Wednesday, December 02, 2009


An email received:

"I called CNBC yesterday and asked them that since climate data had been falsified that they should alert investors on their potential exposure/risk to owning or buying energy and environmental stocks. There was dead silence on the phone for a few seconds until I gave examples on their special guests' interviews on global warming issues and how they can capitalize on climate change. If your emails go all over the country, why not suggest to your email readers to call CNBC and start asking questions about why they are silent on this issue. Their telephone is 201-735-2622"

Modeller thinks fraud is normal

But climate modelling is itself a fraud. It pretends to a skill it does not have. Excerpt below from an interview with an alleged scientist who says of the leaked CRU emails: "All scientists know that this kind of language and kidding goes on verbally all the time". It is "kidding" to hide your data? By this guy's definition I am not one of his "all scientists". I have had 200+ papers published in the academic journals of social science but I have never heard that "kind of language and kidding" from colleagues.

But he also believes in tree rings as an index of temperature so he is just a fool, a conventional fool but a fool nonetheless. Vision-impared Freddy knows that SEVERAL factors impact tree-rings. But that is not the funny bit. He does NOT believe in tree-ring data after about 1960, because it indicates a temperature decline! So after 1960, thermometer data only is used. His own findings show that tree-rings disagree with thermometers but he still uses them as an index of temperature! He is more than a fool. He is another one of the frauds -- a white-haired fraud but a fraud nonetheless

Now, on to Professor North, a physicist who specializes in investigating the causes of climate change through the use of various types of computer models, among other techniques. He is especially well-qualified to comment on this controversy because of his role in investigating the work of one of the key players in the e-mail flap, Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Andrew Freedman: What are your thoughts on the significance of this scandal, both in terms of what it may mean scientifically and for public perceptions of climate science?
Gerald North: Scientifically, it means little. All scientists know that this kind of language and kidding goes on verbally all the time. Some of us forget that email has the potential to become public at any time. The public perception is another matter. There may be some people who do not know any scientist personally and think they are lily pure, dedicated (do-gooder) nerds. These private comments might lead to less confidence in science. It is a shame, since our country is so scientifically illiterate and is easily swayed by perceptions that have little to do with scientific method and culture. They have very little influence on my opinion.

AF: Do these hacked e-mails make you question the "consensus" on climate change at all, or to a greater extent perhaps than you did before?
GN: I accept the IPCC [U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] procedure of assessment. It is not perfect, but it is probably the best we can do in learning the state of the science at an instant in time. It employs people who work actively in the field. Sometimes they are assessing their own work - egos clash. They are drawn together in workshops; then they separate to write the chapters of the report. There is a huge amount of anonymous refereeing of the reports. Monitors check that every complaint is at least discussed (in writing but not necessarily in the final report). There is a tendency to make the report reflect the mainstream view and de-emphasize some things that contradict it.

This is the way science works. People follow an established paradigm. They stay with it until it becomes uninteresting or stagnant. A paradigm can fall by an internal inconsistency that cannot be reconciled, or it may face an insurmountable contradiction with observed data. This latter does not happen overnight. Usually, with long standing paradigms, the data or its interpretation turn out to be wrong.

Climategate [the nickname of the email controversy] is not even close to causing active researchers to abandon the anthropogenic [manmade] global warming hypothesis. This hypothesis (Anthropogenic GW) fits in the climate science paradigm that 1) Data can be collected and assembled in ways that are sensible. 2) These data can be used to test and or recalibrate climate simulation models. 3) These same models can be used to predict future and past climates. It is understood that this is a complicated goal to reach with any precision. The models are not yet perfect, but there is no reason to think the approach is wrong.

Was data manipulated? I do not think so. In the NAS 2006 Report on Reconstruction of Surface Temperatures for the last 2000 Years (I was Chairman of that committee, and it took a different approach to assessment: a panel of experts who are not directly involved in the controversy - note the difference from the IPCC approach), we constructed our own hockey stick curve. We put the tree ring record on the graph and stuck the instrument record on for the last 50 years in exactly the way [Phil] Jones in his [leaked] email referred to as a "trick".


The Tangled Web of Climategate

It's hard to keep your story straight when you are lying

Oh, what a tangled web. As the Climategate scandal continues to unfold, serious questions have arisen as to whether it will ever be possible to confirm how broadly the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) manipulated data upon which the “man-made” global warming “consensus” is based.

According to Times Online, reporting on November 29th, “Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based… The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.”

