A Few Things Ill Considered

Climategate and why Monbiot is wrong

If you do not know what climategate refers to you probably got here via some odd typo in a google search. If you do but have not yet read Real Climate’s post on it, you should do so. It is too late to rename the whole affair, but I thing “Swifthack” would have been more apropos.

Climategate is big news and not just in the climate blogosphere, all the major newspapers have opined. Here in cyberland, I have seen a doubling of traffic without really writing a thing about it or having a high traffic site link to me, I am assuming general interest in the story is the reason. Most of what I would have to say on it has been expressed well elsewhere so, not having much time, I will not do a general take on it. In a nutshell, I assume that what the denialists have dug up is the absolute worst of thousands of messages over ten years and so there is just no “there” there. Some words are surely regrettable but c’mon, this was thought to be private conversation. A real conspiracy would have something somewhere along the lines of “I know we are wrong but…”, wouldn’t it?

The only climategate response I feel like replying to is one from George Monbiot.

George Monbiot is no enemy of climate change science and no friend of the sceptics but he has reacted very strongly and very negatively to some of the content in these illegally obtained and released emails.

When it comes to his handling of Freedom of Information requests, Professor Jones might struggle even to use a technical defence. If you take the wording literally, in one case he appears to be suggesting that emails subject to a request be deleted, which means that he seems to be advocating potentially criminal activity. Even if no other message had been hacked, this would be sufficient to ensure his resignation as head of the unit.

He also writes:

I have seldom felt so alone. Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial. The emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, they say, are a storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition. It is true that climate change deniers have made wild claims which the material can’t possibly support (the end of global warming, the death of climate science). But it is also true that the emails are very damaging.

I think he is wrong on the substance of this issue. There is no evidence of any serious wrongdoing that I have seen. The email he refers to above may merit investigation, I don’t know what Jones wants deleted and if it has any relevance to any past or present FOI request. If an investigation reveals a crime then yes, there should be consequences. But Phil Jones resigning now will not resolve anything and will only add further credibility to the insunuations of a fundamentally corrupt scientific research area. Does any serious person think the whole affair would stop there if Jones did resign? Hardly, it would only fuel subsequent attacks.

As for the anti-denialists being in denial about whether or not this is a big deal, it really depends on your perspective. In terms of the scientific case for anthropogenic global warming, it is definately not anything approaching a big deal. These particular researchers work in the field of paleoclimate specializing in dendrochronolgy, it is a very small supporting piece of the preset climate change puzzle. There is no evidence that they were wrong in the science and even less that they were wrong and knew it. In terms of the PR war and the clear intention of this act to undermine the Copenhagen talks, it is a bit early to tell how big a deal this is and that is the only cause for genuine concern. I suspect (hope?) that most people, being well outside of the climate wars, will give it a brief look and generally reconfirm preexisting opinions. Regardless, I think the worst PR move would be buying into the contrarian claim that it is significant and throwing Jones under the bus.

I find one other particular quote of Monbiot’s worth commenting on:

The handling of this crisis suggests that nothing has been learnt by climate scientists in this country from 20 years of assaults on their discipline. They appear to have no idea what they’re up against or how to confront it. Their opponents might be scumbags, but their media strategy is exemplary.

Monbiot is probably quite right, these guys do have little to no idea what to do. But it is an entirely unreasonable expectation that they should. People do not generally choose to be PhD researchers because they are good at, or interested in, dealing with mass media and public perceptions. Their tools are reason and data, not insinuation and echo machines.

Ultimately this fact is the achilles heel of the reality based community of climate science. Confronted with “lawyer science”, the truth becomes little more than a shackle. How do you best battle an opponent who has no such constraints?

Comments

  1. #1 Larry Johnson
    December 1, 2009

    Wow. Nice denialism. You must not have looked at these emails very closely.

  2. #2 Jack Savage
    December 1, 2009

    “George Monbiot is no enemy of climate change science and no friend of the sceptics………..”

