Hip, hip, hypocrisy!

By Phil Plait | February 16, 2012 11:50 am

Let’s hope the Heartland Institute pursues this perfidious document leaker with the same vigor, moral certitude, and righteous fury with which they went after the criminal who stole the climate scientist emails.

Oh, wait.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind

Comments (140)

  1. Dave

    Still haven’t seen this story picked up by the major media outlets. Come on lamestream media, get on it!

  2. Ribert

    Before the dogpile starts, the documents should be carefully examined to see which ones may be real and which ones may be falsified as there are some indications that some may be fakes. Fingerpointing and name-calling need to be held to a minimum until a clear picture emerges of Heartland’s motives and actions. They may be as blameless as the climate scientists that have been derided through their efforts.

  3. Anchor

    Leftwing this! Leftwing that! Leftwing! Leftwing! Lefties! Lefties!…

    If you ask me, I think they’re insane.

  4. Mark

    Wow. Talk about doubling down. Now, even if some of the papers are fake (but not all of them; Heartland pretty much confirmed that some were real), it wouldn’t matter: they’re hypocrites for praising the stolen emails of scientists but decrying their own stolen emails.

  5. thetentman

    Hey Anchor – you forget to take your meds today and I don’t think anyone did ask you. We did not want to disturb you or that big drool hanging off your face.

  6. Dutch Railroader

    @Dave – Look again – the NYT had it yesterday.

  7. jimh

    If they are fakes, let’s see the originals to compare and contrast.

  8. Scott R

    No one asked you, Anchor.

  9. Chris

    From the Heartland apology letter
    We promise anonymity to many of our donors because nobody wants the risk of nutty environmentalists or Occupy Wall Street goons harassing them. We know that privacy is important to you.

    When the left runs out of arguments and facts which is usually pretty quickly they turn to attacking our donors. They do this to discourage people from supporting us, as well as other conservative and libertarian groups. We understand their game.

    As we all know those climate deniers are always so respectful towards the scientists. And since when did the climate scientists run out of facts? Practically every day the climate is producing even more facts which keep reinforcing the scientists theories.

  10. Peptron

    What I don’t understand is why the US government insists on destroying its credibility by denying the existance of reality like that.

    Why not simply say something like that:
    “It is not the role of the government to fight against climate change.”?

    It doesn’t deny reality and allows them to take a passive stance.

  11. “Right now we are trying to get the individuals and organizations that have tried to make hay with these stolen and fraudulent documents to retract their statements, by threatening legal action if necessary. ”
    “The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we can pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. ”

    How typical! Threaten and harass someone that they disagree with by abusing our legal system.
    As criminal matters are not pursued by civil courts, but by district attorneys and criminal courts.
    The only recovery that they could make would be against whoever conned the employee into sending that data out. Newspapers, reporting in good faith on documents given to them are immune from such actions, as was proved long ago when “the pentagon papers” were printed in the news.
    But, intimidation is an effective way to silence many. Meanwhile, they continue to ask for donations “for their legal fund”, further attempting to turn this into a windfall for them.

  12. Joel

    Ribert has a good point.

    Megan McArdle has done some investigation, and she makes a good argument that one of them is indeed fake – but this doesn’t end up changing much.

  13. Peptron

    @Wzrd1:
    I get the feeling they haven’t heard about the Streisand effect…

  14. Anchor

    @#5 and #7: I didn’t ask in the past tense. As in “IF you askED…?” You two don’t have very good reading comprehension habits do you? One might also infer you don’t know what an informal rhetorical question is either. Pity.

    But Wait! You’re annoyed. Why? SO WAS I. You read my post, full of repetitive annoyance, to be sure. But I’m referring to the even MORE frequent use of that term as it appeared in the Joseph Bast email reproduced in the Mother Jones article linked to by Phil.

    OK, wiseguys? Did you read through that?

    Or perhaps you’re partial to the other side? Come to think of it, I do seem to detect the burning-oil-rubber-plastic scent of a certain political persuasion befouling the air.

    But you’ll never see me using the term “right” as if it were a bludgeon or curseword.

    Oh, and thetentman? “MEDS”??? HAHAHAH. Your projection is most amusing. Nothing but aspirin and an occasional beer in all my 56 years, pal. Now you can tell us all that you can match that, and THAT will impress me.

  15. Dutch Railroader

    There is a wonderful paragraph in the Heartland letter that shows the whole problem:

    “The left has lost the debate on climate change on the science, the politics, and the economics. Opinion polls show we’ve won the public debate, and surveys of scientists show the majority of them are with us now.”

    This makes it clear that they view climate change primarily as a left vs. right issue. Questions of science, politics, and economics are mixed together with equal standing. Public opinion is considered to be the appropriate judge of the reality of climate change. The statement about scientists is certainly false. Though often not cited in these discussion threads, it is worth noting that the National Academy of Sciences is solidly on the side that AGW is taking place. The NAS represents the best of the nation’s scientists and was founded to provide the government with useful advice on scientific matters.

  16. Guy

    See Dan Gilbert’s presentation on why people don’t accept global warming.
    http://poptech.org/popcasts/dan_gilbert__poptech_2007

  17. Anchor

    To elaborate (in case there are other swift-thinkers ready to pass judgement), my post was in the chanting spirit set up by Phil’s very apt title to his post: “Hip hip hypocrisy!” I followed through with a bit more of the inanity reflected in Bast’s email: you know, RAH RAH and all that rot, what?

    See?

    Yeah, it is irritating. Just like the flotsam and jetsum Bast and his ilk deposit.

    And I STILL think it indicates insanity.

    But there are few things as boring than having to endure clueless youth who think they’re quick but keep tripping over themselves.

  18. Wzrd1

    Dutch Railroader, what is amazing is the fact that ONLY in the US is there any debate about the validity of global climate change. ONLY here. China agrees that it is happening. Russia as well. The EU as well. The UK as well. ONLY in the US is there a rejection of climate change, largely due to lobbying that is being done by certain special interests who would be financially damaged by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. In any other country, such lobbying is illegal, as are the methods of fundraising that our politicians use, they’re audited and public information in the rest of the world.

  19. Anchor

    @#13, Dutch Railroader: Precisely. Agreed. Well stated.

  20. scorinth

    @#15, Wzrd1:
    It’s not quite limited to the US. I once ran into an Australian who screamed his head off trying to convince me that only data from American sites showed a warming trend, because of the heat island effect, and that data from outside the US did not show a warming trend.

  21. @Dutch Railroader,

    The majority of scientists they surveyed are with them. All that means is that they surveyed a few known denialists who call themselves scientists (and maybe one real scientist to make the percentages under 100% so as to be “more realistic”). You can get any result you want if you select your sample properly.

  22. T-storm

    Wait, the climate has a leak? Uh oh.

  23. Derek

    From the heartland message to their donors about this:

    “Dave Padden, Heartland’s founder and long-time chairman, used to say that a lie can run around the world while the truth is still tying its shoestrings. Of course he was right.”

    Kinda says it all, don’t it?

  24. Sir Chaos

    @Dutch Railroader:

    I think that´s the core of the issue: it´s all politics to them. They do not accept any objective reality as in, a reality that cannot be changed by a marketing campaign, by commissioning fake “studies”, by making the right campaign donations, or by simply sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting “La la la, I can´t hear you!”.

  25. SLC

    It should be noted that this astroturf organization was originally set up with funding from the tobacco companies to put out propaganda denying the relationship between lung cancer and cigarette smoking.

  26. Greg Goodknight

    None of the Climategate emails I & II were fabrications, they were all intact emails and files that were as received. They were also all from an institution paid for with public funds from a number of countries, some of which have FOIA laws that were found to be dodged prior to the leak, but past the statute of limitations so no charges were filed. Even Berkeley’s Richard Muller, no CO2 skeptic, thinks the Climategate releases were made by an insider appalled at the Team’s antics and, moreover, no one in the know thinks differently.

    In the case of Fakegate, as this Heartland episode is being called, none of the released documents were paid for with public funds, the real ones were stolen by a fraudster pretending to be a Heartland insider, and the only one that was damaging was as faked as the Protocols of Zion.

    Wait, I was wrong on one point… we don’t actually know if the faked document was produced all or in part by public funds, and the climate realist sphere wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

  27. jansuch

    This looks like an ideal story for the Daily Show to be working on. Here’s hoping they’re on top of it.

  28. Tony Mach

    And I hope Phil Plait pursues this perfidious criminal who conned the Heartland institute to steal documents with the same vigor, moral certitude, and righteous fury with which he went after the individual who leaked the climate scientist emails.

    Oh, wait.

    (And Phil, can you explain how an outsider who tricks people into handing them documents becomes an “document leaker”, while an individual who most likely worked at the CRU and leaked the documents becomes a criminal? And don’t answer with hypocrisy.)

  29. brett

    Lets hope that Phil condemns the perfidious criminal who FAKED the document with all the moral certitude and righteous fury…… oh wait. Try again.. Lets hope that Phil strikes out with righteous fury the continued reference to the mendacious content of this FAKED document……oh wait. Right wing think tank , Left wing think tank, Ngo’s with right wing agenda , NGO’s with a left wing agenda. A pox on both their houses. The actual science gets subsumed by the blocking tackles run by those with extreme agenda on both sides.. I am starting to think that climate science or debate on climate science has just degenerated to politics by another name. This site is not the only guilty party, seems most are guilty of this to a greater or lesser degree. For what it is worth I think the world has warmed a few tenths of a degree over the last 150yrs; I think that in the last 70 or so yrs man has contributed to this in small measure through added co2, landuse changes etc; I think natural cycles, some of which we understand and identify, play a part. I don’t find any veracity in the catastrophic projections. I think that, on current evidence, the climate sensitivity probably is low. I think that the climate feedbacks,on current evidence, are not postive and probably tend towards negative. I think we should protect the environment, we should rationally conserve resources and take rational steps to limit our global impact. And just so you know which boxes I would tick before the mantra begins — I vote labor ( democrat for Americans), am convinced of evolution, do not believe in intelligent design, am not a religious fundamentalist,am not a member of or payed by any corporation, am convinced of the evidence that smoking is dangerous, I have had all my children vacinated.I am fascinated by science. I believe that critical thinking is always preferable to emotional and ideological thinking. Mea culpa and I now lay myself bare before you :-)

  30. Gary Ansorge

    32. brett

    It’s good that you spend a lot of time,,,thinking. I would have liked at least one or two links to bolster your thinking, but what the heck,,,

    I spend a lot of time thinking too. On occasion, I actually think of something that’s correct,,,other times I’m more like you,,,

    Gary 7

  31. brett

    Garry @ 33 I am very glad that, occasionally, you think of something thats is correct. I am very sure your mother is glad also. Your example gives me something to aspire too :-)

  32. 14. Peptron:

    Are u serious? US lost their credibility long ago, a country that goes to war for oil obviously burns the world for oil.
    But its not just the oil… US foreign policy is just wrong, and its nothing new, they promote instability on every other country, they cheat hack and attack anything that may remotely lower their profit margins.

    Other than NASA, nothing good comes out of the US. (ok, there’s a few more things, but 90% of US is just wrong.)

    Sent from my iPhone… :D

  33. Alistair

    Karmagate, what a bitch!

  34. 32. brett:

    In a nutshell, the political agenda is rich oil companies vs climate scientists. A very rich minority is able to cast a shadow of doubt over the scientists work. Accepting global warming as a fact would force new pollution laws and US do not want to lower their profit margins. This is the real war.
    Also, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that if you increase green house gas quantities the planet will raise its average temperature, its basically common sense.

    Anyway, if you’re as smart as you claim this is not new to you so im guessing you work for BP.

