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Climate Hustle

Climategate 2.0: Denialists Serve Up Two-Year-Old Turkey

Posted on 23 November 2011 by Rob Painting, dana1981

Not satisfied with the fake scandal that was Climategate 1.0, climate denialists have returned with another collection of quote-mined excerpts from the same batch of e-mails hacked from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) two years ago.

The original release of quote-mined stolen e-mails coincided with the lead-up to Denmark's Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009, where world leaders met to discuss and agree on actions to address man-made climate change (so much for that). Once again, this new batch of e-mails just so happen to surface before the gathering of world leaders for the climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which is to start next week.

Given that the quote-mined excerpts from the stolen e-mails contain nothing that challenges the robustness and validity of the veritable mountain of scientific evidence that underpins man-made global warming, its timing and content (or more accurately, lack thereof) strongly suggest this is yet another desperate attempt to influence public opinion and distract the policymakers attending the Durban conference. This is, no doubt, why prominent climate modeler Gavin Schmidt labels the new e-mail release "Two-year old turkey."

Another Climate Conspiracy

Perhaps the most charitable way to characterize Climategate 1.0 is that at its heart is the preposterous notion that climate scientists are engaged in a gigantic conspiracy.  Of course we at Skeptical Science could point out the many ways in which this notion is wrong, but then we'd just be part of the conspiracy in the eyes of the conspiracy theorists, wouldn't we?

Despite the stolen e-mails being nothing more than private discussions being taken out of context and misrepresented by denialist blogs and mainstream media, a number of investigations were conducted to ascertain any wrongdoing on the part of the climate scientists whose e-mails had been hacked. Hardly surprising then, that every single one of the 9 separate Climategate investigations has exonerated the climate scientists.  Despite the fact that the Climategate 1.0 e-mails contained no damning evidence, and the Climategate 2.0 e-mails contain even less (as Barry Bickmore put it, they're the B-list, benchwarmer e-mails), the climate denialists, seeing chum in the water, are once again predictably having a feeding frenzy over these stolen emails.  In contrast, Media Matters demonstrates how innocuous these e-mails become once their context is taken into account.  As Stephan Lewandowsky put it,

"The scandal isn’t the emails, it’s the hacking"

The theft and release of private email correspondence between climate scientists represented the best imaginable opportunity to expose a 'conspiracy' in the climate science community.  That none was found further exposes the emptiness of the conspiracy argument.  Nothing in the Climategate leftovers served up this time around offers anything more in this regard.  It's leftover two-year-old turkey; there's just no beef.

Why Serve Up Two-Year-Old Turkey?

Although more of these stolen e-mails will be drip-fed by the skeptic blogs and journalists over the coming weeks, it's likely they will continue in the same vein as Climategate 1.0 - an attempt to frame climate science as some sort of conspiracy.

Clearly the majority of the public won't have the foggiest idea of what these e-mails refer to, even when context is provided, which is undoubtedly the reason why they are trotted out to a scientifically naive audience.  But this begs the obvious question: why resort to stealing, quote-mining, and distorting decade-old e-mails if there is evidence that the climate "skeptics" are right?

Well, that question answers itself. Climate change "skeptics," including the handful of skeptical climate scientists, such as Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Judith Curry, etc., have no substantive evidence that undermines the scientific evidence behind man-made global warming.  None. Which doesn't mean that the consensus is a done deal, or 100% certain. Of course it isn't, but to move the science forward requires evidence, something not accomplished by trotting out quote-mined out-of-context statements stolen from e-mails written a decade ago.

The (Skeptic) Emperor Has No Clothes

So let's just point out, for the sake of clarity, how many "skeptic" hypotheses explain the observations in the figure below. Unlike the mainstream view, that would be Zero. Zip. Nada. There is no coherent consistent hypothesis presented by skeptics that can explain the observations that are 'fingerprints' of greenhouse gases warming our planet.  That's right, climate "skeptics," including those few "skeptics" who are actual climate scientists, would have you accept what they say on the basis of faith, not evidence.     



Indeed, what we've found at Skeptical Scence is that virtually every single "skeptic" scientific paper falls apart upon close examination, rather like a vampire exposed to direct sunlight (for example see here and here and here and here, to list a few). Yet in spite of this serial wrongness and lack of an overarching hypothesis, the "skeptics" are unable to accept they are wrong. In a scientific sense it's difficult to take them seriously, even though they do enormous damage by misinforming the public.

