The view from
- the knowledgeable and informed
- the rational and sane
- the climate change Deniers
In keeping up with the theft and release of the emails from the Climate Research Unit I have collected a number of posts that did not fit into any of themes I have planned, but which are of interest regardless. It struck me that they do form a sort of survey of the story as it is seen from different perspectives, so I offer it as such.
the knowledgeable and informed
Probably the most important post in the last couple of days has been the official statements from the University of East Anglia and the Climate Research Unit.The part that interested me most was that dealing with Freedom of Information requests because, as far as I can gather from the whole business, it was the one area where the participants might have played a little fast and loose.
“In relation to the specific requests at issue here, we have handled and responded to each request in a consistent manner in compliance with the appropriate legislation. No record has been deleted, altered, or otherwise dealt with in any fashion with the intent of preventing the disclosure of all, or any part, of the requested information. Where information has not been disclosed, we have done so in accordance with the provisions of the relevant legislation and have so informed the requester.”
Of course official communiques are not always the most reliable source of information in the world, but I have the feeling that the Pro-Vice-Chancellor made it clear to one and all that he better have the truth before he put himself out there, or someone’s vitals were going to be slow roasted while they were still wearing them.
Newsweek interviewed James Hansen about the story, and surprise surprise, he reaches the same conclusion as every other thinking scientist: James Hansen: Climate Change Evidence ‘Overwhelming,’ Hacked E-mails ‘Indicate Poor Judgement’
For your convenience, the following 6 points each links to the corresponding section of this post:
The scientific consensus on climate change remains strong.
The impacts of catastrophic climate change continue to rear their ugly head.
Hacking into private computer files is illegal.
All of the emails were taken out of context.
The story is being pushed by far-right conspiracy theorists.
Scientists are human beings and they talk frankly amongst themselves.
Bart Verheggen reminds us that if the Deniers actually had any scientific case they would be talking about it instead. This whole charade is because they have nothing rational, so in desperation they try the irrational:
What do you do if you don’t agree with the science (or with the perceived political implications thereof), but don’t have any real evidence to back up your position?
You could try breaking in the computer system of a renowned institute, to then release the stolen emails and documents via internet.
Bart has also been doing a blgosphere survey ‘Climategate’ blogstorm with some interesting “finds” which I won’t repeat.
The Intersection takes a different tack to expose how scientificaly irrelevant the emails are in The “ClimateGate” Burden of Proof:
Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that all of the worst and most damning interpretations of these exposed emails are accurate. I don’t think this is remotely true, but let’s assume it.
Even if this is the case, it does not prove the following :
1) The scientists whose emails have been revealed are representative of or somehow a proxy for every other climate scientist on the planet.
2) The studies that have been called into questions based on the emails (e.g., that old chestnut the “hockey stick”) are somehow the foundations of our concern about global warming, and those concerns stand or fall based on those studies.
However, “Why the “Recent Lack of Warming” and the “Hockey Stick” Matter is a relevant post by the Texas State Climatologist discussing the importance of “the Hockey Stick” as an education tool. It clarified for me why this particular piece of evidence causes such rabid frothing among the spittle spewers.
Notwithstanding the scientific irrelevance of the hack, it is significant for two reasons. First there is the obvious political impact as some of the public are shaken by this. Then there is what Mark Lynas titled “Leaked emails mark dangerous shift in climate denial strategy. Instead of targeting high-profile science communicators like Al Gore, climate deniers are now encouraging mistrust of those who collect and interpret global warming data. (First published by the Guardian.)“
That can act as a segue to future posts, but it’s an excellent point worth marking now; the battle may be moving to a different field and we need to be prepared for it.
the rational and sane
As far as I can tell the broad masses are as indifferent to the Deniers are they are to the issue itself, which is a mixed blessing at best. It still begs the question as to what the “thinking public” are saying? Here’s a few finds.
Letter to a Global Warming Denier is an interesting read from someone who admits “I don’t understand the science of global warming and, chances are, neither do you.” and comes to the perfectly rational conclusion that “The potential of a Christopher Horner to make bogus claims on behalf of cynical interests seems to me greater than the potential that an I.P.C.C. might muster the support of thousands of cynical scientists from around the world in order to advance a vast left-wing conspiracy.” It’s a good example of how someone who does not understand any of the science can still make sense of the issue.
The title immediately attracted me to Peter Ryley’s Taking a leak and I was treated to a quick analysis of the Denier claims as typical conspiracy obsessive’s muddled thinking with which he has professional expertise. We need him deconstructing at a lot more of the Denier memes.
“The East Anglia Climate Research Unit’s scientists disagreed in some particulars, and used peer-review to resolve them (and continue to do so). No one is paying them to cover up evidence that climate change isn’t real or isn’t caused by humans — but they are conducting science the way that scientists do.”
and makes some good points in the follow up More Insight on Those Leaked Climate Change Emails:
1) Evidence of vast conspiracy is sorely lacking. Ditto evidence disproving the scientific consensus on climate change. This isn’t the “nail in the coffin” of anything. However, the emails do prompt some legit questions about transparency and how professional researchers respond to criticism in the age of the armchair scientist.