  35. brett

    Lascas @37 you are a classic, regurgitating a hive mind meme almost on cue- I WISH I did work for BP ( hey they make solar panels too don’t they?) but alas I am but a lowly artist who also teachers part-time at a technical college. I agree that you do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that adding GHG to the atmosphere will raise T, probably just being a climate scientist would do but of course the relationship is logarithmic, the increase in T does not remain constant and you need more and more GHG for the same T increase. Off hand I think the generally agreed number is 1degree for a doubling from pre industrial times ( so 1 degree by approx 576ppm GHGE). Positive feedbacks within the climate system are needed to enhance this, hence the term ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ :-). According to Lindzen and others the current evidence points to low climate sensitivity and possibly neutral if not negative climate feedbacks. You may disagree nad put more weight in the arguments of other scientists such as James Hansen ultimately time will tell. I have no sympathy for rich oil and coal companies but do see the current global necessity of their products till we can develop something better. They know this too. No solar or wind fantasies at the moment please. Finally where did I claim that I was smart? I am not particularly smart at all, just very interested. Did you actually read what I wrote or did you just scan it? If you re read what I wrote, carefully, you see I do not question basic greenhouse theory nor modest global warming generally–cheers

  36. Joseph G

    @Lascas: Don’t confuse the greed and corruption of a relatively small number of powerful people with the US as a whole. The vast majority of us are quite nice and non-evil.
    In large part, this is what the OWS movement in the US is about. People from both major parties are recognizing that certain corporations have managed to shape policy while being completely unaccountable for it. That’s what the Heartland Institute is all about.
    FYI, they’re completely privately funded.

  37. We might be nice and non-evil, but one striking trait of Americans is that any given American WILL have an opinion on any given subject regardless of how little that American has on the topic.

    Instead of stepping away from the fray stating, “I don’t know enough to have an opinion” most Americans will step right up and as it becomes more obvious they know nothing, they also become louder and more defensive of their stance being correct.

    While that may not be evil, it is certainly counter-productive and it does cause great harm.

  38. Sally D

    Never mind the routine arguments.

    Everyone write to these email addresses:

    aevans@heartland.org,
    rrivest@heartland.org,
    orgcarver@heartland.org

    I just wrote a (sarcastic) sympathy note, but if you are in the USA, you could do more. Like ask them to give you the details of how and where to send money, more information about how you can help, etc.

    And then, don’t send money or help. Just keep them busy because the busier they are dealing with this, the less time they have to pump out BS about climate change.

  39. Spence_UK

    Can you imagine a moon hoaxer produced 7 high quality NASA images from the moon landing, and stuffed in 1 fake low-quality lossy JPEG with a photoshopped camera and lights in the background, with a file date clearly inconsistent with the others?

    How do you think Phil would react? Do you think he would be saying it doesn’t matter about the fake, and that this is fair to NASA? How do you think the moon landing hoaxers would react, some would insist that it isn’t a fake, others would insist the fake didn’t matter because there are other photos (even though the cameras and lights are only in the fake one). These are similar to the arguments made here by those in the choir.

    It is interesting to note that Phil’s ability to spot forgeries suddenly drops sharply when the forgeries confirm his own bias and prejudice. Who knew you had so much in common with a moon landing hoaxer, Dr Plait?

  40. Steve Metzler

    Of course, the “Hey look, there goes a squirrel!” approach to the leaked documents was always going to be to call undue attention to the alleged fake one, when everthing that is said in the fake doc can be corraborated in the other docs. Ain’t gonna fly, deniers.

  41. Spence_UK

    was always going to be to call undue attention to the alleged fake one

    Hmm, if it was always going to be the case, surely the best solution would have been to have some foresight and journalistic integrity, and not promote the forgery in the first place? Surely that would have solved all of those problems?

    Ah no, you’d far rather hand your critics an easy point on a plate than display integrity or scepticism. Sure thing, if that’s what presses your buttons.

  42. Nigel Depledge

    Ribert (2) said:

    Fingerpointing and name-calling need to be held to a minimum until a clear picture emerges of Heartland’s motives and actions. They may be as blameless as the climate scientists that have been derided through their efforts.

    Ahahahahaha!

    Oh, that’s a good one. A denialist “think”-tank may be “blameless”. Heh.

    Even if all the docs are fake (and Heartland itself has admitted that a large proportion of them are genuine), this does not change the activities of the Heartland institute. Let’s judge Heartland by its actions, not its alleged intentions.

    Of course, according to Heartland, anyone who even contemplates the possibility that the climatologists might know what they are talking about is a Lefty.

  43. Nigel Depledge

    Actually, screw it – let’s judge Heartland by its alleged intentions, too! ;-)

  44. Nigel Depledge

    Tony Mach (32) said:

    And Phil, can you explain how an outsider who tricks people into handing them documents becomes an “document leaker”, while an individual who most likely worked at the CRU and leaked the documents becomes a criminal? And don’t answer with hypocrisy

    Insider or not, the emails stolen from the CRU were obtained by unauthorised access (the news reports all say “hacking” or “hacked”), which is illegal in the UK.

    That’s why the CRU emails were illegally obtained.

    OTOH, the Heartland documents (apart from the one that is probably fake) were obtained by persuading someone with legitimate access to send them out. I don’t know about the US, but that is not illegal in the UK.

  45. Nigel Depledge

    Brett (33) said:

    NGO’s with a left wing agenda.

    So what’s the alleged left-wing agenda of those people who are claiming that we should do our best to prevent extreme GW?

  46. Tony Mach

    One more thing:

    The “climate hacker(s)” haven’t seen the need to fake a single email. And all the “deniers” were guilty of is quoting “out of context” (as if the “deniers” never talked about the context of the quotes – people like Steve McIntyre have supplied lots and lots of context). With the added bonus that the “context” supplied by the AGW community looked much like post-hoc rationalizations.

    The “Heartland Leaker(s)” needed to to create a fake document. And the AGW community isn’t able to quote (in or out of context) the few passages from the genuine documents that make the Heartland Institute look actually bad – partly because these passages aren’t climate related. And the added bonus is that all the documents tell us about the position of the Heartland Institute on Climate Change is that they think the the AGW science is not sound and should be corrected. What monsters!

    Great scott, they want to look if a warming signal is still present if you kick out all the bad surface stations! What monsters! They are putting in *their* money for such a project! Obviously they want to fake the temperature record and don’t believe that having a better quality surface record would actually change something! I only wonder why we need the Heartland Instutute, before the AGW crowd looks into the problems of the surface record? Don’t argue money, what Heartland, Watts and Co have put into this project is a drop in the ocean compared to the finances both Penn State’s Michael Mann or the UEA CRU have. And BTW, if critical/skeptical science can get financial means only from scoundrels like the Kochs, than only scoundrels will finance critical/skeptical science. It is Mann’s et al. job to keep their house in order, then the “deniers” wouldn’t have a chance, but Mann et al. are more interested in post hoc fudging – figures.

  47. Spence_UK

    Insider or not, the emails stolen from the CRU were obtained by unauthorised access

    In spite of what the news reports *claim*, the only way to determine whether the individual who accessed the CRU e-mails had access is to know who did it. We don’t know who did it, so we don’t know whether they had access. It could have been (for example) a member of the UEA IT team. It could have been an outsider. Either way, we need to know the individual to know whether or not the Computer Misuse Act applies; we do not, so we do not know if the CRU e-mails were illegal or not.

    We know even less about the Heartland case at this time. It seems Heartland claim that they were the target of some kind of spearphishing attack, but at this stage we only have their word for it and that isn’t strong enough evidence for me. If it is a spearphishing attack, this may or may not be illegal in the UK, depending on who did it and how they represented themselves. This is covered under the fraud act 2006. If they claimed to be someone else in the e-mail then this would be false representation and yes, this would be illegal had it occurred in the UK. If they did not make any false claims within the request e-mail then it would not have been illegal. Of course, legality in the UK is probably irrelevant since I suspect these events took place wholly on US soil. Someone with better knowledge of US law would be helpful here.

    So all in all, at present we do not have sufficient information to determine whether a crime was committed in either case. However, if evidence in either case comes forward to show a crime was committed, then of course the perpetrators (in both cases) should have to face the law.

  48. Tony Mach

    Nigel Depledge:
    “Insider or not, the emails stolen from the CRU were obtained by unauthorised access (the news reports all say “hacking” or “hacked”), which is illegal in the UK.

    That’s why the CRU emails were illegally obtained.

    OTOH, the Heartland documents (apart from the one that is probably fake) were obtained by persuading someone with legitimate access to send them out. I don’t know about the US, but that is not illegal in the UK.”

    Oh, please, that is your position? That one was illegal, the other legal?

    First of all, whether the media says they were “hacked” or what actually happened in reality is not necessary the same. Can you tell me what the “whistle blower” laws in the UK are with regards to leaking information? I am sure one could equally come up with a insider-leak scenario (that were supported by the known *facts* of the affair) were the leak would be legal.

    And secondly, any decent lawyer worth his money will find laws prohibiting this kind of “social engineering”, a form of hacking “popularized by Kevin Mitnick”, if I may add.

    If you want to be a decent skeptic, at least consider that if you choose a side/position, your position may be wrong and your reasoning and assessment of facts biased by that said position. And yes, I have been there, having been firmly in the AGW camp until 2007…

  49. Holms

    Phil, while I respect that this is your outlet for your thoughts and is thus not necessarily 100% about astronomy and ONLY astronomy, it does make me cringe somewhat when you post on the topic of global warming. While I think that this is an important topic that should be critically examined rather than pushed aside, it is all too obvious that you are treating the points raised unequally.

    For example, you pounce on the text

    [Dr. Wojick’s] effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.

    …noting that indeed it does appear at first glance to be pretty damning, with the barest mention of ‘perhaps’ to indicate that it may be less so when examined in full context.

    But of course this is largely the same as the furor over the CRU emails (or at least, potentially the same), in the sense that text that was apparently damning at first was examined in full context and found to be reasonable. Yet despite this similarity, there appears to be zero trace of doubt in your post that a similar outcome might be discovered.

    I know full well that the examination of the texts is currently far from complete and thusly I do not (yet) have a position as to whether this is a killing blow against the Heartland Institute. My disappointment is that you show no similar restraint, but even worse you seem to exhort your readers to jump to the same conclusion.

  50. brett

    Nigel @48 I mention right wing NGO’s with an agenda too :-) I don’t want to speculate on specific right or left wing agenda’s, my point is that currently climate science gets hi jacked by both the right or the left. It is as if atmospheric dynamics are somehow directly linked (teleconnected one might say) to the political persuation of the particular debater. We see it all the time…… “what you question CAGW? you must be some sort of right wing creationist nutjob in the pay of BIG OIL!” or “What you believe all that global warming guff? you must be some sort of tree hugging, crystalgazing, unemployed leftie!!” The actual arguments (good and bad) get lost in the political/social/religious sterotyping. You see it here all the time ( have even done it myself ;-) on occasion) and you see it on just about every climate blog –cheers

  51. MartinM

    Phil, while I respect that this is your outlet for your thoughts and is thus not necessarily 100% about astronomy and ONLY astronomy, it does make me cringe somewhat when you post on the topic of global warming. While I think that this is an important topic that should be critically examined rather than pushed aside, it is all too obvious that you are treating the points raised unequally.

    Ironically enough, the problem here is precisely that you’re stripping out relevant context. If this were some random organisation nobody had ever heard of, then yes, it would be reasonable to suppose that their planned alternative global warming curriculum was actually a perfectly innocent endeavour. But this is the Heartland Institute we’re talking about. When it comes to dishonestly distorting the science of global warming, they’re not exactly newcomers. Their track record up to this point is relevant information when evaluating their current plans.

  52. Nigel Depledge

    Brett (39) said:

    Lascas @37 you are a classic, regurgitating a hive mind meme almost on cue- I WISH I did work for BP

    Oh. Exxon man, then, right?

    ( hey they make solar panels too don’t they?)