Facing Up to Reality

Any rational reader of climate blogs will be aware that the evidence-based case for climate change/global warming grows ever stronger with each passing year.  Indeed, many of the extreme weather events of the last 18 months are entirely consistent with expectations outlined in earlier IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports. 

We also have recent studies which indicate that the current warming of both hemispheres, at the same time, is unique within the last 20,000 years. A finding which is supported by a just-published paper showing the polar ice sheets are retreating in a synchronous manner for the first time, which puts the current warming into context.

And, in the more bad news department, we have a recent paper of regional warming trend projections, which indicates that all of the contiguous United States will experience 2°C of warming (above pre-industrial) within 20-30 years.  And this at a time when southern US states are struggling with record drought.


What the evidence shows us is that rather than retreating from reality as the climate denialists would have us do, humanity must ignore these empty distractions and confront our new reality.

The Earth's climate, and the universe at large, are unerringly mathematical and follow physical laws, they will not be fooled by "skeptic" distractions, and neither should we.  As John Cook pointed out during Climategate 1.0, the question the denialists failed to ask was:

Has 'Climategate' changed our scientific understanding of global warming?

This question was never asked because of the answer:

The evidence for human-caused global warming is as solid as ever.

The answer to this question during Climategate 2.0 remains the same; in fact, in the meantime we have discovered that CRU has actually underestimated global warming!  The only real difference is that two years have passed, and time is running out to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.  The longer we wait to take serious action, the worse the consequences and the more expensive adaptation and mitigation will be.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 97:

  1. As it happens, two-year-old, stale, reheated CRU conspiracy theory comes conveniently wrapped in tinfoil from which very fashionable and practical hats can be assembled.
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  2. Attack the "whistle blowers".
    Don't address any of the quotes other than say their "out of context"
    It's time to admit that shoddy research reporting lessens the credibility of one's work.
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    [DB] Unless it is proven that "whistle blowers" were involved the skeptical thing to do would be to presume the emails were hacked, as no "whistle blowers" have come forward under the shield of whistle blower acts designed to protect them.

  3. @Karl_from_Wylie
    Quotes have already been addressed, see here:
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  4. whistle blower, my left toe. I'm having deja moo (the feeling that I've heard this bull before).

    How qualifed is Karl to determine that the research reporting is "shoddy?"

    Nonsense piled on top of more nonsense. The buffoons arguing that 2.5 billions people live on less than $2 a day should take their complaints to those who hold more of the world's wealth that any human can possibly have a use for. As far as plaguing the world's economy, we've seen how costly speculation and bad financial practices can be. Why is nobody releasing e-mails from Charles Schwab, B of A and so forth? The buffoons must have their strings pulled by some pretty selective authority...
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  5. I say that, for the sake of "transparency", McIntyre and Watts should release all their personal e-mails too. Since they are not scientists, and their opinions are not officially part of policy making, it should be no big deal, right?
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  6. Karl @ 2 - even though the turkey is two years old, it sat in the freezer for at least a decade. That's how old some of the e-mails are.

    We will be offering point-by-point rebuttals in the future.
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  7. Karl @ 2

    Gavin Schmidt over at Realclimate is already busy providing the context you demand.
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  8. Have to say, my heart goes out to Mann, Johns et al looking at the prospect of another witch-hunt looming just in time for Christmas.
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  9. To be honest I'm going to be frank and say there are parts of emails in there which I am not happy about. I have heard some of these things privately from others and I think that we have to be careful not to "cheerlead" the AGW side.

    There are elements that we should rightfully be critical of and elements where skeptics will take things to extremes. We have to be with the science even more so today.
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  10. Thus far, the most 'exploitable' line seem to be Phil Jones's comment about the IPCC being above national FOI requests, which seems a reasonable enough statement when referring to an international body (isn't this international sharing what prevented him releasing data previously?). He might need to clarify what he said about deleting emails to 'cover yourself'. Again, it's obviously an innocent suggestion of a way to prevent data being released or requisitioned inappropriately (Oh! The irony that we're now talking about it!) but I can see it being spun eternally ...
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  11. Robert: I sort of agree, but there's an issue of perspective here.