    Are you out of your mind? George Monbiot has been completely fanatical in his attacks on the “deniers” (he does not call them skeptics!) for years.
    Boy, he sure got expelled from the Church quickly when he farted out of turn.

    I think you have no idea how much trouble Phil Jones is in. I do not think you should to Realclimate for unbiased reporting. Is it not run by Gavin Schmidt, a friend and colleague of Jones?

  3. #3 Scott Belyea
    December 1, 2009

    At the least, many of the scientists involved have been naive, and have violated the Prime Directive of email, whether in academia generally, science, or business – if you wouldn’t want your email to be seen by your worst enemy, don’t send it.

  4. #4 Jack Savage
    December 1, 2009

    Scott….would that explain why other evidence of the conspiracy is so thin on the ground? They followed the Prime Directive usually but every now and again they slipped up?

  5. #5 Scott Belyea
    December 1, 2009

    Well, I don’t think I know enough of the detail to make that judgement. All I can really say is that the small sample of emails I’ve read are just asking for trouble.

    It’s unfortunate and understandable in human terms and all of that, but I suspect that these folks have done real damage.

  6. #6 musubk
    December 1, 2009

    Jack Savage #4:

    Scott….would that explain why other evidence of the conspiracy is so thin on the ground? They followed the Prime Directive usually but every now and again they slipped up?

    Well that would certainly be the kook interpretation – ‘the lack of evidence of the conspiracy proves the conspiracy!’ I get the feeling that this is going to be where the deniers move to if* they’re unable to convince many that the emails contain evidence of conspiracy.

    *that’s a big if, I’m afraid.

  7. #7 Jack Savage
    December 1, 2009

    Oh dear. It is true. Americans do not do irony. I forgot to put some smiley face or some such on the end of my post number 4. Oops!
    I am completely with you on this one, musubk, starting to see a conspiracy because there appears to be no evidence of conspiracy is where madness lies!

  8. #8 Shawn S
    December 1, 2009

    Thanks for the suggestion to read Realclimate which is maintained by the very scientists exposed in the CRU emails.
    Their explainations of the emails and data released is a bit laughable and evasive.
    The core issue in the emails is not the rancor towards skeptics, it’s the missing , hidden and/or altered data.
    This scandal does not kill off the work of all climate scientists but it does disprove the most important warmist point. The idea that the current world temperature rise is anomolous to the world in the past 1000 years.
    They thru phony twisted tree rings proxy analysis did away with the Medivial Warming , the litte Ice age and the cooling post 1961…all of which were not questioned to have existed until they took over the peer review process and became keepers of the data sets.
    A close exmamination of the issue does, in fact say that current warming is well in the range of average world temperatures seen in the near past. There is no evidence that CO2 has caused unprecendented warming, nor that it will.
    Yes the climate exists, Yes it changes, Yes it’s perfectly normal and Yes, there is no cause for alarm or self hate.

  9. #9 Scott A. Mandia
    December 1, 2009

    The news varies depending on the political views of the organization but some blogs and newspapers/television claim that this hack has revealed that human caused global warming has been faked. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is my opinion:

    To date, there has not been a single credible journal article that shows a natural cause for the modern day warming while also showing how record high greenhouse gas concentrations are not significant.

    NOT ONE.

    Do people really believe that the scientists at CRU are able to squelch every scientist on the planet who tried to publish this landmark anti-AGW paper? Is there no sense of the low probability and the large scale of this conspiracy for this to be true?

    If one throws out the HadCRU data and all papers by these folks, there is still a mountain of evidence for AGW.

    Do the rapidly melting ice sheets and glaciers have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy?

    Do the various climate models that show GHGs as the dominant forcing mechanism have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy?

    Do the GISS, UAH, RSS data that show global warming of approximately 0.2C per decade over the past 30 years have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy? Certainly Spencer and Christy who run UAH and are well-known skeptics of AGW would not align themselves with AGW and yet their satellite-derived measurements track reasonably with GISS, RSS, and HadCRU.

