Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Let's lynch the liberals!

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  • richard,

    Perhaps someone should introduce Jim Hopkins to the clown who talked at Te Papa the other day? Sounds like they would get on...

    Must admit though, the whole "hacked email" thing adds a certain amount of force to the old adage about not putting anything in a mail message you would not be happy seeing printed on the front page of the New York Times.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report

  • Andy Fraser,


    Probably, but as I've said I've got no problems with the Goff/Trotter/Pagani school continuing down the merry road to utter irrelevance

    not what I said.. the miss is as good as a mile..but if misquoting gets you off, I can't stop you


    Actually that's rubbish, Andy. Where's the evidence that climate scientists have been falsifying data on a grand scale?

    We could start with the hockey stick – and carry on with the emails. But if you happy with falsifying on LESS the a grand scale, only a small scale – then I’m wasting my time discussing the subject with you.


    The only way you would create something like the Oregon Petition is if your intention was to deceive

    So, the debunked ‘hockey stick’ was just an error? And the matters revealed in these emails are just ‘oversights’?

    When did you discard the facility of critical thinking?

    This is just so GW Bush. ‘You are with us, or you are against us’. There is absolutely no position a person with an open mind can take, and from seemingly intelligent rational people I find it very hard to understand.

    Invercargill • Since Jun 2009 • 33 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    So, the debunked ‘hockey stick’ was just an error? And the matters revealed in these emails are just ‘oversights’?

    No, they're bad. But, to be honest, the more context I read around them, the less bad I think they are.

    And the hockey stick has not been debunked. That's a myth that people cling to. It's been corrected and multiply replicated.

    When the hell did you discard the facility of critical thinking?

    As I've said here before, by the usual layman's standards I'm able to apply to complex scientific issues, the climate contrarians fail, badly.

    I wrote and researched quite a lot about GMOs when the lifting of the moratorium made that such a political issue a few years ago. And in doing so I gave considerable weight to the public statements of the major science academies.

    By that measure alone, the contrarians fail unbelievably badly. Add in other expert bodies and it just gets worse. Any "critical thinker" who can ignore that is missing some faculties.

    I am not about to place the views of a few genuine holdouts, a few more retired professors and and lot of armchair climatologists with political blogs above that.

    Factor in the presence in the frontlines of denial of people with a track record of for-hire advocacy (including for the tobacco industry), the freaky political environment around the lobby, and the whole thing's reliance on sprawling conspiracy theories ....

    So yeah, I think I'm the skeptic. To paraphrase Danyl, it's not up to the researchers to prove AGW beyond all possible doubt -- it's up to the doubters to show why the laws of physics don't apply here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    Er, excuse me, Andy, but who says the hockey stick is debunked? The National Academy of Sciences, as reported in Nature, disagrees with you.
    As Russell noted, the hockey stick has been replicated many times. In fact you could say it's now a hockey team.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • Sam Vilain,

    On the hockey stick... from a highly relevant Real Climate post

    One prominent example was a comment in Science showing that a challenge by Von Storch et al. (2004) to the “hockey stick” climate reconstruction of Mann et al. (1998) “was based on incorrect implementation of the reconstruction procedure”. We discussed the implications on Realclimate after the comment appeared. Another recent example was a comment by Schmith et al. on a Science paper on sea level rise by Stefan, noting that he failed to account for the effect of smoothing on the autocorrelation in the data he used. In his response, Stefan acknowledged this mistake but showed that it does not affect his main conclusions.

    This appears to be the source of the original "debunked hockey stick" myth.

    There have since then been other failed attacks on temperature reconstructions, Steve McIntyre's attempt to blame it all on 12 trees in Siberia, for instance.

    San Francisco (was Wellin… • Since Jun 2007 • 24 posts Report

  • Simon Grigg,

    Perhaps that was what the Thais didn't like about it (then, don't know about now)

    It was mostly a generational thing I think. The under 30s use the skytrain and the underground without thinking and both are in the process of being extended (with another 80km due to come on line in the next couple of years, plus the high speed skytrain to the airport which opens on Dec. 5).

