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Lord Monckton warns a putrid arm of the international political and environmental-extremist academic cabal

To: Martin Rasmussen of Copernicus Publications.

Dear Mr. Rasmussen,

Closure and reopening of the learned journal Pattern Recognition in Physics

My kind friend Professor Niklas Mörner of Stockholm, who in close to 50 years has published approaching 600 papers in the reviewed and general scientific literature, is an internationally-renowned expert on sea level and is one of the most gifted instructors of students I have ever had the pleasure to work with, has copied me in on your sad and, indeed, bizarre decision to bring to an end the excellent learned journal Pattern Recognition in Physics, less than a year after its first publication in March 2013.

Professor Mörner, who is usually the most genial and even-tempered of scientists, is plainly furious not so much at your decision to axe this promising journal, which was already galloping towards the forward frontiers of research in the physical sciences, as at the extraordinary reason you have given for your decision.

The Professor, who is highly active in the worldwide scientific community, attended the Fifth Space Climate Conference in Oulu in June 2013 and realized that the hypothesis that the relative positions of the major planets of the solar system influence solar activity in accordance with a detectable pattern was now ready to be elevated to a theory. In his own specialism, sea-level rise, the question was of more than purely academic significance, since the influence of the major planets not only influences the Sun but causes perceptible variations in the period of the Earth’s rotation (i.e. the length of the day) and hence, via the Coriolis force over time, in global sea level.

Accordingly, Professor Mörner, on learning that the hypothesis about the connection between variations in the positions of the major planets and in solar activity was gaining recognition, realized that the topic was an ideal instance of pattern recognition in astrophysics. He proposed to the editor of the new Copernicus journal Pattern Recognition in Physics that a special issue should be devoted to the subject so that a collection of papers could examine the issue from every angle and, as the ancient Chinese philosophers used to say, "in the round". The editor, understandably, leapt at the opportunity with expressions of delight, and invited Professor Mörner to edit the special issue. No one more competent or suitable guest editor could have been chosen.

The Professor considered that a 2013 publication date would be valuable, though that would leave him just a few months to produce the special issue. What he describes as "a very, very intensive editorial work" started at once. To save time, the 19 authors of the 12 papers "all of them pre-eminent in their various fields" reviewed each other’s contributions, though additional reviewers were also consulted. The process of peer review was thorough and meticulous.

The special issue, justifiably described by the Professor as a "breakthrough", was published by Copernicus in 2013. An image of the front cover is below [deleted from FGT post]. In the Professor’s view - and he has had more experience than almost anyone - the quality of the 12 papers was excellent. Professor Mörner tells me that the key general conclusion, co-authored by the 19 researchers of undoubted eminence, was to the effect that the planetary beat indeed influences solar variability, whereupon two further conclusions followed: first, the central conclusion that the long-considered hypothesis had now been elevated to a firm theory and perhaps even to a paradigm, and secondly, a subsidiary conclusion that extrapolation of the thus-explained pattern of solar variability over the coming century "sheds serious doubts on the issue of a continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project".

Professor Mörner’s professional opinion - with which one may legitimately agree or disagree, but only on scientific grounds - is that this last conclusion is a logical, necessary and scientific result properly following from all 12 papers published in the special issue, though in the context of the overall finding it was a subsidiary conclusion, and was expressed as such.

With this necessary background, I now turn to your stated reasons for attempting to bring Pattern Recognition in Physics to an end. Aside from your suggestion that inviting as many as 19 pre-eminent researchers with varying opinions and in widely different fields to review each other’s papers was "nepotism" (which is such obvious, desperate nonsense that I shall speak no more of it), the reasons you give for your shameful decision are merely restatements of a single, monstrous pretext in varying forms.

I quote you verbatim, enumerating six passages selected from your two emails of 17 January 2014 to Professor Mörner, arranged in accordance with the sequence of events you describe:

1. "Copernicus Publications started publishing the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics (PRP) in March 2013. The journal idea was brought to Copernicus’ attention and was taken rather critically in the beginning, since the designated Editors-in-Chief were mentioned in the context of the debates of climate skeptics." And why should taking part in scientific debate debar an editor?

