Who's paying for McIntyre's attack on Hockey Stick?

Thu, 2009-10-08 16:35Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Who's paying for McIntyre's attack on Hockey Stick?

In the Canadian tradition, it would be “unparliamentary” to accuse ClimateAudit’s Steve McIntyre of purposefully misrepresenting climate science, but his latest attack on the so-called “hockey stick” suggests that McIntyre is a great deal more interested in scoring distorted debating points than in saying anything that is actually factually correct.

McIntyre, apparently a retired mining stock promoter, has enjoyed a certain degree of fame in the denier community since 2003, when he and an economist named Ross McKitrick launched an attack on a graph (inset) by the highly respected actual scientist, Michael Mann.

In response to the M&M attack, Mann published an amendment to his original work, giving deniers the world over the courage to say that the original graph had been “debunked.” They then extrapolated to say that if there was an error in this single graph, that must mean that climate change wasn’t happening or wasn’t caused by humans - that the whole anthropogenic theory had collapsed in the math of a single published paper. Here is a recent and typically ridiculous example.

The debate has gone back and forth at length and is apparently without end. Most recently, McIntyre has been sniping at a dataset that had been analysed and reported by the U.K. climate scientist Keith Briffa. In his first whack, McIntyre accused Briffa of withholding data, and suggested that Briffa was trying to hide the fact that his climate reconstruction was based on an unforgiveably small number of trees.

Briffa responded. RealClimate scientists weighed in. The deniersphere erupted in ill-informed commentary celebrating this new effort to undermine the climate consensus. And regular DeSmogBlog trolls started posting comments assuring us that the whole complicated web of climate science was unravelling and would soon be dismissed as irrelevant.

Alas for the deniers, it turns out that this was all a little overblown. For example, as Tim Lambert reports at Deltoid, McIntyre has had the data all along; Briffa had quite correctly directed him to the proper source when asked for it originally. And as Deep Climate reports, the other scientists who generated the dataset in the first place have offered their rational for parsing it as they did before passing it to Briffa. Other, related data also support Briffa’s conclusions. It all checks out.

So, what was the point, exactly, of McIntyre’s intervention? He doesn’t seem to be particularly committed to advancing science, or you would think that he would be offering his work up for peer-review and publishing. He certainly isn’t dedicated to advancing public understanding of climate change, or he would have admitted long before now that, with or without Briffa’s Yamal data, there are a host of other hockey stick graphs, based on a huge variety of other source materials, all of which confirm the obvious - that global average temperatures have spiked in the last century and are currently breaking records that have stood for 1,000 years.

McIntyre, however, doesn’t seem interested in broadly based, well-support scientific conclusions. He just wants to play with the smallest part of what he sees as the weakest dataset and score cheap, irrelevant points - confusing the community of deniers yet further and bolstering his weird fame.

That being his goal, his right on his game. The title ClimateAudit, however, makes me wonder if there is another other motive in McIntyre’s madness. What would we learn if we could get our hands on a McIntyreAudit? Who’s paying for this strategic, if not always careful, number crunching?

C’mon Steve, fess up.



If you have ANY decency as a Canadian, you would get on your knees and beg Steve McIntyre forgiveness.

You obviously have not done your homework by reading up on the two hockey stick debunkings..

You blog lies!!

Try Wegman's report first


Followed by the what the experts actually said for newbies:


Followed by the Briffa hockey stick, as aptly summarized in a long blog by Bishop Hill:


To summarize.. McIntyre is a statistics genius. I challenge you to find another Canadian who has shed so much light on the shoddy American and British AGW work.

Take some pride in Canada for gosh sakes!

Clutch those pearls! McIntyre should be sued for libel.

A little light-hearted humour is exactly what DSB needs! Keep it up. You're hilarious!

But seriously, Ed (may I call you Ed?) if I were you I wouldn't go around calling other posters here "newbies" who haven't done their reading. You are on extremely thin ice there. Just about as thin as what we can expect this winter in the arctic, I'd say . . .

Femack, lets assume your allegations about funding are correct. What about all the funding your side gets? Oh it's all okay its all wonderful! Thin winter in the artic Femack? Femack apparently you haven't been watching the artic because it's gaining ice you idiot. Your side is losing so badly, prove me wrong please. Who is making agreements to cap emissions? Where are the wind powered cars?

Where are your sources for this funding you claim is being provided? Just making up more lies?

You are pretty quick to call people idiots. Offhead I'd say you are two or three epithets from being blocked. But I digress. Here is the URL for the National Snow and Ice Data Center: http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_ice.html

Run along now and inform yourself.

Oh, and BTW, it's arCtic, not "artic"

Now Fern, there you go getting all fussy about spelling again. This preoccupation with accuracy seems to invade every part of your life: accurate science; accurate spelling - next thing we know you’ll be demanding that people give you correct change at the bank.