That’s shocking, to say the least. However, there was no mention of this in the University of East Anglia’s press release of November 28th responding to the scandal. “It is well known within the scientific community and particularly those who are skeptical of climate change that over 95% of the raw station data has been accessible through the Global Historical Climatology Network for several years,” said the UEA’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement Professor Trevor Davie.

So, was the data dumped, or not? The release continues, “The University will make all the data accessible as soon as they are released from a range of non-publication agreements. Publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre. The procedure for releasing these data, which are mainly owned by National Meteorological Services (NMSs) around the globe, is by direct contact between the permanent representatives of NMSs (in the UK the Met Office).”

And, said Trevies in an earlier statement, “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.” Really.

A problem then emerges with the CRU’s story. In particular, the story of Roger Pielke, Jr., who as professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado had requested the raw data used by the CRU to bolster the UN International Panel on Climate Change’s “man-made” global warming consensus. He was told that the CRU did not have it. Period.

According to the National Review’s Patrick J. Michaels, after Pielke made his request, CRU Director Phil Jones responded, “Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.”

While the account of Pielke confirms the Times Online’s story, Jones’ previous response to Pielke directly contradicts the UEA’s official story, namely that 95 percent of the data has been “accessible” for years, and that the UEA will now make all of the data available as soon as they are released from a number of non-publication agreements.

So, there is a big problem. Specifically, how can the UEA now be in a position to release the data if much of it was dumped it some 20 years ago? The answer is: it isn’t. Not yet.

According to Pielke’s blog of November 29th, “Today I received an email from a climate scientist of CRU-email fame complaining about my quote in the Times. He says that the national meteorological services have the original data, suggesting that I was misrepresenting the situation.” This would confirm the CRU’s release of November 28th, but it raises an even more important question. If the CRU never had the originals, had global climate researchers outside of the CRU and the IPCC ever had access? Had anyone besides the stations?

Pielke replied, “If… an economic research unit were releasing analyses of global economic activity in support of policy claimed to not hold the original country data — instead saying, well the countries have it — that would be highly problematic.” Because it would mean that the CRU never had the original data to begin with, but copies.

It gets worse. Scientists, academics, and others who, like Pielke, requested the very same information were told entirely different stories by the CRU prior to the scandal breaking, according to the Times Online:

* When David Holland, an engineer from Northampton, requested the data, he was told it was “not in the public interest”.

* Steve McIntyre, owner of the Climate Audit website, was turned down because he was not an “academic.”

* Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada, said he was told “they had obtained the data under confidentiality agreements and so could not supply them. This was odd because they had already supplied some of them to other academics, but only those who support the idea of climate change.”

So, to summarize: 1) the CRU did not retain the data that was sent to it by the National Meteorological Services (NMS); 2) data was suppressed because the CRU arbitrarily deemed it not to be in the “public interest”; and 3) the UEA will not release the data without each station’s express permission (which it has routinely denied to non-Hot Earthers).

Assuming that to be the size and shape of the scandal currently, there is a lot of fallout. Clearly, if the CRU was suppressing data release under Jones’ watch, then the CRU may have violated UK Freedom of Information law. And, if the original data is not released in full by the NMS, then it will continue to be impossible to prove what global temperatures even were for a number of years, let alone that increases could be attributed to man.

But, most importantly, if the data was “massaged” and adjusted to show an increase in global temperatures where there was none, then the CRU defrauded the entire world. And, that looks like exactly what happened.

The American Thinker’s Marc Sheppard has confirmed that the CRU did indeed use sophisticated statistical software coding to manipulate their dataset:
“[T]here are hundreds of IDL and FORTRAN source files buried in dozens of subordinate sub-folders… [Many] fall into the precarious range between highly questionable (removing MXD [maximum latewood density, the growth parameter commonly utilized by CRU scientists as a temperature proxy] data which demonstrate poor correlations with local temperature) to downright fraudulent (replacing MXD data entirely with measured data to reverse a disorderly trend-line)…”

Some programmers even attached warning notes about the data to the plotting programs. One reads:
“The data after 1960 should not be used. The tree-ring density records tend to show a decline after 1960 relative to the summer temperature in many high-latitude locations. In this data set this "decline" has been artificially removed in an ad-hoc way, and this means that data after 1960 no longer represent tree-ring density variations, but have been modified to look more like the observed temperatures.”

But, believe it or not, it gets even worse. After the CRU scandal broke, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Senior Fellow Chris Horner announced that he had served “three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies' refusal - for nearly three years - to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.”

