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Climategate a year later

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Stephan Lewandowsky

A short piece for the general audience of RTR radio, Perth, Australia.
(listen to the original audio podcast)

Remember “climategate”? The private correspondence among scientists stolen exactly a year ago, which some columnists pronounced to be the (approximately 132nd) “final nail in the coffin” of global warming. Remember the “errors” in the IPCC report that hit the media a short time later? “Amazongate”, “Himalayagate”, and so on? What has happened to “climategate”? What’s happened is this.

First, the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee exonerated the scientist at the centre of this tempest, Professor Phil Jones, finding that he has “no case to answer” and that his “reputation … remains intact.”

Then Lord Oxburgh, former chairman of Shell-UK, and his panel likewise exonerated the researchers, finding that their “work has been carried out with integrity, and that allegations of deliberate misrepresentation … are not valid.”

Another enquiry, chaired by Sir Muir Russell, found the scientists’ “rigour and honesty … are not in doubt”

And in the U.S., two enquiries by his university cleared Professor Michael Mann, who published the first famous “hockey stick” graph, of all allegations.

Finally, a few weeks ago the—conservative!—UK Government concluded that “… the information contained in the illegally-disclosed emails does not provide any evidence to discredit … anthropogenic climate change.”

Not one, not two, but six vindications. This comes as no surprise to anyone with passing familiarity of the distinction between private chat and public actions.

And what has happened to the IPCC “Whatevergates”?

What’s happened is this.

First, the Sunday Times apologized and retracted its “Amazongate” story. There is no “Amazongate”; there is only the Amazon rainforest threatened by climate change.

Then the Dutch government accepted responsibility for erroneously informing the IPCC that 55% of the Netherlands are below sea level—when in fact only 26% are at risk of flooding because they are below sea level, whereas another 29% are … err … at risk of flooding from rivers.

Then the BBC apologized to the University of East Anglia for its misleading coverage of the “climategate” pseudo-scandal.

What is left of all the “Whatevergates” are thus red-faced apologies and, yes, one IPCC error: The likely date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers was given as 2035, as opposed to the more likely 2350—an error drawn to the public’s attention not by a newspaper or a “skeptic” blogger but …. by an IPCC author.

So one year’s worth of climategate has given us exactly one typo and 6 exonerations of scientists. Here then are the real questions that real journalists should have been asking for the past year:

Why?

Who?

Who is waging this campaign against climate science and why?

Those questions have answers; and if you are in Perth next Monday, you can hear the answers from Professor Oreskes, a historian at the University of California who has been researching the way in which vested interests try to manufacture doubt about science, during her free lecture at UWA. That’s a Monday evening, 22nd of November, 6pm in the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre at UWA.

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO PODCAST 

Details of Naomi Oreskes' events

Place Time Details
Melbourne Wednesday
17 November
5.45 to 7.00pm
Where: Experimedia, The State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne.
RSVP: No booking required.
Media Contact: Prof. David Karoly, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, 0433 692 863.
Presented by: The Monash Sustainability Institute & The Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. (Prof. Oreskes will be introduced by Prof. Karoly, with Q&A moderated by Prof. Dave Griggs, MSI. Merchants of Doubt will be available for purchase before the lecture, with signing and sales afterwards.)
Adelaide Thursday
18 November
6.00 to 7.30pm
Where: RIAus @ The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide.
RSVP: http://www.riaus.org.au/events/2010/11/18/merchants_of_doubt.jsp
Presented by: RIAus
Media Contact: Dr Lisa Bailey, Senior Programmes Coordinator, RIAus, 0427 490 088.
This talk will be livestreamed from http://www.ustream.tv/channel/merchants-of-doubt.
Perth Monday
22 November
6.00pm
Where: University of Western Australia, Social Sciences Lecture Theatre (parking P3, Hackett Entrance)
RSVP: No booking required.
Presented by: The Institute of Advanced Studies.
Media Contact: Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychology, UWA.
(Merchants of Doubt will be available for purchase from 5.30pm with the author signing afterwards.)

