My Cameo in the "ClimateGate" Emails

By Chris Mooney | December 28, 2009 9:34 am

It has been brought to my attention that I am mentioned, once, in the “ClimateGate” email stash. If you go here and search for my name, you find this, an email from Tom Wigley of NCAR, who I have interviewed for various stories:

From: Tom Wigley <wigley@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>
To: santer1@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
Subject: Re: [Fwd: [Fwd: FW: Press Release from The Science & Environmental Policy Project]]
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:17:14 -0700
Cc: carl mears <mears@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Frank Wentz <frank.wentz@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Tom Wigley <wigley@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Steven Sherwood <Steven.Sherwood@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, John Lanzante <John.Lanzante@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, “‘Dian J. Seidel’” <dian.seidel@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Melissa Free <Melissa.Free@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Karl Taylor <taylor13@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Steve Klein <klein21@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Leopold Haimberger <leopold.haimberger@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, “Thorne, Peter” <peter.thorne@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, “‘Philip D. Jones’” <p.jones@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>

Dear all,

I think the scientific fraud committed by Douglass needs to
be exposed. His co-authors may be innocent bystanders, but
I doubt it.

In normal circumstances, what Douglass has done would cause
him to lose his job — a parallel is the South Korean cloning
fraud case.

I have suggested that someone like Chris Mooney should be
told about this.

Tom.

In searching my emails, I was never told about this, and certainly never wrote anything about the situation, which I am not familiar with. As a journalist, though, I certainly do want to receive tips of things to write about, and I frequently do from a wide variety of folks. With only the most rare of exceptions, I never get around to writing anything; but in this case, I wasn’t even tipped.

Still, I can see why scientists concerned about global warming, and accepting of the scientific consensus, would want me to cover the topic, including its political side. By 2007 I already had a track record for exposing the misinformation campaign to mislead the public about climate change, something I continue to do today. And given that there is such a misinformation campaign–with “ClimateGate” being the latest and perhaps the most severe example–we need scientists and journalists alike striving to set the record straight.

I guess that that’s my way of saying that, as with virtually all of the “ClimateGate” emails that I have seen, the single one mentioning my name is not very surprising–especially as it regards me, who never even heard of this until now.

Comments (30)

