Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Climategate(redux): Second Verse, Same as the First

By T-Rav

Let’s face it, 2011 has been a rough year for the proponents of global warming ManBearPig climate change. First, they were still dealing with that embarrassing stack of emails showing climate data had been manipulated, better known as “ClimateGate.” Then there was the Solyndra fiasco and a bunch more “the science is settled” studies which turned out to be hogwash. Now we’re in the midst of “ClimateGate 2.0.”

As a refresher, the original “ClimateGate” scandal involved the exposure of a number of highly embarrassing emails from Phil Jones, head of climate research at the University of East Anglia in Britain, and Penn State professor Michael Mann, among others. These showed the deliberate misuse of data by Mann and others to create the infamous “hockey stick” chart venerated by Al Gore and other charlatans. In addition, the so-called scientists were shown to have conspired to silence any critics of their work, and to be refusing FOIA requests, so the rest of us won’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. (For a full recap, see Andrew’s initial article on the scandal.) Mann and his cohorts have been warning each other ever since to delete their communications, lest more damaging emails get out. Well, guess what. More damaging emails got out.

Over Thanksgiving week, FOIA.org kindly released about 5,000 more emails hacked from the accounts of these goons. (There are reportedly another 220,000 lying around encrypted.) They date from about the same time period as the first batch—from the mid-‘90s through November 2009—and are similar in substance as well. There are, however, a number of new gems worth noting:

● Remember how Al Gore claimed global warming was making the snows on Mt. Kilimanjaro disappear? Yeah, apparently no one in a position to know believed him, but of course they lied and said publicly that they did. Multiple professors said in the emails the shrinkage of ice was probably being caused by sublimation, not melting. But they were simultaneously using this as support for their press releases, along the lines of “This is just more evidence of how climate change is impacting our world.” There was also considerably more controversy behind the scenes than we first knew about the truth of the hockey stick graph.

● The blacklisting of skeptics within academia is even worse than we thought. The corrupt climatologists attempted to have Chris de Freitas, professor at the University of Auckland and editor of the journal Climate Research, fired from both jobs. Because he had spoken out against climate change, you might ask? No, because he allowed an article to be published that expressed skepticism. Even worse, the emails make it clear they were planning to manufacture charges to get the man fired. Excerpt from one of the messages: “I hope the co-editors of ‘Climate Research’ can agree on some joint action. . . Any action must of course be effective and also not give the sceptics an excuse for making de Freitas appear as a martyr – the charge should surely be not following scientific standards of review, rather than publishing contrarian views as such. {emphasis added} In other words, they were going to accuse him of being unprofessional when they were really upset at him allowing dissenting views. (Dr. de Freitas, I might add, has his defenders and is doing just fine in lovely New Zealand.)

● In 2007, the National Research Council was established by the U.S. government to review all prior climate studies. One email shows that Phil Jones was in contact with members of this council, discussing how to quash the questions raised by their skeptical colleagues. Not that there were many of these, to be sure: another email, this one from Mann and referring to the council’s review of his hockey stick shenanigans, assuredly states, “The panel is solid. Gerry North should do a good job in chairing this, and the other members are all solid. Chrisy is the token skeptic, but there are many others to keep him in check.” {emphasis added}

● Even the peer-review process, in some ways the ultimate safety valve on bad science, got corrupted. As one example, the head of the American Meteorological Association asked Jones—hardly an impartial figure—to review some of the temperature research being presented. At Jones’ urging, the scientists presenting the research were told to tone down the language of their findings, which argued against a significant increase.
There’s much more, along with evidence of participation in the spin by government and media representatives and some highlighting of the flaws in the actual data, but the big takeaway from these new emails is the conspiratorial, collectivist, and even vindictive attitude of the AGW crowd in the face of criticism. Highly respected scientists have collaborated for years to make sure their version of the truth is the only one heard.

