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Is climate change consensus collapsing?

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“Hacked” emails may shed new light on scientific community

I’ve had a busy day today helping shop for Christmas, primarily with “Junior” in mind and also doing some heavy processing of pictures of an engine bay from a large motor, but I had not intended to make a post today. However the revelations over the past few days about the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the “hacked” emails prompted me to take a look around the mainstream media and the other local environmental blogs in South Shields to try and find out what all the fuss was about.

Essentially the CRU appears to have been at the least complicit in an underhand campaign to modify data to suit the climate change agenda, and the scenario plays nicely into the hands of the sceptics who are more used by now to being labelled deniers. Without any great surprise I learn that the BBC treats the story as any other sort of data loss news and quickly relegated it down the pages and buried it, likewise The Times, and The Guardian quickly found someone to turn the tables by Sunday.

I am admittedly one of those still waiting to be wholly and fully convinced that any global warming is primarily caused by the human race burning fossil fuels and overloading the upper atmosphere with greenhouse gases, I too am sceptical that a new quasi religion has spread throughout the western liberal world and found an ideal way to raise additional taxation to spend as politicians please, and more to the point blame us for causing them to do it. I am one who wonders why contrary arguments are derided as though they were propounded by heretics and that scientists with alternate theories over global temperature change cannot find ways to have their work peer reviewed, or are removed from committees and symposiums as though they are suffering from leprosy.

Little wonder then that this particular story is being quickly dropped by the mainstream media and television stations in particular, if the released emails are genuine, and so far nobody has made a firm denial that they are, then it would be appropriate as former Chancellor Lord Lawson suggests today that a fully independent inquiry into the climate change methodologies used by British scientists should be launched immediately.

Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that (a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals.

There may be a perfectly innocent explanation. But what is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British government, but other countries, too, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question. And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished. A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay.

Healthy reasoned debate needs to take place between the scientists and the politicians in an effort to ascertain finally whether or not there is a real consensus or whether it was always bogus. James Delingpole at The Daily Telegraph has already stuck his neck out and started a discussion calling it “Climategate (yuk) how the MSM reported the greatest scandal in modern science”, and had a further 400 odd contributors in this article. Iain Dale was one of those who started the ball rolling in the blogosphere and he has linked to Devil’s Kitchen where there is a mass of posts about the CRU affair including news that the Tax Payers Alliance is to report the University of East Anglia’s CRU to the Information Commissioner for what appears to be a deliberate attempt to breach the Freedom of Information Act.

Bishop Hill is busy trawling through the emails with painstaking effort, you can find a searchable database of them here.

Steve McIntyre the renowned climate change sceptic says in this post that the biggest loser is science itself and that the “peer review” system can no longer be trusted:

The next global warming believer who raises “peer review” as a defence of global warming deserves to be metaphorically tarred and feathered and laughed at for the rest of his or her natural life.

In a separate post he revealed that:

The director of Britain’s leading Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones, has told Investigate magazine’s TGIF Edition tonight that his organization has been hacked, and the data flying all over the internet appears to be genuine.

In an exclusive interview, Jones told TGIF, “It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails.”

So we know that the emails were genuine, and that data has been amended, that FOI requests have been interfered with and results skewed or even deleted, journals have been destroyed and sceptical scientists have had their university affiliations denied, and these are just at the tip of a very large iceberg!

So wanting to know how South Shields environmental activists were reacting to the “death of science” this weekend, I went in search of comment at Tyne Dock Green, Rossinisbird, Shirley Ford, and the South Tyneside Green Party, sadly they haven’t found time to address the issue. However, I ought to reiterate what some in the climate change camp are saying, and that is that the hacked emails do not in themselves prove any conspiracy exists, and that the scientists are not proven to be in the pay of some multi-national secretive group driving a hidden agenda. I do say though, that what they do reveal is a real need for more openness and honesty with public and politicians, and a methodology which plays directly into the hands of those who are yet to be convinced.