    How would your email box fare under that kind of scrutiny? I suspect mine contains a lot of things I would regret saying. What I see in the emails are scientists who are no better people than me, struggling with communicating across two spheres with conflicting, contradictory approaches to information - from science to politics. People who have already been selected for their science aptitude, that same aptitude rendering them ill equipped for communicating to the political sphere.

    Some of the emails do cast an unflattering light on the scientists involved. But only in comparison to an unrealistic ideal of what a scientists should be, one which people in other professions don't being to live up to either.

    I think a significant factor here is that the structures and conventions of science - which have evolved over the past couple of centuries - have allowed science to produce robust results even in the face of the fallibility, cognitive biases, and even rare cases dishonesty of individual researchers. And thus the leaks have not lead to even one paper being retracted, or the identification of one additional error in the IPCC AR4 report.
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  12. Robert Wray @9, I doubt any scientists are perfect, and so see no reason why climate scientists should be different in that regard. If deniers think they have genuine case against climate scientists, let them eschew the ridiculous conspiracy theories, and build a case by quoting entire emails with their full context carefully explained. When they have sufficient confidence in their case to do that, then and only then need we take the accusations seriously.

    As it stands, the emails as presented can tell us nothing about any wrong doing by scientists. They are taken out of context. The texts are culled for anything that can be misinterpreted, then quoted and in some cases redacted to encourage that misinterpretation. Their presentation, in fact, resembles nothing so much as a trial for witchcraft:

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    Moderator Response: [Sph] Shrunk embedded video to 500 width
  13. Apparently Benny Peiser at GWPF has refused to hand over emails. Smacks of double standards:
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  14. Several of the comments look terrible to me: mostly related to FoI requests.

    On one level you think: what is there to hide? Repeated tests of the science, like BEST, have shown that the work is generally good. It seems like they'd have nothing to hide.

    Until you see the misrepresentation and spin (intentional or unintentional) in the media and blogosphere. You know, the spin which turned poor tree ring data into 'global temperatures are declining', which is just flat out ignorance or lies. The aggressive smear campaign by think tanks and ideologues makes scientists act more defensive, which is used to raise more suspicion about scientists...
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  15. MarkR @14, that is a very astute comment. Indeed, as most of the FOI requests came from McIntyre, or people closely associated with him, Phil Jones knew that no matter how good his methodology, the released information would be distorted into an attack on his integrity. No wonder he was non-cooperative.
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  16. This obsession with e-mails is really tiresome. I have encountered a handful of people in the last two years who told me they have spent many hours reading the stolen e-mails from Mann, Jones, etc. Yet, when I asked these same people how many journal articles they have read from these scientists? You guessed it. Zero.

    Like Robert (#9) noted, the content of some of these messages is not very flattering to the authors. However, I am honestly not too bothered by this. When a respected researcher publishes a scientifically sound article indicating, for example, that we are looking at possibly 2 meters of sea level rise by the end of this century, do I really care if that person occasionally wrote some unpleasant and critical e-mails?
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  17. I am curious as to why all 220,000 email weren't released back in 2009. If there was a genuine cover up by scientists then surely releasing all the emails would expose this and clear up the debate once and for all.

    However, if your objective is to confuse and cast doubt then releasing a few carefully selected emails, which could be taken out of context and spun by the denial PR machine, would be more effective. This also allows you to release a second batch at a later date to cause more confusion. I think the main stream media has learn't from the original debacle and the impact of this release will be significantly diminished.
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  18. There is an excellent article in The Guardian - Attacks on climate scientists are the real 'climategate'.

    The reaction in the UK has been fairly muted - everyone, including the Daily Mail, is questioning the timing of this release. And everyone, from what I've read, has made it clear the work of scientists was found to be reliable following Climategate 1.0 even if there were problems with FOI requests. It looks like a spectacular own goal by whoever released this batch of carefully selected quotes.
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  19. But Tom, ethically I can't see any reason not to accede to FoI.

    As a public funded scientist your data and methods should be available to the public on demand. It's that simple IMO.

    Knowing that others will manipulate, lie and just plain fail to understand the science to help spread ignorance... I can see why some people would see this as 'extenuating circumstances'. I'm not certain of the ethics of it myself, but I would still lean towards saying it should all be available.

