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« Don't blame the sulphates | Main | Top French weatherman suspended for forbidden views »

Remember when Nature was a science journal?

Climate change: Climate justice more vital than democracy

Title of new paper published in Nature

I can still remember the days when Nature magazine was about science.

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Reader Comments (44)

Another attempt to suppress democracy. Why is it academics, who are paid by the taxpayers, want to suppress the views of those taxpayers? These are evil people.

Oct 15, 2015 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Interesting snippet from March this year:

Mark Maslin @ProfMarkMaslin

"Resigned as an editor for Nature Scientific Reports as new system means authors can pay for quicker review by a private company @NatureNews"

Oct 15, 2015 at 8:59 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

That's one to remember when people claim that it's a straw man that climate activists are calling for the suspension of democracy. It is only a letter though.

Also in Nature Pseudoscience this week is this piece of political waffle from Kevin Anderson:
It contains the word "must" 6 times and "demand" twice.

Oct 15, 2015 at 9:01 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Authored by a 'usual suspect(s)': "... & Benjamin K. Sovacool" <- notorious, anti-nuclear power, "researcher". Nature - happy to trash any reputation is had left by publishing more trash "research".

Oct 15, 2015 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Pawelek

I'm with Paul.

Many responded to Nico Stehr with a "he's exaggerating." Well, he's not.

Oct 15, 2015 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

It's the Emperor Palpatine moment

Oct 15, 2015 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Shades of James 'democracy isn't working' Hansen.

At least they are putting their cards on the table.

Oct 15, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Are they not letting the screen slip a little these days, as their language is certainly giving the game justice, suspension of democracy (albeit only temporarily...ha, ha!), story-lines, scenarios, (East Enders/Coronation Street?), & the like! It really seems to be a case of the Hard-Left seeing a dream about to come true, the enslavement of the Human Race, with them in full control of everything, except we know full well from experience, they haven't got much of a clue about how to run anything!

Oct 15, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit
Oct 15, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Ah yes the principle of 'social justice' so assiduously promoted by the supporters of 'benevolent' peace loving autocrats like Joseph Stalin and Mao Tsetung. The current Climate Change Consensus seems to be bred using DNA extracted from the bones of Lysenkoism and The Great Leap Forward.

Truly it was said by George Santayana "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

The words that spring to mind when I see this kind of speculative story * is 'you and what army?' And I don't mean that in a fighty way. There is no powerful movement behind cutting CO2, not in the public, not in governments and not in any army out there. So who would have the power, the mandate or even the guts to suspend something people are quite keen on for something very few people believe in? The small bands of anti capitalist, anti democracy, anarchists, are annoying but have no power to change society. Their audible volume is not reflected at the polls.

Democracy isn't the peace maker, it's a side effect of good trade, which is what our stability is based on. When the people above need the people below to be happy and hard working, then they have to give up some power to them. Eventually the power balance tips and you have democracy. In countries where mineral wealth outweighs manufacturing wealth, democracy doesn't flourish. People power increases the more useful they are to society. And we like it that way. It would take an army to make us give it up. That army would need to passionately believe what they were doing because if society was unwilling to cut CO2/and or suspend democracy then enforcement would put soldiers against their families and friends.

* 'story' is the right word because they are essentially fiction.

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Can subscriptions to Nature be set off against tax, if it is a political magazine, and has no technical merit?

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

While I am not prepared to pay for access to the site, there is enough visible to ask questions, such as: what is meant by “social-justice principles”? Somehow, I doubt that it contains an ounce of rational thought or common sense.

Paul Matthews: Who could argue with this:

Scientists must make their assumptions transparent and defensible, however politically uncomfortable the conclusions.
Perhaps a rough translation from Philippe Verdier might be: “Oh, the irony!”

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

How right you are, Bishop. Nature was one the really respectable scientific journals. Every lab library subscribed to it.

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Keith Willshaw, I agree, they are dreaming of the 'people's revolutions' of the past. But there's no fuel for them now. Those events were born out of great poverty and hardship and were aimed at their own corrupt societies. High CO2 societies are the most free of genuine hardship and people already have the tool to change those societies if the majority agree with them. It's a funny little thing called deocracy.

Without a good alternative to fossil fuels, the only way we will cut CO2 is if the vast majority truly believe that they need to and are prepared to shoulder one hardship to avoid another. That warmists continually try to take shortcuts demonstates how lacking they are in ability support of their chosen cause.

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

Harry S Truman was similar with his "The only thing you don't know about people is the history you haven't read"

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

The editor of Nature is a hard core 'think of the children ' type who has made it very clear Nature will be used to promote 'awareness ' of AGW , it simply cannot be trusted to cover this subject with any degree of honesty.