In my opinion, this is the most dangerous weapon in the environmental activists’ arsenal. It’s easy to ignore or dismiss the ranting of Al Gore and other public figures like him; they can be easily identified as blowhards. But it’s not so easy when it comes to the guys with letters after their names. Not only do we put our trust in them, we can’t even comprehend that they might have ulterior motives. I decided a very long time ago that global warming was a bunch of crap, but I couldn’t understand why dedicated scientists would willingly take part in such a pack of lies. In fact, until more recently I didn’t believe it at all; I chalked their collusion up to not thinking about the data in the right way. It’s hard to accept as realistic interpretations like Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, which castigated the scientific community as conspiratorial and only pushing climate change to get research funding.

But with the release of information like this, I can come up with no other explanation than that, for whatever reasons, the leading lights of the scientific community have decided climate change is something we all need to believe in, and to that end are deliberately screwing with the evidence and suppressing opposing views. This is inexcusable and disgraceful conduct.

So what’s come of these revelations so far? Not much, as far as the guilty parties are concerned. In Britain, Phil Jones and others at East Anglia are being covered thus far by the BBC and The Guardian, which seems to think the email hacking and smearing of the “scientists” reputations is the only scandal here. On our side of the pond, Penn State has been backing up Mann and his colleagues, and is even—with monumentally bad timing, in more ways than one—proceeding with a panel on “climate ethics.” The story is, on the other hand, receiving more attention than its predecessor from the mainstream media, at least in the U.K. And the information is out there. If the climatologists can’t stop these leaks, the public will get a growing sense that it cannot trust scientists, at least not in this case. That’s bad news for science but good news for the end of this hysteria (I hope).

59 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

great post Rav - I agree with you about the "most dangerous weapon." supposedly objective journalists and scientists have shown they have let us all down. In a complex world, we need objectivity, not agenda pushing.

Tennessee Jed said...

great post Rav - I agree with you about the "most dangerous weapon." supposedly objective journalists and scientists have shown they have let us all down. In a complex world, we need objectivity, not agenda pushing.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks for the article T-Rav! Well done! And an interesting issue.

I'll have more to say in a few minutes -- am in the middle of something work related. :(

T-Rav said...

It's so nice, you had to say it twice, Jed! ;-)

Seriously, thanks for the compliments. And you're right: it's also clear from the emails that the "journalists," especially in Britain, were heavily pushing global warming stories, and only went through the motions of offering the other side of the story. This is why I don't like the BBC. At least papers like The Guardian don't pretend to be neutral.

DUQ said...

Excellent article T-Rav! I didn't hear about this, though I heard about the first round. I don't know how anybody could fairly think at this point they weren't manipulating the whole issue.

T-Rav said...

Thanks Andrew!

T-Rav said...

DUQ, thanks! The document dump took place right before Thanksgiving, so it doesn't surprise me that a lot of people haven't heard about it. The British press have picked it up, though, and Anthony Watts has several excellent rundowns at his site (follow the links I provided).

Mann, Jones, and the rest have also been doing their best to spin the story, claiming these emails don't say anything surprising and are just routine office communications. If these are routine, I'd hate to see what a real breach of ethics looks like.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: The left and the radical environmentalists are determined that government by bureaucracy shall not perish from the earth. Their junk science is appalling and their propaganda is nothing but lies. But they need to keep going because getting control of America's energy resources is a giant step toward controlling everything.

Very fine article.

DUQ said...

T-Rav, I'm finding the British Press is doing a great job of exposing real news these days, whereas our MSM remains blind to anything they don't want you to know. Even Fox rarely covers the right things and never uncovers anything.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, This is really fascinating stuff because the first round shows how they manipulated the science and scientific journals, but this round shows how they controlled the media.

It's amazingly despicable that "scientists" would act this way. Science is supposed to be about discovering truth, not forcing people to believe your pet theories. What they have done is not science, it is propaganda... pure and simple.