    Yes. I imagine they invest rather less in that area of business than in their oil business. Did you have a point?

    but alas I am but a lowly artist who also teachers part-time at a technical college.

    Right, so not a climatologist.

    I agree that you do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that adding GHG to the atmosphere will raise T,

    So how come you don’t see a substantial issue here then?

    probably just being a climate scientist would do but of course the relationship is logarithmic, the increase in T does not remain constant and you need more and more GHG for the same T increase.

    Citation needed.

    Off hand I think the generally agreed number is 1degree for a doubling from pre industrial times ( so 1 degree by approx 576ppm GHGE).

    Citation needed.

    Positive feedbacks within the climate system are needed to enhance this, hence the term ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’

    There are at least half a dozen credible positive feedback mechanisms, some of which have already been shown to occur (such as the reduced albedo following reduced ice coverage). The really scary one is methane clathrates. Go look it up.

    . According to Lindzen and others the current evidence points to low climate sensitivity and possibly neutral if not negative climate feedbacks. You may disagree nad put more weight in the arguments of other scientists such as James Hansen ultimately time will tell.

    It is not right to draw a conclusion from the words of just one scientist either way. What matters is the overall consensus within the climatologist conmmunity. And that consensus includes three broad points:
    1. GW is happening, and has accelerated since pre-industrial times;
    2. Human activities are almost certainly responsible for the bulk of this change;
    3. GW is a bad thing, not so much for the planet, but really for human civilisation.

    I have no sympathy for rich oil and coal companies but do see the current global necessity of their products till we can develop something better.

    And yet to seem to be arguing against the present need to develop something better.

    Can you not at least see that coal and oil are finite resources and that the sooner we develop alternatives, the smoother can be the transition?

    They know this too. No solar or wind fantasies at the moment please.

    Eh? What fantasies?

    Finally where did I claim that I was smart? I am not particularly smart at all, just very interested.

    And yet you seem to feel you know stuff about the climate that all the world’s climatologists have missed. How can that be?

    Did you actually read what I wrote or did you just scan it? If you re read what I wrote, carefully, you see I do not question basic greenhouse theory nor modest global warming generally

    But what you have done repeatedly is dispute the conclusions of the consensus of the world’s climatologists, and you have joined with others in accusing the climatologists of exaggerating or inflating or misrepresenting their findings to serve some shady agenda of their own.

    So, your conclusion seems to be “yeah, GW is happening but it doesn’t matter because it won’t have any significant impact”, which is one of the viewpoints that the denialist lobby has thrown into the pot to keep people confused.

  53. Nigel Depledge

    Brett (53) said:

    Nigel @48 I mention right wing NGO’s with an agenda too I don’t want to speculate on specific right or left wing agenda’s, my point is that currently climate science gets hi jacked by both the right or the left.

    Others have commented on how this issue gets hijacked by right-wing agendas, and those seem clear enough.

    Given that the agenda of the “AGW is a problem” lobby seems to me to be saving a lot of people a lot of woe and misery, I was wondering what the left-wing agenda to which you alluded actually was. Unless you consider humanitarianism to be intrinsically left-wing?

    I have not seen, for example, the UK’s Socialist Worker party (which is left-wing by any definition) hijacking AGW as a vehicle to introduce a socialist state. So what organisations are using AGW to push a left-wing agenda, and what is / are that / those agenda(s)?

    So my question boils down to this – others have shown that the right hijacks this issue. No-one (AFAICT) has shown that the left hijacks this issue. All I have seen are people being labelled leftist for caring about the impact of AGW.

  54. Nigel Depledge

    Tony Mach (51) said:

    Oh, please, that is your position? That one was illegal, the other legal?

    Of course not, but you made this demand:

    explain how an outsider who tricks people into handing them documents becomes an “document leaker”, while an individual who most likely worked at the CRU and leaked the documents becomes a criminal?

    My response was a direct answer to your demand.

    Or did you fail to notice the paragraph from your comment #32 that I quoted?

    In short, that individual who stole the CRU emails is a criminal because of the illegal means by which those emails were obtained.

    Maybe you need remedial English comprehension before taking further part in this discussion.

  55. Nigel Depledge

    Tony Mach (51) said:

    I am sure one could equally come up with a insider-leak scenario (that were supported by the known *facts* of the affair) were the leak would be legal.

    But why is there any need to?

    No-one challenged the assertion that the CRU emails were stolen. It is, therefore, safe to assume that this is an accurate view.

  56. Nigel Depledge

    Spence_UK (50) said:

    In spite of what the news reports *claim*, the only way to determine whether the individual who accessed the CRU e-mails had access is to know who did it. We don’t know who did it, so we don’t know whether they had access. It could have been (for example) a member of the UEA IT team. It could have been an outsider. Either way, we need to know the individual to know whether or not the Computer Misuse Act applies; we do not, so we do not know if the CRU e-mails were illegal or not.

    From the criminal law perspective, perhaps.

    But, since no-one challenged the assertion that the CRU emails had been stolen, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that this is indeed the case.

  57. Nigel Depledge

    Tony Mach (49) said:

    The “Heartland Leaker(s)” needed to to create a fake document.

    Not necessarily. It’s early days and I’ve not read all the relevant info yet, but AFAICT it has not been established beyond reasonable doubt that the summary document is fake.

  58. Nigel Depledge

    Brett (53) said:

    We see it all the time…… “what you question CAGW? you must be some sort of right wing creationist nutjob in the pay of BIG OIL!” or “What you believe all that global warming guff? you must be some sort of tree hugging, crystalgazing, unemployed leftie!!” The actual arguments (good and bad) get lost in the political/social/religious sterotyping.

    Not really.

    In the discussions I have seen, the “AGW is real” side seems to spend about 80 – 90 % of their time referring to facts about the climate, while the “AGW is not real” side seem to spend about 30% of their time referring to climate-related facts.

    In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen the denialist side make a logically cohesive case that AGW is an illusion or a conspiracy, despite how frequently these things are claimed.

    If you are aware of any such arguments, I’d be interested to see what they are.

    Come to think of it, I’d be interested to see why you think AGW will have such a trivial impact that we need not act on it.

  59. Spence_UK

    From the criminal law perspective, perhaps.

    I can’t see any credible civil law case – and any action taken against a whistleblower would likely have protection in law, in any case. If the UEA found someone internally and took action they would find themselves before a tribunal sharpish.

    But, since no-one challenged the assertion that the CRU emails had been stolen, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that this is indeed the case.

    Nobody needs to challenge the assertion when there is no evidence in the first place beyond hearsay. I’m afraid your scepticism has failed you there. Furthermore, many sceptics have questioned whether the e-mails were stolen, and no answers have been forthcoming, so your “no-one” is demonstrably false.

  60. Utakata

    @Anchor 18

    “But you’ll never see me using the term “right” as if it were a bludgeon or curseword.”

    You should, followed by frequent use of “troll”.

  61. Miko

    While we’re on the subject of hypocrisy, it’s great to see Phil condemning the theft of documents from Heartland with as much vigor as he condemned the theft of the e-mails. Oh wait: he said that the theft of the documents was okay since some of them were manufactured fakes while the theft of the e-mails was bad because (while they were all real) it was still a “manufactured” controversy. Got it.

  62. MartinM

    Where precisely did Phil say that, Miko?

  63. Lascas

    65. Miko

    You really should read the other related posts to have a clearer understanding of Phil’s point of view. (can i call you Phil? :P)
    This was nothing but a sarcastic post from Phil, and that is nothing but a sarcastic comment from you.
    If asked directly, i’m pretty sure Phil would say the ends don’t justify the means and this would be a better place if everyone played by the same rules… So why don’t you just ask him that? Or read the related posts?
    Still, i would give you a +1 for your comment, it’s always good to have people showing us the other side of the coin. We’re all here to make this a better world, and that’s achieved through understanding, not through imposing our point of view.

    With that in mind, can you step out of the box and understand Phil’s motivations to do such a post? And maybe then u can forgive him for not stating every aspect of his views on every post.

  64. ctj

    it is worth pointing out that we still only have heartland’s allegation that the memo was faked. proving that a draft document is not a fake is impossible, as heartland can easily cover their traces by modifying or deleting the memo in question. the only way to know for sure would be a forensic search, and there’s no way heartland would agree to one.

    at this point, it is equally as likely that the only “fake” is heartland’s contention that the memo was faked.

    regardless of whether you believe heartland’s allegation, and regardless of whether heartland’s documents were obtained illegally (which also is not clear), Phil is correct that heartland is being hypocritical by condemning this leak while exploiting the CRU hacking. if something is wrong, it is wrong for everyone.

  65. Beelzebud

    As you can see in the comments here. The anti-science people don’t really give a damn about facts.

  66. Derek

    I find it very interesting that the denialist supporters all showed up at the same time, all credulously believing the heartland assertion that a random fake had been inserted into the middle of the documents for no reason, with no corroboration and every reason to disbelieve the allegation currently on the table.

  67. Anchor

    @64, Utakata, “You should, followed by frequent use of “troll”.”

    You have an excellent point there. I would be persuaded, too, but I just don’t like abusing an innocent word in application to a group of people who contain an inordinately large proportion of liars, cheats and scoundrels. They’re sooo more often WRONG than RIGHT.
    *Smiling face*
    Perhaps we should launch a corrective paradigm and start referring to them as “The Wrong-wing”. I could live with that, since it is, by and large, more accurate than not.

  68. CB

    @ Dutch Railroader

    Public opinion is considered to be the appropriate judge of the reality of climate change

    Not true.

    Public opinion is — correctly — considered to be the appropriate judge of whether or not any substantive action is going to be taken regarding AGW in this country. When they say that the ‘left’ has lost the debate on the science, they are trying to imply this means their science is better, but what they really mean is that they’ve succeeded in muddying the waters enough that many people cannot be convinced that the issue is serious enough to warrant action. In particular those who are predisposed towards the status quo.

    This is a democracy, for better or worse — and despite the fact that the Heartland Institute and their ilk can stymie progress by playing to the public’s foibles rather than relying on sincere exploration of facts, I believe it is almost universally for the better. Nevertheless, this is what is happening, and from their perspective they are indeed winning.

  69. shunt1

    Open debate and the release of government funded data and analysis is always a good thing.

    As to FAKEGATE, the people involved have egg on their faces today and have lost their credibility, as it should be.

    Illegal actions, no matter what side of the debate, should be prosecuted. I see no conflict with this at all.

    Remember, a police investigation was conducted with Climategate.