  1. a. n. ditchfield

    CLIMATEGATE
    THE LEBENSRAUM FALLACY
    The Lebensraum doctrine of Green activists rests on three tenets they accept with an act of faith:
    • We are running out of space. World population is already excessive on a limited planet and cannot grow without dire effects.
    • We are running out of means. The planet’s non-renewable resources are being depleted by consumption at a rate that renders economic expansion unsustainable.
    • We shall fry. Carbon dioxide emitted by human economic activity causes global warming that shall make the planet uninhabitable.
    When such tenets are quantified, the contrast between true and false stands out sharply.
    Is overpopulation a grave problem? The sum of urban areas of the United States is equivalent to 2% of the area of the country, and to 6% in densely inhabited countries such as England and Holland. And there is plenty of green in urban areas. If comparison is limited to land covered by buildings and pavements the occupied land in the whole world amounts to 0,04% of the terrestrial area of the planet. With 99.96% unoccupied the idea of an overcrowded planet is an exaggeration. Population forecasts are uncertain but the most accepted ones foresee stability of world population to be reached in the 21st century. According to some, world population may begin to decline at the end of this century. With so much elbowroom it is untenable that world population is excessive or shall ever become so.
    Strictly speaking, no natural resource is non-renewable in a universe ruled by the Law of Conservation of Mass. In popular form it holds that “Nothing is created, nothing is lost, all is transformed.” Human usage is not subtracted from the mass of the planet, and in theory all material used may be recycled. The possibility of doing so depends on availability and low cost of energy. When fusion energy becomes operative it will be available in practically unlimited quantities. The source is deuterium, a hydrogen isotope found in water, in a proportion of 0.03%. One cubic kilometer of seawater contains more energy than can be obtained from combustion of all known petroleum reserves of the world. Since oceans hold 3 billion cubic kilometers of water, energy will last longer than the human species.
    There is no growing shortfall of resources signaled by rising prices. Since the middle of the 19th century The Economist publishes consistent indices of values of commodities and they have all declined, over the period, due to technological advances. The decline has been benign. The cost of feeding a human being was 8 times greater in 1850 than it is today. In 1950, less than half of a world population of 2 billion had an adequate diet, above 2000 calories per day. Today, 80% have the diet, and world population is three times greater.
    There is a problem with the alleged global warming. It stopped in 1998, after having risen in the 23 previous years, and unleashing a scare over its effects. Since 1998 it has been followed by 11 years of declining temperatures, in a portent of a cold 21st century. This shows that there are natural forces shaping climate, more powerful than manmade carbon dioxide and anything mankind can do for or against world climate. The natural forces include cyclical oscillation of ocean temperatures, sunspot activity and the effect of magnetic activity of the sun on cosmic rays. All such cycles are foreseeable, but there is no general theory of climate with predictive capacity. What knowledge exists comes from one hundred fields, such as meteorology, oceanography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, paleontology, biology, etc. with partial contributions to the understanding of climate.
    Devoid of support of solid theory and empirical data, the mathematical models that underpin alarmist forecasts amount to speculative thought that reflects the assumptions fed into the models. Such computer simulations offer no rational basis for public policy that inhibits economic activity “to save the planet”. And carbon dioxide is not a pollutant; it is the nutrient needed for photosynthesis that supports the food chain of all living beings of the planet.
    Stories of doom circulate daily. Anything that happens on earth has been blamed on global warming: a Himalayan earthquake, a volcanic eruption, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, tribal wars in Africa, heat wave in Paris, recent severe winters in North America, the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, known for five centuries, the collapse of a bridge in Minnesota. Evo Morales blames Americans for the summer floods in Bolivia.
    Global warming is not a physical phenomenon; it is a political and journalistic phenomenon that finds parallel in the totalitarian doctrines that inebriated masses deceived by demagogues. As Chris Patten put it: “Green politics at its worst amounts to a sort of Zen fascism; less extreme, it denounces growth and seeks to stop the world so that we can all get off”. In the view of Professor Aaron Wildavsky global warming is the mother of all environmental scares. “Warming (and warming alone), through its primary antidote of withdrawing carbon from production and consumption, is capable of realizing the environmentalist’s dream of an egalitarian society based on rejection of economic growth in favor of a smaller population’s eating lower on the food chain, consuming a lot less, and sharing a much lower level of resources much more equally.” Their dream is the hippies’ lifestyle of idleness, penury, long hair, unshaven face, blue jeans, sandals and vegetarian diet, imposed on the world by decree of Big Brother, and justified by the Lebensraum fallacy.

  2. moptop

    So you assured us that there was nothing to see there, yet you did not know that you were mentioned. I just want to be clear on that point.

  3. Climate change?????, it is real!!!, most humanity don’t know it consecuences, and people interested in money!!!!, doesn’t care about those consecuences neither. Let me tell you which will be some of those consecuences:( I am a retired science teacher from Puerto Rico and an independent scientific researcher on global warming, climate changes and glaciers melting). I’ve been studying these issues since several years ago. And I’ve found out the following:
    1)the glaciers ice are doing an important role right there where they’re, and the role is to maintain a balance of the earth movements, including the planet’s inclination axis,
    2)the melting of the glaciers will reach to a point where the plates tectonics movements will increase and accelerate causing more frecuent collisions between them, so, the absence of the glaciers will cause huge destructions over the planet to humanity,
    3)the uncontrolled movements of the plates will crash strongly one-another also causing fissures underground, deep inside inactive volcanoes re-activating them, both, on the earth surface and under the oceans,
    4)without the glaciers, there will be no momentum effect over the earth movements, so the inertia, and kinetic properties of the movements will increase or accelerate causing also the days and years to be shorter, because movements will be faster.And I heard that the bible talks about these issues,
    5)the earth shape is geoidal, an espheroid, it is flat on the poles, and wider on the equator, so equators might be the next new poles, and
    6)Mr. Al Gore said that in the next 4 to 7 years we will start experiencing these disasters, but I say, no; we’re already facing them, we have two volcanoes already in eruption, and monster snow storms in the northern hemisphere………will continue………

