Analysis of stolen CRU emails by NZ blogger shows tawdry manipulation of facts – Poneke’s credibility now in tatters

by Gareth on January 19, 2010

homer.jpgThis may be one of the least important posts I’ve ever written. It’s only 1,100 words (including quotes), but that’s all that was necessary. When a blogger makes as many simple mistakes, and indulges in so much gross distortion of the truth as seen in the last two posts by Poneke (aka former journalist David McLoughlin), then it really doesn’t take long to show him to be incapable of a fair-minded assessment of climate science, or the emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK. This is how he begins his first poston the subject of the stolen emails:

Having now read all the Climategate emails, I can conclusively say they demonstrate a level of scientific chicanery of the most appalling kind that deserves the widest possible public exposure.

Oh really? Let’s parse that post…

 The emails reveal that the entire global warming debate and the IPCC process is controlled by a small cabal of climate specialists in England and North America.

Rubbish. That’s not only untrue, it’s unfair to the cabal of NZ climate scientists who have played a key role in the IPCC process.

This cabal, who call themselves “the Team,” bully and smear any critics.

They were dubbed “The Team” by blogger Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit, as a reference to McIntyre’s persistent, but failed, attempts to discredit the so-called “hockey stick” graph of temperature over the last 2,000 years.

They control the “peer review” process for research in the field and use their power to prevent contrary research being published.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, this is simply not feasible. Poneke clearly has no idea how many journals publish climate-related material, or how the peer review process works. Grant at Code For Life does.

They falsely claim there is a scientific “consensus” that the “science is settled,” by getting lists of scientists to sign petitions claiming there is such a consensus.

Pardon? That’s what the deniers do to assert there’s no consensus — with their Oregon Petition. Perhaps Poneke is getting confused about the statements on climate change by all the world’s leading scientific bodies. But of course, they’re all controlled by Michael Mann and Phil Jones, even the Glorious Scientific Academy of the People’s Republic of Kazakhstan.

They have fought for years to conceal the actual shonky data they have used to wrongly claim there has been unprecedented global warming this past 50 years.

…followed by a considerable misunderstanding of ten year old discussions about paleoclimate studies.

They show Team members becoming alarmed and despondent at global temperatures peaking in 1998, then slowly falling to the present, while publicly trying to hide the fact that there was a peak and now a decline.

But… 1998 is only the warmest year in the CRU record, and they’re The Team who’ve been fiddling the data, so we can’t trust them can we? But never mind, it doesn’t matter which temperature record you choose, the first decade of the 21st century was warmer than the last decade of the 20th.

The Climategate emails (and accompanying computer data) were almost certainly leaked by a whistleblower inside the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (the “CRU” — the supplier of much key IPCC historic climate data), not hacked from there by an outsider, as initially thought.

He provides no evidence for that assertion, beyond wishful thinking. The computer forensic specialists of the UK’s National Domestic Extremism Unit are helping the East Anglia police with their investigation into the theft. The CRU servers were hacked at least twice, and the entire email database was stolen, my sources tell me. The released emails are a carefully edited selection of that database. An investigative journalist might ask who did the selection, and who stood to gain from their release? Poneke can’t be bothered.

McLoughlin then gets the Chris de Freitas/Climate Research story exactly the wrong way round (it was CdF perverting peer review to get shonky papers published, not “The Team” trying to prevent it – see Mediamatters report), further demonstrates his misunderstanding of the “hockey stick” controversy (not dropped by IPCC reports (it’s on p467, WG1, Chapter 6), explicitly endorsed by the US National Research Council review), and misrepresents what NZ scientist Kevin Trenberth meant by his comment on “cooling”. You can find out what Trenberth was talking about, in his own words, here. It was published before McLoughlin’s ill-advised and ill-educated rant.

To this outsider (I know no more about “Poneke” than can be gleaned by reading his blog), it looks as though McLoughlin has approached the stolen emails with a set of preconceptions — or perhaps knowledge of what what was being said in climate crank circles — and then managed to find his preconceptions confirmed. A modicum of research, of looking into what the scientists he so freely maligns have to say might have made for a less embarrassing article.

If any journalist produced a shoddy report like this — and claimed it to be the most important thing they’d written — any self-respecting editor would fire them on the spot.

Meanwhile, unhappy with being told he’s wrong by scientists who happen to blog at Sciblogs, he’s busy attacking the messenger:

…I really do question their using taxpayer’s money to push what looks suspiciously like shrill propaganda in support of their cause.

The only shrill propaganda in this sorry little episode is coming from a once-respected writer who has forgotten what looking at both sides of a story really involves.

[NB: Before DM complains, Hot Topic is syndicated to Sciblogs, not hosted there. I hold no brief for the SMC. They can look after themselves.]

{ 156 comments… read them below or add one }

ColinM January 20, 2010 at 7:36 am

My first thought when I saw Poneke’s bit of nonsense was that Wishart has a rival for NZ Fantasy Writer of the Year.

Andrew W January 20, 2010 at 7:55 am

You probably should correct the spelling of his name in the bottom half of your post or he’ll site it as more evidence of The Great Global Warming Conspiracy.

[Thanks. Fixed. It was late...]

RW January 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

Just another one to despise. I note that Farrar is misty-eyed with approval.

Steve Bloom January 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

Strictly speaking I think “Hockey Team” originated with RealClimate, to make the point that there were a lot of subsequent studies confirming the original Mann et al “hockey stick.” McIntyre picked that up and shortened it to “the Team,” unsurprisingly given how well it works with the conspiracy meme he pushes.

Re self-respecting editors, they seem to be in increasingly short supply in the Age of Murdoch. One wonders how journalists can say they’re members of a profession at all since the self-policing aspect seems to have gone aglimmering. Even lawyers look better in that regard.

Gareth January 20, 2010 at 11:27 am

Steve, my memory is different, but I’m happy to be corrected. Is there a link somewhere?

Gosman January 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Whether or not the actual Science presented by the members of CRU still holds up what is disturbing is the lack of Scientific integrity displayed that comes through in the e-mails.

Please tell me whether you think it is good or bad scientific practice to stonewall and deny access to data, (in fact suggest deletion of material), when a request is made by someone for them? I’m not meaning whether or not it potentially breaches some sort of law like a particular countries FOI act, I just mean if it is what you reagard as good Scientific practice to do what the e-mails suggest has been done.

If people are to have faith in the Scientific communities findings on subjects then the key members behind those findings should be above reproach when it comes to their actions as Scientists. If the e-mails are to be believed, and I see no reason why they shouldn’t, then the members of the CRU fall a long way short of that high standard.

georgedarroch January 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

And where is the evidence that this has EVER been done? All you have, in emails cherry picked from tens of thousands of private correspondences is expressions of frustration.

That is all. That’s the entirety of it. The deniers couldn’t find a single thing.

So stop smearing science.

Gosman January 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Ummmm…. there is plenty evidence in the e-mails that key members of the CRU were asking other members to cause problems for people requesting data, including actual deleting information.

Then there is their attitude towards being asked to provide the information in the first place. Professional Scientists should welcome their investigations being looked into not bemoan the fact that someone might misuse their data.

The whold point of Modern Science is that it is open process whereby information gathered in a structured way can be presented to the wider Scientific comminuty so a consensus can be reached after many years of often repeatitive analysis and investigation. Any Scientist who decides he doesn’t want to allow his data to be checked because he thinks someone might come up with an differing opinion is not follopwing this central tenet.

The guys mentioned in the e-mails requesting the data have stated that they would not have been asking for the information from the members of the CRU if the information was, as it should have been, freely accessable. All I have seen in response to this is various excuses why the raw data could not be made available or why it was lost, or why it shouldn’t be made available to people regarded as non-experts.

Please tell me why this is good Scientific practice again?

C3P0 January 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm
Andrew W January 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Gosman, the point you make is the one made by Monbiot, Phil Jones acted poorly and deserved censure, but that doesn’t invalidate the science.

Gosman January 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm

It doesn’t invalidate the science per see but it does call into question how they manage their scientific controls and their data analysis techniques.

No scienctific investigation is entirely free from bias, however good Scientist attempt to reduce this to a minimum. What you also do is allow other Scientists to review your findings, INCLUDING your ALL of the raw data so that any flaws you may have consciously or unconsciously built into your investigation can be picked up by others and your findings can be REPLICATED.

The e-mails seem to point to a rather concerted and organised effort to deny certain people the access to this data based upon the fact that the Scientists in question querried their motivations. That is incredibly BAD scientific practice. A Scientists should not deny people the right to reviw their work simply because they think it might be misused or misconstrued. This is where they overstep the mark and arrogantly decide they are the Gatekeepers to the area of knowledge they are working in.

On top of that it seems that many of the CRU are actively pursuing an Activitist role in their area of expertise in Earth Sciences. A good Scientist should be seen to be neutral when presenting findings. The language used in the e-mails suggest that key members of the CRU are anything but.

C3P0 January 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Gosman, I agree that it doesnt look good.

I find this email interesting (below). Some people will say this is simply good scientific debate, I do not see anything in the email that makes me think bad of Briffa, but I see plenty of telling aspects that are something is amiss.
– Why does he have to be so careful in suggesting that the IPCC reports present the truth instead of what the “pressure” is to present? Why is he not confident to just say this boldly?
– Why is there pressure to “present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more” and who does this pressure come from?
– Why does he think todays warming is not unique? Don’t forget this is the conclusion of MBH99 and that adopted by the IPCC. What does he know that the rest of us don’t? Don’t forget he has an excellant knowledge of the raw data.
– In 1999 Briffa thought there was strong evidence for non Milankovich temperature variation during the holeocene that was unexplained. Has this now been explained or is this climate variation no longer thought to have occured?

“At 04:19 PM 9/22/99 +0100, Keith Briffa wrote:…
……There is still a potential problem with non-linear responses in the very recent period of some biological proxies ( or perhaps a fertilisation through high CO2 or nitrate input) . I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies ) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter.

For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate. I think the Venice meeting will be a good place to air these isssues…..”

Gareth January 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Gosman,

The freedom of information comments were at the very least ill-advised, and I suspect that the current investigation at UEA will result in some sort of sanction for Phil Jones. However, context is also important. These guys were being bombarded by FOI requests — commenters on Climate Audit were queuing up to do it. The requests were not coming from bona fide researchers, not affiliated to any academic institution, not from people publishing in the field. Note that McIntyre was demanding tree ring data from Briffa that wasn’t Briffa’s to supply — and which McIntyre had had in his possession for three years!

The temperature data is another matter. The data as supplied by weather services around the world was not CRU property, and many weather services routinely charge for access for their data (NIWA did, until a couple of years ago). The methods for analysis of the data and the results were however published, and could have been duplicated by anyone with access to the full dataset. That it wasn’t available is not CRU’s fault — it was less than ideal, certainly, but a consequence of national weather service policies, not CRU policy.

Without this sort of context, and without access to all the other emails that were being sent (remember, the stuff released is only a tiny percentage of what was stolen), you are jumping to conclusions. Like a judge who only listens to the prosecution…

georgedarroch January 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

“Without this sort of context, and without access to all the other emails that were being sent (remember, the stuff released is only a tiny percentage of what was stolen), you are jumping to conclusions. Like a judge who only listens to the prosecution…”

That’s what creationists/climate-change-deniers/conspiracy-theorists do. They ignore huge amounts, refuse to deal with proper arguments, and look for tiny things that can be used to introduce doubt into the argument.

It’s anti-science, because science isn’t about having perfect proofs. Science is messy, and works on the building over time of a balance of probabilities. Unfortunately, most people and all climate-change-deniers do not understand this.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 8:16 am

Science is deliberately messy because it all about repeatly looking at something, coming at it from all different angles, and only then coming to some sort of consensus. If you engage in any meaningful Science you should really be demanding that any findings you present are vigourously dissected and even attacked. What you shouldn’t be doing is bitching and moaning about someone just because they don’t agree with you and you certainly shouldn’t be even contemplating, let alone seriously discussing, denying access to you raw data.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 8:30 am

Gareth,

The issue about the practicalities or legalities of the FOI requests are a Red herring because the real matter is the Scientific professionalism and integrity of the CRU.