    The change is remarkable, although there are good days and bad days, but mostly, you'll be pleased to know, the sweat isn't black anymore...just a dull grey.

    It really shows what is doable, and I think the immense work put in BKK is being dwarfed by the efforts in some of the bigger Chinese cities..Shenzhen for example, which, hopefully can turn big parts of urban Asia around.

    Of course, then you have Jakarta which is an ever worsening environmental basket case with 30 million people all in cars or on100cc motorbikes..

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report

  • Andy Fraser,

    Carol, Russell, Sam...

    MBH98 and MBH99 are debunked. It would take a person of considerable thick skin to defend them. Other hockey stick reconstructions since are full of problems. Any study using tree ring temperature proxies are riddled with problems, as the use of trees as temperature proxies is increasingly questioned.
    The temperature records over the last 100 odd years are a shambles.

    As for the emails - unlike you Russell the more I read the less comfortable I get.
    I don't condone poor science, bullying or misrepresentation of facts from any of the skeptics and I didn't think I'd ever see it from the AGW proponents. But the following, in their own wors, leave me deeply worried where we are. Irrespective of 'context'.


    * Phil Jones writes to University of Hull to try to stop sceptic Sonia Boehmer Christiansen using her Hull affiliation. Graham F Haughton of Hull University says its easier to push greenery there now SB-C has retired.(1256765544)

    * Michael Mann discusses how to destroy a journal that has published sceptic papers.(1047388489)

    * Tim Osborn discusses how data are truncated to stop an apparent cooling trend showing up in the results (0939154709). Analysis of impact here. Wow!

    * Phil Jones describes the death of sceptic, John Daly, as “cheering news”.

    * Phil Jones encourages colleagues to delete information subject to FoI request.(1212063122)

    * Phil Jones says he has use Mann’s “Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series”…to hide the decline”. Real Climate says “hiding” was an unfortunate turn of phrase.(0942777075)

    * Letter to The Times from climate scientists was drafted with the help of Greenpeace.(0872202064)

    * Mann thinks he will contact BBC’s Richard Black to find out why another BBC journalist was allowed to publish a vaguely sceptical article.(1255352257)

    * Kevin Trenberth says they can’t account for the lack of recent warming and that it is a travesty that they can’t.(1255352257)

    * Tom Wigley says that Lindzen and Choi’s paper is crap.(1257532857)

    * Tom Wigley says that von Storch is partly to blame for sceptic papers getting published at Climate Research. Says he encourages the publication of crap science. Says they should tell publisher that the journal is being used for misinformation. Says that whether this is true or not doesn’t matter. Says they need to get editorial board to resign. Says they need to get rid of von Storch too. (1051190249)

    * Ben Santer says (presumably jokingly!) he’s “tempted, very tempted, to beat the crap” out of sceptic Pat Michaels. (1255100876)

    * Mann tells Jones that it would be nice to ‘”contain” the putative Medieval Warm Period’. (1054736277)

    * Tom Wigley tells Jones that the land warming since 1980 has been twice the ocean warming and that this might be used by sceptics as evidence for urban heat islands.(1257546975)

    * Tom Wigley say that Keith Briffa has got himself into a mess over the Yamal chronology (although also says it’s insignificant. Wonders how Briffa explains McIntyre’s sensitivity test on Yamal and how he explains the use of a less-well replicated chronology over a better one. Wonders if he can. Says data withholding issue is hot potato, since many “good” scientists condemn it.(1254756944)

    * Briffa is funding Russian dendro Shiyatov, who asks him to send money to personal bank account so as to avoid tax, thereby retaining money for research.(0826209667)

    * Kevin Trenberth says climatologists are nowhere near knowing where the energy goes or what the effect of clouds is. Says nowhere balancing the energy budget. Geoengineering is not possible.(1255523796)