    Even if you _know_ that liars and spinners will be horrendously immoral in their use of it.
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  20. Tom Curtis @ 15

    Post #19 was aimed at you, and I meant to conclude that I therefore still think that the data should have been made available asap.

    Although from a personal PoV, I understand that for the individuals involved it would have been a big sacrifice. They would have been prevented from doing real work whilst they cleared up the misunderstandings and smears that would come from the release, all to deal with the miniscule chance that there was a major correction needed to their work which would be found thanks to this.
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  21. HH#17: "why all 220,000 email weren't released back in 2009."

    Sounds like someone wanted to have 'an ace in the hole;' tucked away for a time when the denial side is running on empty. They'll play this for all its (not really) worth, with plenty of breathless exaggeration to boot.

    But this is a ray of sunshine:

    Norfolk police have said the new set of emails is "of interest" to their investigation to find the perpetrator of the initial email release who has not yet been identified.

    So we have an email hacking scandal combined with what starts to look like a media-manipulation/public opinion management strategy. Isn't there a major self-proclaimed 'news' outlet already involved in such activities?
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  22. #19 MarkR

    FOIA issues are very 2009.

    I think the scientists involved took their lumps back then. Remember the enquires that found no manipulation of data and no wrongdoing? Scientists were just being chary of requests for items like computer code, demanding a lot of work to add comments and explanation, and for data from weather stations they had been asked not to release to 3rd parties. They were doubly cautious when the requests came from known "skeptics" and when the requests seemed frivolous and designed to cause maximum annoyance.

    The equiries were critical of UEA/ CRU in information sharing, and the process has been completely overhauled.

    So it seems to me to be grossly unfair to try and convict scientists twice, when they have already made amends for the offence after the first occasion.

    If these e-mails had shown continued flouting of the recommendations of the enquiries, you might have a point.

    BTW, the denialist Global Warming Policy Foundation also seems to havge a problem with FOIA requests.

    UK Minister attacks GWPF
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  23. The comments on FOI say nothing more than anything that was already said in other e-mails.

    Clearly, the thieves went through every e-mail they could already, looking for the juiciest bits, and released them in 2009. Today, unable to hack into another source of fodder that they could manipulate and count on sorry bloggers like A-"the cause"-W to trumpet and misrepresent, they are left with instead releasing the stuff that didn't cut it the first time.

    They are counting on the fact that those same fools that crowed and bleated before will get their undies all in a bunch this time, too, and do it again, making a big, huge deal out of absolutely nothing (but even less nothing than the last time!), while giving a free pass to the thieves themselves, the shabby journalists that use this stuff for their own gain, and whatever selfish interests there are in the world who benefit from fooling the general public and undermining the science and the scientists.

    My sole consolation in this is that 10 or 20 years from now there's not going to be any doubt at all. Everyone is going to know and admit what is going on, and everyone is going to look back on this and the culprits -- not only the thieves, but far more importantly the suckers who fell for it and magnified it and used it to promote their own sad, distorted, and valueless position -- are going to be vilified. As they should be.
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  24. MarkR @19&20:

    1) There is a difference between auditing and replicating. The gold standard in science is that all results should be replicable, and results which are not replicable are considered suspect. To replicate a result, you design an identical or equivalent experiment, gather your own data, analyse them and publish the result. There is no need to have access to the original research's data in order to replicate the observations. The Met Offices (Hadley) and University of East Anglia (CRU) papers on global temperatures where clearly replicable based on the information released with their papers. I know that because their results have been replicated by NCDC, GISS, and most recently by BEST.

    In auditing, the "auditor" tries to use your exact original data, and to reproduce your stated techniques to ensure that they reproduce the results you claim they reproduce. The difference between them is that replication shows a result to be robust, while auditing shows that no fraud has been committed.

    However, if there is no reason to suspect fraud (and there is not, in this case) there is also no purpose in auditing. Consequently, it has not been the standard in science that raw data has been preserved after the publication of a paper. Still less has it been the standard that that raw data has been made available to any and all that request it. Indeed, before the advent of modern PC's and the internet, such a standard would have been impossible to satisfy.