If the problem was as straightforward as you make out then the professional and logical response would have been to simply reply to the request and state that all the data could not be provided for the reasons you outlined. What members of the CRU did instead was bitch and moan about the requests and then discuss stonewalling and deleting data. They also speculated the reasons behind the data request and how it will be used when this is not their concern.

Tell me how this is good scientific practice and how it shows the CRU as being a beacon of scientific integrity and professionalism again?

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

Gosman:simply reply to the request and state that all the data could not be provided for the reasons you outlined

And that’s what they did: but you don’t have those emails, do you? They weren’t selected by the thieves for dissemination.

Properly accredited researchers would have received a different response — but if you get a stack of demands from people you’ve never heard of, related to a bunch who have spent the last five or six years attacking your work and slinging mud, is it all surprising that they’re not falling over to be helpful?

And this has bugger all to do with the science done at CRU. That’s published. Go read it and attack that, if you can.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

Ummmm….. No they didn’t do as you suggest.

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail reply from Phil Jones to a request for data from Warwick Hughes.

“We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

That reply is the antithesis of good scientific practice. It highlight’s a high level of arrogance and huge ego on Phil Jones’s behalf.

Where the request comes from is immaterial. A professional Scientific researcher should treat all request for information with the same level of professionalism. The CRU fell down massively in this area.

Perhaps the CRU’s published papers on historical climate change are beyond reproach, but the way key members reacted to any investigation of them certainly calls into question their Scientific integrity.

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Where the request comes from is absolutely relevant. If it comes from an academic working in your field, from an institution with some standing, it will get treated with respect. You can certainly find examples of that sort of cooperation in the emails.
In my experience of dealing with climate scientists around the world, most are only too happy to help me out with information and comment. On the other hand, if requests for information/data come from people with a track record of misusing data, who indulge in mud-slinging, or who will publish “analyses” of data without first doing the hard yards of learning how it should be done, then why would you be surprised that cooperation is somewhat reluctant, at best?

Rob Taylor January 20, 2010 at 10:47 pm

That is because AGW deniers are primarily propagandists, seeking only to bolster their personal and/or corporate ideology rather than gain understanding.

The generation of doubt, in the face of overwhelming evidence, is their sole product and goal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_controversy

R2D2 January 20, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I think this post is a tad ironic.

The title reads, “Poneke’s credibility now in tatters”, and we are to believe this is because he has misinterpreted the hacked emails, but in actual fact the only reason Gareth now does not like Poneke is because he is a climate change ‘denier’.

The ironic part is much of the content of the emails is to do with concerted effort to ruin the credibility of anyone who doesn’t buy into the alarmist view………

________

Tom Wigley replies:

“Re Climate Research, I do not know the best way to handle the specifics of the editoring. Hans von Storch is partly to blame—he encourages the publication of crap science “in order to stimulate debate”. One approach is to go direct to the publishers and point out the fact that their journal is perceived as being a medium for disseminating misinformation under the guise of refereed work. I use the word “perceived” here, since whether it is true or not is not what the publishers care about—it is how the journal is seen [perceived] by the community that counts.”

Mike Mann writes:

It seems clear we have to go above him [de Freitas]. I think that the community should, as Mike Hulme has previously suggested in this eventuality, terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels—reviewing, editing, and submitting, and leave it to wither way into oblivion and disrepute.

Tom Wigley writes:

I agree that Kinne seems like he could be a de Freitas clone. However, what would be our legal position if we were to openly and extensively tell people to avoid the journal?

Wigley writes:

Jim Titus mentioned to me that in the legal profession here people are disbarred for behavior like that of de Freitas (and even John Christy—although this is a more subtle case). We cannot do that of course, but we can alert the community of honest scientists to such behavior and formally discredit these people

The Danish Academy did something like this recently, but were not entirely successful. In the meantime, I urge people to dissociate themselves from Climate Research. The residual “editorial” (a word I use almost tongue in cheek) board is looking like a rogues’ gallery of skeptics. Those remaining who are credible scientists should resign.

Tom Wigley writes:

Might be interesting to see how frequently Soon and Baliunas, individually, are cited (as astronomers). Are they any good in their own fields? Perhaps we could start referring to them as “astrologers” (excusable as … “oops, just a typo”).

Michael Mann replies:

In my opinion, its would be a mistake to evaluate these on their citations numbers in astronomy. We should focus on their numbers in the climate literature, which are the only ones relevant when discussing the issue of how their work on climate is received by their fellow scientists.
___________

So yes, people who do not tow the orthodox line on climate change are discredited, but being discredited is not the same as being wrong. Credit exists in the realm of opinion, while truth can not be changed by the way you refer to someone or treat a scientific journal.

many more here:

http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/

Andrew W January 21, 2010 at 6:33 am

“So yes, people who do not tow the orthodox line on climate change are discredited”
No. there are many other papers that don’t have conclusions that fit neatly with the IPCC position that aren’t targeted, the Soon and Baliunas paper was targeted by Wigley, Mann and others because of the reasons they give in their emails (is that hard to understand??): “Hans von Storch is partly to blame—he encourages the publication of crap science “in order to stimulate debate””
Given they believed it was “crap science”, and subsequent revelations suggest that it was, was it their place to act as they did? I’d say yes, if they see von Storch bringing the peer review process into disrepute “in order to stimulate debate” ie doing the equivalent of turning it into the tabloid press, as scientists they should make an issue out of it.

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 8:54 am

R2: in actual fact the only reason Gareth now does not like Poneke is because he is a climate change ‘denier’

Nope: I have always enjoyed Poneke’s blog (though the bus stuff was not exactly riveting), but his position on climate change is counterfactual (I’m being polite). His post on the stolen emails is both biased and factually incorrect. That needed to be pointed out.

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

“The ironic part is much of the content of the emails is to do with concerted effort to ruin the credibility of anyone who doesn’t buy into the alarmist view”

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Pot meet kettle: for the last ten years there has been a carefully orchestrated campaign to discredit the science of climate. It used to masquerade as “scientific” objections (that weren’t really), now it has stooped to theft and smear. Sorry to see you’re so happy to play along with that…

R2D2 January 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth” (Joseph Goebbels)

Gareth, your conspiracy theories about non-believers are getting old. Do you have evidence that de Freitas and co are have a hidden agenda other than science? Or are you just making assertions that you believe in your gut?

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Second mention for Propaganda Joe: funnily enough, much beloved of Wishart in Air Con. The irony…

Have you read Climate Cover Up (my link above)? Hoggan describes, in considerable detail, the campaign to derail action on climate change that started in the early 90s. There’s plenty of evidence. You could start by reading the story of the Information Council on the Environment, which was established in 1991 to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact”. Note the names involved in the campaign: Michaels, Idso, Balling — all three still shilling for the fossil fuel lobby.

It’s not a hidden agenda or a conspiracy theory: it’s out there in the open. Documented fact. I don’t know why de Freitas plays along — ask him — but he’s been at it a long time. Try reading my post on Wishart and LaRouche and follow the links to the Scaife and Koch foundations and their funding of climate denial. Refute that lot, then we’ll take about science, shall we?

Dappledwater January 21, 2010 at 1:08 am

“The ironic part is much of the content of the emails is to do with concerted effort to ruin the credibility of anyone who doesn’t buy into the alarmist view…” – r2c3

Tom Wigley replies:

“Re Climate Research, I do not know the best way to handle the specifics of the editoring. Hans von Storch is partly to blame—he encourages the publication of crap science “in order to stimulate debate”.

Maybe Van Storch should be running a denier blog site instead?.

Rob Taylor January 21, 2010 at 4:48 am

Oh boy, all this fuss over the suggestion of an academic boycott of intellectually compromised journals – just imagine if the scientific community had engaged in standard denialist tactics: buying politicians and funding blatant lying from lobbyists, ideological “thinktanks” and fake letter-writing campaigns!

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31633532/as_the_world_burns

ChrisM January 21, 2010 at 8:23 am

I not that the hockey stick was “endorsed” by the North review, and you use that font of accuracy, Wikipedia. If you’d actually bothered to read the report, and you had followed up with the subsequent questioning, you would have come accross this exchange:
CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?
DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.
CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that you can have the right conclusion and that it not be–
DR. NORTH. It happens all the time in science.
CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, and not be substantiated by what you purport to be the facts but have we established–we know that Dr. Wegman has said that Dr. Mann’s methodology is incorrect. Do you agree with that? I mean, it doesn’t mean Dr. Mann’s conclusions are wrong, but we can stipulate now that we have–and if you want to ask your statistician expert from North Carolina that Dr. Mann’s methodology cannot be documented and cannot be verified by independent review.
DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks?
CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the microphone.
MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

Doesn’t sound like an endorsement to me.

How much of the rest of your blog is of similar accuracy?

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 8:36 am

It seems you may have a different idea of what accuracy is. Mine is that I should report the facts.
Roger Pielke Jr on the NRC report:

My reading of the summary of the report and parts of the text is that the NAS has rendered a near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al.

The original MBH paper may not have been perfect, but it was groundbreaking, and has proved a useful basis for future research. That’s all. People who claim that it has been “discredited” are simply not telling the truth.
As for the rest of Hot Topic, I invite you to read it and check the references I provide.

StephenR January 21, 2010 at 8:39 am

The title reads, “Poneke’s credibility now in tatters”, and we are to believe this is because he has misinterpreted the hacked emails, but in actual fact the only reason Gareth now does not like Poneke is because he is a climate change ‘denier’.

…which is why I thought Poneke’s credibility wasn’t particularly high anyway. The guy is a ‘denier’, he’s come up with an awful lot of crap on AGW, really. He hasn’t tried ‘no warming since 1998 in a while…

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 8:43 am

“his misunderstanding of the “hockey stick” controversy (not dropped by IPCC reports (it’s on p467, WG1, Chapter 6)”

I think there is a difference between the hockey stick graph and spaghetti, importantly the spaghetti more clearly shows the difference between instrumental record and the proxy data and also shows the variability in past temperature record depending on reconstruction technique. Comments on this post have gone over this many times before but it seems Gareth does not agree, his decisions I guess. View below to look for yourself.

I guess the Briffa opinions in 1999 finally won the debate between 2001 and 2007 on whether to bow to the “pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’” (quote: Kieth Briffa 1999). This tells me that the original hockey stick graph was not reached by scientific consensus but due to pressure to show unprecedented warming. So somewhat of a controversy in my eyes, but if Gareth disagrees this is his post. I just wonder if he would apply the same logic to sceptical science.

Hockey stick:

http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/

Spaghetti:

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6.html

ChrisM January 21, 2010 at 9:03 am

Gareth

Yet again, you quote someone’s interpretation rather than the actual report itself, nor do you appear to have read Wegman. As you don’t seem capable of going to the primary source, like all good researchers should, the fourth and fifth bullet points in the summary says:
Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for
the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that
temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than
during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with
reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase
substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.
• Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric
mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 because of sparse data
coverage and because the uncertainties associated with proxy data and the methods used to
analyze and combine them are larger than during more recent time periods.

Roger Pielke Jr also said this about the hockeystick and how it was relied upon by IPCC 3rd Assessment:
If climate scientists want to regain lost credibility, and indeed not see it diminish further, they are going to have to stop playing the rest of us for fools. One way to do that is avoid saying things that are not true.

Repeating what I said earlier, neither of these sound like an endorsement to me.

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 9:25 am

Yet again, you quote someone’s interpretation rather than the actual report itself, nor do you appear to have read Wegman. As you don’t seem capable of going to the primary source, like all good researchers should, the fourth and fifth bullet points in the summary says:

Rather rude, aren’t we… Wegman, NRC — not exactly breakfast reading, and I have no intention of revisiting stuff I read years ago. I quoted Pielke to demonstrate that my take on events and the standing of Mann’s work is widely held. The simple fact is that, outside of Climate Audit and the carefully orchestrated campaign of denial, the paleoclimate reconstructions pioneered by Mann et al have proved a fruitful and interesting field.

Dappledwater January 21, 2010 at 9:08 am

“The issue about the practicalities or legalities of the FOI requests are a Red herring because the real matter is the Scientific professionalism and integrity of the CRU.” – Gosman.

Rubbish. Show us where their science is wrong.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

I’m highlighting the massive issues with the scientific integrity of key members of the CRU that the e-mails reveal.

As no scientific enquiry is ever 100 percent accurate the level of integrity of the people presenting the results, including how they handle criticism and reinterpretation of findings, is very important I would suggest.