 

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 69:

  1. We mustn’t forget all that fuss about Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) either. He was eventually revealed to be “a scrupulously honest man”.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2010/08/26/the-smearing-of-an-innocent-man/#more-1281
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  2. And for those who get all uppity about how "rude" or "aggressive" the remarks within some of those emails were, Arthur Smith has some extracted comments from other discussions. And remember, these aren't private comments, they're directed to editors of journals. I've made some guesses at what might have been said about some of these papers in private, you can do your own guessing.

    http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/the_nothing_that_was_climategate
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  3. Another non story relegated to oblivion as reality goes on.
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  4. Philippe Chantreau #3
    What more do you want, the subject is climate?
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  5. Meanwhile co2 concentration has gone from 385ppm to 388ppm.
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  6. "So one year’s worth of climategate has given us exactly one typo ...."

    I'm sorry to have to say that no proper examination of the Himalayan glacier error could correctly sum it up as a 'typo'. There just might have been a typo somewhere between the uncertain source of this claim and its eventual publication in AR4 but that is beside the point - the IPCC not only repeated the obvious error, and ignored the warnings of an "IPCC author", but stubbornly stuck by the claim for 3(!) years:

    "Georg Kaser, an expert in tropical glaciology and a lead author for the IPCC, warned that the 2035 prediction was clearly wrong in 2006, months before the report was published. "This [date] is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude," he said." (The Guardian)

    ...which as anyone who followed this episode would be aware was but one of numerous times when the claim was questioned - not from skeptics - but from proper glaciologists. The IPCC response was two years too late, but more importantly, came after an embarrassing episode of dogmatic refusal to accept fallibility that has damaged the reputation of this important body.

    I think the customary high standard of rigour at Skeptical Science has slipped in this piece.
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  7. Soundoff #1

    This is Monbiotfrom NOV30 last year:

    “When it comes to his handling of Freedom of Information requests, Professor Jones might struggle even to use a technical defence. If you take the wording literally, in one case he appears to be suggesting that emails subject to a request be deleted, which means that he seems to be advocating potentially criminal activity. Even if no other message had been hacked, this would be sufficient to ensure his resignation as head of the unit.”

    So much for Monbiot. Even his name was a little preposterous - but the facts of the matter have not changed.

    It is hard to claim that damning quotes have been 'taken out of context' when the meaning is explicit and undeniable.
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  8. Anyone care to 'reinterpret' these quotes, one year on?

    Just a little massaging of the story in order to avoid misleading the great unwashed or perhaps a small snapshot of the way science is done these days:

    Quote:

    Phil Jones, head of the CRU, in 1999: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

    Phil Jones in 2004: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    Jones in 2005 after a request for data: “I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

    Notes in the Harry_read_me computer file for CRU data: “These will be artificially adjusted to look closer to the real temperatures.” “Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!”

    Endquote
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  9. Calling the Himalaya mistake a 'typo' is wrong IMO. It was a mistake from a failure in the reference reviewing process...


    Ken: the "nature trick" is well explained, see Briffa's 2000 paper in Quart. Sci. Rev. for an introduction to the divergence problem and elsewhere for further explanation (e.g. the caption of the WMO graph that the furore is about)

    The last one is from a small program of which there is no evidence it was ever used in a paper or for published data. Such programs to test stuff during research are very common. I must have dozens of them on my computer, for example, because I've recently been looking at the sensitivity of the model.
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  10. Re: Ken's Monbiot from NOV30 - He has somewhat backed away from he said in the heat of the moment about Dr. Phil Jones, as shown in the following:

    George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 8th July 2010

    So was I wrong to have called, soon after this story broke, for Jones’s resignation? I think, on balance, that I was. He said some very stupid things. At times he squelched the scientific principles of transparency and openness. He might have broken the law. But he was also provoked beyond endurance. I think, in the light of everything I’ve now seen and read, that if I were to write that article again I would conclude that Phil Jones should hang on - but only just. I hope the last review gives him some peace.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2010/07/07/filth-and-fury/
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  11. It is interesting that in a thread titled "Climategate a year later" Ken Lambert quotes Monbiot from a year ago. Soundoff then updates Monbots quote. Why can't the skeptics even keep up with what their own side says? The continual wack a mole gets tiring.
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  12. Real Climate had a complete discussion of exactly what "hide the decline" was all about, and Ken missed it. Oh well. So-called skeptics have already "redefined" what peer-review is by including such sources as E&E, a publication that claims bias as its vocation: "platform for skeptic authors" were Sonja B.M. own words.
    The vast campaign of harassment organized by McIntyre by underhanded way of FOI requests is more of a scandal than all the non existing whatevergates balloons launched and deflated.
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  13. KL...In another thread, we get an unfounded claim that climate scientists don't know how to code and annotate code. Then when someone properly annotates code to clearly indicate what is going on to avoid later confusion, you pick it up out of context as evidence of malfeasance.

