Cheating In Science Is Nothing New: Is Climate Fraud The Most Blatant Example?

Posted on Mon 03/15/2021 by


By Dr. John Happs ~

“Men only care for science so far as they get a living by it and that they worship even error when it affords them a subsistence.”Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. (1749-1832)

Religious fanatics have often predicted an apocalypse from a displeased God, only to revise their prediction when their current prediction inevitably failed. Today, they have some healthy competition from a number of so-called “climate experts” who continue to give us “one last chance to save the planet.”

Other “last chance” predictions and “messages of doom” have been plentiful from within the scientific community, including Dr. Paul Ehrlich who, in 1968, prophesied:

“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death…”

Science has long been the best instrument for our understanding of our world and there is little doubt that science and technology have driven innovation, invention and a vast improvement in our living standards. But all is not well in the world of scientific research.

We know the media has a tendency to report sensational headlines based on tentative research findings with news reports promising major breakthroughs and quick cures for everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s. Much of the media reporting is based on exaggeration but, of greater concern, is the possibility of deliberate fraud behind some of the reported research.

Science is now a major industry, with billions of dollars coming from government funding and this provides real opportunities for cheating. In fact the incentives for exaggerating scientific findings have been there for some time. These include the need to churn out refereed publications that bolster curriculum vitae, help scientists to obtain more research funding for their organization whilst providing easier pathways for promotion. Success often hinges on the publication of “exciting” or dramatic findings.

Examples abound where many research findings from science and other disciplines have been shown to be questionable, if not fraudulent.

Ioannidis et al. (2017) have cast doubt on the credibility of some economics research after they examined 159 meta-analyses that provided over 64,000 estimates of key parameters from over 6,000 empirical studies. They found substantial bias.

Ioannidis found similar problems with medical research, asserting that:

“There are many millions of papers of clinical research—approximately 1 million papers from clinical trials have been published to date, along with tens of thousands of systematic reviews—but most of them are not useful. Waste across medical research (clinical or other types) has been estimated as consuming 85% of the billions spent each year.  I have previously written about why most published research is false.”

When scientists were asked what led to problems in reproducibility, over 60% said that the two main factors were pressure to publish and selective reporting.

In 2011, in the field called evolutionary psychology Dr. Marc Hauser from Harvard University falsified data in his field of Mind, Brain and Behaviour. Some of his own students pointed out how he had falsified data and he was subsequently barred from teaching and later resigned from the university.

It was also reported in 2011 how psychologist, Dr. Diederik Stapel from Tilburg University, committed academic fraud in “several dozen” published papers, many which were accepted in respected journals. Benedict Carey observed how:

“Dr. Stapel took advantage of a system that allows researchers to operate in near secrecy and massage data to find what they want to find, without much fear of being challenged.”

Dr. Jonathan Schooler, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara added:

“The big problem is that the culture is such that researchers spin their work in a way that tells a prettier story than what they really found … It’s almost like everyone is on steroids, and to compete you have to take steroids as well.”

In 2019 more than a dozen of psychologist Dr. Hans Eysenck’s papers were retracted with dozens more being closely examined. Investigative journalist Donna Laframboise noted how:

“An investigation by Kings College, London concurred with critics who’ve long been concerned about the quality of Eysenck’s data and the implausibility of the results presented.”

Perhaps the most well known case of scientific fraud is the Piltdown hoax when, in 1912, the skull and jaw of the ”Piltdown Man” was found in a gravel pit in England. Not until 1953 was the Piltdown Man fraud exposed when it finally became clear that someone had joined a not-so-old human cranium to the jaw of an orangutan.

Another well known example of fraud came from Rachel Carson’s publication “Silent Spring” in which Carson claimed, without any empirical evidence, that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was a deadly hazard to life on Earth.

Dr. Gordon Edwards has pointed out that:

“Many allegations have been made about the harmful effects of pesticides in general, and DDT in particular, on human health. Even statements about the amount actually ingested by human beings have been dramatically false.”


 “The chemical compound that has saved more human lives than any other in history, DDT, was banned by order of one man, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Public pressure was generated by one popular book and sustained by faulty or fraudulent research.”

In the 1970’s, scientists, especially in Scandinavia, Canada and the USA, sounded alarm bells about imminent massive environmental damage from “acid rain.” They argued that industrial sulphur dioxide was dissolving in rain and a number of national academies supported the scare with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Academy of Sciences predicting an “aquatic silent spring” by 1990. As expected, many environmentalists claimed we were facing an ecological catastrophe.

The media jumped on board with hundreds of apocalyptic stories, such as “Scourge from the Skies” (Reader’s Digest), “Now, Even the Rain is Dangerous” (International Wildlife), “Acid from the Skies” (Time), and “Rain of Terror” (Field and Stream).