    * Mann discusses tactics for screening and delaying postings at Real Climate.(1139521913)

    * Tom Wigley discusses how to deal with the advent of FoI law in UK. Jones says use IPR argument to hold onto code. Says data is covered by agreements with outsiders and that CRU will be “hiding behind them”.(1106338806)

    * Overpeck has no recollection of saying that he wanted to “get rid of the Medieval Warm Period”. Thinks he may have been quoted out of context.(1206628118)

    * Mann launches RealClimate to the scientific community.(1102687002)

    * Santer complaining about FoI requests from McIntyre. Says he expects support of Lawrence Livermore Lab management. Jones says that once support staff at CRU realised the kind of people the scientists were dealing with they became very supportive. Says the VC [vice chancellor] knows what is going on (in one case).(1228330629)

    * Rob Wilson concerned about upsetting Mann in a manuscript. Says he needs to word things diplomatically.(1140554230)

    * Briffa says he is sick to death of Mann claiming his reconstruction is tropical because it has a few poorly temp sensitive tropical proxies. Says he should regress these against something else like the “increasing trend of self-opinionated verbiage” he produces. Ed Cook agrees with problems.(1024334440)

    * Overpeck tells Team to write emails as if they would be made public. Discussion of what to do with McIntyre finding an error in Kaufman paper. Kaufman’s admits error and wants to correct. Appears interested in Climate Audit findings.(1252164302)

    * Jones calls Pielke Snr a prat.(1233249393)

    * Santer says he will no longer publish in Royal Met Soc journals if they enforce intermediate data being made available. Jones has complained to head of Royal Met Soc about new editor of Weather [why?data?] and has threatened to resign from RMS.(1237496573)

    * Reaction to McIntyre’s 2005 paper in GRL. Mann has challenged GRL editor-in-chief over the publication. Mann is concerned about the connections of the paper’s editor James Saiers with U Virginia [does he mean Pat Michaels?]. Tom Wigley says that if Saiers is a sceptic they should go through official GRL channels to get him ousted. (1106322460) [Note to readers - Saiers was subsequently ousted]

    * Later on Mann refers to the leak at GRL being plugged.(1132094873)

    * Jones says he’s found a way around releasing AR4 review comments to David Holland.(1210367056)

    * Wigley says Keenan’s fraud accusation against Wang is correct. (1188557698)

    * Jones calls for Wahl and Ammann to try to change the received date on their alleged refutation of McIntyre [presumably so it can get into AR4](1189722851)

    * Mann tells Jones that he is on board and that they are working towards a common goal.(0926010576)

    * Mann sends calibration residuals for MBH99 to Osborn. Says they are pretty red, and that they shouldn’t be passed on to others, this being the kind of dirty laundry they don’t want in the hands of those who might distort it.(1059664704)

    * Prior to AR3 Briffa talks of pressure to produce a tidy picture of “apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data”. [This appears to be the politics leading the science] Briffa says it was just as warm a thousand years ago.(0938018124)

    * Jones says that UK climate organisations are coordinating themselves to resist FoI. They got advice from the Information Commissioner [!](1219239172)

    * Mann tells Revkin that McIntyre is not to be trusted.(1254259645)

    * Revkin quotes von Storch as saying it is time to toss the Hockey Stick . This back in 2004.(1096382684)

    * Funkhouser says he’s pulled every trick up his sleeve to milk his Kyrgistan series. Doesn’t think it’s productive to juggle the chronology statistics any more than he has.(0843161829)

    * Wigley discusses fixing an issue with sea surface temperatures in the context of making the results look both warmer but still plausible. (1254108338)

    * Jones says he and Kevin will keep some papers out of the next IPCC report.(1089318616)

    * Tom Wigley tells Mann that a figure Schmidt put together to refute Monckton is deceptive and that the match it shows of instrumental to model predictions is a fluke. Says there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model output by authors and IPCC.(1255553034)