  4. Harman Smith

    Grats?

    @1

    CTRL+F… ’1998′… too easy.

    @2

    Huh?

  5. Paul W.

    moptop@2

    Huh?

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but my impression is that when Chris assured us that there wasn’t much to this, he had read the one email mentioning him. And he’s presenting it verbatim and in full so you can see for yourself.

    Sounds to me like Tom thought that Douglass committed fraud, and that many reporters either wouldn’t understand that, or would just let it go, such that the fraudulent results would go unchallenged, but Chris might make an issue of it, because he’s competent.

    That sounds entirely proper to me.

    Certainly, in my experience as a scientist talking to reporters, I like to know who I’m talking to and that they have a basic understanding of the subject; in most technical fields, most reporters don’t, and will often misrepresent what you’re saying, or its significance—or lack of same—because they’re in too much of a hurry to really try to understand the basics, and are just looking for “a good story,” without understanding what the real story is.

    If you think that this is in any way unusual or improper, I’m afraid you don’t understand how reporting works. If I were a journalist, this is exactly the kind of thing I’d want scientists to say about me behind my back.

  6. Jim Ramsey

    Chris,

    > I think the scientific fraud committed by Douglass needs to
    > be exposed. His co-authors may be innocent bystanders, but
    > I doubt it.

    I think I found the article that prompted this E-mail, but I haven’t found any responses that point out the fraud in it. Can you help?

  7. Jim Ramsey

    Chris,

    Never mind.

    I took a quick trip to realclimate.org and searched for Douglass. I’m reading the responsee there.

  8. Marion Delgado

    Shorter “a.n.ditchfield”: The substance of Teabagger science should fit on a placard. The verbiage around it is useful for spam-clogging science and journalism blogs.

  9. Syl

    Douglass did not commit fraud. That’s ridiculous. In fact it was the climategate scientists in collusion with the editor that delayed publication of Douglass piece so they could get a piece by Santer published in the same issue. Thus instead of Santer writing a comment on Douglass piece whereby Douglass could respond and ‘get the last word’ Santer’s piece was published simultaneously.

    Read all the emails. It’s all in there.

    Douglass showed that the climate models had predicted a ‘hot spot’ in the tropical troposphere but the radiosonde data showed the ‘hot spot’ did not exist. Santer claimed that Douglass used an older dataset instead of the latest one (I think this was what was referred to when Wigley called it fraud.) But Douglass had explained that the newer reanalysis was based on another faulty data set so he didn’t use it. And Santer, like a good ‘climate scientist’ decides when it’s okay to use the mean of model results vs the actual model runs. Whatever fits the preferred narrative and they make the rules which have no scientific basis whatsoever.

    I think Chris Mooney would have been better off not writing this piece at all. It only proves that he hadn’t read all the emails before declaring them meaningless.

  10. Marion Delgado

    Shorter Syl:

    Father of Lies, Son of the Morning, give me strength!

  11. If you think that this is in any way unusual or improper, I’m afraid you don’t understand how reporting works. If I were a journalist, this is exactly the kind of thing I’d want scientists to say about me behind my back.

    As a journalist, that is precisely what I would not want scientists to say about me behind my back. I’d rather have them saying I would probably tell the scientists to file a formal complaint first, instead of doing their dirty work.

