Andrew Freedman interviewed Spencer Weart about the stolen emails:

SW: Back around 2000 leading climate scientists talked to each other mostly about their science–debating one another’s data and analysis and negotiating travel, collaboration and other administration–and a little bit about policy. As time passed they have had to spend more and more of their time answering criticism of the scientific results already established, criticism mostly based on ignorance, fallacious reasoning, and even deliberately deceptive claims. Still more recently they have had to spend far too much of their time defending their personal reputations against ignorant or slanderous attacks. …


The theft and use of the emails does reveal something interesting about the social context. It’s a symptom of something entirely new in the history of science: Aside from crackpots who complain that a conspiracy is suppressing their personal discoveries, we’ve never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance.

Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers. In blogs, talk radio and other new media, we are told that the warnings about future global warming issued by the national science academies, scientific societies, and governments of all the leading nations are not only mistaken, but based on a hoax, indeed a conspiracy that must involve thousands of respected researchers. Extraordinary and, frankly, weird. Climate scientists are naturally upset, exasperated, and sometimes goaded into intemperate responses… but that was already easy to see in their blogs and other writings.

They don’t call it a war on science for nothing, folks. Read the whole thing.

Comments

  1. #1 Lance
    November 23, 2009

    t’s gng t b fn t s hw lng y cn mntn tht “brv fc” Tm.

  2. #2 Robert McClelland
    November 23, 2009

    Character assassination has become the default response by conservatives in pretty much every situation. Most of the time they don’t even bother addressing the argument if there’s dirt, or even the perception of dirt, to be peddled.

  3. #3 Jonathan Dursi
    November 23, 2009

    They finally, through means illegal, manage to tap into the Great Worldwide Conspiracy and mine their secret emails, and this is the evidence they proudly flaunt? Really? A worldwide conspiracy involving tens of thousands of people, bazillions of dollars (they keep saying), and going back at decades, and this is what they find? Pretty pitiful. You’d think it would make a `skeptic’ rather doubtful of such extraordinary claims, but you know how that goes.

  4. #4 Lance
    November 23, 2009

    Oh Tim, I thought you only censored hateful or threatening remarks.

    Good luck spinning this fiasco your way.

  5. #5 caerbannog
    November 23, 2009


    h Tm, thght y nl cnsrd htfl r thrtnng rmrks.

    He is also known to censor idiotic remarks.

  6. #6 luminous beauty
    November 23, 2009

    John Stewart does [wingnut Science](http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200911060002)

  7. #7 David Horton
    November 23, 2009

    Yes, this is clearly war by other means (http://www.blognow.com.au/mrpickwick/182891/Dream_of_money-bags_tonight.html). The energy companies and other giant corporations are determined not to lose this one – far more at stake for their billions of dollars of profits than a few packs of cigarettes – and it looks like they won’t. But we will.

  8. #8 D. C. Sessions
    November 23, 2009

    How much money was at stake with tobacco?

    How much with fossil fuels?

    Any questions?

  9. #9 ali baba
    November 23, 2009

    How much money was at stake with tobacco?

    Get cancer and show us the bill.

    How much with fossil fuels?

    Approximately all of it.

    Any questions?

    You’re an idiot. <– Ad hom.

  10. #10 pough
    November 23, 2009

    Any questions?
    You’re an idiot. — Ad hom.

    If I’m not mistaken, what you wrote is neither a question nor an ad hominem.

  11. #11 Jeremy C
    November 23, 2009

    Is there anybody here who has been reading some of these emails and before reading them had no opinion on AGW but has now changed their minds because of these emails?

    This is not a question for the denialists so honest answers please.

  12. #12 ali baba
    November 23, 2009

    I had no opinion of AGW before reading the emails, now I love it.

    But seriously, I’d have a low opinion of anyone who went to the emails to make their mind up over AGW. I realize the primary literature is mostly boring and inaccessible to someone of ordinary knowledge, like me, but the secondary literature is more than adequate, if you read critically. And that’s the point, I think, that anyone who goes preferentially to the emails in order to make his scientific mind up lacks severely in critical reading skills.

  13. #13 Lance
    November 23, 2009

    Hi, thanks for bringing some of this to light, I’m flabbergasted by the ability of denial cultists to extrapolate scientific background chatter into conspiracy theories. These “questionable” emails seem pretty normal informal scientific chatter, albeit punctuated by scientific slang which is being taken out of context. If there were any damning info, as is being alleged, it would come out in the peer review process eventually. Once again, thanks for addressing this topic.

  14. #14 Donald Oats
    November 23, 2009

    I’ll wait until the evidence is “in”, Jeremy C, before drawing a conclusion on what the selected emails mean. So far though, some fairly mean-spirited lifting of one sentence out of an entire email has been going on around the usual suspects’ web sites and on TV.

    For example, the Trenberth email as quoted by Bolter:

    From: Kevin Trenberth
    To: Michael Mann
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
    Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

    Hi all

    Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low.

    This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).

    Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [1][PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)
    ***

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.***

    The highlighted sentence in the last paragraph has been widely quoted,eg by Bolt and even Tony Jones on Lateline (ABC, Mon 23 Nov 2009 – transcript available usually a couple of days later), and usually without either the rest of the email, or the relevant attachment, namely the PDF file listed in the above quote from Bolt. Climate Progress gives the details and a direct link to the PDF: check it out and then reread the entire email, and see if your first jumped-to-conclusion should perhaps be revised?

    BTW, read the very first sentence in the email slowly, and then the second one too. It should be clear enough that the first sentence is a reference to the working title of his PDF document on just that topic, and the second sentence is intended as humour.

