Acton Institute Powerblog

Bumped – Global Warming Consensus Alert: Climategate

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Update: Naturally, right after I post this article, new information comes out that makes Climategate look even worse.  It’s been noted in the comments that Russian scientists are now saying outright that climate data from Russian weather stations has been tampered with in order to make it appear to substantiate claims of catastrophic man-made global warming:

On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

The plot thickens!  Original post follows…


consensus_alert1It’s been some time since we’ve had an update on the State of the Global Warming Consensus, and I’m happy to report that the Global Warming Consensus remains strong and unchallenged.  Well, strong and unchallenged barring that little e-mail and data leak from a few weeks ago that is really not an issue at all.  I mean, it’s not an issue at all except in the sense that it may have exposed some unethical scientific shenanigans by some of the biggest names in the pro-Anthropogenic Global Warming community, but that’s nothing to lose sleep over.  You might lose your job, but you shouldn’t lose sleep.  COPENHAGEN OR BUST!

Some background:  the Global Warming Consensus Watch/Alert series dates back to April of 2007, and from the start has been all about reminding us that the much-vaunted Scientific Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming was not nearly as untouchable as folks like Al Gore would have us believe.  The reality of the situation is slightly more nuanced than the Goracle would have us believe:  indeed, the planet has been warming over the last century, and has been since the end of the Little Ice Age.  The questions being confronted over the last few decades – and most intensely over the last couple of years – are whether the warming that has happened in the 20th century is primarily caused by human activity or is part of a larger natural process; and whether or not the warming poses significant problems for human society in the future.  (Dr. Jay Richards had a presentation on this very topic as a part of the 2008 Acton Lecture Series; you can view it here.)

Without going into too much detail, the “debate” over the years has ossified into a sort of stalemate in which AGW supporters hide in their clubhouse, refuse to share their data without frequent appeals to various Freedom of Information Act-type legislation in various countries, and generally hurl vicious invective and threats at those who aren’t convinced that climate change poses an imminent threat to civilization.  (This humble blogger’s proudest moment was when a local left-wing “media watchdog” group implied that I was little more than a tool of Satan… er, Exxon.  Sadly, “Media Mouse” has gone the way of the dinosaurs, but I’M STILL STANDING, BABY.  Albeit without seeing a single dime of that sweet, sweet oil loot.) The major advantage for the AGW side is that they’re peddling a crisis, which is quite interesting to the major media (crises are more fun and profitable to report; remember, “if it bleeds, it leads”) and politicians (who love to have problems to “solve”; it makes for good press and content for constituent newsletters).  This, more than anything, is the source of the supposed scientific “consensus” on the dangers of global warming; actual scientists certainly aren’t in uniform agreement on the cause and potential danger of climate change.  For example, Richard Lindzen of MIT argued recently in the Wall Street Journal that confident predictions of a climate change-related disaster are unwarrented.

Unfortunately, the money and political momentum have been on the other side of the debate, so expert voices of moderation like Lindzen have been crowded out of public view. But then an interesting thing happened on November 19: a large file of e-mail messages and data from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit in the UK leaked onto the web and introduced the world to fun terms like “hide the decline” and “Mike’s Nature Trick.”  And while AGW supporters have been frantically reminding everyone that there’s no reason to question the validity of their research because it’s all “peer-reviewed” and therefore unimpeachable, Mark Steyn noted that the leaked documents show that the peer-review process was actively being corrupted in the climate science arena:

Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review.” When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.”

So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (“one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Which in essence is what they did. The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style.

Whatever that is, it certainly doesn’t sound like science to me.  Nor does the University of East Anglia CRU’s decision to throw away the raw climate data used to make predictions about global warming, meaning that “…other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.”  It should be noted that the only reason we know that little nugget of information is because the Climategate leak finally forced the CRU to act on longstanding Freedom of Information requests from AGW skeptics that they had been actively combatting (see this link again).

