Climate Science Deniers’ Favourite Journal Just got ‘Overhauled’ — And it Could Lead to a Skeptic Shutout

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The publisher of an academic journal beloved by climate science deniers has been revamped to ensure it meets industry standards of peer-review and editorial practice. Its climate science denier editor has also stepped down.

Long a home for papers that cast doubt on climate science and the seriousness of climate change, Energy and Environment was recently bought by publishing behemoth SAGE. As part of the acquisition process, the publisher “over-hauled its peer review practices to bring it into line with SAGE standards”, a spokesperson told DeSmog UK.

Energy and Environment provided 131 of the ‘more than 900+’ papers that supported climate change scepticism, according to a list compiled by climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) in 2011.

GWPF Director, Benny Peiser, was on the journal’s “editorial advisory board” from 2011 to 2016.

Explaining the changes to the journal’s processes, a spokesperson for SAGE told DeSmog UK:

As a standard procedure when on-boarding new journals SAGE works in close consultation with the editorial teams to review processes, ensuring that both industry best practices and the rigorous and robust standards that SAGE uphold, are in place.”

Regarding specific changes to Energy and Environment, she said the company “introduced a Scholar One online submission process and a double-blind peer review policy for the journal.”

SAGE continues to work with the journal to provide full guidance around peer review and ensure robust policies are maintained”.

When SAGE bought Energy and Environment from its previous publisher, Multi-Science, its climate science denier editor, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen stepped down.

Boehmer-Christiansen has previously said that “it’s only we climate skeptics who have to look for little journals and little publishers like mine to even get published.”

After controversy involving a research paper published by two well-known climate change “skeptics,” Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon in the journal Climate Research  Boehmer-Christiansen’s proceeded to run a more extensive version of the article in Energy and Environment.

Boehmer-Christiansen told DeSmog UK her decision to leave the journal was down to “a combination of factors” including the new “impersonal” editorial process, and reduced editorial input.

She said, “I hope that climate sceptical science papers will still be published in future, but the emphasis may well change to engineering and remain with economic modelling of renewables, that is what governments etc. fund.”

The journal’s new editor is Yiu Fai Tsang, an associate professor in the Department of Science and Environmental Studies at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK). He has a PhD in Environmental engineering.

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Mat was DeSmog's Special Projects and Investigations Editor, and Operations Director of DeSmog UK Ltd. He was DeSmog UK’s Editor from October 2017 to March 2021, having previously been an editor at Nature Climate Change and analyst at Carbon Brief.

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