    I’m not going to run around “defending” every last example, but sheesh, when the media adopt the 3-second bullet point approach to this, it is just more of the same bulldust.

  15. #15 Hank Roberts
    November 23, 2009

    > never tried to slander

    Trying to “discredit” a scientist’s work isn’t quite “slander” — it’s worse, because it has the semblance of being real refutation rather than just sleazy attack.

    http://science.cancerresearchuk.org/reps/pdfs/newspdfs/code_tobacco_ind.pdf?version=1

    “The tobacco industry’s attempts to subvert science

    The tobacco industry has a long track record of seeking to cast doubt on sound research1-3.

    Tobacco industry documents, which are now available on the internet following litigation in the USA, show a carefully orchestrated campaign, designed to discredit the scientific evidence for the link between tobacco and death and disease4. This included ‘Project Whitecoat’, in which scientists were recruited in the UK to maintain controversy within the scientific and medical communities over issues such as passive smoking5.
    ———-

    1. King J. Why journals should not publish articles funded by the tobacco industry. BMJ 2000;321:1074-1076.
    2. Dubois G, Tramier B. The responsibility of the tobacco industry for the tobacco pandemic.
    Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2001;5(4):304-306.
    3. Yach D, Bialous SA. Junking Science to Promote Tobacco.
    Am J Pub Hlth 2001;91(11):1745-1748.
    4. Bero L, Barnes DE, Hanauer P, Slade J, Glantz SA. Lawyer control of the tobacco industry’s external research program. The Brown and Williamson documents.
    JAMA. 1995;274(3):241-7.
    5. Concar D, Day M. Undercover operation. New Sci 1998;2134:3-5.

  16. #16 Nils Ross
    November 23, 2009

    Man, if I’d known that the entire climate science community was going to collude in a conspiracy to mislead the public about the outcome of research into climate change, I would have done my PhD in that. Obviously I would have just been able to ‘measure the data right’ and publish in both Nature AND Science!

    But wait…

  17. #17 Hank Roberts
    November 23, 2009

    arrrrghhhh …

    http://science.cancerresearchuk.org/reps/pdfs/newspdfs/code\_tobacco\_ind.pdf?version=1

  18. #18 pointer
    November 23, 2009

    The CA gang are loving [this remark](http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7826) by Judith Curry, who you may recall was drawn into the debate on hurricanes some years back.

    She made a lot of points that resonated for me. In particular — and though nothing in these emails appears to come anywhere close to up-ending the consensus on climate change — they do reveal a lack of data transparency and some fierce tribalism among a small clique of climate scientists. Yes, I can believe that many of them feel their time is wasted responding to trivial data requests, but surely if you’re funded by the taxpayer you need to be reflexive in how you deal with requests from the public.

    This, however, from Curry is just politically naive:
    >The HADCRU hack has substantially increased the relevance of Climateaudit, WUWT, etc. The quickest way for HADCRU et al. to put Climateaudit and the rest of this tribe out of business is make all climate data and metadata public and make every effort to improve the datasets based on all feedback that you receive. Do this and they will quickly run out of steam and become irrelevant :).

    I think that data transparency and a sustained effort to avoid tribalism are good things in and of themselves — but imagining that this will make the sceptics go away shows a complete lack of understanding in the way that denialism is driven by conspiratorial thinking.

  19. #19 MarkusR
    November 23, 2009

    The skeptics are not interested in figuring out the science. It’s all about personal gratification for them at this point.

  20. #20 Stephen Gloor (Ender)
    November 23, 2009

    I am not sure enough has been made of the criminality of this hack. Breaking into computers for any purpose is illegal. Publishing emails without the consent of the writer is also illegal.

    So where do the people that aided and abetted this criminal act stand legally? I think European privacy laws are pretty clear howeve I am sure that someone that reads this blog is conversant with the law and can provide a guideline so the offenders can be brought to justice.

    If not who is next? What other criminal act will encourging this hacker lead to. What happened to the right wingers foaming at the mouth about law and order. I guess if the criminals give you what you want then they are OK.

  21. #21 ali baba
    November 23, 2009

    I am not sure enough has been made of the criminality of this hack. Breaking into computers for any purpose is illegal. Publishing emails without the consent of the writer is also illegal.

    Worse, it’s sleazy — and I think this is beginning to dawn upon the sceptics, as their claims gradually unravel, because we’re starting to see a consensus emerge at their sites that there was no hack at all, in fact that FOIA.zip was found in an unprotected but hidden directory on the UEA server, which naturally absolves them of wrongdoing. The best outcome at this point is a thorough investigation into the contents of the emails, to confirm to the world their fanaticism, as if further confirmation were needed, but also their loose morals.

  22. #22 hannah's dad
    November 23, 2009

    “Still more recently they have had to spend far too much of their time defending their personal reputations against ignorant or slanderous attacks. …”
    Which is basically the same point made in his latest book by Richard Dawkins about biological scientists and educators having to deal with the creationists wasting their time, attacking their ethics and attempting to spead ignorance and superstition.

  23. #23 Marion Delgado
    November 23, 2009

    We have to be controversialists – especially those of us not engaged in research. Working scientists can’t do it, and it’s not a point of how abrasive we can be or how many licks we get in. It’s a political issue now, thanks to the denialists – who made lung cancer and evolution and DDT into political issues. What we can do is show up – not at “their” venues, but public ones like the NYT and Amazon and all the news magazines and radio shows and TV shows. Show up, persist, set things straight, complain when the denialists or their proxies libel and slander people, etc. etc.

    “We” know a lot more than the other side – we can’t say we represent the science, but if we misbehave we’ll be taken as so representing it. Still, I think we can get facts out where only lies are ruling now.

