Climate scientists cleared of malpractice by panel

By Phil Plait | May 5, 2010 10:41 am

[Update: This press release came out a few weeks ago, so it’s not exactly breaking news as I originally put in the title — I removed that word. Interestingly to me, I didn’t see any mention of it in the usual places I haunt, which means it’s not getting the coverage it deserves. But my conclusions in this post are still solid; Climategate is a manufactured controversy, the mainstream media need to cover this, and denialists are still wrong.]

Score yet another one for reality: a panel of six scientists have investigated the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit — the target of the so-called "climategate" — and has cleared them of "any deliberate scientific malpractice". Moreover, they found that while the scientists at the CRU could have been better organized and could use some assistance from statistics professionals, their overall methodology is sound.

In other words, the major cries of foul from global warming deniers when it came to climategate are turning into whimpers.

As a backstory, you may wish to read two earlier posts I wrote on this topic, the first introducing climategate, and a second following up to clarify some points. Basically, some emails from climate scientists were leaked by a still-unknown hacker, and to some people it indicated knowingly fraudulent activity by the scientists. However, those of us familiar with the way science and scientists actually work knew from the start there was nothing nefarious going on.

When the emails were made public, a lot of noise came from the usual places. The deniers went into overdrive. But it turns out they were just spinning their wheels. This is the second investigation to show nothing bad was going on; the first was from a Parliamentary committee which also cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing.

So now we have a panel of politicians as well as a panel of scientists, both of whom have concluded that the CRU scientists are honest. Kinda makes you wonder where Inhofe and Cuccinelli are going, doesn’t it?

The specific conclusions of this new panel are pretty interesting. Here are some choice quotes:

We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.

That made me smile; that’s almost exactly what I said when this whole non-story broke. The way scientists talk to each other uses a kind of informal shorthand that packs a lot of meaning into a few words, but to people unfamiliar with it makes it sound like the scientists are goofballs. It’s like the way scientists use the word "theory" to mean a rock solid fact, while to the public it means little more than a guess. The words used by the scientists in their hacked emails were taken grossly out of context by denialists (and run with by the media, not so shockingly).

This made me happy too:

A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context. We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it.

Scientific data is not easy to understand by people unfamiliar with it, and simply releasing it will lead to politically-driven misuse. I guarantee it, and we have plenty of evidence that will happen. I am not saying that science should be kept secret; I am saying that people train their whole lives to work with data, and people who are inexperienced are unlikely to understand how to interpret it. That’s not an insult to non-scientists; I wouldn’t want a random passenger flying my airplane or someone off the street performing brain surgery on me either. There’s a reason why some professions take decades of training and experience.

The panel did mildly chastise the scientists in one area:

We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists.

I have no issue with this; it can’t hurt to talk to statisticians. I’d welcome that sort of thing. I expect the scientists at the CRU felt they had a handle on the stats, but I also suspect they could use some input from other professionals as well.

As far as the public understanding of this situation goes, these next two bits are critical:

The Unit has demonstrated that at a global and hemispheric scale temperature results are surprisingly insensitive to adjustments made to the data and the number of series included.

A lot of the deniers are talking about how the scientists worked with the data, introducing all sorts of errors and inaccuracies. The panel concluded these claims are hollow. The data are robust, and what the scientists did was fine.

And finally:

We believe that CRU did a public service of great value by carrying out much time-consuming meticulous work on temperature records at a time when it was unfashionable and attracted the interest of a rather small section of the scientific community.

OK, got that? This isn’t a cabal of craven, greedy scientists trying to bilk the public out of grant money. This is a group of people who, when they started this research, were bucking the establishment. They worked incredibly hard with tedious data to try to solve what they felt was an important problem. And when they realized that the Earth was indeed getting warmer, and the climate indeed changing, what did they get? From scientists they got skepticism and healthy attacks on their data, as any scientist expects and in fact should hope to see.

But from the deniers they got hit with charges of fraud, of impropriety, of falsifying results, and of any other mud they hoped would stick.

That mud is looking awfully thin now.

There is still one more investigation underway, but that one is more about the procedure the climate scientists used rather than their results or methods of working with data. With this second investigation’s conclusion, climategate is deservedly dying its last gasp.

The bottom line: the climate scientists at East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit worked honestly, and their results are robust.

And one final thing: I challenge the mainstream media to give this even a fraction of the attention they gave to the story when it broke. I won’t hold my breath.

Tip o’ the thermometer to Slashdot.

Comments (158)

  1. Gareth

    Yes, well, obviously those six scientists were in on the whole conspiracy…

  2. This is great news!

    “I challenge the mainstream media to give this even a fraction of the attention they gave to the story when it broke.”

    I second this for sure.

  3. Vernon Balbert

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Gareth, at least in terms of how the deniers are going to look at it. They’re going to say that they’re just protecting their own and not telling the truth. Evidence does no good for these people.

  4. toasterhead

    And I’m sure this will be the lead story on Fox News tonight.

    Yup.

  5. Bill

    > I challenge the mainstream media to give this even a fraction of the attention they gave to the story when it broke.

    Sadly, they’ll meet this challenge.
    Technically speaking, ‘none’ can be expressed as a fraction, right?

  6. Pocket Nerd

    This is, what, the fourth investigation clearing them? Fifth?

    The responses from the deniers to every single previous investigation have been, essentially, “They’re IN ON THE CONSPIRACY!!” I have no reason to suspect they’ll react differently to this one.

  7. Doug Little

    Ohhhh, better get more popcorn on, and chill down a couple of six packs for this one.

  8. dcurt

    Wow…Lord Oxburgh…no conflict of interest there.

  9. MoonShark

    This is good news, but not “breaking”, Phil. From April 14:
    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/04/latest-climate-hack-inquiry-clears-the-cru-again.ars

    (I emailed Ars Technica your post and they kindly pointed out that they already covered it. Nice writeup though.)

  10. David

    How is this breaking news?

    This is just UEA releasing the results of the Oxburgh report that has been public for quite a while.

    There are still some issues not resolved (stated in report) and just waving the flag saying that they were totally cleared of malpractice does not make it true even if you have a small disclaimer at the end of the post.

  11. Pepijn Schmitz

    @Bill Sure, ‘none’ is well known to be exactly 0/42… :-)

  12. Bigmac

    Lord Oxburgh?

    Is that the guy with this on his wikipedia page?

    “He is honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association,[9]chairman of Falck Renewables, a wind energy firm,[10] an advisor to Climate Change Capital. He was chairman of D1 Oils, plc, a biodiesel producer, in 2007, and a director of GLOBE, the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment.[11]”

    Seriously? Like, really?

    As in “there is no misconduct by the people whose results stand to greatly benefit me financially? ”

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  13. John Baxter

    There is no Fox News. There is a Fox “News”.

  14. Bob

    What evidence? They produced a few pages and did very little. No thorough investigation at all. The climate wackos still don’t get it. Their results must be verifiable by other scientists and as of yet they can’t be. Finally in the US we will have a thorough investigation into Michael Mann. How can the climate wackos think these scientists are vindicated? If they can’t handle legitimate FOI requests and can’t stand criticism get out then. We know they tampered with the peer review process. Lets follow the money of the climate wackos.

  15. David

    Bigmac:

    Of course there will be people in climate science reviewing impropriety in climate study done by these scientists. It would be silly to assume otherwise. This inquiry is solely regarding whether the scientists involved were behaving badly. The science of climatology was not being investigated.

  16. I missed the fact that this came out a couple of weeks ago… which in itself interests me. Looking around now I do see where it was covered a bit, but it didn’t saturate the news like “climategate” did. So while this isn’t breaking, I stand by my conclusions in this post.

  17. David

    Phil Plait:

    But how do these findings of the report support exoneration?

    Pasted directly from the report:

    (Sorry for the length but I don’t want to take out of context)

    “If the practices of CRU are found to be in line with the rest of climate science, the question would arise whether climate science methods of operation need to change.”

    92. The disclosed e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at CRU and instances where information (disclosable or otherwise) may have been deleted, to avoid disclosure. The Deputy Information Commissioner’s letter of 29 January gives a clear indication that a breach of the FOIA may have occurred but that a prosecution was time-barred.

    93. It seems to us that both sides have a point. There is prima facie evidence that CRU has breached the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It would, however, be premature, without a thorough investigation affording each party the opportunity to make representations, to conclude that UEA was in breach of the Act. In our view, it is unsatisfactory to leave the matter unresolved simply because of the operation of the six-month time limit on the initiation of prosecutions. Much of the reputation of CRU hangs on the issue. We conclude that the matter needs to be resolved conclusively—either by the Independent Climate Change Email Review or by the Information Commissioner.

  18. Turboblocke

    Big Mac@12… you forgot to mention this from the same Wiki page “During 2004–05 Oxburgh was a non-executive chairman of Shell, the UK arm of Royal Dutch Shell. His tenure was remarkable in that while chairing a fossil fuels giant he expressed his “fears for the planet” because of climate change, sought new energy sources, and urged the global community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[7]”

  19. JJ

    The FOIA disclosure side is the closest thing to ‘shady’ that falls out of the ‘climategate’ debacle.

    I would really like to see how many requests were made, the scope of these requests and who made them. It has been said that many requests were designed to simply bog the CRU down and while that seems plausible (even likely) I’d still like to have something to back that up with.

  20. Joseph Pulitzer

    …Discover Magazine proves once again that they are a snakepit for eco-propaganda and not serious journalists.

  21. @Bill #5

    Well, for a ratio of any finite number over a variable N as N goes to infinity, the limit is zero. I’m pretty sure that as we speak, bad climate coverage is approaching infinity.

  22. Bob

    Climate wackos are still wrong.

  23. Nick

    “How can the climate wackos think these scientists are vindicated?”

    Bob, your “climate wackos” are in fact 98% of all climate scientists. You know, the skeptical folk who accept theories based upon evidence gleaned through scientific inquiry.

  24. There are at least two other independent investigations that have cleared the CRU of wrongdoing (one by the UK House of Commons and another internal investigation by the UEA), plus the internal investigation of Michael Mann in the US (three of the four charges dropped, with the fourth requiring more investigation, although no evidence was found to support it).

    Meanwhile, there remains NO news or coverage about the actual theft of the e-mails. Just recently, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“Mounties”, our federal police, for non-Canucks), operating under a request from the UK police, contacted Steve McIntyre of ClimateAudit on this issue. (No one thinks he was the thief, but it’s almost certainly one of his readers. McIntyre has been obsessing over Mann’s work for a decade and screaming fraud at every opportunity (and he was behind the swarm of FOIA requests sent to the CRU), and the first public link to the leaked mails was posted on his blog.)

    I would be more than happy to supply citations for these claims, but I can’t link to more than one of them in a single comment without it getting held up in moderation.

    Phil is right: None of this is being covered. The media’s focusing on a manufactured scandal and letting overturned claims stand. The only “mainstream” source I’ve found discussing this is the UK print media (especially the Guardian, but no conservative would ever read the Guardian).

    The icing on the cake? Does anyone remember when Sarah Palin’s e-mail was hacked? She’s gone on record supporting the massive prosecution of the hacker in that case, while also going on record supporting the hackers in the CRU incident. You’d think the US media, with its Palin obsession (even among her critics), would have picked up on the double standard.

  25. David D.

    Looking around now I do see where it was covered a bit . . .

    4 posts over at RealClimate

    2 posts at WattsUpWithThat

    2 or 3 posts at ClimateAudit

    2 at Pielke Jr.’s blog

    Quite a bit, actually . . . from all sides.

    And where, exactly did Palin support the CRU hackers?

  26. Joseph Pulitzer (#22); Thank you for that fact-based and evidence-supported claim, since it shows precisely what I mean.