    Clearly what the FOI requesters where attempting to do was to audit the HadCRUT index, not replicate it. Given that there was good reason to think the "audit" would be a hatchet job rather than a genuine audit, and given that this supposed standard of free release of all data was in fact not the common standard at the time, there was no ethical (as distinct from legal) reason for Jones to release the raw data.

    2) It is very far from clear that we should move to a standard of free access to raw data. If we were to do so, it would prevent any scientific publication of results from private or military research. Such publication would require release of either propriety information, or sensitive military information. Given the frequency of research partnerships between universities and private (or military) researchers, much university research would also be unpublishable for the same reason.

    Further, such a standard imposes significant cost and time constraints on researchers who would then need to fund both storage and access of the data, and its distribution on request. Storage would also require periodic transfer of files to more modern storage media, and updating of file formats to meet modern protocols. Given the large amount of research scientists can be involved in, this is a large commitment.

    3) As it happens, both considerations apply to HadCRU. The Hadley SST index used information obtained from navy ships that was sensitive for military reasons. CRUTEM used data from propriety sources (mostly national meteorological offices) that could not be released in raw form except by agreement. And in fact, most of the raw data was not kept by the CRU in the form of a single file in any event.

    4) Finally, with respect to emails, the notion that scientist's communications should all be available for selective and out of context misrepresentation to a scientifically illiterate public is absurd. If scientists have to treat every interpersonal communication as a press conference (as they would need to in such a situation), that would preclude any brain-storming. Nothing would be a quicker bar to effective research than an effective bar to scientist's being able to kick ideas around with each other without fear of misrepresentation.
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  25. Robert @9,

    I agree, but only to a point. Surely, you being in academia, you know that discussions whether it be in person or by email can be heated and emails are often really badly worded/phrased. People (including scientists under pressure in a highly politicized playing field who are being antagonized and misrepresented by "skeptics") are not perfect and that holds for you, me, your boss and perhaps even the person in your field who you admire and respect the most. How would we hold up under such scrutiny and relentless pressure? I'll be honest, probably not very well at all, especially after a while.

    Let me give readers an example of how an email exchange can be distorted. I sent a draft of my first PhD paper to my committee, most of them thought that it was a good start but that it needed more work. But one of them said it was half baked science and that he did not want to be associated with it. That really hurt, and in some ways they were right, so I buckled down and in the end we produced a solid paper that made it though peer-review, and the person who was originally so unhappy remained on as an author.

    Now, imagine someone quote mining my emails. They could easily infer three things:
    i) That I am incompetent and that we were conducting "half baked" science.
    ii) That there was not consensus and we were in-fighting.
    iii) That in subsequent dialogue when I was defending certain choices that I was trying to hide or cover something up.

    Science is not pretty, email is an awkward form of communication, people say stupid things in emails (period). It would be nice (but naive) if that were not true, but that is reality.

    The thieves and ideologues know that.
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  26. Further to my point (4) @25, Peter Thorne (one of the misquoted scientists) has this to say at Real Climate:

    "It seems that a couple of my mails have been highlighted by people wishing to take them out of context. Both related to a very early draft of the IPCC fourth assessment observations chapter that I was asked to review informally as part of the accepted report preparation pathway. This would have been in 2005 or 2006 not 2011. IPCC has several review cycles and numerous lead authors on each chapter to ensure balance and representivity. However, the very earliest drafts inevitably reflect the individual contributor’s perspectives. The review which I undertook was and still is intended to catch such cases and rectify before the formal reviews. I would note that none of the formal review versions retained the vast majority of the text that was being discussed in this email. In other words the process worked. I would note in passing that my understanding is that US FOIA precludes early drafts of papers and discussions thereof precisely because it is vital to be able to discuss fully and frankly scientific work prior to publication, peer review being a necessary but not adequate condition. It is good that scientists care about issues and imperative that they are allowed to discuss report and paper drafts openly if we want the best reports and papers possible."

    Peter Thorne's full comment is well worth reading.
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  27. Suggested reading:

    "Climategate 2.0?: New Emails Hacked -- Pay No Attention to the Energy Industry Behind the Curtain" by Shawn Lawrence Otto*, The Huffington Post, Nov 23, 2011

    Click here to access this article.

    *Author, 'Fool Me Twice'; science advocate; filmmaker; co-founder,,
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  28. The real motivation for this whole affair is so transparent, and I sincerely hope that the media, politicians and public are not duped a second time.