It was found that acid rain was not damaging forests. Nor did it harm crops and there were no measurable health problems. Scientists, such as Dr. Edward Krug, who dismissed acid rain alarmism was ridiculed, but eventually the scare passed and the environmental alarmists simply moved on.

Other well-known examples of questionable scientific outcomes have come from the field of physics with perhaps the first claim for a cold fusion reactor coming in 1989 from the University of Utah. Efforts from other scientists to replicate the claim were without success.

Cold fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) is the idea that somehow nuclear reactions similar to those in the sun could, under certain conditions, also occur at room temperature.

Dr. John Bockris from the Texas A&M University claimed to have evidence of a nuclear process that proceeded at room temperature with speculation that this would lead to inexpensive, unlimited energy. However, in 1989, several Texas A&M scientists suggested ways the work might be “tainted.”

In 2007 Andrea Rossi, an engineer from Bologna, also claimed to have a cold fusion reactor producing commercially useful amounts of heat every time he switched his machine on.

Dr. Ernesto Mazzucato has spent many years working at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory. He reported how he was pressured by some of his peers when he criticized the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project). He was asked to withhold his criticism in case it interfered with their access to resources and their ability to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

He added:

“The majority of fusion scientists saw that the “mistakes” significantly favored their field, and they turned — and continue to turn — a blind eye to what has now developed into the largest science fraud in modern history.”

In 1989 Dr. Martin Fleischmann and Dr. Stanley Pons claimed to have produced a Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction, as did Dr. Sergio Focardi at Bologna.

Dr. Huw Price from Cambridge University has noted that:

“The Fleischmann and Pons experiment was eventually debunked and since then the term cold fusion has become almost synonymous with scientific chicanery.”

In 2014, in the field of acoustics, the Journal of Vibration and Control retracted 60 articles because of a “peer review and citation ring” in which the reviews were submitted by people using fake names.

BioMed Central in the UK is responsible for over 200 peer-reviewed journals. In 2015, this publisher retracted 43 papers because of “fabricated” peer reviews. The Committee on Publication Ethics, a multi-disciplinary group that includes more than 9,000 journal editors, said this is a much broader problem:

“It has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers.”

Retraction Watch co-editors Oransky and Marcus counted more than 170 retractions across several journals due to false peer reviewing.  BioMed’s ethics group observed:

“The problem of fake peer reviewers is affecting the whole of academic journal publishing and we are among the ranks of publishers hit by this type of fraud.”


“The spectrum of ‘fakery’ has ranged from authors suggesting their friends who agree in advance to provide a positive review, to elaborate peer review circles where a group of authors agree to peer review each others’ manuscripts, to impersonating real people, and to generating completely fictitious characters.”

In 2019, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, Dr. Frances Arnold, was forced to withdraw a co-authored paper published in the journal Science because the results were not reproducible.

In 2018, the journal Nature commented how there was “growing alarm about results that cannot be reproduced.”

Working at James Cook University, Oona Lonnstedt produced some alarming research papers about microplastics, acidification, and reef degradation only to be found guilty of scientific fraud.

Dr. Walter Starck explained:

“She (Lonnstedt) got into the ocean acidification and global warming and the effect CO2 was going to have on the behaviour of marine animals and she started publishing.”


“Immediately the publishers lapped it up. As a graduate student she managed to get as much published in one year as most professors do in a decade.”

Lonnstedt returned to Sweden where the Central Ethical Review Board investigated Lonnstedt’s work and denounced it as research misconduct whilst the journal Science called Lonnstedt’s work on microplastics “outright fraud.”

In 2018 Dr. Peter Ridd lost his science post at James Cook University after accusing his colleagues of exaggerating the demise of healthy coral reefs because of climate change. It appears that publicly disagreeing with other scientists over their scientific “findings” even when you have evidence to back up your claim is not to be tolerated. After all, such behaviour could well threaten further research funding for the university.

On appeal, Judge Salvatore Vasta found in favour of Ridd and that the termination of his employment by the university was unlawful. This was not accepted by the university and, in 2020, James Cook University appealed and won in the Federal Court but Ridd will further appeal this decision, backed by funding from his many supporters who believe in intellectual freedom and honesty in science.

Of course the media have always had a tendency to promote alarmist nonsense, giving us exaggerated claims such as the 1970’s alarm about Brazillian killer bees with the media releasing dramatic warnings about a threat that never came.

In 1989 the media reported how some scientists had pointed to Alar, sprayed on apples as being carcinogenic. CBS “60 Minutes” said:

The most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply is a substance sprayed on apples to keep them on the trees longer and make them look better. That’s the conclusion of a number of scientific experts, and who is most at risk? Children who may someday develop cancer.”

