Story Subjects' Climate Claims Don't Hold Water

Published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on August 15, 2017

Last Friday (8/4/17) Coloradoan readers were treated to the claims of two Forest Service Employees, Karl Zeller and Ned Nikolov. They say climate science is all wrong and they have proven it.

What is startling is that their ridiculously sketchy conjectures, which they’ve been shopping around for a decade, meet the Coloradoan’s standard for a serious page-one article. Unlike the Coloradoan, we chased down their claims via multiple climate scientists, and suffice to say they were convincingly debunked.

In one instance, Zeller and Nikolov claimed a mainstream theory of radiative transfer in gases was incorrect, yet this theory has been validated for many decades and in thousands of studies. They fail to provide any peer review for their theories. As far as we know, they don’t have one. In science, the peer review process as a first step is all important. It is the way a theory is given the right to any consideration.

After failing to get published in any respected journal, Zeller and Nikolov published this year in “Environmental Pollution and Climate Change.” The Coloradoan even gives a link to their site. According to Wikipedia, however, the site is “widely regarded as predatory.” The site lists 200 journals, of which 60 percent have never published anything. These phony journals are usually completely funded by the submitters. If you want, you too can send them their $519 fee, and pretend you’re a “published” scientist.

Even more concerning, the publisher of the site is a climate science denier who is an advisor to the far right think tank Heartland Institute.

The Coloradoan mentions that although Nikolov works for the Forest Service, his research “is done on his own time.” Actually, it’s because the research falls outside of his area of expertise. Zeller and Nikolov’s claims of scientific neutrality therefore hardly hold water. Their wild claims have been rejected by respected climate scientists. Their embrace and publication on non-credible right-wing sites and publications says it all.

Well, maybe not all. According to Zeller, both their wives “think they’re crazy.” A real peer review at last.

Eric Levine, Fort Collins Sustainability Group