    The pretense that Mooney’s journalistic qualities was being praised is utterly ludicrous. He was being praised for his willingness to subordinate journalism to politics.

    What does Chris Mooney have that other journalists such as, let’s say, Andrew Revkin, doesn’t have? Certainly not a superior knowledge of climate science. But Revkin isn’t as “predictable” as Michael Mann and his ilk would like.

    So when the doomsayers need a hatchet man to go after a skeptic, Mooney is who they think of. Whether or not they actually used Mooney is beside the point — He is viewed as an appendage of the Climategate gang. That’s nice if you’re a political activist bent on hyping global warming, not so nice if you have pride in being an independent journalist.

  12. moptop

    “It has been brought to my attention that I am mentioned, once, in the “ClimateGate” email stash.” – First sentence of the article

    “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but my impression is that when Chris assured us that there wasn’t much to this, he had read the one email mentioning him. And he’s presenting it verbatim and in full so you can see for yourself.” – Paul W.

    I leave it as an excercise for the reader how to reconcile the two statements above.

  13. SLC

    Re r. n. ditchfield

    There is a problem with the alleged global warming. It stopped in 1998, after having risen in the 23 previous years, and unleashing a scare over its effects. Since 1998 it has been followed by 11 years of declining temperatures, in a portent of a cold 21st century.

    Mr. ditchfield repeats the big lie, namely that, essentially, global cooling is underway., This is based on the fact that the year 1998 was warmer then any of the succeeding years, except possibly 2005. However, there is not the slightest justification for choosing 1998, other then it allows the global warming deniers like Mr. ditchfield to propagate their lies. Thus, with the same justification, one could choose 1997 in which case, every year subsequent to it has been warmer. Any statistician looking at the sequence of yearly temperatures would be immediately suspicious that 1998 is an outlier. As for his comments on overpopulation, attached is a link to Prof. Bob Parks’ web site where he comments on this subject.

    3. OVERPOPULATION: A RESULT OF TOO MANY INNUMERATES.

    Last week, Brendan O’Neill, innumerate editor of the online publication, Spiked, thought his side of a debate on population to be so brilliant he published it with the title: Too many people? No, too many Malthusians. Could Brendan O’Neill be e related to Gerard K. O’Neill, the Princeton physicist who in 1977 published “The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space?” O’Neill proposed erecting “islands” in space at the L5 point between the Earth and the Moon to serve as colonies on which to offload Earth’s excess population. He envisioned giant cylinders, closed at the ends, rotated about the axis to simulate gravity for people living on the inner surface. He thought each island could support 1 million people. In the 33 years since, Earth’s population has grown by 3 billion. We would need 3 thousand of these gigantic space colonies to offload the excess population. Today, the hugely expensive ISS has trouble keeping 6 alive.

    4. MALTHUS: A HERO BEFORE HIS TIME.

    Born in 1776 in Surrey, Thomas Malthus was well-educated in mathematics, but served as a gentle country parson, keeping the census in his parish. He observed that most animals bore offspring far beyond mere replacement. This would result in exponential growth of the population, eventually overflowing the boundaries of productive agriculture. His simple reasoning was dismissed by the mathematically challenged, and still is.

    http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN09/wn112709.html

  14. WhatMeWorry

    Let’s see. What do we know for certain, without a shadow of a doubt, 120% assuredly? GRAVITY EXISTS. We all agree. Yet we still allow physicists to question the nuances of gravitational formulae without labelling them ‘deniers’ or ‘denialists’ or ‘crackpots’. Climate ‘science’ is nowhere near as settled as gravity science, but no mainstream scientist can speak up against AGW without being ostracized, shunned, ridiculed, called bad names. Some ‘science’.

  15. SLC

    Re WhatMeWorry @ #14

    Unfortunately, very few mainline scientists are among those who question the theory of AGW. All too many of them are kooks like young earth creationist Roy Spencer or serial deniers like CFCs/ozone depletion and cigarette smoking/lung cancer denier Fred Singer or the cookoo birds at the Dishonesty Institute. Just about the only respectable such scientist is Prof. Lindzen of MIT who is in danger of entering Peter Duesberg territory.