And the fact they can do this without getting fired and without a sense of shame is astounding. If this had been engineers working at Toyota and trying to suppress bad data about brakes, they would be in jail and would be drummed out of the community. But here, their allies seem determined to save them.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I also read in the Daily Mail that these people actually coordinated with BBC executives how to insert plot lines and the such into programs to sell their theories. Nazi and Soviet propagandists have nothing on these people.

Jocelyn said...

I have to say, slighty off topic, that when I say the word "serious" I now exchange it for the word "cereal" per the South Park ManBearPig Episode. "C'mon guys, I'm so cereal!"

AndrewPrice said...

Jocelyn, South Park can have a very definite effect on people's lives. For example, I can't see Martha Stewart without thinking of turkeys. And I can't see a Prius without thinking of the smug cloud. LOL!

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, nothing else would explain decisions like the blocking of the Keystone Pipeline and the boost that would give our economy (especially the working class). The collusion of our supposed "intellectuals" is downright shameful.

Thanks for the compliments!

T-Rav said...

DUQ, I fully agree. The Telegraph and the Daily Mail do more in a day than our cable news outlets do in a week. Even the BBC, Channel 4 and SkyNews throw some good stuff in once in a while. But The Telegraph's James Delingpole and Niall Ferguson, among others, are just wonderful to read.

Ed said...

T-Rav, Excellent post! This is an issue that needs to be repeated far and wide. People need to know that the "scientists" they are following down the path to economic ruin are faking data, manipulating the media and trying to stifle opposing views.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, like I said, I don't want to believe that so many scientists are willing to take part in this just for the sake of increased research funding. I don't want to believe our best and brightest have feet of clay just like everyone else (even though I intellectually know it's possible, and even likely)--and yet, I see no other way to explain their behavior at this point. It's a denigration of true science; not as in test tubes and telescopes, but in the sense of logical deduction and consistency. This is based on thinking a college freshman could pick apart--and they still treat it like it's the gospel truth. I don't know who that says more about; them or society in general.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I don't know about the Daily Mail article, but here's something along similar lines:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/27/newsbytes-bbc-in-cahoots-with-climategate-scientists-prime-minister-green-guru-publicly-doubts-climate-change/

Shout out to Dr. Watts (as well as Steve McIntyre) for being all over this from the beginning.

T-Rav said...

Andrew and Jocelyn, for me it's not the "cereal" thing that gets me, it's when Al Gore keeps talking to the kids and everyone else in South Park and when asked why they don't just shut him up, people keep saying, "I feel bad, I don't think he has any friends." Ouch.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I suspect it's all political. I suspect they have decided that the things they want us to do are "good" even if the reason given for them isn't valid, so they don't care that they are lying because "they know what's good for us."

I think it's about feeling superior and feeling like they are the ones who will save us all rather than being about funding. That's a powerful impulse which drives conspiracy thinking, cults and a good deal of liberalism -- the idea that "I know how to remake the world."

T-Rav said...

Ed, thanks!

I think it will. The details of this round might not become widely known, but I think this sort of thing gradually filters down, especially in an age like ours, and we already seem to have passed some kind of tipping point where a majority of the public now either doesn't think global warming is happening or that it isn't serious.

I would tentatively predict we're moving toward another such tipping point, where people come to feel that those in authority who claim to be experts are not being aboveboard about this and should not be listened to just because of who they are. If that happens, the last major pillar of the AGW crowd will crumble.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's the same story only a shorter version.

Here's your link: LINK

And here's the article I saw at the Daily Mail on the same topic: LINK. It talks about how they injected this garbage into all aspects of their programming, even the music.

ScyFyterry said...

What frustrates me is any high schooler can see the problems in their arguments but all these other scientists and famous people act like there are no flaws. It is disturbing to say the least.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that's a likely explanation. It also brings to mind what a professor of mine once called these people--"watermelons." They're "green" on the outside, "red" on the inside.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The first time I heard that ("watermelons") was from Rush in the 1990s. And it was very true.

In fact, that's the other part of this. Ok, let's assume global warming is true. What do we do about it? According to these people the only answer is "socialism." Huh?