    First, this release of the emails stolen back in 2009 has occurred a week before the climate talks Durban. The emails were initially stolen before climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

    Second, the hackers have explained why they think this is necessary and it has nothing to do with the science. The hackers say:

    "One dollar can save a life"

    "Poverty is a death sentence. Nations must invest $37 trillion in energy technologies by 2030 to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at sustainable levels."

    So this is about them pushing their ideological, and horribly misguided agenda. People really need to understand where this is coming from. It is not about transparency, scientific rigor, complying with vexatious FOI requests from "skeptics" and deniers, or the IPCC review process.

    This pathetic and desperate ploy is only about people who are in denial about AGW pushing their ideological agenda, in the process holding us all back and ultimately bestowing more suffering and pain and poverty on those very people who they so righteously allege to care so much about. They are using those poor people in developing nations as pawns in a political game.

    And who alleges to care so much about such poor people and who weaves their plight into their narrative to stall taking action on GHGs? Those in denial about AGW Monckton, Christy, Spencer and others. Spencer and McKitrick (Steve McIntyres buddy) are members of the Cornwall Alliance who believe that:

    "We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth's climate system is no exception."

    In other words, burn fossil fuels at will because it (supposedly) helps the poor and the earth is self-regulating and self-correcting.
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  29. This excellent article from Richard Black at the BBC is well worth the read.

    "I have it from a very good source that it absolutely was a hack, not a leak by a "concerned" UEA scientist, as has been claimed in some circles. The Norfolk Police clearly see it as a criminal act too, a spokesman telling me that "the contents [of the new release] will be of interest to our investigation which is ongoing"

    "In some reports, these figures were combined to form $37 trillion. But the bulk of that is to feed power to the poverty-stricken people FOIA 2011 cares so much about - nothing to do with climate change."

    "The majority of poor countries lobby for more, not less, action on climate change"
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  30. The Climategate hacker is clearly very misguided and misinformed in his misplaced motives for releasing these stolen emails. As a result, he's harming those he claims to want to help (poor nations). We'll have a post on this subject in the near future.
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  31. Dana @30,

    His/her motives also further undermine the whole "whistle blower" myth.
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  32. 29, Albatross,

    I would note that when the problem ripens, and adaptation is required because hesitant, faltering, too-little-too-late mitigation has failed, the rich countries will successfully if not easily adapt as well they can, armed with reasonably robust economies, infrastructures, industry and technology.

    The poor countries (and poor people within rich countries) will adapt as people traditionally have, by up and moving. Mass migrations, refugees, population culling by starvation and resource wars, and more will be the adaptive tools of the poor, developing countries.

    Everyone will adapt, just in different ways.
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  33. Suggested reading:

    “East Anglia SwiftHack Email Nontroversy Returns: What You Need To Know”, DeSmog Blog, Nov 22, 2011

    Click here to access this article.
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  34. Suggested reading:

    Real 'Climategate' Scandal: UK Police Spent Measly $8,843 In Failed Attempt to Identify Criminal Hacker” DeSmog Blog, Nov 22, 2011

    Click here to access this article.
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  35. lurgee -- "Thus far, the most 'exploitable' line seem to be Phil Jones's comment about the IPCC being above national FOI requests, which seems a reasonable enough statement when referring to an international body"

    I'm sure that's covered in the first set of emails and jumped on by denialists last time (Caspar Amman, IPCC?), but probably just an email that wasn't cherrypicked for the first release.

    Zombiegate/Sloppy-seconds-gate/Whatevergate. Same crap, different conference.
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  36. The bottom line: Hacked emails are a sideshow and cannot take away from what many business leaders already know and what the IPCC’s extreme weather report confirms. Climate change is real and we’d better buckle our seat belts for more costly extreme weather if we carry on with business as usual.

    Source: “IPCC Report Confirms What Businesses Already Know: Extreme Weather & Climate Change Has Economic Impacts” by Mindy Luber, President of CERES, Forbes, Nov 23, 2011

    Click here to access this article.
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  37. Tom Curtis @ 12 - that brings back memories. Is that now a "skeptic" training video?
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  38. I think the issue of whether publicly funded science should be open is more complicated.