    I should give a prize to the commenter with the most ironic comment in cases like these. If only I could come up with a name for it…

  27. Bob

    And the investigations were not thorough end of discussion. And there is no scientific consensus why do you think so many scientists from the IPCC are no distancing themselves from that organization. All we have to do is follow the money of the climate wackos because it is clear they don’t know anything about climate.

  28. David D (27): Thanks for that (seriously). I looked around the MSM but not the blogs. I’ll go take a look…

  29. @David D.

    Yeah, all those people are totes mainstream.

  30. David

    Brian D:

    “Meanwhile, there remains NO news or coverage about the actual theft of the e-mails.”

    Well, if anyone had any more information available than what has been covered since this whole story broke, I would assume that it would be all over the news like it was the first time.

    Without any new information, what would there be to report about it?

  31. Bob

    No coverage because they may not have been stolen. Depending on the type of server they were on they may not have been stolen. Someone from the CRU could have leaked them.

  32. Oh, I forgot to mention earlier:

    During an earlier round of attacks on Mann’s “hockey stick” work, the National Academy of Sciences weighed in. They supported the general conclusions of the studies (they took issue with some claims, but not the general conclusion). This apparently wasn’t good enough for the “skeptics” in the Republican party, so at their order a second report was put together, chaired by statistician Eric Wegman.

    Elements of that report, challenging the National Academy, have come under recent scrutiny with allegations of plagiarism. Phil would be especially tickled to see that it cites an antiscience conspiracy theorist who writes about magic magnets and psychic surgery. Oh, how I wish I were kidding.

    This is older news and somewhat more wonkish, so the lack of media coverage is expected – but it’s still breathtaking to anyone who follows this issue.

  33. Dashukta

    Hey, Bob,
    I think you need to go grind your Troll skill some more. You’re being a little too obvious to get many good bites.

  34. Doug Little

    And there is no scientific consensus why do you think so many scientists from the IPCC are no distancing themselves from that organization

    Got some evidence of this or should I just take your word for it.

  35. Bob:

    Details on the timestamps of the files in FOIA.zip imply file access in the GMT-5 timezone (such as the US east coast), not the GMT timezone (where the UEA and CRU are). This would not have been a leak.

    The “hack/theft” hypothesis is supported by the parties involved in the investigation: The Norfolk Constabulary, the UK Domestic Extremism Team, and now the RCMP. (The FBI does not appear to be directly involved, but has investigated death threats levied against climate scientists in the wake of the incident. Yep, classy behaviour there, those inactivists.) These are not groups that would be involved with a whistleblower.

    Even the inactivist sites were using “hacked” as their terminology until it was speculated that there might have been a leak. They have no evidence to support this claim.

    Given what little evidence there is suggests a hack instead of a leak, and there is no evidence of a leak, what can one say about any “skeptic” who suggests a leak?

  36. Codeblue

    Bob is a pretty funny guy. Eh’s a pretty good troll and doesn’t afraid of anything.

  37. David D.

    @TheChemist–

    “Yeah, all those people are totes mainstream.”

    (Totes? Umbrellas?)

    Seriously, Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann, et al.–are you saying they aren’t considered mainstream in the pro-AGW community?

  38. Kinda makes you wonder where Inhofe and Cuccinelli are going, doesn’t it?

    Hopefully the answer is away, far, far away.

  39. Bob

    Got some evidence of this or should I just take your word for it.

    just google dissenting scientists and you will see the start of the list, there are about 60,000 now, and there is some real classy behavior from climate wackos, who believe they can’t release their source code for scrutiny. The climate wackos are far worse.

  40. Bob

    Details on the timestamps of the files in FOIA.zip imply file access in the GMT-5 timezone (such as the US east coast), not the GMT timezone (where the UEA and CRU are). This would not have been a leak. Are you so sure? I am unable to take your word for it.

  41. David D:

    I presume “totes” is used as “very”, given its similarity to the word for “all” in many Latin-based languages.

    In the context of scientific research, yes, they’re mainstream, but the discussion context was in terms of MEDIA. In which case, wonkish blogs on either “side” of this “debate” are certainly not mainstream.

    Bob:

    The 60,000 number appears to come from the Oregon Petition, which
    a) Does NOT actually dissent from the IPCC – you can endorse the IPCC but take issue with the word “catastrophic” and still honestly sign it
    b) has no quality control (the first signatory alphabetically is an Intelligent Design researcher, for instance, and several of the people involved are engineers, veterinarians, BSc.s and MDs, not climatologists. All of this is before we bring up fake names – from outright fictional names (the characters from MASH were there for a while until that became public) to names of people who died before the petition was created.).
    c) was presented under false pretenses, initially set up to spread a crank paper (which has since been utterly eviscerated academically) under the guise of an official PNAS paper.

    If you’d done some googling, as you insist, you would have noticed this. The trick is to NOT stop when you see something you like.

    Oh, and as for “can’t release their source code”? First, why would they need to, if the algorithm in question is published in the peer-reviewed literature (it is)? Second, frequently, they DO release their code, even when the algorithm is already public. (There’s an excellent collection here).

    The work on the FOIA.zip timestamps has been done by blogger Frank Bi (pseudonym, occasionally under the name ‘stepanovich’). If you search WordPress for the tag “climatic-research-unit-crack”, you will see all of the work.

    In summary, using Frank’s words, “Of the 4,662 files in the archive, 3,172 seem to have been last modified under a timezone of -0500 (somewhere in the Americas), 1,487 under a timezone of -0400, and 3 under a timezone of around -0000 (ah — now that’s closer to Britain).” He dedicates a second post to those three odd files, and finds that their creation date is before the earliest time that can be stored in an MS-DOS format, so the zip program simply set it to the earliest possible time, which is in GMT-0000. Behaviour like this is consistent with Info-Zip on a UNIX-based system, as is everything else about FOIA.zip. In other words, the ZIP file itself gives strong evidence that its files were last accessed through a computer in GMT-4 to GMT-5, not a computer in England. This lends credence to the ‘hack’ explanation and weakens the case for a ‘leak’.

    I’m also told that the UK term for “FOIA request” is “FIA” or “FOI request”, while “FOIA” is the American term. It is at best circumstantial evidence that “FOIA.zip” was not named by a speaker of UK English (hardly proof of a hack), but it doesn’t help the “leak” case at all.

    As I said before: While no evidence is conclusive, what little exists does support the “hack” explanation and does not support the “leak” explanation; no evidence exists to support the “leak” or refute the “hack”. Therefore, any honest skeptic who is claiming it’s a leak is…?

    Then again, I don’t expect a proper response. You refer to your opponents as “wackos” – you’re more likely to throw up a smokescreen and attempt to change the topic. Again.

  42. Doug Little

    60,000 you are smoking crack.

  43. Sarahsaurus rex

    i don’t know….
    this writer here has a very convincing argument about the whole global warming “thing”

    http://wackyiraqi.com/update/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/global_warning.jpg

    i just stumbleupon’d this and thought it was ridiculous and highly relevant considering i just read this post a few hours ago.

  44. Daffy

    #28 “I should give a prize to the commenter with the most ironic comment in cases like these. If only I could come up with a name for it…”

    The Palin Award?

  45. Doug Little

    Here you go here is a good debunking of the Oregon Petition.

    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/what-if-the-oregon-petition-names-were-real/

    Sorry, I should have said, got any credible evidence that “many scientists from the IPCC are no distancing themselves from that organization”.

  46. #44 I would go for the Nathan Meyers award but maybe I am the only one who remembers that ex poster.

  47. David

    Whether the documents were hacked, leaked, stolen, or dropped down from heaven in a fiery chariot is pretty moot at this point. Is there some particular reason to keep beating this dead horse?

  48. Hacking gives me a pretty negative impression of the people doing the hacking also it kinds gives the impression that they could alter the data without caring for the truth.

  49. bza

    Call me an old school purist but we should call it The NO PRIZE

  50. JJ

    Ask and ye shall receive! Thank you, Brian D (#26) for the link, which eventually leads to:

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/25032/response/66822/attach/2/Response%20letter%20199%20100121.pdf

    ..which is an FOIA request for FOIA requests. Very meta.

    Plenty of functionally identical requests, though who’s doing the requesting can’t be shown.

    Reading between the lines we see FOI_09-194, which to me suggests around *200* FOIA requests! I suspect they weren’t all climate-related but around 85 of them get grouped together in this request alone as redundant requests.

    I think that’s fairly telling. To me that says this isn’t about transparent science, this is about obstructionism.

    When will THAT make it into the papers?

  51. Joey Joe Joe

    @Phil:

    I don’t know much about running a blog, but is there anyway to turn off or filter out the spam comments whenever someone links to your blog (eg: posts 14 & 21)?

    Every time I see one of these posts I visit the blog only to find out it’s some attention whoring douche-bag with an unwarranted sense of self-importance, who has absolutely no original content and has decided to try to overcome the insignificance of his life by re-posting or linking to other peoples work, verbatim, with no added insight or commentary whatsoever.

    Presumably this is to satisfy to his own ego that anybody actually reads his stupid blog or cares what he has to say, a delusion which helps his mind cope with the stark reality that he is a sad, lonely person who has absolutely nothing to contribute to society. An insignificant speck of nothing.

    This may all sound a bit harsh, but I am really exasperated at all these stupid attention whores. Stop leeching off other peoples work and do something original!

  52. Nullius in Verba

    I thought people might like to note that Oxburgh didn’t examine all the CRU’s published papers, or indeed any of the ones under dispute. They only looked at a carefully selected list, that they say was picked in conjunction with the Royal Society, but which the Royal Society denies having anything to do with, and which coincides almost entirely with the list provided by CRU in its submission to the Parliamentary enquiry.

    In other words, CRU got to pick and choose the evidence they were to be judged on. And yes, the enquiry found no problems looking at any of those papers.

  53. David

    JJ:

    Thanks for the link.

    Kind of hard for them to complain about the burden of the requests though. Seems pretty routine for them to be refused. How long can that take?

    I will agree that most of them look to be just requests for a bigger set from one individual or group without coming out and saying we want them all.

  54. Blizzard

    Qualification; I am an Australasian [Citizen of Australia and New Zealand] worrying that The USA is not going to duped by the biggest fraud created to build the next big financial game in town designed to wreck economies using 20years of subtle manipulation of well intended but corrupt science.

    What does one expect of Peak Government and UN Agencies like The IPCC,EPA, CRU, NOAA, NASA etc that are supporting the Political Left wing agenda of “cap and trade” based on spurious post normal science [gray science created to deliver an intended outcome]to push.

    A question; since when did being a skeptic mean you do not believe in the natural choas of Earths Climate? It changes! The real question for my mind, has and always will be, is why is it those with social and political agendas always have to have someone or something to vilify.

    From the early 90’s I believed that “the Earth is warming brigade” were seeking to build and argument to tax air; plain and simple. CO2 is pretty much emitted from all forced organic reactions [just add a catalyst; Industry is good at this] along with all kinds of scary noxious and toxic chemicals; so now we have a simple jump in AGW political logic to group CO2 as a pollutant. In AGW imagery all we see are belching smokestacks, but whoa there isn’t CO2 an invisible gas. Not for those that have neither done, or those that choose not to remember, basic school chemistry and biology [The Carbon Cycle].

    So then we have the Politico “Mushroom Theory” come into play. The dangerous left fringe with marxist intentions love populations of mushrooms because they live in the dark and do not normally like the responsibilty of entering the light because that means they have to take accountability for understanding the consequences of their personal interaction with the world around them. The mushroom likes to be safe in large numbers [fish schooling, ant nesting, birds flocking, beasts herding] where it is easy to be feel protected by alligning belief and behaviour. Create a “scary monster” and the politically adept and intended are away.

