Put it there pal: the real story of Chris de Freitas and Climate Research

The release of another batch of emails from the stash stolen a couple of years ago from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia may not have gained much attention in global media, but there has been a great deal of huffing and puffing at sceptic blogs such as µWatts and Climate Audit. Watts trumpets this news, for example:

BOMBSHELL An absolutely disgusting string of communications that shows the tribal attempt at getting an editor of a journal fired on made up issues – all because he allowed a publication that didn’t agree with “the Team”. This is ugly, disturbing, and wrong on every level.

Introducing a post copied from a New Zealand sceptic blog, given the headline The tribalistic corruption of peer review – the Chris de Freitas incident — Watts adds:

This is outright malicious interference with the scientific process, and it’s damned ugly. I can’t imagine anyone involved in professional science who could stand idly by and not condemn this.

Unfortunately for Watts and the anonymous (and low profile) NZ blogger who wrote the article, a new analysis by John Mashey of 700+ papers published at Climate Research reveals that the tribalism on display came from a cabal of sceptical scientists, with Auckland University academic Chris de Freitas safely shepherding their papers — however poor the science they contained — through peer pal review.

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Lies, damned lies and brutal storms

Hot off the wires: Hot Topic’s Durban correspondent Cindy Baxter posts her first insider’s view from COP 17.

As thousands of people poured into Durban’s massive conference building yesterday morning for the start of the 17th session of climate talks, we heard news that the extraordinary storm we’d gotten soaked in on Sunday night had actually killed eight people in this very city.

It was a chilling start to the two-week talks and a stark reminder to us all as to what is at stake, just a week after the IPCC warned us that extreme weather events are going to get more frequent.

Also over the weekend weekend we saw the start of a story that is playing out in the corridors. It seems that the big developing country emitters: China, Brazil and India, have joined the US and others in saying there will be no new legally binding agreement on climate change until at least 2020.

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Vidal’s voyage to Durban

How better to journey to the climate conference at Durban than through the African countries along the way which are already grappling with climate change? That’s the route John Vidal, the Guardian’s environment editor, has been following over the past ten days and reporting on in a series of articles.

He started in Egypt. The impacts of climate change are difficult to disentangle from natural coastal processes and the effects of human activities on the flow of the Nile, but an inexorably rising sea level and the increasing intensity of storms threaten increased salination of groundwater and soil as well as inundation. Extreme heat will also take its toll on city life.

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NZ wind: call for 20% by 2030

My attention was caught by a press release this week from the NZ Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) announcing the results of an Infometrics report they had commissioned on the likely economic effect for New Zealand of an increase in wind power by 2030 to the point that it supplied 20 per cent of the country’s electricity. The NZWEA considers this a realistic target. The report came up with some interesting figures.  Compared with the more modest expectations of the Ministry of Economic Development that wind might supply 8 per cent of the electricity in 2030 there was clear economic benefit for the country in the 20 per cent figure.

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The Climate Show #22: Durban doubts & Renwick on extremes

A crisp and crunchy show this week, as Gareth and Glenn interview Dr James Renwick about the IPCC’s cautious new report on extreme weather and the riskier future we all face. With added ruminations on the potential slowdown in international action at the Durban conference, record greenhouse gas levels reached in 2010, the prospect of “hyper warming” and the release of some lightly warmed over stolen emails. No debunking a la Cook this week, but he’ll be back soon, and we have news of the world’s first hybrid jet aircraft.

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