Any suggestion that a scientific researcher is denying people access to the data behind his findings or trying to push a particular agenda should raise alarm bells.

Dappledwater January 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

“Any suggestion that a scientific researcher is denying people access to the data behind his findings or trying to push a particular agenda should raise alarm bells.” – Gosman

These are private e-mails, the scientists are privately expressing frustration with the smear tactics used by the deniers, and also the fact that some journals were publishing scientific nonsense by the deniers, purely in the interests of generating debate.

Given the tactics employed by the deniers to poison public confidence in paleoclimate in general, and Mike Mann in particular, it’s hardly surprising that Phil Jones, Keith Briffa and others did not fancy being the subject of the next smear campaign.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

I notice noone has actually addressed my key point – How are the actions of key members of the CRU that were highlighted in the e-mails good Science in any way shape or form?

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 9:59 am

Let’s revisit the comments made by Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes.

“We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

Doesn’t everyone here find it rather disturbing that a top Scientist in his field is denying access to data because he is afraid that the other person will ‘find something wrong with it’!?!

Isn’t that one of the key points of modern Science and why doesn’t Phil Jones seem to know or care about this?

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

No, you’re making vast molehills out of very little.

Is this the sum total of the huge conspiracy and scientific malfeasance you guys can find? Using, just quietly, stolen emails? (And don’t bother with that whistleblower nonsense, unless you can back it up) Any independent examination of the issue has found very little of concern.

Bluntly, considering the dishonest and incompetent “science” that is repeatedly touted by denialists to question the huge body of scientific work that supports understanding of global warming, and the inability to deal with facts and information in a balanced and rational manner, your comments here are laughable, and a waste of people’s time.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 10:48 am

Ummmm…. the reply by Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes was not a stolen e-mail so I don’t know why you are suggesting it is.

I also note you are taken the Ad Homenim attack route to try and shut down the criticism of the Scientific integrity of the CRU. Why don’t you attempt to deal with the issues raised about the behaviour of senior members of the CRU?

Given the fact that a lot of Climate Science is dependent on data collection, and this is obviously open to an quite a bit of selection bias, I think scientific integrity of people involved in this collection is incredibly important.

I have read articles stating that the choice of data made by members of CRU like Michael Mann et el were not ideal and seem to fit with a certain agenda. This may or may not be correct. However to identify if there is any truth in that a proper analysis of all the raw data needs to be looked into. You can’t confirm if there are flaws just by looking at the end studies produced by they CRU.

For some reason the CRU has been very reluctant to let certain people do this analysis of the raw data. This to me is disturbing and also incredibly bad scientific practice.

You, and others, might be happy with Science being performed like this but I am not. What you should be doing is explaining why you are happy with them performing Science like this or debating that they didn’t do what is suggested by the e-mails rather than trying to shut the debate down by attacking anyone who dares disagree with you as a ‘Denier’.

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

Gosman, when you apply the same standards to the “science” and the “scientists” that support your beliefs, I might take your comments seriously. If you applied the same moral standards to the many dodgy, cosy examples of PR pseudo-science that denialists gleefully wave about, I might take some notice of this sort of campaign. There are dozens of examples documented. If you want to deal with conspiracies, that’s where you should look.

Where have you acknowledged improper, harrassing misuse of the FOI process by denialists to give scientists a hard time, mentioned above? You have completely different expectations of the people on the receiving end, don’t you?

I have a high intolerance of intellectual dishonesty, and people moralising about and judging others when they don’t apply those same standards to their own camp. It really has nothing to do with science and truth, does it? It’s about damaging individuals and raising doubts about science, to suit a political and idealogical agenda. And you talk about ad hominem!!! I see witchhunt, more and more.

You would know that a number of prominent scientists, including people mentioned in the stolen emails, have been exposed to all levels of personal harrassment and threats. Ad hominem indeed.

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 11:43 am

Johnmacmot,

You infer that dispite this evidence of bad ethics from climate scientists it is in-fact “denialists” that use “PR pseudo-science”.

I will admit I have heard this claim many times before. Do you have any evidence of this, or is it just a case of “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth” (Joseph Goebbels)?

If there is no evidence it is again ironic to accuse someone of a double standard and then employ your own double standard in the oposite dirrection. Has it occured to you that sceptical scientists are subjected to greater ad hominien attacks and harrassment?

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

“Gosman, when you apply the same standards to the “science” and the “scientists” that support your beliefs,”

What exactly are my ‘beliefs’ on this matter Johnmacmot as I don’t believe I have ever stated them?

You launch in to an attack on what you think my position is without even bothering to find out and without a shred of evidence and then you have the temerity to state you have ‘…a high intolerance of intellectual dishonesty, and people moralising about and judging others.’

Slightly ironic doncha think?

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm

It’s pretty funny when people like yourself quote Goebbels, when that is exactly the core tactic that you and others demonstrate on this blog daily, and in a thread that carves open a piece of writing that uses a range of propagandist techniques! Did you write that with a straight face?

You want examples? That’s pretty funny too. I’ve been reading climate stuff intensively on the net for a couple of months, and I’m astonished at the repeated, intellectual dishonesty or. at best, confusion in evidence and argument that I read in denialist comment in near enough to every thread on any blog on climate issues.

Why don’t you start by going back and defending the details exposed in Gareth’s post above, for a start. That will keep to the thread’s topic, which is appropriate.

Would you care to justify the ridiculous Oregon Petition that Gareth mentions in his post? That’s a good test of your “scepticism” and Gosman’s also. That was a devious, twisty propagandist exercise. How do you rate the credibility of that?

Then you might have a look at the post here: “NZ sceptics lie about temp records, try to smear top scientist”. That’s just for starters.

But the exercise is pointless, isn’t it? Why are you guys here? What is the purpose of your posts? It has little to do with a genuine inquiry after the truth.

How about you prove me wrong by presenting genuine scientific evidence to support your various debating points in your future posts here? That’s real, mainstream, peer-reviewed science.

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I agree the Oregon petition does not prove anything scientifically.

But Gareth is being hypocritical here also. He demands context on the emails and then uses the Oregon Petition out of context. The Oregon Petition of course was an attempt to dispel the myth that there was a consensus among scientists, so the way to dispel this myth is of course a petition. The emails refer to an effort to get scientists to sign a joint letter in 1997 prior to the Kyoto conference, while the Oregon Petition was signed between 1999-2001 in response to this attempt. It is not hypocritical to criticise one group of scientists of using this method to prove a scientific hypothesis, and then using the same method to dis-prove a demographic assertion. See below email.

From: Joseph Alcamo
To: m.hulme@uea.ac.uk, Rob.Swart@rivm.nl
Subject: Timing, Distribution of the Statement
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 18:52:33 0100
Reply-to: alcamo@usf.uni-kassel.de

Mike, Rob,

Sounds like you guys have been busy doing good things for the cause.

I would like to weigh in on two important questions –

Distribution for Endorsements —
I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.

Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those names!

Timing — I feel strongly that the week of 24 November is too late.
1. We wanted to announce the Statement in the period when there was a sag in related news, but in the week before Kyoto we should expect that we will have to crowd out many other articles about climate.
2. If the Statement comes out just a few days before Kyoto I am afraid that the delegates who we want to influence will not have any time to pay attention to it. We should give them a few weeks to hear about it.
3. If Greenpeace is having an event the week before, we should have it a week before them so that they and other NGOs can further spread the word about the Statement. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so bad to release the Statement in the same week, but on a diffeent day. The media might enjoy hearing the message from two very different directions.

Conclusion — I suggest the week of 10 November, or the week of 17 November at the latest.

Mike — I have no organized email list that could begin to compete
with the list you can get from the Dutch. But I am still

Dappledwater January 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

“The Oregon Petition of course was an attempt to dispel the myth that there was a consensus among scientists, so the way to dispel this myth is of course a petition.” – c3.

Yes, trying to dispel the notion of scientific consensus on climate change as important and then creating a fictional scientific consensus – truly ironic.

Of we could go on to the small matter of fraudulently attempting to pass themselves off as endorsed by the National Academies of Science. And the small matter of one of the people endorsing the petition and author of the cover letter, Fred Seitz and his history of denial. Previously denying that passive smoking was harmful and denying that CFC’s damaged the ozone layer, and now moving on to deny AGW.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Seitz

As for the petition itself?, no attempt to verify bonafides. Simply claim you are a scientist and the petition accepts it as fact, hence such notable signatories as Michael J fox and Ginger Spice, BJ Honeycutt & Hawkeye Pierce from MASH.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Yes very right. Pathetic debate.

It was a case of,

“I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.

Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those names!”

So now that we agree the Oregon Petition does not prove any scientific hypothesis, what do you think of the email in regards to influencing Kyoto?

Do you think it is good scientists talk about, “been busy doing good things for the cause”?

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

If we agree that this sort of behaviour is inapprorpiate and at odds with good scientific practice, (and it certainly looks that way given what you have written), then can you also agree that the behaviour exhibited by key member’s of the CRU also call into question their Scientific integrity and damage the reputation of the Scientific investigations into Climate change?

ChrisM January 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I gather Johnmacmot means mainstream peer reviewed science like the Himalayas gone by 2035

Dappledwater January 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm

“I gather Johnmacmot means mainstream peer reviewed science like the Himalayas gone by 2035″ – ChrisM

The region is losing 47 (+ or – 12) gigatonnes of ice mass per year according the recent GRACE satellite estimates. And many peer reviewed studies show the rapid loss of ice from glaciers in the area.

The region above 4000 meters is warming twice as fast as the global average. It’s bad, but not gone by 2035 bad.

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

So why are you here, Gosman, and where are other examples of your concern about scientific ethics? What other examples of scientific behaviour have you questioned? Where have you obtained your information from for your comments above?

Show us you are not what you present as.

Should be easy

ChrisM January 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm

“I gather Johnmacmot means mainstream peer reviewed science like the Himalayas gone by 2035″

That’s a bright, shiny cherry you have there, Chrism! But look at all the other cherries on the tree. In fact, on the other trees in the orchard.

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Chrism, how about you deal directly with Gareth’s dissection of Poneke’s piece?

There’s plenty to explain and refute there, isn’t there? Where do you stand on the Oregon Petition, by the way?

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm

See my above post on Oregon Petition. Let me know what you think

ChrisM January 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm

You’re being tedious Johnmacmot. I could have added Yamal 61 or bristlecone or Briffa divergence for the paleoclimate teamwork. And lets not forget Harry in the CRU code showing that their data adjustments were garbage.

Rather than go for your usual ad hominems, could you please explain how 2035 is peer reviewed silence. Otherwise, shut up.

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

“But Gareth is being hypocritical here also. He demands context on the emails and then uses the Oregon Petition out of context. The Oregon Petition of course was an attempt to dispel the myth that there was a consensus among scientists, so the way to dispel this myth is of course a petition.

Oh dear! You do consider that valid, do you? Here’s a challenge to you and other denialists here. Apply the same standards of ethics and judgement to that document and how it was achieved that you’re applying to Jones and others above. Do some research, and deal with the facts.

When you can show that you can do that, you might be worth taking notice of on other matters.

I’ve asked a question several times, without any real answer (not that one is needed – everyone knows the answer)

Why are you here, and what are you trying to achieve?

I’ll bet that none of you is capable of an honest examination of the Oregon Petition, and it’s validity. Won’t happen, will it!

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I agree that it is not the way to argue, I have more people on my side than you do blah blah.

What do you think of the email i posted?

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

“Why are you here, and what are you trying to achieve?”

I gave your intellect much more credit than that question from you warrents Johnmacmot.

In case you have forgotten, and I presume you must have given the idiocy of your question, Gareth’s thread here is all about another Blogger’s opinions on the so called ‘Climategate’ e-mails.

This would tend to suggest people who have read Poneke’s post on the subject will be looking for people’s reactions including those who represent the mainstream approach to this subject e.g. this Blog.

On top of that, this Blog posting has also been referenced in other locations on the internet as an example of how Poneke’s arguments have been dismantled and discredited.

After reading the rather disturbing examples of bad scientific practice and appalling behaviour carried out by members of the CRU that were detailed in Ponekes blog, I came here expecting to read some reasoned debate on what this actually meant and perhaps an agreement that the cause of AGW is not helped by this sort of behaviour.