    The many, many people piling on Joe Romm of Climate Progress all at once “coincidentally” was orchestrated. So was this. Not to be partisan or American-parochial, but this is a classic Donald Segretti/Lee Atwater/Karl Rove situation. Rove was trained personally in dirty tricks by Don Segretti – trained to do rat-fucking, as they call it, the way we trained for OUR careers. And that was the early 1970s till now. That’s the reality.

    And it won’t stop here. They’ll get as much mileage as possible out of the emails, then get their faithful out with the next planned attack cycle. And the next.

    John Dean said Karl Rove was the first person the FBI asked him about concerning Watergate and the Plumbers. He points everyone to, and I follow suit, Robert Altemeyer’s research on authoritarianism. http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    Oh, and the worst trolls, at least, have lived past their shelf life. There’s no possible reply to a Lank or a Dave Andrews that’s going to do anyone any good, so every second you spend is a second you won’t get back.

  24. #24 Donald Oats
    November 23, 2009

    Too much openess is like familiarity – it breeds contempt. If Joe-public expects scientists to work in a bubble, with no private means of communication – as private as a call to the husband/wife/alien-from-Mars partner might be reasonably expected to be, then all you’ll get are scientists working on one-person problems. They sure as Heck won’t attack the big meaningful problems of the day if there is even the slightest chance of public interest at stake.

    The balance has probably tilted too far to Joe-public in so far as communications go – scientists aren’t criminals (as a rule, no more than you or me), and they aren’t part of a Soviet-style Commie state. What the Heck is going on in this World?

  25. #25 el gordo
    November 23, 2009

    MD

    Monbiot recants! It’s not too late to do likewise.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/11/23/the-knights-carbonic/

  26. #26 Marion Delgado
    November 23, 2009

    If you go to the Capital Weather Gang article, you’ll see I posted a long, orderly comment. My early new year’s resolution is to do more of this and less snarling back at Teabag Science spammers.

  27. #27 Steve
    November 23, 2009

    I’m slowly going through the emails. Most of what is supposed to be ‘smoking gun’ is nothing.

    I think the emails show the ‘circle the wagons’ mentality of these climate scientists. In hindsight, I think their approach to criticism from the likes of M&M and others has been ineffectual and counterproductive. But they are scientists, not public relations experts so i won’t hold that against them – i think it is fairly understandable for scientists to adopt such a defensive and adversarial mindsest given the level of attacks they are getting from forums that they are not used to arguing in (ie not in the peer reviewed literature, but in media and on blogs instead).

    However, the one series of emails that seems dodgy to me so far are the ones where Jones requests others to delete emails relating to AR4, and with “IPCC and FOI” in the subject line. That really doesn’t look good – i don’t think it comes close to challenging the theory of AGW, but does reflect poorly on the scientists involved.

  28. #28 dhogaza
    November 24, 2009

    However, the one series of emails that seems dodgy to me so far are the ones where Jones requests others to delete emails relating to AR4, and with “IPCC and FOI” in the subject line. That really doesn’t look good – i don’t think it comes close to challenging the theory of AGW, but does reflect poorly on the scientists involved.

    Yes, perhaps it reflects badly on Jones. But it has no effect on the science, or most scientists, or even any scientist other than Jones.

    Assuming it’s true.

  29. #29 sod
    November 24, 2009

    If not who is next? What other criminal act will encourging this hacker lead to. What happened to the right wingers foaming at the mouth about law and order. I guess if the criminals give you what you want then they are OK.

    yes i think, this is their mindset.

    there was a post on WuWt, assuming that the package might just have been left on some public server by accident.

    i am pretty sure, that an awful lot of “sceptics” are currently trying to see what they can find.

    this episode is a serious new low, and it is exposing a massive lack of basic ethics among the denialists.

  30. #30 David Horton
    November 24, 2009

    “massive lack of basic ethics among the denialists” – an extended tautology.

  31. #31 Mela051
    November 24, 2009

    Check the Paul Hudson blog on the BBC website – he says he received a number of emails on the 12th October, which he links to. He’s the guy who posted the tripe article ‘whatever happened to global warming’. Mann et al discussed his BBC blog post by email.

    Funny, though, some of the emails are from the 14th October.

  32. #32 Stephen Gloor (Ender)
    November 24, 2009

    Ali Baba – “in fact that FOIA.zip was found in an unprotected but hidden directory on the UEA server, which naturally absolves them of wrongdoing.”

    If they did not get the permission of the person that put it there then it is still a hack. If you steal a shoe from the box out front of the store is it valid to claim that it was unprotected? Stealing data is the same.

    It still leaves the crime of opening emails without permission as emails, at least in Australia i think, have the same status as written mail. Opening someone else’s written mail gets you a jail sentence.

    As the server was in Britain I am pretty sure that the country where the crime was committed – ie the stealing of the data and the reading of the emails applies. So Britain as a member of the EU their privacy laws should apply.

    Interesting reading here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/10/cyber/cyberlaw/09law.html

  33. #33 el gordo
    November 24, 2009

    Climate Audit received the original upload at roughly the same time as RealClimate.

    What was the hacker thinking? There is a Turkish connection and the Russians appear to be involved, but only at proxy level. The plot thickens, yet MI5 seems to be out of the loop.

    The good news is that Steve and Gavin are communicating.

    http://camirror.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/a-miracle-just-happened/#comments

  34. #34 Jeremy c
    November 24, 2009

    Great Joke el gordo. I especially liked Monbiot invoking Fourier

  35. #35 Paul UK
    November 24, 2009

    ali baba no. 13:
    >And that’s the point, I think, that anyone who goes preferentially to the emails in order to make his scientific mind up lacks severely in critical reading skills.

