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Wed, 2010-10-20 10:23Richard Littlemore
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Climate Audit: Is being offensive really the best defence?

In a breathless update on the tawdry Wegmangate tale of plagiarism, mining promoter and amateur statistician Stepehn McIntyre (proprietor of Climate Audit) has tried to distract from the case at hand by imagining an earlier instance of plagiarism, allegedly committed by Edward Wegman’s victim, Raymond Bradley.

For those just catching up, the blogger Deep Climate and his research partner John Mashey have produced a document that shows just how extensively the once-respected statisitician Wegman cribbed from one of his apparent victims (Ray Bradley) in a report that Wegman produced for Congress. Mashey argues that Wegman’s errors and plagiarism were more than merely unprofessional: he says that they constitute a barefaced and illegal effort to mislead Congress. George Mason University is currently investigating the plagiarsim charges.

McIntyre has chosen to run interference on that complaint not by actually defending Wegman (whose shoddy work seems increasingly indefensible) but by attacking Ray Bradley, one of the authors of the iconic “hockey stick graph” that Wegman had been hired to attack. McIntyre points out in his post that Bradley had earlier used a series of figures from a 1976 book by H.C. Fritts and, according to McIntyre, provided inadequate credit.

This, however, seems less like plagiarism and more like an effort to build good science on a solid foundation.

Tue, 2010-10-19 11:19Richard Littlemore
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It's good that the Yes Men punked Chevron - We Agree!

If you missed it, the Yes Men spent the day yesterday rendering (even more) ridiculous a new Chevron ad campaign that purports to show an oil company acting responsibly. There’s a great Fast Company account of how events unfolded here.

I have to say, each time the Yes Men pull one of these counter campaigns, I find myself longing for the content to be true - wishing that an oil company (in this instance) really would own up to its failings and indicate a real willingness to move on. Naive in the extreme, I know, but if the bad guys can live in denial, why can’t I enjoy the occasional delusion?

Tue, 2010-10-12 15:34Richard Littlemore
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Joe Barton: Misleading Congress; Misleading America

Rep. Joe Barton, already implicated in an effort to mislead Congress about the science of climate change, is obviously choosing offence as his best possible defence, renewing his slander of Penn State climate scientist and “Hockey Stick” author Dr. Michael Mann.

As then-co-chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Barton was responsible in 2006 for inviting the increasingly controversial statistician Edward Wegman to prepare a critique of Mann’s iconic hockey-stick-shaped graph illustrating a 1,000-year climate reconstruction. Although Barton has denied that he had a previous relationship with Wegman, implying that the subsequent report and hearing were not a set-up, John Mashey has documented the extensive direction that Barton provided to Wegman through Barton staff member Peter Spencer.

Fri, 2010-10-08 15:17Richard Littlemore
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Hockey Stick Basher Wegman Under Investigation

Is Talk of Lawsuit A Trick to Hide His Decline?

George Mason University has confirmed that it is investigating its Professor Edward Wegman, the statistician who was point man in the 2006 political attack on the so-called “hockey stick” graph.

Wegman, who was chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, was tapped in ‘06 by Republican representatives Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield to assemble a so-called “expert panel” to critique the famous hockey stick, a graph illustrating a thousand-year temperature record as reconstructed by climate scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes. But Silicon Valley entrepreneur John Mashey has since demonstrated that, rather than convene a group of experts, Wegman tapped a couple of grad students and together they produced a report that was generously plagiarized from Bradley’s own work and then twisted - or just misrepresented - to appear to undermine the hockey stick and its creators.

Wed, 2010-10-06 11:14Richard Littlemore
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Climate Prosperity: Canadian Government Launches Huge Campaign to Spin Global Warming as Good for Canada

The Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has launched a huge Suncor-sponsored campaign to reframe climate change as a good thing for Canada’s economy.

In a joint project between the government’s National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and the (in this case compromised) Royal Canadian Geographic Society, the Conservatives have introduced “Climate Prosperity,” on the face of it, a benign educational program that “lays out the physical effects of climate hange on Canada.”

But (points for transparency), the government also admits the thrust of the campaign on its tar-sands-funded  website:

“While the phrase ‘climate change’ is familiar to many — and a scientifically accepted phenomenon —  the phrase ‘climate prosperity’ is newer. It is a phrase the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy wants Canadians to embrace.”

Mon, 2010-09-27 12:22Richard Littlemore
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WUWT: Just Enough Information to Mislead

You can’t beat Anthony Watts’ team at WUWT (either Watts Up With That or We Use Wishful Thinking, it’s hard to tell) for the delicate selection and presentation of “evidence” to argue that climate isn’t changing.

Here, for example, is a post that trumpets a Nature article on the climate effects of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. WUWT also credits the reputable German publication Der Spiegel as an intermediate source for this information and then posts the graph (left) as easy visual proof that what’s happening in climate today is all part of a normal up and down.

But have a close look at that graph. First, it doesn’t come from the Nature paper or from Der Spiegel. It was cobbled together on a denier site run by an engineer named Alan Cheetham.  Second, the yellow lines showing a downward resumption on the right side are based on - well, actually, on no data points whatever. While Cheetham may have a crystal ball, a touching optimism or a cavalier disregard for objective presentation, he has no evidence at all.

But he has a fan in Anthony Watts. Watt does that tell you?

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