    This feels like another of the internally inconsistent set of arguments used to confuse, in your words, "the great unwashed" about the evidence for climate change. It also makes it impossible for climate scientists to do anything right -- a proper double bind. Very convenient (from a denialist perspective).
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  14. Orsekes is a very good historical scholar on this issue. Here's detailed interview with her about role of media and christian evangelicals in pushing climate denial. http://stephenleahy.net/2010/07/13/proof-of-anti-global-warming-cabal-fossil-fuel-interests-christian-evangelicals-and-the-media/
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  15. The "skeptics" really do need to move on. "Climategate" was the mother of all ad hominem attacks on the climate science community.

    They will debny it of course, but Climategate was also an epic fail for them, and history will not document it in the way they would like to. It has also afforded us a scary insight into the tactics and behavior of "skeptics", namely their willingness to distort, misinform and manipulate information to suite their own ideology and further their campaign of doubt and confusion. Not to mention highlighting the desperate lengths they will go to to come by that information.

    Dismissing six investigations as whitewashes just does not cut it. The skeptics are in fact very lucky that, until now at least, criminal charges have not been brought against those who organized and oversaw vexatious FOI campaign or those who were involved with the theft of the emails.

    Posts by some "skeptics" here just go to prove the points made in the above post-- sad that they fail to see that. Also, it seems that said "skeptics" have not taken the time to read the reports from the various inquiries, especially the comprehensive (and at times rightfully critical) report by Sir Russell. But instead insist on parroting long debunked myths and misinformation that have done the rounds on various internet blogs and in misguided elements of the media.

    For example, as for the fallacious claims being parroted here about fudging code and numbers, please read this.

    Did "climategate" undermine the validity of the theory of anthropogenic climate change?

    No, not one bit. Now that is a very inconvenient truth for the "skeptics". And here is another, the extremely troubling revelations concerning the Wegman report.
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  16. Albatross... Ironically, though, just today Richard Lindzen was in front of a congressional subcommittee making this statement:

    "Climategate is proof of overt cheating by climate scientists."

    This after there have been numerous, in depth, independent reviews into the matter. It's almost like Lindzen and his smoking. No amount of evidence can sway his opinion.
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  17. I find it gratifying that science and scientists have been vindicated and the contention that the IPCC should be infallible or discredited as totally ridiculous.

    On the other hand I respect the right of anyone to honestly and genuinely question scientific findings and theories and to do so publicly. By honestly and genuinely, I mean without resorting to the deceptions employed by those who describe themselves as sceptics but are more accurately climate change deniers.

    Journalists have a responsibility to write on such matters in an informed and balanced way and editors to ensure the accuracy – rather than the “newsworthiness” of what they publish.

    Of concern is that journalists who are neither knowledgeable or informed nevertheless produce articles which, to be kind, are less than balanced and editors, particularly those employed by Rupert Murdoch.
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  18. It was amazing watching the hyper-ventilating outpourings of the so-called skeptics, when this all came out, and I could just imagine many of them hugging themselves with false glee - thinking that they were witnessing the final (final) nail in the coffin of AGW.
    Unfortunately for them, though, reality eventually returned and they had to move onto more diversions, hopes, dreams and disappointments.
    Any unbiased observer would have watched all this, seen the outcomes of all the enquiries, understood that the science still stood, and moved on. Not the so-called skeptics. No, they have to regurgitate the same old disinformation and keep gnawing at the old bones of broken dreams (if I can mix my metaphors).

    Ken Lambert, you need to read more to understand the banal (and non-conspiracy) meaning of the words you have quoted and posted :


    What does Mike's Nature trick to 'hide the decline' mean?


    Real Climate


    George Monbiot


    Memorandum submitted by Dr. Timothy J. Osborn to the Science & Technology Select Committee


    As for Lindzen's comment : he is a desperate, desperate man.
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  19. Rob Honeycutt, if I may ask, what's the story with Lindzen and his smoking?
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  20. Albatros, JMurphy et al..

    Well one man's heroic whistleblower is another man's thief.

    If the emails were uncontroversial - why bother exposing them??

    Notice that none of the participants ever claimed that they were fakes or had been doctored.

    The critical lesson of the Climategate affair is that the most prominent AGW scientists (Jones, Mann, Trenberth, Briffa et al) clearly felt it necessary to obstruct and suppress dissenting views - no matter how inept or unfounded or vexatious.