  70. brett

    Nigel @ 56 Ah.. now you join Lascas in your involuntary BIG OIL reflexive blurting . Work for EXXON FFS, what is it with you guys, some sort of carbon induced Tourettes syndrome that causes the mouth to disconnect from the brain and convulsively denounce everyone as working for BIG OIL? You are the Romulus and Remis twins suckling at the same dry and impoverished teat Nigel.And yes I am no Climatologist but just as you are not ,Phill Plait is not, Tim Flannery is not, Pachauri is not.. you do realise Nigel that most of the people on this blog, who support your carbon eschatology are not Climatologists :-).
    As for the ‘Citation Needed’ whinge grow up and do your own homework.The two statements are entirely non controversial. If after 30yrs of debate on AGW you do not understand, or have not heard, that the realtionship of T to Co2 is logarithmic nor that the generally agree T increase for a doubling of Co2 is around 1 degree celsius one wonders what you do understand, apart from the “BIG OIL”, ” DENIER”, “We’re all gonna die” memes. Do some research and just think how proudyour fellow catastrophists will be when you debunk the statements as just the misinformation of the BP EXXON carbon shill.
    Yes Nigel I know read about Methane Clathrates and yes it is really scary.
    I used Lindzen and Hansen to illustrate two ends of the AGW scientific spectra of opinion. You can choose whose arguments seem the most persuasive to you. Personally I think Lindzen presents the more powerful, demonstratable and less hysterical viewpoint. You are free to differ. As for your 3 broad “concensus points”
    1. Gw is happening-yes their has been a modest increase of a few tenths of a degree since the end of the LIA . Whether it is accelerating is debatable, hasnt been accelerating for the last decade or so even though co2 emmissions has increased around 10% . The three warming periods in the last 150 yrs 1860-90, 1910-45 and the current warming all have the same slope when time and temp are plotted (you can find your own citation)
    2. Human emissions are responsible for the bulk of this increase. Humans are responsible for part of this through emissions and landuse change
    3.GWis a bad thing,not so much for the planet but for civilization. Total balderdash. TOO much GW maybe a bad thing, plenty of conjecture on what that might be and possible scenario’s modelled. Historically human civilization has flourished in times of elevated temperature cycles. Roman climate optimum, Minoan climate optimum, dare I mention the Medieval Warm Period here without the cackling shriek ” blasphemer of the the sacred stick.” Periods of low temperature impact adversely on civilization through impacts on food production. This we KNOW historically.
    Really, both you and Lascas need to learn to read and comprehend, not scan and project. Where have I argued AGAINST the need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels? I would ague that there is no immediate need, it will happen as coal replaced wood and the internal combustion engine replaced the steam engine. Sensibly lessen emissions if you see that as the most pressing of all the problems facing humankind . Nigel the stone age did not end because we ran out of stones just superseded by better more efficient technology same will happen with fossil fuels. As for finite resource realistically we have centuries of coal and gas probably less so for oil. Switch from coal to gas for electricity production and halve your co2 emissions from this one major contributer, do same for transport big reductions again.
    Nigel when all the climatologists put together the absolute,bestest ever, you beaut, no1 consensus document I will then know what consensus you contend I repeatedly dispute. This consensus is a slippery and variable thing seems to shape change depending on who is presenting it. Again read and comprehend don’t scan and project what you think I wrote But the one thing you seem to have got right is that yes I do think that modest GW is happening and, on current evidence, no I do not think it will have an apocalyptic impact at all. cheers

  71. jorge c.

    Mr.Brett:
    Keith Kloor in this link http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/02/17/climate-tribalism-on-display/ quotes and approves yours points of views. Me too…

    O/T a question to Mr. Nigel Depledge (who knows a lot about anti-climate):

    Was or was nor Mr. Peter Gleick the faker????

    it is vox populi in internet (see steven mosher, roger pielke,jr, megan mcardle)

  72. Daniel J. Andrews

    And Phil, can you explain how an outsider who tricks people into handing them documents becomes an “document leaker”, while an individual who most likely worked at the CRU and leaked the documents becomes a criminal? And don’t answer with hypocrisy

    Highly unlikely it was an inside job, and all evidence points to an outside hack, including the latest investigation news where they’re checking the computers of outsiders. The idea that it was an inside job is a complete fabrication as there was no evidence for that whatsoever, and the evidence that was available at the time pointed to an outside hack. The “whistle-blower” meme was brought up within a couple of days though and then disseminated uncritically through the echo chamber where it became yet another zombie talking point, refusing to die despite evidence against it.

  73. shunt1

    Interesting, can you provide us with the official police reports supporting your statement?

    Or, are you just pulling this out of your behind?

    Factual information please…

    Personally, the “Harry read me” document looked like something obtained from the inside. As a software engineer for over 40 years, that is the one that got me most upset.

    But, until the police reports are finalized, I have no idea.

  74. Messier Tidy Upper

    @73. brett :

    3.GWis a bad thing,not so much for the planet but for civilization. Total balderdash. TOO much GW maybe a bad thing,

    Very curious to have your answer on this one :

    At what point do we decide okay, that’s enough Global Warming now and just a little more is becoming dangerous Global Overheating instead?

    At what point do we say, enough and how quickly can we turn the metaphorical Greenhouse gas tap “off” before we trigger feedbacks such as methane clathrates, albedo, deforestation /desertification ones that take the situation out of our control?

    Is it when we hit 400 ppm Co2 in our atmosphere or 410 ppm or 450 ppm or commit ourselves to over 2 degrees of warming – or over three or five with all the consequences that entails?

    Is it when the Arctic sea ice disappears in summer and one pole is seasonally ice-free and if we find that’s a bad thing how easy do you think it will be to get it back?

    When do we stop? Given thermal inertia, the heating already in the pipeline for decades to come how quickly can we stop and say, ahh, this is just right, no more and not go past that point?

  75. Messier Tidy Upper

    Still @73. brett :

    Please see :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-positives-negatives.htm

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE6at2IEUOU&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=35&feature=plpp_video

    Plus I’d very strongly recommend you read this book :

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7457317.stm

    Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas which details the scientifically based projections of how each degree of temperature rise makes our planetary conditions worse for us.

  76. brett

    MTU @ 76 Your point is valid one and is usually the preface to invoking a precautionary principle. As some sort of guide we can try and look to temp proxies from prehistory and see if higher temps, such as the holocene climate optimum (starting around 10,000yrs ago) where it is estimated temps in northern lattitudes were up to 4degrees c hotter than now, other estimates put it between 3 and 9 degrees and between 3 and 6 degrees in summer ( as a side note polar bears that evolved approx 150-200,000 yrs ago survived this quite happily) and we can look for what deleterious impact this had on fauna and flora.
    We can build computer models using assumptions based on our current (though limited) understanding and look at the scenario’s these produce.
    We can clearsightedly review the the predictions of current AGW theory and test these against actual observations to test how powerful and therefore how predictive our current theory is. In one sense whether AGW turns into CAGW hinges upon the extent and sign of climate feedbacks for without positive feedbacks the amount of warming from added co2 is constrained (logarithmic Nigel not linear). Your point is an important one to constantly consider–cheers

  77. Richard Aitken

    Its funny seeing the WARMISTS fall on there collective faces yet again, will someone ever teach you (WARMISTS) the scientific method, you can’t even apply correctly in the case. By the way Phil good title on this one, it works the other way also. Have a good weekend all, see you in the ring next week.

  78. Holms

    @55 MartinM
    It’s annoying to see people that are ostensibly on the same side of a debate resort to poor reasoning, for the simple fact that it then reflects poorly on all of us. You point to the HI history as if that proves that your assumption are not assumptions, when they in fact remain so. Until the details of the emails are investigated (and I have not kept my on this drama, so I recognise that I may be behind the news a tad), we do not know the full context of that conversational snippet. Just like ‘hide the decline’ turned out to have an innocent meaning, we must not jump the gun and assume that this one does not.

    Unlikely perhaps, but there remains that possibility.

    @ 76 and multiple people
    On another note, the leaked / stolen debate continues. Regarding the original CRU incident, the body of evidence lies on an internal leak rather than an external agent committing theft. Regarding the HI incident, the only statement I have seen on this aspect comes from the HI itself (that a board member was impersonated and requested a ‘remail’ to a new email address; also that one or more of the documents are fake) and is as yet not investigated, so a grain of salt may be useful.

    An interesting question though is: why are skeptics / deniers so adamant that the CRU materials were an inside job and why are the supporters / proponents convinced of the opposite?

    (Note: I would like to see fewer people on BOTH sides of this keep their language neutral rather than disparaging. No matter how justified you think it is that the other side is comprised of nothing but scum and villainy, I see no reason to resort to schoolyard tactics when there is ample evidence for use instead.)

  79. Mike G

    Brett,
    Please stop and think your position through for a moment. In one post you contend that climate sensitivity is low when feedbacks are included. In the very next post you provide an example of a period when temperatures were several degrees warmer than now. Sensitivity estimates are not dependent on CO2 being the initial cause of warming. How is it that you think that temperatures increased so much during the HCO in a world with low sensitivity? How do you explain any of the “warm” periods you mention in a world where sensitivity is low? In order to get large changes in temperature in a world with low sensitivity you have to have large changes in forcings- something that makes explaining the HCO, ice age cycles, etc. pretty difficult to do.

    As a side note, do care to tell us how much warmer than today the other “warm” periods you mentioned were? Citing periods that were actually cooler than today as evidence that we will do just fine as temperatures continue to increase doesn’t make for a very strong argument. Or do you think that the claimed positive correlation between temperature and the health of civilizations continues infinitely? It would be much more instructive to look at periods which were globally as warm or warmer than the present to see how civilization fared. The trouble is that there are no such periods.

  80. Mike G

    On another note, the leaked / stolen debate continues. Regarding the original CRU incident, the body of evidence lies on an internal leak rather than an external agent committing theft.

    And what evidence would that be? I’ve seen this claim made repeatedly, but not seen any of the purported evidence that backs it up.

    On the other hand, there is no disputing that files were uploaded to Realclimate. Accessing and placing files on a website you do not own or are granted permission to is hacking, plain and simple. There’s also no dispute that the perpetrator did a fairly good job of covering their tracks- hence we still don’t know the culprit. They weren’t an amateur. While it’s certainly possible that an insider leaked the data to a hacker who did the dirty work of publishing it, in the absence of compelling evidence, I see no reason that this is a more plausible explanation than that the hacker was the only person involved.

    Furthermore, Scotland Yard, the Norfolk Constabulary, and US Department of Justice, all of whom presumably have more facts in this case than any of us, are treating this as a criminal investigation.

    An interesting question though is: why are skeptics / deniers so adamant that the CRU materials were an inside job and why are the supporters / proponents convinced of the opposite?

    I think you know the answer to this, but obviously if the perpetrator was a hacker, what they did was criminal, which doesn’t provide them with much moral high ground in accusing scientists of malfeasance. It also provides some hope that they will be arrested before they can stir the pot again. On the other hand if they were an insider then there’s a sense that they had privileged information that something was amiss and that they, being the righteous soul they are, could no longer suppress their need to be honest with the world. It’s the age old tactic of painting your opposition as nefarious and yourself as pure.

    As to why I am convinced that it was a hacker rather than a leak, see above. There was without a doubt a hacker involved. I’m NOT convinced that there wasn’t also an insider involved, but I have yet to see a convincing argument that this is the case.

  81. jorge c.

    o.k. but:

    Was or was not Peter Gleick The Faker???????

  82. Holms

    @84 MikeG

    And what evidence would that be? I’ve seen this claim made repeatedly, but not seen any of the purported evidence that backs it up.

    Likewise for the reverse, as far as I have seen. That said, here is my basis for the claim that the CRU data was leaked rather than hacked:

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/FOIA_Leaked/

    The short version being that a sysadmin of considerable claimed experience has used the email outgoing headers contained within the replies to reconstruct the internal mail server layout, and used this to arrive at the conclusion that the hack hypothesis, while not impossible, is considerably less likely than the leak hypothesis.

    On the other hand, there is no disputing that files were uploaded to Realclimate. Accessing and placing files on a website you do not own or are granted permission to is hacking, plain and simple.

    No, the term ‘hacking’ applies solely to the method employed to obtain improper acccess to stored data via e.g. a mail server. Once obtained, it makes no difference what happens to said data. Think of it by replacing it with ‘theft’. Taking money from you by devious means is the act of theft, spending said money is not.

    That of course does not mean that the dissemination of such data is necessarily innocent, only that it is distinct from the act by which it was first obtained.

    I’ve been told already that I have a penchant for splitting hairs, you do not need to remind me.

    I think you know the answer to this…

    Yes, guilty. I was curious as to whether other people saw it as such manoeuvering, or that perhaps I was just getting a bit jaded.

  83. Spence_UK

    In order to get large changes in temperature in a world with low sensitivity you have to have large changes in forcings

    Not true. Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics can explain large variations in climate irrespective of sensitivity.

    As to why I am convinced that it was a hacker rather than a leak, see above.

    The “hacking” of RealClimate was most likely achieved with a username and password for the weblog, possibly extracted from the e-mails. Anyone claiming they know whether the CRU e-mails were hacked or leaked is simply showing their personal bias. There is insufficient evidence to show either way.