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Martin A: thank you. It is an odd letter. Fred W. Manzo, of Hofstra University, sums it up beautifully and succinctly: “What all this all boils down to is the belief that "any system that doesn't put us in charge can't be very good."

Oct 15, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Bish, your post "Title of new paper" is a bit misleading, as it is just a short letter.

I gather it is paywalled. See link from Martin A for the text.

Oct 15, 2015 at 11:04 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I wonder how many complaints Nature have received and what their circulation is doing?

I have to volunteer a first reaction of "What !!??"

Oct 15, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Registered Commentertomo

"What I do know is that we’re now it. All those popular science journals we loved to read are gone. They’re actually irrelevant now. Sure, they’re all still on an automatic subscription renewal on most academic institutions but the young minds are now reading the science blogs, because that’s where it’s at. If they can’t sell the same uninteresting drivel in the physical world, what makes them think it’ll fare any better just translated into pages on the internet? And it isn’t selling there either."

The decline of popular science journals.


Oct 15, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

In the fight for survival, Nature have decided to follow the lucrative political funding of climate science, appealing to the vanity of pretentious fools.

Who else subscribes to Nature? Rather like the Guardian, almost no one actually buys it, with their own cash, preferring to charge it to someone else.

Oct 15, 2015 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

New study published today in the journal Nature by Dr Nicholas Golledge & Tim Naish of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre predicts 10 metre sea level rise and says global CO2 emissions should be reduced to zero by the end of the century

Oct 15, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaymam

We'll hear more from the general will zombie before, during and after Paris, I'm afraid:

Just the tip of the iceberg - if you will forgive the climate pun.

Oct 15, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Law

Not content with trashing the western tradition, the Cultural Marxists have now imposed their own version of irreligion, it is akin to Sharia but does not involve bowing to Mecca, the crushingly fastidious high priests and of its adherents are not dissimilar to the theocrats who preach Wahhabi doctrine.

Thought crime, metaphorically, literally is now virtually policed, it was only a matter of when not if - that, holding a contrary opinion to the received wisdom in all things................. redistribution of wealth uuh sorry em.....[splutter] - mankind induced Global Warming - the cognoscenti, the wankeratti and illiberal Stasi's jackboots would be all over legal moves to enshrine in statute - thus making realism, pragmatism and all sceptical viewpoint pertaining to climate science [any science] - out of bounds, and - beyond the pales.

Brave new world or, is it 1984 and regression that will lead us all back to the caves?

Oct 15, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The relationship between justice and climate justice is the same as between a jacket and a straitjacket.

Oct 15, 2015 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

Steady on Bish is joking a bit on the update : David Colquhoun does indeed ALSO criticise Nature mag but he is talking about different article , one about Reiki .
...He is a skeptic medicine hero, but unfortunately he's also a climate change true-believer.
(Also the link Bish gives doesn't work for me..The link underneath is different to the link text)

The writer of the Nature piece lays into is Jo Marchant, that name rang a bell. No previous mentions here on BH but I see Resilient Earth Blog once laid into her for anti-capitalist eco-alarmism

Crank of the Week - October 13, 2008 - Jo Marchant, New Scientist
Faced with the very real prospect that the current world wide economic meltdown will totally eclipse the global warming “crisis,” the eco-activist British magazine New Scientist has issued a special report titled “How Our Economy Is Killing The Earth .” Ms. Marchant, the opinion editor, leads off the string of anguished articles

Oct 15, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

edit "The writer of the Nature piece lays into is Jo Marchant"
meant to be "The writer of the 2nd piece criticising Nature piece lays into is Jo Marchant

Oct 15, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

One day, our Grandchildren will be told stories about how a previously well respected science magazine went bust, simply because the management put their faith in faked science.

Oct 15, 2015 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Talking of faked science (golf Charlie). Tomorrow this years ozone hole will become one of the 5 biggest and deepest since records began in 1979.

So much for 26 years of the Montreal Protocol.

From Wikipedia:

A 2015 report by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the protection of the ozone layer under the treaty will prevent over 280 million cases of skin cancer, 1.5 million skin cancer deaths, and 45 million cataracts in the United States.

Since nothing has changed in getting on for 30 years it's hard to imagine how that will happen.

In 30 years time when nothing (out of the ordinary) has happened to global temperature or sea level, various worthless bureaucracies will still be producing reports saying how many lives have been saved by the massively expensive and pointless gesture of reducing CO2 emissions.

Oct 15, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Billy Liar, so getting rid of all those refrigerants falling foul of the Montreal protocol was just a lucky break for the manufacturers, whose Patent had run out, and had to invent new ones?

Oct 15, 2015 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It would appear that way! Since the Protocol came into force in 1989, only 2002 stands out as different from the other years.