    What the EPA is continuing to push above has pretty much been shot to bits by by Climategate and Glaciergate, Hurricane Gate, Icecapgate, Amazongate, etc. The cling to the “science is in” is silly in the face of emerging serious political and legal challenge. The weak attempts to whitewash Climategate and Hockey Stickgate by “tame and vested interest juries” is palpably insulting to thinking non mushroomers.

    The language of Post Normal “Gray” Science, that of NASA, CRU, Penn State, etc, and the so called believers Gore, Mann, Pauchari, Jones , Hansen et al is now becoming increasingly paranoid and desperate. This is why the use of vilification and ad hominem tactics to appease and distract the angry and frightened mobs of mushrooms is used to stop them from seeking alternative valid and researched viewpoints.

    Believers, even well educated believers limit their arguments to Post Normal Gray Scientific Papers. They will not expose themselves to the harsh glare of non-gray science.

    Here we need to ask them why they do not use NASA GISS’s own ARGO [Satellite and Radiosond Technology; currently the best avaliable] Oceanograpghic Temperature database which is measuring the global oceans in real time and which can find no warming in fact marginal cooling since 2003. The Oceans being the biggest heat sink on the planet [top 2.6 metres heat holding capacity greater than the Earths entire atmoshere]not warming then ergo the atmoshere cannot be warming! This is the AGWarmers own NASA and Hansen with this data so why is it not front page news……..the crisis is over mushrooms you can now sleep safe in your beds!

    These fraudsters continue to “hide” anything and everything that they can. Like all bullies [especially those with hands in the till] they do not like going hard on grounds where they cannot influence the referee and the result.

    Now it is time for your RICO Laws to come into play and there will be pain for Fraudsters, Vested Interested Money Men, Governments and The Environmental Movement that perpetuated this scientific and financial crime on the citizens of the world.

    So lets please keep the game up to the AGW Evangelists but in well lit arenas such as the courtrooms of The USA.

    Take care “Mushies”!

    Blizzard

  55. Yojimbo

    47. Doug Little – I think maybe Bob meant “… scientists from the IPCC are noT distancing themselves…”, rather than “… scientists from the IPCC are noW distancing themselves…”.

    And if that isn’t what he meant, it is probably what he should have meant ;)

  56. JJ

    David (#55): “Kind of hard for them to complain about the burden of the requests though. Seems pretty routine for them to be refused. How long can that take?”

    I don’t know but each *has* to be read and replied to by a real person (by law) within a certain time frame (by law). They have a numbering system so I’m sure each request has to be logged and there has to be at least a minimal paper trail kept. Note that the FOI reply comes from the Information Services Directorate, not the department that the FOI request is directed at! So that’s even more real time spent by real people – determining the department that the request is directed at, contacting that department, determining if the request is valid, etc.

    I have to guess that a lot of work went into these requests. Even if you can quickly identify which to refuse I’m guessing hours per request, at a minimum, given the number of warm bodies involved.

    Now multiply that out by dozens of requests and the capability for obstruction becomes clear.

  57. MacNZ

    The saddest part about climategate is the damage it did. For those folks who understand the science and/or believe that man made effects are a substantial cause of climate change, climategate had no change in their thinking about the subject.

    For those on the other side of the fence, it had no appreciable change either. They denied it and now they have new “evidence”.

    The real harm was done was the effect on the fence sitters or the regular folks who are just trying to get through life. Hugely sensationalised mis-information and almost nothing about the fact that its been found there was no wrong doing. Twice.

  58. David

    JJ:

    They have staff. You can’t seriously think that that set of requests was considered separately. Boilerplate requests will generate boilerplate responses.

    It is still not any excuse. People have the legal right to make requests. Maybe they are frivolous, but that is the breaks. I work in a public institution and quite bluntly, if I get a legal request, I would have to answer it. I don’t have the option of saying that I am too busy to comply. Yes, they could grind my productivity down to a halt but that is not my decision to make. I do not get to choose what requests I will and will not honor. It is the law. Until they change the law, I am obligated.

  59. Bruce

    Let’s see what else Lord Oxburgh has said before “clearing” the CRU scientists:

    – If we don’t have carbon sequestration, he sees very little hope for the world.

    – He says we are sleepwalking into a global warming disaster.

    – He says the world might need regulations which impose severe penalties who emit more than specified amounts of greenhouse gasses.

    Well, you can’t get any more unbiased than that! The investigation was as big of a joke as global warming itself.

  60. Brian D

    @JJ #52:

    As Eli in my link pointed out, request 97 actually says “[insert 5 or so countries that are different from ones already requested 1]”, showing that they were clearly copied from a template. Googling that exact phrase shows that they did, in fact, have a common origin. Hence why McIntyre is under investigation.

    By the way, during discussions following the scandal, Phil Jones (from the CRU) said that FOIA paperwork takes about 18 hours to process before the request can be rejected. I don’t know if the number’s accurate, but it does jive with other accounts that FOIA requests take a while to reject. This may explain why McIntyre opted for only 5 countries in each request – asking for all data would be rejected in 18 hours, while asking for all data, 5 at a time, would take many times longer. Every hour spent doing paperwork is an hour not doing science. This amounts to a Denial of Service attack, as you note.

    (David: “They have staff” – the entire staff of the CRU, is three academic staff, six research staff, four administrative staff, and eleven grad students. Even assuming they could stop their teaching and research responsibilities and dedicate their entire time to processing paperwork, they’d need to handle about nine requests each before they could get back to doing the jobs they were hired for, which, if the 18 hour figure is accurate, amounts to nearly three weeks of work time wasted on bureaucracy. That’s three weeks of not doing science.)

    Similarly, as Eli quoted:

    I pay for the data (even for research) and every time I buy data I have to sign a contract stating that I can’t disclose data to ANY third party. Neither for research nor for any other users of the third party. Well … why doesn’t McIntyre simply buy the data to the original owner instead of requesting it from CRU? (The national weather services are the owners…)

    It’s like me sending you a legal request demanding you give me Phil Plait’s music collection, when I could just look at his last.fm profile and buy the songs from the original artists just like he did. (Well, assuming Phil did that. But you get the idea.)

    (Bruce: This isn’t the only investigation into their work. Last month the House of Commons also found no skullduggery on its own independent investigation.)

  61. ibugeye

    What a farce…a skeptic that that doesn’t question. I am amazed at the worshiping of scientific results that cannot be duplicated and accepted as true for political, social, and financial gain. And five hundred years ago, we would sail off the edge of the earth if the leading scholars of the day had their way. As a pragmatist and not a scientist, I say follow the money.

  62. David

    Brian D:

    Yes, it could bring them to a halt. However, that has no bearing. They don’t get to chose what laws to comply with and which ones to ignore. I know it sounds harsh, but if there is a flaw in the law, it needs to be changed. Until it is changed, they are stuck with it.

  63. Keith Harwood

    David (#58) “They have staff.”

    I doubt that very much. When I was in the science business we had one secretary for, say, a dozen scientists, to do shorthand and typing. Secretaries vanished when scientists (and everyone else below Managing Director) learned to use word processors. For these FOI requests it’s the scientists themselves who will do the paperwork and that would constitute a very effective Denial Of Service attack.

  64. Brian D

    David:

    Your logic says the BCA’s okay with making the libel suit against Simon Singh, you realize. Would you say the BCA was right to slap him with that, and shouldn’t be condemned for it? Yes, the fault in both cases is an exploitable law, but there is also fault in acting on that exploit to silence/shut down an opponent.

    (McIntyre has previously done similar stunts using the Data Quality Act, which was inserted into US law by tobacco lobbyists. Google that one; it’s a rather chilling effect.)

    By the way, mentioning the Oregon Petition above, coincidentally, it’s just been used as a spectacular example of intellectual isolation on the right.

  65. David

    Brian D:

    No, my logic says that a state institution is subject to the state’s laws. If they feel strongly enough about it, I guess they could perform an act of civil disobedience. Maybe they could file an harassment suit against the requester. I am not familiar enough with Britain’s legal system to know all their legal options.

    True that there are many legal things that can be used to cause problems for others. As messy as the legal system is, it is much more productive than anarchy. There is probably not much research going on in Somalia right now either.

    “I’m too busy”, “I don’t think that your request is important”, and “I don’t feel like it” are just not valid responses.

  66. Brian D

    As I quoted above, if they really wanted the data, they could have sent a single FOIA (which would have been rejected since the CRU doesn’t own the data in the first place) or they could have bought it from the data’s true owners. The deliberate tactic of splitting up the FOIAs – which is documented on Steve’s own blog, by the way – serves no purpose except to shut down the CRU.

    I don’t bemoan FOIA, and admit it can be abused. However, if you can accomplish a goal effectively in one FOIA or none and instead choose to split it up to dozens, the fault is as much yours as the law’s.

    The law allowed one to sell financial products that are known would fail and then bet on their failure, but that doesn’t mean choosing to do so isn’t your fault.

  67. John A. Jauregui

    Question: What are the chances an infinitesimal (.04%) trace gas (CO2), essential to photosynthesis and therefore life on this planet, is responsible for runaway Global Warming?

    Answer: Infinitesimal

    The IPCC now agrees. See the IPCC Technical Report section entitled Global Warming Potential (GWP). And the GWP for CO2? Just 1, (one), unity, the lowest of all green house gases (GHG). What’s more, trace gases which include GHG constitute less than 1% of the atmosphere. Of that 1%, water vapor, the most powerful GHG, makes ups 40% of the total. Carbon dioxide is 1/10th of that amount, an insignificant .04%. If carbon dioxide levels were cut in half to 200PPM, all plant growth would stop according to agricultural scientists. It’s no accident that commercial green house owner/operators invest heavily in CO2 generators to increase production, revenues and profits. Prof. Michael Mann’s Bristle cone tree proxy data (Hockey stick) proves nothing has done more to GREEN (verb) the planet over the past few decades than moderate sun-driven warming (see solar inertial motion) together with elevated levels of CO2, regardless of the source. None of these facts have been reported in the national media. Why?

  68. David

    Brian D:

    I am not defending them being flooded with requests. Maybe they intentionally flooded them with requests. Maybe they were on a fishing expedition to find out exactly which data sets were covered by non-distribution agreements. I can hypothesize all day but it would be pointless.

    But here is the real question: What would you propose they do?

    These types of requests in other cases bring out much that many would rather be kept quiet. If you restrict them or allow them to be ignored, the consequences are worse than one research unit being inconvenienced.

    Transparency is ugly but opaqueness is much more dangerous.

  69. Daniel J. Andrews

    John @69 (for now–it was comment 66)

    None of these facts have been reported in the national media. Why?

    You’re kidding, right? These are the typical denialist talking points spouted by places like Faux News in the states, and National Post newspaper in Canada, just to name two places. They’re spouted by Senator Inhofe, Morano and published all over the place.

    I believe you are being deliberately deceptive. This isn’t the first place you’ve done it either–you copy and paste the same drivel at other spots. Scroll down to see the exact same post in the comments there.
    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100421/communicating-risks-climate-change

    Here’s another example of your dishonesty (or ignorance) from the first sentences. Fact: CO2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere. The IPCC agrees. That’s been known for over a century, and the CO2 levels were used by Svante Arrhenius when he calculated by hand how temperature would change as CO2 decreased/increased over a century ago. Physics, chemistry, math.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius#Greenhouse_effect

    But then you say the IPCC now agrees that the chance this trace gas is responsible for runaway global warming is infinitesimal. That is absolute bull-puckey, codswallop, horse-ptooey. The IPCC–which summarizes the science, not does the science, btw–most certainly does not agree that the answer to your question is “infinitesimal. They say the exact opposite. Repeatedly. Many times. In many places. CO2 is responsible for warming (you just added “runaway” to possibly confuse the issue, incidentally). Here’s their summary report.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

    The rest of your post is the same. Distortions, fabrications, lies, and partial truths stuck together so you can then attribute a false conclusion to it. E.g. you got Mann’s hockey stick wrong (data-wise, application-wise, proof-wise, historical-wise, conclusion-wise, siigghh). See here for numerous links, some more complex than others.
    http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=The_hockey_stick_is_broken

    Another quick example: Atmospheric CO2 percent levels too low to be responsible for warming is long-debunked. As mentioned above, this is just physics, chemistry, math.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm

    Also see this Scientific American article, the first page alone deals with many of your copy-paste points.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=seven-answers-to-climate-contrarian-nonsense

    In fact, I’d say you’re a contender for the Christopher Booker Award (awarded to the person who can cram the most b.s. into an article, interview or film).