This is significant because, like the CRU, NASA’s GISS is the world’s other preeminent proponent of the “man-made” global warming consensus. And apparently, they are stonewalling the release of critical information, too.

According to Horner, the unfulfilled Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is intended to uncover, amongst other information, “internal discussions about NASA's quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records after two Canadian researchers discovered a key statistical error… [and] internal discussions relating to the emails sent to James Hansen and/or Reto A. Ruedy from Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre calling their attention to the errors in NASA/GISS online temperature data…”

And, making matters yet worse, according to Viscount Christopher Monckton, writing an exclusive to Pajamas Media, that data has been manipulated, too:
“Unfortunately, the British researchers have been acting closely in league with their U.S. counterparts who compile the other terrestrial temperature dataset — the GISS/NCDC [National Climatic Data Center] dataset. That dataset too contains numerous biases intended artificially to inflate the natural warming of the 20th century.”

All of which means, of course, that Congress is duty-bound to the American people to get to the bottom of this growing scandal and to abolish any and all laws and regulations that depend upon this now-suspect research.

Certainly, that would be the proper course of action. Instead, after weeks of the White House stating that he would not do so, Barack Obama is preparing to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark to negotiate a draconian treaty drastically reducing carbon emissions in the industrialized world. And Congress is moving to pass its own carbon caps in the Senate.

But, Obama and his Congressional counterparts should be careful, lest they get caught in the tangled web of lies, manipulations, and distortions of Climategate, and go down with the ship once public outrage over the scandal reaches critical mass, as surely it will.


One down. More to go

The chief of a prestigious British research center caught in a storm of controversy over claims that he and others suppressed data about climate change has stepped down pending an investigation, the University of East Anglia said Tuesday.

The university said in a statement that Phil Jones, whose e-mails were among the thousands of pieces of correspondence leaked to the Internet late last month, would relinquish his position as director of Climatic Research Unit until the completion of an independent review.

The university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Trevor Davies said the investigation would cover data security, whether the university responded properly to Freedom of Information requests, "and any other relevant issues." The statement said the specific terms of the review will be announced later in the week.

Jones has been accused by skeptics of man-made climate change of manipulating data to support his research. In particular, many have pointed to a leaked e-mail in which Jones writes that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart detailing recent global temperatures. Jones has denied manipulating evidence and insisted his comment had been misunderstood, explaining that he'd used the word trick "as in a clever thing to do."

Davies said there was nothing in thestolen material to suggest the peer-reviewed publications by the unit "are not of the highest-quality of scientific investigation and interpretation."

But the correspondence from Jones and others — which appears to include discussions of how to keep critical work out of peer-reviewed journals and efforts to shield scientists' data and methodology from outside scrutiny — have been seized upon by those who are fighting efforts to impose caps on emissions of carbon dioxide as evidence of a scientific conspiracy.

Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and a vocal skeptic of global warming, called Tuesday for Senate hearings on the e-mails. In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the environment committee, Inhofe said the e-mails could have far-reaching policy implications for the United States. Both Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency are taking action to curb global warming based on a report that uses data produced by the Climate Research Unit.

A House committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday on the status of climate science. Two prominent Obama administration scientists — White House science adviser John Holdren and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator Jane Lubchenco — are expected to be questioned about the e-mails.

Davies defended Jones and his colleagues, saying the publication of their e-mails "is the latest example of a sustained and, in some instances, a vexatious campaign" to undermine climate science. The sentiment was echoed by Nicholas Stern, a leading climate change economist, who said the person or people who posted the leaked e-mails had muddled the debate at a critical moment. "It has created confusion and confusion never helps scientific discussions," Stern told reporters in London Tuesday. "The degree of skepticism among real scientists is very small." [Confusion is never helpful in science??? I would have thought it was the starting point for new knowledge. I suppose skepticism is bad too]


Academic Questions 'Green' Initiatives on Cutting Carbon Footprint

Global carbon markets may well have been hailed as the saviour of the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in many ways they are doing more harm than good, according to new evidence. In fact, two academics have compiled a book which argues that measures put in place to reduce carbon emissions following the Kyoto Protocol Treaty on climate change have only made matters worse.

Launched to tie-in with next month's United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen (COP15), Dr Steffen Böhm and Siddhartha Dabhi's new book, Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets, challenges the environmental claims made about carbon markets and carbon offsetting schemes. The book -- which collates contributions from more than 30 leading experts -- is another voice in the growing criticism about the business of carbon and how it has failed to deliver promised reductions in greenhouse gases.