Oct 15, 2015 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar


Oct 15, 2015 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

"Climate" is a term that means whatever climate kooks want it to mean any given day to justify any desired action or policy.
"Justice" has to do with a person's behavior and holding them accountable.
"Climate justice" is a dog whistle approach to stealing things from one group of people (like a certain recent period of history when "the jews" was the preferred name) and giving it to another.

Oct 15, 2015 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Don't get carried away with Colquhoun. He is only a part-time sceptic and has a penchant for vendettas, notably when he was at the heart of the hatchet job on Sir Tim Hunt.

Oct 15, 2015 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Back in 2011 one of the authors, Ben Sovacool wrote a risible article for the HuffPo. He trotted out the usual greenie alarmism about more storms, droughts, catastrophically rising sea levels,floods, etc. As we know, none if these mega-disasters have materialised. Risibly, he also tried to suggest that useless green projects would miraculously create jobs and economic security. What a plonker.

Oct 15, 2015 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Smith

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Oct 16, 2015 at 3:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

Fascism in green clothing.

Oct 16, 2015 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy


None of the above seem to have done their homework

"Climate change: Climate justice more vital than democracy"

Is not the title of a Nature article- it is the heading above a letter to the Editor by Jingzheng Ren, Michael Evan Goodsite & Benjamin K. Sovacool in response to an article : by Nick Stehr entitled

Climate policy: Democracy is not an inconvenience
22 September 2015

And unsubtly subtitled:

Climate scientists are tiring of governance that does not lead to action. But democracy must not be weakened in the fight against global warming, warns Nico Stehr."

Oct 16, 2015 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell - where are you getting this info ?
from the above link i get -

"Nature | Correspondence
Climate change: Climate justice more vital than democracy
Jingzheng Ren,
Michael Evan Goodsite & Benjamin K. Sovacool
Corresponding author Nature 526,323(15 October 2015)doi:10.1038/526323aPublished online 14 October 2015"
which is paywalled for me - so you may/appear to have more info ?

when i read the link to - Nico Stehr
Climate policy: Democracy is not an inconvenience
Nico Stehr

extracts from-

"More surprisingly, a similar impatience with the political elite is now also present in the scientific community. Researchers are increasingly concerned that no one is listening to their diagnosis of the dangers of human-induced climate change and its long-lasting consequences, despite the robust scientific consensus. As governments continue to fail to take appropriate political action, democracy begins to look to some like an inconvenient form of governance. There is a tendency to want to take decisions out of the hands of politicians and the public, and, given the 'exceptional circumstances', put the decisions into the hands of scientists themselves."

"The depiction of contemporary democracies as ill-equipped to deal with climate change comes from a range of considerations. These include a deep-seated pessimism about the psychological make-up of humans; the disinclination of people to mobilize on issues that seem far removed; and the presumed lack of intellectual competence of people to grasp complex issues. On top of these there is the presumed scientific illiteracy of most politicians and the electorate; the inability of governments locked into short-term voting cycles to address long-term problems; the influence of vested interests on political agendas; the addiction to fossil fuels; and the feeling among the climate-science community that its message falls on the deaf ears of politicians."

well, what can I say as mere member of the incompetant electorate :-(

Oct 18, 2015 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh


The legitimation for pushing us incompetents around comes originally from Jean Jacques Rousseau. Better get used to it, IMO.

Bye bye, democracy. Hello, general will

Others have noticed this, too:

'Knute' at WUWT

Oct 18, 2015 at 6:19 AM | Registered Commenterfiguresofspeech


From my hard copy of Nature--

it's in the Correspondence section

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

ok - thanks Russell

also reread the link to Nico -

"Enhance engagement

There is but one political system that is able to rationally and legitimately cope with the divergent political interests affected by climate change and that is democracy. Only a democratic system can sensitively attend to the conflicts within and among nations and communities, decide between different policies, and generally advance the aspirations of different segments of the population. The ultimate and urgent challenge is that of enhancing democracy, for example by reducing social inequality8.

If not, the threat to civilization will be much more than just changes to our physical environment. The erosion of democracy is an unnecessary suppression of social complexity and rights."
The philosopher Friedrich Hayek, who led the debate against social and economic planning in the mid-twentieth century9, noted a paradox that applies today. As science advances, it tends to strengthen the idea that we should “aim at more deliberate and comprehensive control of all human activities”. Hayek pessimistically added: “It is for this reason that those intoxicated by the advance of knowledge so often become the enemies of freedom”10. We should heed his warning. It is dangerous to blindly believe that science and scientists alone can tell us what to do."

so will rethink my comment/thinking above, thanks

Oct 20, 2015 at 1:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

citing yourself again vvvwvwvwvwussell?
Wvvvwwhat a hero.

Oct 20, 2015 at 3:31 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

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