I am not surprised in the least that this has not become the major news story over the weekend, after all a climate disaster that breaks bridges in Cumbria is far more important than a few scientists fiddling the figures used by politicians to raise revenues all over the western world. Nor am I surprised that the new spin on the story is all about the ethics and legality of the release of the emails – funny there were no such responses when emails were leaked from politicians surrounding the Prime Minister, politicians are fair game scientists and academics apparently are not.

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Written by curly

November 23, 2009 at 10:00 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Peer review works. If you have such a poor opinion on peer review, then why don’t you choose your own medications? I mean, all that peer reviewed research to provide you with life saving drugs and medical treatment must be suspect?

    rossinisbird

    November 24, 2009 at 1:27 am

    • It works fine until some branches of the scientific community decide to throw ethics out of the window, and virtual prohibit their brothers from submitting work for review. Once we start altering data to suit and removing accreditations from some scientists, the whole affair becomes nastily skewed and ethically suspect.

      Here’s an interesting piece about the alternate theory, that the IPCC folks don’t wish us to know too much about.

      curly

      November 24, 2009 at 9:27 am

  2. To answer the question you ask directly, No! The consensus amongst scientists on man made climate change is not collapsing. That would require a body of published scientific research. If a group of scientists could produce such evidence their research would be handsomely rewarded by the fossil fuel industry.

    I am delighted that you at last now recognise, as indicated in your post title, that a consensus on climate change does exist.

    Bryan

    November 24, 2009 at 10:32 am

  3. “If a group of scientists could produce such evidence their research”

    Would you like to rephrase that to “If a group of scientists were allowed to produce such evidence their research” in light of the recent developments?

    curly

    November 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

  4. Wikipedia articles that should record this event in a neutral and balanced manner, with journalist-written sources (best to discuss on the talk page, don’t just start editing directly):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_e-mail_hacking_incident
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Jones_(climatologist)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_E._Mann
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy

    gravamen

    November 24, 2009 at 1:30 pm

  5. Curly, don’t you see you’ve painted yourself into a corner? Given your clear mistrust of scientists, why would you trust scientists who produced coherent evidence that the climate wasn’t being affected by our activities?

    rossinisbird

    November 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    • Rossinisbird are you intent upon continuing your failure to address the issues revealed by the disclosure of the activities of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit?
      I will trust climate change scientology just as soon as I can see total open transparent disclosure of their methods, data capture, predictive models, and findings without fear of the data or findings being manipulated or altered in any way to suit a predicted outcome. When their peers can openly publish contrary argument without fear of losing status or university accreditation at the hands of a few who pull the strings. In other words, when they appear to be as clean and honest as other branches of the scientific community.

      I was hoping that you would not have a problem confronting and addressing the issues at the CRU.

      curly

      November 24, 2009 at 8:04 pm

  6. You’ll be delighted to know that I’ve posted on the subject over at the Tyne Dock Green blog.
    http://tynedockgreen.blogspot.com/2009/11/is-curlys-conspiracy-theory-collapsing.html

    Bryan

    November 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm

  7. Check out this article:

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/tech-mainmenu-30/environment/2337-scientists-say-whoa-on-climate-legislation

    Not saying I agree with it, but it does offer a perspective.

    David Potts

    November 25, 2009 at 1:51 pm

  8. curly, people like rossini who are ardent supporters of the unproven theory that global warming is man made can only deny everything that opposes the man made warming myth, he has advocated it for years, and to admit that the scientists have got it wrong and have lied would be of a great embaressment to rossini, and in cases such as that, stupidity rules over commonsense.

    your wrong rossini, get over it.

    madmarvin

    November 25, 2009 at 4:35 pm

  9. global warming scientists contradict themselves, scientists say…[Ozone (O3) high in the atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun, thereby protecting living organisms below from this dangerous radiation. The term ‘ozone hole’ refers to recent depletion of this protective layer over Earth’s polar regions. People, plants, and animals living under the ozone hole are harmed by the solar radiation now reaching the Earth’s surface—where it causes health problems from eye damage to skin cancer.

    The ozone hole, however, is not the mechanism of global warming. Ultraviolet radiation represents less than one percent of the energy from the sun—not enough to be the cause of the excess heat from human activities. Global warming is caused primarily from putting too much carbon into the atmosphere when coal, gas, and oil are burned to generate electricity or to run our cars. These gases spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space.

    ok, now get this……..