Instead all I see is certain apologists like yourself engaging in Ad hominem attacks on anyone not towing the line and a bizzarre nothingness when questioned about whether or not the behaviour detailed in the e-mails reflects in anyway on the Scientific integrity of the CRU.

Perhaps you would prefer there to be no debate or discussion on this topic and everyone will just agree how appalling Poneke’s blog post was and how right anybody associated with AGW is?

Dappledwater January 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm

“After reading the rather disturbing examples of bad scientific practice and appalling behaviour carried out by members of the CRU that were detailed in Ponekes blog, I came here expecting to read some reasoned debate on what this actually meant and perhaps an agreement that the cause of AGW is not helped by this sort of behaviour.” – Gosman.

Nope, it’s pretty clear what your intentions here are.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm

And that last comment by Dappledwater is highlight’s why this isn’t really a reasoned debate at all about the issue.

Some people just wish to shut down anything which they perceive to be a threat to the established position on this topic. This they attempt to achieve by Ad hominem attacks and by innuendo such as that last one.

How does labelling people ‘Anti-Science’ without a shred of evidence further the discussion or debate or back up your case at all?

My position on the subject is almost summed up by the following quote from a recent artcile in Nature http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100120/full/463284a.html. “A fuller reading of the e-mails from CRU in Norwich, UK, does show a sobering amount of rude behaviour and verbal faux pas, but nothing that challenges the scientific consensus of climate change.”.

I would make one change to that statement. I would state that the behaviour exhibited in the e-mails was arrogant, unprofessional, and more importantly unscientific in nature, however that does not mean the scientific consensus is blown away. It does mean that it has been, in my opinion, dented which means we should demand much higher standards of Scientific integrity from those involved in this subject.

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Gosman, you’re continuing to avoid the wider context I offered you to show the same nit-picking moralism in examining other documents.

If you did so, the judgements you would be offering would be very harsh indeed, considering your comments here.

Now how about a thorough examination of the process and ethics involved in the Oregon Petition? Dappledwater has made a useful start for you.

I’m still not confident you’ve been quite as thorough and open in detailing your purpose in posting in this thread as you are in passing judgement on people’s comments in private emails. By the way, how do you justify dealing with stolen documents?

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm

What I find interesting is your arrogant demand for me to start decrying anti-AGW arguments as if this has something to do with the topic under discussion yet you have yet to answer in any meaningful way my open question regarding whether or not the Scientific integrity of the CRU has been damaged as a result of their actions detailed in these e-mails.

Is there a reason you keep avoiding this?

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

“See my above post on Oregon Petition. Let me know what you think”

Now that’s progress, C3P0. Not bad.

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm

“You’re being tedious Johnmacmot. I could have added Yamal 61 or bristlecone or Briffa divergence for the paleoclimate teamwork. And lets not forget Harry in the CRU code showing that their data adjustments were garbage.

Rather than go for your usual ad hominems, could you please explain how 2035 is peer reviewed silence. Otherwise, shut up.”

Whoops! Got under your skin, did I! Good!

How about you detail those discussions, with supporting evidence, and not just the denialist spin?

You don’t really need me to line you up with paper after paper on what is happening with glaciers in the Himalayas and around the world, do you? There wouldn’t be much point because you aren’t actually interested in the information, are you.

If you wanted to know about that stuff, you could google away and large amounts of solid, current info is there for the reading. You’re more concerned with scoring debating points, casting doubt where you can, being a pain in the posterior.

It’s a laugh that I am annoying you, and you want me to shut up. I suspect a few people might have enjoyed more of your silence around here at times, peer-reviewed on not ;-)

ChrisM January 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Johnmacmot

Going back to Gareth’s original condemnation of Poneke, (remember that), the data I reference in there was specifically that discussed in the CRU emails and what they did not want reviewed. And it seems you are neither competent or confident to discuss them either.

Have you seen the latest GISS monthly anomaly maps where they show a hot spot in Bolivia, even they have used no data from that country since 1990? Great science there.

With regard to the Himalayas and the ice loss, one could quote Raina 2009 or Hewitt 2005 on terminal faces. But that isn’t consensus views either, is it.

And just for the record, I’m a lukewarmer, in the same camp as the Pielkes. They must be OK as Gareth quotes one.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

BTW Johnmacmot, do you acknowledge that people have a legitimate reason to post on this thread and ask questions that are not one hundred percent supportive of the CRU and it’s members?

Or are you still wondering why people are allowed to express opinions that might differ from your here?

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

ChrisM, that’s a more thoughtful post, but you are still cherry-picking, aren’t you?

I am happy to go with a neutral examination of the hacked emails and accept the overall conclusions, as in this AP examination:
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=9319400

Picking over the emails out of context and reading in interpretations that suit doesn’t interest me, and I haven’t seen anything that seriously casts doubt on the science, despite the best efforts of the denialist forces.

As in Poneke’s efforts above, there is increasing desperation and stretching to do damage, because that is the sole intention of all this stuff – to hurt people, do damage, cause confusion and cast doubt. Any tactics will do.

That’s an implicit admission that despite all the efforts of the denialist camp, the huge body of scientific evidence simply becomes stronger. That’s also why the same zombie arguments keep getting revived, and debunked for the umpteenth time. That’s why many of the denialist points of argument are contradictory and mutually exclusive- it’s not really about science at all.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Still avoiding anwering the questions I asked I see there Johnmacmot.

What is it about admitting dodgy Scientific practices by the CRU that you find so difficult to do?

As stated, it does not mean that the Scientific consensus around Climate change is necessarily wrong.

ChrisM January 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Trouble is Johnmacmot, if you had taken the trouble to read the emails, you would know that Seth was one of the people that was in the circulation list – rather incestuous for an “impartial” analysis, or is that par for the course with “peer review like Wahl’s analysis of MBH?

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Borenstein is a professional journalist. If you read the emails in question, you’ll find him doing his job – trying to get information. He writes about environment and climate. A key part of his job is talking to the people working in the field.

If we ignore Poneke/McLoughlin’s factual errors for a moment, from a journalistic perspective the biggest failing in his piece is that he fails to provide any context, any hint that there’s any other side to the story. That’s why I made the comment in the yellow box. What distinguishes good journalism from advocacy (and propaganda) is that it has to weigh the evidence. That doesn’t mean that you can’t reach any judgement, it just means that you have to support that judgement with a review of the evidence. McLoughlin could have been highly critical of CRU (preferably without the factual errors and ridiculous hyperbole), and I wouldn’t have objected. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. But not to their own facts.

Johnmacmot January 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

“Still avoiding anwering the questions I asked I see there Johnmacmot.”

Well, that’s fair. You’re avoiding the questions I’ve asked you too.

Perhaps you might read the reference I posted above. That’s about how I view the email furore, and, as I’ve stated, I don’t see anything that casts real doubt on the science.

I’ll remind you that I invited you to use the same standards in viewing the Oregon Petition, as an exercise in even-handedness. What do you think of that document?

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

posts 45 and 46

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm

As C3PO has pointed out both him and I have already expressed our views on that here.

My interest here is whether or not good science is being carried out from either side of the debate. This is the reason why I haven’t posted links from various anti-AGW sources which are also the product of bad scientific principles.

I know that many arguments from that side of the debate are supported by dodgy Science. What I didn’t know, until reading Poneke’s blog posting was that the mainstream view on AGW was also engaging in incredibly bad scientific practices.

That is the real scandal here, not whether or not AGW is truly happening or not. I would like to think AGW proponents are interested in Scientific integrity rather than just pushing some political agenda. Wouldn’t you agree?

C3P0 January 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

World Scientists’ Call for Action (1997)

Total number of signatories as of October 14, 1997: 1,586
(Sent to world leaders prior to Kyoto summit)

Five years ago, in the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, 1600 of the world’s senior scientists sounded an unprecedented warning:

Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms.

Addressed to political, industrial, religious, and scientific leaders, the Warning demonstrated that the scientific community had reached a consensus that grave threats imperil the future of humanity and the global environment. However, over four years have passed, and progress has been woefully inadequate. Some of the most serious problems have worsened. Invaluable time has been squandered because so few leaders have risen to the challenge.

The December 1997 Climate Summit in Kyoto, Japan, presents a unique opportunity. The world’s political leaders can demonstrate a new commitment to the protection of the environment. The goal is to strengthen the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change by agreeing to effective controls on human practices affecting climate.

This they can and must do, primarily by augmenting the Convention’s voluntary measures with legally binding commitments to reduce industrial nations’ emissions of heat-trapping gases significantly below 1990 levels in accordance with a near-term timetable. Over time, developing nations must also be engaged in limiting their emissions. Developed and developing nations must cooperate to mitigate climatic disruption. The biosphere is a seamless web.

Completion of an effective treaty at Kyoto would address one of the most serious threats to the planet and to future generations. It would set a landmark precedent for addressing other grave environmental threats, many linked to climate change. It would demonstrate that the world’s leaders have now recognized, in deeds and words, their responsibility for stewardship of the earth. The stark facts carry a clear signal:

There is only one responsible choice — to act now. We, the signers of this declaration, urge all government leaders to demonstrate a new commitment to protecting the global environment for future generations. The important first step is to join in completing a strong and meaningful Climate Treaty at Kyoto. We encourage scientists and citizens around the world to hold their leaders accountable for addressing the global warming threat. Leaders must take this first step to protect future generations from dire prospects that would result from failure to meet our responsibilities toward them.

The Web of Environmental Effects

Atmospheric Disruption

Predictions of global climatic change are becoming more confident. A broad consensus among the world’s climatologists is that there is now “a discernible human influence on global climate.”

Climate change is projected to raise sea levels, threatening populations and ecosystems in coastal regions. Warmer temperatures will lead to a more vigorous hydrologic cycle, increasing the prospects for more intense rainfall, floods, or droughts in some regions. Human health may be damaged by greater exposure to heat waves and droughts, and by encroachment of tropical diseases to higher latitudes.

The developing world is especially vulnerable to damage from climatic disruption because it is already under great stress and has less capacity to adapt.

Climate Change: Linkages and Further Damage

Destructive logging and deforestation for agriculture continue to wreak havoc on the world’s remaining tropical forests. The burning of the Amazonian rain forests continues largely unabated. Other forests in developed and developing nations are under heavy pressure. Destruction of forests greatly amplifies soil erosion and water wastage, is a major source of loss of species, and undermines the environment’s natural ability to store carbon. It releases additional carbon to the atmosphere, thereby enhancing global warming.

Fossil-fueled energy use is climbing, both in industrial nations and in the developing world, adding to atmospheric carbon. Efforts to enhance energy conservation and improve efficiency are much hindered by low energy costs and by perverse incentives that encourage waste. Without firm commitments, most industrial nations will not meet the carbon-emission goals they agreed to at the 1992 Rio conference. The transition to renewable, non-fossil-carbon-based energy sources is feasible but is not in sight for lack of aggressive political will. The insurance industry has recognized the risks posed by climate change. Leading economists have identified viable policies for reducing these risks. Markets undervalue ecosystems worldwide and inflict few penalties against practices that do long-term environmental and resource damage. Political leadership must introduce incentives that reward sound practices.

Water Scarcity and Food Security

Humanity now uses over one-half of the total accessible freshwater runoff. Freshwater is the scarcest resource in the Middle East and in North Africa. Efforts to husband freshwater are not succeeding there, in East Asia, or in the Pacific.

Global food production now appears to be outpaced by growth in consumption and population. There is broad agreement that food demand will double by 2030. Most land suitable for agriculture is already in production. Sub-Saharan Africa’s increase in agricultural production is one-third less than its population growth. The region now produces 80 percent of what it consumes, and per capita production is declining. Projections indicate that demand for food in Asia will exceed the supply by 2010.

Thus, food consumption levels in many countries are likely to remain totally inadequate for good nutrition. Widespread undernutrition will persist unless extraordinary measures are taken to ensure food for all, measures not now even contemplated by governments. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these food problems by adversely affecting water supplies, soil conditions, temperature tolerances, and growing seasons.

Destruction of Species

Climate change will accelerate the appalling pace at which species are now being liquidated, especially in vulnerable ecosystems. One-fourth of the known species of mammals are threatened, and half of these may be gone within a decade. Possibly one-third of all species may be lost before the end of the next century.

