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The Inconvenient Emails

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November 25, 2009 – Comments (15)

Questions surrounding the competence, honesty, and integrity of the scientists performing AGW research in Britian continue to mount, as more and more emails are read and posted online.  The sheer volume of the emails hacked has slowed efforts by both the AGW believers to vindicate their science and the AGW skeptics to convince the public that something is terribly wrong.  Instead, the usual boring left/right paradigm is in full effect. Without reading a single email (I presume), Republicans are calling for Congressional investigations.  Without reading a single email, leading left wing bloggers are declaring the entire affair overblown and just another "right wing talking point."  (Note to my friends on the Left, calling something a "right wing talking point" is a "left wing talking point."  You're supposed to be the smart ones.)

I have been reading the emails myself.  Many are boring, but some are downright disgusting.  They are all available here.  I want you to read them for yourself.  You can neither deny they are scandalous nor trumpet them as the ultimate climate scandal unless you read them.  There is no excuse for doing nothing.

And since the Cap and Tax bill, if passed, is going to have an impact on economic activity in the United States, probably for the negative, I suggest all Fools research these hacked emails to decide if Cap and Tax is something they really think the government should support.

Finally, the CRU hackers should be given the Nobel Peace Prize.

David in Qatar

Beware Saviors! by Demetri Koutsoyiannis

Hydrological engineering is my scientific field and it is closely related to climate. In the last decade, I have been concerned about the state of research in climate and its detrimental influence on hydrology. Also, I should note up front that I try to be a skeptic; for a Greek, this is a positive quality (skeptic is etymologized from skepsis = thought). In recent years, I have tried to publish a few papers related to climate. Some of them were initially rejected, but eventually published elsewhere—usually in journals without a specific focus on climate. From the experience I gained through the review process of the rejected papers, I became more confident about the analyses I’d performed and the significance of the results I’d presented. I have not been surprised, therefore, to see that these once-rejected papers have become the most cited among my papers.

 Due to my skeptical inclination, I’ve had the feeling that my colleagues had serious doubts about my perspective. The common dogma is that “climate change is real” and its consequences are catastrophic, so why oppose those ideas and the people who arduously work to save the planet, and us, from catastrophes? I found it difficult to explain my convictions in a compelling manner. However, the explanation is actually simple and was formulated by my co-authors Alberto Montanari, Harry Lins, Tim Cohn, and myself in a recent paper criticizing the IPCC position on freshwater: “A common argument in favour of the political orientation of the IPCC is that its aims are good for humanity and the natural environment and that reducing emissions of greenhouse gases will be beneficial for the planet, regardless of the ultimate validity of the IPCC model predictions. However, we believe that science is a process for the pursuit of truth and that fidelity to this system should not be affected by other aims. History shows that such distractions can be detrimental to science.” (This paper can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1623/hysj.54.2.394 and a comment about it, as well as the IPCC authors’ reply, has been published on this weblog at http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/a-new-commentreply-on-the-subject-climate-hydrology-and-freshwater-towards-an-interactive-incorporation-of-hydrological-experience-into-climate-research/).

Having had several negative experiences in my (rather indirect) interaction with mainstream “scientists” involved in “climate change” and “climate change impacts” (I put all these quotation marks because I believe that the latter terms are not scientific), I must say that what I’ve been reading in the recently hacked and released confidential files from the CRU (aka “Climategate” documents) is not a surprise to me. Rather, and sadly, it verifies what I had suspected about some in the climate establishment. I wonder if they take pride in seeing their own words—now in a public forum: 

I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC , which were not always the same.” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=794).

 “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 !” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=419).

 “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”  (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=154).

 “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong.” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=1048).

 “If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences.” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=544)

 “The skeptics appear to have staged a ‘coup’ at ‘Climate Research’ … Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate
research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.”
(http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=295).

 “It’s one thing to lose ‘Climate Research’. We can’t afford to lose GRL [Geophysical Research Letters]http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=484).