As a result of this unsubstantiated alarm, apples were taken out of school lunches; apple juice and apple-sauce were thrown away and the sale of apples all but ceased with some farmers going bankrupt.

Dr. William Kucewicz from the American Council on Science and Health recalled:

“The events that led up to the mass hysteria over apples and explore some of its many ramifications in hopes of preventing another fabricated crisis from fooling a too-gullible public in the future.”

As the 20th century was drawing to a close, what became known as the Y2K problem was exaggerated by the media and taken seriously by politicians around the world. Some scientists warned that computers could fail as the new century dawned with predictions that aircraft could fall from the skies, banking systems could close down, power grids could shut down, stock markets could crash, hospital equipment could fail and a host of other calamities could happen.

“Assurance testing” became big business as did “software patching” with governments spending huge sums of money for no good reason. An estimated 300 billion dollars was wasted on the Y2K non-problem but many vested interests benefited financially from this groundless scare.

In 2005, the media reported that a highly pathogenic form of bird flu was spreading rapidly and scientists were warning that the virus would pass from human to human with catastrophic results. Dr. Neil Ferguson from Imperial College, London told The Guardian:

“Around 40 million people died in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak. There are six times more people on the planet now so you could scale it up to around 200 million people probably.”

In fact total global human deaths from avian flu were less than the number killed by US traffic accidents each day although this fact didn’t stop the spread of media alarmism.

In 1974 Dr. Reid Bryson and a number of other scientists warned of global cooling with its effects being serious or catastrophic. Naturally, the media promoted the scare with Time Magazine (June 24, 1974) reporting:

“A growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval.”


“Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.”

It wasn’t!

We have seen the ozone hole scare and the banning of chlorofluorocarbons despite evidence showing that weather conditions and solar activity impact ozone levels. NASA’s Dr. Susan Strahan pointed out:

“This is a meteorological effect, it has nothing to do with chemistry.”

Alarmism continued to be promoted with dire reports about Glyphosate (Roundup herbicide):

Alarmism about the fluoridation of drinking water still prevails:!

Genetically modified foods (mainly fruit and vegetables) are produced when plant genes are altered to give traits that are not normally evident. Resulting crops are more resistant to drought and disease and give dramatically higher yields

There has been much opposition to GM foods from environmentalists who argue, without empirical evidence, that there is uncertainty regarding the long-term health impacts on consumers and the environment.

The Jupiter Effect hit the headlines when some scientists warned that Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto would be on the same side of the Sun in 1982, creating a gravitational effect that would trigger earthquakes, landslides and any number of other catastrophes.

The media hyped the scare. Nothing happened but the main promoters of the impending doom, Gribbin and Plagemann sold lots of books.

Population explosion of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish was brought to the public attention in the 1960’s and 70’s with alarmists warning they could wipe out the Great Barrier Reef corals if the problem wasn’t addressed (with more research funding of course).

As Dr. Walter Starck pointed out:

“Despite all the dire predictions, crown-of-thorns starfish population fluctuations continue to come and go on reefs, and infested reefs invariably recover within a few years.”

Dr. Matt Ridley has given numerous other examples of failed apocalyptic predictions, concluding:

“Over the past half century, none of our threatened eco-pocalypses have played out as predicted. Some came partly true; some were averted by action; some were wholly chimerical. This raises a question that many find discomforting: With a track record like this, why should people accept the cataclysmic claims now being made about climate change?”


When it comes to deliberate scientific deception, global warming aka climate change, has proved to be the most widespread and costly waste of taxpayer money ever forced on the public by the media and radical environmentalists. Politicians were determined to save us from thermal Armageddon, even if it was to cost trillions of taxpayer dollars.

The United Nations has long pursued the goals of global governance, socialism and the de-industrialisation of developed nations. The UN’s Commission on Global Governance is central to global control, saying:

“Regionalism must precede globalism. We foresee a seamless system of governance from local communities, individual states, regional unions and up through to the United Nations itself.”

To persuade nations to cut back on their economic growth and transfer their wealth to developing countries, the UN had to persuade politicians from developed countries that their industrial carbon dioxide emissions were causing the Earth to heat up dangerously. Guilty developed nations would then be penalised financially.

Not all politicians were fooled by the UN’s claims. Canada’s former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: “Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.”

Other politicians and the public remained blissfully unaware of the UN’s real intentions and its use of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as its main vehicle of deception.

