August Newsmaker Award to Steve McIntyre

Hats off to Steve McIntyre, the most effective foot soldier in the campaign to deny or downplay climate change.

Having spent the rest of August on holidays - too much of it in a Toronto traffic jam - I have been ignoring the DeSmogBlog (my apologies) and the climate change debate generally. Except for the traffic part, it's been glorious. 

Now I see that the resourceful “semiretired” mining analyst McIntyre has scored again with a statistical quibble over how NASA keeps its temperature records.

This, for the denial community, has been a clean kill. The blogs, as I read back over the month, have been alive the argument over the importance of 1998 or 1934 as the hottest year on record. Hacks and flaks like Tim Ball and Tom Harris have been crowing about “faulty data” underpinning the “global warming scare,” and legitimate science sources like have been reduced to minimizing the importance of McIntyre's discovery.

And in the midst of this torrid and mostly pointless debate, everyone has stopped talking about what we should be doing about the problem. Notwithstanding the chilling bits of evidence - the unprecedented collapse in Arctic sea ice, for example - we have gone back, once again, to arguing over whether there IS a problem.

So, congratulations to McIntyre, et al. It must be a real pleasure for them to be able to say things like Four of the 10 warmest years on record are now acknowledged to have occurred when human production of CO2 was minimal, in the 1930s.” That leaves only six of the warmest years on record (McIntyre might call that a statistically significant majority) left over to prove the point:

Folks, we need to move on. 


Nice to see you back. I was wondering if you were on a hiatus. I figure that in the grand scheme of delayed policy from governments that the error in NASA’s data analysis is unlikely to changed the allready delayed policy from governments.

“And in the midst of this torrid and mostly pointless debate, everyone has stopped talking about what we should be doing about the problem.”

Australia should elect anyone but Howard. Americans should elect Democrats. Ontario-ites should elect the party with the most Progressive environmental policy (Liberals I think, but the recently released electricity roadmap leaves them hooked on nukes until the 2030s; seems a pyrhic victory over coal…maybe if they bolstered their $650m clean fund 10x). Canadians should consider forcing an election over the environment if Harper’s throne speech doesn’t mention Kyoto or a 1.4x more expensive alternative.

Ethical investing really needs to be publicized and quantified. Those funds and companies that cost environmental capital (like keeping the future price of a loaf of bread under $5), should be rewarded with a market cap allowing them to consolidate their foresight. Those funds and stocks that exacerbate future massive refugee flows and the future spread of malaria to Southern Europe, without paying for it; such companies shouldn’t be given the resources to dole out hefty stock option gifts.

It has to be mentioned in every one of these posts that the correction only applies to the lower 48 US states. There was no appreciable change in global temperature. Any of the last 10 years are significantly warmer than anything in the (global) instrument record.

Steve McIntyre’s correction lowered the warming trend of the last 100 years in the US by approx. 20%. Not bad for one single correction that had escaped the notice of some of the world’s best climatologists for 7 years.

The question is, how good are the historical records for other larger land masses in the rest of the world? Answer: Not good. Time will tell if a closer look at surface stations overseas hold up to further scrutiny or if worldwide trends in global warming will need to be revised also. Regards,

The change was due to a transition to a different dataset with different methodology. It was not due to flaws in the data. The possibility of finding similar problems worldwide, and all of them requiring a correction in the same direction is zero.

And NOAA’s records still show 1998 as the warmest year on record, followed by 2006. 

But, it’s all moot as far as global average surface temperatures.

Again Paul, how the heck do figure that the minor NASA correction lowers temperature records in the US by 20%?? 

Richard, as cce notes the affected data was for the continental U.S. only and the global data had no perceptible change; that should be clearly stated in the post.

But while we’re on the subject of failed mining speculator McIntyre, IMHO there’s some information about his background that needs to be filled in. I made a small start to it, and then Toronto blogger BigCityLiberal did quite a bit more. Questions remain, though, such as:

– What are his true political leanings? SM claims to be politically liberal (as in sympatico with Al Gore), but the one piece of evidence BCL found seems to indicate otherwise.