    Does the ocean read these emails and magically increase its heat content?

    Does the cooling stratosphere (even accounting for ozone loss) read the emails and join in on the hoax?

    Do the plants and animals read these emails and decide to die off and/or change their migratory habits so that they can support the conspiracy?

    I could go on ad infinitum.

    For quite a long time, we have known that a doubling of CO2 will warm the climate at least 1C and there is fairly good certainty that the resulting feedbacks will produce at least 2C additional warming with 3C more likely. We are also measuring CO2 increases of 2 ppm and climbing (except last year where there was a slight decrease due to the global recession) and we have levels that have not been seen in the past 15 million years.

    Are we to conclude that these emails deny all of this evidence?

    There are many scientists from many fields that have published data that show the effects of global warming and why humans are the primary drivers of this warming. These scientists include some of the obvious: climatologists, meteorologists, geologists, modelers, and oceanographers. Some less obvious include: biologists, marine biologists, zoologists, chemists, astrophysicists, economists, environmental politics reasearchers, and others. I am quite confident that MANY of these folks have NEVER spoken to the CRU folks nor emailed them.

    It is obvious that pre-Copenhagen, the tried and true method of “if one does not like the message then attack the messenger or redirect the conversation” practiced by Big Tobacco and now ExxonMobil and their front groups (Heartland Institute, George C. Marshall Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, etc.) is alive and well.

    Scott A. Mandia – Professor, Meteorologist, Concerned Citizen
    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/

  10. #10 TG
    December 1, 2009

    I have live on the intracoastal of south Florida for 37 years. Same house same dock with boat. The sea level has never changed. What am I missing about sea level rise?

  11. #11 Shawn S
    December 1, 2009

    Phil Jones has just stepped down from CRU and Michael Mann is now being investigated by Pennstate for a reason. They HAVE commited a fraud
    These handful of scientist did have the entire research area of claiming that current warming is unusual for the world temperatures
    All the hockeystick graphs come from these handful of men.
    The isssue is not if CO2 or other gases have a greenhouse effect. The issue is NOT the small temperature increase of last 20th century.
    The issue is, if this warming was unusual for in the long term temperature averages of the past 1000 or 1500 years.
    They are not. We had a MVP, LIA, an increase in the early late 19th and early 20th century, a decrease in mid century and a warming at the end.
    Without an claim of anomolous temperatures being realized today, there is no reason or way to claim the current temperature is natural or not. It’s not outside the norm
    There is no question that Jones, Mann, and the others have rigged their data to fit their claims. Their is no question that the data itself has been massaged and the scientists in the emails confirmed that fact themselves.
    Now for all the studies concerning what will to the enviroment if temperatures rise…they might be right IF the temperature rises, but that does not speak to if its unusual for the earth or to any claim it has an unnatural cause.

  12. #12 smaller
    December 1, 2009

    #11 “Phil Jones has just stepped down from CRU and Michael Mann is now being investigated by Pennstate for a reason. They HAVE commited a fraud”

    Well, if it’s such a foregone conclusion, let’s not bother investigating them then. You seem to have trouble with the concept of correlation != causation.

  13. #13 coby
    December 1, 2009

    Shawn S in #8 and #11 throws out so many unsubstantiated assertions because they simply have no remote connection with reality. There is no clear place to begin setting him straight….

    Whether or not there was a globally synchronized and pronouned MWP or not is simply not the core of anthropogenic warming theory.

    Please clarify, with quotations and source, the evidence of “the missing , hidden and/or altered data.”

  14. #14 Douglas Watts
    December 1, 2009

    Thanks Coby, your assessment is similar to mine. Monbiot is wrong that Jones should resign, given that Monbiot can’t himself give a plausible reason why.