    When ‘skeptics’ complain they’re not taken seriously, that they’re dismissed, that they’re scorned, people like John are the reason why.

  70. Doug Little

    John J.

    GWP or global warming potential is a relative scale which measures how much a given mass of a greenhouse gas contributes to global warming. The baseline is CO2 which is given the arbitrary value of 1. You do realize that this says nothing about what the effect of a certain percentage of greenhouse gasses will have on global warming right? Furthermore all other greenhouse gasses (excluding water vapor) are at concentrations 1000s of times smaller than CO2 and so even though their GWP is higher than CO2 their cumulative effect is much less.

  71. @63:ibugeye

    As a pragmatist and not a scientist, I say follow the money.

    I swear it’s hard to overestimate how much lack of self-awareness some people have.

    Follow the money? You mean the hundred billion dollars — that’s $100,000,000,000,000 — in profits the American energy sector alone makes every year? If you believe that a paltry few million a year (if that) in grant money is enough to drive scientists to lie and cheat, what on earth do you think Big Energy has been up to in order to protect profits that are at least a million times more valuable??

    It’s not the scientists that have the most to lose in this “game,” that’s for sure.

  72. Utakata

    Blizzard @ 56 Says:

    “Qualification; I am an Australasian [Citizen of Australia and New Zealand] worrying that The USA is not going to duped by the biggest fraud created to build the next big financial game in town designed to wreck economies using 20years of subtle manipulation of well intended but corrupt science…”

    …you also forgot to mention that the Earth being round is a silly liberal conspiracy. And evolution, though well intended science to describe similar traits among Earths species…but is a leftist wedge issue to break up traditional institutions that has been our moral compass for generations while corrupting our youth on the way. Thus, the real science is the universe created divinely, being only 6000 years old; which is the simplest explanation for all it’s complexity. Victory hail! /sarcasm off

    In all seriousness…as a skeptic, I’ve concluded you’re full of poop.

    /popcorn continues

  73. Tony Sidaway

    @45, Sarahsaurus rex

    lol you win teh internets!!!1!

  74. 72. Dreamer Says:
    May 5th, 2010 at 9:58 pm
    “It’s not the scientists that have the most to lose in this “game,” that’s for sure.”

    But still they could/will lose in this game.

    But this is not a game with a single pot filled with gold at the end of the rainbow, there is a pot for everyone, each labeled with its own name, climate science, energy sector, green (technology) sector, financial sector (emission trading for example) and so on, and they need each other to keep the money flowing.

    For climate science its quite clear that a lot of them are actually quite sceptical about what is going on in climate science, but they are the ones who ought to know, and saying something like “climate change, not so much of a problem as it looked at first hand” will get you in a lot of trouble with some or all of the earlier mentioned sectors.

    Science needs those grants, you need to be paid, your assistants needs to be paid, facilities don’t come cheap. Its very human, but the process is self enhancing and that is when you have to look out that you don’t slide into un-ethical behaviour to keep the money flowing. This is by the way in no means limited to climate science.

    It’s a human thing, and most of us are not that strong.

  75. Dean

    @Bob/24… “Climate wackos are still wrong”… yes, we all agree on that, but the climate scientists are right! So there!
    ;-)

  76. @76:Robert

    My point was, if you’re going to say glib things like “follow the money” then you better be damn sure that you are following the billions of dollars at the disposal of the energy companies for defending their profits — the lobbyists, the astroturfing, the advertising, the think tanks, and on and on. Of course, they never do, because they believe, somehow, that all these companies are acting honorably and honesty when it comes to the climate change issue.

  77. bunny

    And this just proves just what a pack of lying sh|tbags all scientists are!

    Trying to whitewash what we have all read through in context. You can not claim that the public did not read these emails in context. So our conclusion remains the same… dirty plotting lying scientists lining their pockets… but now it is obvious that the lot of you are dirty lying scumbags that try to cover your profiteering!

    You are not as intelligent as you claim to be… you are nothing more than a clique of arrogant arseho|es!

    And discover magazine with badastronomy is at the bottom of the cesspit feeding on the few forms of life lower on the food chain than they are!

  78. gss_000

    “I didn’t see any mention of it in the usual places I haunt, which means it’s not getting the coverage it deserves.”

    Too true. Just shows you the strength of the echo chamber on that side. It made it into the big papers (New York Time, WPost, LA Times, etc) right after it was announced, but very little on blog sites.

    @bunny

    If you really think that way, your world is a sad one. The AP did its own investigation reading all of the emails and found nothing wrong either. The public did not read the emails, just the bits and pieces others decided to quote. You can’t tell me you sat and read the thousands of them in their entirety. Instead, you bought into false claims that sound good to you but whenever anyone looks at them for a second, always falls flat.

  79. @78. Dreamer

    I think we agree on this one, the situation is not as black and white as it is presented by some, far from that. To bad that the reputation of (Climate) Science is at stake and that there is a trillion dollar bill atached to it, if we don’t get the answers right than that money will be lost for problems that actually deserve more attention and funding than they recieve now.

  80. Sarah Pressman

    Blizzard ranted:

    “So lets please keep the game up to the AGW Evangelists but in well lit arenas such as the courtrooms of The USA.”

    Translation: We have no evidence against AGW so lets sling as much mud as we can and hope that some of it will stick. I’ve got news for you Blizzard, the mud isn’t sticking.
    If you deniers had any scientific evidence against AGW you’d have been screaming it from the rooftops by now. You haven’t got any, all you’ve got is lies and mud slinging. Science has all the evidence for AGW, which means you lose.

    “Take care “Mushies”!”

    The only people in the dark eatin’ sh*t are the AGW deniers, like you and Loony Lonny Eachus!

  81. Sarah Pressman

    Bunny insanely sceeched:

    “And this just proves just what a pack of lying sh|tbags all scientists are!”

    The bottom feeding lifeforms are the folks like you Bunny. You use technology created by scientists and live a comfortable life due to inventions by scientists, and yet you hate science.
    Go back to the primitive superstitious hole you crawled out of and don’t ever sully this most rational of blogs ever again!

  82. Plutonium being from Pluto

    The likes of Mike Mann, Phil Jones, etc .. “cleared” of wrong-doing?

    Really I’ve gotta say it sounds more like a whitewash than a legitimate “clearing” to me.

    You might be able to make the excuse of semantics for using the word “trick” but “we’ll change the meaning of peer review” to keep skeptics out?

    Or dening FOI requests and deleting data rather than handing it over?

    Pull the other one! Something is very rotten in “Climatology-land.”

    If the inquiries conducted by self-interested parties & AGW faithful didn’t conclude that then it just shows that thos einquires are useless, biased or both.

    Let’s have some skeptics analysing on the panel and some truly impartial judges and then see what sort of verdict we get shall we?

    I think we do need to have Inhofe’s tougher, more skeptical inquiry held into the validity or otherwise of the supposed Anthropogenic Global Warming “science” in the United States and Senator Steve Fielding’s Royal Commission into ame here in Oz.

    Lets get the real facts out in the public with both sides given a fair chance to cross-examine and investigate the real situation. Not a “friends covering up for friends” type PR whitewash excercise.

    For an investigation into AGW and climategate to be credible and trustworthy then it needs to be hostile and led by opponents (at the very least ) as well as supporters of this new Green faith.

    BA you should be heavily criticising the AGW “scientists” NOT defending them methinks. :-(

  83. Sarah Pressman

    Plutoniumprat from Fantasyland spewed:

    “Let’s have some skeptics analysing on the panel and some truly impartial judges and then see what sort of verdict we get shall we? ”

    Lets run that throught the reality translator to see what you really mean:

    “Let’s have some deniers analysing on the panel and some Exxon backed judges and then see what sort of verdict we get shall we?”

    And then our denier goes and cracks this little bit of stupidity:

    “BA you should be heavily criticising the AGW “scientists” NOT defending them methinks.”

    Dude what planet are you on?

  84. Randy McQuaid

    Plutonium being from Pluto Said:

    “BA you should be heavily criticising the AGW “scientists” NOT defending them methinks.”

    What gives you the right to tell anyone how to run things?
    You don’t like the findings of investigations into Climategate and AGW, so you want deniers to be able to insert their lies and ignorance into the matter, that won’t happen if rationality prevails.
    Since you’re handing out the advice ,take some of mine:

    Get an education in climate science and real scepticism, and stop talking BS.

  85. Pi-needles

    @ 71. Daniel J. Andrews:

    the CO2 levels were used by Svante Arrhenius when he calculated by hand how temperature would change as CO2 decreased/increased over a century ago

    Which is why I like to think of “Svante’s Inferno” being the other name for Venus. ;-)

    @85. Sarah Pressman:

    Dude what planet are you on?

    Pluto obviously! ;-)

  86. Grand Lunar

    “This is the second investigation to show nothing bad was going on; the first was from a Parliamentary committee which also cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing.”

    In other words…

    Reality – 2

    Deiners – 0

  87. Doug Little

    Reality – 2

    Deiners – 0

    Yes it’s funny how reality always seems to win in the end.

    @57 Yojimbo,

    And if that isn’t what he meant, it is probably what he should have meant

    Nice one, but I’m pretty sure that I got it right, what with him bringing up the Oregon Petition and all.

  88. Steve in Dublin

    And thus it was always going to be. No matter how many investigative panels exonerate the climate scientists, the deniers will keep chanting their “it’s a conspiracy by the scientists” mantra.

    It’s going to take a watershed event like one of these right wing nut cases (Inhofe or Cuccinelli) actually managing to bring a climate scientist to trial, and losing embarrassingly as in Kitzmiller vs. Dover, before people will realise that the denialists have no peer reviewed science of their own that refutes AGW. Although, even having their rear ends handed to them on a plate in that case wasn’t enough to make the anti-science creationist loons shut up. It’s a never ending game of whack-a-mole :-

    Matters of science shouldn’t be decided in a courtroom (as astutely observed by the judges in the recent BCA vs. Simon Singh decision). Though in the courtroom, at least the funding of the denialist ‘expert’ witnesses by big coal and oil interests could be effectively exposed. That might finally wake people up to what’s really going on here.

  89. Daffy

    “For an investigation into AGW and climategate to be credible and trustworthy then it needs to be hostile and led by opponents (at the very least ) as well as supporters of this new Green faith.”

    My irony meter just pegged.

  90. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ ^ Daffy : Why?

    Sorry but what the blazes is wrong with having an investigation done by people who oppose something as well as support it? Where is the irony there? I really don’t see it.

    @ 85. Sarah Pressman Says:

    Plutoniumprat from Fantasyland spewed:

    Did I insult you and mock your username here Sarah? No.

    Are *you* being juvenile & offensive here and breaking the BA’s law against being polite & NOT being a jerk towards others? Yes. I’d say you are.

    For the record, I’m not feeling nauseous at all – although judging by your tone *you* are. Did you have to wipe your screen off with a towel after that little rant Ms Pressman? :roll:

    “Let’s have some skeptics analysing on the panel and some truly impartial judges and then see what sort of verdict we get shall we? ” Lets run that throught the reality translator to see what you really mean:

    Try exactly what I said – people who do NOT have a vested interest in the AGW scam should conduct the investigation into the climategate scandal NOT those who blindly follow & benefit from the AGW cult.

