The letter Nature refused to print

From Professor Nils-Axel Mörner

  • Professor Mörner wrote the following letter to Nature, which refused to print it, so we are posting it here.

Sir ? I read your December editorial comments with interest and surprise. In the December 3 editorial you say nearly 100% believe in the IPCC?s scenarios and in its handling of the ?global warming? case. Your journal surely represents one of the highest authorities in science. This calls for considerable responsibility on your part. Science is a process of continuous searching.

The Climategate emails you discussed in the December 3 editorial may not be so important, though they show scientific and cultural bad behaviour. Much more important are the real facts. Far too often they seem to run directly opposite to what is being claimed in the IPCC reports. Another point is the use of real and claimed specialists. Far too often the IPCC puts aside leading specialists are in favour of people not specialized in the subject but chosen because they can be relied upon to give a report in full support of the scenario asked for. This is a very unscientific approach.

I can assure you that this has been the case with the IPCC?s chapters on sea-level changes, my own field of specialization. Glaciological changes are nothing like as simple and straightforward as claimed in the IPCC?s reports. Also, it seems clear that the imagined issue of threats to health allegedly posed by warmer weather was quite wrongly handled by the IPCC.

Even the core issue, the relationship between temperature and greenhouse gases, seems far from clear. In this situation, we simply need to return to basic science, and this is what you and your journal are supposed to be all about.

In your December 24 editorial you write that the Copenhagen agreement ?lends fresh urgency to challenges in science and communications?. I agree, but I am sure that those challenges would now be best exercised by a rediscovery of true scientific values (a task in which your journal ought to play a central role), and by a full reorganization of the IPCC in time for the Fifth Assessment Report in 2013/14.

Let us join in an appeal for a general ?rediscovery of scientific values? in ressearch projects, in reports, in reviews, in debates and in publications.

Nils-Axel Mörner. Ph.D., Sea Level specialist,
Former head of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at Stockholm University