    * Grant Foster putting together a critical comment on a sceptic paper. Asks for help for names of possible reviewers. Jones replies with a list of people, telling Foster they know what to say about the paper and the comment without any prompting.(1249503274)

    * David Parker discussing the possibility of changing the reference period for global temperature index. Thinks this shouldn’t be done because it confuses people and because it will make things look less warm.(1105019698)

    * Briffa discusses an sceptic article review with Ed Cook. Says that confidentially he needs to put together a case to reject it (1054756929)

    * Ben Santer, referring to McIntyre says he hopes Mr “I’m not entirely there in the head” will not be at the AGU.(1233249393)

    * Jones tells Mann that he is sending station data. Says that if McIntyre requests it under FoI he will delete it rather than hand it over. Says he will hide behind data protection laws. Says Rutherford screwed up big time by creating an FTP directory for Osborn. Says Wigley worried he will have to release his model code. Also discuss AR4 draft. Mann says paleoclimate chapter will be contentious but that the author team has the right personalities to deal with sceptics.(1107454306)

    Invercargill • Since Jun 2009 • 33 posts Report

  • George Darroch,

    TL:DR. Climate trolls love to spew undigested copy-pasta all over the web.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report

  • Steve Curtis,

    The gist of the Statistical Review of Manns Hackey Stick series is shown in the wikipedia article

    MBH98 and MBH99 were found to be "somewhat obscure and incomplete" and the criticisms by McIntyre and McKitrick were found to be "valid and compelling."
    The report found that MBH method creates a PC1 statistic dominated by bristlecone and foxtail pine tree ring series (closely related species). However there is evidence in the literature, that the use of the bristlecone pine series as a temperature proxy may not be valid (suppressing "warm period" in the hockey stick handle); and that bristlecones do exhibit CO2-fertilized growth over the last 150 years (enhancing warming in the hockey stick blade).
    It is noted that there is no evidence that Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians.

    They continue to publish papers without expert co authors who are statisticians

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report

  • Just thinking,

    Andy - I'm being lazy and haven't read or understood your last, but I do have one question.

    Whether natural or anthropogenic do you and those whose opinions you value accept the climate is changing?

    I suspect there are very few who seriously doubt this.

    The rate of change is little more than arguing over the speed the car is travelling into the brickwall.

    Therefore even those who are not convinced of anthropogenic climate change should also do all possible to achieve the best outcome for the earth and subsequent generations?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Those emails. It does amuse me that the deniers pretend such horror that the people they're perennially accusing of scientific fraud might be a bit bitchy about them in private.

    I mean, seriously, WTF?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Sam Vilain,

    Andy, they were in no way "debunked". Read the RealClimate article. And modern temperature reconstructions do not solely rely on "a few tree rings" - if you looked at the other RC article I linked it goes into this, too. One step ahead of you (and Steve Curtis) this time I'm afraid.

    The e-mails might seem controversial. On the face of it, scientists "conspiring" to reject a flurry of papers which they know are faulty, by going outside of the peer review process (or "redefining" it, perhaps), is a violation of the regular journal cycle of publish, critique, etc. The cranks in this case were basically gaming the journals into getting something published. Instead of going through this cycle, the East Anglia Scientists were trying to shortcut it by getting the papers pulled - saving themselves the work of rebutting work they know is faulty.

    Just look at what happened with von Storch - a paper gets into a journal, makes a critical mistake which the reviewers don't notice - gets rebutted - yet even now, you are guilty of not understanding that the von Storch paper has been discredited.

    As you can see, the public and especially the cranks do not understand the peer review process. Letting faulty papers into journals in this political climate will wrongly damage the achievement of consensus. That's the lesson from the CRU hack e-mails.