Biodiversity gives stability to the ecosystems that we are so dependent on, enhances their productivity, and provides an important source of new foods, medicines, and other products.

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS
2 Brattle Square
Cambridge, MA 02238
617-547-5552
Contact us at ucs@ucsusa.org

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Ah, but Fred Singer got there first, with his 1995 “Leipzig Declaration“.

There is an interesting debate to be had about the extent to which scientists (in any field) should be advocates for action, and where any line could or should be drawn between advocacy and politics. There is no “standard” here. It’s up to individuals to decide for themselves.

R2D2 January 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm

When should scientists ever be advocates? If there is a line I think these guys have defiantly crossed it.

Joseph Alcamo:

“Sounds like you guys have been busy doing good things for the cause.”

I thought there was a standard and I think Ed Cook demonstrates it well in the approach he takes in this email;

Ed Cook: (replying to Mike Mann on different email not JA)

“I ran into the same problem in the acid rain/forest decline debate that raged in the 1980s. At one point, I was simultaneous accused of being a raving tree hugger and in the pocket of the coal industry. I have always said that I don’t care what answer is found as long as it is the truth or at least bloody close to it.”

Gareth January 21, 2010 at 8:38 pm

I think that signing a carefully considered — cautious, even — statement such as that above hardly counts as crossing any sensible line that might be drawn. After all, in the context of the time, we had an emerging problem for which the evidence was becoming clearer and clearer, and opportunity to do something about it. Note that the statement doesn’t outline policy recommendations: only that a deal should be done to start to reduce emissions.

Hansen has gone further recently, advocating (as a private citizen, he’s always careful to note) that tax & dividend is preferable to cap & trade. Is that unacceptable advocacy? I think not, you probably disagree. But as a senior scientist with young grandchildren, he feels a duty to the future (as Bryan described in his review of Storms of my Grandchildren), and I think he’s earned that freedom of expression after a long and distinguished career. There’s a reason why we set store by the views of elder statesmen: experience and wisdom. We don’t have to agree with them, but they have earned the right to be listened to. Even Roger Douglas… ;-)

R2D2 January 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Yeah he is allowed to have his opinion, but the evidence (especially the Ed Cook exchange: ) shows that this opinion was influencing the way they did research and the way they peer reviewed others work.That is not allowed.

http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/1/FOIA/mail/0988831541.txt

(read the link, its interesting)

Macro January 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

C3 R2 Gos etc – you can rabbit on all you like, but you don’t alter the fundamental fact that the energy radiating from the top of the troposphere has fallen by about 3 watts per square meter in the past 150 years because of a near doubling in CO2. The Earth is gaining heat, and its humans who have done it.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm

So does that excuse appalling scientific practice then Macro?

Sounds suspiciously like the ends justifies the means. You might subscribe to this line of thinking but it isn’t Science.

Macro January 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm

If anyone is indulging in appalling scientific practice it is not the people to whom you are throwing brickbats. The so called sceptics on the other hand do not indulge in scientific practice whatsoever – appalling or otherwise.

Gosman January 21, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Once again noone defending the actions of the CRU will deal with the issue of their Scientific integrity being damaged by their actions.

I presume people are aware of the concept of selection bias in any scientific investigation? When Scientist are acting in the manner displayed in those e-mails it calls into question how selection bias impacted their work.

Ben Goldacre writes about this in his excellent book ‘Bad Science’. Often the only way of determining the extent of selection bias is to reevalute the raw data. This is something the CRU Scientists were actively resisting according to those e-mail.

Dappledwater January 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm

“Once again noone defending the actions of the CRU will deal with the issue of their Scientific integrity being damaged by their actions.” – Gosman.

You are confusing scientific integrity with public opinion. If the science was in doubt, someone suitably qualified to understand the technical issues would have raised some issue in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The fact that these matters only surface on denier blog sites, demonstrates that the science is indeed very sound.

R2D2 January 22, 2010 at 12:57 am

DW: “If the science was in doubt, someone suitably qualified to understand the technical issues would have raised some issue in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. ”

OK, back to basics from DW. 2 of the oldest lines there. Have we gotten anywhere? I may finally decide to stop banging my head against a wall by posting on this blog, because clearly that is all I am achieving.

DW; firstly, “someone who is qualified”, is this the old adage “unless you are a scientist who are you to comment”? I have not and will not ever buy this. This is not complicated, I can form my own opinion. I am not a “our great leader knows best” person.

Secondly; “raised some issue in the peer-reviewed scientific literature”. This is the main point of the emails! The core group of scientists were using the peer review process to block every piece of literature that did not agree with them. The emails show that in the early days, due the small number of highly regarded atmospheric scientists who would be asked to review a paper, they were able to form an email group that between themselves could always expect at least one of them to be asked to review new science, and then they could act to block its publication. In the latter days papers got through so they discredited and abused all those who disagreed. So to cry “peer review” is useless because these scientists have blocked peer review to research that did not support there own view!

from the emails;

Danny Harvey and I refereed this and said it should be rejected. We questioned the editor (deFreitas again!) and he
responded saying …..

The MS was reviewed initially by five referees. … The other three referees, all reputable atmospheric scientists, agreed it should be published subject to minor revision. Even then I used a sixth person to help me decide. I took his advice and that of the three other referees and sent the MS back for revision. It was later accepted for publication. The refereeing process was more rigorous than usual.

On the surface this looks to be above board — although, as referees who advised rejection it is clear that Danny and I should have been kept in the loop and seen how our criticisms were responded to.

It is possible that Danny and I might write a response to this paper — deFreitas has offered us this possibility.

This second case gets to the crux of the matter. I suspect that
deFreitas deliberately chose other referees who are members of the skeptics camp. I also suspect that he has done this on other occasions. How to deal with this is unclear, since there are a number of individuals with bona fide scientific credentials who could be used by an unscrupulous editor to ensure that ‘anti-greenhouse’ science can get through the peer review process (Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Baliunas, Soon, and so on).”

Why reviews should only come from their “camp” is beyond me. Reviewers should not be picked on their “beliefs” but on their scientific credentials.

Dappledwater January 22, 2010 at 2:05 am

“DW; firstly, “someone who is qualified”, is this the old adage “unless you are a scientist who are you to comment”? I have not and will not ever buy this. This is not complicated, I can form my own opinion. I am not a “our great leader knows best” person.” – R2.

Not what I said. The claim was a lack of scientific integrity. The one place to test this is in the peer -reviewed literature. Any arguments will live or die on their scientific merits. Clearly one needs to be sufficiently qualified (demonstrable expertise) to be able to critique. As for the “Great Leader” comment, I have no idea what you are on about.

“This is the main point of the emails! The core group of scientists were using the peer review process to block every piece of literature that did not agree with them.” – R2.

Nonsense. Studies such as those published by Soon & Baliunas, McLean, Defreitas & Carter, and a handful of others were rubbish. They should not have been published. That was the point of the discussion in the e-mails that I have read, certain journals publishing material that was not up to standard, purely in the interests of stimulating debate. Not the fact that the authors were of a contrary viewpoint.

Look at the recent Lindzen and Choi paper, as an example of denier scientists making publication. That is being subjected to peer review because it is not complete rubbish.

“Why reviews should only come from their “camp” is beyond me. Reviewers should not be picked on their “beliefs” but on their scientific credentials.”

In regard to your extract, I suspect that they were right about Defreitas given that he was involved in both fiascos and given the lies he writes for the NZ Herald from time to time.

Personally, and I am sure that all climate scientists seeing the big picture would agree, I’d be happy if a scientist found something unknown in the climate system that meant we no longer had to worry about global warming. That would be a good thing, and such scientist would become a legend, but to date no one has even come close.

Mike C January 21, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Gosman, I am sure this has been explained to you above but please try to understand this.

The raw temperature data does not belong to the CRU, almost all of it can be accessed by anyone, online, from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN). Anything you can’t get hold of belongs to the MET services, which means CRU can’t give it to you but the MET services might if you ask.
Therefore, anyone; you, me, my aunt Sarah can access the raw data and check their results.
If fact it you are that concerned about the CRU data, why don’t you check it yourself?

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

So let’s recap on the arguments being used here to defend the actions of key members of the CRU.

‘People making the criticisms are Deniers’ – Ad Hominem attack which adds nothing to the debate and is often usupported by any evidence that the critics are infact Climate change deniers. This is especially ironic given the fact that the people engaing in Ad hominem attacks supposedly have a ‘high intolerance for intellectual dishonesty’.

‘The other side enegage in dodgy science so why aren’t you attacking them’ – Red herring argument which is atune to my young children stating that ‘So and so does this as well so why don’t you punish them?’. This frankly adds nothing to the discussion and just seeks to divert attention from the bad practices carried out by the CRU.

‘The CRU members didn’t do the things they stated they were going to do in the e-mails, and even if they did they were provoked’ – The first part of this is unsupported by evidence. It is clear that information has been witheld or access to it by some people made extremely difficult by members of the CRU. The second part is just childish. These are professional Scientists who receive a lot of their funding via Public means, i.e. the Taxpayers. I would expect them to act in a professional and dignified manner at all times as public servants but also as Scientists.

‘The people who request the data are not real Scientists and just want to pick holes in the arguments so they CRU memebers were entitled to deny them access’ – Regardless of the legal arguments about FOI data being denied to people based on such grounds, how arrogant are these Climate Scientist to decide who does and does not get to review their data? Many great Scientific discoveries in history were made by enthusiatstic amateurs. Many of the Scientists of 19th Century wewre not formally trained in their particualr area and even today discoveries are made or facilitated by people without tenure at a ‘prestigous place of learning’. Finally that argument goes against the basic Scientific principle that you WANT people to pull you ideas and theories apart. It is only after a theory has been subjected to a vigorous critique, (not just via a few peer reviews in sympathetic journals), that it should start to become accepted in the scientific mainstream and form the consensus. Trying to state that you don’t want someone to review your work because they will pull it apart is like saying you don’t want someone to read your homework because they might not like it.

‘The CRU can’t provide the information requested because it doesn’t have the legal right to all the data’ – This argument would have merit if the CRU memebers had simply stated this fact in the replies for requests in a Professional manner and recommened where the person requesting the data should turn to next. However we instead have people like Phil Jones replying in this manner “We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”. This doesn’t suggest to me that there are legal issues involved with releasing the data. It has more to do with Mr Jones ego and arrogant nature.

‘Regardless of the contents of the e-mails the Science presented by the CRU stacks up so what is all the fuss’ – This is the most solid argument made by defenders of the CRU members. The members of the CRU do have the wight of the mainstream Scientific consensus behind them and their studies look to be Scientific sound. However that does not mean they could have some serious flaws, flaws which might not be immediately visible even to other Scientists in the field. Many a peer review study has been published which has subsequently been shown to be fall of holes. I have already stated how potential bias issues with the CRU could affect their work. The only way to ensure this is not the case is to analysis the raw data. This is something that the members of the CRU have made very difficult. Hence the reason why I am appalled and also now a little suspicious. That does not mean I think the vast body of Climate change work is wrong, just that the behaviour of the CRU members mean it should be thoroughly relooked at.

Finally I am disturbed to see how many people who supposedly came to their conclusions about AGW by basing it on the Scientific method are seemingly happy to defend appalling breaches of that same method just because they ‘believe’ that the people carrying out these breaches are in the ‘right’. Those warning about the dire impacts of AGW have been likened by some commentators to a Religious cult. Some of the behaviour and views expressed here have convinced me that this is partly true in terms of mentality.

If you truly based your views on Scientific principles then you should be willing to completely abandon your current views on the subject if enough contrary evidence comes to hand. At the moment it certainly hasn’t but you should be at least willing to admit that people like Phil Jones and Michael Mann have acted in inapproriate and unscientific ways. Phil Jones in my opinion should be requested to resign from his role for what he has done. Remember Science is bigger than just one person. If you disagree with that then perhaps you should join a Religion instead.

Gareth January 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

That’s an army of straw men you deploy, Gosman. You misrepresent the arguments being made, and so a detailed response to each point you make is a waste of time.

“The science” exists in the published literature, not in this careful selection of stolen emails, which are being ludicrously over-interpreted by the usual suspects. You claim the emails show bias: well, sometimes reality is biased — in this case, towards undeniable warming.