    If the AGW science was so strong and overwhelmingly correct - the dissenters would not need suppressing - surely they would wilt in the harsh light of open examination.

    A better explanation is that Jones et al really felt the science was weaker than they had portrayed it to the public (which is well documented in the leaked emails); and that dissenters were a real threat to that rather weak edifice.

    Interested amateur skeptics on this very good blog have shown up many of the weaknesses in both theory and measurement.

    SS's mission statement is to more or less demolish the skeptical arguments about AGW - but when robust free discussion reigns - that mission is looking seriously undone.
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    Response: "one man's heroic whistleblower is another man's thief"

    There is no evidence that the emails were leaked by a whistleblower. On the contrary, the current evidence available (which is scant because the investigation is ongoing) is that the emails were stolen from an external hacker. Combine this with the fact that the first public introduction of the Climategate emails was the Real Climate server being illegally hacked and the emails uploaded to their server - hardly the work of a heroic whistleblower. There were also attempted theft of other climate lab's servers at the same time. The coordinated nature of the Climategate smear campaign indicates this was an external job.
  21. KL #20

    If the two pillars of your argument are firstly in assuming that measurements that you admit have poor precision are actually precise enough to draw strong conclusions about the earth's energy balance and ocean heat content, and secondly continuing to magnify the poorly chosen words, and lack of political astuteness displayed in a very small proportion of a large corpus of stolen emails, then your position is clearly in very deep trouble indeed.
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  22. Ken, if I may comment, as one of the "unwashed" readers of this and other climate blogs including WUWT. You have made no scientific argument at all, and remain completely unconvincing to me.

    I did notice the emails were undoctored, and authentic. I also noticed that they were cherry picked, taken out of context, and willfully misinterpreted in the worst possible way. Despite all that, independent expert observers concluded no dishonesty, no intent to deceive, and no fault with the underlying science.

    So, your only arrow is to try to convince me that 10s of thousands of scientists worldwide, in competing scientific and academic institutions, using independent and different means of scientific inquiry, all coming to the same conclusion that CO2 is causing global warming, are all either in conspiracy, or that all have exactly the same sort of incompetence. Good luck with that.
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  23. OK, I just need to comment on Ken's remark that:
    "If the AGW science was so strong and overwhelmingly correct - the dissenters would not need suppressing - surely they would wilt in the harsh light of open examination."

    If only, Ken. There are quite a few 'dissenters' who will throw anything at a wall, and just hope something sticks. They know they will be supported by a lot of people, because they attack the 'status quo'/'consensus'. Some may honestly think they are right, and also find support by the same group of people. Some actually believe that *because* they are being 'attacked' or 'ridiculed' they must be right.

    Of course, there is hardly any suppressing going on. If there would be, quite a few 'dissenters' would be investigated by their university for academic malpractice (plenty of examples for that if requested). It is quite interesting that only 'pro-consensus' people have been dragged in front of inquiry commissions.
    Moreover, one would wonder where "poptech" gets his list of so many peer-reviewed articles that supposedly go against 'the consensus', if 'dissent' was so actively suppressed.

    In short, Ken, your argument lacks substance, and indicates some ignorance of human nature.
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  24. "If the emails were uncontroversial - why bother exposing them??"

    "If the tobacco were so harmful, why do people still smoke and Richard Lindzen said there was no problem?"

    Logical fallacy it is.
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  25. Marco #23

    "In short, Ken, your argument lacks substance, and indicates some ignorance of human nature".

    Indeed I am a dunce in so many areas.

    The best layman's summary I have read is by Terence Corcoran of Canada's National Post.

    Here:
    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/12/21/terence-corcoran-a-2-000-page-epic-of-science-and-skepticism-part-2.aspx#ixzz15dTZUaWJ

    Corcoran claims he has read every word of the first 5 years emails and to my mind the most damning excerpt is this:

    Quote:

    "The emails portray embattled scientists fighting desperately to interfere with official FOI processes. One now widely-circulated email, by Mr. Jones, asked Mr. Mann: “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith [Briffa] will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment — minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.”
    In this email, Mr. Jones is asking key scientists who worked on AR4 — the 4th Assessment Report on the science of climate change produced by the IPCC in 2007 — to erase all emails related to that report. Caspar Ammann is a scientist at the Climate and Global Dynamics Division of U.S. National Centre for Atmospheric research."