  16. TTT

    And even Lindzen admits to the indisputable foundational facts: global average temperatures are increasing, to some extent due to human creation and release of greenhouse gases such as CO2, which will have some extent of effects on our society.

    Reasonable people cannot reasonably disagree on those facts. This debate has very little to do with “nuances”; just about everybody who quotes “real” skeptics such as Lindzen, Lomborg, etc. favorably then goes on to just deny everything. To use WhatMeWorry’s example, if a physicist denied that gravity existed at all and that everyone claiming its existence was really part of a conspiracy, they very much would be a denialist crackpot and the absolute intellectual equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

  17. sHx

    Chris Mooney:

    And given that there is such a misinformation campaign–with “ClimateGate” being the latest and perhaps the most severe example–we need scientists and journalists alike striving to set the record straight.

    I guess that that’s my way of saying that, as with virtually all of the “ClimateGate” emails that I have seen, the single one mentioning my name is not very surprising–especially as it regards me, who never even heard of this until now.

    Wow! Talk about setting the record straight! That his name was mentioned in the CRU emails was explicitly pointed out to Chris Mooney in the comments pages of this blog exactly six days ago, not “now” as he claims. Here is how Bradley J. Fikes did it then.

    Chris Mooney can’t stop reeling from the Climategate emails (and documents) until he confronts it fairly. He’s mentioned in the emails, as is Andrew Revkin, but the attitude of the Climategate scientists toward the two of them is strikingly different.

    Revkin was too independent for the Climategate cabal’s tastes, which counts in his favor as a reporter. From Michael Mann:

    “p.s. be a bit careful about what information you send to Andy and what emails you copy him in on. He’s not as predictable as we’d like”

    By contrast, Mooney is considered one of the team, a go-to reporter for a hatchet job on a skeptic. From Tom Wigley:

    “I think the scientific fraud committed by Douglass needs to be exposed. His co-authors may be innocent bystanders, but I doubt it.

    In normal circumstances, what Douglass has done would cause him to lose his job — a parallel is the South Korean cloning fraud case.

    I have suggested that someone like Chris Mooney should be told about this.”

    Mooney has an obvious conflict of interest on Climategate because of his coziness with the Climategate people. He should just admit it and stop pretending it doesn’t matter. [quotation marks added]
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/12/22/what-is-basic-climate-science-literacy/

    The next day (Dec 23) a commenter named “Read the Code” reminded Chris Mooney of the same again in two seperate blog posts in order to elicit a response from him. I too was curious to find out what Chris Mooney had to say since I had read the CRU email mentioning his name elsewhere in the blogosphere a long time ago. Frankly, I was under the impression that he had addressed the issue weeks ago and did not wish to re-visit it. It turns out Chris Mooney did not know about that email and the fav views pro-AGW scientists had of him “until now”, December 28, 2009. How disingenuous!

    And what should we make of this:

    In searching my emails, I was never told about this, and certainly never wrote anything about the situation, which I am not familiar with. As a journalist, though, I certainly do want to receive tips of things to write about, and I frequently do from a wide variety of folks. With only the most rare of exceptions, I never get around to writing anything; but in this case, I wasn’t even tipped.

    Was he not tipped about the alleged “scientific fraud committed by Douglass” or was he not tipped about the CRU email that says Chris Mooney should be tipped? That’s not very clear in the paragraph. Either way, it is extremely hard to believe that Chris Mooney was not cosy with the top AGW clique, or that he did not conduct a name search in the CRU emails to see if any of his correspondences was among them. Check that! Impossible to believe!

  18. V.O.R.

    I wish I could spin my lack of comprehension into a conspiracy theory. It’d really pass the time.