    If (and this is a huge if) it can be proven that Phil Jones deleted emails that were pertinent to a valid FOI request with the intent of subverting the request, then that is actionable and should result in some type disciplinary action. But, a) that has not been proven and b) it is entirely irrelevant to the subject of the quality and integrity of the science.

    As always, when it comes to the science itself, the cranks have got nothing, can show nothing, can produce nothing.

    You are right that scientists need to wise up when doing work that is subject to political machinations and controversy. It’s the price you pay for doing important research, rather than unimportant. And you are correct that in a litigious or politically charged atmosphere, there is a double standard. Like their mentors, the creationists, denialists consider themselves free from all ethical and rational constraints but demand that actual scientists must always hold themselves to the highest pillars of ethics — ones they not only do not bother to even attempt to maintain, but believe do not apply to them.

    This is what happens when you got nothin’ …

  15. #15 Douglas Watts
    December 1, 2009

    The issue is, if this warming was unusual for in the long term temperature averages of the past 1000 or 1500 years.

    That would be wrong. It’s wrong because we know that past global temperature fluctuations could not have had an anthropogenic forcing of the type and magnitude now documented to be occurring. So, in a sense, these past fluctuations are entirely irrelevant, except to get a sense of the non-anthropogenic background. The fail here is that a forcing is a forcing, regardless of whether the source is anthropogenic or not. To argue otherwise would be to say that because, 10 million years ago, there was a huge hole in the ozone layer, there is no need to ban CFCs which we know are destroying the ozone layer right now. It’s a truly idiotic argument.

  16. #16 Dappledwater
    December 2, 2009

    “It’s a truly idiotic argument.” Doug Watts.

    Yes, a denier specialty.

  17. #17 Shawn S
    December 2, 2009

    Coby in #14 is being disingenious.
    The emails clearly show that the skeptics claim that data was massaged, altered to fit the theory and orginials thrown out. The emails clearly show the effort of the scientists involved to avoid handing over data subject to FOI requests. One promises to commit a felony by deleting data rather than hand it over because of FIO.
    Like I said in my first post, this is not about climate scientist’s rancor towards skeptics or even their damining emials.
    It’s about the data and source codes also released in this hacking. It shows that ALL IPPC hockey stick graph in paloeclimate are based on the same altered data, most of which is based on 3 trees in the Yamal data from the Siberian penninsula.
    Claims of dire predictions of warming ARE the core of planned actions to fight “climate change”
    Without the hockey sticks, the MWP is alive and well, the world has been much warmer than today without man’s industrial influence. Those fraudulent hockey sticks were the absolute proof of a CO2/warming went hand in hand.They were the basis of the UN’s IPCC high level of confidence and the dramatic scene in Gore’s fantasy film, “The Inconvienent Truth”.
    The emails in this hack are distrubing because it show a subverion of the peer review process with refusals to release data and codes, destruction of the same, and a proactive approach to silence any skeptic scientist or paper. Even to the extent of having people removed from scientific journals that dared publish a paper that didn’t agree with their theory.
    Climate change is alive and well as it has always been.
    Climatology will recover once the political hacks like Mann, Hansen, Schidt and Jones are exiled. (or in some case or two potentially jailed)
    Most importantly, the data shows that the theory is bunk, the people pushing it are poltical hacks and greedy opportunists.

  18. #18 Shawn S
    December 2, 2009

    #15
    “”The issue is, if this warming was unusual for in the long term temperature averages of the past 1000 or 1500 years.

    That would be wrong. It’s wrong because we know that past global temperature fluctuations could not have had an anthropogenic forcing of the type and magnitude now documented to be occurring.”"
    ———————————————————–
    WITHOUT the notion that the world has NOT been warmer in the past 1000 years, there is NO way to claim that todays warming is UNUSUAL.
    The exposure of these false hockey sticks that claimed the past 1000 years were steady and cooler COMPLETELY dismisses the idea that were are experiencing unprecedented warming.
    It HAS been much warmer a number of times in the past 1000 years. All other historical data points to that fact.
    These paleoclimatology’ reconstructions in the hockey stick graphs were designed to dismiss the historical recontructions based on the writings of people living in past 1000 years.
    Grapes grown in England, Greenland being greener. ect.
    PS…CFC’s and the ozonelayer have nothing to do with anything regarding Climategate. You bring it up to try to connect the two issues in an attempt to make a your point seem right by conflating other’s positions with unrelated felonious claims.