Accuracy of spelling is fine as long as she doesn't start whacking me with a ruler or something. That's my fear with Fern.

Yes, I wear my snow-white hair in a bun and my glasses on the end of my nose, ruler at the ready! All right, mea culpa -- call it a pet peeve. Precision in language is important. The more we generalize and euphamize, the less we understand each other. And that is dangerous.

What you may not realize, Rick, is that I am a life-long skeptic. I believe nothing at face value and do an enormous amount of homework whenever I am confronted with an apparant contradiction. What I see here is anti-intellectual paranoia, a distrust of science that is too complex to reduce to a post on a blog about public relations. It is rather the basis for a doctoral thesis.

No whacking with rulers, I promise. Keep an open mind, Rick. That's the best strategy.

and the dollars take care of themselves . . .

I also have a T-shirt that says: Is "anal retentive hyphenated?"

Uh, that analogy has to do with saving money, not disseminating a massive propaganda campaign on the public. (Which by the way, can't be done on less then a penny a person per year.)

Well, according to even yourself if Exxon is spending pennies per person per year and there is a significant percentage of skepticism about climate change amongst the public as the polls you cite say there is, then it's obviously working. You can't have it both ways.

But then that wouldn't be the first time your argument contradicted itself.

If I go outside and see a lot of umbrellas, it doesn't mean the umbrellas caused it to rain Peter. You misunderstand correlation and causation badly.

Canadians remain skeptical about AGW in spite of the intimidation tactics of warmies. We are skeptical because the science is new and the costs to combat are massive.

Canadians skepticism has nothing to do with a few pennies spent here or there.

No, it means people believe it's raining. So what's your point? What do correlation and causation have to do with anything being said here. So skepticism does not arise out of reading or thinking about the issue? And people are impervious to the discourse that happens around them? Beliefs and attitudes simply appear out of nowhere?

You're grasping at red herrings because you got caught in another contradiction: saying denier funding has little influence, yet claiming skepticism is widespread. And since the skeptics always seem to repeat the denier talking points, there is no way to deny the connection.

Skeptics exist because the science is so new and because the science is so complex and because the cost to combat it so high and because AGW advocates are so self-righteous and power hungry.

Skepticism has nothing to do with Exxon. It has to do with Canadians carefully weighing the present evidence and the cost and deciding the measures are too prohibitive to implement at present. Nothing more.

skepticism isn't always right but it does naturally exist.

Smoking for example: you see people of all ages walking around smoking and they don't appear to be in worse shape than average, you hear about some smoker living to 106 and some other old smoker who has never been sick and you start thinking maybe it's not so bad.

Still on average smokers get sick and die earlier.

Something like that could happen with climate: The weather is cold, the storms are the same as always and some of the trees are even turning faster than they used to in the fall - plus it's snowing somewhere and a lot of places had a cool summer or something.

so, yes skepticism arises without money. That doesn't necessarily make it right.

Except the skepticism that uses the same arguments and talking points doesn't arise without money. It comes from a source.

Skepticims exists without any source. And without money. Skepticism exists because AGW scientists and its advocates have attempted to steamroll their agenda over the public.

Skepticism exists because the cost of action is so draconian. And it is because so few AGW advocates practise what they preach and because so many of the public's questions have not been answered, that Copenhagen will not succeed.

Until AGW advocates drop their self-righteous tone and actually start living what they preach, it is hard to see the majority of Canadians taking warmies seriously.

post not ending up where I place it.

So the skepticism that Exxon breeds is not funded? Exxon is not devoting any money to promoting skepticism? Desmog is just lying about all the money they track? Paul, how do you know this?

People can be skeptical on their own, there is no doubt. They can make up their own minds after researching the evidence. But when some people's opinions tend to mirror the rhetoric and talking points of the funded deniers, there is an obvious connection. It's not a coincidence. Just look at EdB's posts. Unquestionably the funded skepticism works on some people.

No, skeptics are basically asking the same questions even though they arise from seperate sources.

When have climate scientists ever been able to predict the earth's temperature a 100 years in advance? Do they have a track record for this kind of thing?

We, the citizens of Canada, are the ones who will have to make the massive adjustments so we will keep asking questions until they are answered to our satisfaction.

Obviously, Canadians as a whole are not convinced so far and that is why Canada will not commit to anything draconian at Copenhagen.

I see Climate Audit has a tip jar with a suggested 20.00 donation so I guess he's being funded by whoever clicks on it. Maybe someone from Exxon keeps the tip jar full. I wouldn't be surprised. Free enterprising, I suppose. Nice gig if you can get it. Plus he's got adsense, whatever that's worth.

Answer: No one is paying SM for what he does. Implying, without any evidence, that he is somehow on someones payroll is rather duplicitous.

Why is it that AGW advocates can not get their head around the fact that many millions of Canadians have serious questions about the AGW, and that until they are answered, will not allow our govts to impose draconian measures?