    San Francisco (was Wellin… • Since Jun 2007 • 24 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    The gist of the Statistical Review of Manns Hackey Stick series is shown in the wikipedia article

    Excellent, Steve, love your Wiki research. How about picking up a recent copy of New Scientist? You could also read Andy Reisinger's excellent , up to date new book Climate Change 101. You might discover for yourself that actually among the scientific community there isn't much of a debate about the reality of climate change. The evidence for it is vast, robust and growing. The more interesting question is the policy response.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Therefore even those who are not convinced of anthropogenic climate change should also do all possible to achieve the best outcome for the earth and subsequent generations?

    Is it happening? Is it bad? Can we do something?

    Who or what is to blame seems a side issue to me.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report

  • HenryB,

    Steve, since you are quoting from a summary of the Wegman report it might be an idea to turn to the report itself, particulary `finding' 10 on page 50 and, in particular the very last sentence of their report:

    ..the average ocean height is increasing by approximately 1 millimeter per year, half of which is due to melting of polar ice and the other half due to thermal expansion. The latter fact implies that the oceans are absorbing tremendous amounts of heat, which is much more alarming because of the coupling of ocean circulation to the atmosphere.

    Their answers to the House Committee on Science questions on pages 65-66 are also interesting. I don't read this report as a particularly ringing endorsement of the views of climate change deniers.

    On another matter, and linking two threads, what happens to Foreshore and Seabed ownership issues if sea levels rise and cover property currently `owned' by coastal property owners?

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report

  • Andy Fraser,

    Russell, a bit bitchy? hard to get more bitchy than feeling cheered about the death of someone whose views differ from your own.

    I believe in climate change. Clearly from the reliable long term temperature records avaliable there are at least local and regional temperature rises. We have the evidence of over 80 years of glacial retreat.
    Humans have at least some responsibility beyond the radiative effects of CO2, e.g land use change and deforestation.
    The well being of Earth and our future generations depends on many things - our ability to feed a growing population, sustainablitly of resources in general and changing mindless consumerism habits in particular, and the threat of Nation's military responses to coming shortages. In my bleak moments I don't hold out much hope for any of the above. And I didn't even include the nigh impossible task of keeping our planet's climate 'stable'.

    Invercargill • Since Jun 2009 • 33 posts Report

  • mark taslov,

    the policy response.

    as little and as late as possible. Mr Newton taught us about this shit in form 1 science class, 1988.


    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report

  • Peter Ashby,


    Keir has it absolutely right. The one thing you can say about the Tories' policy on PR is that it is principled. They have not let the still dire situation for them in Scotland where they are clear beneficiaries of PR change their principles. So if they suddenly changed and came out for PR it would be a huge shock and without a very credible reason why a conclusion that they had abandoned their principles would have to be drawn.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report

  • Peter Ashby,

    And I didn't even include the nigh impossible task of keeping our planet's climate 'stable'.

    There are good reasons to think that we have managed to dodge a predicted and expected Ice Age. We seem to have done this by the simple expedient of millions of us clearing forest, ploughing soils and planting crops along with putting lots of grazers on the cleared land at high density.

    Once we started using wood to make charcoal for smelting metals then the deforestation began to pick up pace. As it coincided with lots of things like ship building we got onto a real roll. Remember why the virgin kauri forests were felled? since they go straight up with no branches and a nice taper they were ideal for ship's masts.

    Near here in Scotland, off the coast of SW Fife in the 17thC they sunk a mine under the Firth of Forth and built a vent for air that stuck up out of the water. They did this because they had a very real energy crisis as there were not enough trees. Thus we began to seriously, industrially exploit fossil carbon sources, for over 300years at an ever increasing rate.

    The earth is finite.

    Venus is solidly in the goldilocks zone, it is a furnace of a hellhole they think because for whatever reason it doesn't have plate tectonics, nothing to bury all those carbonate rocks. There is no physical reason why the earth cannot go the same way if we push enough CO2 into the atmosphere. The debate over whether or not we have reached Peak Oil shows we have the industrial capacity and the desire to burn our way into climate hell.