  19. Andrew Revkin disclosed his own mentions in the Climategate emails more than a month ago. Revkin also didn’t give a credulity-straining interpretation of why he was mentioned.

    So much for Mooney’s campaign against Climategate “misinformation.”

  20. Hansen

    Wow! It’s really amazing how much these reality deniers are able to spin such a short e-mail. There is almost no information in it. Yet they read it as proof that Chris Mooney is part of some big conspiracy. Do you people learn this kind of spinning from your priests in Sunday school?

  21. It’s really amazing how the warmists are in denial that Chris Mooney is politically aligned with the AGW activists and Democrats, and biases his reporting in that direction. Mooney’s mention in an email as the kind of reporter who would write a hit piece on a skeptic is just icing on the cake.

    Even if he were not mentioned, Mooney has every motive to pretend Climategate isn’t a big deal — it contradicts the line he’s been feeding us about how these are just innocent apolitical scientists studying global warming, harassed by those meanie conservative denialists:

    “…(A)nybody who knows anything about scientists knows that they tend to be really shy about venturing into the political arena. Bizarrely, Theroux wants to lock scientists back up in the lab where, frankly, many would be glad to stay in the first place–because they know well there are many ideological opponents out there, out gunning for them.”

    If you read the emails, you find how these supposedly apolitical scientists really behave when they’re just among friends:

    From: Joseph Alcamo
    To: m.hulme@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, Rob.Swart@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Subject: Timing, Distribution of the Statement
    Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 18:52:33 0100
    Reply-to: alcamo@xxxxxxxxx.xxx

    Mike, Rob,

    Sounds like you guys have been busy doing good things for the cause.

    I would like to weigh in on two important questions –

    Distribution for Endorsements –
    I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.

    Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those names!

    Timing — I feel strongly that the week of 24 November is too late. 1. We wanted to announce the Statement in the period when there was a sag in related news, but in the week before Kyoto we should expect that we will have to crowd out many other articles about climate. 2. If the Statement comes out just a few days before Kyoto I am afraid that the delegates who we want to influence will not have any time to pay attention to it. We should give them a few weeks to hear about it.
    3. If Greenpeace is having an event the week before, we should have it a week before them so that they and other NGOs can further spread the word about the Statement. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so bad to release the Statement in the same week, but on a diffeent day. The media might enjoy hearing the message from two very different directions.

    Conclusion — I suggest the week of 10 November, or the week of 17 November at the latest.

    Mike — I have no organized email list that could begin to compete with the list you can get from the Dutch. But I am still willing to send you what I have, if you wish.

    Best wishes,

    Joe Alcamo

    ——————————–

    If such an email were sent by scientists trying to discredit global warming, Mooney would be all over it. This one? Crickets chirping. That kind of selective indignation would be normal at a politically identified magazine, but it’s really out of place here.

  22. Nathan B.

    Wow! Hansen has really come in guns blazing. We’re now deniers of reality. All the points made above are completely valid points and don’t include Chris Mooney in any conspiracy. It just shows that he is not a journalist capable of being critical of AGW scientists (we should call them theorists). It’s pretty disgusting that he has already labelled the emails as nothing when he clearly hasn’t even looked into the emails.

    I find it pretty amazing how Hansen (and possibly Chris Mooney) can isolate an email. Look at the one email and it’s no big deal, it says nothing.

    Look at other emails to get the story. It’s like reading one page of a book.

  23. moptop

    I am pretty sure that “Hansen” is posting ironically, but he has The Riddler’s delemma from the Batman movie: “Was that over the top? I can never tell.”

  24. Doug

    Upon returning from a week of blissful disconnectedness, I have to say I was surprised when I wandered over to The Intersection only to find that Chris hasn’t continued his climate science demonstrator. It would appear that negotiations have stalled at this point, even before the shape of the table was decided upon.

