can prove me wrong’. Every major blog site, including yours, keep using trend analysis in annual global temperatures despite papers by Essex et al in 2007, Kramm-Dlugi in 2011 and my paper in 2012(Butina, free on clearly showing that global temperature does not and can not exist. May I also point out that since the invention of global worming in 1980′s (which followed alarms of global cooling in 1970′s) not a SINGLE paper was published using calibrated thermometer daily data until I published that first paper in 2012!


    • #

      There is the subtlety that only extensive properties can properly be averaged: area, length, volume, and the like. The reason being, they are measures of the same kind of thing without being impacted by the context or content of the thing being measured. Because of that, a computation of such an average has an actual physical meaning. Consequently, multiple averages of that kind can be meaningfully compared.

      On the other hand, temperature is an intensive parameter that is dependent upon both the context and content of the thing measured. An average of a measure requires a constancy of context and content to have physical meaning. Move the site of measurement but a short distance away no matter how many times, a mean of such combined measures has no physical meaning. The context and content changes with each movement. In a very real way, such means are meaningless numbers outside of the realm of being able to be meaningfully compared.

      To be sure, one can mathematically average any series numbers. However, the mean of scattered temperatures have no more of a physical meaning the mean of the telephone numbers of New York City. Without having a physical meaning, a comparison of such means also has no physical meaning – ie is not actually a temperature in any physical sense. That one uses anomalies rather than actual measurements does not change the underlying problem. It simply makes it more difficult to see. Which, I believe was the purpose of using anomalies in the first place.

      The entire tower of babel of climate has been built upon this non-physical thing called mean global temperature. As such, the entire construct is nothing but a fantasy that can neither be proved or falsified. In fact, it is not even false. It is merely arbitrary.

      Keep in mind that it is popular today to assume “meaning” is that foggy feeling or momentary intent that the writer has in his head as he writes the word. The word does not and is not thought to have a connection to the real world. It is only internal and subjective. Such “meaning” becoming a consensus fantasy is nothing more than a summation of fantasies: aka the sum of zeros no matter how many zeros is still zero.


    • #

      Just going through your site now Dr Butina and couldnt agree more on your concerns about a fabricated temperature record particularly when thst so called global record misepresents historical temperature readings eg that around the 1940′s was hotter in the unadjusted temperature records than 1998.

      I will keep reading excellent so far.


  • #

    The power-grab for science publishing is a threat in areas other than – and including – climate science. Some examples from Life Sciences may ring a familiar bell.


  • #

    I agree with Randy Shekman. It really is simple economics. Sexy sells. So the “prestigious” journals seek out what gets them cited. The sexier the better. And science standards are the causality in the process.

    The online Journals run by scientists are a good alternative. But finding them and getting the results out is their drawback.


  • #

    It’s great to see a scientist stand up for his profession in such a notable way. Thank you, Randy Schekman.

    (I know other scientists stand up for their professions through blogging and writing, etc, but it’s rare for someone to stand up in this way. I had feared that the lure of a Nobel prize would silence scientists. After all, look how many still lie about receiving a Nobel Peace prize while actually only contributing to the IPCC research.)


  • #
    Joe Lalonde


    Could science be full of myths???

    This is ten climate science myths BUSTED in 60 seconds.



  • #

    [JO] “Schekman also claims the brand names artificially limit the number of articles they publish, though I find that point unconvincing”.

    I agree with him. Good astronomy journals such as ApJ or MNRAS, these days publish 10 times as many papers as 20 years ago, and more quickly, thanks to online processing (nobody buys the paper version anymore). Instead, Nature and Science only publish one astronomy paper per issue. Now, I am not advocating quantity over quality, my argument is different. Because they say they can only publish so few astronomy papers, Nature and Science editors these days consider only papers that present completely new results. Papers that correct a wrong result are routinely rejected (with suggestions to resubmit to other journals) because even if they are right, they do not present a “new” result, merely a correction of a previously wrong claim. In that sense Nature and Science are more interested in novelty than in correct science. Of course the limited number of papers is a bit of an excuse. Twenty years ago it was still common to find several Nature papers over a few months presenting alternative or opposite explanations of the same observation. Not any more.


  • #

    One of my favourite quotes:

    Thomas Kuhn, in his book Structure of Scientific Revolutions, explained that contrary to popular belief, science is a social construct which fits facts to theories, rather than fitting a theory to the facts. The majority of scientists accept the theory, then vigorously resists change even when it is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that current thought is flawed (recall Copernicus).