– Are there other interesting details of his career in the extraction industry aside from the Dumont Nickel business failure?

– Is it possible that he’s being paid to do his present work? That he launched into it in such a major way just after the Dumont Nickel failure makes me suspicious.

– McIntyre claims to have spent time working for both the provinvial (I assume Ontario) and federal governments. Doing what, and for whom?

This bio says he was a policy analyst for both governments.

(note that I put a space in the above address to get rid of sidescroll)

He has a BSc in math, has taken economics courses and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, PPE, at Oxford for a year or two. The bio says he graduated, but nothing about a degree from Oxford.

Wiki says “PPE has traditionally been a programme pursued by those seeking a career in politics or public life”,_Politics,_and_Economics

Since that he’s been in the mining busines for 30 years; it looks like a lot of what he did was corporate management.

An excellent article on McIntyre in Environmental Science & Technology, August 31, 2005: “How the Wall Street Journal and Rep. Barton celebrated a global-warming skeptic”

Quite a few links there, and one of the sidebars says:

A number of reports have noted strong ties between climate skeptics and oil company, ExxonMobil. In his biography and in news coverage, McIntyre is reported to be a former director of several small public mineral exploration companies. But in 2003, the annual report of CGX Energy, Inc., an oil and gas exploration company, listed McIntyre as a “strategic advisor”.

While investigating this story, ES&T contacted CGX Energy and asked to speak with Stephen McIntyre. A secretary responded that she did not think that he worked in the building but that contact information could be left and McIntyre would call back. McIntyre admits to ES&T that he “occasionally consults” for the company, but he says he is not funded by industry.

“I’ve earned some money,” he says, “and I can indulge an eccentric hobby.”

I forgot that not all html works here. The BigCityLib link is

Thanks for those links, VJ. I remain suspicious about aspects of McIntyre’s background, however.

You boys are right to be suspicious, and a thorough investigation of McIntyre by the cunning sleuths at Desmogblog is called for. For all we know, McIntyre may even be a Jew!

Oh hell, let’s just say he is anyway.

It doesn’t matter whether McIntyre is a Jew or not. (With that name, though, he’s bound to be a Scot.) All what is found by DeSmogBlog, though is that McIntyre is often wrong, has no real climate science background, and has ties to the fossil fuel industry which has spent millions of dollars funding a campaign of misinformation, outright lies, confusion, and obfuscation with respect to AGW for years and years.

Whatever McIntrye’s credentials and background, NASA took him seriously when he pointed out their sloppy work. It’s results that matter and McIntyre gets results.

The reference to “the jooooos” was to illustrate the idiotic fervour you Global Warming cultists have for rooting out your ideological enemies. It is the same frothing enthusiasm the brownshirts had for discrediting their scapegoats.

I don’t know how it could be anymore obvious, though evidently, not to you.

From the Papal Inquisitions, to Soviet show-trials, to the Mcarthy hearings. You bufoons are cut from the same cloth. Only you are more pathetic.

From your ire at the outing & identification of GW deniers, it seems likely you are a troll operating under yet another nom-de-web.

As is well known, the deniers are not above using a whole range of sneaky tactics to deceive the unwary.

Haven’t you realised? These feeble tricks are unlikely to go unnoticed here for long!
As a non scientist, I find it certainly helps to know who is likely to be spinning a yarn. Just like it’s useful to take a mine detector with you before walking across a mine-field! Because it’s so inconvenient to find-out the hard way!

It’s strange how many resort to using such utterly craptastic sources of pseudo-science like Crichton’s ”State of Fear”, the OISM ”Review” and other merde du jour.

Why can’t you people use science published in a peer-reviewed journal?

ERM - perhaps Energy & Environment and the WSJ are about as close most contrarians get to peer-review!

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Please correct me if I’m wrong, so now this error has been corrected and therefore global warming is now all over?

So that’s why global temperatures are still increasing, glaciers melting and ice sheets thinning.

All this humbug over this error is just that: HUMBUG!

Personally, like most people, I wish that GW would just go away, sadly this is just wishful thinking!

Shame about that error though!