    We learn from some lake cores that the last time the Gulf Stream shut off the big freeze took mere weeks to happen and hundreds of years to turn around.

    We have inadvertently engineered a more stable climate than we might otherwise have experienced so your comment is more than a little naive. We truly do not want to know what a non stable climate might be like. Therefore we need to do something about it, urgently before we inadvertently make a very big mistake.

    BTW where do you think our 'cousins' over the Tasman will want to move when life on the 2nd driest continent becomes untenable?

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report

  • Evan Yates,

    BTW where do you think our 'cousins' over the Tasman will want to move when life on the 2nd driest continent becomes untenable?

    ...nearer to one of these, perhaps?

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report

  • Lucy Stewart,

    There is no physical reason why the earth cannot go the same way if we push enough CO2 into the atmosphere.

    1) Plate tectonics.
    2) Life.
    3) Finite sources of human-usable carbon.

    We learn from some lake cores that the last time the Gulf Stream shut off the big freeze took mere weeks to happen and hundreds of years to turn around.

    Yes - in a world with the Laurentide ice sheet to cap the North Atlantic with fresh water. It's possible, and it's possible very fast, but we'd have a hard time managing it.

    It's not that I disagree with your basic point - the Holocene has been relatively stable, and climate changes can be triggered quite fast - but the current doomsday scenarios are more mundane and less Roland Emmerich than the ones you're describing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    BTW where do you think our 'cousins' over the Tasman will want to move when life on the 2nd driest continent becomes untenable?

    I keep wanting to say that in the Brash demento-group thread... I think it's going to be Australia catching down with us, not the other way around.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • Peter Ashby,

    1) Plate tectonics.

    There is data that weather affects the movement of plate boundaries.

    2) Life.

    Gaia isn't real you know. The more complex and ecosystem is the more carbon it stores. We humans have been exploiting a great number of them, especially the oceans, that we are simplifying the ecosystems (like shark fishing taking out the top predators) so their carrying capacities are reduced. I wouldn't be so sanguine about the rest of life coming to our rescue. We have also seen in past mass extinctions that the simplified surviving ecosystems take a long time to recover biodiversity.

    3) Finite sources of human-usable carbon.

    Being pumped into a finite atmospheric system. This also ignores tipping points, like the Amazon drying so much it burns, like it has in past warmings or the great methane stores: marine hydrates and the permafrost let go. If you drill through the ice above a Siberian pond and light a match over it you get a column of fire that sustains itself so much methane is leaking from the permafrost.

    There is evidence that in the great Permian extinction when 90% of all marine life died (bye, bye trilobites) that initial volcanic activity (formation of the Siberian traps) triggered enough warming to hit the tipping points which caused more warming and more tipping points, including ocean circulation shutting down. That is why so many marine species died, with the currents of there was minimal mixing and the oceans stratified with all but the top few metres completely anoxic. A non mixing ocean can store less heat, will be way less productive so will absorb far less carbon.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report

  • Peter Ashby,

    Oh BTW the Brazillians have discovered and are beginning to exploit a vast new oil field 150miles off their coast in the South Atlantic. It's deep water but doable and as the oil price rises more and more of the deep water deposits like this are becoming exploitable.

    Did I mention its likely to be almost as big as Saudi Arabia's? Much of Western Europe's coal is still in the ground, as the price goes up and up and China's appetite grows and grows the old pit towns could ring again. Plenty of black gold still to be dug out and burnt.

    And all that is after the fact that if we burn just those fossil fuel deposits we knew about at the last climate meeting we get 5C average rises easy. All the new discoveries just push that up and up and up.

    We, or rather our children and grandchildren are going to go to a very real hell in a climate handcart.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    Cheer up. I think if you dig enough holes under the sea and suck out the oil, the sea will get in there and hey presto you've solved the rising levels issue.

    (Another solution is: finally perfect water desalinisation. We'll drink the fucker.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

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