    We have seen this happen all the time with Climate Science


    • #


      Political and social radicals and the scientists, hard and social who will push anything for a grant, have taken Kuhn’s quote and used it to deliberately push known false perceptions of reality. The term used most often now is ‘lens’ but this is also how modelling is being taught by systems theorists. But the theories used are social science and political theories that usually track back to Marx even though that is rarely disclosed.

      Bruno LaTour wrote a 2004 book, Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy that makes it clear that all his notorious statements about science as a social construct were merely to ensure that hard science realities did not interfere with his desire for radical sociological experimentation. In his case it was all a linguistic game to shift countries towards “progressive composition of the good common world.”

      Anthony Giddens, a sociologist, has said much the same thing. That it doesn’t matter if there is actually catastrophic manmade global warming because just the assumptions force the actually desired social and political transformations.

      More and more we will have students being taught the politically useful desired perception instead of science grounded in fact-based reality. What a loss.


    • #
      Justin Jefferson

      Thomas Kuhn, in his book Structure of Scientific Revolutions, explained that contrary to popular belief, science is a social construct which fits facts to theories, rather than fitting a theory to the facts.

      Hmm, interesting. What about trigonometry, as in, surveying land? When surveyors use trigonometry, based on the geometry of Pythagoras’s theory, to survey land, are they fitting facts to theories, or fitting a theory to the facts?


      • #
        Louis Hissink

        Trigonometry comprises axioms, which are not theories.

        Theories are proposed to explain particular observations of phenomena.

        Trigonometry isn’t an observation but a rule of thinking, and the activity of surveyors has nothing to do with fitting a theory to facts but simply the process of describing a fact using trigonometry.


      • #

        …based on the geometry of Pythagoras’s theory

        I think you’re confusing your terms Justin. The word you need to triangulate on is ‘theorem‘, not theory.

        noun \ˈthē-ə-rəm, ˈthir-əm\

        : a formula or statement that can be proved from other formulas or statements

        1: a formula, proposition, or statement in mathematics or logic deduced or to be deduced from other formulas or propositions
        2: an idea accepted or proposed as a demonstrable truth often as a part of a general theory : proposition


    • #
      Louis Hissink

      Correct – Much of science is indeed the fitting of facts to theories or more properly, beliefs.


  • #

    Funny how some people view our recent cold snaps the opposite way to how the leftoids here present our weather, in particular the ABC and other leftist propaganda media outlets. See:


  • #

    11 Dec: Reuters: Michael Szabo: EXCLUSIVE-Heavy industry to challenge EU CO2 permit quotas
    Europe’s heavy industry is firing a barrage of legal challenges to cuts in the carbon permits they will get up to 2020 – subsidies worth over 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) – with at least nine firms opening the assault in a Dutch court.
    Companies including ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical and Shell have challenged the Dutch government over what they say is an under-allocation of carbon allowances by the European Commission under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which are given free to heavy industry.
    According to legal advice prepared for several chemical and steel firms and seen by Reuters, emissions generated at their plants from producing power by capturing heat (CHP) and burning waste gas were incorrectly treated by the Commission as attributable to the power sector, which has to pay for permits…
    As a result, the related permits are to be auctioned by governments rather than given to industry, removing subsidies for manufacturers that source energy through those two activities.
    “This distribution was not done in line with EU (rules),” the legal advice said…
    “Based on a conservative estimate, European industry has been unjustifiably under-allocated 168 million permits in 2013 and around 800 million permits up to 2020,” said the Utility Support Group’s Vianney Schyns, a legal expert advising a consortium of chemical firms including SABIC, OCI Nitrogen, Ineos and Lanxess.
    The allowances are valued at more than 4 billion euros, based on average EU carbon future prices of around 5.50 euros between now and 2020…
    ***Another legal source advising firms said major industrial companies including Tata Steel and BP would also launch appeals in the Netherlands and in other countries…
    In the scheme’s current trading phase, which runs from 2013 to 2020, the majority of emissions allowances earmarked for utilities are sold, while heavy industry including makers of cement and steel receive most of their quota for free.
    This is to help them compete with rivals in countries outside the EU that have less stringent environmental regulation, and because the firms argue that power generators pass on their carbon costs to them…
    ***To keep the bloc’s overall emissions under legal limits, the Commission slashed the number of ETS permits to be given to EU industry in 2013-2020 by 12 percent below the amount they had requested, or by around 900 million units…

    another dishonest headline from SMH when it comes to matters CAGW. the original Reuters’ headline was:

    “Australian offset scheme hits milestone but future uncertain”

    12 Dec: SMH: Reuters: Uncertainty limits take-up of carbon farming credits
    ***But with the new government eager to repeal the carbon pricing scheme, demand for ACCUs has fallen away and development of new projects has almost ground to a halt…
    Of the 3.1 million ACCUs issued since the Carbon Farming Initiative started two years ago, nearly 80 per cent have gone to projects that capture methane emissions from landfills. But those are mostly projects that were already up and running when the CFI launched.
    “Landfills were already heavily participating in previous offset schemes, so they were easily able to transit those projects over to the CFI,” said Elisa de Wit, partner with lawfirm Norton Rose Fulbright…
    ***”We haven’t had any investment interest in 18 months,” Andrew Grant, CEO of CO2 Group, Australia’s biggest carbon project developer, told Reuters in October…


  • #

    Thank you for this excellent post Jo.

    Some of science has not only lost the taste of integrity but of imagination. We’ve discoursed before on this site about the incestuous cycle of grant application for funding to undertake the research whose results are not only pre-ordained (at worst) or a self-fulfilling prophecy (at best), but research and grant applications that are constrained by institutional and political correctness.

    Academics strive for publication in high impact factor journals because they may score higher in the Performance Based Research Funding evaluation. This is a matter of institutional funding and survival. Flagship journals with over-developed impact factors have editorial policies and advisory groups that accept or reject manuscripts on the basis of a ‘fit’ of a Journal’s view of the world, aside from any ‘science’. It’s their club. Walk to different cadence and your manuscript may be rejected because there is inevitably a measure of required ‘conformity’.

    In the end, cynically it depends what value you place on your soul.


  • #

    disinfo, misinfo, beyond zero credibility, but do love how Big Oil are now the poster boys of CAGW:

    11 Dec: Forbes: Michael Krancer: Report: Big U.S. Businesses Ready For A Carbon Price
    (Michael L. Krancer is Partner & Energy, Petrochemical and Natural Resources Practice Group Leader at Blank Rome LLP and former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection)
    The CDP, which released its report last week, analyzed data from many of the biggest companies in the U.S. or doing business here. They included oil giants like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell and industrial behemoths like GE, DuPont, and Duke Energy (some of which are Blank Rome clients), just to name a few. The CDP found that many are planning their fiscal futures around a price on carbon…
    This is a huge deal both politically and from a business standpoint…
    What happened to the claim that business opposes a price on carbon or a carbon tax? …
    The New York Times published an article last week analyzing some of the political ramifications. Their take was that coalitions are shifting and a lot of business leaders, even those who count themselves as conservative Republicans, have sensed the direction of climate-change policy in America and have decided to prepare to profit from it…
    The kicker is that no company in the CDP report thought that any business disruption would result from achieving GHG reductions or from carbon regulatory regimes. That may come as an inconvenient truth—so to speak—to politicians and pundits who’ve labeled efforts to control carbon job killers. It’s becoming increasingly clear that big business is not afraid of a regulatory regime for carbon. In fact, most companies are planning for it and even see in it opportunities for growth…
    As we already know from the Stanford Woods Report and other recent publications like the Ceres investors’ letter on carbon risk, it’s becoming apparent that investors and a large majority of Americans are more than ready for states to choose RGGI or some other form of a price on carbon to fight climate change…

    4 Dec: Forbers: Michael Krancer: Experts: Polls Now Show Americans Of All Stripes Want Action On Climate Change
    A surprising majority of Americans across the political and geographical board are hungry for action on climate change.
    A new analysis of 21 scientific surveys reflecting public opinions in 46 states showed that large majorities of Americans now believe that global warming is a manmade problem and that the government should reign in greenhouse gas emissions—especially at power plants…
    This includes eastern coal states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. The story is the same in states like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina.
    Huh? What in the world happened to the old Red State-vs.-Blue State divide? And what happened to the assumption that people living in coal states would dig in their heels against efforts to limit power plant CO2 emissions?…
    Big investors are mirroring the citizen concern—no surprise since investors, whether individuals, pension funds, or mutual funds, are made up of folks like you and me: citizens…
    The surveys also showed that Americans by a wide majority favor market-based solutions like a cap and trade mechanism. Although not specifically queried in the survey, a price on carbon would be a similar market-based measure…
    The bottom line is that anyone running a business, investing in one, dealing with investors who own one, trying to attract investors in the competitive capital markets, or running for office in 2014 may want to pay attention to these survey results. Denial is not an option.