    Agreeing with other posters here, Chris’ appearance in the emails was mentioned quite a while ago, and this post, like others I’ve read, feels disingenuous. If I’m to believe that this is the first time Chris has been made aware of his admittedly tiny role in this whole affair, then I have to question the weight of his opinions on the matter as a whole. To put it smugly, you can’t teach the course if you haven’t read the coursework.

    Sorry, teach, but you sound less like a journalist and more like an advocate as time goes on.

  25. I hope we can all agree that whenever a science writer puts politics first, whether it be on the left or the right, the science suffers.

    A few years ago, I was more worried about science distortion from the right, such as from Michael Fumento. I wrote this after his Monsanto payola was disclosed:

    Science and traditional journalism have an important principle in common: the concept of objectivity. Whether performing an experiment or writing a news story, the scientist or journalist is supposed to make sure one’s personal beliefs don’t get in the way of the facts or present a misleading picture. And when there is personal involvement, disclosure is the best policy.

    Failure to meet those ethical standards is why Michael Fumento, the self-proclaimed “extremely pro-biotech” writer and acerbic conservative pundit, was dropped by Scripps Howard News Service earlier this month.

    Since 2003, Fumento had written a column in which he frequently extolled the wonders of biotech. But Fumento had a hidden financial motive for writing his column: He took money from agricultural biotech giant Monsanto, and was looking for more biotech cash. . .

    Admittedly, Mooney is far more intelligent than Fumento, a clownish character who wrote a book on biotech that described DNA as a protein molecule! I do a lot of biotech writing, so Fumento’s idiocy is particularly offensive to me.

  26. Paul W.

    Gosh, folks, it seems obvious to me that when Chris says he learned about the email “now,” he’s speaking about this week or month or so, but not a year ago, much less two.

    It’s a short, two-year old email that Chris didn’t know about until now—i.e., until the events of the last few weeks that we’re commenting on. It means “in the present” where “the present” doesn’t mean just this very moment, but “in the current period,” i.e., “much, much closer to this moment than that moment two years ago.”

    That was then—the two whole years that he didn’t know—and this is now, the comparatively very short period when he does.

    6 days is less than a hundredth of the time that the email has existed on a server somewhere. That counts as “now” in a common English sense that I would have thought everyone would immediately recognize. It is precise to within a percent, and accurate within that precision, and that’s plenty good for normal speech about such things.

    Besides, you can’t assume somebody who’s busy—you know, going off to copenhagen, interviewing people, being interviewed—literally posts things as soon as he begins to write them. “Now” can mean “since I last posted about this subject.”

    People say stuff like this very, very frequently in normal speech. It’s paranoid to think that a six-day lag in writing and posting stuff that’s two years old amounts to lying about what counts as “now”.

    Hyeesh.

  27. Paul W.
    “6 days is less than a hundredth of the time that the email has existed on a server somewhere. That counts as “now” in a common English sense that I would have thought everyone would immediately recognize. It is precise to within a percent, and accurate within that precision, and that’s plenty good for normal speech about such things.”

    Does all that spinning make you dizzy?

    No matter, it’s not the most important point as far as I’m concerned. What is important that by his own admission, Mooney didn’t know his own namewas in the Climategate emails until it was brought to his attention. He obviously didn’t examine the Climategate emails and documents very carefully.

    Yet Mooney was proclaiming in November that Climategate “ain’t nothing”. He even cited Michael Mann, who sent an email to a colleague telling him to keep “dirty laundry” about the tree ring residuals away from skeptics.

    There’s also the <a hrefhttp://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=321&filename=1054756929.txtcollusion to keep skeptical papers from being published.

    “I am really sorry but I have to nag about that review – Confidentially I now need a hard
    and if required extensive case for rejecting – to support Dave Stahle’s and really as
    soon as you can” . . .