That more than anything should tell us what they are about.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that's a fascinating piece. Music and game shows? Really? It's amazing to see the servile attitude BBC anchors were displaying towards Jones, apologizing for having to allow skeptics on the air. I'd laugh if it weren't for the fact NBC and some of our other American counterparts are likely doing the exact same thing.

As an aside, while I like the Daily Mail, I really wish they would stop running tabloid links in the sidebar for every article. It's kind of distracting.

T-Rav said...

Terry, that's the problem right there. Their assumptions fail on the most basic level.

To take just one example: let's say every claim made about the Earth getting warmer is true; let's say the planet's temperature has unmistakably gone up in the past century or so, and that this is kind of a big deal. And it certainly is true that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have gone up during that same time period. But here's the problem--correlation does not mean causation. If you have two variables moving in the same direction, you cannot demonstrate from that that x causes y. It's just as possible that y causes x, or that a third z is causing both x and y. This is something I learned by my first semester in college, and our leading scientists seem determined not to acknowledge it.

All of which makes me suspect they are either not as intelligent as they make themselves out to be or are not being honest about their research--probably the latter.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, as LawHawk pointed out this morning, the dirty little secret of the green movement is that Communist China and other nations of that stripe are contributing far more to CO2 emissions and other forms of pollution than traditionally free-market countries such as the U.S.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I know, I made that point way back when in the cap and trade debate that man only accounts for 2% of all "greenhouse gas" emissions and the majority of that comes from China and India combined.

On the Daily Mail, I don't mind the tabloid stuff because that's where the money is and that's what brings the readers. So if that brings a 1,000 people and 10 of those also end up reading about things like Climategate, then it's done some good.

Koshcat said...

"Hide the decline"

There is an open cell next to Madoff for Michael Mann and Al Gore, IMHO.

Have any of you played with Google Ngram? It is a tool that searches terms from the digital Google Book library. It is interesting to compare two different tools. I don't know if it will work, but here is a comparison of global warming vs. climate change.

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=global+warming%2Cclimate+change&year_start=1960&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

ScyFyterry said...

I think they aren't being honest. They need to know these basic principles because everybody does. I think it fits their desires.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I like the idea of prison for these guys.

I don't follow the Google thing?

Here's your link: LINK

Koshcat said...

You can insert one, two, or three word phrases and then google searches its entire library. In my example you can see when the terms I choose started to show up in literature and you can compare the two. You can see that neither of those two terms were used much prior to 1985. Both of them had a pretty steep climb until about 1994. Since then, the use of climate change has continued to rise while the term global warming has plateaued.

Play around with it. Can change the time period as well as the words. For example, I change the time period to between 1800 and 2000 and put in lawyer,physician,politician for fun. Pretty stable amount of usage in books for 200 years.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, but it's okay for them, because they're trying to catch up to us after being oppressed so long or something.

The tabloid links don't bother me too much; I just wish they'd go with a bit more 'news-y' look. But it's their paper/site, so whatevs.

T-Rav said...

Koshcat, I've never heard of Ngram, but then I don't grasp a lot of computer stuff, so it doesn't surprise me.

Gore and Mann will never go to prison. Because that would be a stifling of the voices of truth, whereas Madoff was an evil capitalist who got what he deserved.

T-Rav said...

Terry, I think that's probably it. They may very well believe global warming is happening, but they have to know a lot of what they're claiming isn't adding up. Admitting that, though, would mean losing attention and the power to control public opinion and policy, and all the benefits that come with that. So they feel compelled to destroy anyone who opposes them.

I've looked at a number of the emails, and many of them have titles like "Global warming is global opportunity," and so on. That should tell you all you need to know about these guys.

StanH said...

Does this mean we can throw Owlgore into a volcano? Though it was pointed out on another blog that he might stop up the volcano…I think it’s worth the risk?