    Stanford University Public Opinion Surveys on Global Warming (2013): U.S. Maps of Key Survey Findings
    Methodology: For more than a decade, many surveys have measured Americans’ opinions about various issues related to global warming. These surveys have involved interviewing truly random samples of the American adult population and have been designed to yield estimates for the country as a whole. Many of these surveys have asked the same questions repeatedly. To generate the state level analysis, MacInnis and Krosnick first combined these surveys, yielding a large number of respondents, selected randomly, for almost every state in the country. MacInnis and Krosnick then applied a statistical modeling procedure to estimate what public opinion would be in each state today. This procedure modeled differences between states, effects of survey mode (e.g., telephone interviewing vs. self-completion of online questionnaires), differences between results obtained by different interviewing firms, and trends in opinions over time. This methodology produced estimates of the results that would be obtained by random digit dialing telephone interviews in 2013.


    • #

      The problem with the article is in their assumptions. Big business does not hate regulations. As long as the regulations are industry wide, they merely pass the cost onto consumers. But the costs do go up. Which means consumers have less to spend elsewhere. Which means demand suffers. Which does cost jobs. If you are looking for BP or Exxon to lose sleep over a carbon tax, you do not understand big business.

      It is the entrepreneurs that lose out. Not big business. The job loss is in that end of the economy which the article completely ignores.


      • #

        I would agree. Big business has the ability to absorb the costs of regulations, as long as applied industry wide. It’s the little guys that lack the capital and volume of business to deal with the cost increases. You see it all the time.


      • #
        Graeme No.3

        But what happens if the regulation isn’t “industry wide”?

        What happens in Europe if they have swingeing carbon costs and China doesn’t? Outcries about unfair competition? Introduction of high tariffs? Neither would help the european economy and their export industries would cease to exist. Higher unemployment and rising costs won’t help current politicians get reelected. The near certainty of defeat will concentrate some minds.

        The big problem lie in the bureaucracy, unelected and with too many in cosy situations. In the EU it is the bureaucrats who are dictating what politicians can do, so the only way out for the EU is a breakup.


        • #

          You are indeed correct. But look at the companies, and the markets. In this case, all the companies are dealing with the same rules. China still has to pay the carbon tax on any gas (haha) they export to the market. The tax is on the goods sold in the market, not produced there.

          If the tax is only on the goods produced there (like the Oz Carbon tax), then that makes the goods they EXPORT more expensive and thus non-competitive. Since only the Oz companies have to pay the fee.

          The difference is where the tax is applied. If it is to a market (like the article talks about – the American market), they are happy! If it is applied to only parts of a market, as it would be for where the stuff is produced, then they would scream.

          The article was talking about


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    manipulate all u want…Labor/Greens will still love it:

    11 Dec: Bloomberg Businessweek: Alessandro Vitelli: EU May Propose Carbon Permit Reserve Next Year to Combat Surplus
    The European Commission may propose next month a law to manage the supply of carbon permits as a way of combating a surplus that drove prices to a record low, said Jos Delbeke, head of the regulator’s climate department.
    A reserve mechanism to add or release pollution rights may help reduce a glut of more than 2 billion metric tons of permits, Delbeke, the commission’s Director-General for Climate, said in Brussels yesterday…
    The commission plans to present next month a package of measures to be considered by governments as the 28-nation bloc analyzes future energy and climate policies. While a deep overhaul of the EU carbon market has to be linked with emissions targets for 2030, which are yet to be decided, a mechanism to make the supply of permits more flexible could be enacted before 2020, according to Delbeke…
    (RELATED LINK?)Story: Drowning Kiribati
    Nightmare Glut
    The glut built up as industrial output fell from 2009 through 2011, energy efficiency rose and the use of United Nations carbon offsets by EU emitters to meet emissions targets soared, Delbeke said. The excess may swell to as much as 2.2 billion tons by the end of this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data show…

    ***Such a mechanism would be rules-based, non-discretionary and focused on the supply of allowances rather than price, he said. It would only be applicable in exceptional circumstances such as large demand shocks…

    “We are reflecting on an ETS reserve mechanism that would add or release allowances into or from a reserve by deducting or adding them from or to future auction volumes,” Delbeke said. “We are not going to take them out of the accounts of key players.”