    Unfortunately that was probably part of the plan.
    To get some ‘tabloid’ fodder out into the wider world to slow the process of change down.

    I also think these type of acts are basically done by the very desperate, in some respects the fact that some (AGW denial) people did this, just highlights their failure to make their case by legal and scientific means.
    They have no funding, because no one is willing to fund a bunch of crackpots willing to participate in criminal acts.

  36. #36 Dave
    November 24, 2009

    > Climate Audit received the original upload at roughly the same time as RealClimate.

    el gordo, that’s not what happened. CA received *a comment that linked to the data on RC’s servers* stating that a miracle had happened, seemingly in an attempt to make it look like RC had accidentally shared sensitive data.

  37. #37 Marion Delgado
    November 24, 2009

    Steve:

    I doubt filing a FOIA in England to make someone give you someone else’s data is legally weighty. McIntyre did just that with Briffa and the Russians, for data he in fact had already obtained.

    The Climate Audit crowd are patently dishonest and misuse the legal system as much as they misuse the media and try to capitalize on the honesty of science when it comes to confidence and uncertainty.

    One way to finesse one of those illegitimate requests is to honor the agreement that got you the data, and delete it from all your archives. The idea that (a) that’s data that, e.g., American or British taxpayers paid for is one lie and the idea that (b) there’s a legal requirement to fork it over to every smear merchant with the money and time to go on a fishing expedition every day and prevent you from working and from consulting is another lie.

  38. #38 Mike Smith
    November 24, 2009

    Perhaps I’m ignorant, but as I read the programmer log included with emails, I see a trend of “garbage” (programmers words)data from “dubious provenience” (again his words) as are “all the databases” (his words). Does he mean that the data previous to hadcrut3 which most of the science is based on is wrong? Or does he mean something else or was he just not a very good programmer and his output is suspect? Or am I missing something?

  39. #39 Scientific_Doomsday_Mania
    November 24, 2009

    Scientific Doomsday Mania
    by
    Amitakh Stanford
    22nd November 2009

    There is a doomsday message that is swiftly gaining global acceptance. The new wave is clothed in acceptable clichés and has won over the support of many of the respected scientific communities.

    Unlike most other doomsday messages, this one is supposedly based upon scientific evidence. The scientific “doomsdayers” wear masks and pretend that they are predicting calamities based on hard evidence. This lulls the unsuspecting public into absolute belief and acceptance of the doomsdayers’ ravings.

    If the same message were given in a spiritual setting, the adherents would probably be encouraged to turn to God in preparation for the final days. Generally, scientists have sneered at and mocked spiritual predictions regarding the end times, and the same scientists have convinced the general public to do likewise. Further, governments of the world use their police powers to suppress, restrict, or even eliminate these spiritual-based groups. Scientists have now one-upped the spiritual believers by supporting their dire predictions of calamity with supposed scientific evidence. Using their scientific clout, they have now convinced most of the world leaders to meet in Copenhagen. The stated agenda of the gathering is to halt global warming with a unified and urgent approach.

    People may remember that there have been similar gatherings to solve the global economic crisis. In those meetings, every leader attending was told to boost their economies by stimulus spending. By and large, the world leaders have dutifully followed those dictates. One might ask: Is the global recession over due to this unified approach – or is it deepening? Many thinking economists have finally realized the latter to be the case.

    [...]

    Were the carbon traders truly concerned that global warming is a seriously urgent issue, they could perhaps justify following their untested carbon-trading notion. But if it were an urgent situation, why would they offer a solution that will take decades to take effect? If they have decades to work on the solution, by definition, it cannot be that urgent. And, if they have decades to implement their plan, could they not spend at least a few years or even a few months openly and transparently debating which course of action will save the planet from its imminent death?

    To demonstrate the absurdity of the current “green” position, consider that they are proposing massive increases in nuclear power because it is supposed to be carbon friendly. The nuclear proponents do not seem to care about the disposal of nuclear waste from these sites. This means that they are presenting an extremely short-sighted solution, which is not really a solution at all. Besides, the proponents of expanding nuclear power want to tremendously restrict who can and who cannot use nuclear power. For instance, Iran and North Korea are presently being ostracized for, among other things, having nuclear-power programmes. This is a glaring instance where part of the real agenda of the ruling elite shows through; the nuclear proponents are not as concerned about global warming as they are with political dominance.

    As indicated earlier, humans are only marginally responsible for global warming. The hotter sun is undeniable, and it is the main reason for global warming.

    [...]

    This would be all well and good if it could be believed that scientists are acting in the people’s best interests. But, since when have scientists been assumed to be altruistic? Why is it accepted that they will only act in the best interests of humans? And why should it be accepted that the scientists are correct about human causes of global warming?

    [...]

    The carbon-trading schemes, and other emissions-based solutions presented by the ruling elite’s scientific doomsdayers, will not solve global warming. But, if they get their way, they will change the lives of people for the worse.

  40. #40 Dave
    November 24, 2009

    @39

    I can’t remember the last time I read an off-topic screed so full of lies, distortions, fabrications, dissembling, fallacies and smears. This is pure idealogical rhetoric, without substance. I await a full retraction and apology.

  41. #41 Dave
    November 24, 2009

    Although, given that Amitakh Stanford also says this:

    > The Greys, who were originally one of the major groups of aliens on Earth, have now aligned themselves with the Reptilians. This is an important alien alliance.

    I suggest that perhaps seeking medical attention is of more pressing importance than issuing an apology.

  42. #42 TrueSceptic
    November 24, 2009

    Amitakh Stanford has posted this hilarious parody of denialist hysteria elsewhere. You couldn’t make it up, could you? Well, maybe for Denial Depot you could.