AGW supporters have done all they can to make this story go away by trying to turn it into a dastardly tale of computer hacking; Senator Barbara Boxer has gone so far as to claim that the scandal should not be called “Climategate,” but “E-mail-theft-gate.”  Allow me to note the trenchant observation of Jim Treacher: Climategate is a story about computer hacking in much the same way Watergate was a story about parking garages.  Aside from which, it seems likely that this wasn’t a hacking situation, but rather an internal leak.  We’ll see whether or not the leaker gets whistleblower protection should that scenario turn out to be true.

Anyhow, all of that is just a sample of what the pro-AGW community had been dealing with in the weeks leading up to THE MOST IMPORTANT CONFERENCE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND that is taking place this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.  This is of course the big UN climate conference, the outcome of which will determine the fate of mankind and our beloved planet, as this is the last chance we have to stop unchecked global warming and we “cannot compromise with the earth,” which – as we’ve already seen – is a planet in no mood to work with us on this problem.  Of course, if the earth is indeed an angry, intransigent planet bent on revenge, many climate scientists have been acting as its henchmen, torturing innocent data into saying what they want it to say in order to give the planet a pretext for its vengeance.  By the way, we can all be reassured that the UN Conference is proceeding smoothly.  We’re clearly in good hands.

Of course, this post could go on and on and on, and I’ve included a bunch of links that I’ve been gathering over the past few weeks below to give you an even broader view of all that’s been going on.  But I’d like to highlight a couple more posts before signing off:  First of all, take a look at this post at Anthony Watts’ indispensable blog which describes just how climate scientists determined that average temperatures at the Darwin, Australia airport had been “rising” over the course of the past century.  And if you have a little bit of time on your hands, head on over to Iowahawk, where the web’s best satirist gets serious for a bit and explains how you can build your very own hockey stick!  It seems to me that between those posts and all the other information we now have as a result of Climategate, we should all at the very least be skeptical of climate change alarmism.

More links to ponder:

Marc Vander Maas


  • Jim Hazen

    The consensus is; “Go Ahead and Launch the Challenger”

  • KDK

    Thanks for the article and references… One seriously needs to check into Pachuri’s investments (as well as everyone in the entire UN… doctors scamming the public on Swine Flu have connections to pharma, etc.).

    Independent scientists are destroying and dismantling the AGW crap daily via science and reference data… unskewed reference data in its real form with no ‘adjustments’ made [in the wrong direction, I might add].

    Wattsupwiththat dot com; climateaudit dot com; thedogatemydata dot com; and cheifio dot wordpress dot com all have excellent posts tearing the AGW apart (some for years and you can see the actual progression). These aren’t just bag-boys, they are scientists, mathematicians etc.

    All climatologists are, are just that, a compilation of fields working together (LOL) for a cause… just that the IPCC, like ALL UN programs, chooses those that think alike and have something to gain, often via investment, but certainly in other ways.

    Check out the sites, because if that doesn’t convince one.. well. Further, real dissent is welcome on those sites so long as you present your case with facts and appear to have some knowledge of your argument.

  • Albert Kong

    From the nature of the leak, it is almost certainly internal. What is disturbing to me about how it was treated was that the leak was blamed on the Russians. A very convenient choice if public opinion is to be swayed in light of the substance of the leak and if emotions are to be stirred. The Russians to my knowledge have not even bothered to rebut this accusation much to their credit as a mature global citizen. The fact that the rash media releases about Russian involvement could have ignited tensions between nuclear armed nations does not faze those who claim that their enthusiasm for their cause is fueled by concern for the fate of the earth. Does anybody really believe that anymore?

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Albert – the latest info on Russian climate data is here; Russian scientists are claiming that CRU cherrypicked data from Siberian weather stations in order to bolster the AGW case, but the the overall data from Siberia does not support the case at all. Interesting stuff.