If the facts of global warming change, then I will adapt my views accordingly. Will we find that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is more stable than we currently expect? If we do, that will be good news for us all and I’ll welcome that. Will there be a negative feedback in the water vapour cycle (pace Spencer, Lindzen etc) that will ride to our rescue? No sign of it yet, but if it happens then I’ll be just as happy. In the meantime, I go where the balance of evidence points, and that’s in the direction of a rapid decarbonisation of the global economy.

Finally: the “religion” meme is something slung around freely by those arguing for inaction. In my view, if there’s any religion involved it’s being demonstrated by the cranks and deniers. They believe, in the face of the evidence, that warming either isn’t happening or will be minor. They believe the costs of action will cripple the global economy. They belittle those who do not share their beliefs, and proselytise their cause, by seeking to promote their views as widely as possible. They have their sacred texts – living texts such as Watts (or for the more theologically inclined, CA) where worshippers can commune and share their certainties, or the holy books which are beyond criticism (Plimer, Wishart, etc). The “emails” have become a new catechism. Look at your own actions in this thread: continually pulling quotes out of context in an attempt to make points. As the evidence has mounted over the last 20 years, how many cranks and deniers have changed their minds and accepted that we have a problem to deal with? There’s the real religion, the irrational belief in something unsupported by the evidence. The trouble is, the central tenets of your religion are the conscious construction of a carefully cordinated campaign of disinformation, which has now stooped to theft and smear.

Forgive me if I choose not to join you in your worship.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

If you believe I have misrepresented any arguments her in the summary above then feel free to point this out.

You don’t have to provide a detailed response to every one of my points but one or even two might make it clear.

Otherwise it seems clear that you are just making accusations against my argument without a shred of evidence. Not good practice in any sphere wouldn’t you agree?

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 9:35 am

I have responded in detail to your points in this thread and in the article. But as we’re not working from the same set of facts, it makes it difficult to have a meaningful discussion. You treat the emails as sufficient evidence in themselves for the accusations you make (which is also Poneke’s mistake). I assert that they are not, because they have been taken wildly out of context. You only have the selection made by the people who stole the mails. That’s not “balanced”, and it’s most certainly not fair.

You then say that all of CRU’s work needs to be revisited. Every paper published out of that institution over the last ten years? What do you mean? Or do you mean just the HADCRUT temperature series? The methodology for that is published, and that underlying data obtainable if you’re willing to do the same hard yards as Jones et al did in the beginning (and it will soon be easier, because CRU are making efforts to seek release of temp data from national weather services).

If you want a decent discussion, you need to accept some common ground: it appears that’s hard to find.

Bruce Hamilton January 22, 2010 at 9:08 am

” Look at the recent Lindzen and Choi paper, as an example of denier scientists making publication. ”

Wow, that’s clearly ” if you’re not for us, you must be against us”.
When did Lindzen more from skeptic to Denier?.

Did he have to attend a special University course to become a Denier, or does a group of like-minded souls with funny vestments and handshakes sit around allocating the negative honorific?.

The problem with the emails, is that they clearly show a fundamental disdain for one of the cores of good science, provision of relevant supplementary material to facilitate replication by others. In chemistry, failure to provide SI is one indicator of potential fraud.

I suspect you probably would wish to sanitise your computer if you visited Climate Audit, but Judith Curry’s review of the initial Lindzen Choi paper has sparked an interesting debate. Others might find at least the first part of long thread a worthwhile indication of how contentious science can be discussed by adversaries.

Not sure if Gareth, for good historical reasons, blocks links to unbelievers’ sites but, if so, a Google search will identify the 18 Jan 20010 thread for the curious.
http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/18/curry-reviews-lindzen-and-choi/

Gareth January 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

Bruce, I prefer links to that sort of site to have “no follow” tags (so that they don’t add to the site’s Google ranking), but I don’t have a policy of not linking.

The problem with Lindzen & Choi is not that the paper shouldn’t have been published in the first place: it asks an interesting question, even if L&C get the answer wrong. See Gavin Schmidt’s discussion here. Examining the claims made in the paper has lead to some interesting science being done.

The real issue is that Lindzen has been touting this paper around denialist circles as the definitive demolition of our understanding of the processes of warming. The same thing happened with the Maclean, De Freitas, Carter, ENSO paper, where the press release and statements by the three authors went a million miles beyond what the paper actually said.

Bruce Hamilton January 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

OK. Thanks Gareth. I’ll try the tag next time.

I don’t trawl denialist sites generally, so haven’t seen Lindzen’s active participation, but was pointed towards Curry’s review and participation in a discussion.

I’d also note that it appears that the L&C paper was apparently already being modified due to earlier criticisms of peers, and has been resubmitted.

My main point was that this is how contentious science should be discussed, and mislabelling a skeptic ( who has clearly stated his position ) as a Denier doesn’t advance useful discussion, but may promote entertainment .

I’d note that some of the people in the Real Climate thread you pointed to don’t seen to have learnt that trying to prevent peer-reviewed publication based on their perceptions of merit is a very bad idea.

Gareth January 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

There’s a difference between “merit” and “fundamental flaws”. Both Lindzen & Choi and McLean et al have fundamental flaws, but in the former case dealing with them through the literature leads to interesting work. McLean et al was very different and should never have been published in the form it was (the journal editors admitted as much) because it made claims not supported by its analysis. It added nothing to the literature, except perhaps to confirm a trivial finding – that ENSO affects global temperature.

Rob Taylor January 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

Get real, folks. Physical science is a human activity, carried out by humans who often behave badly, but the object of study is the physical universe, which is profoundly indifferent to humanity.

Jones, etc, may well be censured by their peers for being less than saintly in their response to what they saw as vexatious requests, but the planet will continue to warm regardless, until either the total mass of GHGs in the atmosphere is reduced or the incident solar energy flux is decreased.

The latter would still leave us with acidifying oceans, so, for our own survival, we MUST decarbonise our economies PLUS remove GHGs from the atmosphere.

This is a huge task that will be the prime occupation of the human species long after all of us are dead, and there is no guarantee that our species will, in fact, survive this sixth mass extinction. All that may be left of us, in time, may be just another discontinuity in the geological record.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 9:55 am

Phil Jones was not being ‘less than saintly’ as you so quaintly put it. He was being entirely unprofessional and acting in a arrogant and un-Scientific manner in his dealings with request for data from certain people. He should be sacked for this reason alone as Science is not best served with this sort of attitude.

You comments about how ‘…for our own survival, we MUST decarbonise’ suggest you are more interested in the political aspects of this topic rather than the Scientific.

The IPCC consensus does not suggest that our very survival is seriously under threat anytime before the end of this century and possibly well beyond, even under worst case scenarios.

It is this sort of Alarmist nonsense that turns many normal people off the Climate change debate. The whole ‘The Sky is falling, we’re all doomed’ schtick might work at getting a few hairy and unwashed neo-marxist students up in arms but the rest of us prefer a little more reasoned and rational debate thank you.

Doug Clover January 22, 2010 at 10:25 am

I call for Gosman to be fired from wherever he works because I find what he says in private communications on this website offensive. My point is that if we sacked every scientist we didn’t personally like or agree with what they say in private we would soon be very short of scientists.

When working for the public I received OIA requested that were obviously vexatious. I often commented to my colleagues about what a waste of time and tax payers money they were (sometimes in strong language), but irrespective of the merits of the application I treated them as sincere OIA requested.

As far as I know Phil Jones, despite what he said in private communications to his friends/colleagues, did not do anything contrary to the UK FOI Act. By the way does McIntyre have the right to apply for information under the UK FOIA?

There is certainly no evidence that Jones has done anything unprofessional with respect to the research work he is involved in i.e. fabricate data, knowingly publish erroneous results. As far as I am concerned this is a beat up and a witch hunt. It was done to Michael Mann and now it is being done to Phil Jones.

It will end up with climate scientists being too scared to do anything for fear of being wrong, which is a necessary part of the scientific process, or becoming targets of the internet lynch mob. But I suppose that is what is intended.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

Doug, did you ever phrase a reply to a request for information in anyway similar to the following?

“We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

If any top Scientist displayed this sort of attitude towards a member of the public, (who provide a large part of their income via their taxes), I would expect him to issue a grovelling apology, or resign, or both.

You also haven’t stated whether you think this attitude of Phil Jones is reflective of good Scientific practice and thinking.

BTW it was not up to you to decide if requests were a waste of Taxpayers money. As a Civil servant you are directed to follow the laws as laid down by elected representatives. If this means you have to spend time on things you think a waste of your time then so be it but it is up to the elected representatives to decide if they are a waste of taxpayers money.

Dappledwater January 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

“The IPCC consensus does not suggest that our very survival is seriously under threat anytime before the end of this century and possibly well beyond, even under worst case scenarios.” – Gosman.

Recent studies and observations show that some very serious consequences will manifest themselves this century. See Gareths posts on sea level rise for instance:

http://hot-topic.co.nz/wade-in-the-water/

Paleo studies on sea level, show large and sometimes abrupt increases in sea level are possible, even with smaller ice sheets than currently exist. The northern hemisphere permafrost is rapidly melting, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is past a point of no return in terms of rapid disintegration, emissions from methane hydrates are starting to increase.

These are all alarming facts, supported by science. You ignore it because it is inconvenient to your beliefs. Is that rational?.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

Some people here are placing an awful lot of faith in the whole Peer review process as if that stops any contrary arguments in their tracks.

A good overview of the flaws in Peer review is detailed in Ben Goldacre’s excellent book ‘Bad Science’. There are many reasons why a study can have serious flaws even though it has passed through the peer review and been published in an academic journal.

Gareth January 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

Bad Science is indeed an excellent book, well worth the time to read, but the lessons from it are not perhaps what you think, Gosman. Here’s Ben on climate denial:

I can spot the same rhetorical themes re-emerging in climate change foolishness that you see in aids denialism, homeopathy, and anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists.

… which is pretty much what I would have said had I reviewed the book for HT. What struck me most were the parallels between the medical issues Goldacre discusses and the things we see in the climate “debate”.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

You are trying to tar me with the Cliamte denial brush Gareth when I have stated quite categorically that I am of the mind that the general scientific consensus on the subject has the greater probability of being right versus the alternative theories.

What you did not address was the point that Ben Goldacre makes about people taking articles published in peer reviewed scientific as evidence that the results are corre.

Ben Goldacre showed that there were numerous examples where a study passed the peer review but it was still seriously flawed. He went on to show how issues such as selection bias can impact on the results of a study yet the study superficially looks like it is scientifically sound.

Gareth January 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

No tar, no brush — but the approach you display in your comments is certainly suggestive…

Peer review is a necessary form of quality control, but does not in itself guarantee correctness (see my comment on Lindzen & Choi above). Goldacre sets great store by reviews of the literature (particularly by the Cochrane Collaboration), and in climate science the IPCC process fills a similar (but not identical) niche. If you read beyond the Summary for Policymakers and get into the individual chapters of WG1, you’ll find a very thorough, nuanced and referenced review of the literature. That’s where the knowledge is, not in some stolen emails.

Mike C January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

You say you want reasoned debate on a area of science, but then all you want to do is flog your spin on stolen, out of context emails, some of which are over a decade old.
When you combine this with the poor understanding of how science (and science publishing) works that most non-scientists have, then all you get is a recipe for nonsense.

When you don’t know the people involved it’s very difficult to judge the tone, meaning and potential jokes in emails. Yet certain people feel they can ascribe tone and meaning to the smallest, out of context snippets.

There are investigations into these emails to determine what, if any, misconduct took place. Claiming you know there was misconduct, without knowing all the info, before these investigation publish their findings just shows you have a barrow to push.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 11:07 am

Ummmmm…. the excerpt from the reply from Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes I am quoting is not in the e-mails that form part of Climategate. I thought you will have worked that out by now since I have mentioned this a number of times.

Regardless of your failure to comprehend that simple fact perhaps you would actually address the contents and tone of that e-mail rather than creating yet another diversion?

Mike C January 22, 2010 at 11:28 am

1. Can you substantiate that this email is real? If it is then Jones’ comments would seem ill-advised but then as always we don’t know the context.

2. If this refers to the CRU temp data then that is all-ready available. Was this guys actually asking for something Jones could give? Had he been abusive towards Jones and therefore received a snarky reply? I doubt we know.

But once again you have missed the point that when you only have snippets, don’t know the context, you don’t really know what the deal is.