    People who are ideologically committed to supporting the “scientists” in question should be disqualified by having a conflict of interests – if they had any shred of integrity at all they’d disqualify themselves. It is clear that Lord Oxburgh was incapable of fairly evaluating or conducting any investigation on this as (#61.) Bruce and others have pointed out.

    And then our denier goes and cracks this little bit of stupidity: “BA you should be heavily criticising the AGW “scientists” NOT defending them methinks.” Dude what planet are you on?

    What planet are *you* on Sarah where a prominent skeptic shouldn’t criticise bad “science” & corruptions of science where they are clearly present?

    What part of refusing to share data, of fudging, exaggerating and spinning it, of censoring & suppressing dissenting scientific views and even warping the very meaning of the words “peer review” do you find acceptable?

  91. Ron

    I’ll state right now that I’m neither but just a simple skeptic. I agree that this is in no way the smoking gun that the deniers claim. Having said that, there are still two things that trouble me. One was the Jones quote about it “being a travesty” that warming wasn’t indicated. Do I have that right? I’m going from memory. The other was that it seemed that this particular segment of the AGW climate community was engaged in attempting to subvert the peer review process. Maybe I’ve interpreted this incorrectly, but I don’t think so. I feel that this later issue is particularly important and am surprised, Phil, that you’re so cavalierly ignoring it as I have a lot of respect for you. I do believe that the Earth is warming and that it may be due to human activity. However, I also believe that the models are so pitifully weak that the strength of the assertions made by the AGW community are remarkable for their chutzpah.

  92. ibugeye

    @73:Dreamer
    Why does Al Gore spend close to $1000.00 a month to power his mansion in Tennessee? He says its ok because he has “Invested” in green energy. Why does someone “invest” unless they are hoping to make a profit. Altruism is usually reserved for those who beleive they will be rewarded other than through financial means. The science (although it cannot be duplicated) is not what I am referring to…unless someone is competing for university funds. It is the agenda that politicians have made of the science (which still cannot be duplicated)that I question. Is not “Cap and Trade” a euphamism for socialistic “redistribution of wealth?” And who is going to oversee all of this “redistribution of wealth”? Would it not be unreasonable to suggest that a new governmental entity would have to be formed to oversee this? I do not question climate change, in fact I believe it happens everyday. It’s man’s hubris that is being manipulated in a political arena when concerning this matter. Concerning the profits made by a business, why would they NOT want to be profitable. Are you upset that they are profitable or are you just upset with the fact that YOU were not able to make this kind of profit on your investment?

  93. Doug Little

    @ ^ Daffy : Why?

    Sorry but what the blazes is wrong with having an investigation done by people who oppose something as well as support it? Where is the irony there? I really don’t see it.

    The irony is that you are asking for something that is exactly the same as you think it is now. You think that the current investigators are not impartial and have an agenda to perpetrate. The investigators you are proposing are not impartial and have an agenda to perpetrate. See the irony now.

    @ibugeye

    It is the agenda that politicians have made of the science (which still cannot be duplicated)that I question

    Sorry to burst you bubble but Mann’s interpretation of the data known as the “hockey stick graph” has been verified a multitude of times. From wiki,

    A National Academy of Sciences inquiry requested by the United States Congress agreed that there were some statistical failings, but these had little effect on the graph which was generally correct. The hockey stick graph has been validated by more than 12 reconstructions producing broadly similar results

    You can stop being an echo chamber for the right wing propaganda machine, it doesn’t work on blogs such as this.

  94. SoHappyIt'sThursday

    Al Gore and other elites stand to make Billions as stricter environmental laws are passed. Read the legislation associated with cap & trade, it’s all very carefully designed and agenda driven.

    Oh and, 6 scientists say these other scientists are legit? Wow, I’m convinced now.

  95. whee mcwhee

    Riiiiiight,

    So an internal investigation finds that their colleagues have done no wrong!
    Does the word ‘impartial’ mean anything to ye? Didnt think so.

    Oh look over there the sky is falling down!

  96. MartinM

    One was the Jones quote about it “being a travesty” that warming wasn’t indicated. Do I have that right?

    No. The ‘travesty’ quote is from Trenberth, not Jones, and it isn’t about a lack of warming. Global temperatures are basically a combination of a long-term trend and short-term noise, and as such it’s no surprise that there will be short periods which show less warming than average, or even cooling. Trenberth’s issue is that current technology generally can’t determine exactly what source of short-term variation is responsible for any given dip in the warming rate.

    The other was that it seemed that this particular segment of the AGW climate community was engaged in attempting to subvert the peer review process.

    No. They were responding to attempts by deniers to subvert the peer review process; in particular, the publication of a paper in Climate Research which prompted several editors to resign in protest.

  97. Dean

    I expected that the scientists would be absolved for most of what they said. However, there is one thing that REALLY angered me, and it is something that I am very disappointed that you have seemingly ignored and not addressed (although if you have and I missed it, I apologize). That is the attempt (or wishful attempt) for these scientists to blackball disenting papers and “redefine peer-review”.

    To me THAT is the true problem from the climategate emails. The rest of it is just fluff.

  98. Daffy

    SoHappyIt’sThursday Says: “Al Gore and other elites stand to make Billions as stricter environmental laws are passed. Read the legislation associated with cap & trade, it’s all very carefully designed and agenda driven.
    Oh and, 6 scientists say these other scientists are legit? Wow, I’m convinced now.”

    How, specifically, will Al Gore be making billions?

    As far as “elites,” do you include CEOs of multi-billion dollar oil corporations as “elite?” If not, why not?

    I mean, seriously, do you people ever even think about what you are saying?

  99. Steve in Dublin

    This just in: scientists found expressing their frustration with politically motivated climate change deniers who are attacking their life’s work in *private* e-mails to their colleagues. Shocking behaviour. More news at 11:00.

  100. Gary

    “Exoneration” by a friendly panel that looks at selected evidence and fails to address crucial questions is hardly a glowing endorsement. Even when it’s the SECOND panel to perform the same fallacious exercise.

    Did Phil Jones deliberately falsify his published results? No, of course not. But he did succumb to confirmation bias, failed to extend normal courtesies to polite inquiries for data, colluded with others to suppress publication of research the challenged his, failed to keep original data on which his derivative datasets depended, attempted to illegally influence the Freedom on Information process, overlooked significant quality assurance issues, and generally ran a sloppy operation. That’s not fraud, but is sure is crappy science.

    Continue to wear the blinders if you wish and fall back on name-calling, Phil, but you wouldn’t tolerate what Jones did if it were in astronomical research. Until these sorts of behaviors are routinely condemned by everyone instead of excused for political reasons, we’re going to waste a lot of time and money doing bad science.

  101. Dexter

    The “climategate” data is irrelevant. The Midieval warm period alone shows that global warming is a myth. And the term “global climate change” is ridiculous because the earth’s climate is always changing globally, regardless of man’s actions.

  102. ibugeye

    @100:Daffy

    If I invest in the production of compact fluorecence bulbs and they are mandated by some government entity, will I make a profit? If I invest in solar panels and some governmental entity mandates the use of solar panels, will I not make a profit? Can’t you see the correlation?

  103. Sarah Pressman

    Plutonium Loon From Beyond Reality whined:

    “Try exactly what I said – people who do NOT have a vested interest in the AGW scam”

    Translation: “Let’s have some deniers analysing on the panel and some Exxon backed judges and then see what sort of verdict we get shall we?”

    The only scam here is the one your kind are trying to pull. You are no skeptic, you’re a denier. You can’t fault the findings of the scientists, so you want carte blanche to attack them with impunity.

  104. ApatheticObserver

    We must accept that most people who read about climate issues *aren’t* world class scientists specialising in the field [is our author? As an astronomer, he seems to self-classify as a ‘scientist’, as if this makes him qualified to pass comment on everything referenced in this article]. But there are some very important, simple things that weren’t pointed out in this article:

    1) The report was conducted by people with a clear and unmistakeable vested interest
    2) Almost none of the criticised papers were actually analysed in this report
    3) Even with such facts they were *still* criticised for their statistical methods (which instantly invalidates any conclusion; this is not to say the conclusions are necessarily wrong, just that under their analysis they are untenable)

    This is pretty damning for the value of the report.

    The thing is, I’m neither a ‘denier’ nor a ‘supporter’ (God I hate those terms….); I’m only too aware that I’m in no position to judge their actual work scientifically. But as an impartial observer, it’s seems to me that the author of this article is disingenuously disseminating either incompetence or lies. Unfortunately, the same goes for many, many people on both sides of the argument, and when something this important is being discussed, that’s not an acceptable situation.

  105. elvisp

    Over at DailyTech, this information is buried under the headline “American Global Warming Researcher Investigated for Fraud” where, for six paragraphs, the article details the panel and how they’ve cleared the EA scientists of any wrongdoing. The “American Global Warming Researcher” under investigation? That news comprises three sentences. At the end of the article. (!!!)
    They headline the original “climategate” story and adopt the term for use in at least one other article, but when news hits that the scientists have been cleared, that information does not merit its own post and headline. Journalism at its finest!

  106. Chris Ryan

    W H I T E W A S H !!!!!! B L E A C H !!!!!!

    This investigation had no legal power and was just another brick in the whitewash wall. They couldn’t even publish submissions that named names and stated facts. They could not have found against Jones et. al. without their findings being considered “actionable”.

    This is like asking Ms. Madoff to investigate Bernie’s stock deals.

    AGW is a myth, has always been a myth and the result is a global fraud.

    Their is no science involved. It is religion.

  107. Ron

    MartinM, thanks for clearing up the “travesty” quote. On the other issue, I think I must still disagree.
    According to Phil Jones, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” That’s not good. I think I must strongly disagree that putting a paper in the review process, where it can be examined (which is where you were going I in mentioning a problem I believe), is a problem on the same level as prohibiting the publication of a paper. The first is not censorship while the later is.

  108. Gary

    FYI, here is the history that lead up to Climategate: http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/mcintyre-trinity.2010.pdf

    The funny thing is Steve McIntyre actually thinks CO2 is a significant contributor to atmospheric warming, so it’s disingenuous to call him a “denier.”

  109. fred edison

    @103

    “Regardless of man’s actions.” Those four words speak volumes.

    What do you say we rescind the ban on chlorofluorocarbons and have some fun depleting the ozone layer for giggles? Think about it, what harm can a little human activity have on the big old invincible Earth? Really, think about it.

  110. Old Bob

    I am extremely disappointed at both sides in this discussion. Speaking as a political independent and as a scientist (Astrophysics) I am appalled at how this has become a political argument. Two years ago I was caught in the middle between a liberal brother arguing the dangers of global warming and a conservative brother arguing against. My brother with a PhD in math was being called a denier and a flatlander and idiot and moron for his beliefs. It turned out their beliefs on global warming merely reflected their political viewpoints. I have spent most of my free time in the past two years researching the issue and learning everything I could find about both sides of the issue.
    I am still in the middle and find arguing points for both sides.

    The “warmers” have conclusively been shown to have manipulated data to make their results suit their views. Phil, you should be ASHAMED of what these people have done. I was amazed that you supported them until I discovered you are a leftist liberal. That disappointed me because I liked most things about your blog and hate to see science mixed up with politics.
    Dangers have been exaggerated, past history has been re-written and too often they use derision and personal attacks instead of logic, reason and research.

    The “deniers’ or “skeptics” have too many poorly educated proponents who misunderstand the issues and parrot crackpot notions. They tend to assume that since some warmers are crooked that all climate scientists are frauds.
    They are too eager to jump on any paper which supports their positions.

