Tim Ball: Your source for lies, slander and misleading climate "science"

Tue, 2010-03-30 14:30Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Tim Ball: Your source for lies, slander and misleading climate "science"

Dr. Tim Ball, a man famous for lying about his resume, and for denying that he quite willingly works for oil-funded think tanks, nevertheless continues to find an audience, slandering actual climate scientists and misrepresenting - in the most manipulative way - the state of climate science.

His most recent attack is all the more stunning for having been launched during a week when the British House of Commons released a report exonerating one of Ball’s targets, Dr. Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the East Anglia University.

In one of Ball’s regular contributions to the conspiracy-theory website Canada Free Press, he begins with this:

“Few understand the extent of corrupted science produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Data was altered, or completely ignored and research deliberately directed to prove their claim that humans were causing global warming.”

Ball’s evidence for the charge of “corrupted science”? None, really. His proof that data were altered or ignored? Zero. Rather, Ball goes on to build a complicated case about whether the best climate scientists in the world are subject to “groupthink.”

To Ball’s credit, this actually feels for a while like a careful analysis. He pulls out the usual symptoms of groupthink (as originally described by Irving Janus) and then cherry picks apparently relevant quotes from the now-famous stolen East Anglia emails to support his argument.

But even here Ball screws it up. In fact, his quotes often completely disprove his thesis. Take this section for example:

Not expressing your true feelings. On the October 14, 2009 (Kevin) Trenberth expresses something to Tom Wigley that none of them ever dared say in public. (“)How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are nowhere close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”

A travesty? If this is Kevin Trenberth hiding his true feelings, you probably don’t want to be around when he lets loose. But then, Ball knows full well that the conversation among these scientists has been blistering, forthright and sometimes harshly critical. He quoted this excerpt from Dr. Keith Briffa in a previous CFP article:

I have just read this lettter (sic) - and I think it is crap. I am sick to death of Mann stating his reconstruction represents the tropical area just because it contains a few (poorly temperature representative) tropical series. …

On 22nd September 1999 Briffa again confronted Mann in a long email that included the comment, “I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago.” Treasonous words for Mann’s hockey stick paper that claimed no medieval warm period existed. Mann appeared to back off. He wrote, “Walked into this hornet’s nest this morning! Keith and Phil (Jones) have both raised some very good points.”

There seems little evidence here of groupthink. Rather, it seems that these guys are fiercely critical of one another and - in the case of Mann, especially - incredibly big about hearing that criticism and responding in a professional manner.

Of course, it might be easy for Mann to be big. He has been vindicated not just by a committee of review at his own university (Penn State), but also by steadily accumulating body of science that has confirmed the accuracy of his iconic “hockey stick” graph.

The annoying part is that Ball knows this - or he would if he had even a passing interest in climate science. His interest, however, appears limited to self promotion and to doing the bidding of his corporate funders.

The frightening part is that people keep listening to him. Ball recently enjoyed a little airtime on a regional Joy TV program called The Standard, to which he was invited by the producer Jonathan Roth. When questioned recently as to why he chose Ball, Roth said he couldn’t find anyone else who would stand up for the “other side” in the climate change “debate.”

That should tell you something. If this is the best spokester available - if you have to rely on someone whose record for accuracy and integrity is decidedly in the dumpster - wouldn’t that be a reasonable time to conclude that the “debate” is a sham?

Rhetorical question. Woeful that people like Roth are still struggling with the answer.