Following discusses one aspect of how the peer review process affects the study of global warming.

The problems with the peer review process have implications for our understanding of global warming (as well as for science generally). Once something has been published in a peer-reviewed journal—particularly a prestigious journal—it tends to be considered as established, possibly even heralded as “truth”. This means that other researchers will often rely on its conclusions, with little, if any, further checking. The extent to which this happens varies among different branches of science. It seems to be especially so in the study of global warming.

The primary body tasked with advising government policy makers about global warming is the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Policy makers generally regard the IPCC as authoritative. The IPCC bases its analyses on peer-reviewed research, but it does no checking of that research itself. Yet most peer-reviewed research is not properly checked prior to its publication. In other words, most of the research that is relied upon by the IPCC, and thus government policy makers, has never been properly checked. That probably seems incredible; it is unfortunately true.

See also

Remarks on Keenan [Energy & Env., 2007]
Statistical errors in the “hockey stick” graph

Douglas J. Keenan