And Ps: actually discussing science isn’t a diversion, discussing out of context emails is.

Rob Taylor January 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

“The IPCC consensus does not suggest that our very survival is seriously under threat anytime before the end of this century and possibly well beyond, even under worst case scenarios.”

What a short span of concern you have, Gosman. Do you feel no responsibility towards your descendants, or are you so narcissistic that you believe that nothing matters beyond the immediate world you inhabit?

Even if we were to cease all GHG emissions today, warming would continue for millenia. What a gift to posterity…

R2D2 January 22, 2010 at 10:59 am

(sorry reply to Mike C)

Yeah good point, these out of context snipets may have actually been jokes;

“I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple.”

“Sounds like you guys have been busy doing good things for the cause”

“It seems clear we have to go above him [de Freitas]. I think that the community should, as Mike Hulme has previously suggested in this eventuality, terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels”

“The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story. Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those names!”

“We wanted to announce the Statement in the period when there was a sag in related news, but in the week before Kyoto we should expect that we will have to crowd out many other articles about climate.
2. If the Statement comes out just a few days before Kyoto I am afraid that the delegates who we want to influence will not have any time to pay attention to it. We should give them a few weeks to hear about it.”

… yeah, I’m sure these guys thought it was funny to speak as if they were advocates rather than scientists, after all that would be so funny if the worlds supposed leading scientists in the most politically influential field were acting more as advocates than scientists! Hahahaha so funny

Mike C January 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

R2, your doing a good job here of demomstrating my second point, which is the danger of people who have a poor knowledge of how science works commenting on said science.

But lets looks at some of your examples.

1. Telling a nice tidy story – this is actually a pressure in all areas of science. Tidy stories are easier to read and understand, which means they are easier to publish in a more general science journal and therefore more likely to noticed.
Sometimes as a scientist through good experimental design or through luck your data presents a tidy story. Sometimes things are “not so simple”, so you publish the best paper you can and move on to getting better, clearer data

2. “doing good things for the cause”.
How do you know this isn’t a joke? How do you know “the cause” isn’t the cause of science or scientific understanding? How do you know this isn’t a bit of an in-joke between scientists as in “skeptics say we’re doing things for the cause, so we are going to use that as a private joke in our private conversations”
Scientists do have a sense of humor you know.

3. By-passing peer review
De Freitas was responsible for letting crap science into journals, likely due to his bias, thereby by-passing effective peer review which scientists work very hard to maintain. Any scientist in any area of science would, and should, be furious if this happens and in de Freitas’s case it happened repeatedly.

So once again, your posts demonstrate the dangers of commenting on areas you don’t know much about. What would be nice is it you actually learnt something from my answers.

R2D2 January 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

Yeah I can defiantly see the funny side now! Sorry you were right, these are hilarious

Mike C January 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Snide remarks when you’re shown to be wrong?
Nothing of substance to say?
Quelle surprise!

C3P0 January 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

No, I’ve been the bigger man and realised when the debate is going no where.

I have presented the emails – fact. You have given me your opinion.

I find your opinion on them strange, but don’t have much hope of to change it. So if that is your view, that they were just joking or something and didn’t really mean it, you are free to keep that view.

Mike C January 25, 2010 at 12:15 am

The emails may well be facts but your spin on them is your opinion.
The facts around the Soon & Baliunas paper are well known however and its clear you don’t know them. It is also clear you don’t have a good understanding of how science works, if you know any scientists personally, ask them about the various pressures involved in crafting a good story in their publications.

I have said several times that without knowing the context, tone or people involved in these emails it’s foolish to jump to conclusions. There are investigations into these emails, I suggest you reserve judgment until their findings are out.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

Keep up with the emotional politicing Mr Taylor however it has very little to do with the Science.

I have a question for the regular contributors here, is Rob Taylor’s views as expressed in his last couple of posts representative of the general consensus here?

If it is then it is truly disturbing and also a problem for you guy’s getting your case across.

Dappledwater January 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

“Wow, that’s clearly if you’re not for us, you must be against us.
When did Lindzen more from skeptic to Denier?.” – Bruce Hamilton.

Errrr, clearly you must not have read much of what Lindzen has written over the years in the public domain. Heck, he even trots out a few long debunked denier zombie arguments, insinuates that those colleagues that accept the science of AGW are corrupt, creates strawman arguments and outright lies about a few things. He clearly relishes the role of being the climate science community’s equivalent of a concern troll. You appear to be in denial of his denial.

“The problem with the emails, is that they clearly show a fundamental disdain for one of the cores of good science, provision of relevant supplementary material to facilitate replication by others. In chemistry, failure to provide SI is one indicator of potential fraud.” – Bruce Hamilton.

Which e-mails show this?. Maybe you misunderstand the motivation and history behind those FOI requests?. Those e-mails show a disdain for time wasting mud rakers, that’s all.

“I suspect you probably would wish to sanitise your computer if you visited Climate Audit, but Judith Curry’s review of the initial Lindzen Choi paper ” – Bruce Hamilton.

Bruce, there is a very fundamental flaw in the paper, how can they estimate climate sensitivity from looking at the energy balance in the tropics alone?

R2D2 January 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

“Bruce, there is a very fundamental flaw in the paper, how can they estimate climate sensitivity from looking at the energy balance in the tropics alone?”

Haha thats what the ClimateAudit post says, you did read it!

Gareth January 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

Actually, it is also pointed out in the Realclimate thread early on, and in their second post on the subject. No need to go to CA for that…

Dappledwater January 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

No need R2, already aware of the main criticisms.

Bruce Hamilton January 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

If you want to call him a denier, it’s your choice, however my understanding of his position ( just Googled to check ) is that of a skeptic.

” Bruce, there is a very fundamental flaw in the paper, how can they estimate climate sensitivity from looking at the energy balance in the tropics alone?”

You ask me?. He’s the author, ask him.

NZ climate scientist numbers must be parlous if passing strangers are accosted for answers. That issue is also discussed in the Climate Audit thread. I’m clearly not qualified to respond.

Johnmacmot January 22, 2010 at 11:13 am

Gosman, Gareth summed up your arguments quite precisely.

Everything you have doggedly presented has little substance. The moral selectivity that lets you troll over other people’s stolen private emails, looking to denigrate the people who wrote them, as a way to pull down all the climate science that shows AGW taking place, is ridiculous, and does you no credit at all.

Your beliefs are clear, despite your protestations yesterday. You don’t hit your target; you’re not even facing in the right direction.

You know , if you care to think a little, that the standards of behaviour and intellectual rigor in the denialist literature don’t stand up well to a clear-eyed examination. I challenged you to genuinely apply the same detailed analysis and moral expectations to denialist material (freely provided, not stolen material, of course).

We all know that won’t happen.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

I have already dealt with this sort of pathetic and childish attempt at arguing on you part. I refer you to the first two points in post 89.

I have a Tui ad for you Johnmacmot.
‘high intolerance for intellectual dishonesty’ – Yeah right!

Johnmacmot January 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

“I have already dealt with this sort of pathetic and childish attempt at arguing on you part. I refer you to the first two points in post 89.

I have a Tui ad for you Johnmacmot.
‘high intolerance for intellectual dishonesty’ – Yeah right!”

LOL! You’re good on the moral judgements, Gosman, I’ll give you that.
But good to see you responding to things other people write, but you might want to do that with more substance, and more self-awareness. I don’t mean responding particularly to what I write, but to others here.

Go back and look at the number of times you have simply ignored the points others have made in this thread. Repeatedly.

Gosman January 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I have ignored them because they were muddying the real issue as I saw it, m as you have attempted to do with all your demands for people to start critisising anti-AGW Science.

Additionally, given the fact that many like you haven’t addressed the questions I originally raised regarding the bad scientific practices of members of the GRU, it is a bit rich to try and claim that it is I who have ignored points made by others.

Why haven’t you directly addressed my questions?

Rob Taylor January 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Gosman, if AGW is not a political issue, then what the hell is?
Tell me, what is the point of science, if our understanding of the threat posed by AGW is not used to ameliorate that threat, and/or adapt to it?
Science is not a game played by disembodied intellects, it is a structured human activity undertaken to improve our chances of survival in a dangerous and indifferent Universe.
There have been perhaps 50,000 generations of modern humans; will there be the chance for another 50,000, or will our uncontrolled experiment with our only planetary biosphere end it within the next 10 or so?
The paleoclimate record contains dreadful warnings for us, and, IMHO, refusing to face these truths is profoundly short-sighted, selfish and cowardly.

Gosman January 23, 2010 at 9:45 am

Science should be unemotive Mr Taylor. It is up to policy makers to decide any responses to Scientific investigations. Your view tends to be that the Science is demanding we take action or we are all doomed . I’d prefer to take a more measured approasch thank you than this and so does the vast majority of the World’s policy makers. You sir are in the minority on this point.

C3P0 January 23, 2010 at 10:26 am

Its one thing for robust science to influence policy, but its an entirely different thing for policy views to influence the robustness of science.

Steve Bloom January 23, 2010 at 6:36 am

Gareth, as best I can tell “Hockey Team” was coined in this early RC post by Mann and Schmidt.

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 9:19 am

Thanks Steve. From your link:
The validity of the so-called “Hockey Stick” can, of course, neither rest on the strength of MBH98, nor any one reconstruction or model simulation result alone. Rather, as demonstrated in IPCC(2001) [see this comparison here] and numerous additional studies since, it is what is perhaps more aptly termed the “Hockey Team”–that is, the multiple independent reconstructions and model simulations that now indicate essentially the same pattern of hemispheric mean temperature variation in past centuries, that support a “Hockey Stick” description of past temperature changes.

McIntyre took this reference to a team of hockey sticks, and then dubbed anyone working in the field producing work he didn’t like members of “The Team”. So I think we’re both right… ;-)

committed January 23, 2010 at 7:50 am

Gareth,

You are entitled to criticise a fellow blogger but it would be useful if you laid out the reasons for your disagreement. You have not done this.

I assume you have read the paper by David Douglass and John Christy which can be found here:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/a_climatology_conspiracy.html

I am therefore suprised that you criticise Poneke’s claim that the CRU emails “reveal that the entire global warming debate and the IPCC process is controlled by a small cabal of climate specialists in England and North America.” Messrs Douglass and Christy essentially make the same claim, that a relatively small team of “scientists” has had, and continues to have, a huge influence over the peer-reviewed process. Do you disagree with Messrs Douglass and Christy and, if so, why?

In a post above you say: “Where the request comes from is absolutely relevant. If it comes from an academic working in your field, from an institution with some standing, it will get treated with respect. ” Again, I assume you have read the Douglass and Christy paper I’ve linked to. Are these two individuals not worthy of respect? Would you treat them in the same was as the Team have treated them? If so, why? By the way, I note that OIA requests in this country are required to be handled in exactly the same way irrespective of who the requester is. I would’ve thought the same applied to FOI requests overseas.

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 9:10 am

it would be useful if you laid out the reasons for your disagreement. You have not done this.

Have you read the article and followed the links?

Poneke’s claim that ” entire global warming debate and the IPCC process is controlled by a small cabal of climate specialists in England and North America” is self-evident nonsense. Follow the link to Grant Jacobs at Code For Life for an explanation, or consider for a moment the fact that there are 70 journals that carry climate-related papers. The idea that a small group could control what appears in the entire literature just demonstrates that he has no idea how the process works.

Douglass & Christy had trouble getting a very flawed paper published, and when it did get through peer-review, it attracted a robust response. This was not because anyone was trying to silence them, just that the DCPS paper was wrong — and being widely promoted in denier circles as proving models were wrong. Read what Chris Mooney had to say in 2004 on two similar events…

If scientists like Douglass and Christy were publishing groundbreaking work that proved the climate system’s response to increasing CO2 was much less than expected, they would be leaders in the field, in line for a Nobel Prize. They’re not.

Gosman January 23, 2010 at 9:36 am

I think it is the uprofessional and unscientifc responses by members of the CRU which is at issue here Gareth. Once again you fail to actually directly answer a request to address this issue and try and argue that the original paper was flawed to begin with. Whether or not a paper is flawed does not mean Scientists can do anything they wish to discredit it. Your failure to understand this is disturbing.

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

You make this accusation of “unprofessional and unscientific” behaviour based only on the emails. That’s not sufficient evidence in my view.