    Endquote

    For those who think I am a dunce on human nature - perhaps they could explain why leading scientists in the course of their legitimate email discussions with each other would want to erase all the email communications involving IPCC AR4??

    IPCC AR4 was produced to convince the world's leaders that massive urgent action on reducing CO2 emissions was imperative to save the planet from damaging global warming. Not a trivial document.

    There is only one explanation - they knew that they had something to hide which would not stand public scrutiny. And that something was their expressions of honest doubts about the data, the collusion to suppress dissent in publications and some of the unlovely bastardry that academics get up to.
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  26. Moderator John:

    Response: "one man's heroic whistleblower is another man's thief"

    There is no evidence that the emails were leaked by a whistleblower. On the contrary, the current evidence available (which is scant because the investigation is ongoing) is that the emails were stolen from an external hacker. Combine this with the fact that the first public introduction of the Climategate emails was the Real Climate server being illegally hacked and the emails uploaded to their server - hardly the work of a heroic whistleblower. There were also attempted theft of other climate lab's servers at the same time. The coordinated nature of the Climategate smear campaign indicates this was an external job.

    OK John, hacking of a computer is a crime in some jurisdiction and it happens with things like Wikileaks - again it depends on what harm is done and to whom. Reputations - not human lives were put at grave risk.

    Had the hacked Climategate emails been found to be boring academic 'to and fro' with the occasional expletive all ending in happy agreement between the world's leading climate scientists - then they would have provided poor fodder for a deliberate smear campaign.

    The scientists involved could have pointed to their rectitude, honesty and professionalism, and to the perfidy of the hackers.

    Did not quite work out that way - and so the hackers crimes in exposure of these emails was on balance in the public interest.
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  27. Ken Lambert, you are getting more and more desperate in your attempts to see conspiracies everywhere.

    The reason the emails were leaked was to sow discord and disinformation, by the selective release of certain emails, often without the follow-ups or responses from those they were sent to.

    There was no attempt to suppress so-called dissenters : just a desire to see correct scientific practice being presented - something I would imagine you would agree with...as along as it doesn't go against your anti-AGW beliefs, of course.

    There is no hidden weakness in AGW theory, which you seem to believe is presently out of reach (due to that conspiracy against the heroic dissenters) and just waiting to be magically revealed; and, despite what you believe about yourself, I have yet to see anything on this site which does any damage to a theory which will need more than a few blog posts to even barely scratch.

    Try to stick to facts, not what you need to believe - and emails taken out of context are not facts to anyone but those who wish to deny AGW. As Gavin Schmidt has written :

    There is an ill-advised suggestion [to delete emails], but there is no evidence that any email that was responsive to a FOIA request actually was deleted.


    Keep chewing on the same old bones if you want to, but don't expect to be taken seriously anymore.
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  28. As correction attempt was deleted promptly, I request #1 to be deleted as well.
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    Moderator Response: (Daniel Bailey) Please demonstrate how comment #1 in this thread is in error; as always, provide a linked source proof. Thanks!
  29. Re: Ken Lambert (26)
    "Did not quite work out that way - and so the hackers crimes in exposure of these emails was on balance in the public interest. "
    So if a crime was committed, but deemed by even one person to be acceptable, said crime becomes an act of public service...? Interesting.

    By that logic, if a hypothetical "hacker" were to hack SkS and delete every one of your comments you've ever made at this site because they disagreed with a few of them, that would be OK, right?

    Quite frankly, you ceased to contribute anything substantive to discussions here some time ago. It didn't used to be that way; but that's the way it's worked out.

    The Yooper
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  30. The only noticeable change that I have observed one year on, is that so-called skeptics are being more desperate, wilder in their accusations and shallower in their arguments.

    Is it because they put all their faith in these emails, expecting AGW theory to come tumbling down in revelations of hidden secrets, forbidden knowledge and furtive conspiracies between scientists, governments and the UN ? Strangely, it would appear so !
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  31. KL,

    Readers here, for the most part, are learned and well informed on the issues of the day. Yet you insist in making baseless and at times false accusations. Personally, I find it offensive and insulting that you would be here, at SS of all places, continuing to smear the scientists with long debunked spin, despite six inquiries ruling (mostly-- there was some valid criticism) in the scientists' favour. Please don't try and argue that they were all "whitewashes", we've quite had enough of the conspiracy theories the past year.

