A group of international scientists is walking back major claims they’d made in the journal Nature about the rate at which the earth’s oceans are warming. A newly published note from the study’s co-author, Ralph Keeting, makes it plain that these researchers still believe the oceans are warming at an alarming rate, but they now acknowledge that procedural mistakes “that came to our attention” created an unacceptably large margin of error in their results.

That “came to our attention” line conceals the most important aspect of the story. These scientists work out of Princeton University, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, and various international institutions that make up the much lionized “scientific consensus” on climate change. And they had their landmark study debunked by an independent global-warming skeptic of no institutional standing named Nicholas Lewis.

When the Scientific Consensus Is Corrected by a Skeptic