2) Theft is bad. But if you’re a researcher who can explain context to the general public, decrying theft shouldn’t be your primary objective right now.
3) [to Deniers] The Mainstream Media is covering this. They just might not be covering it the way you want, and that’s probably a good thing.
Thoughtful, rational, accurate. I just hope this is representative of a broad demographic.
the climate change Deniers
Other than having seizures of ecstasy under the misapprehension that the emails actually prove anything, and cross posting every rant that any of them spew, cf Lynas (new strategy) the Denialosphere is:
Not only are the Deniers trying to sell a dead parrot as a Thoroughbred racing horse, now they are trying to get it to breed. Wattsupmybutt reports that Uh, oh – raw data in New Zealand tells a different story than the “official” one, but Gareth Renowden does a lovely job of exposing the lie and the liars:
None of these cranks should be accorded any respect in future. By their words shall we know them, and their words show them to be ignorant, bullying fools. De Freitas should withdraw and apologise, or resign from his post at Auckland University, and if Treadgold, Dunleavy, McShane, Leyland,or any other member of the NZ CSC want to partake in public debate on the subject of climate science, they should expect derision to be heaped on them and their views.
But of course that is not the only attempt to spread the imaginary plague. In “The real Hadley Centre might not be so innocent” Terry Hurlbut seeks to demonstrate that the Hadley Centre is also guilty of the same crimes as CRU (ie none, but in the Denier mind …). The line of alleged reasoning is as follows:
- First and foremost, the Met Office Hadley Centre (HC) has a reputation for climate alarmism
- Second, as GreenWiseBusiness has noted with approval, the HC frequently collaborates with an institution identified as “the University of East Anglia” but in all probability the CRU.
- Third, Peter Stott, one of the HC’s most prominent scientists, was addressed, copied, or otherwise mentioned no less than twenty-eight times in the e-mails contained in the CRU archive.
As a study of the irrational this is priceless, including the logical errors:
- Bulverism, he assumes as true what they actually most need to prove, ie that climate science is wrong and/or that the science was ever tampered with;
- Correlation equals causation ie assumes that if they are both “alarmist” then it is caused by fraud in both cases. While it is actually true that their stance is the same for the same reason, the reason is that they know the facts and are capable of rational thought; a foreign concept to Terry Hurlbut it seems.
- Guilt by association, ie that the two centres cooperated on climate research. There’s a shock, two research Institutes studying the same thing cooperate … clearly something nefarious there;
- and that Stott received some of the emails in question. There is so much illogic/distortion here it needs to be parsed further;
- Which emails?
- Most of the emails are totally innocent to even the most disturbed mind; were those the ones Stott got?
- Even the ones that the Deniers are having a hissy fit about don’t actually show anything of substance;
- We’re guilty because of emails we receive? who even reads all of the emails they are cc’ed?
- We’re guilty if we’re mentioned in an email? mentioned doing what? anything?
- Which emails?
and on it goes. It’s really quite an unbelievable example of hysteria fueled incoherence. I particularly love the “received emails”; has Hurlbut ever received a 419 scam email? AHA! guilty of fraud!
Equally irrational and blatantly politically motivated is the attempt to involve John Holdren because he sent Michael Mann one of the emails (which says absolutely nothing that isn’t totally innocent, of course). Let me guess, and a girl in Holdren’s grade four class went on to be an extra in a movie with … Kevin Bacon!
What? no mention of Paul Hudson who was also cc’ed copies of emails? Whoops, sorry. That would be logical and consistent behaviour … what was I thinking? The Wingnut desperation is too stupid for words.
Speaking of irrational, Taranto at the Wall Street Journal opens with “The massive University of East Anglia global-warmist archives …” so you can tell where that is going. He states “one of the most damning findings in the archives concerns the corruption of the peer-review process.” That would be the finding that there is no actual evidence for, and indeed may have been ethically correct behaviour.
From there he does a wish list of possible criminal charges (in your dreams doughboy), and ends with “This promises be a boon for comedians …” Like Taranto you mean? because real journalists recognized right away there was no substantive story here.
Since only a raving ideologue or the very simple minded could imagine the emails say anything about the actual science being corrupt, much less exposed as a hoax, it’s given that those who are simple minded raving ideologues are on the band wagon. Predictably the Senator from Hee Haw, Lord HaHa, and Dr Huh? are making statements that we can only hope are actionable with lawsuits, (here, here, and here).
On the bright side, the various Denier aggregators are no longer “All Climategate all of the time”, so maybe even they are getting bored with it.
“Over the 20th century, ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic main development region warmed during peak hurricane season, with the most pronounced warming occurring over the last four decades.” Earth Gauge
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