  • Prof T R Heidrick

    Check it out. Today the Russians have now concluded the CRU crowd cherry picked the Russian data mainly picking those Temperatures affected by urban warming which of course have “warmed”

  • Lawrence Baker

    Global Warming-IS- Human / Industrial Pollution
    As you know, scientist and science itself has been slandered with misinformation and ridiculed in advance of the talks. (A favored, repeated, and effective, right wing tactic).
    Is Global Warming related to human/ industrial pollution? The atmosphere seems to be an arbitrary subject right now because of the propaganda effort to confuse the linkage between burning of fossil fuels and its effect on the atmosphere.
    The real question is- are we going to put pandering ahead of science in addressing and acting upon human/industrial pollution now and in the future?
    The best indisputable SCIENCE example that should be a test model and the #1 item on the Copenhagen Agenda would be the toxic plastic waste dump, the size of Texas, 900 miles off of the United States and Canadian West Coast.
    That is a Big SCIENCE problem with no dedicated U.S SCIENCE and INNOVATION DEPARTMENT to address the issue. The U.S (or Canada) has not even sent out a SCIENCE research vessel to evaluate this ecological disaster; neither country wants to take the responsibility for the industrial/human pollution or even acknowledge its existence.
    No Profit-No Action!-No SCIENCE! Will the World Trade Organization and the New Industrial World Order address the issue? Where is their World SCIENCE Department? Advancement in SCIENCE would outmode the use of fossil fuels but the U.S has not funded innovative SCIENCE since 2001.
    Can the problem be solved with SCIENCE? Probably so, Americans are very ingenious primarily because we were raised with the compliments of Freedom and Democracy and are free thinking individuals. We could probably figure a way to clean up the mess and possibly make a profit doing so.
    We can do nothing until we have a funded DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE that is free to address SCIENCE and to develop the advancement of SCIENCE. (Yes, for the sake of humanity; SCIENCE FIRST-PANDERING SECOND.)

  • John Q. Public

    Nov. 23, 2009

    It isn’t necessary to list all the changes I have identified between what the scientists actually said and what the policy makers who wrote the Summary for Policy Makers said they said. The process is so flawed that the result is tantamount to fraud. As an authority, the IPCC should be consigned to the scrapheap without delay.

    Dr Philip Lloyd Pr Eng – former Coordinating Lead Author, UN IPCC

  • Jason

    ” Whatever that is, it certainly doesn’t sound like science to me. ”

    That’s because you’re a journalist – and not a very good one at that. You’re just repeating the same discredited sound bites that Fox News had running weeks ago. The AP – you know, real journalists – have taken a closer look and said it’s not a scandal, that the emails are being misrepresented, and there is nothing nefarious going on at CRU.

    But you have an agenda. An ideological belief. So you’ll interpret the e-mails in whatever manner you please, and the facts will be damned.

  • artesian

    Climategate Forecast…
    “• What is the current scientific consensus on the conclusions reached by Drs. Mann, Bradley and Hughes? [Referring to the hockey stick propagated in UN IPCC 2001 by Michael Mann.]
    Ans: Based on the literature we have reviewed, there is no overarching consensus on MBH98/99. As analyzed in our social network, there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis. However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.”
    AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION, also known as The Wegman report was authored by Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University, David W. Scott, Rice University, and Yasmin H. Said, The Johns Hopkins University with the contributions of John T. Rigsby, III, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and Denise M. Reeves, MITRE Corporation.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Jason – I’m glad to see you have such a warm and trusting relationship with the AP, those “real journalists,” who apparently don’t have any ideological beliefs or agendas that would ever bleed over into their coverage.

  • Rottin1

    BLA BLA BLA $$$ BLA $$$ BLA BLA $$$$$
    We all know something needs to be done to clean the water we drink and the air we breathe. Lies wont get it done!

  • Jon

    Aren’t AP and Gore buddies?

  • Marc Vander Maas,

    Clean, safe, economically nuclear WOULD however provide clean water to drink and clear air to breathe. BUT Obama would rather spend 700 billion dollars on useless social welfare programs instead of on 200 new nuclear power plants at an average cost of 3.5 billion each. Just imagine how many high paying engineering jobs that would provide, and how it would obviate the need to generate electricity via coal and natural gas, the refuse from both of which is dumped with impunity into the air we breathe.

    In more than 40 years of civilian nuclear energy in the West, not ONE member of the public has lost his life due to nuclear energy, yet coal pollution murders an estimated 30 thousand each year from the particulates released during the combustion process.