    “Hi Keith,
    Okay, today. Promise! Now something to ask from you. Actually somewhat important too. I
    got a paper to review (submitted to the Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and
    Environmental Sciences), written by a Korean guy and someone from Berkeley, that claims
    that the method of reconstruction that we use in dendroclimatology (reverse regression)
    is wrong, biased, lousy, horrible, etc. They use your Tornetrask recon as the main
    whipping boy. I have a file that you gave me in 1993 that comes from your 1992 paper.
    Below is part of that file. Is this the right one? Also, is it possible to resurrect the
    column headings? I would like to play with it in an effort to refute their claims.
    If published as is, this paper could really do some damage. . .”

    This collusion undermines Mooney’s claim about how there’s so much independently gathered evidence supporting the warmist view. Look at how Mooney makes his strawmen.

    “Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that all of the worst and most damning interpretations of these exposed emails are accurate. I don’t think this is remotely true, but let’s assume it.

    “Even if this is the case, it does not prove the following :

    “1) The scientists whose emails have been revealed are representative of or somehow a proxy for every other climate scientist on the planet.

    “2) The studies that have been called into questions based on the emails (e.g., that old chestnut the “hockey stick”) are somehow the foundations of our concern about global warming, and those concerns stand or fall based on those studies.”

    Far from “every other climate scientist on the planet” needs to be involved, if the ones colluding are extremely influential, and have no scruples about promoting each others’ work or running down the work of those who disagree, even it means subverting the peer review process.

    Mooney also makes this an either-or case — you either believe or you don’t. But there’s a third possibility, that legitimate evidence has been exaggerated for political reasons.

    Plainly, Mooney just doesn’t want to look too closely into Climategate, and he doesn’t want the public to, either. A rather curious attitude for a journalist to take.

    Science writers with political connections face a dilemma when the evidence clashes with their politics. One alternative is to be true to the science and risk political discomfort and ostracism from their allies. If Mooney were, for example, to call out Michael Mann for his unethical behavior that defrauds science, he’d lose a politically sympathetic source. Same with Phil Jones, Ben Santer and the rest of the bad actors.

    The other choice for a science writer is to defend their politics by betraying the science. It’s pretty obvious which course Mooney has taken.

  28. Comish

    “Still, I can see why scientists concerned about global warming, and accepting of the scientific consensus, would want me to cover the topic, including its political side. By 2007 I already had a track record for exposing the misinformation campaign to mislead the public about climate change, something I continue to do today.”

    With all due respect, this is exactly the “conspiracy” that the AGW skeptics are talking about. Why should people trust the reporting on AGW, when the reporters are clearly approaching the issue with a bias? People are told to trust the scientists and peer review process, when the emails make pretty clear that these folks were doing everything in their power to manipulate the peer review process to totally exclude AGW skeptical evidence, not based on flaws in their science, but based solely on their unfavorable conclusion. People are told to trust that reporters are unbiased and delivering the news in straightforward and honest fashion, but you admit that you’re known for your own bias in favor of AGW. Nothing can change your mind, and you’re going to make every effort to debunk skeptical reports, regardless of their merit. Apparently, you’ve arrived at your conclusions, and won’t put up with any contrary evidence.

    Guess what? You’re an advocate, not a journalist.

    Which is fine. But to many of us, that’s kind of surprising. You should probably disclose in your columns that you’re biased toward AGW and will make every attempt to refute contrary evidence. If I’m supposed to believe that AGW skeptical reports are biased merely because they’re funded by (for example) an oil company, why should I believe your reports are valid if you admit you’re biased toward AGW?

    If you don’t see any problem with being cited as a reporter with bias, then I’m not going to trust your conclusion that the rest of the emails are kosher, either.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Using Occam’s Razor and Bayes Theorem, my take away is that it is now much more likely that Chris Mooney is involved with the leaking of the emails and that the one email we are seeing is a red herring.

  30. Dr. Professor Reverend

    OK, If Chris says he didn’t inhale, then he didn’t have sex with that woman.
    Let it go now. He’s not a crook!

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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