Climategate

Thu, 2009-12-03 17:50Jim Hoggan
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The oily echo machine behind "climategate"

The most vocal organizations around the University of East Anglia hacked email story (aka. “climategate”) have been involved in a decade-plus campaign to delay action on climate change.

The goal of this campaign, which began around the time of the first Kyoto Protocol negotiations, was to assemble a group of like-minded “free-market” think tanks and pseudo-experts that would bring into question the scientific realities of climate change, create doubt with the public and politicians and effectively delay the introduction of clean energy policy in the United States.

It’s no coincidence that the groups pushing this story the hardest have a long history of taking money from oil and coal companies to attack the conclusions made by climate scientists.

What I wouldn’t do to have a few of these organizations private emails over the years!

Here’s a few of the groups I’m talking about and a very brief background on their previous activities, as well as funding sources:

Center for a Constructive Tomorrow: owns and operate ClimateDepot.com, which has been a main clearinghouse for the right-wing climategate echo chamber. ClimateDepot.com is managed by Marc Morano, former aide to Republican Senator James Inhofe. CFACT has received grants from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and well-known right-wing foundations like the Carthage Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

Tue, 2009-12-01 12:27Brendan DeMelle
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CRU Director Phil Jones To Step Down Pending Investigation Into Hacked Emails

Phil Jones, the Director of the Climate Research Unit, announced today that he will step down from his position pending investigation into the matter of the emails stolen from the University of East Anglia servers.

Here’s the news release [h/t Andy Revkin]:

Professor Phil Jones has today announced that he will stand aside as Director of the Climatic Research Unit until the completion of an independent Review resulting from allegations following the hacking and publication of emails from the Unit.

Professor Jones said: “What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible.  After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the director’s role during the course of the independent review and am grateful to the university for agreeing to this. The review process will have my full support.”  

Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Acton said: “I have accepted Professor Jones’s offer to stand aside during this period. It is an important step to ensure that CRU can continue to operate normally and the independent review can conduct its work into the allegations. We will announce details of the independent review, including its terms of reference, timescale and the chair, within days. I am delighted that Professor Peter Liss, FRS, CBE, will become acting director.”

Thu, 2009-11-26 13:15Richard Littlemore
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"Climategate" - giving deniers the power to say whatever they want

There’s nothing like a good “second-day” story to absolve the average journalist (very average in this case) from any responsibility to support his contentions with, say, a smattering of evidence.

Admittedly, second-day stories are tough in a paper like the Toronto Sun where space is at a premium. You want to update the reader with the news, but you still have to provide enough of the original story to provide context. Unless you’re Lorrie Goldstein, in which case you can short-cut your way to today’s opinion without making any effort to support it with actual factual references.

In his column today on the “Climategate” story of emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Goldstein offers this as a synopsis of what the purloined emails prove:

“Apparently they (the scientists involved) stifled their own doubts about recent global cooling not explained by their computer models, manipulated data, plotted ways to avoid releasing it under freedom of information laws and attacked fellow scientists and scientific journals for publishing even peer-reviewed literature of which they did not approve.”

Did they just?

Thu, 2009-11-26 09:48Kevin Grandia
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Climate Cover Up kicking denier books all over Amazon

Jim Hoggan and Richard Littelmore’s new book Climate Cover Up is putting the climate deniers’ books to shame in the rankings on Amazon.com this week.

In the broad category of Environment, Climate Cover Up is sitting at #22 with only Christopher Booker’s The Real Global Warming Disaster in the way of us taking the lead over all climate denier, anti-environmentalist screeds in the category.

We’re out there promoting Climate Cover Up hard, but we need your help! Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much.

Here’s a few things you can do:

1. TWEET IT: Post a link on your Twitter account, urge people to buy a copy as a must read. Send something like: Climate Cover Up is a must-read book, even Leonardo DiCaprio thinks so! http://bit.ly/EPPXK

2.CHRISTMAS GIFT FORSKEPTICALFRIENDS: What better than Climate Cover Up for your “skeptical” friends, family and work colleagues!

3. FACEBOOK: Write a status update or message your Facebook friends about Climate Cover Up.

Wed, 2009-11-25 21:11Kevin Grandia
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Michael Mann in his own words on the stolen CRU emails

With all the wild accusations flying around over the illegally obtained email correspondence from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, I thought I would ask one of the scientists in the middle of the issue to provide some context.

