Climatologists Trade Tips on Destroying Evidence, Evangelizing Warming
November 25, 2011 5:12 PM
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Penn State researcher and his CRU/IPCC colleague treated AGW like a religious "cause" despite warnings from peers
Anthropogenic global warming is a fascinating hypothesis that mankind may be able to systematically increase the Earth's temperature in the long term by burning deposits of hydrocarbon fuels. But the key thing to note is that despite the intriguing premise, little definitive information has been determined in this field even as politicization runs rife. In fact, researchers are still struggling to explain why warming has stalled in the last decade even as levels of carbon dioxide -- supposedly the most important greenhouse gas have rose.
I. Climatologists "Pull an Enron", Shred the Evidence
University of California, Berkley
"BEST" study -- perhaps the most comprehensive climate change investigation to date -- was blasted by AGW proponents. They were upset that the study -- funded in part by the charity of a major oil entrepreneur -- highlighted the fact that temperatures had flat lined over the past decade, and were more upset still that the study suggested that other factors like
sea currents could have driven the warming that occurred
in the 1960s-1990s.
But newly reportedly leaked emails reveal that accusations of bias are perhaps a bit of projection. The new emails include discussions that sound as shocking or more so as the
infamous "Climategate" emails
from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU).
The new emails revisit
embattled climate researcher-cum-AGW evangelist
, a scientist working with the
United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
In one email Professor Jones explains to researchers how to best hide their work to prevent anyone from being able to replicate it and find errors:
I've been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I've discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.
Of course Phil Jones and his supporters will likely claim that the emails were taken out of context of some larger more appropriate discussion. But as a researcher it's pretty damning to make comments that even would seem to imply that you were engaging in trying to suppress peer review of questionable data -- academic fraud.
Particularly trouble is the phrase "cover yourself", which suggest a conspiratorial, political undertone to what is supposed to be a transparent field of research.
The emails contain outright requests for the destruction of professional communications regarding research in an effort to cover up public scrutiny of public flaws. The leaks add yet another humiliating scandal to
Pennsylvania State University
as they implicate prominent Penn State climatologist
even more directly than the last release.
Writes the Professor Jones to Professor Mann:
Mike, can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4 [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment]? Keith will do likewise. … We will be getting Caspar [Ammann] to do likewise. I see that CA [the Climate Audit Web site] claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!
Michael Mann (left) and Phil Jones (right) appear to share tips on how to best destroy damaging climate evidence. [Image Sources: (left) PSU (right) Chris Bourchier / Rex Features]
Some professors and experts even tried to reach out to Professor Mann, warning him of the danger of turning science into religion by purposefully ignoring evidence.
UK Met Office
Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary. I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.
, a scientist at the
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
who was implicated in the first CRU email scandal for suggesting the removal of an editor who allowed peer-reviewed skeptical studies to be published, seemed to agree on this extreme instance:
Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive … there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC.
The IPCC did eventually change the draft somewhat -- perhaps due to this feedback -- but critics say it still did far too much cherry picking of its sources.
II. Forget Science: You're Either For the Cause, Or You're Against It
In a later email, Professor Mann implies AGW advocacy is a political/pseudo-religious "cause" and that those who question it on scientific merits are enemies of the "cause". He writes, "I gave up on [
Georgia Institute of Technology
a while ago. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but its not helping the cause."
Ironically, Professor Curry appears to be the only one behaving like a true scientist. The emails neglect the forgotten truth that the distinguished Georgia Institute of Technology began as a believed in man-made global warming, publishing a notable 2005 study published in the prestigious
journal investigating the potential correlation between hurricanes and man-made temperature increases.
The study earned scathing criticism from warming skeptics, but rather than treat her work as religious dogma, she carefully considered the criticism. Supported by her co-author, she personally met with some prominent critics and considered their claims. After all, she recalls in a
, "We were generally aware of these problems when we wrote the paper, but the critics argued that these issues were much more significant than we had acknowledged."
Soon she began to blog for AGW a
Roger Pielke, Jr.
, a professor of environmental studies at the
University of Colorado
, and Climate Audit, run by statistician Steve McIntyre. She began blogging hoping to convince skeptics of the merits of AGW theory via an open discussion. But in time she found herself increasingly troubled by the lack of transparency and conclusive evidence on such an important topic. She singles out the IPCC as a particularly guilty party, accusing it of outright "corruption."