    And do NOT go into Chenobyl. A weapons breeder reactor (an RBMK) with graphite neutron moderation and light water boiling in the core has a positive void coefficient of reactivity and is inherently unstable. NO Western reactor can do what Chernobyl did because our reactors are light water cooled and moderated, and have a very strong negative temperature and void coefficient of reactivity. Even when the worst happens to a Western reactor – aka TMI – nothing happens except Jimmy Carter getting his picture taken in Containment, and the utility cleaning up a big mess as its stock plumets. No one died. No one got injured. Not like natural gas explosions or coal dust fumes.

    Fools – the overwhelming majority of people who believe in global warming oppose tooth and nail the very thing that can obviate the use of fossil fuel: nuclear energy. Neither solar nor wind energy can do it – their capacity factor will always be less than 30% (which means you get electricity from these sources only 30% of the time you need it). No wind or too much wind, and no windmills. (If wind were so darn great, then why don’t ships at sea still use sails?) No sunlight in winter snowtime, on cloudy days or at night. Renewable energy is a freakin’ joke. But the nuke plant that I worked at a few years ago had a capacity factor above 96% and produced 900,000 kilowatts of low cost pollution free power for two years straight before it had to be refueled, and it didn’t matter what the weather did – the uranium kept on fissioning. The submarine I was on didn’t have to be refueled for 20 years, and except for testing our emergency diesel generator, didn’t burn any fossil fuel. Imagine being in a 365 foot long, 33 foot wide tube going at 25+ knots through the water and staying within 100 feet of a 100+ megawatt nuclear reactor for six months at a time. I’m STILL not sterile! ;)

    I get so mad at this environmentalist nonsense. God created Earth for MAN, NOT vice versa. WE are the stewards of creation. God gave US dominion over creation. And with breeder / fast neutron burner reactors that obviate the spent fuel problem (Harry Reid and Yucca Mountain can go sink into the Pacific), there’s enough thorium and uranium in Earth’s crust to fuel nine billion people at the energy consumption rate of the typical American for the next MILLION years.

    We don’t have a climate problem. We don’t have an energy crisis. We have a crisis of morality!

  • Opps, my comment should have been directed to Rottin1. I got mixed up. Sorry! :-(

  • Marc Vander Maas

    All is forgiven!

  • Tracy

    Marc: Thanks for the information and great article. I recently read that it snowed in Denmark where the Copenhagen conference was held this week and ironically it hadn’t snowed in Denmark in this particular year within the last 10 years. How funny is that.

  • John A. Jauregui

    Are you angry about this obvious RICO Act fraud and the national media’s complicity in the cover-up, misinformation, reframing and misdirection of the issue and the related “carbon derivatives” market Obama’s Administration is spinning up? Take responsibility and take action. STOP all donations to the political party(s) responsible for this fraud. STOP donations to all environmental groups which funded this Global Warming propaganda campaign with our money, especially The Environmental Defense Fund. They have violated the public trust. KEEP donations local, close to home. MAKE donations to Oklahoma’s Senator Inhofe, the only politician to stand firmly against this obvious government/media coordinated information operation (propaganda) targeted at its own people. People that government leaders and employees are sworn to protect. WRITE your state and federal representatives demanding wall to wall investigations of government sponsored propaganda campaigns and demand indictments of those responsible. WRITE your state and federal Attorneys General demanding Al Gore and others conducting Global Warming/Climate Change racketeering and mail fraud operations be brought to justice, indicted, tried, convicted and jailed. Carbon is the stuff of life. He (Obama) who controls carbon, especially CO2, controls the world. Think of the consequences if you do nothing! For one, the UK is becoming the poster child for George Orwell’s “1984” and the US government’s sponsorship of this worldwide Global Warming propaganda campaign puts it in a class with the failed Soviet Union’s relentless violation of the basic human right to truthful government generated information. Given ClimateGate’s burgeoning revelations of outrageous government misconduct and massive covert misinformation, what are the chances that this Administration’s National Health Care sales campaign is anywhere near the truth?