  19. #19 coby
    December 2, 2009

    Coby in #14 is being disingenious.

    Sorry, wrong again. I am simply trying to get you to be specific and support your accusations, which you are apparently unable to do, see below.

    The emails clearly show that the skeptics claim that data was massaged, altered to fit the theory and orginials thrown out.

    (I assume you had some typo in here) Please provide an exact quote that shows what you say it shows, I am sincerely interested if one exists.

    The emails clearly show the effort of the scientists involved to avoid handing over data subject to FOI requests.

    In the absence of specificity it is impossible to know if this avoidance is justifiable, mean but legal or illegal. Some the data you guys talk about is proprietary and CRU is not allowed to hand it out to general public. Some of the FOI requests were rightly seen as harrassment. Some are undoubtable legitimate.

    One promises to commit a felony by deleting data rather than hand it over because of FIO.

    Please provide the quote that this accusation is based on or I will assume it is baseless.

    It’s about the data and source codes also released in this hacking. It shows that ALL IPPC hockey stick graph in paloeclimate are based on the same altered data, most of which is based on 3 trees in the Yamal data from the Siberian penninsula.

    Sorry, this is pure, unadulterated ignorance.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/medieval.html

  20. #20 Shawn S
    December 2, 2009

    Coby,
    You are definetly being disingenious.
    The emails speak for themselves. I know you’ve read them.

    http://ironicsurrealism.blogivists.com/2009/11/25/download-entire-climate-gate-climate-research-unit-cru-leaked-data/

    The NOAA page on the medieval warming is BASED in these NOW disproven hockey sticks. Disproven you ask? Yes, the data disclosed with the CRU emails does in fact disprove all of these mens’ work. Completely.
    Going to ask a for a link to “peer reviewed experts”?? LOL
    Like the ones at realclimate who ARE the scientists that are exposed by Climagate.?
    As for the felony, it is a FELONY in both the USA and now the UK to delete, hide or obstruct materials covered under each countries FOI
    Google UK FOI and USA FOI
    It seems you are part of the fraud since you got an honorable mentions on realclimate today.
    I wouldn’t delete any emails you get from Gavin over this. That might win you might the honor of being called before Congress to testify under oath.

  21. #21 Rich Thomas
    December 2, 2009

    Monbiot- “I have seldom felt so alone. Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial.”

    Coby (in response) – “I think he is wrong on the substance of this issue. There is no evidence of any serious wrongdoing that I have seen.”

    I would say, “You can’t make this stuff up”, but I’m afraid someone would say I was taking sides.

  22. #22 crakar24
    December 2, 2009

    Coby post 19,

    Quote from Jones “I think I’ll delete the file rather than
    send to anyone.”

    From 1107454306.txt source http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?page=1&pp=25&kw=Freedom%20of%20Information%20Act

    Also quote from Jones “Mike,
    > Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
    > Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
    >
    > Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t
    > have his new email address.
    >
    > We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

    source http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=891&filename=1212063122.txt

    The subject of this email is “IPCC & FOI”

    Does this clear things up on this issue?

    Cheers

  23. #23 Daniel J. Andrews
    December 2, 2009

    Did he delete emails then? How do you know? What has been deleted? What did these emails contain? How does this affect the other evidence for AGW? Mike says he didn’t delete those emails.

