A climate scientist questioned his findings. It didn’t go well.

In late August of last year, a climate scientist named Patrick Brown, along with seven co-authors, published a study in the journal Nature about the connections between wildfires in California and global warming.

Their paper was, in many ways, standard fare for the prestigious journal. It took a deep dive into environmental measurements; it used machine learning and evaluated complex climatic comparisons; it concluded that climate change was making wildfires more extreme.

It was also, Dr. Brown claimed publicly just a month later, untrustworthy.

Why We Wrote This

A story focused on

Despite a wide consensus about climate change, many people remain skeptical. Can climate scientists earn back the public’s trust?

Dr. Brown confessed in a Free Press article that he had framed his research not just to reflect the truth, but to fit within what he described as the climate alarmist storyline preferred by prestigious journals in the United States. He did this, he says, by intentionally focusing only on climate as a factor in wildfires, and not on the myriad other causes that contribute to the blazes consuming ever more land across the country.

It wasn’t that he was hiding anything, or that the research was wrong. It was just that the paper was deliberately focused in one narrow direction – the direction most likely, he claimed, to capture the attention of journal editors.

The formula for getting published, he wrote, “is more about shaping your research in specific ways to support pre-approved narratives than it is about generating useful knowledge for society.” And when it comes to climate science, he alleged, that preapproved narrative is that “climate change impacts are pervasive and catastrophic.”

Previous ArticleNext Article