    Nevertheless, the earth is getting warmer and the sea level is rising.
    And it is also true that the earth has been warming for hunders of years and the sea level has been rising for millions of years.

    Everyone please keep an open mind. Believe what you have reasoned out for yourself and not what you have read or been told. Research what both sides have to say. Read the actual research papers and try to follow what is being said.

    I know Steve McIntyre and it is ridiculous to call him a denier or anti AGW.
    He actually would probably classify himself as an enlightened warmer. However, he is completely removed from the political side and is doing his auditing as a hobby and a personal search for truth.

    That is what we ALL should be doing – searching for the truth – not calling people names because you disagree with their political beliefs.

  111. adam

    You know, for self-avowed skeptics, Phil Plait and his readers do seem to accept a lot at face value.

    Push aside for a moment reasonable suspicion of conflict of interest in these “investigations,” and we can say there was no clear conspiracy here.

    Doesn’t change the fact that there were attempts to obfuscate methodology, block dissent and clear instances of reprehensibly irresponsible scientific practices. You can’t argue that.

    The “scientific consensus” being bandied about by the climate non-skeptics (that’s you, Phil) is nothing more than an echo chamber built on a foundation of confirmation bias. You can find anything you’re looking for if you try hard enough.

    The problem you face now is you’re untrustworthy. What among all your “mountains of evidence” is objective? Which reports cherry-pick the data? Which don’t? What wasn’t done with a specific end in mind? Stop pretending like those who are skeptical of you are the ignorant, moronic simpletons with heads buried in the sand and realize your insular community of auto fellatio is why people are doubting you. And with good reason.

    Make a case for why we should trust your sacred “consensus” at the cost of economies, businesses and autonomy. Make a case for why the realistic (that is, the ones we can predict with any rational certainty) consequences of global warming is so much worse than the gutting of third world industry on such uncertainty. Make a case for how we can actually stop the warming trend (hint: we can’t). Make a case that proves it’s a deviation from natural warming cycles, like that that preceded the Little Ice Age (and don’t give us instrumentation data permissively grafted onto ice core and tree ring data, such a logical leap wouldn’t cut it as a master’s thesis).

    Give us that, and maybe our own sense of skepticism will be satisfied and we can all get along.

  112. Jack

    Corrupted scientists clear fellow corrupted scientists.

    Scientists think of themselfs as God´s but the history of Mankind shows a different story. They were (and are) always easily manipulated by the powerful. The most corrupted and immoral class of people on Earth.

  113. MMonides

    Dear Bob, Jack, and other skeptics,

    7 different data sets all verify that the world is warming, and that it’s directly related to manmade GHGs. Take it from someone who used to work for the American Petroleum Institute: the oil companies are spending millions of advertising dollars a year to convince you of the lies you believe. I worked inside the machine, along side the real fake scientists, the skeptics like Pat Michaels and the fools like Sally Baliunas, and the propaganda artists like Frank Maisano. We sold you lies, you believed them. Shame on us, but shame on you as well.

    The first step for you is admitting you’re wrong. Then you’ll be free of the lies I told you.

  114. Danielle

    Not that they’re exactly mainstream, but Public Radio actually did cover this pretty extensively. I heard about the results of both of the completed investigations on All Things Considered and on Talk of the Nation (gotta love Science Friday) on my commute.

  115. Stuart

    With the scientific evidence being so overwhelmingly in favour of one side of the debate, the other side has little to fall back on but crazy conspiracy theories, which make their arguments rather immune to any form of reason.

    There can be a thousand independent reviews, each coming to the same conclusion that “Climategate” was little more than a denialist smear campaign, or that the fundamentals of climate science are sound. But to the deniers, that’s just evidence of a widening conspiracy. Which is unfortunate, given how easy most of their scientific claims are to demolish.

    The denialists posting here have proven your argument as well as you could ever do yourself.

  116. Inti

    The most corrupted and immoral class of people on Earth gave you computers, cellphones, modern medicine, clean water, safe hygiene and pretty much everything you consider normal in our modern civilization.

  117. Adam Says beat me to the punch. The conclusions read like a love letter to the scientists–there’s nothing wrong with what they did, the poor little things are just misunderstood. But anyway, proof of a conspiracy is unimportant. The thing to home in on is that they tried, one way or another, to pass off their work as final proof, when it was flawed.

  118. Geoff I

    @115 Adam “and don’t give us instrumentation data permissively grafted onto ice core and tree ring data, ”

    Um.. does this mean you trust tree ring data as a temperature proxy more than ….. thermometers?

    You say it’s a “natural deviation” but you don’t give a possible cause. Make a case for “natural deviation” then and we won’t just think you’re pulling quotes from the denialist site of the day.

    I’d take auto fellatio over auto lobotomy any day.

  119. Daffy

    ibugeye Says, #104

    You didn’t answer my questions. Big surprise.

  120. Plutonium being from Pluto

    BA I am officially requesting that Sarah Pressman be permanently banned from this blog as a troll for her constant offensive and unproductive ad hominem attacks on other posters here (incl. myself) in violation of your blog policy of “be polite” and respect other commenters.

    Sarah Pressman has contributed nothing but personal insults here. For instance see her post # 105.

    Ms Pressman – grow up and learn that it is possible to conduct a rational civilised debate even on contentious political topics where people completely disgaree.

    I am willing to be polite whilst still strongly stating my views and putting my case.

    You need to learn how to do likewise.

    @95. Doug Little Says:

    “@ ^ Daffy : Why? Sorry but what the blazes is wrong with having an investigation done by people who oppose something as well as support it? Where is the irony there? I really don’t see it.”

    The irony is that you are asking for something that is exactly the same as you think it is now. You think that the current investigators are not impartial and have an agenda to perpetrate. The investigators you are proposing are not impartial and have an agenda to perpetrate. See the irony now.

    I see that you have totally misunderstood the point I was making.

    I don’t just *think* the current investigators aren’t impartial, we *know* that they are not.

    What I’m asking for is definitely NOT what we’ve had with *this whitewash done by* AGW club “Climatologists” *for* AGW club “Climatologists.”

    Yes, I do propose that a panel of others who do NOT have an interest in finding in favour of the AGW scam properly rigourously and thoroughly investigate the actions of the CRU and other AGW Alarmists.

    I also do suggest that AGW opponents are allowed to cross examine the AGW proponents in an adversarial fashion as we know this manner of assessment helps get to the truth – hence its use in the court system.

    Despite the mud thrown by the Warmists, AGW skeptics are well-informed, intelligent and rational people well qualified to dissect the fudged and spun “science” of the political activists pretending to be climate “scientists” as we willhopefully one day see if a proper inquiry is held eg. Sen. Inhofe’s.

    Given what we’ve learnt from the release of the leaked Climategate emails any inquiry that “clears” the “scientists” involved simply has no credibility.

    You cannot excuse away warping peer review, deliberately altering data to create false impressions favouring your pet theories and deleting the raw data rather than sharing it as valid science.

    You just can’t – and all sane & reasonable people know this.

  121. Joseph Pulitzer

    28. Phil Plait Says:
    May 5th, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    Joseph Pulitzer (#22); Thank you for that fact-based and evidence-supported claim, since it shows precisely what I mean.

    I should give a prize to the commenter with the most ironic comment in cases like these. If only I could come up with a name for it…

    Phil, your article is evidence in support of my claim. The fact that you do not agree with my assessment of your tripe does not change this.

    I look forward to recieving your award for ironic comments – I will treasure it like I do your article above. But please don’t hold your breath waiting for any awards from me. I would not want you to further deplete your brain cells.

  122. Sarah Pressman: While I disagree with much of what Plutonium is saying about global warming, in his last comment (124) he is right: you are violating my “don’t be jerk” rule. I will only warn you once. Don’t do it again.

  123. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Thankyou BA.

    For my part I will also try hard to stay civil and not get too carried away in this highly inflammatory, highly polarised debate.

  124. Andy

    I have a feeling that conversations with deniers goes something like the two I had with my parents this last week:

    1st conversation:
    “Look at all this liberal crap about global warming. It’s stuff like the volcano that cause problems, and people like Al Gore only want to make money from it. Flying all over in his jet like that.” (Degrades into political rant based on Fox news stories and Reagan being the greatest president ever.)

    2nd conversation, 2 days later:
    “Look at that will you. The weather just seems to be getting weirder and weirder the past few years. I wonder what’s going on with that.”

    Ummm….yeah…ok

  125. Muzz

    Old Bob sez

    The “warmers” have conclusively been shown to have manipulated data to make their results suit their views.

    This is utter nonsense and the repetition of utter nonsense is why it quickly turns angry. No one is working from the same set of facts in this argument and one side is spreading disinformation about the others’ info more than arguing against their conclusions (oh they are arguing against their conclusions alright, but with disinformation).
    You skeptics like adam must have stopped at reading the critiques against climate science. Their mere existence was enough. You didn’t read the critiques of the critiques. Do that and there’s, at the very least, no way to conclude that there’s confirmation bias on only one side.

    The problem for so called climate change skeptics now is that ” you’re untrustworthy. What among all your “mountains of evidence” is objective? Which reports cherry-pick the data? Which don’t? What wasn’t done with a specific end in mind? Stop pretending like those who are skeptical of you are the ignorant, moronic simpletons with heads buried in the sand biased leftist idealogues out to take over the world and realize your insular community of auto fellatio is why people are doubting you.”

  126. Matris Fututor

    Scientists in their ivory towers sneer at the public and try to enforce their beliefs on us. AGW is one of those beliefs. There isn’t any evidence for AGW that isn’t concocted by scientists seeking to shove their liberal elitist agendas down the throat of the rest of humanity.
    The internet should be a natural defence against this “ivory tower syndrome” . The scientists should be made to put their data and emails on a blog for us all to scrutinise for mistakes and misleading propaganda. Then we could all discuss what science was good and what science was being forced upon us by a liberal elite of scientists for their own selfish political ends.
    Phil Plait is one of those who would like to foist his politcally derived AGW agenda on us all without any doubt in his beliefs, and his lackeys are allowed to slander AGW skeptics and show no evidence for AGW. I wonder what we’d find if we could view Phil’s emails and files?
    Would we find evidence that he is in collusion with others who share his faith in AGW?
    We should out all of these liberal elitists for what they are – AGW faith evangelists that would destroy our industries and cripple our society for their green religion.

  127. Flying sardines

    It may be unjust but following “climategate” the climatologists observing and warning about Global Warming have an undeniable image problem among the general public.

    A lot of mud has been thrown and in many – not all but many – people’s eyes some of this mud has stuck and made it much harder for Jill & Joe Public to trust or take seriously what the scientists involved are saying.

    A reputation is a very bad thing to lose and very hard to get back – and because of this percieved problem justice needs to not only be done but be seen to be done.

    If only from a tactical (or is the word strategic?) perspective perhaps we *do* need a high profile public “science trial” like Dover or the Scopes trial for Climate Change in order to restore public confidence in the climatologists.

    So I’d suggest the whole “climategate” affair and the validity of Climate Science and Global Warming generally be “put on trial ‘ before a panel of five people. (An odd number to avoid a deadlock.) One of these 5 would be a strong high-profile supporter of our current Global Warming knowledge, another a strong high-profile opponent of it – think something like Al Gore Versus James Inhofe* – with the other three all being respected people (judges or legal experts?) with no record of saying anything for or against GW and having no special interest at all either way.

    Then, hopefully, after the case has been put convincingly for a week or two of public debate the GW scientists would be publicly cleared probably 4-1 and the climatologists would have something to point back to and say : “see this X case demolished those denialist claims.”

    OTOH, if the result is less convincing (3-2?) or goes the other way I would suggest that it would show that the climatologists do have more than just a PR problem and that case would help expose that – but the former is more likely isn’t it?