Few would argue that climate change is the biggest challenge the world has ever faced, and reducing our carbon footprint is essential to the future of the planet. Carbon offsetting has become a multi-billion-dollar global business which has captured the imagination of organisations worldwide who want to do something to help combat global warming. The reality, however, is that many of these schemes have actually made matters worse.

Dr Böhm and Mr Dabhi, of the University of Essex-based Essex Business School, advise businesses and organisations to reduce their carbon footprint by undertaking initiatives closer to home than funding carbon offsetting programmes in deprived countries thousands of miles away.

'Carbon offsetting and carbon markets haven't really delivered the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions they claimed and in many ways have just made the problem worse,' they explained. 'These schemes have often just provided an incentive for big polluting companies to continue emitting greenhouse gases rather than to change their ways. 'Often, carbon offsetting schemes have very negative effects on local communities and eco-systems in developing countries.'

The book contributes to a growing field of critics of carbon markets by highlighting several up-to-date examples of where the system has failed and often led to negative social, economic and environmental impacts in deprived countries.

'Carbon markets simply don't address the underlying and root causes of climate change, which is an over-consumption of finite fossil fuels,' added Dr Böhm and Mr Dabhi. 'We are addicted to oil, gas, coal and a whole range of other fossil fuels, which, when burned for heating, electricity generation or other usages, release greenhouse gases. It is now time to make up for the lost decade since Kyoto and start to deal with our underlying reliance on fossil fuels.'

They also warn that companies claiming to be 'carbon neutral' due to carbon offsetting, need to be careful as the schemes they are supporting may not be as green as they think.


Australia: Conservative politicians block climate deal in Senate

At last the Liberal party has a real conservative in charge

The Coalition has managed to block the the Government's plan to fight climate change. The senate eventually voted 41-33 to defeat the government's climate change scheme despite two key Liberal moderates, Judith Troeth and Sue Boyce, crossing the Senate floor.

Blocking the emissions trading scheme (ETS) - which would set a limit on carbon pollution, then allow companies to trade permits to pollute within that cap - has handed Kevin Rudd a trigger for an early election.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong hit out at opposing senators before the final vote, saying changing Australia's economy is crucial to fighting climate change. "You do not tackle climate change unless you change your economy," Senator Wong told the senate. "You have to make polluters pay."

Mr Rudd has said publicly he has no interest in going to the polls early, but Labor insiders have said many Government number crunchers are open to the idea. A March election is touted as the most likely timing, if Mr Rudd decided to call a snap poll.

New Liberal leader Tony Abbott, led a revolt against Malcolm Turnbull over a deal done with the Government that would have seen the Opposition support the scheme. But in a secret ballot of Liberal MPs straight after the leadership spill, a majority voted to renege on that deal.

The scheme would make household items and bills more expensive, because polluters would pass on the cost of polluting to consumers. However the Government has promised most families will be no worse off. Mr Abbott has called the scheme a "$130 billion tax". "This great big new tax is not actually going to reduce our emissions, it's just going to make a whole lot of things more expensive," he said on Macquarie radio this morning. "I am confident ... this legislation will be defeated in the Senate today."

Mr Abbott said yesterday he was not frightened by the prospect of fighting an election against Mr Rudd on climate change. He has promised an alternative policy on climate change next year, arguing there is no need to rush a policy that important.

But the Government is already painting Mr Abbott's leadership as a relic of the Howard era, with no new ideas for the future. Mr Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong had set a deadline of last week for the climate deal to be passed, but offered it again to Mr Abbott after yesterday's spill. The deal negotiated with the Opposition gave billions of extra dollars for polluters in compensation for when the cap is introduced.

The Government wanted the deal passed in time for next week's UN climate conference in Copenhagen. It is supposed to secure a successor to the Kyoto climate treaty, although no-one thinks it will achieve anything binding. Senator Wong has said she will go the summit early to try to salvage something, but it will be harder without an ETS deal.

Meanwhile Liberal Party strategists are plotting a strategy of using the ETS to target the PM as failing to deliver on promises that he would ease financial stress on families. Sources told The Australian that party research showed battlers were angry that costs were rising on Mr Rudd's watch - and that he was proposing to add to the burden with the climate plan.

Mr Abbott said he would pursue Mr Rudd for driving up interest rates with profligate spending, pointing to yesterday's decision by the Reserve Bank to lift the official cash rate by 0.25 percentage points to 3.75 per cent. The Opposition Leader also foreshadowed industrial relations reform. While admitting the Howard government's Work Choices laws had gone too far, he said they had created two million jobs and that "a free and flexible economy" was vital.



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