    "The best layman's summary I have read is by Terence Corcoran of Canada's National Post.

    Posting that was a strategic error on your part. Corocoran clearly has an agenda against climate scientists, and frequently smears them. In fact, Dr. Andrew Weaver is suing the National Post (including Corcoran) for libel (and for fabrication) for that very reason.

    The National Post is, it seems, only accountable to the courts, they do not even make their code of practice available, and they are not a member of any professional print media association-- so it is hopeless trying to challenge their misinformation or hold them accountable. So you, quoting Corcoran here in your defense, is not doing you any good. It shows that you would rather take the word of a second-rate journalist with an ideological agenda, over the findings of six inquiries. Why? Perhaps it is because they are telling you what you wish to hear?

    Now is there any of the science discussed in the illegally released emails which you claim refutes the theory of AGW/ACC? Keeping in mind that issues with the science have all been discussed openly in the scientific literature already (e.g., divergence problem and "missing heat")?
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  32. Ken, as I noted, you are apparently rather ignorant on human nature. Scientists can get pretty fed up with continuous attempts to harass them, and taking everything they say out of context. If anything, climategate is very obvious evidence of taking things out of context by the 'dissidents'. McIntyre went as far as removing the middle part of an e-mail which completely destroyed his argument, put it back when called out by Deepclimate but kept his claim, but hardly any of his accolytes called him out on his narrative being wrong.

    Regarding human nature: when humans are very frustrated, they sometimes come with rash remarks, which they do not necessarily have thought through. It's not a matter of wishing to hide bad things, it's a matter of being frustrated with one harassing request after the other. Jones is just one of those scientists who wants to be left alone, and not continuously be accused of dishonesty, cooking the books, and whatnot.
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  33. Re: Moderator Response to #28: Please demonstrate how comment #1 in this thread is in error; as always, provide a linked source proof. Thanks!
    As far as I can see no one has demonstrated in any way how my deleted comment, which had links in it, was in error. And that with a linked source proof of its fault not even on the wish list.

    On the other hand, it was a clear demonstration of how #1 misrepresents facts. If I may ask, do not use double standards, please. Thanks.
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  34. Re: Berényi Péter (33)

    Your comment was deleted because it was deemed in violation of the Comments Policy; specifically due to your implication that because Dr. Rajendra Pachauri lived in a home that you perceived to be beyond the means of his current income that he therefore must have "missed" declaring a "hidden" source of income. I find that insinuation of dishonesty repugnant; a man of your intellect should be above conduct of that sort.

    As far as the moderated comment you question, I was moderating at that time & wrote that comment; a comment which you still have left the terms of which unfulfilled. SoundOff noticed the missing of the kerfuffle noise surrounding Dr. Rajendra Pachauri and summarized it, replete with a link to Monbiot's post from which SoundOff derived his quote. I have read and re-read both SoundOff's comment and Monbiot's post several times and fail to see to what you are taking issue with. So, please share the details of why you feel SoundOff's comment violates the Comments Policy, because (call me slow) I'm not seeing it.

    In the future when moderating, I shall identify myself so that others do not blame John for my moderating.

    The Yooper
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  35. Ken Lambert, the reason these uncontroversial e-mails were released is abundantly clear. By releasing this information-out of context-during the Copenhagen Climate Summit, they were able to sow just enough immediate doubt to give International Leaders an excuse to not fix any targets for future emissions reductions. This agenda fit in very nicely with the goals of the fossil fuel industry-which makes them the most likely source of the hack (either them or one of their front organizations). Of course, once everyone had time to analyze the e-mails-in their full context, it became blindingly obvious that there was no evidence of deceit or conspiracy within them.
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  36. Daniel Bailey #29

    All leaking of confidential or private documents could be found to be a crime somewhere. If you are a public servant (or a federal employee in USspeak) then you sign employment documents to maintain confidentiality, take oaths etc etc...

    Then "whistleblower" leglislation is enacted at some later date to protect you if you find that some malfeasance is happening in your job. This is a fraught matter for your judgement - those who are 'blown' will always cry 'thief' and try to smear the blower.

    The act of copying documents, leaking internal information is always prima facie illegal - but the leaker might be protected if the malfeasance is proven and the revelation in the public interest. How many scandals have been exposed by prima facie illegal leaking or stealing of documents?

    My point remains: if there was a boring technical discussion going on in the revealed emails and no jaw droppers like 'hide the decline' and 'its a travesty' and 'Can you delete any emails...', and 'even if we have to redefine what is peer-review' then there would be nothing to talk about.