    Sometimes governments fund research/science with the idea of selling the concepts to a commercial company later or sell the technology. If you made everything public, then such projects could not be sold off later. The other issue is national security. Indeed weather forecasting can be considered a military intelligence issue. Better forecasting can result in military advantage during conflict or used to predict the enemies actions. It can also be used in misinformation and counter intelligence.

    The issues are wide ranging and far from simple, so complete open access to publicly funded research is unlikely, only special cases such as climate science are likely to be published.
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  39. Tom Curtis at 02:31 AM on 24 November, 2011
    MarkR @19&20:

    1) There is a difference between auditing and replicating. The gold standard in science is that all results should be replicable, and results which are not replicable are considered suspect. To replicate a result, you design an identical or equivalent experiment, gather your own data, analyse them and publish the result. There is no need to have access to the original research's data in order to replicate the observations. The Met Offices (Hadley) and University of East Anglia (CRU) papers on global temperatures where clearly replicable based on the information released with their papers. I know that because their results have been replicated by NCDC, GISS, and most recently by BEST.

    OK, so the long-sought-after CRU raw station data-set has been publicly available for about 4 months now. All of the raw data, metadata and documentation needed to replicate or audit the CRU's work are sitting on the CRU web-server, just begging to be downloaded and analyzed by the skeptic crowd.

    So, skeptics -- how's your auditing/replication work coming along? Haven't heard a peep from you guys since the CRU released all the data you'd been screaming for.

    As you should recall, the Muir Russel commission was able to validate via independent replication the CRU's work in just a couple of days. But here it is, 4 months after the data release, and we haven't seen anything (not even preliminary results) from you guys. What's the holdup? Did your dogs eat your laptops?

    I mean, it's not like you didn't have plenty of lead time to get your processing/analysis software in order. If you were really serious about checking the CRU's work, you would have gotten results out in just a day or two.

    BTW, I was able to validate the CRU results in a couple of hours after I downloaded the data. Just modified my simple gridding/averaging app to read in the CRU data/metadata format and ran the data through it. Not hard at all (The bulk of that two hours was spent debugging a stupid programming "thinko".) Here are my CRU results, plotted along with my GHCN raw data results and the official NASA land-temperature index results:

    So c'mon skeptics -- don't let all that time and effort that you invested in all those FOI demands go to waste. Get cracking and start analyzing the data you worked so hard to get the CRU to make public. I'll be eager to see your results.
    0 0
  40. Blessthefall,

    I guess if you have been visiting this site since it's inception you will know that the CRU were cleared of any wrong doing no lees than 9 inquiries. You will also know that claims need to be backed up with evidence and your claim that the peer review process is corrupt requires such evidence.
    0 0

    [DB] HH, BtF's comment was moderated due to accusations of corruption, a Comments Policy violation.

  41. caerbannog #39, I've seen you post your excellent reconstruction in quite a few places now, and am yet to see a skeptic reply with an alternative of his own. I'm guessing you haven't seen one either?
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  42. Blessthefall,

    You really do need to consult the comment policy as Daniel has advised you to do. Lots of people here offer differing opinions or "dissenting" views-- look at this thread, "The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics", it now stands at 1000 comments, with many, many of those posts made by what you would call "dissenters", see posts by damorbel, RW1, and FredStaples. That is just one thread here at SkS.

    Like them, you are welcome to post, but there are house rules, and each one of your deleted posts has violated the house rules in one way or the other-- claims of corruption, complaints about moderation etc.

    If you have a point to make, consult the comments policy and check the vitriol, rhetoric etc at the door, and always back up your assertions with facts when possible.
    0 0
  43. I'm sure someone must have noted this above, but I'm pleased to notice that my lazy Google search did not bring up any headline about this in the mainstream media. Actually, the only one regarding this "second release" on the first Google page was RealClimate.

    That's an improvement..
    0 0

  44. skywatcher at 09:49 AM on 25 November, 2011
    caerbannog #39, I've seen you post your excellent reconstruction in quite a few places now, and am yet to see a skeptic reply with an alternative of his own. I'm guessing you haven't seen one either?

    Thanx for the thumbs-up on this. I know that I risk "sounding like a broken record" by posting my results all over the place, but I think that it's important for as many people as possible to see how easy it is to replicate the global-temperature results that so many deniers insist are the product of "secret data manipulations".