Penn State University climate scientist, Dr. Michael Mann, whose name appears in some of the stolen emails, provided me with a run-down of the emails that involve him. His responses provide some much needed context and give you an idea of just how wildly some people have blown this story out of proportion.

What follows is quotes taken directly from the stolen emails, followed by Dr. Mann’s response:

1. “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i. e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” (from Phil Jones).

Phil Jones has publicly gone on record indicating that he was using the term “trick” in the sense often used by people, as in “bag of tricks”, or “a trick to solving this problem …”, or “trick of the trade”.

In referring to our 1998 Nature article, he was pointing out simply the following: our proxy record ended in 1980 (when the proxy data set we were using terminates) so, it didn’t include the warming of the past two decades.

In our Nature-article we therefore also showed the post-1980 instrumental data that was then available through 1995, so that the reconstruction could be viewed in the context of recent instrumental temperatures. The separate curves for the reconstructed temperature series and for the instrumental data were clearly labeled.

The reference to “hide the decline” is referring to work that I am not directly associated with, but instead work by Keith Briffa and colleagues.

The “decline” refers to a well-known decline in the response of only a certain type of tree-ring data (high-latitude tree-ring density measurements collected by Briffa and colleagues) to temperatures after about 1960.

In their original article in Nature in 1998, Briffa and colleagues are very clear that the post-1960 data in their tree-ring dataset should not be used in reconstructing temperatures due to a problem known as the “divergence problem” where their tree-ring data decline in their response to warming temperatures after about 1960.

Hide” was therefore a poor word choice, since the existence of this decline, and the reason not to use the post 1960 data because of it, was not only known, but was indeed the point emphasized in the original Briffa et al Nature article. There is a summary of that article available on this NOAA site.

Sat, 2009-11-21 14:14Brendan DeMelle
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Climategate in Perspective, Featuring Isaac Newton

Climate conspriricists pounced at the opportunity yesterday to draw grandiose conclusions from the illegal hacking of private emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. 

They wasted no time declaring global warming a vast science-wing conspiracy, orchestrated by a powerful handful of white-coats who, when not publishing in reputable peer-reviewed science journals, were (gasp) emailing each other to talk shop and vent about climate skeptic “idiots” (how un-PC).

The scandalistas say little about the fact that this breach of security and publishing of private communications is a crime, content to enjoy the opportunity to cherry-pick a few lines from these internal emails to push the skeptic theory of a sinister master plan by mainstream scientists to warn humanity that man has altered the climate in dangerous ways.

The Telegraph’s resident skeptic blogger, James Delingpole, immediately labeled this episode “Climategate,” pondering whether this is “the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming.’”

Sat, 2009-11-21 11:30Kevin Grandia
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Stolen CRU emails: Who are the criminals behind the conspiracy theorists?

Former Republican strategist Marc Morano is having as much fun with the stolen emails from the Climate Research Unit that he did with the Swift Boat Veteran’s for Truth attack he led against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

Morano and his site Climate Depot has become the climate conspiracy hub since this story broke on late Thursday.

This cabal of climate deniers seems to think that 12 year-old emails between climate scientists somehow refutes the thousands of research papers produced over decades by thousands of researchers at some of the best scientific institutions in the world.

While Morano is the master of right-wing spin and is using these emails for his political agenda, the bigger question here is:

Who stole all this private data from the University in the first place?

Fri, 2009-11-20 13:33Kevin Grandia
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Climate contrarians spinning hard with stolen email files

I’ll admit, as someone who spends most days looking for leaked documents, the package of stolen emails and documents from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University is pretty juicy. Anything that provides insight into the inner-workings of your opponents is pretty much manna from heaven in this line of work.

I have been going through all the files today and I hate to disappoint but it just ain’t the scandal climate conspiracy theorists want it to be.

These emails are blissfully being spun by the climate contrarians as proof of some type of worldwide conspiracy by scientists to fake the climate change crisis. Michelle Malkin, who relishes Ann Coulter-esque statements, goes so far as to call it “the global warming scandal of the century.”

Right.

As Brad Johnson writes, it’s more likely proof that climate deniers are the crazed conspiracy theorists we always thought they were.

At the center of the conspiracy claim is a quote in a casual conversation between colleagues talking about Mike’s Nature “trick.”

They are referring to the Michael Mann hockey stick study from ten years ago that has been the subject of attacks by climate skeptic bloggers for many years now. In fact, it got so bad that the US National Academy of Sciences was called in by the US Senate to look further into the validity of the Mann study.

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