    Sometimes I think the best way to beat the political Right is give them just a little of what they ask for. Inhofe wants a big debate on this – why not give it to him with both barrels?

    ————————————

    * I don’t know if Inhofe & Gore have ever publicly debated each other one on one on GW but my guess is that Gore would easily win and humiliate Inhofe in the process.

  128. Sarah Pressman

    Plutonium being from Pluto Says:

    “Sarah Pressman has contributed nothing but personal insults here. For instance see her post # 105.”

    You’re right PBFP, my sincerest apologies to you and Phil. I was merely playing devil’s advocate for the blinkered warmist believers, as they are on the losing side.
    I didn’t mean to really imply you were a lunatic, but to show that AGW believers have nothing but ad hominems to sling at their opponents, not fact based scientific evidence.
    I really think that all climate change investigations should be run by those actively hostile to AGW. Its the only way to be neutral in these affairs. Cuccinelli and Inhofe should be the people to conduct any investigations. We’d definately get some truth then.
    I also think that Kent Hovind should be allowed to investigate those who would have us believe in the evolution hoax, and to punish the crude vulgarity of PZ Myers. It would be a fine day for America when Spike Psarris was put in charge of investigating astronomers’ funding and “research”.
    Orly Taitz should be given carte blanche to conduct her investigation of the true details of Obama’s real place of birth, without the impediments imposed by the ad hominem slinging crowd of Obamaphiles.
    And while we’re at it I would be most pleased to see Jenny McCarthy in charge of an in depth investigation of how vaccines definately harm children.
    So you see I’m on your side with regards to investigating the truth of bias in so called “science”.

  129. Doug Little

    deliberately altering data to create false impressions favouring your pet theories and deleting the raw data rather than sharing it as valid science

    If you have solid proof of this then I suggest you get it to the authorities, as this is what they have just been cleared of, twice.

    Sarah @132 Awesome POTD.

  130. adam

    @122, Geoff I

    Um.. does this mean you trust tree ring data as a temperature proxy more than ….. thermometers?
    You say it’s a “natural deviation” but you don’t give a possible cause. Make a case for “natural deviation” then and we won’t just think you’re pulling quotes from the denialist site of the day.
    I’d take auto fellatio over auto lobotomy any day.

    A) Ask a climatologist why there are “natural” fluctuations in global temperature at all.
    B) I’m not a denialist, and my “quotes” come from myself, not from any site.

    At the risk of repeating myself wholesale, I’ll just give you my objections the way I presented them here in the past. They were never addressed by anyone, so maybe they’re due for another go:

    The huge body of evidence spoken of is itself gapingly open to interpretation. AGW-centric scientists themselves admit as much. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen ALL the evidence, but I would suspect you haven’t either. I would also bet that some portion of the data and/or methods used to make the hockey stick analyses that form much of the basis of current warming theories are suspect or would be, given further, fairer scrutiny. I can legitimately make that assessment because of the precedent of disinformation and opacity set by Mann, Briffa and others at CRU.

    Of course, my own speculation isn’t science. I recognize that. And even if we were to prove that the tree-ring analyses carried out by certain scientists were flawed and couldn’t be relied upon, there are still a goodly number of studies using other proxies for temperature reconstruction–notably boreholes and glacier length. Right? Direct instrumental measurements only go back fairly recently and, when all is said and done, don’t give us an accurate enough picture of macro-scale climate change across a long enough time period. AGW advocate scientists will say that much (at least, when it’s convenient, in an effort to convince us of the necessity of proxy data).

    So in order to supplement recent-history direct instrument measurements, what we’ve got are a bunch of proxy data going back 1300-1800 years. Temperature reconstructions are formed thusly: climate reflection data from varying proxies (particularly the two I mentioned) taken together and then supplemented with more recent direct instrumentation data. However, the accuracy of that reflection data drops off precipitously after about 400 years. The error range of proxy data prior to about 1500 AD is, on average, around 1.0-1.3 degrees. That is a lot.

    What’s most interesting about this is that scientists on both sides acknowledge that there is evidence of the onset of a pronounced cold period coinciding with the drop off in accuracy of this proxy data (the Little Ice Age) in the opposite direction–the cold spell begins as our measurements become more trustworthy. Anything prior to that period is, quite simply, very uncertain. This makes it easy for warming skeptics to say that any observed upswing in temperature trends is simply a return to the normal temperatures of the medieval warm period.

    So what to do to remedy the lack of accuracy? Well, do a lot of studies with a lot of data and eliminate as much anamalous data as possible, reduce the error range and get an accurate picture of what is going on, if anything. Sounds like a good plan. Unfortunately, the data doesn’t always show what we expect. In fact, if we examine the data closely, very few of the measurements show a dramatic upswing of any kind. And guess what? The most dramatic upswings are given in one of two cases: instrumentation records (which only go back to around 1850–the end of the LIA) like CRUTEM3 or tree-ring data like that given by Briffa.

    I’ve already gone into depth on Briffa elsewhere. As for CRUTEM3, just as an example:

    “The data of CRUTEM3 extend far into the sea; and the data of HadSST2 extend far inland. Grid boxes with only a tiny fraction of land are included in CRUTEM3, and grid boxes with only a tiny fraction of sea are included in HadSST2. The temperatures of these grid boxes are not very reliable, especially for HadSST2. In the merged HadCRUT3 dataset these boxes are often weighed strongly due to the low variability. ”

    That’s from the data source itself, by the way. Nothing overly damning, but certainly not confidence-inspiring. The author even adds “use with care” at the end of the note. And now we find out that the entire dataset in question may have been compromised or lost, along with who knows what others.

    So for the sake of argument, just bear with me, and let’s say that direct instrument readings are problematic because they don’t match up with proxy data–like comparing apples and oranges, not to mention that they may have been compromised. So let’s use JUST proxy data for our reconstruction. What do we see? Click the link, and ignore the gray and red lines. Look at the rest:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/progress-in-millennial-reconstructions/

    Just what we might expect. What appears to be a recovery from an unusually cold period (all WELL within the error range reported by the researchers from earlier measurements) which was preceded by a period of definitively uncertain temperature, but nonetheless a period with indications that it may have been every bit as warm as today, if not more so.

    What I’ve just explained is only one weak link in a very long, fractious chain. So you can see why an honest, responsible truth seeker like myself has a hard time buying into AGW wholesale from such unconvincing peddlers.

  131. Graeme Bird

    “Climate scientists cleared of malpractice by panel….”

    If a scientist is guilty of malpractice, obviously it is not possible for a panel to white-wash that guilt away.

  132. Alecto

    Adam said:

    “What I’ve just explained is only one weak link in a very long, fractious chain. So you can see why an honest, responsible truth seeker like myself has a hard time buying into AGW wholesale from such unconvincing peddlers.”

    I think that all of us honest, responsible truth seekers are being too hastily called “deniers” by those who don’t understand our skepticism towards these scientists. There is quite obviously a whitewash being done by non skeptics. Science should be open and accountable and falsehoods like the “scientific consensus” should be shown to be part of a political agenda.
    These climate change falsehoods are on trial here on the blogs, and are taking a beating. I think that governments should take notice of this fact and realise that AGW is a scam put forward by a certain group of scientists with an axe to grind against the free market capitalism of America.

  133. Composer99

    The so-called ‘skeptics’ commenting here are throwing around plenty of accusations of corruption and conspiracy, very little evidence to back up them up, and even less evidence to back up their conclusions about current warming trends (e.g. comment 130 and many others like it).

    [sarcasm]Yes, that has the exact appearance of proper skeptical behaviour to me.[/sarcasm]

    Also, whoever was throwing around water vapour proportions was way off (I think it was 40% or so they suggested?). Earth’s atmosphere is ~ 78% nitrogen gas. Water vapour appears to hover around 1% per Wikipedia. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_atmosphere (Wikipedia cites reasonable sources in this article and this is not an academic paper, so don’t anyone start whining to me about how bad it is.)

  134. Daffy

    Plutonium, as I have said many times, I am rather on the fence on this issue. However—and I am quite serious here—your rabid attempts to demonize your opponents, with little or no peer reviewed facts to back it up, is rapidly convincing me that AGW is an established fact. I mean, if you had anything valid to present, I am pretty sure you would have done it by now, right?

    In another thread—about religion in government, no less—you manged to inject yet again your “AGW is a religion” ad hominem. Whaaaa?

    Honestly, by and large I find the AGW supporters to be far more logical and reasoned in their thoughts; I am thinking there is probably a reason for that.

  135. adam

    You’re right PBFP, my sincerest apologies to you and Phil. I was merely playing devil’s advocate for the blinkered warmist believers, as they are on the losing side.
    I didn’t mean to really imply you were a lunatic, but to show that AGW believers have nothing but ad hominems to sling at their opponents, not fact based scientific evidence.

    You’ve been mocking and name-calling those whom you disagree with for months. Why stop now, right? Credit to Phil for at least trying to keep things at an adult level of conversation, despite your best efforts.

    Regardless, your attempt at satire falls flat on its face. You deride the idea of those hostile to a concept being the ones to verify it, when you’ve given every indication that you’re willing to accept that very thing if you agree with those doing the verification.

    At least I’m willing to admit where I’m biased. I’m biased towards what I can understand and what makes sense to me. When I hear of a study done that has implications in terms of global economies and world energy policy, I sit up and take notice and do my best to figure out why and how the conclusions were reached.

    Old Bob said:

    I am still in the middle and find arguing points for both sides.

    The “warmers” have conclusively been shown to have manipulated data to make their results suit their views. Phil, you should be ASHAMED of what these people have done. I was amazed that you supported them until I discovered you are a leftist liberal. That disappointed me because I liked most things about your blog and hate to see science mixed up with politics.

    Dangers have been exaggerated, past history has been re-written and too often they use derision and personal attacks instead of logic, reason and research.
    The “deniers’ or “skeptics” have too many poorly educated proponents who misunderstand the issues and parrot crackpot notions. They tend to assume that since some warmers are crooked that all climate scientists are frauds.

    And I absolutely agree with everything he has said. There are ignorant people on both sides. But there is a large number of skeptics of AGW like me, like Old Bob, like Plutonium, that make up what you regard as the coven of “denialists.” Stop insulting us. Stop acting like you’re better than we are. We’re the ones combing over the numbers, making logical connections and rightfully questioning the methods and conclusions of the hallowed pantheon of science. We don’t worship at your altar. Get over it. Scientists make mistakes and I find it bewildering that as soon as the idea of “us vs. them” enters the debate, be it political or ideological, both sides stop asking questions. But your position is most shameful, because it is so mind-bendingly hypocritical. If you bothered to do the same research that we have with the same skepticism you claim to possess, you’d find the same holes we have, the same obscurity, the same chaos, the same leaps of faith, and you’d wonder why a cause based on a scientific field of such sheer complexity and uncertainty could have gained so much momentum that today your “side” is just as ignorant as the other, calling the science “settled,” calling the case for AGW “proved.” It’s not, and it isn’t. Not by a long shot. And until it is I and others like me maintain that reshaping the world in such a kneejerk, haphazard, dangerous manner to grapple with a situation we barely understand is a mistake.

    So if that makes us “denialists,” so be it. If so, you are not a skeptic.

    @ Daffy:

    I’ve presented some facts. Based on data AGW proponents use. Care to address that? I might mention that most of the “peer reviewed” studies in favor of AGW are based on the same problematic methodology I discuss in my earlier post. Here’s a link (http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm) to a pro-AGW article that comes to the conclusion that AGW is more likely than not (“likely” also being a term Mann himself uses in his abstract, as well as warning that extending the hockey-stick relativism back 1700+ years carries “strong caveats”–how’s that for confidence?), but fails to convince me into world-changing drastic measures because the anchor for reconstructions prior back 1300-1700 years are primarily tree ring data proxies. Mann 2008 is the major study that links these disparate studies together, and that’s discussed directly in my earlier post. I’m currently in the process of going through the datasets that Mann uses in that important report. It’s a shame Mann can’t or doesn’t include error ranges in his graphs. They’d be easier to meaningfully dissect that way. I’d like to reconstruct Mann’s report with error ranges and control for potentially cherry-picked data or small datasets. As I’ve said, as far as I’m concerned, instrumentation data is statistically aberrant when compared directly to proxy data, and I’ve yet to be rationally convinced otherwise. Please, convince me.