  • #
    Gee Aye

    vive la open access. By scientists for everyone.


  • #

    google’s ALGOREithms has “CO2 wins Qantas carbon offset contract” dated 17 Nov & similarly outdated pro-CAGW stories on first page of news results from a “carbon offsets” search.

    way down on page 4 of the news results, (20 results per page) we get this:

    11 Dec: Globe&Mail Canada: Gary Mason: B.C.’s once-lauded green agenda now in disarray
    Former premier Gordon Campbell was the toast of enviro-crusaders everywhere, his bold reduction targets held up as an example of the kind of brave political leadership required to save the Earth from burning up…
    Mr. Campbell, of course, was pushed from office prematurely, the victim of one of the biggest public policy blunders in recent memory – the harmonized sales tax. Today, not only is the HST gone, but the former premier’s vaunted green agenda is in disarray as well, with many of its elements assigned to the burgeoning scrap heap of ill-conceived initiatives for which he was responsible.
    The “hydrogen highway” he envisioned along the West Coast of North America – with refuelling stations for the thousands of H-burning vehicles that would use them – was never more than a catchy slogan. The fleet of 20 hydrogen-powered buses he had delivered to the resort community of Whistler in 2009 may soon be gone.
    It turns out they are not exactly compatible with northern climates. They break down constantly. They are far costlier to operate than their diesel-burning cousins. The $90-million pilot project has mostly been a bust…
    And no one talks any more about the Western Climate Initiative, the umbrella organization of Canadian provinces (led by B.C.) and U.S. states that was going to set up a cap-and-trade system for emissions. An idea that Mr. Campbell touted as revolutionary seems to have bitten the dust.
    Recently, the B.C. government announced it was folding its controversial Pacific Carbon Trust into the Environment Ministry. Another Gordon Campbell project, the trust was a disaster from the start, with everyone from the Auditor-General to acclaimed environmental academics such as Mark Jaccard calling it mostly bogus…
    ***Despite widespread criticism that the carbon offsets it sold have not had the promised impact on emissions, the government has continued to operate this boondoggle because it is a revenue generator. By 2015-16, the trust is expected to have an accumulated surplus of $37-million.
    That it makes the money from schools and hospitals, among others, is appalling, and yet another sign of the Liberal government’s cynical, misguided and mostly chaotic environmental protection strategy…
    Mr. Jaccard believes the government is getting ready to rewrite its tough emissions laws to accommodate the massive increase in GHG emissions the LNG industry is expected to create. He has given up on the province’s GHG-fighting plans, saying it is obvious the government is no longer serious about them…
    The B.C. climate legislation has no consequences for not meeting the emissions goals, so it was always going to be easy for the government to ignore them in the name of political expediency. At the moment, the economic health of the province is more important to Ms. Clark than its environmental well-being.
    Her much-touted jobs plan has stalled. The NDP Opposition claims that since the Liberals announced their jobs strategy two years ago, B.C.’s employment record has become the worst in the country. This puts even more pressure on Ms. Clark to ignore the emissions objectives to make her big LNG bet a reality.
    Gordon Campbell’s bold green dreams are dead.

    if the Australian public were properly informed by our MSM about the insanity of CAGW policies worldwide, there would have been thousands outside Parliament this week, demanding the repeal & repudiation of the everything CAGW.


  • #

    Speaking of “facts” as we were….

    Looks a lot like “actionfarts” if you glance at it quickly.


  • #

    The three key “facts” projected at

    1. No evidence that low-frequency sounds cause health problems
    2. No connection between wind parks and property values
    3. Wind turbines kill far fewer birds than other man-made objects

    This video that Safetyguy66 kindly highlighted is best viewed after taking a pill to lower your IQ permanently


    • #

      The link was sent to me by someone from my former employer who was my favorite combatant on the AGW topic. Hes a super nice guy, but still remains sadly deluded that the work we did (and he is still doing) is anything other than a complete waste of time and money. I agree completely that arguments in favour of renewables tend to range from emotive to nonsensical without ever having to resort to facts.