    I started playing around with the temperature data a few months ago, mainly out of curiosity. Found that I could get pretty decent "in the ballpark" results via "straight dumb averaging" of the station temperature anomalies. At the time, I didn't even consider coding up a proper geospatial gridding/averaging routine (figuring that it would be too much work).

    But a little later, I decided to take a closer look at the gridding/averaging procedure -- turned out to be quite a bit easier to code up than I expected. I took some "lazy man" shortcuts, like setting my grid-cell size to 20 degrees x 20 degrees (at the Equator, with adjustments to keep the grid-cell surface areas approximately equal as you moved north/south). With such big grid-cell sizes, I didn't have to bother with interpolating to empty grid-cells, since the grid cells were large enough that almost all of them contained station data.

    Took a couple of other shortcuts as well, mostly motivated by laziness on my part.

    Given the shortcuts/approximations that I made, I was quite surprised to how well the output of my crude little program matched the official NASA results. I didn't do any kind of "tweaking" or "experimenting" to get the results that I've been posting -- what you see above is what popped out of my program on the "first try".

    Then when the CRU released its raw "climategate" temperature data, I ran that data-set through my program. Got nearly the same results.

    My results really are the product of just a few days of "wing and a prayer" programming. There is nothing particularly clever or sophisticated in my code -- it's all very straightforward. Most of the coding work was "book-keeping" stuff -- i.e. keeping track of data gaps and accounting for the varying station data record lengths.

    If all station data record lengths were identical, and there were no missing temperature samples (i.e. no data gaps), this would have been a super-simple "programming in your sleep" exercise.

    The bottom line is, the Muir Russel Commission was correct -- validating the published global-average temperature results is really quite straightforward; it is something that someone with reasonable coding skills can do in just a few days (starting from scratch).

    This really is a project that could be broken up into a sequence of homework assignments for first-year programming students.

    You know, deniers really love to repeat that "31,000 scientists signed a petition doubting global-warming" talking-point. But in all the years that deniers have been attacking the surface temperature record, why didn't even one of those 31,000 "scientists" ever roll up his/her sleeves and actually *analyze* the temperature data?

    The really big "take home" lesson here is -- deniers often spend *years* making claims that take no more than a few *days* of work to disprove. And it's always someone else who ends up doing that work.
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    [DB] The lay reader will note that Caerbannog is the author of A Quick and Dirty Analysis of GHCN Surface Temperature Data, wherein he documents his efforts in great detail.

  45. what do you guys think about the World Bank connection?

    Looks iffy to me
    0 0

    [DB] "what do you guys think about the World Bank connection?"

    Much ado about nothing (the usual WUWT fare). A few nanoseconds on Google: Robert Watson

    "Looks iffy to me"

    Then why post it here?

  46. Mango,

    WUWT is known to not be a reliable/credible source of information. I'm surprised that you are taken in by their spin and misinformation.
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  47. that was a quick answer.

    you've read the article already?
    0 0
  48. Personally, I find it an exceeding waste of my time to peruse known disinformationist websites such as that.

    Root canal therapy would be favored.
    0 0
  49. 47, MangoChutney,

    Wow. That's a laughable interpretation and misrepresentation. Yes, I read the (-snip-) "article." Did you follow the link to see who Robert Watson actually is and why he would write such e-mails? Did you bother to do any such simple research yourself before coming here, (-snip-)?

    Have the black helicopters passed, rumbling and screeching, over your house yet?

    I can't wait until history looks back on AW and labels him clearly and harshly for what he truly is.
    0 0

    [DB] Inflammatory snipped.  We must model what we wish others to emulate.

  50. Mango... try reading this: Too hot for head of climate panel.

    I particularly like this section:
    But the US wants him out... The oil industry seems to be behind the move.
    So you are mortified and trembling at the thought of some bizarre global conspiracy by the World Bank to undermine American democracy, while you give a free pass to the wealthy corporate interests that are actually undermining American democracy.

    And at the same time, America has enough control over who is in power at the World Bank to replace anyone they wish who has an opinion and approach that they (or their corporate puppet-masters) dislike.

    Like Anthony, I too wonder what the Occupy Wall Street movement thinks of this, but unless they're as shallow in their approach to research as he is, I doubt they come to the same conclusion that he does.
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