2. "Before the journal was launched, we had a long discussion regarding its topics. The aim of the journal was to publish articles about patterns recognized in the full spectrum of physical disciplines. PRP was never meant to be a platform for climate sceptics." It should be a platform for science, wherever it leads.

3. "Recently, a special issue was compiled entitled 'Pattern in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts'. Besides papers dealing with the observed patterns in the heliosphere, the special issue editors ultimately submitted their conclusions in which they `doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project' (Pattern Recogn. Phys., 1, 205-206, 2013)." On what scientific ground, if any, do you dare to dispute their scientific conclusion?

4. "While processing the press release for the special issue 'Patterns in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts', we read through the general conclusions paper published on 16 December 2013. We were alarmed by the authors’ second implication stating 'This sheds serious doubts on the issue of a continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project'. And why were you alarmed? What scientific reason for alarm was there?

5. "Of course, scientific dispute is controversial and should allow contradictory opinions which can then be discussed within the scientific community. However, the recent developments including the expressed implications (see above) have led us to this drastic decision." How dare you censor a legitimate scientific conclusion?

6. "We therefore wish to distance ourselves from the apparent misuse of the originally agreed aims & scope of PRP and decided today to cease the publication. This decision must come as a surprise for you, but under the given circumstances we were forced to react." On what scientific ground do you 'distance yourselves' from the scientific conclusion that the IPCC’s predictions should be doubted? What scientific reviewers did you consult? Did you put your reviewers’ concerns to the authors of the conclusion you presume to dispute? If not, why not?

There is only one reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the above passages, all taken from your two emails of 17 January 2014 to Professor Mörner. It must be concluded that personally you have - for whatever reason - adopted so fervent a position on the catastrophist side of the climate science debate that you (or, more probably, the shadowy figures behind you) are regrettably intolerant even of the mildest, passing question - however well supported scientifically by the very latest evidence from outside the climate sciences - as to whether the IPCC’s previous predictions of very rapid and potentially catastrophic global warming may perhaps be incorrect.

You must appreciate the gravity of what you have done. You have killed a learned journal in a field only peripherally connected with the climate because you have decided - or you have cravenly obeyed others unknown who have decided - to take a lamentably unscientific and aprioristic stance on the global warming question, a stance so uncompromising that you will not countenance even a single, passing question about whether the IPCC’s previous predictions are likely to prove correct, and you will not - indeed, cannot - offer a single shred of scientific justification for your viewpoint.

Your challenge to a surely temperately-expressed but serious and by no means illegitimate doubt about the IPCC’s predictions is not itself expressed in the usual scientific manner by a reviewed paper or comment responding to the scientific conclusion that - on no stated ground - you purport to dispute, but by a petulant decision to shut the entire journal down. This decision of yours, taken without the slightest regard for the scientific method or for the usual canons of disciplined enquiry, logical discourse or peer review, is one too many of its kind. It is not acceptable. I do not propose to accept it or to tolerate it.

Let me tell you, therefore, what will happen next.

First, I shall give Copernicus seven days to reconsider its ludicrous decision to abort the journal for a nakedly political reason and without offering anything that even makes a serious pretense at being a scientific justification.

Secondly, if after seven days I shall not have heard from you that the journal is to continue, I shall invite all of the contributors to the special edition to participate with me in a relaunch of Pattern Recognition in Physics, to take effect immediately. If you or Copernicus object to this course of action on copyright or any other ground, you will no doubt be sure to let me know within the next seven days. Otherwise, you will be presumed to have forfeited all interest in producing scientific journals and you will leave the journal to me. I shall invite Professor Mörner to be the lead editor. The journal will be published online and, I hope, will also be taken under the wing of one of the scientific publishing houses with which I have connections. For the sake of avoiding a public humiliation of you until you have had an opportunity to rethink your position, I am not contacting any other scientific publishing houses until the seven days have passed.