  84. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Seeing the behavior of climate denialists in this thread, the title was incisive.

    @ #73:

    FAKEGATE

    Despite the Heartland Institute disavowing it, there is as of yet no evidence of a fake.

    Indeed, the simplest explanation for the differences, Hearthland’s disavowal if fact, et cetera, is an addition from an intern. Conspiracy theories are almost the least likely explanation by construction, but of course they _can_ be fact.

    @ #75, 85:

    Was or was not Peter Gleick The Faker???????

    Of what? Gleick is a climate scientist, do you man he is faking AGW science?

    If you make a claim you have to tell us what you refer to.

  85. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    And so for the strawmen of science:

    @ 80:

    As some sort of guide we can try and look to temp proxies from prehistory and see if higher temps, such as the holocene climate optimum (starting around 10,000yrs ago) where it is estimated temps in northern lattitudes were up to 4degrees c hotter than now, other estimates put it between 3 and 9 degrees and between 3 and 6 degrees in summer ( as a side note polar bears that evolved approx 150-200,000 yrs ago survived this quite happily) and we can look for what deleterious impact this had on fauna and flora.

    Apples and pears. You are discussing local temperatures, while a base comparison would have to be against the global mean of ~ +1.5 degC. We are soon there, despite the HCO being the ice age recovery.

    Certainly it had severe local effects on the ice age fauna and flora, and these local effects will be severe today too.

    The more severe pear shaped effect would be passing a climate tipping point, and that can’t be captured by such historical data.

    @ 86:

    Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics can explain large variations in climate irrespective of sensitivity.

    In which case it wouldn’t be a case of “low” sensitivity.

    I tried to locate the idea, but it is hopeless. Best I can see is that it looks from the google hit list to be a fake math claim invented by denialists to insert doubt where none exist.

    The “Hurst phenomenon” is apparently a statistical effect when doing hydrodynamical modeling: “Measurements of the statistical property called the ‘rescaled range’ in grid-generated turbulence exhibit a Hurst coefficient H = 0·5 for 43 < UT/M < 1850, where M/U is a characteristic time scale associated with the grid size M and mean velocity U. Theory predicts that H = 0·5 for independence of two observations separated by a time interval T, and the deviation from H = 0·5 is referred to as the ‘Hurst phenomenon’.”

    What statistical properties of models of turbulence has to do with climate science is anybody’s guess. You can also throw in approximations such as using (gasp!) _real numbers_, heuristics such as using observation and theory, and Gödel’s theorems showing that math exactly as science will be forever incomplete while you are at it, nothing that prevents climate science from being eminently predictive.

  86. Spence_UK

    What statistical properties of models of turbulence has to do with climate science is anybody’s guess.

    Luckily, you don’t have to guess; you just need to be familiar with the literature. And while Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics stems from studies of turbulence and river run-off, the views you express here are now over 50 years old and much work has been done in the meantime. It turns out the dynamics are rather more common in nature than anyone would have guessed.

    The response of certain complex systems can be known even if the system is not fully specified, if we make a few simple assumptions. The most important is that nature maximises entropy production. The second is that we can identify a number of trivial constraints on the system. The mathematics are outlined in the reference below. I’m not quite sure how you determine these maths are “fake” as you put it – the reviewers of the paper were unable to find any errors. If you can find an error in the mathematics, please let me know and I’ll be sure to pass it on to the author.

    We can test the mathematics in the paper using simple examples, shot noise in a photon detector works very well; apply the mathematics in the paper and it leads to the (well-known) result of a gaussian distribution with 1-sigma at the square root of the photon count at the detector. This is just a trivial example that can be applied to help understand the mathematics.

    As you can see from the constraints of the climate system, the application of a relatively straightforward analysis results in an expectation of Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics in many of the fields, including global temperature (globally averaged exhibiting temporal HK dynamics, and gridded temperature a more complex multi-dimensional HK dynamics).

    It should, of course, be unsurprising to find that these mechanisms (being fractal in nature) become more pervasive at longer timescales.

    Still, some reading for you below. Since you have made the claim the maths are “fake”, now would be a good time to evidence this claim by explaining what is wrong with the mathematics in the paper. (not hyperlinked to avoid the spam bin but not hard to find)

    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.03.031
    “Hurst–Kolmogorov dynamics as a result of extremal entropy production”, Koutsoyiannis, Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications Vol 390, Iss 8, 15 Apr 2011, pp 1424–1432

  87. Dutch Railroader

    @81 Richard Aitken.

    Yes, the scientific method! So… several decades ago it was hypothesized that increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere would cause a rise in the global average temperature. The experiment was conducted by burning enough fossil fuels over the subsequent decade to increase the CO2 atmospheric abundance to 400 ppm (as compared to the initial 270 ppm), a level not seen in at least 1 Myr. A significant increase in the global average temperature resulted. Hypothesis followed by experiment. Conclusion: hypothesis confirmed.

  88. James Evans

    To all the “Fakegate” trumpeters and impartial defenders of HI’s honor…

    It’s really fascinating that you know so much about digital document meta data, which sysadmin delved into which outgoing or incoming headers, how to tell what was hacked illegally by an external source or leaked internally and legally, preferred techniques for email server attacks, whether or not an alleged budget number is $2,000 off from a real-world number, where there’s missing punctuation, grammar errors, suspicious first person narrative, etc. Really, really impressive investigative work, people. We’re all of us stricken nearly speechless. You should quit your day jobs and take over the local detective squad. Or audition as a writer for the new BBC Sherlock series.

    That being said, there’s one small problem: NO ONE CARES.

    All Heartland needs to do is explain what it is in the supposedly faked doc(s) that differs from their organization’s true intentions.

    That’s all. Pretty simple, actually.

    Would probably take someone in the Heartland boardroom about 15 minutes to dictate the necessary copy for the press conference, spelling out their real mission statement, and where the faked document(s) erred in egregious, unforgivable fashion.

    After that, should anyone from the “warmist/alarmist” community continue to wrongly attribute faked objectives to Heartland in order to further this grand conspiracy to slander the rock solid integrity of an unimpeachable, true-blue, red-blooded, patriotic, American institute dedicated to truth, justice, and the anti-UN/IPCC way, you have my permission to take them out back behind the CRU server shed and flog them with a weather vane or frozen core sample.

    Till then, unless you’re requesting that your buddies at Heartland do the aforementioned needful to set the record straight, you are expending your elite talents for inquiry pointlessly.

  89. jorge c.

    Mr. James Evans:
    Heartland I. ha said that the document was fake. Full Stop. So, now YOU must prove that they are lying and the document is not fake, not the other way. It is in the Magna Charta: innocent until prove etc… Have you read English History?
    So: Was Peter Gleick The Faker?

  90. James Evans

    jorge c., there is no “full stop” found anywhere here, because much of the content of the strategy doc is found in other Heartland paperwork that they CANNOT divorce themselves from (e.g.: their budget), and has been confirmed by independent authors.

    No one cares if you wrongly declare “fake” a document that agrees with your org’s designs top to bottom. Why? Because it is therefore NOT fake. “Fake” is the wrong word. It’s just a COPY of documentation found elsewhere in your little institute’s domain. It is not important that you personally did not compile it.

    However, I am willing to give HI the benefit of the doubt here that they have indeed been misrepresented. All they have to do is tell me how the supposed fake doc differs from their true operating aims and procedures. Just telling me it’s “fake” with no further elaboration is a HOPELESSLY WORTHLESS comment.

  91. Neil

    Jumpin’ jesus. Every article, every time, the loonies just pile up here like driftwood on the beach.

    Try to talk about the science, and they bring up totally discredited, debunked, and irrelevant points again and again and again. AND THEN AGAIN.

    Try to talk about political motivations, and they tell us that climate scientists are raking in piles of cash that are magically left over after research expenses(and magically hidden from the government, public, and zealous, attentive adversaries), and somehow exerting their non-existent political power to silence hordes of honest climate scientist critics around the globe(who’ve never heard of the internet, apparently). But of course, multi-billion dollar corporations with a track record of hiding environmental problems and sponsoring high-dollar lobbying efforts to hide those problems are beyond reproach, as are the institutes that they support. Even when those institutes have known track records of lying about science for money and political power, they are totally blameless. To a denier, those who have already been caught lying are innocent until proven guilty, and those who could barely manage to hide a lie if they tried, are guilty, with no evidence that they even tried to lie.

    Of course, then there are the dishonest comparisons between the large income of some environmental organizations(who of course have many, many different interests that they and their members want to promote), or the large budgets of some research facilities, and the relatively small amount of millions that the corporate-sponsored, specific-issue-focused Heartland Institute(among others) has access to. But they will ignore the facts that promoting scientifically literate, wide-ranging environmental concern, or sponsoring scientific research programs, are many, many times more expensive than getting cheap anti-science hit pieces published in right-wing publications and blogs or promoted 24/7 by Fox News and other outlets. Yes, standing around intentionally lying about and sabotaging other people’s projects, and getting that action publicized world-wide for free, is much, much cheaper than either doing science or promoting public science education. But you will never hear that acknowledged by a denier.

    The entire anti-climate science movement is not much more than what O’Keefe did to Acorn….lie, lie, lie, lie, misrepresent, sabotage, edit, edit, lie, project your own misdeeds onto others with no evidence, lie some more, and then get world-wide far-right media coverage to trumpet your BS for free, and even get some of the so-called “liberal” media on board when the lies start to gain traction. At the same time, climate science from real scientists can barely get on the news without heavy misrepresentation, and of course, equal time given to “alternative viewpoints” of non-scientist activists. If you’re lucky(or if any of the public start to show signs of caring about the issue), you can even get some far-right politicians to join in and abuse their authority to harass scientists as well, on the taxpayer dime! What a sweet deal! So much easier and more profitable than learning the science or acting with honesty!

    What an incredible disadvantage that deniers have to deal with! No degrees necessary, no credentials, no need for research, no hunting for grants, no educating the public on a complex issue, no dealing with hostile, politically powerful billionaires and politicians out headhunting for fun & profit…just willfully misrepresent the science and lie about anything any climate scientist says, and you too could earn a magic paycheck if you’re good at it, or at least get to feel superior to people on blogs who aren’t “real skeptics” like you!

    The saddest part of all is that it is, at heart, not a scientific or even skeptical movement, or even an honest disagreement. At best, this denialism is a faux-skeptical blustering attitude of “you can’t fool me, sucker” or “nobody can tell me what to believe”, and at worst, a statement of political faith and zealotry over facts and reason. Even if you found one denier who was actually honest enough to acknowledge these simple, basic, easily observable facts listed above, all it will earn you is: But….but….but….AL GORE IS FAT AND FLIES IN A JET!!!!!!!!! STUPID CHICKEN-LITTLE COMMIE WARMIST!!!!!YOU’RE NO “SKEPTIC”!!!!STICK TO ASTRONOMY!!!!!!

  92. Holms

    @87 Spence_UK

    The “hacking” of RealClimate was most likely achieved with a username and password for the weblog, possibly extracted from the e-mails. Anyone claiming they know whether the CRU e-mails were hacked or leaked is simply showing their personal bias. There is insufficient evidence to show either way.

    Being without complete information is no reason to refrain from reviewing the little evidence we do have. Firstly though, some difficulties with your theory include:

    How did the purported hacker obtain such an email before knowing the login details for the webserver? If the hacker is already capable ‘extracting’ information from emails to which he has no legitimate access, what point is there in entertaining the idea that said hacker needed the login information in the first place? These options seem dubious to me, though maybe I am ‘displaying my personal bias’. Alternatively, if the details were sent to him by a CRU insider, this is quite simply a leak. Hence, the leak hypothesis appears more likely than the hack hypothesis, to me at least.

    I would ask you actually read the article I linked, detailing how the mail server structure was gleaned from the email headers.

