A top climate scientist has confessed that he omitted the key fact that an overwhelming number of wildfires are caused by humans and not climate change from a recent paper in order to have it published.
According to Patrick T. Brown, a Ph.D. climate scientist and lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, leading scientific journals routinely reject papers that don’t support “certain preapproved narratives” and instead favor research that is distorted to promote the alleged climate change doomsday agenda.
In an article for the Free Press, Brown confessed that his recently published article in a prestigious journal “focuses exclusively on how climate change has affected extreme wildfire behavior” and deliberately left out other key factors including the big one that 80 percent of US wildfires are “ignited by humans.”
“I just got published in Nature because I stuck to a narrative I knew the editors would like. That’s not the way science should work,” he wrote.
We have a paper out today in @Nature on the role that human-caused climate change is playing in changes in extreme wildfire behavior, at the daily timescale, in California.https://t.co/C83frxJMUV pic.twitter.com/vzfc7yc312
— Patrick T. Brown (@PatrickTBrown31) August 30, 2023
“The paper I just published—’Climate warming increases extreme daily wildfire growth risk in California’—focuses exclusively on how climate change has affected extreme wildfire behavior. I knew not to try to quantify key aspects other than climate change in my research because it would dilute the story that prestigious journals like Nature and its rival, Science, want to tell,” Brown wrote in his article titled “I Left Out the Full Truth to Get My Climate Change Paper Published.”
“This matters because it is critically important for scientists to be published in high-profile journals; in many ways, they are the gatekeepers for career success in academia,” Brown continued. “And the editors of these journals have made it abundantly clear, both by what they publish and what they reject, that they want climate papers that support certain preapproved narratives—even when those narratives come at the expense of broader knowledge for society.”
“To put it bluntly, climate science has become less about understanding the complexities of the world and more about serving as a kind of Cassandra, urgently warning the public about the dangers of climate change. However understandable this instinct may be, it distorts a great deal of climate science research, misinforms the public, and most importantly, makes practical solutions more difficult to achieve,” he wrote.
So in my recent Nature paper, which I authored with seven others, I focused narrowly on the influence of climate change on extreme wildfire behavior. Make no mistake: that influence is very real,” he confessed.
“But there are also other factors that can be just as or more important, such as poor forest management and the increasing number of people who start wildfires either accidentally or purposely. (A startling fact: over 80 percent of wildfires in the US are ignited by humans.),” he added, providing a link to a 2017 paper on human-caused wildfires.
No less an authoritative source than the US Forest Service recently noted the rise in wildfires caused by humans in the Pacific Northwest.
“The Pacific Northwest has seen a significant increase in human-caused wildfires compared to the same period last year. Since June 1, there have already been 197 human-caused or undetermined caused fire starts that have impacted National Forest lands in Oregon and Washington. The reasons behind this increase are unknown, but human-caused fires are preventable,” the agency wrote on its website last month.
“In my paper, we didn’t bother to study the influence of these other obviously relevant factors. Did I know that including them would make for a more realistic and useful analysis? I did. But I also knew that it would detract from the clean narrative centered on the negative impact of climate change and thus decrease the odds that the paper would pass muster with Nature’s editors and reviewers,” Brown wrote.
“We need a culture change across academia and elite media that allows for a much broader conversation on societal resilience to climate,” he concluded. “The media, for instance, should stop accepting these papers at face value and do some digging on what’s been left out. The editors of the prominent journals need to expand beyond a narrow focus that pushes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. And the researchers themselves need to start standing up to editors, or find other places to publish.”
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