I blogged this twice already. Once here and once at the sister blog.
Here is an exciting timeline for a paper published in July but, hopefully, withdrawn by October. So far, there is no official retraction or withdrawal. Someone should write to the journal's editor to confirm it.
Summary: The paper was published, got fair publicity in the anti-nuclear / 100%-renewables press (they are the same thing). It claimed that Pro-nuclear [European] countries [are] making slower progress on climate targets. It drew its data from open sources, but copied just about every value wrongly. So any conclusions it came to based on data would have to be revised. Several people took issue with it. Within 2 months the authors admitted their data had been transcribed wrongly. Despite the journal editor saying all that was needed were corrections to data and bits of the text. The day after I was told that, a blog by Nicholas Thompson demolished the paper with another refutation showing the conclusions could not be derived from the corrected data either. Finally, one of the authors admitted they may need to withdraw it. Better that than have it retracted lads. I'd withdraw it ASAP if I were them.
The timeline is for the Lawrence, Sovacool, and Stirling (LSS), paper controversy claiming nuclear power supporting countries do worse at reducing GHG emissions.
- July: The article is published in Climate Policy - a "peer reviewed journal".
- 22-Aug: James Hakner at Sussex Univ. finishes a press release and posts it to media outlets.
- On the same day, media reports begin rewriting the press release as a story dissing nuclear power.
- 23-Aug: I complain to the editor of Climate Policy by email (who is on leave anyway!)
- 24-Aug: One report in The Ecologist is by the press release's author!
- 25-Aug: I send out 10 emails to nuclear power supporting academics complaining about the paper. At least 3 of them reply to me: Jessica L, Ben H, and Nicholas T
- 26-Aug: Stephen Tindale and Suzanna Hinson at the Weinberg Foundation refute LSS paper.
- More media reports reprinting/rewriting their press release.
- 2-Sep: My blog outlining the article's faults. I notify the journal editor too by email.
- LSS notice my blog. Climate Policy editor discusses issues with authors and peer reviewers.
- LSS authors admit errors in their data, but refute my other 17 complaints about their paper.
- 11-Oct: I get an email from the journal editor saying the paper has been cleared as OK apart from the data which will be corrected and a few bits of the text. I tweet my annoyances.
- 12-Oct: Nicholas Thompson's blog refuting the conclusions they draw from their corrected data. Refuting the journal editor, the peer reviewers and the 3 authors.
- 27-Oct: Malcolm Grimston reports that Andy Stirling admitted the paper was rubbish and LSS have withdrawn it.
- 25-Nov: I hear the authors have retracted their article.
- Lawrence, Sovacool, and Stirling (Climate Policy) "Nuclear energy and path dependence in Europe’s ‘Energy union’: coherence or continued divergence?"
- James Hakner, for Sussex Univ. 22-Aug: "Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets"
Green Media reports:
- An anonymous coward for Science Daily, 22-Aug (edited press release?), "Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets"
- An anonymous coward for STRN for STEM, 22-Aug: "Pro-nuclear Countries Making Slower Progress on Climate Targets"
- Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams, 22-Aug: "New Study Shows How Clinging to Nuclear Power Means Climate Failure"
- Madeleine Cuff for Business Green, 23-Aug: " Study: Countries that support nuclear energy lag on climate targets"
- Jacqueline Echevarria, 24-Aug "Pro-nuclear countries ‘making slower progress on climate targets’" (DELETED SINCE)
- Another anonymous coward for Energize Weekly 24-Aug: Study shows pro-nuclear countries make slower progress on climate change goals
- James Hakner, 24-Aug, in The Ecologist: "New study suggests pro-nuclear countries are making much slower progress on climate targets"
- Joshua Hill, CleanTechnica, 29-Aug: Countries With Pro-Nuclear Agenda Making Slower Progress On Climate Change
- Joshua Hill republished in RenewEconomy, 30-Aug: Countries With Pro-Nuclear Agenda Making Slower Progress On Climate Change
- Press release republished in ScienceNewsLine, 22-Aug: Pro-nuclear Countries Making Slower Progress on Climate Targets
- Press release republished by Gordon Taylor in EnergyPolicy (UK): Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets
- Press release republished by British Utilities (UK): Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets (DELETED SINCE)
Blogs & such:
- Weinberg Foundation (blog by Stephen Tindale and Suzanna Hinson), 26-Aug: "Being pro-nuclear does not undermine climate and energy goals"
- WUWT: Claim: Countries which favour Nuclear Power are Not Making Enough Effort to Install Renewables, by Eric Worrall / August 30
- Mark Pawelek (blog), 2-Sep: "Refutation of recent Climate Policy paper written by Lawrence, Sovacool & Stirling"
- Lawrence, Sovacool, and Stirling (prior to 11-Oct): "Response to Refutation of recent Climate Policy paper written by Lawrence, Sovacool & Stirling"
- Nicholas Thompson (blog), 12-Oct: "A Response to Lawrence, Sovacool, and Stirling"
- Malcolm Grimston, 17-Oct: "Another response to LSS"
- Malcolm Grimston, 27-Oct: Comment: "I spoke to Andy Stirling about this last Saturday and he said ‘the paper was rubbish and we’ve withdrawn it’ (though the press release is still on the SPRU website)."
- Me (again). 10 Nov: Summary of this saga, from my point of view, with explanation why this article should never have been published
- The authors withdraw their article from publication.
Appendix - Corrected Data
In their original data (Table 2), emission reductions were shown as negative numbers. Emission increases as positive numbers. When presenting their corrected data LSS, reversed the number sign. They also made two arithmetic errors. I wanted to present LSS's corrected figure with the table the numbers were derived from: page 30 of Eurostat handbook (pdf). I calculated what the figures should be from the Eurostat data (heading: 2005-2012). My figures have same sign as the journal article, but opposite to LSS corrected numbers.
|Group averages in parentheses|
|Index 100=1990||1990||1995||2000||2005||2010||2011||2012||2005-2012||country||OLD DATA||CORRECT-ION|
|Latvia||100||47.7||38.2||42.5||46.7||44.7||42.9||0.4||LV||17||0.4||LSS should be negative|
|Sweden||100||102.3||95.6||93.4||91.3||86||80.7||-12.7||SE||-17||7.3||Should be 12.7|