Thirdly, the first editorial in the relaunched journal will perforce have to address the reasons why Copernicus decided to try (unsuccessfully, as you will by now have realized) to kill the journal. You will come in for some justifiably severe personal criticism in this editorial, for on any view you have not behaved as a senior executive of a reputable scientific publishing house should have behaved. You have taken a corrupt, anti-scientific decision.

Fourthly, as the editorial and the press release relaunching the journal will have to point out, you have also, through ignorance, put yourself outside the emerging mainstream of climate science. For that mainstream is now flowing in a far less catastrophist direction than ever before.

The IPCC itself, after many strongly-worded representations from expert reviewers such as me, has been forced to abandon its former naïve and imprudent faith in the expensive computer models that have so relentlessly failed to predict global temperature with sufficient conservatism since the 1980s.

Between the pre-final draft reviewed by us and the final draft, the IPCC cut its best estimate of global warming by almost half, from 0.7 degrees C over the next 30 years to about 0.4 degrees C. That rate is equivalent to 0.13 degrees C/decade, or little more than a third of the 0.3 degrees C/decade near- term warming predicted by the IPCC in 1990.

In the past 30 years, 0.14 degree C global warming per decade was measured, so the IPCC’s new prediction of 0.13 degree C/decade entails n o acceleration in global warming over the next 30 years. And that, as you will no doubt realize, i s in line with the scientific conclusion to which you object so strongly on partisan grounds that you have attempted (and failed) to shut down this promising new journal of rational thought.

That blameless conclusion expressed "serious doubts on the issue of a continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project". The IPCC itself, though it still predicts a "continued" warming, is now, in effect, no longer predicting an "accelerated" warming for at least the next 30 years.

[Figures deleted] The IPCC’s graph from the pre-final draft of the Fifth Assessment Report comparing its predictions with those of the models is shown above, together with its heavily-revised graph from the final, published draft, where you will see that it has abjectly climbed down and substituted its "expert judgment" for the models’ extravagant and discredited predictions. You will see just how drastic has been the IPCC’s downward revision of its previous projections: indeed, its current best estimate of near-term warming, at 0.13 degree C/decade, is its lowest ever, by a comfortable margin. Inch by inch, the skeptics against whom you show such hateful prejudice are being shown to have been correct all along. For they, unlike the canting profiteers of doom, have no financial or other vested interest in maintaining and peddling a lie.

Fifthly, if you are determined to allow a disgracefully narrow-minded and rankly partisan political view to dominate the editorial decision-making at Copernicus, I shall send out worldwide a warning that Copernicus is not henceforth to be regarded as a scientific publishing house at all, but merely as a malodorous joke: a putrid arm of the international political and environmental-extremist academic cabal, unworthy to be considered a truly scientific publishing house at all. Copernicus will henceforth be boycotted by all serious scientists, who will snigger at it behind their hands, and will regard it as a publisher not of science but of children’s comics.

Sixthly, if within seven days you have not notified Professor Mörner that your decision to attempt to stop the journal - a decision that is the modern equivalent of book-burning - has been rethought and withdrawn, copies of this letter will be circulated widely. This is not the early Middle Ages: it is the 21st century. Your failed attempt at shoddy, Soviet-era scientific censorship will, therefore, be widely publicized and universally condemned.

For the time being, to spare your blushes, I am not circulating this letter beyond the recipients of Professor Mörner’s email to me. After seven days, however, I shall without hesitation circulate it widely. Furthermore, I shall then be entitled to assume that neither you nor Copernicus have any objection to my taking over the journal without fee, whereupon it will be administered and edited on scientific principles only, and not on the basis of any mere superstitious, anti-scientific, catastrophist, Druidical credo.

Whether you like it or not, this is not the Dark Ages: it is the Age of Enlightenment and Reason. Get used to it, and withdraw your silly and intellectually immature decision to shut down Pattern Recognition in Physics on the most fatuously insubstantial ground ever advanced by even the most vicious of dictators for suppressing the freedom to think. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

Yours faithfully,

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

The "original" can be found at:

Communicated by Prof Dr Moritz Lorenz.
Sarah Palin School of Geography, Economics and Quantum Computing,
University of Narbethong,
West Island Campus, NZ