  136. adam

    Sorry, I should mention I meant that it’s a shame Mann doesn’t or can’t include error ranges in his graphs for every data set. There are some that report “uncertainties,” although I’m not sure what the criteria for that is, exactly.

  137. Doug Little

    Stop acting like you’re better than we are. We’re the ones combing over the numbers, making logical connections and rightfully questioning the methods and conclusions of the hallowed pantheon of science. We don’t worship at your altar. Get over it. Scientists make mistakes and I find it bewildering that as soon as the idea of “us vs. them” enters the debate, be it political or ideological, both sides stop asking questions.

    So if that is the case then please by all means present your evidence. If you have a better theory that fits the data then science has this amazing self correcting ability that you can harness, its called peer review, if your theory has merit then you will be hailed a hero, like Darwin and Copernicus. BTW they had a much harder path than anybody today because what they were proposing was blasphemy in a time where the grip of religion was much. much stronger. I sure if you had anything substantive to offer you would have someones ear, as the benefits to a lot of the worlds richest global organizations would be great.

  138. Sarah Pressman

    Adam said:

    “You’ve been mocking and name-calling those whom you disagree with for months. Why stop now, right? Credit to Phil for at least trying to keep things at an adult level of conversation, despite your best efforts.
    Regardless, your attempt at satire falls flat on its face. You deride the idea of those hostile to a concept being the ones to verify it, when you’ve given every indication that you’re willing to accept that very thing if you agree with those doing the verification.”

    Adam, what satire? I really do believe that those hostile to AGW should be leading all investigations, both scientific and legal, into AGW. It is the only way we’ll get any truth. PBFP is a little too liberal in his outlook. Why give the investigating team any advantages like diluting it with AGW believers? Only then will us skeptics really know the extent of the liberal conspiracy that these so called “climate scientists” have tried to pass off as reality.
    If you have an issue with my ideas then you’re possibly part of the conspiracy of non skeptic lefty liberals. Please refrain from using ad hominems against me, or I will refer you to Phil Plait, and you will be chastised for breaking the “Don’t be a jerk” rule.

  139. Sarah Pressman

    Alecto said:

    “These climate change falsehoods are on trial here on the blogs, and are taking a beating. I think that governments should take notice of this fact and realise that AGW is a scam put forward by a certain group of scientists with an axe to grind against the free market capitalism of America.”

    I’m in full agreement with you Alecto. It is about time that all the sciences were investigated to purge them of liberal agendas. We need 24 hour surveillance of scientists, and complete access to their private emails and phone calls. It should be made totally legal to hack any scientists computer, in the name of truthseeking, and the preservation of our capitalist system.
    We just can’t trust these “scientists” anymore, can we?

  140. Lord Rotifer

    adam very kindly pointed out:

    “Of course, my own speculation isn’t science. I recognize that.”

    Very nice of you to point that out old chap.

    “We’re the ones combing over the numbers, making logical connections and rightfully questioning the methods and conclusions of the hallowed pantheon of science.”

    So let me catch your drift adam. You aren’t a scientist, let alone a climate scientist, and you expect that your non scientific criticism of a climate scientists work should be listened to.
    Why do you think that posting on a blog is the proper way to display your important criticisms of climate science? Why aren’t you writing to some important peer reviewed scientific journal with your evidence?
    One might think you’re a crank, dear boy, since that is what they do. Or at least completely unfamiliar with the way bona fide scientists actually do their work. If this is the case, no one should seriously consider what your opinions are on the matter of climate change science.

    Lord Rotifer;)

  141. adam

    @Doug Little:

    I’ve presented my objections. You haven’t addressed even one. Instead you’ve chosen to phrase your own response such that objections are not good enough, I have to post evidence that a certain claim is not valid, instead of you presenting the evidence of your own claims being airtight and above reproach. That’s very convenient, and works very well favor of your argument, since as you well know I am not a climatologist and due to real life obligations and limitations, I can’t pick up climatology in my spare time. You know what? Get back to me when you’re ready to discuss the “anything substantive” that I have offered and that you’ve chosen to ignore. Remember, the burden of proof lies with the claimant and the AGW alarmists have PROVEN nothing to warrant the combative measures proposed.

    @Sarah Pressman:

    You’re impossible.

    @Lord Rotifer:

    So let me catch your drift adam. You aren’t a scientist, let alone a climate scientist, and you expect that your non scientific criticism of a climate scientists work should be listened to.

    Why do you think that posting on a blog is the proper way to display your important criticisms of climate science? Why aren’t you writing to some important peer reviewed scientific journal with your evidence?

    Okay, so let me catch your drift. What you’re saying is that because someone isn’t fully qualified according to some standard, they shouldn’t ask questions. That’s what you’re saying, right? More specifically, you’re saying that non-climatologists can’t have legitimate objections to the science of climatologists. You’re telling me that only other climatologists can criticize the methods and conclusions of climatologists. You’re telling me that we non-climatologists really have no choice but to suckle eagerly at the teat of the holy trinity, the climatologist, his journal study and the IPCC release. You know, I bet you really believe that. I also bet you can guess where I think you can stick that argument.

    As far as me posting on a blog, I do things like this in my spare time, what little of it I have. It not being my career doesn’t mean my criticisms are invalid, especially since the criticisms of others with more time and more qualification supplement my own. But, you know, as soon as I have some time maybe I will attempt to publish an objective analysis of the AGW argument. That is, provided I can find a journal staffed by scientists who can take criticism.

    Oh, and you assume I’m not a scientist. Your assumption is incorrect.

  142. ND

    adam,

    What is your scientific background?

    “You’re telling me that we non-climatologists really have no choice but to suckle eagerly at the teat of the holy trinity, the climatologist, his journal study and the IPCC release.”

    No, the issue is you’ve come here criticizing scientists out in the field, doing the actual work and research, and saying they’re wrong, and why should we take *you* seriously over climatologists? We ourselves are are not climatologists. You can make all sorts of arguments that may appear to make sense if taken at face value, but I would not have any idea if you’re cherry picking data or misapplying science.

  143. Lord Rotifer

    adam said:
    “But, you know, as soon as I have some time maybe I will attempt to publish an objective analysis of the AGW argument. That is, provided I can find a journal staffed by scientists who can take criticism.”

    Good luck with getting your important non climate scientist criticisms published, old boy. I won’t hold my breath waiting to see them though. Your kind are usually full of hot air when it comes to publishing in relevant peer reviewed scientific journals. The climate change scientists need a good laugh though, after all their hard work, so please make sure you send one in, old bean.

    “What you’re saying is that because someone isn’t fully qualified according to some standard, they shouldn’t ask questions. That’s what you’re saying, right?”

    No dear boy, thats what the straw man you just constructed is saying.

    ” You’re telling me that only other climatologists can criticize the methods and conclusions of climatologists. You’re telling me that we non-climatologists really have no choice but to suckle eagerly at the teat of the holy trinity, the climatologist, his journal study and the IPCC release.”

    My dear chap, you sound irate about the fact, but a fact it is. To have objections to the work of any climate scientist, and to be taken seriously by other qualified climate scientists you must be a climate scientist. I think you know this already, as you post your important objections to a blog, rather than try to get them published by a reputable peer reviewed journal of the relevant science, old bean.

    ” You know, I bet you really believe that.”

    In comparison my beliefs are more in line with reality, whilst yours smack of delusion, dear boy.

    ” I also bet you can guess where I think you can stick that argument.”

    Where, my dear chap? The same place your “criticisms” of climate science come from?

  144. Doug Little

    I’ve presented my objections. You haven’t addressed even one.

    Sorry to break it to you Adam but I’m not a climate scientist either. If you have objections then we have this little thing called the internet that you can find stuff out on in your own spare time. You are the one with the dissenting opinion, so it is your responsibility to do the research, I myself trust what science has to say on the matter, it has this uncanny ability to be self correcting if anything untoward has been happening.

    Instead you’ve chosen to phrase your own response such that objections are not good enough

    If you can’t support your objections with credible evidence then no they are not good enough.

    Remember, the burden of proof lies with the claimant and the AGW alarmists have PROVEN nothing to warrant the combative measures proposed

    You are getting confused we are not discussing the way to go about reducing CO2 emissions here, that is a whole other topic, what we are discussing is whether the climate is changing and whether man has a significant impact on that change. I think your political persuasion is getting in the way here, You are talking about Cap and Trade right?

    So you have it backwards, you don’t like a particular solution to the problem so the problem must not exist.

  145. Lord Rotifer

    adam said:

    “Oh, and you assume I’m not a scientist. Your assumption is incorrect.”

    “Remember, the burden of proof lies with the claimant …”

    Adam old prune, please elucidate as to your scientific qualifications. I am of the opinion that I will be greatly disappointed by you dodging out the obligation to show us your relevant scientific qualifications, and the peer reviewed papers you have had published recently.

  146. Glenn Becker

    I’m thinking about writing a book to criticise relativity. I’m a plumber by trade, and despite physics not being my career that doesn’t mean my criticisms are invalid, especially since the criticisms of others with more time and more qualification supplement my own. Especially when those others are suspected of having an axe to grind against physics, and aren’t even physicists, or have the proper scientific credentials to criticise physics. I mean I know a geologist that tells me Einstein was full of BS, and a British lord that swears that relativity is a commie inspired hoax. One day I hope that I will be allowed by the liberal conspiracy to publish my book, but a better strategy would be to post on blogs and avoid proper scientific scrutiny. Then a few people might believe my ideologically inspired ranting.

  147. Ron

    Sorry to place this again, but it was completely ignored. I’ll say, once again, that I’m a skeptic but that I think this issue is important.
    According to Phil Jones, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
    I call this “An Inconvenient Quote”.

  148. ND

    Ron,

    That’s a cherry picked quote bereft of any context. What were the papers and what justification did Phil and Kevin feel made them unfit for the IPCC report? “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is” And did this threat come to be?

  149. Eve

    adam says

    You’re telling me that we non-climatologists really have no choice but to suckle eagerly at the teat of the holy trinity, the climatologist, his journal study and the IPCC release.

    Comparing science to a religion is the type of thing creationists do. Besides, why have a problem with the way that proper scientists do things? It seems to me that cranks often have objections to the way scientists normally publish peer reviewed papers because the cranks desperately want to attach some gloss of real science to their pseudoscience. But real science has these protocols in place to weed out the cranks from the real scientists.

    Ron says

    I call this “An Inconvenient Quote”.

    There have been a tsunami of “inconvenient quotes” dredged up by deniers to try to smear the scientists, because they couldn’t smear the actual science. But in the end these “inconvenient quotes” turned out to be misrepresented by the deniers, and easily explained as the way scientists communicate with each other on a day to day basis.

  150. the 6 scientists in the panel are public figures that you can look up.
    their links to climate change research are weak to non-existent.
    but did you do that before coming to a conclusion? nooo of course not! that would have been to much effort.

  151. Punksta

    Well of course the panels hand-picked and paid for the by universities themselves, found no evidence of malpractice at the universities.

  152. Lemuel Franco

    #157. If you had any real evidence of malpractice you’d have put it on the net with much fanfare, Punksta.
    One man amateur inquiry teams always outrank qualified investigators in the fantasy world of denialism. But in the real world those who have real knowledge have shown there to be no conspiracy.

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