Given the released emails it's hard to argue with that assessment. Writes Jonathan Overpeck, lead coordinating author of the IPCC's most recent climate assessment:
The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.
Aside from destroying evidence and ostracizing colleagues, the emails also reveal another sign of dogma and the antithesis of science -- ignorance. In one email Phil Jones admits he has no idea how to perform the basic statistical analysis that forms the basis of one of his past claims, writing:
I keep on seeing people saying this same stupid thing. I'm not adept enough (totally inept) with excel to do this now as no-one who knows how to is here.
What you have to do is to take the numbers in column C (the years) and then those in D (the anomalies for each year), plot them and then work out the linear trend. The slope is upwards. I had someone do this in early 2006, and the trend was upwards then. It will be now. Trend won't be statistically significant, but the trend is up.
III. When in Doubt, Deny
Already AGW advocates are jumping to the defense of the researchers implicated in the scandal.
' Kate Sheppard:
Rather than smearing scientists, reporters might want to try some actual reporting.
The new round of hacked emails from climate scientists floating around the internet hasn't generated the same buzz as the last iteration—at least not yet. But in certain circles, it's playing out much like the first batch of emails did in 2009. In addition to the tranche of emails, the poster included a list of "greatest hits"—short quotes from the emails taken out of their context that are intended to paint scientists as scheming or lying. The entire batch was quickly posted in searchable format on another site.
But such critical reports have thus far failed to actually provide virtually any such contextual explanations, despite their suggestion that they must exist. Further, the critics of the email publication are ignoring the fact that there are certain types of things that researchers should know to never say -- such as making comments that even
like suggesting the destruction of academic evidence.
The reports also ignore the fact that while it's easy to accuse the media, the oil industry, et al. for a mass conspiracy to silence anthropogenic global warming advocates, there's just as compelling a cause for AGW proponents to conspire to silence their critics in a dogmatic, non-scientific fashion.
Such an approach not only guarantees researchers lucrative research grants, it guarantees their political allies potential billions of dollars in windfalls in "carbon credits" and other
AGW-inspired wealth redistribution schemes
. Al Gore in particular has
made close to a billion dollars
based on his evangelizing AGW in lectures, film; via carbon credit investments; and by pushing the government to funnel money to his high-risk "green energy" investments in the name of fighting AGW.
AGW political proponents like Al Gore stand to make billions more if they can convince world governments to fully enact their wealth redistribution schemes under the auspice of "fighting warming". [Image Source: Associated Press]
You can download a torrent of the emails
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
11/25/2011 9:02:12 PM
I normally take DailyTech as an authoritative source. The obvious mis-statements of research and researchers here, however, makes me think twice about how much I can trust what goes into this publication
11/25/2011 9:24:19 PM
Thanks for your comment. It may put things in perspective for me. This is the first time I've stopped at DailyTech.
Spin is what I read. Will I be back? Hmmm. Not sure at this point. Bad foot forward if they want to be tech. Sounds like the author was writing with a "Koch and a smile" ... 100% tendentious.
"Those who know do not speak.
Those who speak do not know."
11/25/2011 10:39:07 PM
I see a lot of pushing back against the article, but so far no one daring to come up with how some of those statements can be put in a positive light.
Why should anyone, ever, in any circumstance, need to ask someone else to delete their private e-mails? Why the talk about freedom of information acts? Why should those matter if everything is above-board? And how to explain away the Met Office concerns discussed with Mann?
I'm very happy that google has saved every non-spam e-mail I've had since I first started using it many years ago, but then, I've got nothing to hide if someone were to pry in to it.
11/28/2011 9:48:58 AM
Three days later, no one can explain a legitimate reason why, for example, they're worried about freedom of information acts and mass-deletion of private e-mail.
Conclusion: Like the Catholic Church, too uncomfortable to talk about internal abuse. Better to ignore it, for the cause.
2nd Conclusion: The science is generally roughly on their side when the Koch brothers fund a study and it agrees, which means these people are just pathetic human beings, lying and manipulating because they think their views are too important to leave to the vagaries public discourse.
11/28/2011 10:34:14 AM
those very same emails tell you why!! because skeptics were using the requests unreasonably and in mass. how would you like it if your research day turned into filling those requests and not doing any real work?
11/28/2011 3:37:52 PM
If you talk to skeptics, you'll find that they ran into nothing but roadblocks when trying to get access to the data so they could run their own statistics on it.
Easy solution: make the data publicly available. Next FOIA request comes in, write the URL of the website on which it was posted, and you're done.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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