 I do not know how the majority of research scientists feel when reading these and similar quotations from those few people who—objectively—they’d viewed as the leaders in the “climate change” enterprise, and whose results and directions they were consistently following. Will they continue to recognize them as saviors? Saviors who wish “the climate change happen… regardless of the consequences”?  Moreover, how do the journal editors feel when they learn that the editorial process that they oversaw had been so effectively influenced by these few dominant people? I had my own experience with GRL: a paper co-authored by Alberto Montanari was rejected by the then (2006) editor (although it was eventually published in another AGU journal, Water Resources Research). This interesting story is described at http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/781/, where I have posted the entire prehistory. By the way, I continue to follow the same practice of posting the prehistory for all my initially rejected papers (http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/documents/?tags=rejected). I very much like transparency.

This brings me to the last point I wish to make: secrecy versus transparency. One interesting lesson from this story is that secrecy is corruptible—and corruptive. The CRU people and their collaborators who wrote all these documents felt, no doubt, safe behind their secrecy. They must have felt that this secrecy was their best weapon: to censor differing opinions, to develop “trick” procedures, to “balance” the needs of IPCC, and even to “redefine” peer review.

Unfortunately, current scientific ethics are based largely on the assumption of secrecy—as in the anonymity of reviews.  Apparently, as the CRU story highlights, secrecy is not safe. By analogy, how can one be sure that the archive containing the reviews of a journal (with reviewer names) will never be hacked and its contents released on the internet? Of course, there are also lots of other ways that secrecy gets (self-)destroyed. For example, it is often easy to find out who the anonymous reviewers of a paper are.

So, I hope that, as this story continues to unfold, it gives us pause to consider how secrecy and anonymity are non-productive and destructive practices in science. Indeed, through such consideration, we may come to realize that transparency forces us to be more productive and progressive in pursuing the truth—particularly in science.

15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 25, 2009 at 3:48 PM, USNHR (32.48) wrote:

As we all know, this isn't about truth at all, its about plausibly
deniable accusations,

It is the right wing web sites doing all this, presumably in the build up to Copenhagen.

Indeed, through such consideration, we may come to realize that transparency forces us to be more productive and progressive in pursuing the truth—particularly in science.

Doesn't hurt in politics either... which appears to be more what the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is more concerned with.

Great post whereaminow! +1

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#2) On November 25, 2009 at 4:45 PM, devoish (96.42) wrote:

David just tell us. In your opinion, is the globe warming?

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#3) On November 25, 2009 at 4:50 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

devoish,

I have no idea. 

David in Qatar

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#4) On November 25, 2009 at 5:50 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

A Message to the Environmental Movement: Your Movement Has Been Hijacked

 

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#5) On November 25, 2009 at 5:53 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Transcript: This is James Corbett of corbettreport.com and I come here today with a message for you.

You the environmentalists, you the activists, you the campaigners.

You who have watched with growing concern the ways in which the world around us has been ravaged in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

You who are concerned with the state of the planet that we are leaving for our children and our grandchildren and those generations yet unborn.

This is not a message of divisiveness, but cooperation.

This is a message of hope and empowerment, but it requires us to look at a hard and uncomfortable truth:

Your movement has been usurped by the very same financial interests you thought you were fighting against.

You have suspected as much for years.

You watched at first with hope and excitement as your movement, your cause, your message began to spread, as it was taken up by the media and given attention, as conferences were organized and as the ideas you had struggled so long and hard to be heard were talked about nationally. Then internationally.

You watched with growing unease as the message was simplified. First it became a slogan. Then it became a brand. Soon it was nothing more than a label and it became attached to products. The ideas you had once fought for were now being sold back to you. For profit.

You watched with growing unease as the message became  parroted, not argued, worn like a fashion rather than something that came from the conviction of understanding.

You disagreed when the slogans–and then the science–were dumbed down. When carbon dioxide became the focus and CO2 was taken up as a political cause. Soon it was the only cause.

You knew that Al Gore was not a scientist, that his evidence was factually incorrect, that the movement was being taken over by a cause that was not your own, one that relied on beliefs you did not share to propose a solution you did not want. It began to reach a breaking point when you saw that the solutions being proposed were not solutions at all, when they began to propose new taxes and new markets that would only serve to line their own pockets.

You knew something was wrong when you saw them argue for a cap-and-trade scheme proposed by Ken Lay, when you saw Goldman Sachs position itself to ride the carbon trading bubble, when the whole thrust of the movement became ways to make money or spend money or raise money from this panic.