    Also rather amusing if they deleted the emails they were supposed to delete yet forgot to delete the email asking them to delete the other emails. :-)

  24. #24 mandas
    December 2, 2009

    People. This isn’t about science, and it isn’t about illegalities etc. It’s all about perception and politics.
    Any scientist knows that the hacked emails do not change the science of climate change one iota. The climate is changing, we have almost limitless data demonstrating that, and even if the tree ring data was removed the results would be the same.
    But that doesn’t make the slightest difference. This is no longer about the science, but about the political will to do something about climate change. And there are a lot of politicians out there who are either completely ignorant of science and are in the denialist camp, or who are nervous about the effects of climate change legislation on the economy etc, and what that might do to their re-election prospects. Just look at what has happened over the last few days in my country (Australia).
    I’m sorry, but I happen to think that Monbiot is correct. We have kicked an own goal and handed the denialists a golden opportunity to persuade nervous politicians to vacillate some more. If that affects the outcome from Copenhagen, I really despair for the long term prospects for human civilisation.
    It doesn’t matter that they are wrong and the science is still valid. And we need to do something to fix that problem.

  25. #25 coby
    December 2, 2009

    crakar, thanks very much for the exact quote and its source. That is how to cite non-original material!

    Jones: “I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

    That certainly does sound worse than anything I had heard before. The thing is, I followed the link you graciously provided and the whole sentence is:

    Jones: “If [McIntyre and McKitrick] ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

    This is some rather important context. So, far from evidence of the crime of deleting information subject to a request, we see there is no request yet and we instead have evidence that Jones would consider committing a crime if a certain event came to pass.

    I will not pretend that that is not troubling, but do you put someone in jail for saying “if I catch that guy here again I’ll punch him in the head”? No, because saying is one thing, doing is entirely another. It is also very difficult for us just reading email, and email from people we do not know personally, to know the tone of the remark.

    The second one, asking people to delete emails, is certainly sounding bad and I would understand investigations into that. But without knowing what emails and what FOI request, it is not what you need to prove wrong doing. It is not even clear that a request has been made yet, we see other mentions of FOI when it is clear there has not been one.

    I hope that this is something CRU will investigate while Jones is temporarily out of his post there, I would like to know.

    I still feel in general that if this is the strongest evidence in 10 years of correspondence, then there is nothing nefarious going on.

  26. #26 crakar24
    December 2, 2009

    Daniel,

    I beleive Mann did not delete emails etc even though Jones instructed him to do so.

    The discusssion is in regards to obstruction a FOI request which it would appear Jones is somewhat guilty of.

    Agreed, this point (FOI) does not affect the science of AGW in anyway shape or form.

    And you are right some aspects of this are rather amusing arent they.

    Mandas,

    I dont think climategate had a big effect on the ETS vote, granted it may have hardened the resolve of some liberals but like you the pollies that had already accepted AGW see this as a distraction and nothing more. The course the liberals took was already set in stone before this.

    The ETS vote will have nil effect on the outcomes of C’hagen so fear not, Rudd/Wong etc will go there with the same intent.

    I was quite suprised that Labour knowing the liberals were against the ETS decided to negotiate with them rather than the Greens, i mean you either believe or disbeleive in AGW there are no in betweens so why not increase the emission cuts from 5% to 25% and get Bob Brown and the greens on your side?

    Conversely the Greens have voted down the ETS twice now and not one piece of critism has been levelled at them, one would have thought that a 5% cut is better than none. Politics is a game and a nasty one at that so who knows what has been said behind closed doors.

    Cheers

  27. #27 crakar24
    December 2, 2009

    You may be right Coby and for the sake of science as a whole i hope you are.

  28. #28 skip
    December 2, 2009

    Crakar:

    I have no idea of the validity of your political analysis but, God, what an articulate post!

    Sometimes I feel like I’m corresponding with two Crakars . . . . Dr. Crakar and Mr. Hyde.

    Skip

  29. #29 crakar24
    December 2, 2009

    I have my moments of brilliance.