    The real deniers in this debate are those who deny that Climategate exposed the leading scientists private doubts about the data and the measurement (and hence the quality of their work) and their attempts to present a 'sexed-up' monolithic quasi-alarmist story to the public.
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  37. Ken,

    I agree that 'Can you delete any emails ...' is very poor - do you understand the reasons that the originator may have asked for this?

    I would like for you to explain to us what the meaning of "hide the decline" is, and "it's a travesty". Just a warning: I'm only asking you this because I'm pretty sure that you'll take these comments utterly out of context and claim that they mean something that they do not.
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  38. Re: Ken Lambert (36)

    As a former DoD employee who held a security clearance above the Top Secret level, I'm intimately familiar with non-disclosure agreements (12 years post-DoD, I am still bound by some of them). However, you appear to be operating under the premise that the aforesaid emails were released by a "whistleblower"; i.e., that it was "an inside" job.

    More evidence exists to the contrary, that it was an outside job, a "hack".

    As to the content of the emails: I see scientists being human, exchanging information and sharing ideas in a forum presumed to have a limited audience; that said audience would have a background of knowledge allowing a contextual understanding of the information, ideas and emotions being shared between professional colleagues and even friends. That sometime frustrations get voiced (better out than in, I say), frustrations that were understood to be seen in the context of "venting".

    Who among us have not had bad days? Said and/or written things in the heat of the moment that, had the brain filter been in "ON" mode, they might otherwise thought twice about letting out?

    I have. You have, Ken. We sometimes do things that we later regret having said or done. We express contrition. We move on.

    Once upon a time a while ago in a comment to you I was a little emphatic in my wording. I'd had been a long day. Later, having thought about it, I posted a comment apologizing to you for my earlier vehemence.

    I'm human, make mistakes. You are and do, Ken. We try to learn from them and move on. As Phil Jones is trying to do. As Rajendra Pachauri is as well.

    That is the lasting takeaway I get from having read the emails. That this is still an issue with some is telling as to preconceptions and mindsets. Conflating uncertainties into a conspiracy is absurd. I hold you and BP to a higher standard than that; you are both capable of much more.

    The Yooper
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  39. The sad thing is, most casual folks got the gist that the scientists did something bad. They did not get the message that it was all trumped up with no basis in reality.

    As usual, the bad guys have better marketing than the good guys.
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  40. Daniel Bailey #38

    I appreciate your sentiments and your previous apology which I described as 'handsome'. Your apologia for the Climategate scientists' understandable errors and frustrations is quaint but misses the big point.

    What we say on SS might not (in the immortal words of Mark Twain) be worth anything more than a 'bucket of warm spit'.

    But we are not writing IPCC Reports, nor holding the great responsibility of giving expert advice to world leaders about 'the greatest moral challenge of out time'.

    Those paid professional scientists who are given this responsibility because of their expertise in these fields were not just conducting their private social lives in these leaked emails -they were discussing business and probably largely in business hours (no doubt out of hours too) in facilities furnished by the taxpayer.

    Any email I send in my business I know is a legal document which can live electronically somewhere forever.

    That does not prevent me expressing a robust honest opinion - but I can definitely say that if my business emails were stolen - I would sleep soundly and lay straight in bed as they would contain nothing other than normal business matters conducted in a civil manner.

    I find it incomprehensible that those involved could be so indulgent, devious and arrogant as to discuss ways to suppress publication of other's work, delete emails which could be subject to FOI requests etc etc...and still call themselves professional scientists.
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  41. Ken, please send me your business mails (John can be the intermediate). Don't worry, I will promise NOT to take the most positive view of your business dealings, but try and twist any and all honest remark you made, such that it looks like you are a big fraud and extorted large amounts of money from your customers by not providing them with all required information.