Politicians and the public failed to see how the pretence of reporting even-handedly on climate, using the IPCC even though a number of UN officials made no secret of the deception. The IPCC’s Dr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber made clear:

“Either the Earth System would undergo major phase transitions as a result of unchecked human pressure on nature’s capacities and resources or a “Great Transformation” towards global sustainability would be initiated in due course. Neither transitions nor transformations will be manageable without novel forms of global governance and markets…”

As did Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, and lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report released in 2007:

“The climate summit in Cancun —- is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.”

UN official, Connie Hedegaard didn’t hide the fact that she cares little for what the science actually says or that action on carbon dioxide emissions would lead to more expensive electricity:

 “Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of the things you have to do in order to combat climate change?”


“I think we have to realise that in the world of the 21st century for us to have the cheapest possible energy is not the answer.”

 Executive Secretary to the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres doesn’t hide the fact that the UN’s true intent was not about climate change:

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”


“Our aim is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.”

She added that democracy was getting in the way of the UN’s objectives.

Economist Dr. Dan Mitchell reflected on the main goal of Figueres and the UN as being to: “Make the world look at their right hand while they choke developed economies with their left.”

So many, from politics, the media and the public believed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an independent scientific body comprising the world’s best climate scientists. It isn’t and, after years of research into the IPCC, investigative journalist Donna Laframboise concludes that:

Almost nothing we’ve been told about the IPCC is actually true.”


“What most of us don’t know is that, rather than being written by a meticulous, upstanding professional in business attire, the Climate Bible is produced by a slapdash, slovenly teenager who has trouble distinguishing right from wrong.”

There are numerous examples of IPCC practices that are questionable, if not fraudulent, including:

  1. The IPCC framed a problem with carbon dioxide when there is no empirical evidence to show that a problem exists.

  1. IPCC scientists attempted to change climate history to show unusual 20th Century warming.

  1. The IPCC claimed that over 4,000 scientists contributed to the IPCC reports. This claim is demonstrably false. 

  1. The IPCC produces Summaries for Policymakers (SPM) that are made available to the media and politicians. UN officials instruct authors to make the technical reports conform to the summaries even when those summaries are prepared by UN officials and often contradict what the scientists have written.“science”-works/

  1. The IPCC claims that a large number of scientists write the IPCC reports when only a select few do and they include vested interest groups.

  1. The former (supposedly neutral) IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri publicly declared his bias about climate change.

  1. The IPCC Summaries for Policymakers about extreme weather is more alarmist than the scientific report.

  1. The IPCC claimed that global warming was increasing the habitats for mosquitoes, putting hundreds of millions of people in the tropics at risk of contracting malaria and dengue fever. This was shown to be false.

  1. In 1995 Dr. Roger Pielke was invited to provide input to the IPCC chapter on climate modelling. Because he offered criticism, his material was ignored, as it was in 1992 when he was asked to review several chapters in the IPCC supplement report.

  1. IPCC associates block submissions of papers critical of the anthropogenic global warming alarmism.

  1. There are currently more than 1,300 peer-reviewed papers that are skeptical of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming claims. The IPCC ignored or marginalised these.

  1. The IPCC claims to use only peer-reviewed published literature when it clearly does no such thing.

  1. Evidence is clear that temperature rises before atmospheric carbon dioxide level increases. The IPCC ignores this fact.

  1. The IPCC ignores data showing that carbon dioxide is a minor greenhouse gas and has never driven global temperature at any time over the last 500 million years.

  1. Dr. Myles Allen, an IPCC Lead Author, admitted that the climate computer models are exaggerating warming.

  1. A senior IPCC scientist gave an assurance of no input from Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) into IPCC reports. This assurance proved false.

  1. IPCC raw temperature data were withheld by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and then “lost.”

  1. IPCC personnel claimed the Earth is “running a fever” when there has been little or no global warming for at least the last 20 years.

  1. The IPCC essentially ignores or plays down the large volume of literature that points to the sun as being a major driver of climate change.

  1. IPCC scientists admitted that computer predictions of climate change are of limited value. IPCC Lead Author Dr. Kevin Trenberth admitted:

“There are no (climate) predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been”. Instead, there are only “what if” projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios.”

Senior IPCC scientists Dr. Jim Renwick agreed, saying:

“In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Despite such admissions, the IPCC continue to make computer model climate predictions that are more dramatic than ever yet none of their alarmist predictions have been correct.

Over 100 examples of questionable IPCC behaviour can be located at:

After following up the links provided, the reader can decide if the activities of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represent carelessness or deliberate fraud.

Dr. John Happs M.Sc.1st Class; D.Phil. John has an academic background in the geosciences with special interests in climate, and paleoclimate. He has been a science educator at several universities in Australia and overseas and was President of the Western Australian Skeptics for 25 years.