  30. #30 pough
    December 2, 2009

    most of which is based on 3 trees in the Yamal data from the Siberian penninsula.

    I have good news for you. In 2007, professional Canadian maverick Steven J. McIntyre invented the “thermometer”. It measures temperatures directly! We don’t have to rely on 3 trees from Yamal any more. Soon, we will get a much more accurate picture.

    Why, o why didn’t anyone think to invent it sooner? Ah, McIntyre… Is there anything he can’t do?

  31. #31 mandas
    December 3, 2009

    Craker, I belive you are quite correct in your assessment that ‘climategate’ had no effect on the ETS vote and the problems in the Liberal party. But I think you are incorrect in your assessment about negotiating with the Greens.
    The problem there is that the Greens do not have enough votes in the Senate to pass the legislation – it would need either Field or Xenophon onboard as well, and you obviously know enough about Australian politics to realise that their positions on climate change are so divorced from reality that it would never happen. So the Government was stuck with negotiating with the coalition.
    That will probably change following the double dissolution that the Government is angling for. The unamended legislation will be reintroduced in the new year, giving the government the ability to call a double dissolution election later in the year, rather than the normal scheduled one. That will weaken the Liberals, but strengthen the Greens. I believe that will be good for the environment, because it will probably mean a stronger ETS with increased targets.
    But enough about Australian politics (it reminds me of work too much!!). My concern about vaccilating politicians was not so much directed towards my own country, but to places such as the US where the right (ie Republicans) have a large percentage of members firmly in the denialist camp, and a lot of the middle ground of both parties are more concerned about the economy and vested interests than they are in the long term consequences of climate change. Any weakening of the case for action – by perception if not by reality – could have a major impact on the ability to pass climate change legislation, and on US support for any global initiatives.
    That’s why we have to be squeaky clean, and why any perceptions of inpropriety have to be stepped on. Ask yourselves this. If a similar case – as weak as it is – could be levelled against a denialist organisation, how do you think we would react? I suggest that we would be all over it, and would use it to build a case arguing for a conspiracy and cover up of the evidence (for climate change), and would call for the heads of the people concerned.
    If we would do that if the roles were reversed, isn’t it reasonable to suggest that we shouldn’t be hypocritical, and should do it when it is one of our own as well? By all accounts, the best charge that can be levelled against the CRU is that they were sloppy, and were not completely scrupulous in their use of data and the consequent advice they provided. At the worst, they deliberately mislead people. Either case is sufficient cause for some form of disciplinary action.

  32. #32 crakar24
    December 3, 2009

    Mandas,

    In regards to numbers the ALP and the Greens total 37 votes and the coalition (Liberals and Nationals (for foriegn readers)) total 36, with Fielding (family first party) would make 37 a piece.

    The two swing votes would be Xenophon (independent) and Scullion who i have never heard of from the Country Liberal party.

    Now with a bit of pork barrelling they would have Xenophon’s vote but i am not sure about Scullion.

    This is a more winnable scenario than to “hope” 7 coalition cross the floor, as it turned out two of them did so they would have passed the ETS.

    They are going to try and pass the amended ETS first thing and if it fails then maybe have a DD, the biggest loser from the DD will be the Labour party as the Greens will get more votes as you say but i suspect the Libs will get more votes as well leaving labour weaker but with the Greens help could pass an ETS, we shall have to wait and see.

    I’m with you i can barely stand most pollies let alone talking about them, in regards to CRU emails etc it would appear as though Jones et al tried to hinder/delay the FOI requests which is probably worth a slap on the wrist, calls for jailing are over the top as their actions did not kill anyone for christs sake.

    However you do have Hansen and the like calling for the jailing of sceptics so this is just tit for tat stuff.

    The two other claims of attempts to thwart the peer review process and manipulating data are weak i feel, some emails may suggest that something is wrong but not what i would call evidence you could use in a court of law.