    [over 90% of greenhouse gas is water vapour and falls back to earth, this happens on a daily basis]

    first they say that greenhouse gasses are depleting the ozone layer, and the ozone layer absorbs ultra violet radiation, but..

    IF these greenhouse gasses “spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space.”…

    then it stands to reason that these dangerous greenhouse gasses have already passed through the ozone layer in order to trap the ultraviolet radiation, because if it didn’t pass through the ozone layer, then the dangerous radiation would have already been deflected which means that the greenhouse gasses never got a chance to trap the radiation..

    and if the so-called greenhouse gasses have already passed upward through the ozone layer, what is suppose to be stopping the greenhouse gasses from continueing up further into the atmosphere and dissipating into space the same way it has for billions of years ?

    the answer to that is “nothing”, nothing is stopping the gasses from escaping further up into the atmosphere.

    and if in the case of greenhouse gasses being trapped in the atmosphere, then how come our planet didn’t burn up billions of years ago, surely millions of years of volcanic activity would have built up enough c02 and dangerous greenhouse gasses to destroy the ozone layer and the earth…..

    another thing is that the ozone is always replenishing itself, ozone is being recreated ALL the time, thats why cfc’s are not a problem either, cfc gasses pass through the ozone and breaks down to its basic components when bombarded by ultraviolet radiation, scientists say that one base component “chlorine” drops back down through the ozone layer, one chlorine atom can destroy hundreds of thousands of ozone atoms, im sure they can prove that point in a laborotry, but they cant prove that the chlorine actually falls back through the ozone layer, and its a moot point anyway, because the oceans and the earth itself releases chlorine into the atmosphere anyway, and it has done for billions of years, so if chlorine was a problem, then why hasn’t the earth already become a burnt up ball bereft of life eons ago ?

    and if greenhouse gasses are such a “global” problem, then why is there only “ozone thinning” (as opposed to an actual hole) found at the poles ? (which even global alarmists admit is a seasonal event) why isn’t there ozone holes/thinnings found all around the globe ?

    ozone can be found anywhere between 10 and 50 thousand feet up, so i find it ludicrous that scientists can claim that there is less ozone than in previous decades, measuring accurately would be impossible, these global warming scientists are either very inept at there job, or they are liars, many of them are possibly both, and as for the real cause of global warming, look up solar flares.

    madmarvin

    November 25, 2009 at 4:37 pm

  10. Curly, why are you avoiding my point? Either you take the scientific method seriously or you don’t. That is the key here. If you don’t trust the scientific method then you should stop taking those meds your doctor prescribed to you on the strength of research and peer review. Or is your position, like Marvin’s, defined by confirmation bias?

    Gravamen, how many denial blogs have you spammed with that now?

    rossinisbird

    November 25, 2009 at 10:25 pm

  11. It is too difficult to take the scientific approach seriously at the CRU, as evidence mounts over peer review processes that have been “nobbled”. Besides, by failing to appreciate the amount of harm this does to the global warming debate and good science in general, and taking such an entrenched view, you make yourself appear like a zealous religious follower with blind faith – not like you!

    Anyway, what do you think of the way that Liz Hunt puts it?

    curly

    November 26, 2009 at 10:50 am

  12. Would a religious zealot wait for actual evidence of cover up and fraud and at least an explanation from those involved, or would he shout conspiracy and demand that heads should roll? As yet there’s no evidence that any of the work of the CRU presented to the IPCC is fraudulent. Additionally, even if it is fraudulent then it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the evidence presented to the IPCC is soiled.

    Like Monbiot, you seem to have decided on a presumption of guilt and wrongdoing on the basis of emails without any idea of context, and joined the rest of the right wing Inquisition.

    If it is found that there has been dishonesty at the CRU then I will join you in condemning those involved as they do science no favours. But in the meantime you should try and stay objective and keep and open mind.

    As for Liz Hunt, she has too much confidence in Lawson being an objective voice. He isn’t.

    rossinisbird

    November 26, 2009 at 8:09 pm


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