  43. #43 Chris S.
    November 24, 2009

    “But, if they get their way, they will change the lives of people for the worse.

    Bloody alarmists.

  44. #44 sod
    November 24, 2009

    in related news, the Competitive Enterprise Institute will sue NASA GISS in the context of another FOIA request.

    so what data do they seek? the latest land-ocean data? new treerings? computer programs for the models?

    not [exactly](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/24/cei-files-notice-of-intent-to-sue-nasa-giss/)

    instead they seek:

    - internal discussions about NASA’s quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records after two Canadian researchers discovered a key statistical error, specifically discussion about whether and why to correct certain records, how to do so, the impact or wisdom or potential (or real) fallout therefrom or reaction to doing so (requested August 2007);

    - internal discussions relating to the emails sent to James Hansen and/or Reto A. Ruedy from Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre calling their attention to the errors in NASA/GISS online temperature data (August 2007);

    - those relating to the content, importance or propriety of workday-hour posts or entries by GISS/NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt on the weblog or “blog” RealClimate, which is owned by the advocacy Environmental Media Services and was started as an effort to defend the debunked “Hockey Stick” that is so central to the CRU files. RealClimate.org is implicated in the leaked files, expressly offered as a tool to be used “in any way you think would be helpful” to a certain advocacy campaign, including an assertion of Schmidt’s active involvement in, e.g., delaying and/or screening out unhelpful input by “skeptics” attempting to comment on claims made on the website.

    this is insane. somebody needs to stop this nonsense.

  45. #45 sod
    November 24, 2009

    sorry guys, i am really not sure if i read this wattsup article correctly.

    why would they want internal discussion about the correction?

    what help will it be to science, if they know the working hours of Gavin?

    shouldn t they at least PRETEND to be interested in science?

  46. #46 hmm
    November 24, 2009

    Scientific conclusions aside, ask yourself what you might read into these emails if they were tobacco company emails?
    Would your reaction to the act of leaking or hacking the emails be different? Is there any financial or professional incentive to reach or protect conclusions?

    What is left is the science. Shouldn’t the process of that science (data/programs etc.) be as open as possible? Shouldn’t it be exposed to criticism?

  47. #47 dhogaza
    November 24, 2009

    Wow, sod, that’s simply amazing. If there were any doubts that this break-in and release was the spearhead of a concerted attack on the reputation and perhaps even careers of leading climate scientists, this should remove them.

  48. #48 dhogaza
    November 24, 2009

    I just skimmed the thread at WUWT. I need a shower, badly.

  49. #49 hmmm
    November 24, 2009

    I typically think of character assassination as illegitimate when it is irrelevant e.g. researcher A likes chocolate with his peanut butter; not when it is about the researcher’s research and statements about the research.

  50. #50 dhogaza
    November 24, 2009

    not when it is about the researcher’s research and statements about the research.

    What does a researcher’s character have to do with his research results, especially in the physical sciences?

    Nothing. Newton was an asshole. Gravity works.

  51. #51 sod
    November 24, 2009

    ethics isn t your strong point, “hmmm”?

    have you ever looked at a definition?

    “A vicious personal verbal attack, especially one intended to destroy or damage a public figure’s reputation.”

    or

    the act of deliberately attempting to destroy a person’s reputation by defamatory remarks

    so vicious, defamatory attacks are ok, if it is about research? nice point of view!

  52. #52 dhogaza
    November 24, 2009

    Actually, Sod, the piece claims that the FOIA request was made back in 2007 and that NASA/GISS rejected them. Apparently the current claim is that they’re going to court to try to force NASA/GISS to respond to them.

    Who knows, though, the whole thing’s too weird.

  53. #53 sod
    November 24, 2009

    i did notice that the original request was in the past.

    i am not surprised that they didn t get access to internal discussion or working hours. it simply doesn t make any sense.

    but we will see an awful lot of this.

  54. #54 hmmm
    November 24, 2009

    Thanks for the charitable replies! I think my critics are at cross purposes:

    One has the point – legitimate – that suggesting a scientist is faking results or sweeping contrary opinions under the rug is defamatory (assuming the suggestions are false).

    The other doesn’t see a character angle at all – or is just asserting my point in a different way – ultimately its about the research. However, the research of a notorious fraud (I’m not suggesting these gentleman are such) might earn some extra skepticism.

    Neither argued with the assertion that the research data and methodology of scientists ought to be as free and open as possible.

  55. #55 Dave
    November 24, 2009

    @46, hmm

    Scientific conclusions aside, ask yourself what you might read into these emails if they were Steve McIntyre’s emails? Would your reaction to the act of leaking or hacking the emails be different? Is there any financial or professional incentive to reach or protect conclusions?

    What is left is the denialism. Shouldn’t the process of that denialism (lies/theft etc.) be as open as possible? Shouldn’t it be exposed to criticism?

  56. #56 Dave Andrews
    November 24, 2009

    dhogaza,

    “Newton was an asshole.”

    And how exactly would you know this to be the case?

    BTW, have you noticed your ‘hero’,George M, has called for Phil Jones to resign? I’m not sure, however, that George fully understands the role of CRU in the Hadcrut temperature series that underpin the IPCC.

  57. #57 Betula
    November 24, 2009

    My my…..now CRU’s modeling is suspect. It seems programmers with no connection to East Anglia are beginning to take a closer look at the quality of CRU’s code….

    “One programmer highlighted the error of relying on computer code that, if it generates an error message, continues as if nothing untoward ever occurred. Another debugged the code by pointing out why the output of a calculation that should always generate a positive number was incorrectly generating a negative one. A third concluded: “I feel for this guy. He’s obviously spent years trying to get data from undocumented and completely messy sources.”

