Institute denies censoring 'global cooling' article

August 13, 2009

A physicist claims she has been "censored" by her learned society after it refused to publish an article questioning global warming that she submitted to a branch newsletter.

Terri Jackson, a former lecturer at Belfast Metropolitan College, has been a member of the Institute of Physics for 30 years and founded its High Energy Physics Group.

In April, she approached the London and South East branch with the offer of an article on "global cooling" for its local newsletter.

She received a positive response from the editor, who commissioned a piece that would "include solid scientific facts and proof" for the autumn issue of the newsletter.

But when she submitted the article, titled "Global cooling has arrived, global warming is dead" last month, she was told it would not be published owing to space constraints.

"It is a flimsy excuse ... they commissioned it about three months previously," Ms Jackson said. She believed the "real reason" for the change of heart was because the article "questioned the whole basis of global warming".

It was "censorship of the worst kind", she said. "It is scientific suppression."

The article, an earlier version of which was published in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper in May, argues the Earth has now "entered a period of global cooling", citing what it says is "overwhelming ... evidence" from various bodies.

In a statement, Beth Taylor, director of communications and external relations at the IoP, says that the institute is not in the business of either "censoring articles" or "publishing them without any proper validation or peer review".

"The right place to publish an article on this kind of topic would not be in a branch newsletter, which is really intended to report branch meetings, outreach activities and other regional events, but in a scientific journal where it would have the benefit of peer review," she says.

The spat came in the same week that IoP journal Environmental Research Letters published a paper titled "Tripping points: Barriers and bargaining chips on the road to Copenhagen", about political barriers to tackling global warming.

zoe.corbyn@tsleducation.com.

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