      • #

        SG66, thanks for adding a measure of levity to an otherwise mundane Thursday. One thing I noticed about the video clip was the alacrity with which it displayed the ‘facts‘ and in particular, the third ‘bird killing’ fact. At the very least, the director had the grace not to omit it altogether, as pulverisingly inconvenient as it might be, not forgetting that is also an absurd ‘tu quoque’ arguement, one refuge of the truly bereft.


        • #

          I actually thought the bird killing was BS until I found half a wedge tailed eagle at the foot of a tower in SA circa 2010.

          More recently I saw this

          I guess the greens would describe it as “collateral damage” or something.


          • #

            Last week I observed a bald eagle flying within less than mile from the 11 turbines on my way to town. At this point, he was on the “river side” of the turbines. These turbines were built where eagles hunt, as are most turbines in Wyoming. How can you not hit eagles?
            It is interesting to note that the 1000 turbines proposed for near Rawlins are on the border of sage grouse core areas. I still picture this whole idea as the same as with Native Americans and reservations. You can kill eagles and build one inch from a core area for sage grouse IF you make a conservation area where the eagles and sage grouse can live in peace. Birds are really too stupid to notice the 400 ft towers, right? And human “reservations” worked out so well, let’s try it for the eagles and the sage grouse. Oh, and the whooping crane. We saved those but now they’re just a bother……


            • #

              It’s only temprary, Sheri.

              As some of the few remaining rural people in Germany are coming to notice, their raptor populations are disappearing; not necessarily the victims of a collision with a composite blade travelling at half the speed of sound, but because the rodent population don’t seem to like to be near the wind generators.


              They’re wind generators on wind-still days in winter, when electricity is used to turn the blades so that they don’t freeze up with big chunks of ice; and so that the main generator’s shaft doesn’t creep nor its bearings rattle around in the one place, causing premature failure.

              No rodents, no raptors. Foxes are also on the decline; probably starving as a result of the actions of the same people who on another day, are trying to “save” the species.


              • #

                Fortunately, Wyoming is a very big open space. The bald eagles can fish in the river (assuming they miss the 11 turbines if coming from the north) and rural subdivisions are 20 to 40 acres in size, leaving plenty of breeding room and rations for the rodents and the foxes. There is a thriving fox population and a cyclical rabbit population. I would note that golden eagles can take down a full-grown antelope if they tag team it. So lack of food for the eagles should not be a problem for a while. Smaller raptors, maybe.

                I had not considered that the rodents might not like living under the turbines, however. That is a interesting observation. I did know that the turbines turn on cold days to avoid freezing. They also shut down or slow way down in high wind, which is very, very common in Wyoming. A parked tractor-trailer blew over on the interstate this week–pulling over and waiting didn’t even save him! It’s one reason why I often wonder why the turbines are installed here. Routine 60 to 70 mph winds with gusts near 90 have to short the life of the turbines dramatically and the turbines top out the energy produced somewhere around 30 or 35 mph. All that excess wind just damages the turbines. Then again, with wind, it does’t have to make sense, just make money.


  • #

    Jo, the quality of papers in Nature declined precipitously after 1983, when established dogmas on the formation of the solar system were on the verge of collapse:

    P. K. Swart, “The demise of established dogmas on the formation of the solar system,” Nature 303 (1983) 286

    Below are a few of our papers that contributed to the near-collapse of false scientific dogma before 1983:

    1. “Mass fractionation and isotope anomalies in neon and xenon,”
    Nature 227, 1113-1116 (1970);

    2. “Xenon in carbonaceous chondrites”, Nature 240, 99-101 (1972);

    3. “Noble gases in an Hawaiian xenolith”, Nature 257, 778-780 (1975);

    4. “Xenon record of the early solar system”, Nature 262, 28-32 (1976);

    5. “Isotopes of tellurium, xenon and krypton in the Allende meteorite retain record of nucleosynthesis”, Nature 277, 615-620 (1979);

    After 1983, Nature became more like a journal of George Orwell’s 1984 Newspeak (or doublespeak).


    • #

      In conclusion, Jo,

      1. Shared truths among equals were once the foundation of science and spirituality:

      E.g., Einstein’s E = mc^2 and Aston’s “nuclear packing fraction,” f = M/A -1

      In the last paragraph of his 1922 Nobel Lecture, Aston spoke of a “power beyond the dreams of scientific fiction” and accurately described the basis for the atomic and hydrogen bombs.

