A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
November 28th, 2009
Last weekend, an anonymous hacker (or possibly whistle-blower) released nearly 160 MB of emails exchanged between some of the most prominent US and European scientists in the climate change debate. The results aren’t getting quite the degree of media attention they deserve, especially in light of the upcoming Copenhagen meeting, but after some hours of selective trawling through the database I wanted to share what I felt were some of the more outrageous gems that I found.
For example, here is an excerpt sent from scientist Michael Mann at the University of Virginia to New York Times environmentalist reporter Andrew Revkin on the subject of a published skeptic paper; Mr. Revkin wanted to know if there was anything about the paper that warranted a response. What was Mann’s answer?
The McIntyre and McKitrickpaper is pure scientific fraud. I think you’ll find this reinforced by just about any legitimate scientist in our field you discuss this with. Please see the RealClimate response… The Moberg et al paper is at least real science. But there are some real problems with it (you’ll want to followup w/ people like Phil Jones for a 2nd opinion).
Wait. Please see the RealClimate response? You mean the RealClimate site about which Prof. Mann later wrote his fellow scientists Tim Osborn and Keith Briffa to reassure them that they could:
think of RC as a resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put forward by the McIntyres of the world. Just let us know. We’ll use our best discretion to make sure the skeptics don’t get to use the RC comments as a megaphone…
Incidentally, Andrew Revkin was the reporter who broke this email story for the New York Times. His piece can be read here.
Now if you go back to that first excerpt, you’ll see that Prof. Mann also urges Mr. Revkin to contact scientist Phil Jones for a good second opinion. You mean, the Prof. Jones who wrote this?
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.
The trick refers to two sets of data, one derived from tree rings and the other from temperature measurements. Apparently, they were giving different results, some of which were found inconvenient. Now if I had two different data sets that were giving me different results, my first reaction would be to ask myself which one was wrong and why. But apparently that’s something only us old-fashioned, ethical scientists and engineers do. Prof. Jones claims that this was only an unfortunate word choice and that he really doesn’t recall the details (his defense can be read in the Revkin article referenced earlier). Sure. And my friend’s gravitational assist trajectory solver was coming up with some amazing trajectories when it was accidentally combining the position of Mars with the mass of Venus. Too bad it wasn’t true in real life. (Side note: he discovered the bug and fixed it.)
But really, we need to give Prof. Jones the benefit of the doubt. After all, in the words of scientist Ben Santer:
The sad thing here is that Phil Jones is one of the true gentlemen of our field. I have known Phil for most of my scientific career. He is the antithesis of the secretive, “data destroying” character the CEI and Michaels are trying to portray to the outside world…. The bottom line, Rick, is that I am incensed at the “data destruction” allegations that are being unfairly and incorrectly leveled against Phil and Tom by the CEI and Pat Michaels.
No, whatever Prof. Jones’s blind spots, he would never deliberately destroy research data just to keep it from getting into the hands of people he disagreed with. Right?
Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith 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.
You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but this is the person who is putting in FOI requests for all emails Keith and Tim have written and received re Ch 6 of AR4. We think we’ve found a way around this.
When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince them otherwise showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive.
So… okay, maybe not.
But wait; these individual scientists may be doing things that are unethical, but it’s still true that there isn’t much skeptic literature in any peer-reviewed journals, right? See:
So more likely he won’t submit for peer-reviewed scrutiny, or if it does get his criticism “published” it will be in the discredited contrarian home journal “Energy and Environment”. I’m sure you are aware that McIntyre and his ilk realize they no longer need to get their crap published in legitimate journals. All they have to do is put it up on their blog, and the contrarian noise machine kicks into gear, pretty soon Druge, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and their ilk (in this case, The Telegraph were already on it this morning) are parroting the claims. And based on what? some guy w/ no credentials, dubious connections with the energy industry, and who hasn’t submitted his claims to the scrutiny of peer review.
Well, let’s just say you’d be surprised. Just look at this:
I know editors have difficulty finding reviewers, but letting this one pass is awful – and IJC [the International Journal of Climatology] was improving.
Just for interest! Keep quiet about both issues. In touch with Wei-ChyungWang. Just agreed with him that I will send a brief response to Peiser. The allegation by Keenan gone to SUNY. Keenan’s about to be told by SUNY that submitting this has violated a confidentiality agreement he entered into with SUNY when he sent the complaint. WCW has nothing to worry about, but it still unsettling! All related to a paper in Nature from 1990! Keenan ought to look at the temperature data (which he has) rather than going on and on about site moves. See the end of this email and the response about E&E and the 3 reviewers. Amazing! We all knew the journal was awful.
Let me fill you in a bit (confidentially). You probably know the panel members. We were concerned that the chair would be a strong person. It is Jerry Mahlman — about the best possible choice. Richard Smith is the statistician — also excellent. Dave Randall, too — very good. As token skeptic there is Dick Lindzen — but at least he is a smart guy and he does listen.
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 by the community that counts…. Mike’s idea to get editorial board members to resign will probably not work — must get rid of von Storch too, otherwise holes will eventually fill up.
I went to JGR site to look for index codes, and I see that the offending article has been downloaded 128 times in past week (second). All the more reason to get on with it [publishing the rebutting article]….
To get a spread, I’d go with 3 US [reviewers], One Australian and one in Europe. So Neville Nicholls and David Parker. All of them know the sorts of things to say – about our comment and the awful original, without any prompting.
This is truly awful. GRL has gone downhill rapidly in recent years.
It’s one thing to lose “Climate Research”. We can’t afford to lose GRL.
I’m not sure that GRL can be seen as an honest broker in these debates anymore, and it is probably best to do an end run around GRL now where possible.
If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted. (note: Saiers was eventually ousted)
This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…
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!
And obviously the anthropogenic advocates found a solution to the skeptics ability to get published in peer-reviewed journals too: disparage the journals and redefine the process of peer-review. The Journal of Geophysical Research, Environment and Energy, Climate Research, and Geophysical Research Letters — all of them “corrupted” by skeptics… and all of them immediately denounced as rubbish thereafter. Of course, there will be those who will say that perhaps all of these journals really were going downhill. However, considering that four separate journals were referenced in the emails (and perhaps more that I didn’t see), I find this defense hard to believe.
So just from this (never mind the material that I didn’t include), we can see that there is a pattern of fiddling with the data, deleting information, maligning opponents, stacking the media deck, and blacklisting journals on the part of the anthropogenic climate change advocates. Does this mean that the idea of anthropogenic change is out altogether? No. But I do think it’s safe to say now that many of the most prominent anthropogenic advocates in the debate are no longer trustworthy and neither is their data. So how about we put a hold on the international agreements and costly emissions proposals until we’ve gotten the whole fiasco straightened out.
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