November 25, 2011
Penn State researcher and
his CRU/IPCC colleague treated AGW like a religious
"cause" despite warnings from peers.
Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is a
fascinating hypothesis that mankind may be able to systematically
increase the Earth's temperature in the long term by burning
deposits of hydrocarbon fuels.
But the key thing to note is that
despite the intriguing premise, little definitive information has
been determined in this field even as politicization runs rife.
In fact, researchers are still
struggling to explain why warming has stalled in the last decade
even as levels of carbon dioxide - supposedly the most important
greenhouse gas have rose.
Climatologists "Pull an Enron", Shred the Evidence
The recent University of California, Berkley "BEST" study - perhaps
the most comprehensive climate change investigation to date - was
blasted by AGW proponents.
They were upset that the study - funded
in part by the charity of a major oil entrepreneur - highlighted the
fact that temperatures had flat lined over the past decade, and were
more upset still that the study suggested that other factors like
could have driven the warming that occurred in the
But newly reportedly leaked emails reveal that accusations of bias
are perhaps a bit of projection. The new emails include discussions
that sound as shocking or more so as the infamous
emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate
Research Unit (CRU).
The new emails revisit embattled
evangelist Phil Jones, a scientist working with
Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC.)
In one email Professor Jones explains to researchers how to best
hide their work to prevent anyone from being able to replicate it
and find errors:
I've been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of
Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working
in AR5 (Fifth
Assessment Report) would be to delete all emails at the end of the process. Any
work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research
grants we get - and has to be well hidden. I've discussed this with
the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy
about not releasing the original station data.
Of course Phil Jones and his supporters will likely claim that the
emails were taken out of context of some larger more appropriate
But as a researcher it's pretty damning
to make comments that even would seem to imply that you were
engaging in trying to suppress peer review of questionable data -
Particularly trouble is the phrase "cover yourself", which suggest a
conspiratorial, political undertone to what is supposed to be a
transparent field of research.
The emails contain outright requests for the destruction of
professional communications regarding research in an effort to cover
up public scrutiny of public flaws. The leaks add yet another
humiliating scandal to Pennsylvania State University as they
implicate prominent Penn State climatologist
even more directly than the last release.
Writes the Professor Jones to Professor Mann:
Mike, can you delete any emails you
may have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4 [UN Intergovernmental
Climate Change 4th Assessment]? Keith will do likewise… We will be getting Caspar [Ammann] to do likewise. I see that
CA [the Climate Audit Web site] claim they discovered the 1945
problem in the Nature paper!!
Michael Mann and Phil
Michael Mann (left) and Phil Jones (right)
appear to share tips
on how to best destroy damaging climate evidence.
(left) PSU (right) Chris Bourchier/Rex Features]
Some professors and experts even tried
to reach out to Professor Mann, warning him of the danger of turning
science into religion by purposefully ignoring evidence.
Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office
Observations do not show rising
temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you
accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of
others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate
the uncertainty and be honest.
Phil, hopefully we can find time to
discuss these further if necessary. I also think the science is
being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all
our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.
Tom Wigley, a scientist at
the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research who was
implicated in the first CRU email scandal for suggesting the removal
of an editor who allowed peer-reviewed skeptical studies to be
published, seemed to agree on this extreme instance:
Mike, the Figure you sent is very
deceptive… there have been a number of dishonest presentations
of model results by individual authors and by IPCC.
The IPCC did eventually change the draft
somewhat - perhaps due to this feedback - but critics say it still
did far too much cherry picking of its sources.
Science - You're Either For the Cause, Or You're Against It
In a later email, Professor Mann implies AGW advocacy is a
political/pseudo-religious "cause" and that those who question it on
scientific merits are enemies of the "cause".
"I gave up on [Georgia Institute of
Technology climate professor] Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t
know what she thinks she’s doing, but its not helping the
Ironically, Professor Curry
appears to be the only one behaving like a true scientist.
The emails neglect the forgotten truth
that the distinguished Georgia Institute of Technology began as a
believed in man-made global warming, publishing a notable 2005 study
published in the prestigious Science journal investigating the
potential correlation between hurricanes and man-made temperature
The study earned scathing criticism from warming skeptics, but
rather than treat her work as religious dogma, she carefully
considered the criticism. Supported by her co-author, she personally
met with some prominent critics and considered their claims.
After all, she recalls in a Scientific
"We were generally aware of these
problems when we wrote the paper, but the critics argued that
these issues were much more significant than we had
Soon she began to blog for AGW a
skeptical blog run by
Jr., a professor
of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, and Climate
Audit, run by statistician Steve McIntyre.
She began blogging hoping to convince
skeptics of the merits of AGW theory via an open discussion. But in
time she found herself increasingly troubled by the lack of
transparency and conclusive evidence on such an important topic. She
singles out the IPCC as a particularly guilty party, accusing it of
Given the released emails it's hard to argue with that assessment.
Writes Jonathan Overpeck, lead
coordinating author of the IPCC's most recent climate assessment:
The trick may be to decide on the
main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is
Aside from destroying evidence and
ostracizing colleagues, the emails also reveal another sign of dogma
and the antithesis of science - ignorance.
In one email Phil Jones admits he has no
idea how to perform the basic statistical analysis that forms the
basis of one of his past claims, writing:
I keep on seeing people saying this
same stupid thing. I'm not adept enough (totally inept) with
excel to do this now as no-one who knows how to is here.
What you have to do is to take the numbers in column C (the
years) and then those in D (the anomalies for each year), plot
them and then work out the linear trend. The slope is upwards. I
had someone do this in early 2006, and the trend was upwards
then. It will be now.
Trend won't be statistically
significant, but the trend is up.
III. When in
Already AGW advocates are jumping to the defense of the researchers
implicated in the scandal.
Writes Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard:
Rather than smearing scientists,
reporters might want to try some actual reporting.
The new round of hacked emails from
climate scientists floating around the internet hasn't generated
the same buzz as the last iteration - at least not yet. But in
certain circles, it's playing out much like the first batch of
emails did in 2009. In addition to the tranche of emails, the
poster included a list of "greatest hits" - short quotes from
the emails taken out of their context that are intended to paint
scientists as scheming or lying.
The entire batch was quickly posted
in searchable format on another site.
But such critical reports have thus far
failed to actually provide virtually any such contextual
explanations, despite their suggestion that they must exist.
Further, the critics of the email
publication are ignoring the fact that there are certain types of
things that researchers should know to never say - such as making
comments that even sound like suggesting the destruction of academic
The reports also ignore the fact that while it's easy to accuse the
media, the oil industry, et al. for a mass conspiracy to silence
anthropogenic global warming advocates, there's just as compelling a
cause for AGW proponents to conspire to silence their critics in a
dogmatic, non-scientific fashion.
Such an approach not only guarantees researchers lucrative research
grants, it guarantees their political allies potential billions of
dollars in windfalls in "carbon credits" and
wealth redistribution schemes.
Al Gore in
particular has made close to a
his evangelizing AGW in
via carbon credit investments
by pushing the government to
funnel money to his high-risk "green energy" investments in
the name of fighting AGW
AGW political proponents like Al Gore stand to
make billions more if
they can convince world governments
to fully enact their
wealth redistribution schemes
under the auspice of