      2. Shared dogmas in a stratified structure became the foundation of religion and consensus science after the above discoveries were used to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in 1945:

      Then science textbooks replaced Aston’s rigorously valid “nuclear packing fraction” with Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker’s deceptively convincing “nuclear binding energy (B.E.)” to obscure energy from neutron-repulsion, the powerful source of energy in cores of heavy atoms (uranium), some planets (Jupiter), ordinary stars (Sun) and galaxies (Milky Way).

      C. F. von Weizsäcker’s older brother was West Germany’s President Richard von Weizsäcker (1984 – 1994), when the Berlin Wall came down and President Ronald Reagan announced that the “Evil Empire” is dead.


  • #

    Repeal of the NGER is now the litmus test.

    David Archibald, Quadrant 11/12/13:

    The National Greenhouse & Energy Reporting Act (NGER) — the last dark deed of the Howard Government in 2007.

    It seems Howard thought he would use global warming as an issue to push Australia towards nuclear power.

    Instead, he cast himself as another of Lenin’s “useful fools”.

    Belief in global warming has been a litmus test for our politicians.

    If they have ever believed in it, or uttered the inane “we have decided to give the planet the benefit of the doubt”, they are fools for being so easily deluded.

    Repeal of the NGER is now the litmus test.

    If that act is not repealed, then it will be self-evident our current crop of leaders is not serious about Australia’s economic health, national security, liquid fuel supplies and similar grave matters of state.


  • #

    I’d add Scientific American to Schekman’s list


    • #
      Roy Hogue

      I’d add Scientific American to Schekman’s list

      I suppose that non science publications are not really fair game to point a finger at. Yet nearly every publication in the world has joined in perpetrating this nonsense. You can easily add nearly everything to the list except those blogs that have fought the thing for so long.


  • #

    I had the “pleasure” of watching Bjorn Lomborg be interviewed on “The Project” last night. He gave his usual schtick. After he was signed off, brainiac “Charlie” simply unilaterally decared that the learned Professor had got several of his facts wrong (ie climate change was here and now and a desperate situation) and left it at that.

    Jo Nova – you should get yourself an interview on that show – fireworks guaranteed.



  • #
    Bob Roberts

    You know, it is time to stop letting the true deniers, the now clearly revealed liars, in fact, define those who are CLIMATE REALISTS versus their FALSE CLIMATE ALARMISM. The terms used to describe these two broad groups in honest ways are just that – climate realists (‘us’) and climate alarmists (‘them’). I think it’s long past time to start speaking in those terms or, if you can think of some, even better ones that more honestly describe what’s going on here. Plus it is more and more clear this was never about climate or science, rather about creating a body that had control over vast sums of money to be extorted from one group of nations or people, with a generous helping to be skimmed off the top and used to continue the lavish lifestyles of those doing the skimming, then what with the rest? Where was it to go? What was to be done with it? Observations have proven beyond any doubt their dire decrees of doom were worse than fabrications – at what point do the honest among us stop giving them credibility by even continuing to engage them? I think the idea of a boycott of their propaganda organs is a great start.


  • #

    A problem with peer review lies with the crossing of disciplines.
    As I’ve posted on this site on a previous occasion, I once happened across a paper in ‘Nature’ wherein finger length was measured from photocopies of the hand, instead of x-ray methods.
    The geneticists and psychologists who were the authors clearly hadn’t spoken to an anatomist, and clearly one hadn’t reviewed the work, or it would have been (hopefully!) rejected immediately. The correct methodology should have been sorted out before the work began.
    As an aside, here in the UK there seems to be a trend towards taught courses forming part of the work towards getting a PhD. I feel very uneasy about this – surely by this stage a student should have the confidence to ask questions and find the right people as part of the training to become an independent researcher. It seems a dilution of scientific training to me.


  • #

    [...] Just as the course was ending, I discovered this article in the Guardian about Randy Schekman, a winner of the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, announced that his lab is boycotting the top-tier journals Science, Nature, and Cell. According to the Guardian, Schekman said: Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a “tyranny” that must be broken. Image:… [...]


  • #

    [...] Nobel Winner boycotts journals Nature, Science, and Cell for damage to science ( [...]