  93. ND

    “Jumpin’ jesus. Every article, every time, the loonies just pile up here like driftwood on the beach. ”

    Wow. That’s poetry. That’s beautiful. In fact, it’s almost haiku.

    Every article
    Loonies rush in
    embarrassment of driftwood on the beach

  94. Steve Metzler

    @95 Neil:

    Sums up the sorry state of AGW denialism to a tee. All lies, spin, distortion, quote mining and blather, but no science.

  95. Spence_UK

    Being without complete information

    I never suggested we needed complete information. But sufficient information to rule out viable alternatives would be a good start.

    How did the purported hacker obtain such an email before knowing the login details for the webserver?

    Well, that’s what we need to know, and don’t at this point. One possibility is the leaker could be in the UEA IT dept and have legitimate access to these data anyway. However, even this isn’t necessary. The e-mails themselves show astonishingly inept and sloppy management and control of e-mail data was going on at CRU. To enable researchers to carry e-mails with them on laptops, entire folders of e-mails were copied, unencrypted, onto USB sticks and onto hard disks of laptops. (It’s a consequence of a lazy approach and an e-mail system that made this easy to do). Even if the “hacker” wasn’t from UEA, it is possibly that the individual had access to a USB stick at some point that someone had left a complete e-mail dump on it. This isn’t the only example of sloppy management of data at CRU either: famously, large sections of their FTP server were unintentionally left anonymously accessible.

    Once you realise this, it becomes apparent that 1337 haxxor skillz aren’t a necessary condition to obtain the e-mails. Of course, the individual clearly has some knowledge of how to hide his or her identity on the internet – but this is hardly difficult to come by.

    Who knows the real answer? Nobody except the hacker/leaker at this time. The reality is that all of these are possible explanations with some credence in the evidence we have, and at present there is simply no way to distinguish between them.

  96. Spence_UK

    I see Torbjörn Larsson has not yet had a chance to respond to my comments. While you’re doing more research, Torbjörn, I thought of another example to show you.

    One of the most successful applications of the Hurst phenomenon is in modelling of internet traffic. Can you imagine if the authors (Leland et al.) had asked Torbjörn to review their work?

    After ten minutes hard research at google university, Torbjörn would have angrily declared:

    What statistical properties of models of turbulence has to do with internet traffic is anybody’s guess.

    Of course, the enormous success that Leland et al achieved by modelling internet traffic using Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics* is now a part of the research record. The last time I looked, a few years back now, their paper was well on its way towards 5000 citations. Your empty commentary about Gödel’s theorems is equally irrelevant to this case as it is to climate.

    *NB: Leland do not explicitly use the term Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics, as it was coined after their papers.

    PS. Steve, Neil, I’m a researcher and am well aware of the problems in chasing funding. I am aware of many in my field that stoop to adding some reference to “global warming” into their proposals to improve their chances of getting funding. I’m lucky in that up to now I have not had to stoop so low. I’ve been asking scientific questions here (e.g. #90) and getting no answers. As with any scientist, I invite others to explain to me any flaws in my thinking; if I have made an error, I want to know about it.

  97. sHx

    Spence_UK #100

    “PS. Steve, Neil, I’m a researcher and am well aware of the problems in chasing funding. I am aware of many in my field that stoop to adding some reference to “global warming” into their proposals to improve their chances of getting funding.”

    I can’t find the exact phrase but I am sure it was Richard Lindzen who once said words to the effect “if you apply for a grant to study birds and bees, your chances are slim. But if you apply for a grant to study the impact of climate change on birds and bees, your chances of success increase dramatically.” Well, at least that was the gist of what he said.

    Climate change is certainly a reality for many scientists. If not as scientific reality, then definitely as economic reality.

  98. Steve Metzler

    Spence_UK and sHx: nice straw man. I’m quite sure that the likes of Mike Mann and Gavin Schmidt don’t have to sugar coat their research proposals to bring in the Ferrari money :-)

  99. Spence_UK

    Steve, firstly you need to learn what a straw man is. It is apparent that you are using the term incorrectly. But then your second comment simply underscores the tenor of my claim anyway, so thank you for that.

    sHx, it is true that putting climate change into your research proposal at first increases the odds of funding. However, if your first study into climate change gets the “wrong” answer, even if the analysis is entirely correct, the effect is reversed; funding will be cut sharply. Sad to say I have seen direct evidence of this sort of thing.

  100. jorge c.

    Mr.Evans: Following your Hopelessly and Worthles post i pasted some thoughts from another site:
    “The entire Heartland document episode has become far more interesting than a typical tale of an advocacy group paying off shills now that it seems clear that one of the documents that was leaked was in fact a fake. Megan McArdle at The Atlantic does a heroic job examining the documents (something that apparently most reporters failed to do) and concludes that it is fake ;
    The memo doesn’t add new facts, just new spin. Naturally, because the spin is more lurid, it’s what a lot of the climate blogs seized on.
    If the faked document happened to be produced by a climate activist or scientist (as some are already suggesting), then the leaked Heartland documents will go down in history as one of the more spectacular own goals in the history of the climate debate (with the consequences proportional to the stature of the faker). The faking is likely to overshadow whatever legitimate questions may have been raised by the release of the documents. Imagine what would have happened if the UEA hacker/leaker had made up a few emails to spice up the dossier.
    More generally, the episode already illustrates much of what has become of the activist wing of the climate science community — Apparently, reality is not good enough, so it must be sexed up. This sort of thing feeds into the worst imaginings of skeptics and blinds them to the fact that there are real issues here despite the frequent over-egging of the pudding.

    It will be interesting to see how this develops as it appears that the faker left plenty enough fingerprints to be revealed in due course. The collateral damage is likely to be significant among the media and the overeager blogosphere. ”

    Do you understand???

    Was Peter Gleick The Faker??

  101. Holms

    @100 Spence_UK

    One possibility is the leaker could be in the UEA IT dept and have legitimate access to these data anyway.

    That would make it an internal leak.

    Who knows the real answer? Nobody except the hacker/leaker at this time. The reality is that all of these are possible explanations with some credence in the evidence we have, and at present there is simply no way to distinguish between them.

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that you are disregarding the analysis and reconstruction of the emails in question. While we do not know with certainty, there is evidence available for examination, and that indicates a greater likelihood for a leak rather than a hack. We do not need a signed confession from someone before settling on one broad explanation or the other as our provisional theory, all we need to do is apply Occam’s Razor.

    It is unsurprising, yet still disappointing, to see such reluctance in examining what evidence we do have.

  102. James Evans

    Imagine what would have happened if the UEA hacker/leaker had made up a few emails to spice up the dossier.

    The CRU would have promptly addressed whatever nonsense was found inside the faked emails, like they corrected the blockheaded misinterpretations of their real emails. Thanks for the simple thought exercise, jorge. And people like you would NOT have believed the corrections, called them liars, etc., LIKE YOU ACTUALLY DID DURING CLIMATEGATE. I’m at least willing to entertain the possibility that HI will provide something authentic.

    Do you understand???

    No. You’re making little sense. Chanting “it’s fake” over and over again does not further the discussion. We’re past that unhelpful comment now. But I’m sure you’ll keep repeating it like a pull-string toy, instead of moving on, because there’s really no other tactic available to you in this debate. Also, when you quote “another site,” provide the link. Thanks.

  103. Spence_UK

    That would make it an internal leak.

    Ermm.. yes, that was my point. I was responding to someone claiming a hack. It could be EITHER an internal leak, OR an external hack. We don’t know.

    And I’m sorry, but Occam’s razor most certainly does not allow us to dismiss the less probable option within a dichotomy. And when the probabilities are subjectively defined and biased, the probabilities themselves are without merit anyway.

  104. Steve Metzler

    @Spence_UK:

    We could be here all day trying to classify exactly what was wrong with what you said back there. That’s the way you folks roll: “Hey, look, there goes a squirrel!” Perhaps accusing climate scientists of chasing research money as their ultimate goal in life is a non sequitor rather than a straw man, but who cares? It’s just an attempt to distract people from the discussion at hand, which is the Hearland Institute’s raison de etre.

  105. Spence_UK

    Steve, “there goes a squirrel” suggests a change of topic. I did not change topic. I was continuing the funding discussion raised originally by Neil. Since Neil was the first to raise the topic of funding, he is the only one to whom “there goes a squirrel” could conceivably apply.

    It seems your approach to argument is to randomly fire out logical fallacies without the first understanding of what they actually mean. To that extent, I agree that we could continue all day without getting anywhere. That is something that can only be solved by you arguing rationally instead of randomly, so not something in my control.

  106. sHx

    Spence_UK #104

    “it is true that putting climate change into your research proposal at first increases the odds of funding. However, if your first study into climate change gets the “wrong” answer, even if the analysis is entirely correct, the effect is reversed; funding will be cut sharply. Sad to say I have seen direct evidence of this sort of thing.”

    Even if the answer is “wrong” the research paper must state clearly that CO2 mitigation strategy is a good thing.

    This was the mistake that stunted the research on the links between clouds and cosmic rays at the first place. Scientists who wanted to carry out experiments at CERN had to wait for many years for funding to come through, just because they were careless enough to hypothesise that there might be natural causes for the recent warming.

    Even after the initial positive results of the CLOUD experiment, the CERN people are extremely coy talking about what it means to the prevailing scientific orthodoxy.

    Scientists are human beings and like all human beings they are flawed. They too can be corrupted by lucre. If they don’t need the dough for a Ferrari, then they definitely need it to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families.

    Perhaps this is not a flaw at all. Perhaps it is the rational thing to do.

  107. Holms

    @108 Spence_UK

    And when the probabilities are subjectively defined and biased, the probabilities themselves are without merit anyway.

    The analysis contains evidence based reasoning to arrive at a conclusion that a leak is much easier than a hack, and is thus the more likely explanation. Evidence based. It is not idle speculation, but I see you have either not read it or are simply unwilling to give it any credibility; I see no refutation or even a comment based on the content of that article, so much as a refusal to acknowledge that it may have evidence to address in the first place.

    It is a shame that there seems no point in continuing any dialogue on this point with you.

  108. Gunnar

    @sHx. I fail to see why the CERN cloud experiment is at all relevant to the truth or falsity of AGW. Even if it is established beyond all reasonable doubt that cosmic rays are a significant factor in cloud formation, how can that have any relevant bearing on AGW when, by all indications (as far as I have been able to ascertain) there has been no significant change in the average cosmic ray background radiation since mankind first learned about it and started monitoring it?

    I still can’t help being reminded of the Flat Earth society when I read some of the arguments against the reality of AGW. Some of the advocates of the Flat Earth Theory at their web site complain that they can’t get public or government funding for their research simply because they keep coming up with what the “Worldwide Globalist Conspiracy” insists is the “wrong answer” whenever their analysis of the evidence leads them to conclude that the earth is not a globe. Did it ever occur to you that maybe the reason denialist scientists have trouble getting research funding (if true) is that their “wrong answer” demonstrably really is the wrong answer? Apparently 97-98% of the world’s climatologists think so. I still think it is abysmally stupid to insist that this 97-98% of the world’s climatologists are necessarily dishonest or incompetent because you don’t like their conclusions.

    Besides that, I don’t think that all governments (particularly the U.S. Government) are heavily biased towards accepting the AGW hypothesis. If anythng, the U.S. Government is strongly biased in the opposite direction.

  109. Gunnar

    Correction: Perhaps it would be better to say the the U.S. Government is at least “somewhat biased” rather than “strongly biased” in the opposite direction, unless and until the anti-science Republican Party wins the next election (heaven forbid!).

  110. Spence_UK

    Apparently 97-98% of the world’s climatologists think so.

    Gunnar, are you talking about the Doran and Zimmerman survey here?