Desmog is really all about quiet corporate funding of AGW critics, so it's always going to be about money and where it comes from. Maybe McIntyre has motivations that aren't all about money. I don't know. But I think it's only reasonable to wonder.

There is actually amost no corporate funding of AGW skeptics. Exxon's one penny per person per year is less then peanuts. Governments and green groups far outspend any corporation on green propaganda.

Besides, the headline says who is funding SM, not if. Without any evidence (and desmog has none) making the unfounded implication is duplicitous.

Living in a bit of an intellectual bubble, I do think desmog is truly surprised that there are skeptics in Canada. If less time was spent attempting to demonize and/or silence skeptics, they would find that there are millions of skeptics in Canada.

You always seem to pop up when this issue arises, ready to repeat (yet again) your pennies point. I suggest you read Climate Cover-up, where you will find (carefully cited & sourced) the record of money spent by the fossil fuel industry to buy lobbyists, support think tanks, target journalists etc etc. -- putting their money to use where they will get the biggest bang for their buck. Any company that advertises their product to the public spends only pennies per person. Your argument is silly. The operative word in the term Mass Media is "Mass". You get to cover a lot of ground with a tiny investment per capita.

Go back to sleep Paul. We'll wake you up when/if you become relevant.

Refer me to something in the peer-reviewed literature FEMACK, since warmies aren't supposed to believe anything unless it has been peer reviewed. Anyone can put citations into something. But if they're all from other paranoid warmies, they don't mean anything.

In spite of all the digging for dirt, the only funding of skeptics has been mere pennies.

A "tiny investment" of less then one penny per person per year gets you exactly nothing. So instead of continuing to spread your urban green myth around, try a more factual argument.

Stop lying about pennies. Give the total amounts, and sources for your info.

Less than 1 cent, per person, per year in the US VJ. Exxon has managed a massive propaganda campaign on such a miserly amount? It can't be done. Sorry, failing grade for you. ;)

9/11 cost Al Qaida well below a million dollar. Several hundreds of billions of dollars later, and we still haven't been able to control Afghanistan. A miserly amount, when targeted well, can go much further than a lot of money targeted broadly.

Uh, no Marco. Spending less then a penny per person per year is insufficient for propaganda. Can't be done.

And yet it's being done, everyday, as reported on Desmog Blog.

What is being done Peter? The perpetuation of an urban myth?

Repeating "Exxon bad" over and over doesn't make it so. The whole Proganda with A Penny idea is one that only rabid greens believe. The Canadian public doesn't buy into that tale at all.


Here is the in-house story.


Oh good, a repost of the same rantings that Eli Rabett had. Both of which are completely off topic. Thanks! ;)

to join up the dots, Paul.

$20,000 (2006 prices) would have given you a report specifically created to cast doubt. It would have the name of a notorious sceptic (sorry, eminent scientist), attached, it would be endorsed by a board, purpose built for just that task. It would then be distributed to the press and the politicians, all of that covered by that single cost. That is propaganda for much less than a penny a person. Something you claim can't be done.

Nope, can't be done Richard. Especially when a single organization like Greepeace spends more on illegal activities in a week.

And your source for this lie?

Greenpeace's budget is in the open. The complete Greenpeace organisation, all over the world, has a net income of about 150 million euros. It spends about 130 million a year on campaigns in many different fields. That's far less than a penny per person!

Uh, I would check your math Marco.

And $130 million from a single environmental group? Of which there are dozens? And not including expenditures by governments? Compared to $3 million from a certain oil company?

Greenpeace spends 130 million on numerous different campaigns, not simply climate. Greenpeace is also the largest environmental group in the world, and other groups would have far far fewer funds to devote to any single issue like climate. Government spending is even more minuscule. Give your head a shake.

The real purpose of greenpeace is the establishment and celebration of the mass nude protest - think about it - 700 naked hippies huddled together on a glacier. That is an accomplishment right there.

LOL...that's right. Unfortunately all those hippy warm naked bodies could melt the glaciers.

Man, these reply window boxes are getting narrower and narrower.

Goverments spend enormous sums indoctrinating our kids and Canada's kids about AGW. But the parents still don't buy it. At least, not enough for the govt to impose draconian actions.

When will you?

With that 130 million, spent all over the world, everyone is aware of all the different topics Greenpeace addresses.

Compare that not only to the 3 million (well, probably much much more) Exxon spends almost exclusively in the US, but also on the money various astroturf organisations receive from several other organisations. Oh yes, Exxon isn't the only one spending dollars on getting organisations to act on their behalf...

Greenpeace far outspends oil companies on issues related to climate change. Out of that $130 million, I bet at least half is spent on AGW.

I KNOW the number (it's in the annual report), so I bet you 1000 dollar you are wrong.

And it's not just Greenpeace outspending corporations; we also have the WWF, the Sierra Club, etc., etc..

We're waiting for your evidence.


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