Whether or not a paper is flawed does not mean Scientists can do anything they wish to discredit it.

No, nor did they. They put together a response, in the peer-reviewed literature, pointing out the weaknesses in the original paper. They could have chosen not to make a response, but you must remember that the authors were out around denial circles trumpeting their “result” as groundbreaking and important. What they said to each other in coordinating that response is irrelevant: what counts is what’s in the literature.

Gosman January 23, 2010 at 9:40 am

What is clear is that Selection bias is involved in the Science of Climate change. This is not unusual as all Science does involve a certain amount of bias. However the behaviour of the CRU members does raise serious questions about the extent of the bias. For example I would like to know why they decided to use 1000 C.E as the starting point for some of their key studies. There may be a very good reason for this but it also happens to coincide with a cooling period in the Northern Hemisphere. Can some tell me what the Scientific reason for choosing 1000 C.E was?

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 11:19 am

Without more detail on the papers you’re talking about it’s difficult to be precise, but I would suggest it’s probably got something to do with the availability of data. The further back in time we go, the more limited the data becomes, and the greater the uncertainties associated with temperature reconstructions.

And by the way, 1,000 CE is about the middle of the so-called medieval warm period, not the little ice age, so questions of “bias” don’t arise.

ChrisM January 23, 2010 at 10:13 am

Gareth you said:

Peer review is a necessary form of quality control, but does not in itself guarantee correctness (see my comment on Lindzen & Choi above). Goldacre sets great store by reviews of the literature (particularly by the Cochrane Collaboration), and in climate science the IPCC process fills a similar (but not identical) niche. If you read beyond the Summary for Policymakers and get into the individual chapters of WG1, you’ll find a very thorough, nuanced and referenced review of the literature. That’s where the knowledge is, not in some stolen emails.

That is a classic Tui moment Gareth. Where did 2035 come from? Until you start acknowledging there are fundamental flaws in a lot of the climate science process, without indulging in childish namecalling or trivial diversions, you will continue to wonder why the public is becoming more and more sceptical about the alarmist view.
If you actual read the literature, rather than the editted highlights in the blog site fan clubs, the certainty is not there. GIGO reigns supreme.

Is it any wonder that AGW is now officially a religion for urban liberal fundamentalists?

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

I could point out that the 2035 date is in WG2, not WG1. An error was made, noticed by the glaciology community, and it will be corrected. It was picked up in the review process prior to publication, but not corrected, and the author responsible for that section has some questions to answer. Are there any more mistakes in the three working group reports? I’d have thought it was quite likely — you’re talking about thousands of pages of material. But the IPCC process is not the basic business of science: research/revise/publish/rinse and repeat. It gives us an overview, and a very valuable one.

The “climate science process”, as you put it, is no more or less flawed than the process in other areas of science. The end result, what’s in the literature (and AR4 WG1) is more than enough to justify taking action. There are plenty of details to argue about, lots of knowledge to be gained, but the basics are clear enough and the balance of evidence overwhelming.

As for your comments on religion: not persuasive.

committed January 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

Gareth,

I asked the following questions:

Do you disagree with Messrs Douglass and Christy and, if so, why?

Are these two individuals not worthy of respect? Would you treat them in the same was as the Team have treated them? If so, why?

Please feel free to answer them.

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I did provide an answer: the fact that you don’t like it does not mean it wasn’t given. Douglass, Christy, Spencer, Lindzen: they all get papers published. They don’t like the fact that their peers find their work either shoddy or uninteresting. I repeat what I said before – if these guys were really doing groundbreaking work, they would be hailed as heroes. They aren’t. And if they want respect — well perhaps not publishing tendentious articles insinuating: inappropriate behavior, including (a) unusual cooperation between authors and editor, (b) misstatement of known facts, (c) character assassination, (d) avoidance of traditional scientific give-and-take, (e) using confidential information, (f) misrepresentation (or misunderstanding) of the scientific question posed by DCPS, (g) withholding data, and more. might help.

committed January 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm

By the way, Douglass and Christy say:

“We will let the reader judge whether this team effort, revealed in dozens of e-mails and taking nearly a year, involves inappropriate behavior, including (a) unusual cooperation between authors and editor, (b) misstatement of known facts, (c) character assassination, (d) avoidance of traditional scientific give-and-take, (e) using confidential information, (f) misrepresentation (or misunderstanding) of the scientific question posed by DCPS, (g) withholding data, and more.”

Those are strong charges and, on the face of it, appear to be proven. Your response, Gareth, is that the authors had trouble “getting a very flawed paper published”. You don’t provide any evidence to support your opinion. Would you care to address the issues raised by the authors.

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Proven? Wishful thinking on your part, I’m afraid. As I’ve said repeatedly in this thread, the stolen emails that have been released have been carefully selected, stripped of context. If you want to know how flawed the original Douglass paper is, I suggest you read the Santer el response.

Simon Arnold January 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Let’s just accept what appears to be the consensus view here (with a couple of notable outliers) namely that:
• the CRU withholding data was reasonable given the pressure they were under and their lack of rights to release it, and
• peer review wasn’t compromised because the papers in question were bad and shouldn’t have been published.

The implication is that the integrity of Climate Science is preserved and life will pretty much go on much the same.

I don’t think so.

I am sure that when we look back at the history of Climate Science we will see these events leading to a significant change, regardless of the view you take on the rights or wrongs. We will see much more robust questioning of the data, its sources, the formulation of scientific hypotheses and the models being used, and demands for greater transparency in general. We will also see a greater expectation of multidisciplinary input in what is a very complex science. Among other things interest is already being sparked from other quarters.

These developments will in turn change the expectations of journals and reviewers (because after all publishing and review processes largely reflect where the science is at, and respond to the prevailing mood). This will reinforce the changes in the science.

And we will also see greater public scrutiny of the science.

All of this will be a good thing because it will improve the science (including the attention from the amateurs). Had the emails not been published it would have taken much longer for these positive developments to occur.

If we celebrate science we should celebrate opportunities for it to improve, not cling to what was.

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

It’s hard to take issue with any of that, Simon. Given that the emails are now in the public domain, the end result will likely include at least some of the things you mention.

There is a big downside, however. As science historian Spencer Weart pointed out to the Washington Post:

The theft and use of the emails does reveal something interesting about the social context. It’s a symptom of something entirely new in the history of science: Aside from crackpots who complain that a conspiracy is suppressing their personal discoveries, we’ve never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance.
Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers. In blogs, talk radio and other new media, we are told that the warnings about future global warming issued by the national science academies, scientific societies, and governments of all the leading nations are not only mistaken, but based on a hoax, indeed a conspiracy that must involve thousands of respected researchers. Extraordinary and, frankly, weird. Climate scientists are naturally upset, exasperated, and sometimes goaded into intemperate responses… but that was already easy to see in their blogs and other writings.

If every prominent climate scientist has to put up with this sort of crap every time they publish something the denialists don’t like, it’s pretty obvious there’s a risk that people will keep their heads down. That’s not improving science. We do need an open discussion on what the science is telling us, but that is not what the those promoting the emails are seeking to achieve. Their business is creating doubt in the public mind in order to derail political action — and they’re being undeniably successful at that.

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

And I’ll add this quote from climate modeller Gavin Schmidt, given to Nature News:

“This climate of suspicion we’re working in is insane. It’s drowning our ability to soberly communicate gaps in our science.”

Simon Arnold January 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I expect these kinds of conern will be a passing phase, people like Gavin Schmidt will be able to return to the science.

With greater understanding of the probalistic nature of what is being said (in part through the greater involvement of statisticians in the science) the extremes on both sides will run out of steam, and the community at large will (more appropriately) see the need for a response as a matter of taking out an insurance policy (with the odds shortening or lengthening as the science improves).

Gareth January 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I sincerely hope you’re right, Simon.

The “insurance” argument is one that many people (including me) have made, but it gets little or no traction with people who have their heads in the sand.

knowitall January 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I saw this at another website earlier today (cant remember which) – thought everyone could do with reading it and following the suggestion (gareth !!)

“The lower troposphere temperature record, although normally said to be ‘consistent with’ the greenhouse hypothesis, is actually only so to the extent that error bars overlap…. The effect of changes in the Sun’s behaviour on weather patterns – whether via radiance changes, variation of the magnetic field, shielding from cosmic rays or other mechanisms – is usually dismissed as too small to be the primary driver of observed changes. … Acknowledging the validity of these points and working to resolve them in an open-minded way would be a major step in the right direction. Treating opponents with respect would be another. ” The Scientific Alliance, UK.

Steve Bloom January 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

If you actually knew it all, or indeed had undertaken even the most casual review of the scientific literature, you’d know that the solar/cosmic ray stuff was considered entirely plausible when first proposed, got a lot of attention over the years, and has been rejected because that’s where the evidence points. People who ignore the evidence in order to claim otherwise are properly deemed crackpots.

Question: When is a “Scientific Alliance” not scientific?

knowitall January 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Steve Bloom – you didnt read this bit:
….and working to resolve them in an open-minded way would be a major step in the right direction. Treating opponents with respect would be another.

Im not claiming anything in what I posted from another site except to repeat what I thought was a pretty good comment from someone else.

I was neither promoting or dismissing solar effects (and in fact the comment itself sort of dismisses it). The statements simply says that there are still many uncertainties.
Me thinks you are – as they say – protesting too much about solar effects. Maybe you know something that worries you about whatever your current position is (and thats obviously not leaning in a solar effects direction!)
I wouldn’t have a bloody clue if radiation is a factor or not – but I do know that no one else really (and I mean REALLY 100% certain) knows either, and casting aspersions at everyone who has a different slant on things isnt going to win friends and influence people……..- well not in the way you might want anyway.

Steve Bloom January 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Many things can be argued to be plausible in the absence of an understanding of the science, knowitall. Lots of them aren’t. As I said, read the literature. Also, google for “argument from personal incredulity.”

Grant January 25, 2010 at 9:44 am

Steve,

Ironically one of the reasons that I choose to comment on David’s claim that “They control the “peer review” process for research in the field and use their power to prevent contrary research being published” is that you don’t need to know the science in order to look at it, thinking it might be simpler and closer to what people outside of science know. This doesn’t work for points that touch on the science itself, obviously, but that claim was about the scientific publishing industry.

digitap April 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm

"The scientific world would come down on me in no uncertain terms if i said the world had cooled since 1998. Ok it has but it's not statistically significant and it's only seven years' data"

Phil Jones 2005.

In that Email Phil Jones admitted it hadnt warmed for years while he and his cohort of eco-terrorists were claiming statistically significant WARMING had been going on.. also privy to that email, Kevin Trenberth, Michael Mann, Steven Schneider..

They ALL know it's not warmer. That's why it was such a huge embarrassment in the email called 'most damaging' by questioners of their truthfulness when Kevin Trenberth said

"it's a travesty'' (that they couldn't account, for said lack of warming: this, in October 2009. During this same email Michael Mann was seen directing a coterie of scientists how to run a false television campaign scam: to do what? To deny what a reporter on BBC had said. What had that reporter said?

He'd said that it hadn't gotten any warmer since 1998. One month before the release of the Emails, the whole bunch of them were plotting how to silence someone who simply said what Phil Jones had said in 2005, four years earlier; and by their own silence at seeing him say it, the rest of them tacitly admitted they knew to be true. That it isn't warming and hasn't since the late 1990s.

The only reason the world at large hasn't already indicted most of these people for criminal acts is because FIRSTLY the criminals are ALL government employees at the center of this and SECONDLY because the entire world is dicily trying to extricate themselves from contractual obligations so complicated it would blow one's mind to try to consider how far these scams have etched themselves into modern governmental/private policy and FUNDING

And there WILL BE indictments. BET on it.

Download those emails . Read them yourself. You're going to see what everyone else sees, who has ever worked around law enforcement: fraud , fraud, and MORE fraud.

Johnmac April 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Why do people like you bother to dump silliness like this on us? I don't believe you actually believe this spin and propaganda , and certainly people who read here know it for the weird rubbish it is.

Laughable stuff.

dappledwater April 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Your lack of warming looks suspiciously like………..warming!:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.l
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/paper/gistemp20

Seems like you've simply repeated what some blog on a blog has claimed and do not understand what the private e-mails were about.

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