Your movement had been hijacked.

The realization came the first time you read The Club of Rome’s 1991 book, The First Global Revolution, which says:

“In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

And when you looked at the Club of Rome’s elite member roster. And when you learnt about eugenics and the Rockefeller ties to the Kaiser Willhelm Institute and the practice of crypto-eugenics and the rise of overpopulation fearmongering and the call by elitist after elitist after elitist to cull the world population.

Still, you wanted to believe that there was some basis of truth, something real and valuable in the single-minded obsession of this hijacked environmental movement with manmade global warming.

Now, in November 2009, the last traces of doubt have been removed.

Last week, an insider leaked internal documents and emails from the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University and exposed the lies, manipulation and fraud behind the studies that supposedly show 0.6 degrees Celsius of warming over the last 130 years. And the hockey stick graph that supposedly shows unprecedented warming in our times. And the alarmist warning of impending climate disaster.

We now know that these scientists wrote programming notes in the source code of their own climate models admitting that results were being manually adjusted.

We now know that values were being adjusted to conform to scientists’ wishes, not reality.

We now know that the peer review process itself was being perverted to exclude those scientists whose work criticized their findings.

We now know that these scientists privately expressed doubts about the science that they publicly claimed to be settled.

We now know, in short, that they were lying.

It is unknown as yet what the fallout will be from all of this, but it is evident that the fallout will be substantial.

With this crisis, however, comes an opportunity. An opportunity to recapture the movement that the financiers have stolen from the people.

Together, we can demand a full and independent investigation into all of the researchers whose work was implicated in the CRU affair.

We can demand a full re-evaluation of all those studies whose conclusions have been thrown into question by these revelations, and all of the public policy that has been based on those studies.

We can establish new standards of transparency for scientists whose work is taxpayer funded and/or whose work effects public policy, so that everyone has full and equal access to the data used to calculate results and all of the source code used in all of the programs used to model that data.

In other words, we can reaffirm that no cause is worth supporting that requires deception for its propagation.

Even more importantly, we can take back the environmental movement.

We can begin to concentrate on the serious questions that need to be asked about the genetic engineering technology whereby hybrid organisms and new, never-before-seen proteins that are being released into the biosphere in a giant, uncontrolled experiment that threatens the very genome of life on this planet.

We can look into the environmental causes of the explosion in cancer and the staggering drops in fertility over the last 50 years, including the BPA in our plastics and the anti-androgens in the water.

We can examine regulatory agencies that are controlled by the very corporations they are supposedly watching over.

We can begin focusing on depleted uranium and the dumping of toxic waste into the rivers and all of the issues that we once knew were part of the mandate of the real environmental movement.

Or we can, as some have, descend into petty partisan politics. We can decide that lies are OK if they support ‘our’ side. We can defend the reprehensible actions of the CRU researchers and rally around the green flag that has long since been captured by the enemy.

It is a simple decision to make, but one that we must make quickly, before the argument can be spun away and environmentalism can go back to business as usual.

We are at a crossroads of history. And make no mistake, history will be the final judge of our actions. So I leave you today with a simple question: Which side of history do you want to be on?

For The Corbett Report, this is James Corbett in western Japan.

 

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#6) On November 26, 2009 at 3:07 PM, tonylogan1 (28.23) wrote:

I thought it would take closer to 20+ years before I would start reading about the global warming hoax conspiracy unravelling...

The information age has it's benefits.

Nice post.

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#7) On November 26, 2009 at 3:16 PM, BravoBevo (99.97) wrote:

devoish: I know that you had directed your question to David, but please allow me to throw 2 pennies into the conversation.

You asked: In your opinion, is the globe warming?  Quite possibly we have been on a warming trend for a long time because if you look back into geologic history there appears to be evidence that our planet had once existed in an Ice Age (relative to our comfort of 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

And mankind contributes to this ongoing global warming but in a very minor way, in my opinion.  The next question commonly follows - if man isn't the primary cause of global warming, what is? I don't know if there is a siingle primary cause but there are plenty of contributors, many of which get hardly any media attention at all.  Some of my favorites are: (1) bovine flatulence a/k/a cow farts; (2) increasing frequency of sun flare eruptions; and (3) the inexact rotation of the earth around the sun.