    Assuming you are, you do realise that many climate sceptics would also answer “yes” to the questions asked in this survey, don’t you? I certainly would have answered “yes” to the questions asked, yet I don’t think there is sufficient evidence to argue we are capable of controlling climate through prediction and action, and in our present state of ignorance action is likely to cause more harm than good.

    Judging by your comments on the previous thread, where you suggest 97% of climatologists think action should be taken, or that 97% think climate change is “potentially dangerous”, neither of which can be drawn from the survey, since no such questions were asked. Quoting you from the previous thread:

    Why should anyone give your view more credence than that of the 97-98% of climatologists who agree that it is a real and potentially dangerous problem?

    Please, a source for this claim, specifically the “potentially dangerous problem” bit.

    I can’t help feeling Gunnar that if you didn’t exist, sceptics would want to invent you.

  111. Gunnar

    @Spence_UK
    Ok, the survey did not specifically ask whether AGW, if it continued, would be potentially dangerous or undesirable, but apparently you do share the consensus that AGW is real. What, exactly are you trying to argue? That there is no reasonable basis for concluding that continued AGW will or could have undesirable, even damaging consequences? Or is it that you think humankind is absolutely powerless to do anything about it, so we might just as well not even try? Do you deny that limiting and reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we add to the atmosphere would be a good thing if we can find an effective and practical way to do it? Do you deny that weaning ourselves from fossil fuels as much as possible and more fully utilising more renewable sources of energy (such as bio fuels, solar and wind energy) would be a good thing, even if AGW itself proved not to be a truly worrisome problem, or that it would be a good idea to reduce needless waste of non-renewable resources by improving energy efficiency?

    I don’t buy your contention that we are so clueless about the nature of the problem and what we can do about it that anything we try (including the remedies I mentioned above) is “likely to cause more harm than good!” Sure, we have still a lot to learn about AGW and its potential consequences and what we can do about it, but I am sure that at least those above mentioned remedies are viable and can be a good start. Do you disagree?

  112. Spence_UK

    Gunnar,

    You sound just like an advocate for blood letting when the Royal College of Physicians stood up in court and defended the “multiple lines of evidence”* supporting blood letting as a medical practice.

    Do you deny bloodletting has an immediate effect on the patient? Nothing relieves symptoms like blood letting! Do you deny that humours must be kept in balance???

    Taking action when the consequences of such action are not reliably known increases risk and increases cost. Furthermore, converting to other forms of energy is not a nil sum game no matter how much you want it to be. The all have their own non-trivial societal and environmental problems. And when the cure kills the patient, and then it transpires later wasn’t actually a cure at all, history will not remember you well.

    * Isn’t it remarkable how people who don’t have a single piece of real, convincing evidence fall back on the claim of “multiple lines of evidence”? Leaving the word “worthless” out of that sentence certainly spins it differently.

  113. Realist

    It doesn’t matter if all the emails from Heartland are 100% real, just like it doesn’t matter that the CRU emails were taken out of context, showed absolutely no forgery or data and all scientists were cleared of wrongdoing by multiple investigations. People who want to believe AGW is hoax have been given their talking points, and they will be repeated no matter what the facts are. Trying to convince those people is pointless. Anyone vehemently claiming that AGW is a hoax and that CRU is the proof is not going to be convinced otherwise by any amount of evidence. We need simply to ignore them. The real discussions need to take place not with this vocal minority, but with people who are rational but confused, misinformed or simply haven’t had the time or inclination to become informed. That doesn’t happen on these blogs, but in real life. Take the time to help rational people see the dangerous atmospheric experiment we are conducting for the profits of a few. Don’t even bother with Heartland, or even address the denialists. They aren’t worth your time, and will only serve to stir up emotions when instead physics, chemistry and facts on the side of thos trying to educate the general public about AGW.

  114. 4UKSpence

    Spence_UK says: “Taking action when the consequences of such action are not reliably known increases risk and increases cost.”

    Absolutely right! The problem is you misunderstand the application of this concept. Dumping excesses amounts pollutants into the atmosphere IS taking action. The consequences of this are not reliably known. As you point out, continuing to take this action of burning fossil fuels will likely increase our risks and costs. Indeed, history will not remember those that claim it is not a problem (or even an action) in a kind light.

  115. Spence_UK

    “4UKSpence”

    Nice name, although a bit unoriginal. Unfortunately for you, what you say is both wrong and ignorant.

    We already know the consequences of large scale fossil fuel use. And it is clearly a huge net benefit to humanity. We have a good understanding of the various consequences and they are typically well controlled. Sorry to break that news to you.

    But I can give you an example of the alternative. One of Gunnar’s examples was biofuels. Biofuels were heavily promoted as a method of reducing GHG emissions around the early 2000s by politicians, environmental advocates etc. etc., and this was taken up strongly both in the US and Europe.

    Now, around ten years on, an assessment can be made of the knee-jerk reaction of abandoning a well known energy source for a new, unknown one. What we have found is:
    – Virtually no reduction in GHG emissions
    – Increase cost of energy
    – Increase cost of food
    – Increase in deforestation to make land available

    So the rush to untested energy sources has failed to achieve any of the “benefits” it was supposed to achieve (not that any of the benefits were meaningfully predictable or measurable in any way), and has incurred a whole bunch of negative consequences both for society and the environment on the way.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for new technology, cheaper and cleaner energy supply. Chosen for rationally considered correct reasons, not as a knee-jerk reaction to the bogeyman under the bed.

  116. 4UKSpence

    Reading comprehension is not your forte. Either that or you willfully ignored what I wrote. “Dumping excesses amounts pollutants into the atmosphere IS taking action. The consequences of this are not reliably known.” As you pointed out previously, taking action without knowing the consequences increases risks and costs. If you want to claim that the effects of doing so are well known, at least provide some evidence before changing the subject to economics instead of climate.

  117. Gunnar

    @Spence_UK

    Your assessment of bio-fuels is too limited. If by biofuels you mainly mean ethanol derived from corn and other crops normally used for food, fertilized by fertilizers from factories powered by fossil fuels and cultivated by the intensive use of diesel powered farm machinery, I agree that that is a remedy potentially as bad or worse than the problem to be remedied. I also have serious misgivings about biofuels derived from, for example, palm oil if that means destroying natural forests in order to create palm oil plantations. There are potential much better biofuel alternatives that are being developed and beginning to come on line. For example, doctor Craig Criddle at Stanford university and others have shown that much useful energy can be recovered from the bacterial processes involved in sewage and waste treatment plants, even enough to entirely run those plants with excess left over to sell to public utilities.

    Oil from cultivation of algae using of photo-synthesis powered by the Sun shows a great deal of promise, and is potenially quite cost effective. Millions of gallons of used cooking oil that was previously thrown away can be economically converted into relatively clean burning biodiesel fuel.

    Agricultural wastes can be converted into much usable fuel. For example, there is a huge onion ranch near where I live in California with its own processing plant that is using the discarded and inedible parts of the onions that they used to dispose of in land fills, at great expense to them, to produce enough fuel to provide more than 40% of their total power needs, saving them more than a million dollars annually in electricity costs.

    Some dairy farmers in California and elsewhere have learned to recover enough methane from cattle manure to provide a significant portion of their power needs, saving them lots and lots of money.

    Many of our landfills are potential energy mines, and exciting progress is being made in exploiting that energy.

    One can easily find references to and descributions of these ideas on the internet if one cares to look for them.

    Some people point out correctly that burning biofuels releases as much CO2 into the air as burning fossil fuels. However, this is a foolish argument because all the CO2 released by burning biofuels can do more than barely replace the CO2 that was taken from the atmosphere in the first place by the plants from which they are derived. Thus they cannot cause increases in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (provided, of course, that we manage to learn to power our farms and agricultural activities without having to rely so heavily on fossil fuels).

    And don’t forget solar and wind power which is becoming increasingly cost effective, especially as the cost of extracting our ever decreasing stocks of fossil fuel rises sharply (as it surely will). It is incredibly foolish to discount those alternatives and geothermal energy as viable replacements for much, or even all of the energy now derived from fossil fuels (which are running out faster than most people are willing to believe or admit). Even the newer generations of safer, smaller and more efficient nuclear power plants (such as the new thorium powered plants being developed and built in China) are a potentially better alternative than our still increasing reliance on fossil fuels (though I still think it may be possible to meet our energy needs without them, if we have the will and determination to do it).

    By the way, why are you calling or implying that the multiple lines of evidence supporting AGW are all worthless if you concede the reality of AGW, as you apparently have done?

  118. jorge c.

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE FAKER WAS PETER GLECIK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    LINK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html

    WHAT A SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    NOW. WHAT DO YOU SAY MRS. NIGEL DEPLEDGE AND EVANS!!!!!

    ABND OF COURSE MR PHIL PLAITT

    SHAME ON YOU TOO!!!!

  119. Um, Jorge (123) did you actually read what Gleick wrote?

  120. You mean Peter Gleick, Phil? When he said “Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name”?

    In the mean time, evidence continues to accumulate that the “smoking gun” memo — the one that Megan McArdle said read like it was written by a supervillan’s intern — is a fraud, and forensics continue to suggest that contrary to Gleick’s modified limited hangout, he’s the author of the fake.

    But without it, what you have in those documents is evidence that Heartland Institute, an advocacy organization, was receiving money and spending it openly on advocacy. If that’s somehow a bad thing, I expect you’ll be similarly outraged about Joe Romm getting a salary.

  121. Samuel

    “Um, Jorge (123) did you actually read what Gleick wrote?”

    I’m going to repost this because it says it better than I possibly could:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/20/statement-by-the-heartland-institute-on-gleick-confession/#more-57134
    JJ

    Look at what the man wrote, not what he wants you to read.

    “At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy.”

    He says he recieved an anonymous document. He doesn’t say the “anonymous document” was the faked document. The 2012 Proposed Budget “describes what appear to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy.” The anonymous document could have been that document, or some other document that we haven’t seen.

    “Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name..”

    He committed wire fraud, identity theft and other crimes to get more documents.

    “I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues.”

    He says he forwarded the documents that he received – by which he maybe taken to mean the documents he recieved from Heartland. He doesn’t say that he forwarded the “anonymous document”, nor does he deny sending documents other than those that he recieved.

    “I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.”

    He claims he didn’t alter any of the documents sent to him. He doesnt say that the only documents he sent were the ones sent to him. He says he didn’t alter the “anonymous communication”, but he doesn’t identify it, nor does he confirm that he sent it.

    Consistent with what Gleick has claimed are several scenarios that leave him the author of the faked memo – a fact he has not denied:

    1) Someone sent him the Proposed Budget – that was the “anonymous communication.” He stole more documents, which may or may not have included the Budget that he already had in hand. He forwarded everything that had been sent to him, and he added to that package the “Climate Strategy Memo” that he had made up himself.

    2) Someone sent him a “heads up” with a few details about the Budget in it – that was the “anonymous communication.” He stole more documents from Heartland. He kept the “anonymous communication”, forwarded everything that had been sent to him by Heartland, and he added to that package the “Climate Strategy Memo” that he had made up himself.

    Even if Gleick is telling the unvarnished truth in his “confession” and half assed apology, either of those two scenarios could still be true. Keep in mind that crimate scientists are already primed to think in the “consistent with” mindset, and the fact that Gleick has lawyered up with the best sleazy democrat representation that you can’t buy, so it has to be provided to you. Every word he says from here on out is carefully chosen to be technically perjury-free, while telling the story he wants you to hear. And his lawyers have very carefully chosen for him to not claim that he didn’t write the Fake.

  122. Greg Goodknight

    I read what Gleick wrote, and I suspect his first class white collar crime defense attorney wrote most of it.

    Nice work, Bad Astronomer.

