Why won't Nature link to Climate Audit?
Dec 28, 2007
Bishop Hill in Climate: CA, Journals, Media

Some time ago I wrote a piece in which I questioned the wisdom of Nature's approach to blogging, and in particular to the way their climate science site, Nature Climate Feedback, seemed to be turning into something of an advocacy site. I questioned the commercial wisdom of being seen to side so publicly in one side of a politicised debate.

The article picked up a lot of traffic from an internal blog within the Nature organisation, but my impression has been that there has been little change in the way Climate Feedback operates in the six months since I attempted to highlight the problem.

Today, I'm going to point to a further example of how Nature has set its stall out as an environmentalist advocacy site - who do they link to? Apart from a list of official sites, Climate Feedback has a standard blogroll which I reproduce below:

Most readers of this site will know many of these blogs. Anyone who follows the global warming debate will be aware of Real Climate. Some may even be aware that it seems to be linked with green advocacy groups. But it is unarguably written by climate scientists, so there can be no reasonable objection to its inclusion.

The Heat is Online, however, is the webpage of Ross Gelbspan, whose Wikipedia entry refers to him as an author and activist. A Few Things Ill Considered is a "Layman's take on the science of global warming" and features "a guide on how to speak to a climate skeptic". Gristmill is part of an environmentalist publishing organisation. Clearly then, Nature Climate Feedback has no issue in linking to people whose only role in the global warming debate is one of advocacy. They also don't think that their blogroll should be restricted to qualified climate scientists. In fact, they seem quite happy to link to people who are not scientists at all.

How then can we explain the failure to link to any sites which might be considered somewhat sceptical of the AGW (alleged) consensus? Roger Pielke for example, or Climate Audit?

Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit is the only site which can rival Real Climate for traffic, and it is streets ahead on the quality of the scientific discussion. It also has a very good standard of comments from a range of highly-qualified visitors. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of people who I have been able to identify as people with relevant qualifications who have contributed to the CA conversation:

By the way, I am an avid reader of Climate Audit, so from me you receive a proper response. In fact, I download the articles to my cell phone and read them with great interest every day. Many thanks for so relentlessly contributing these articles to Climate Audit.

Whichever way you look at it, there is every shade of opinion in the list, from the firm skepticism of say, Tim Ball, to the out and out enviropmentalism of Martin Juckes (who allegedly manages to combine dispassionate climate science research with his campaigning for the Green party). Climate Audit is indisputably the place where people go to have free debate on climate science. And in passing, we can compare this unfavourably with Real Climate, where the "canon" is recited to those willing to listen and straw men are cast down to the applause of the assembled faithful.

It's therefore pretty hard to explain Climate Feedback's failure to link to Climate Audit, until you look at who they do link to, at which point you wonder if Nature, once powerhouse in the advancement of scientific knowledge, is now just a rather insignificant part of the worldwide green advocacy industry. How the mighty are fallen.  

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