The True Story of ClimateGate

By Chris Mooney | April 21, 2011 6:25 pm

Trading profiles of Michael Mann and Stephen McIntyre, and managing somehow to be funny about the whole thing, Kate Sheppard over at Mother Jones has published a wonderful narrative of “ClimateGate” and the lessons learned. As someone who reviewed one of the leading books on the subject–Fred Pearce’s The Climate Files, which really loses you in the weeds–I urge you to read Kate’s story and have no such fear. Here’s how it starts off:

IT’S DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE how a guy who spends most of his time looking at endless columns of temperature records became a “fucking terrorist,” “killer,” or “one-world-government socialist.” It’s even harder when you meet Michael Mann, a balding 45-year-old climate scientist who speaks haltingly and has a habit of nervously clearing his throat. And when you realize that the reason for all the hostility is a 12-year-old chart, it seems more than a little surreal.

Read on here.


Comments (9)

  1. Tony Baloney

    Stephen McIntyre. Not Robert McIntyre

  2. Chris Mooney

    Bonehead error. fixed.

  3. I totally approve of the spin in Mother Jones’ piece. Keep on pushing a thoroughly tainted brand. Why don’t they do a revisionist piece on Phil too?


  4. Susan Anderson

    if you unspin the spin, that’s spin. huh!

    The truth is the truth, and it is about to bite you. Take a look around you. What makes you think increased energy and increased water vapor in an accelerating trajectory is going to come out OK.

    No amount of careful pushing of a twisted narrative based on selective theft is going to make the innocent guilty, or the guilty innocent. In the meanwhile, we are getting into some real trouble due to the dedication of certain parties to the promotion of ignorance.

    Robert Kennedy said we are the best entertained nation, and the worst educated. Sad and dangerous.

  5. The truth about this so called, “true-story”;

    Jaeah’s Investigation (Climate Audit, April 22, 2011)

    Comments on Mother Jones (Climate Audit, April 23, 2011)

  6. This nonsense is completely refuted on ClimateAudit

  7. CallMeBC

    Gawd….the scientific community at large has already moved on — human activity being the root cause of the current round of global warming has already been accepted by pretty much *everyone* with the applicable scientific wherewithal and who bothered to check all the credible data and research. Stephen McIntyre’s thing, besides spreading not-quite scientific FUD, is mining, which doesn’t actually have a lot to do with climate research, and his partner in criminal disinfo, Ross McKitrick is an economist (and not a very good one, judging from his paper on the US Finacial Crisis.)

    People who have no real clue about how real scientific research actually works — aka your average Joe Shmoe and Liz Shmiz — have been the ones targeted by all these BS disinformation campaigns. Climate science is still very much a work in progress, but the main bits of it have been consistently clear about who/what has been causing the overall warming trend Earth has been experiencing the past 100+ years. There has been massive amounts of data collected, many a supercomputer hour spent, and many a hypothesis and graph created in trying to make clearer sense of if all, and having *minor* missteps here and there in the overall process is not only easily forgivable but expected.

    What is *not* forgivable, however, is deliberately trying to grossly blow up these minor missteps as being not only more than that, but as somehow being even sinister and agenda-driven. This is what the oil and mining companies, along with their proxies and toadies, have been doing for a while now, and little bit too successfully in this day and age, when we are suppose have all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips. (Maybe it’s because we also have all the disinfo in world at those same fingertips….)

  8. Nullius in Verba


    So what, exactly, is your counterargument? Everyone agrees? Polls say otherwise. McIntyre does mining? What he did was check the statistics on mining promotions where they tried to persuade investors they were sitting on a goldmine, or whatever. Serious money rides on getting the maths right, and he made a living at it. Climate scientists are not statisticians, and when they stray into that territory they’re evidently out of their depth. McIntyre and McKittricks’s maths is correct (I checked), which is all that counts.

    What are your other arguments? A lot of work has been done? Sure, but is it correct? The missteps are minor? On what basis do you say so?

    Is that it? Is that the best that climate science can come up with? Argument ad populam, Argument ad hominem; does it do climate science any credit to have such arguments made in its defence?


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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 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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