    Source…http://hotair.com/archives/2009/11/24/cbs-east-anglia-cru-covered-up-bad-data-computer-modeling/

    Be sure to peruse the HARRY READ ME.txt file included in the link…

  58. #58 sod
    November 24, 2009

    Betula, the “programming” stuff is taken even more out of context, that the e-mails.

    the stuff you mentioned above, are comments by a programmer, trying to understand a piece of code.

    it is completely normal.

    and will be all better soon, when the sceptics get hands on the code. their programs seem to be 95% documentation for 5% code. and 100% error proof. no shortcut never ever.

    it is nice, when people have such high self-esteem….

  59. #59 Dave
    November 24, 2009

    @Dave Andrews

    > > “Newton was an asshole.”

    > And how exactly would you know this to be the case?

    Heh – its quite well documented – “insidious, ambitious, and excessively covetous of praise” is one example quote.

    It’s thought that his famous “standing on the shoulder of giants” quote was a sly dig at the hunchbacked Robert Hooke.

  60. #60 dhogaza
    November 24, 2009

    BTW, have you noticed your ‘hero’,George M, has called for Phil Jones to resign?

    1. George Monbiot is not, has never been, nor ever will be my “hero”.

    2. Who cares if he calls for Phil Jones to resign?

    I’m not sure, however, that George fully understands the role of CRU in the Hadcrut temperature series that underpin the IPCC.

    Right. Now denialists and the IPCC both will have to rely on GISSTemp, which shows more warming …

  61. #61 hmm
    November 24, 2009

    55 (Dave): Yes.

  62. #62 sod
    November 24, 2009

    University of East Anglia has a nice [response](http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/homepagenews/CRUupdate) up.

    will the sceptics here read some facts, once in a while?

  63. #63 el gordo
    November 24, 2009

    CRU emails continue to make news, but the ABC must think Climategate is irrelevant.

    The real story, as far as aunty is concerned, is what Professor Matthew England has to say.

    ‘At the moment we may have an Arctic that is ice free in summer as early as about 2030′…

    Hahaha

    Do any of you clowns believe that?

  64. #64 Janet Akerman
    November 24, 2009

    el gordo quotes Matthew England:

    >>At the moment we may have an Arctic that is ice free in summer as early as about 2030′…

    And el gordo replys:
    >Hahaha

    >Do any of you clowns believe that?

    You mean it doesn’t fit your faith based position el gordo?

    I take seriously the the findings of evidence based research. So I’ll read England’s the paper with an open mind.

    I note that England’s finding fit with the overwhelming evidence of climate science.

    Have you hacked England’s email too? Care to smear his reputation in order to distract from his findings?

  65. #65 Brian D
    November 24, 2009

    El Gordo @#63:

    You willing to make a small bet?

    Say, $1000 from the loser to the charity of the winner’s choice if the summer minimum Arctic sea ice extent does not drop below, say, 100,000 km^2 (that is, effectively ice-free) before the 2030 minimum?

    I’ll even let you set odds in your favor (within reason, of course), and if you dispute the use of “effectively”, you can set the threshold you’d accept as “ice-free”.

    Care to set your wallet where your words are? After all, if I’m just a clown, you’d think this would be easy winnings.

  66. #66 Janet Akerman
    November 24, 2009

    hmmm raised some questions that I have been thinking about previously,

    >*Scientific conclusions aside, ask yourself what you might read into these emails if they were tobacco company emails? Would your reaction to the act of leaking or hacking the emails be different? Is there any financial or professional incentive to reach or protect conclusions?*

    I have an inclination that my initial reaction would very differently if if leaked email were from tobacco companies. I would look hard for the incriminating evidence, because the climate denialist wouldn’t be there to do much of that work for me.

    If I found the same words cited by many of those attacking CRU I would then seek to find the evidence associated with those quotes so I could expose any fraud.

    This is not what I have seen from denialists. I’ve seen step one, then pronouncement of guilt, but not steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…

    Each time I’ve asked for the details of the evidence they either disappear of serve up guff like [Brian Macker](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/on_those_stolen_cru_emails.php#comment-2099031)

    Hmmm asks another valid question:

    >What is left is the science. Shouldn’t the process of that science (data/programs etc.) be as open as possible? Shouldn’t it be exposed to criticism?

    Yes, but the exposure, transparency, and critism should not be ad-hoc. Particularly the tools of harassment should not be disproportionate, or we get disproportionate conservatism vs advancement, or disproportionate administration vs Science. CRU (and many climate researchers) are under unprecedented scrutiny, some of it becoming blatant harassment. Dealing with policy issues has greatly impacted their time devoted to science.

    I wrote on this [yesterday elsewhere](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/on_those_stolen_cru_emails.php#comment-2096080).

  67. #67 Paul UK
    November 24, 2009

    Betula:
    >My my…..now CRU’s modeling is suspect. It seems programmers with no connection to East Anglia are beginning to take a closer look at the quality of CRU’s code….

    Well as it happens I spent a good chunk of my career as a software engineer.
    The ‘programmer’ analysing the code is from a commercial bakground, where error trapping could mean life or death (in an aircraft control system for instance).
    Commercial software tends to be (or should be) well documented and tested.

    Although I haven’t worked on scientific software, there is no doubt that the need for the safety checks and high levels of testing are just not required and probably can’t be afforded. Also a scientist writing code is probably not going to be to bothered with the details that are required in the commercial sector. From what I have seen code produced by academics is often a bit ‘old school’ in that it is structured and organised the way modern commercial software would be.
    It’s not really surprising that the code is written in Fortran, A scientist that wants to focus on the science, isn’t going to want to learn a whole load different technologies just to satisfy some geek that knows the best tool to use.