    I think the best way forward would be to lay bare all of CRU’s work and let it be independently checked etc as this would be the only way to clear the air so to speak.

    With peer review you need someone who has the knowledge to review your work but they also need to be independent (ie not been a co author etc) sometimes this is easier said than done, hopefully these events will lead to a better review system.

    Cheers

    PS sorry for the long post got carried away

  33. #33 crakar24
    December 3, 2009

    Sorry to clutter your site Coby but i wanted to say hello to Pough but forgot (sorry) so how are you Pough all well i hope with you.

    Cheers

    Crakar

  34. #34 coby
    December 3, 2009

    crakar, Hansen never called for the jailing of sceptics. I am sure I have told you that before.

  35. #35 crakar24
    December 3, 2009

    Thats right my mistake Hansen was threatened with going to jail and David Suzuki said all politicians that are sceptic should go to jail.

    Speaking of Hansen i see he has stated that he hopes C’hagen will fail.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/02/copenhagen-climate-change-james-hansen

    I actually agree with him on this, if we are to go down the path of reducing emissions the C’hagen love fest will do little except line the pockets of bankers and do little to reduce emissions.

  36. #36 Ed
    December 4, 2009

    The reaction to this scandal clearly separates proponents of AGW into those who have intellectual integrity and those who are nothing but blind believers happily proselytizing their holy scripture and ready to defend it against the truth. It seems in the letter case the AGW fills the void left by diminishing influence of other institutionalized religions.

    While George Monbiot is in the first camp you coby are clearly in the second.

  37. #37 MikeB
    December 4, 2009

    Monbiot is right and wrong. He’s way over the top on Jones, but he’s right, scientists ‘appear to have no idea what they’re up against or how to confront it. Their opponents might be scumbags, but their media strategy is exemplary.’

    Helped by a truly stupid media (the BBC coverage makes me shout at the radio), and the apathy/ignorance of the general public/chattering classes, etc, the actual story has been massively inflated.

    But where is Monbiot? Have him take on the likes of Stott, rather than the limp interview with Porritt and Humphries on the Today programme. And where are the rest? We need scientists who can do attack, but all we seem to get are victims. At least Professor Andrew Watson is fighting back, but he’s seemingly alone. British science needs a kick up the arse in order to get the truth out. We should have learnt after TGGWS – but seemingly didn’t.

  38. #38 Dappledwater
    December 5, 2009

    “While George Monbiot is in the first camp you coby are clearly in the second” – Ed

    Ed sure doesn’t do much reading, especially all the scientific stuff. Just the typical denialist “dump and run” narrative routine.

  39. #39 Ed
    December 5, 2009

    “Ed sure doesn’t do much reading, especially all the scientific stuff” – Dappledwater
    You couldn’t be further from truth in your non sequitur assertion.

  40. #40 CharlesK
    December 6, 2009

    Sorry, as an independent science-trained layman who dislikes using political process to amend physical processes, I have to side with Mr. Monbiot. I think it totally has to do with the lack of understanding within the scientific community of the realities of an overly-mediated human social culture. The general public and technocrats and lawyers and politicians really do not understand how to judge logically-based structures in science.

    Scientists, however, can also fall in love with those same structures and refuse to see their faults – whether those faults are inherent or due to practise. History is full of such examples.

    As a result, on matters of public policy – as AGW certainly is – we desperately need people who are adept at understanding the worth and limits of the approaches used on both sides of the cultural divide.

  41. #41 Tony
    December 6, 2009

    This guy wouldn’t believe GW isn’t real if Phil Jones told him the truth!

    PHIL JONES STEPPED DOWN BECAUSE THE EMAILS AE CREDIBLE, you just arn’t smart enough to understand.

    My favorite parts of this article:

    “In a nutshell, I assume”

    “Some words are surely regrettable but c’mon, this was thought to be private conversation. A real conspiracy would have something somewhere along the lines of “I know we are wrong but…”, wouldn’t it?”

    What a moroon!