Richard Littlemore

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Co-author (with Jim Hoggan) of the award-winning Climate Cover-up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, Richard has been Editor of the DeSmogBlog since its inception in 2005. Originally a newspaper reporter (the Ottawa Citizen, the Winnipeg Tribune, the Vancouver Sun), Richard has, since 1995, split his career between magazine journalism, activism and politics and corporate communications. On projects specific to climate change, he wrote the David Suzuki Foundation’s first public information package on global warming in 1996, was vice-chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's Air Quality Committee in 1996 and 1997 and sat as a delegate to the Canadian government's (failed) Kyoto Implementation Process from 1997 to 1999. Richard is a regular speech writer for many business and academic leaders.

CSI Charges Mann-attackers with Perjury

Okay, it’s the wrong CSI logo (this actually comes from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), but phony skepticism should be a crime.

Regardless, you should rush on over to the CSI website for a story entitled,”Mann Bites Dog: Why ‘Climategate’ Was Newsworthy.” It’s written by the New Mexico physicist Mark Boslough, who combines a knowledge of science with a breezy writing style - and an appropriately harsh judgment of those who misrepresent science for a living.

A Look Back on Climate Disinformation

Writing on his Dot.Earth blog, the New York Times’ Andy Revkin passes on a long and insightful quote from the historian Dr. Spencer Weart, to looks back from a dark future to analyse what happened in the early part of the 20th century to bring the world to ruin.

It’s well worth the read and is something of a credit to Revkin, who quoted the passage regardless of references like: “… the media coverage represented a new low” and “even in leading newspapers like The New York Times, critics with a long public record for animosity and exaggeration were quoted as experts.”

But then for most of his career, Revkin has been a little like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, fallible, but still the a leading voice for reason - at his paper and among most North American newspapers.

China Condemns "Conniving" Canadians

Canada’s (Trash-the-)Environment Minister Prentice Denies Charge

The Guardian has turned up a leaked document from a Chinese think tank that condemns Canada for being “devoted to conniving” at the international climate conference in Copenhagen last December.

According to The Guardian, the Chinese text says that Canada spent the conference trying, “to convince the world that its pledge of a 3% emissions reduction between 1990 and 2020 is significant, while having no intention of meeting its Kyoto protocol target of 6%.”

Canada’s “Environment” Minister Jim Prentice took issue with that characterization:

“Canada has always been completely open, completely transparent and we have been constructive,” Prentice told Canwest News Service. “We have not been conniving.”

That said, Canada has indeed abandoned its Kyoto commitments and recent reports suggest that it has no plan to reach the 3% target (20% below 2006) that it has been promising more recently.

China gets it: The future belongs to low carbon industries

The international fight on climate change is a contest for economic development space, China’s chief climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua said recently.

Xie, who is also China’s vice-minister for the National Development and Reform commission, said:

“Countries with low-carbon industries will have a developmental advantage. Some people believe this is a global competition as significant as the space race in the cold war. “

This, woefully, is a message lost on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is fighting to keep Canada “an emerging energy superpower” devoted to one of the most carbon-intensive energy industries on earth.

Hmmm? I wonder who’s going to come out ahead here?

Guardian Series Dissects CRU Email Theft Story

Fred Pearce at The Guardian has produced a brilliant, 12-part series on the circumstances and implications of the email theft from the University of East Anglia.

The series tracks the whole story and is bluntly critical in its analysis and treatment of some of the now-embarrassed climate scientists who featured the emails. Pearce also looks gingerly at the likely suspects among those who may have been involved in the thefts and who, at the very least, were aggressive in disseminating the emails.

Most importantly, Pearce puts the whole sideshow into context, saying “Nothing uncovered in the emails destroys the argument that humans are warming the planet.” And later, “Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it.”

Wegman's Report Highly Politicized - and Fatally Flawed

“Independent” Hockey Stick analysis revealed as Republican set-up

The purportedly independent report that Dr. Edward Wegman prepared in 2006 for the Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce was actually a partisan set-up, according to information revealed today.

Wegman, who had presented himself as an impartial “referee” between two “teams” debating the quality of the so-called Hockey Stick graph was, in fact, coached throughout his review by Republican staffer Peter Spencer. Wegman and his colleagues also worked closely with one of the teams (and especially with retired mining stock promoter Stephen McIntyre) to try to replicate criticism of the Hockey Stick graph, while at the same time foregoing contact with the actual authors of the seminal climate reconstruction.