  68. #68 Paul UK
    November 24, 2009

    oops:
    In my last post responding to Betula I meant to write:

    “From what I have seen, code produced by academics is often a bit ‘old school’ in that it is not structured and organised the way modern commercial software would be.”

    Also I note the programmer refers to boundary testing.
    This sort of thing is important in commercial software where the system has to be safe and errors need to be trapped.
    Boundary testing is a precaution, it doesn’t mean that any errors would actually produced.
    It is absolutely required in commercial software because teams of programmers work together and need to be sure that the software that oneteam member has produced gives the correct outputs that another team member is expecting for his or her code.
    Again, unless it has an impact on results, there is no safety issues with climate modelling. It could be that the scientist was aware of the issue and there was no direct impact on results.

  69. #69 Majorajam
    November 24, 2009

    Wow, the denialist triumphalism lives on. It’s starting to feel strangely familiar to me- like the Minskyist crescendo of euphoria before the popping of an investment bubble.

    Time to go long some out-of-the-money denialist puts lads. Speaking of which, I for one would like to know if the back-slapping puerile el gordo, hmmm & ducky agree amongst themselves on the veracity or lack thereof of a few elementary statements or otherwise:

    1) There is such a thing as a so-called greenhouse effect, i.e. trace gases in the atmosphere do exists that let short wave radiation pass through them unmolested but absorb heat that would otherwise be re-radiated back into space.

    2) C02 is a well-mixed greenhouse gas with a long lived tenure in the atmosphere

    3) the temperature record as per Hadley and GISS is accurate, which together with the mountains of other evidence (ice sheet & glacier retreat, bio sphere response, ocean temps, satellite data, etc.), show that the world has warmed precipitously starting in the 20th century and especially its latter end to the present.

    4) the strong recent warming is a consequence of change in the radiative balance of the planet, implying a change in net forcing.

    Dave Andrews, in a typically valuable contribution, has posited that the Hadcrut data is fabricated, based on… er… based on… well, you’ll have to ask him. Do you agree, and does this cause you to doubt 3? Also, if your answer to 4 is yes, what are the primary forcings? If no, how do you get there from here?

    For a bunch of people so giddily happy with themselves, you’d imagine they might have some answers to such questions, and that those answers would largely agree, as they would for those of us who, um, look to science to answer such questions.

    I’ll venture a forecast: they have no answers. According to them no one knows anything, and it is unreasonable to believe anything but the most rosy outcome for SUV drivers and Exxon Mobil’s bottom line. Such cognitive dissonance is capable of bending utencils via telekinesis.

    Hence, I’m short and hopefully not longer than I can stay solvent. In any case, imagine the self-satisfiedness you’d see from these clowns they’d be if they actually knew… anything!

  70. #70 David Irving (no relation)
    November 24, 2009

    Paul UK @ 67 and 68 (and the person you were answering, whose post I haven’t found), the scientists would have used FORTRAN because it is, in fact, the best choice for this sort of work.

    They’d be far more interested in numerical stability than just about anything else, including elegance or conforming to some young person’s naive idea of the Best Language Evah!, and the only boundary conditions they’d be interested in would be things like the initial values for the various differential equations they’d need to solve and making sure they didn’t divide by zero. The code may well be spaghetti, and close to unreadable, but it doesn’t actually matter.

    As you said, no commercial issues, and no life-or-death outcomes.

  71. #71 hmm
    November 24, 2009

    @69: To Majorajam’s rude remarks I say – I did NOT express AGW skepticism. I DID comment on the subject of the post. Before you get your panties in a twist you might want to read more carefully.

  72. #72 TrueSceptic
    November 24, 2009

    44 sod,

    I so hope that goes to court.

  73. #73 Chris O'Neill
    November 24, 2009

    el gordo:

    Do any of you clowns believe that?

    Imagine, the clown who knows nothing calling others clowns. What a hypocrite.

  74. #74 dhogaza
    November 24, 2009

    Imagine, the clown who knows nothing calling others clowns. What a hypocrite.

    It’s really a conundrum. “Al Gore is fat” proves climate science is a fraud. “El Gordo” is fat, which proves he’s a fraud, which proves that climate science isn’t a fraud.

    And if either of them has ever used e-mail, whoa, that’s proof that both are personally frauds.

    What to do?

  75. #75 el gordo
    November 24, 2009

    Major

    Over the past 50 years the record high temperatures in the US have far outpaced record lows.

    The National Center for Atmospheric Research put out the press release below:
    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2009/maxmin.jsp

    Unfortunately, the scientifically illiterate journalists will probably say something simple about AGW to a gullible public. The reality is that the daily extreme high temperatures have been little affected, but there have been fewer extreme night time low temperatures.

    If this is global warming, bring it on!

  76. #76 Janet Akerman
    November 24, 2009

    Another el gordo,

    Bugger the Africans , the Bangladeshis, the poorest in disease prone equatorial bands around the world, bugger the Indians, and Pakistanis, super populous in conflict zones who face decimation of water shortages, and Bugger their nuclear weapons.

    Bugger the Australians. Bugger the ecosytem, and loss of biodiverity. Bugger the interdependence.

    If the USA get some milder night temperatures (for a few decades before it turns nasty for them as well), then bring on global warming!

  77. #77 Janet Akerman
    November 24, 2009

    PS el gorod,

    I’m sure your Son will be concerned with your views, but especially ashamed if he knew of your behaviour here.

    No wonder your family needs to keep you under wraps.

  78. #78 Stephen Gloor (Ender)
    November 24, 2009

    sod – “will the sceptics here read some facts, once in a while?”