    More seriously:
    FOI requests are not something a professional scientist feels very confident with, as it is nothing but administrative work that does not positively affect their work. I know, I *am* a professional scientist, and know there is nothing more likely to get me and my colleagues all upset when yet another administrative rule interferes with our actual work: teaching students and doing research. As a professional scientist I also frequently discuss ways to suppress publication of other's work, most importantly through the peer review process. This, of course, is all related to papers that make fundamental mistakes, willingly or unwillingly. In fact, next week I will submit a "reject" recommendation for a paper, and by the end of this year I will submit a comment that should get the author or the journal to retract a published article. I guess that makes me a bad person in your opinion. My colleagues, however, are happy that someone is willing to do the job several reviewers clearly were not able to do (for whatever reason). You see, that's what we do in science: when people write nonsense, they are called out for writing that nonsense. Gatekeeping, as in keeping nonsense out of the literature, is part of our job. Scientists know that not every opinion is equally valid.
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  42. Re: Marco (41)
    "You see, that's what we do in science: when people write nonsense, they are called out for writing that nonsense. Gatekeeping, as in keeping nonsense out of the literature, is part of our job. Scientists know that not every opinion is equally valid."
    Nice point, Marco. In essence, scientists (through peer review) act as Moderators to the literature published in their field.

    A comparison could be made between Nature and E&E and Skeptical Science and WUWT. Nature and SkS are moderated/peer reviewed, while the others essentially are not.

    Interested in developing your insightful comment into a post here? Doesn't have to be an end-all, be-all; I know that the insights of a working scientist into the peer review process would be very valuable to many.

    Thanks!

    The Yooper
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  43. Contact me directly, Daniel (I guess someone from the website can see my e-mail address, I'm not going to publish it here!).
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  44. Marco #41

    Give me your email address and I will snd you my last 14 years of business emails. They will cure your insomnia. I am sure you will agree with my radical personal opinion expressed to my Yankee associates in there somewhere that George W. Bush is vying for the title of worst US President of all time with Rutherford Hayes.

    I have no reason to not accept the truth of the below excerpt from NP:

    "Mr. Mann meddled in other ways. In January 2005, he called the editor of Geophysical Research Letters, the official science publication of the American Geophysical Union, to try to head off a paper by Mr. McIntyre. The editor, Steve Mackwell, defends the decision to publish and tells Mr. Mann that the McIntyre paper has been thoroughly peer reviewed by four scientists. “You would not in general be asked to look it over,” Mr. Mackwell told Mr. Mann. Later in 2005, Mr. Mann wrote to Mr. Jones on their troubles with the GRL journal after Mr. Mackwell’s term as editor was up: “The GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/ new editorial leadership.”


    Reference: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/12/21/terence-corcoran-a-2-000-page-epic-of-science-and-skepticism-part-2.aspx#ixzz15p66k1Ad

    Now you have mis-represented your 'rejection' of a paper in a peer review process with what is described in the above excerpt.

    The two are not the same. The Mann incident is an attempt to interfere with a peer review process at GRL which had already been conducted by 4 scientists by pressuring the Editor. When the Editor's term expired, Mann described it as a "leak which has been plugged"!!

    A leak in what - a well respected journal of record such as GRL was 'leaking' - leaking what? Clearly anything which Mr Mann and his colleagues did not agree with.

    And clearly the new Editor of GRL was 'their man (or woman)' because now the leak had been plugged.

    So now Marco - your honest appraisal and rejection of a paper in your role as peer reviewer you seem to regard as equivalent of 'suppressing other people's work'. Oh dear Ken, thats what we do in science as gatekeepers of the citadel. Amen.

    Dear Marco, it all depends on your reasons for rejecting other peoples' work, and whether you improperly attempt to compromise the independence of other peer reviewers or pressure Editors to interfere with a properly conducted peer review process.

    If that cap fits - wear it!
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  45. KL #44

    Why do you waste your time with that comment, when you could try and provide a sensible answer to #37 instead?

    If you managed that it would greatly strengthen your argument. However the fact that you won't or can't looks to me like a tacit acknowlegement that your argument is on extremely thin ice.
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  46. This thread is hilarious, normally we would see at skepticalscience.com arguments that skeptics are cherry picking and do not see the broader picture. However in this case the situation has been reversed.

    *Gets some pop corns and beers and leans back in the chair...*
    0 0
  47. @actually thoughtfull

    "As usual, the bad guys have better marketing than the good guys."

    This argument is known as playing the victims card. Used carefully, like here, it is very powerful but never less not an argument.
    0 0
  48. Re: batsvensson (46)

    And in your world, the "broader picture" is...?

    The Yooper
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  49. @Daniel Bailey

    Do I need to explain the obvious?
    0 0
  50. Re: batsvensson (49)

    Do tell. Consider me from Missouri and "show me". 'Cause I'm a bit thick I guess and connecting the dots you're drawing isn't working for me.

    The Yooper
    0 0

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