The Hockey Stick refers to a graph (by Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes) that became a defining image of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It also became a target for Steve McIntyre and the Guelph University economist Ross McKitrick, who since 2002, at least, has been a paid spokesperson for ExxonMobil-backed think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Fraser Institute.

Plagiarism? Conspiracies? Felonies? Breaking out the Wegman File

Did Edward Wegman’s team commit plagiarism in preparing its 2006 Congressional report on the so-called MBH Hockey Stick? Objectively, yes.

Is there a conspiracy to confuse and distort climate science? Absolutely. If you doubt it, read the John Mashey paper attached (or our book, Climate Cover-up).

Have any crimes been committed? That’ll be for a judge to decide. But given that misleading Congress is a felony offense, there might be some justifable nervousness among the people who coached Wegman through his attack on the scientistists behind the Hockey Stick.

The inspiration for these questions, and some fodder for the answers, is presented in painstaking and well-documented detail in the attached paper (see new version 1.0.1, updated Feb 11, 2010). Prepared by the computer scientist and entrepreneur John Mashey, it is a roadmap, a reference source and a timeline for the campaign of deceit that began in the 1990s and has come to something of a crescendo with the recent thefts of the East Anglia emails.

McIntyre and McKitrick Unmasked

Hockey stick bashers revealed as industry goons

In a painstakingly documented review of the disinformation campaign led by the retired mining promoter Stephen McIntyre and the Fraser Institute economist-for-hire Ross McKitrick, Deep Climate has shown how badly manipulated - and how badly overblown - the so-called “hockey stick controversy” has been in the last seven or eight years.

DC also shows the complicity of think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Fraser Institute and, perhaps especially, the Canadian journalistic centre of climate change denial, the National Post.

The questionable tactics that McIntyre and McKitrick have used to discredit excellent scientists like Penn State Michael Mann have been on the record for some time. But DC is a tireless researcher, whose patience and hard work are amply demonstrated in this new post. It becomes increasingly clear that while scientists have been building an un undeniable case for the science of global warming, M&M have been working hand-in-hand with people like the denier PR guru Tom Harris to deny it all, anyway.

This post should be mandatory reading for any mainstream media reporter who wants a fair briefing on the integrity of the various voices so often quoted on this story.

Douglass and Christy: Bad science; disingenuous commentary

David Douglass and John Christy (inset) are lousy scientists who flee from structured, peer-reviewed debate and then generously misrepresent the facts in opinion pieces published by ideologically driven websites; at least, that’s the inevitable conclusion from an open letter (attached) from Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientist Ben Santer.

Santer is more measured in his language and criticism. He doesn’t call Douglass et al “lousy scientists,” but he points out with great care that their science is lousy. In particular, a paper that they had written in the International Journal of Climatology with B.D. Pearson and S. Fred Singer was flawed by a statistical error so egregious that it should never have seen the light of day.

After a writing team led by Santer ripped the article apart – carefully, methodically – Douglass and Christy howled about imagined censorship and manipulation in scientific publishing, but made no actual effort to respond in the journal in question, preferring to take their complaints to websites where no one would double-check their facts.

Now, they have used the theft of the East Anglia emails to revive their complaints, wondering aloud on the right-wingy website American Thinker about whether there is A Climatology Conspiracy?

Climate Cover-up "a convincing and riveting tale of conspiracy " - Nature

We’re delighted to report that the journal Nature has just published a very flattering review of Climate Cover-up.

Reviewer Candis Callison, an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia, writes:

(DeSmogBlog co-founder James) Hoggan and Littlemore’s arguments will not be new to followers of climate-change debates, but their narrative deftly exposes a landscape of denial that is unrelenting, extensive, international and tactically rich. It is a convincing and riveting tale of conspiracy that gives context to the e-mails leaked last year from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and the besieged sense one gets from the communications of scientists caught in the vortex of efforts to unseat their research.

Callison wraps up the review with this:

Climate Cover-Up tackles brilliantly the strategies deployed when messages that are “tested for effectiveness, but not accuracy” are used to spread doubt about climate change. The authors’ solution is to offer a prescription for navigating expertise and to demand leadership with the courage to act. To use their metaphor, this is what is needed before we all end up like lemmings, plunging over the cliff together.

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