Great read. Like so many things of vital importance to our country, our way of life, it’s woefully underreported by Barry’s boys over at the MSM.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Ah! Now I get it. Interesting research tool. And it's interesting that they had to give up on global warming and shift to the generic "climate change" -- which really could mean anything.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I was actually thinking of doing that for Commentarama... we could use more articles about Lindsey Lohan sneaking out her crypt or Kristen Stewart getting addicted to laxatives. :(

T-Rav said...

Thanks, Stan. Keep in mind, though, the MSM doesn't actually support "our way of life," and would like to trade it for directives from Brussels or Beijing, whichever's easiest.

Good point about Al Gore. Maybe global warming has nothing to do with CO2, maybe Gore's just gotten so huge he's begun internal combustion like the Sun and giving off lots of heat? :-)

T-Rav said...

Andrew and Koshcat, that's called "covering your bases." (Well, it could be covering something else, but I don't want to get crude.)

T-Rav said...

Andrew, thanks a lot. I have to leave for a while now; I need to find out what part of my brain creates mental images, and then go buy a screwdriver.

Individualist said...

T-Rav

Very good article.

As to why these "scientists" could engage in this behavior it is simple. Money.

How much moneyh is there put into universities in the form of grants to fund studies by the government. Can we not understand that when Blowhards like Al Gore make deals to prop up Solyndras and try to use Cap and Trade to get tax money to pay for this that part of this equation might be to have scientists acquiesce to supporting this. After all is the government regulating this going to call them on it for what they are doing.

You know what the really scary thing to me is....

Had Cap and Trade passed Solyndra might have been able to survive by selling the eco credits the government would have credited them with.

T-Rav said...

Thanks Indi. Yeah, it is very scary to think of what might have happened if they'd pushed Cap & Trade through. Dodged a bullet there, sure enough.

I really can't claim to know the scientists' motivations here. I don't know whether they're true believers or they just want the money/power; either way, they've totally corrupted themselves.

tryanmax said...

Lot o' thoughts, so I'll run through 'em:

RE: "I think this sort of thing gradually filters down" -- The good thing about a story like this is that there is no deadline to get the truth out, at least not like there is with an election cycle. This will filter into the general psyche and eventually people will just roll their eyes at "climate change."

RE: "correlation does not mean causation" -- Yeah, but we are dealing with people who reject the notion of cause and effect. Just like Reagan's fat man next to the thin one, liberals sum up the situation at a glance and assume they are correct.

RE: global warming vs. climate change -- I can't help but notice that the literature graph resembles a hockey-stick. Could all the writing about global warming and climate change have actually caused it?

I first noticed the media making the switch a couple of years ago and put my thoughts down then. LINK 1 LINK 2

Also speaking of the hockey stick graph, I read a piece on WattsUpWithThat describing how someone fed what was essentially white noise into the program and it too produced a hockey stick. In other words, their program so massages the data they input that virtually any data set will result in a hockey stick.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I suspect there are two kinds of people pushing this -- the Algores who see it as a chance to get rich, and the guys who see it as a chance to "save the world" by telling the world how to it should be run.

And then they get all the fools lined up behind them.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think they started making the change when NASA got its temperature satellite into orbit (the one that would prove global warming) and it found no warming. That freaked them out.

That's when people started pointing out how this same crowd was talking about a new ice age only two decades before.

That's the point they started switching to climate change so that anything could suddenly be counted as bad -- not just warming. In fact, even "no change" was suddenly considered a proof of change. It was a no-matter-what-it's-bad scenario.

tryanmax said...

Don't forget that for some folks, just having a seat at the popular table is enough. You'd think that scientists would be above that, but I used to work for a chemist with a PhD that was one of the pettiest people I have ever known. And he was not unique!

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, well said on all points.