  123. Spence_UK

    4UKSpence. Wrong. The consequences of fossil fuel use are better known than for any other form of energy generation. It is not risk-free, but it involves less risk than the other options you describe. Remember risk involves societal and environmental consequences. I’m sorry you do not understand simple risk assessment, but not much I can do about it. Same goes for you, Gunnar. All the methods you describe are expensive and carry increased risk while failing to solve any problems. Nuclear is the only credible power generation alternative that can genuinely cut into CO2 emissions in any kind of meaningful way.

    Anyway, it seems the original story has evolved. NCSE board member Peter Gleick has now admitted to obtaining the documents from Heartland by deception.

    Which is an odd claim, given that the faked memo appears to be a roadmap to the other documents, with added spin doctoring. It seems most unlikely that the faked memo would have been written before the other documents were acquired, but this is what Gleick claims. I think this story may have more legs in it yet.

    I wonder if the NCSE realised what they were taking on board when they engaged with the climate debate?

  124. Spence_UK

    An additional thought, standing back and viewing this whole affair from a distance.

    We know that sceptics began speculating that Gleick was involved, purely because of the hints in the faked memo (timezone, writing style, etc).

    I genuinely believe that had desmogblog, Phil Plait, and others, showed proper restraint and journalistic integrity, and identified the fake memo for what it obviously was and *only* published the seven legitimate documents, then Gleick would never have been fingered.

    Just to be clear: I’m not suggesting that it is desmogblog’s fault. Ultimately Gleick carries responsibility for his own actions. But the likes of desmogblog, by merely applying standard journalism practices and due diligence, had the opportunity to save Gleick from himself. I hope there is a small lesson for us all there.

    And much of it boils down to a simple lack of scepticism. There were so many clues that the faked memo was just that, but it pushed too many buttons, reinforced too many biases and prejudices, that the plain view evidence of forgery was not visible to the true believers. As I said earlier, just like moon landing hoaxers. Ouch.

  125. sHx

    @Spence_UK #129

    “I genuinely believe that had desmogblog, Phil Plait, and others, showed proper restraint and journalistic integrity, and identified the fake memo for what it obviously was…”

    That’s too much to ask from Phil Plait. He is not a detective or a journalist or even a skeptic. He is a PhD perhaps but anyone could hove be conned by that global warming faith-healer. LOL.

  126. jorge c.

    Mr.Plait:

    Yes I did. “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.”

    Take note that Mr.Peter Gleick is the Chair of the AGU Task Force on Scientific Ethics!!!!!!!
    wowwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Link: http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/02/ouch-gleick-chairs-agu-task-force-on.html

    by the way: do you approve/applaud what Peter Gleick do?

    Yes Hip, hop hipocrisy….

  127. Greg Goodknight

    “Take note that Mr.Peter Gleick is the Chair of the AGU Task Force on Scientific Ethics!!!!!!!”

    That has apparently changed, as his name and title have disappeared from the masthead:
    http://www.agu.org/about/governance/committees_boards/scientific_ethics.shtml

  128. Gunnar

    @Spence_UK

    Do you really seriously believe that extensive use of windpower, geothermal power, solar power and recovery of still usable energy from agricultural and municipal wastes and used cooking oil are potentially or inherently more environmentally damaging than spewing many mega tonnes of known greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? Are you really unaware of the fact that the costs of solar power and (especially) windpower are rapidly plummeting while the costs of using fossil fuels must continue to rise sharply as we deplete the remaining stocks of such fuels?

    Wind power, in particular, is already quite competitive according to many sources I have found on the internet and printed literature. And how can you make the flat assertion that all these alternate energy solutions are too expensive when the examples I told you about are demonstrably saving the users such large amounts of money? And how can you argue with the documented fact that many homeowners, especially here in California, are saving more than enough money in electricity costs, by installing solar power, to pay for the cost of installation? The more you post here, the less credible you become!

  129. 4UKSpence

    Oh poor Spence, you still willfully ignore the point. Dumping pollutants into the atmosphere is taking action. It’s the third and last time I’ll repeat the point. To claim that we know so much about the results of that action, once again without providing any evidence, is shameful. I know you get the point, you just choose to ignore it. I will not bother to read another parrot response from you. Good day.

  130. Samuel

    Gunnar
    “Do you really seriously believe that extensive use of windpower, geothermal power, solar power and recovery of still usable energy from agricultural and municipal wastes and used cooking oil are potentially or inherently more environmentally damaging than spewing many mega tonnes of known greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?”

    You need to show they are safer- after the biofuels catastrophy I’m only willing to accept fact, not incredulity.

    –“Are you really unaware of the fact that the costs of solar power and (especially) windpower are rapidly plummeting while the costs of using fossil fuels must continue to rise sharply as we deplete the remaining stocks of such fuels? ”

    Must continue to rise sharply? They can make oil from coal, which sets an upper limit on how much oil prices can rise. Heck, some people plan on making oil with bacteria, although I’m not holding my breath

    If the long run prices favor renewables, why do you need legistlative action? When renewables become economically competative people will switch to them. You could claim that renewables wouldn’t get developed without funding, but that is incorrect- the process to make oil from coal was invented back in the 1920s (ironically due to peak oil fears) and there was investment in the 1970s due to the embargo. It also ignores the fact that other countries are investing in these technologies and so our lack of investment doesn’t mean they won’t get developed.

    –“And how can you make the flat assertion that all these alternate energy solutions are too expensive when the examples I told you about are demonstrably saving the users such large amounts of money? And how can you argue with the documented fact that many homeowners, especially here in California, are saving more than enough money in electricity costs, by installing solar power, to pay for the cost of installation?”

    http://sunlightelectric.com/subsidies.php

    “There are three California and federal subsidies that together can reduce the cost of a commercial solar power system by 70-80% of the original installed price.”

    4UKSpence
    “Dumping pollutants into the atmosphere is taking action. It’s the third and last time I’ll repeat the point.”

    Taking action is usually means moving from the default state. The status quo is not considered “taking action” no matter how much actual activity there is.

  131. 4UKSpence

    Samuel says: “Taking action is usually means moving from the default state. The status quo is not considered “taking action” no matter how much actual activity there is.”

    I was using taking action to mean affecting change, but even in your definition dumping pollutants into the atmosphere is still taking action. The pollutants would not be there if not for us doing it. The status quo is less CO2 and other pollutants in the atmosphere. So you’re just playing word games to fit with your lifestyle.

    Further, using your definition, we are increasing the amount of fossil fuels that are being extracted from the Earth and subsequently burned, dumping pollutants into the atmosphere. This is not maintaining the status quo, this is taking action.

  132. Samuel

    “So you’re just playing word games to fit with your lifestyle. ”

    Lets use the civil rights movement to illustrate.

    Lynching is an action, but it was considered part of the status quo. The civil rights movement was considered to be taking action because they were attempting to change the status quo.

    You are confusing action and taking action. It might seem to be word games, but your mangling of the language means you can attack CO2 emissions for their bad effects and ignore their good effects.

  133. Gunnar

    Samuel, it is true that that there are state and federal subsidies available that reduce the cost of converting to solar, and I will certainly take advantage of them when I convert my own home to solar power, but it is still true that even without the subsidies, the cost of solar is coming down. I have done a rough, preliminary analysis of what it will cost to convert my own house and the probable savings in monthly electricity costs. I have found that with current pricing, even without taking advantage of the available government incentives, the addition to my monthly mortgage payments, assuming that I pay for the solar addition over a period of 10 years, will be less than what I will save in monthly electricity costs. Once it is paid off, I would actually be making money!

    The government incentives will be come less and less necessary to encourage people to convert, as the costs continue to come down, and will probably be eventually dropped. The main reason many people still need subsidies to push them in taking the leap to converting is the tendency of people to be swayed more by the initial expenditure than by their eventual, total savings over the years.

    What biofuels castastrophe are you talking about? Whatever it is, I’m sure that it would pale into insignificance compared to, for example, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And surely you can’t seriously believe that wind power and solar power are potentially more damaging than our still rapidly increasing rate of CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels.

    Again CO2 emissions due to burning biofuels would not, in itself be a problem, because such emissions would only replace the CO2 extracted from the atmosphere by the plant sources from which the biofuels are derived (and would actually be necessary in an energy economy that relied mainly or largely on the availability of biofuels).

    As for oil and gasoline made from coal, if I am not mistaken, that still costs a lot more than fuels made from petroleum. Besides that, the environmental devastation that has too often resulted from coal mining is heartbreaking!

    It has been said that at current rates of energy usage, our coal supply will last us 500 to 1000 years. The flaw in that calculation is the presumption that our energy demand would suddenly stop increasing. Does anyone seriously believe that will happen? Since mankind first discovered and started extensively exploiting the world’s petroleum reserves, our energy demand and usage increased at a typical rate of 7% per year. Any commodity that would last us 500 years at a static rate of usage would be completely depleted in only 51 years if the annual usage increased 7% per year. An initial 1000 year supply, based on static rates of usage, would last only 10 years longer.

    As for government legislation, what I think we increasingly need is not so much legislation that would encourage the developing of renewable energy sources and the practical technology to economically and efficiently exploit them, but legislation that will expose and discourage the disinformation campaign and lobbying orchestrated by those who want to sabotage and slow the transition to more evironmentally responsible and sustainable ways of providing our energy needs, because they are selfishly more concerned about further augmenting their already enormous wealth and power derived from exploiting fossl fuels than about what is best for all mankind–especially our children and granchildren.

  134. Samuel

    “but it is still true that even without the subsidies, the cost of solar is coming down.”

    I’ve never denied that- solar has been improved since the 1970s and hopefully will continue to do so.

    “The main reason many people still need subsidies to push them in taking the leap to converting is the tendency of people to be swayed more by the initial expenditure than by their eventual, total savings over the years.”

    Corporations don’t exhibit such short-term thinking (well, not utilities at least) so if solar truly becomes competitve you would see the grid being converted.

    “What biofuels castastrophe are you talking about? Whatever it is, I’m sure that it would pale into insignificance compared to, for example, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”

    Biofuels are blamed for the jump in food prices that happened over the last couple of years. For us, it was mild, but for people on the poverty line it lead to malnutrition.

    http://www.jpands.org/vol16no1/goklany.pdf

    So we may have accidentally killed over 100,000 people. By contrast the BP disaster killed 11.

    “And surely you can’t seriously believe that wind power and solar power are potentially more damaging than our still rapidly increasing rate of CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. ”

    It depends. Both require rare earths to construct and those minerals are mined in China. Needless to say it is quite possible that toxic waste from the mining is worse than CO2 emissions.

    I know it sounds silly, but given the constantly increasing efficiency of solar panels this means alot of panels won’t be used their entire lifespan so you might be making a ton of waste for marginal benefit.

    “As for oil and gasoline made from coal, if I am not mistaken, that still costs a lot more than fuels made from petroleum.”

    My point was it puts an upper limit on the price of oil. We have over 200 years of known reserves of coal so oil prices won’t spiral out of control.

    “It has been said that at current rates of energy usage, our coal supply will last us 500 to 1000 years. The flaw in that calculation is the presumption that our energy demand would suddenly stop increasing. Does anyone seriously believe that will happen”

    Actually coal is expected to last 100-200 years. Of course this is more speculative than oil because coal exploration has dropped off in recent years and is under restrictions.

    As for energy demand, I believe it has been flat (per capita) in the US for the last couple of decades.
    http://205.254.135.24/totalenergy/data/annual/showtext.cfm?t=ptb0103

    Of course this might not mean anything if the energy intensive work has been offshored.

    “but legislation that will expose and discourage the disinformation campaign and lobbying orchestrated by those who want to sabotage and slow the transition to more evironmentally responsible and sustainable ways of providing our energy needs, because they are selfishly more concerned about further augmenting their already enormous wealth and power derived from exploiting fossl fuels than about what is best for all mankind–especially our children and granchildren.”

    Fossil fuels interests were ironically not well represented on the Heartland donor list. Is there any good evidence fossil fuel companies are currently funding the skeptic/denialist movement?

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