    They may read it however when have facts mattered to the skeptics. They have gone on all these years preventing action on climate change for their fossil fuel masters without one fact between them.

    I guess they will continue business as usual. The term “fiddle while Rome burns” springs to mind here.

  79. #79 Gaz
    November 24, 2009

    El Blimpo:

    The reality is that the daily extreme high temperatures have been little affected, but there have been fewer extreme night time low temperatures. If this is global warming, bring it on!

    Did you really have no idea that a decreased diurnal temperature range, with nights warming faster than days, has long been predicted by climate scientists? Really?

    Or is this an example of a common form of deniarhhoea, ie, it’s not happening but isn’t is great that it is?

  80. #80 JennieL
    November 24, 2009

    Someone at Fairfax actually asks scientists what the emails mean.

    Hurray for responsible journalism. Haven’t seen much of it around this issue.

  81. #81 llewelly
    November 25, 2009

    Among other things, fortran defines arrays in a way that makes it relatively easy for a compiler to optimize many common sorts of vector and matrix operations. This is often hugely advantageous for scientific code, as much of it relies on linear algebra.
    Furthermore – fortran compiler technology is much more mature than the compiler technology for other languages. This can be a sizable advantage. But realistically, the best language is usually the language you know best, and for various reasons practically all scientists are taught fortran, and most are not taught many other languages.
    PS: Good clean code can be written in any language.

  82. #82 Hank Roberts
    November 25, 2009

    Is there a document somewhere listing all the FOI requests made to CRU, dates, the names of the people who made them, with copies, and copies of the replies?

  83. #83 Charles
    November 25, 2009

    Hank, you ask a great question. Yes, let’s see all the FOI requests. (BTW, Hank, always enjoy your posts, wherever they occur. Informative. Gracious.)

  84. #84 el gordo
    November 25, 2009

    …’for various reasons practically all scientists are taught fortran, and most are not taught many other languages. PS: Good clean code can be written in any language.’

    Wonderful stuff, thanx llewelly.

    gaz…I was aware that in AGW theory the coldest areas would warm first, but for Gaia’s sake don’t mention peer review. It has been abused.

  85. #85 Janet Akerman
    November 25, 2009

    el gordo,

    That doesn’t sound like you, to right-off the entire peer review process based on …. based on…

    el gordo,

    which specifics papers where the ones in which the peer review process was abused?

    Context and specifics are important here since you are proposing to do away with all mentions of peer review.

  86. #86 Janet Akerman
    November 25, 2009

    PS. El gordo,

    “diurnal temperature range” is not about “areas”. Its about difference between temperatures in a day.

    Thank God for peer view processes that weed out such erroneous beliefs.

  87. #88 peterd
    November 25, 2009

    Re: #25.
    There is no “recant” at all, El Gordo.
    I notice that yesterday (25th) “The Australian” rang a snide little column (p.17) of quotes from Tim Flannery and George Monbiot, “then [2005] and now [post-Nov 20th, 2009]“. Some of Monbiot’s comments on the emails (link at #25) are quoted under the headline “If only I’d been more sceptical”. But Monbiot goes on to write, in a paragraph not quoted, that the emails, while showing “three or four” scientists in a bad light, do not disprove or undermine the AGW argument. You also appear not to understand the humorous “Knights Carbonic” email attached to Monbiot’s column.

  88. #89 Joseph
    November 26, 2009

    It’s a symptom of something entirely new in the history of science: Aside from crackpots who complain that a conspiracy is suppressing their personal discoveries, we’ve never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance.

    New? Unfortunately, no. The anti-vaccination movement has been doing exactly this for a while. By means of quote-mining among others.

  89. #90 Barry
    November 26, 2009

    “A third concluded: “I feel for this guy. He’s obviously spent years trying to get data from undocumented and completely messy sources.””

    And this is supposed to be a smoking gun? That’s what scientists frequently do – take crap data and attempt to analyze it.

  90. #91 Climate Journal
    February 27, 2010

    Yeah, those tobacco companies we’re honest people. Come on. And anyway, this time round the big business interests are supporting the “green” movement… because of all that lovely money there is to be made in carbon trading

  91. #92 jakerman
    February 27, 2010

    Climate journal, Big money might try and take advantage of the system used to put a price on carbon, but big business also trying to delay a price on carbon.

    How much is delay worth? Some [calculate it to be about $1 billion each day of delay](http://anarchist606.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-much-is-global-warming-denial-worth.html).

    So about $300 billion per year or about $3 trillion a decade.

    That is US$3,000,000,000,000.00 per decade. In other words the rewards of delay equal about the same as the revenue required for an Iraq type invasion and occupation every decade.

  92. #93 jakerman
    February 27, 2010

    Climate journal, Big money might try and take advantage of the system used to put a price on carbon, but big business also trying to delay a price on carbon.

    How much is delay worth? Some [calculate it to be about $1 billion each day of delay](http://anarchist606.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-much-is-global-warming-denial-worth.html).

    So about $300 billion per year or about $3 trillion a decade.

    That is US$3,000,000,000,000.00 per decade. In other words the rewards of delay equal about the same as the revenue required for an Iraq type invasion and occupation every decade.

  93. #94 Lotharsson
    February 28, 2010

    This is not what I have seen from denialists. I’ve seen step one, then pronouncement of guilt, but not steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…

    The Underpants Gnomes have provided the key philosophical planks underlying both the denialists’ “disproof” of AGW, and “proof” of corruption:

    Underpants Gnome business plan:

    1. Collect underpants

    2. ???

    3. Profit!

    This applies equally well to just about any goal you have in mind – simply change step 3 to the desired outcome!