I read while putting this together that the hockey stick graph (which has been completely busted by Steve McIntyre and others) was rigged so that practically any data you put into it would depict a warming trend. I don't understand all the dynamics of it, but for all the actual data points Mann got, he added in additional data points to "average them out"--and by that, of course, I mean he buried the actual numbers within a manufactured upward curve. It's layers of falsehood, but it does have actual information, so it looks okay to most readers. Truly mendacious behavior.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I think it was partly the NASA thing, and partly the realization that the climate had previously been as warm as today, if not slightly warmer, during the "Medieval Warm Period," from about 1000 to 1300. (This would also be the period during which Europe emerged from the actual Dark Ages, built the great Gothic cathedrals, and began to stabilize and flourish socially and politically. For some reason, humans do better in a warmer climate. Funny that.) Anyway, the two together kinda blew their "warming" thing to bits, so they had to repackage it. It says a lot that they could only keep their "hard science" alive by making the terminology more vague and elusive.

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, this is exactly what I'm talking about. We feel the need to put our scientists on a pedestal and pretend that they're totally disinterested and objective (and I've been guilty of this too) when the truth is, they're human and have weaknesses like the rest of us. That doesn't mean we shouldn't listen to them, but we do need to look for ourselves at what they're telling us and not just use their authority as a guide.

TJ said...

Great article T-Rav and comments everyone, as always!

On a slightly different note, I was wondering if anyone knew anything about honeybees becoming extinct. My mother-in-law unfortunately believes some of the hype about climate change and I have been trying to get her up to speed on everything. She read something a couple of years ago about honeybees dying out and still believes it's true. I haven't really heard anything one way or the other about it and I'm wondering if it's just another lie by the ecoweenies. Does anyone in Commentaramaland know anything about this?

Thanks!

tryanmax said...

TJ, I don't follow this story, but I did just look it up and found this infographic: href="http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/honeybees-full.png"LINK

I wouldn't show it to your mom-in-law, though, as the accompanying text leads a reading that the info does not support. The point of concern seems to be the increase in winter colony losses. It is no surprise that bee colonies should shrink in the winter, but they are shrinking more and more each year.

The breakdown reveals that the leading causes are starvation, weather, and weak fall colonies--very wintery causes if you ask me. So, unless one wants to strain the data, it seems natural to conclude that the winters are becoming harsher (to bees, at least) which sort of goes along with the switch from "global warming" to "climate change." After all, how can you argue that global warming is freezing the bees without sounding like a fool?

It is also worth noting that the fabled Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the smallest contributor to colony decline. But this disorder gets talked up a lot on the auspices that "no one knows what causes it, so it could be global warming, pesticides, pollution, GMOs, racism, Islamophobia, the 2nd Amendment or whatever. I personally think it is because we nasty humans keep stealing their honey, LOL!

Finally, and this is probably why the topic has left the news, it looks as though the declines were slowing into 2009. They may have leveled off by now. I'll look for more current information.

tryanmax said...

Sorry, I screwed up the LINK

tryanmax said...

Ah, now I wish I had looked more before posting (but the infographic was so pretty). It seems the experts have settled on the varroa mite as the leading cause of bee population declines. Although, if you look for them, you can still find some apiarists (beekeepers) willing to blame everything from cell phones to George W. Bush.

Also, I encountered a lot of very bad reporting on the subject. Several stories I read this morning mentioned over 30% losses in population from one year to the next without mentioning that a sizable portion of that loss is seasonal and is recovered in the warm months. It is a case of reporting accurate facts but not properly explaining them.

rlaWTX said...

"Figures lie, and liars figure."
~my government stats prof in college

TJ said...

Thanks for the info tyranmax. I had done a little research myself, but in the limited amount of time I had I didn't really find anything that helped.

"It is a case of reporting accurate facts but not properly explaining them." So true!

T-Rav said...

TJ and tryanmax, of course I've heard a lot about the honeybee decline as well, but I didn't really know much about it. Interesting links.

Given that the media had stopped talking about it, I figured that meant it had turned out to be overblown.

(My mom's into some of the "green" stuff as well, TJ. I feel your pain.)

T-Rav said...

rla, you seem to have been blessed with at least one intelligent professor.

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