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#8) On November 26, 2009 at 4:54 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

These emails clearly show the fudging of data, the collusion to control what studies are published in the literature, the hiding of data and the models that they use to make their pronostications, etc.

This by itself doesn't negate the theory of AGW.  But it does show that at some point these people became activists instead of objective scientists.

I do think that man can influence the climate, but I question the magnitude of his contribution.  At the end of the day, these are just guys farting around with computer models.

I am skeptical that they have an accurate model for all the complex interactions on the planet.  

 

 

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#9) On November 27, 2009 at 1:57 PM, tonylogan1 (28.23) wrote:

Until they have an accurate model that can tell me what the temperature will be in any given city next week, I'll continue to have a hard time believing their model will hold up over the course of decades.

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#10) On November 27, 2009 at 10:07 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

I haven't even got to the best part yet :)

David in Qatar

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#11) On November 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

David et. al.

The 70s had "The coming ice age" and then we had in the 90's "Man-Made Global Warming" and now we have "Climate Change".

devoish asks if the climate is warming. David didn't answer, but there is an answer. The climate is changing. It is always changing.

The climate on the earth has always changed (look at the graph here from Wikipedia) and it has been warmer and colder, but there is no normal. Just when do you beign the baseline for an "average" or "normal" temperature? That's subjective. Why did it start to warm 20,000 years ago? Man-made global warming? The error in judgement which is a basis is that many use their life experience as the basline when in truth any hundred years is insignficant on geologic timescales.

Did we also cause the warming 150,000 250,000 350,000 and 450,000 years ago too?

Should we start an effort to stop the continents from moving just because of their current arrangment? It has not always been so! But moving at inches per year has little impact - but on geological timescales it has been significant! From Gondwanaland to Rhodinia to the coming next supercontinent in another 100 million years - we should start now to stop man-made continental drift! All that drilling for oil offshore in the last 50 years hasn't stopped our continent from moving - stop drilling! Stop the use of fossil fuels - we can create graphs that show an acceleration in drift! We just need data and models and conferences! We must act now to prevent the coming disaster!

Change - on a scale and for a time so far from anyone's short lifespan, to make current climate change (by any name) attributable to what has happened in the last 100 years with fossil fuels, is quite exaggerated at best, fraud (as evidenced by the emails) at worst.

Known and branded as denier nzsvz9

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#12) On November 30, 2009 at 12:52 PM, Turfscape (42.81) wrote:

tonylogan1 wrote:

"Until they have an accurate model that can tell me what the temperature will be in any given city next week, I'll continue to have a hard time believing their model will hold up over the course of decades."

That's why I don't believe it when people tell me that investing in stocks works. They show me these charts that say over the long-term you can expect growth, but until they can tell me exactly how much AAPL will trade for on Wednesday next week, I have a hard time believing their model will hold up between now and 25 years down the road when I retire...

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#13) On November 30, 2009 at 1:37 PM, blesto (30.86) wrote:

Thank God for youtube.

"We have met the enemy, and they is us." Pogo

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#14) On November 30, 2009 at 3:40 PM, USNHR (32.48) wrote:

#12) On November 30, 2009 at 12:52 PM, Turfscape (32.47) wrote:

tonylogan1 wrote:

"Until they have an accurate model that can tell me what the temperature will be in any given city next week, I'll continue to have a hard time believing their model will hold up over the course of decades."

That's why I don't believe it when people tell me that investing in stocks works. They show me these charts that say over the long-term you can expect growth, but until they can tell me exactly how much AAPL will trade for on Wednesday next week, I have a hard time believing their model will hold up between now and 25 years down the road when I retire...

 The stock price of AAPL next wednesday is based on human emotion and human perception of facts. Weather on the other had is arguably quantifiable with mathmatical methods to predict it. Human perception doesn't figure into it... oh wait, except with the folks at the CRU.

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#15) On December 01, 2009 at 12:16 PM, BravoBevo (99.97) wrote:

In case anyone missed it (I almost did), yesterday's WSJ has an articulate op-ed titled The Climate Science Isn't Settled (Confident predictions of catastrophe are unwarranted) here: 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read 

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