Climategate

Mon, 2010-06-21 17:37Brendan DeMelle
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UK Sunday Times Retracts Bogus ‘Amazongate’ Story, Apologizes to Simon Lewis

Ending a dispute that has dragged on for months, London newspaper The Sunday Times has finally retracted and apologized for an article filled with blatant misinformation and smears against the IPCC and climate researchers that it ran in January, creating a nontroversy which deniers tried to label “Amazongate.” 

RealClimate.org more accurately dubbed the episode “Leakegate” after the Times’ reporter Jonathan Leake, who wrote the article in question.

The Times published a lengthy correction to the bogus article and disappeared the original from its website.

Since the bogus article ran in January, scientists and researchers who study the Amazon have tried to correct the misinformation it spread.  Chief among them was Dr. Simon Lewis, an expert on rain forests at the University of Leeds, who filed a 30-page complaint against The Sunday Times with the UK Press Complaints Commission in March. Lewis alleged that the paper had mangled his quotes, which ended up far from the remarks he actually made in interviews with the reporter, and that the paper had published “inaccurate, misleading or distorted information” about climate change in the article.

Thu, 2010-06-10 12:31Morgan Goodwin
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Scholars & Rogues Digs Deeper: Who Audits the Auditors?

[Update June 17th] Scholars & Rogues sparked a vigorous discussion about various tree-ring chronologies, and readers are encouraged to look through the discussions on S&R as well as McIntyre’s Climate Audit for all the juicy details.  We also wish to note a correction made by Angliss regarding which graph was in discussion, but that point was not quoted by Desmogblog here. 

Finally, we wish to highlight Desmogblog’s interest in the subject.  We distinguished below between “the new famous ‘hide the decline’ statement, which Fox News picked up as meaninghide the decline in all global temperatures’,” vs. the more subtle discussion points of specific pieces of climate evidence. 

Last week we mentioned a detailed analysis by Scholars & Rogues about how the stolen emails lack enough context to draw conclusions about climate science.  This week in part 2, Brian Angliss gets more into the nitty-gritty details, challenging statements made by self-appointed Climate Auditor and mining executive Steve McIntyre and others. 

Often McIntyre’s discussions are not commented on by climate scientists, because they aren’t worth replying to.  RealClimate.org does when a response is warranted, but most claims and assertions go unchecked, becoming memes within a small subsection of passionate climate scpetics.  Angliss has found numerous misrepresentations within McIntyre’s writing, calling him out on exactly the kind of thing he likes to accuse real climate scientists of. 

Thu, 2010-06-03 17:07Morgan Goodwin
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Putting Conspiracy Theories to Rest: Scholars and Rogues puts 'Climategate' in Context

As the stolen emails non-scandal from November retreats slowly in the rear-view mirror, it’s worth a quick re-cap of why it was so exciting in the first place.  Emails without context can be made to fit any story that someone wants to tell, which is one of the reasons we don’t like to release email correspondence that is inherently out of context.  Brian Angliss at Scholars and Rogues gives us an elegant run-through of how the stolen CRU emails are taken hopelessly out of context and cannot, in and of themselves, contribute to our understanding of climate science.

Given the demonstrated unreliability of electronic records that have been sorted or analyzed using automated tools, it’s unreasonable to make firm claims either of scientific misconduct, ethical lapses, or illegality based on only the published CRU emails. It takes full inquiries and investigations where the investigators talk with the involved parties to truly understand the details and the context surrounding claims like those made against the climate scientists mentioned in the published CRU emails. To date, three such inquires have been completed, and while there may be some areas where the inquiries can be fairly criticized, the fact that the results of all three agree with each other strongly suggests that Tim Osborn’s claim, rather than Geoff Sherrington’s, is closer to correct in this case – “It is impossible to draw firm conclusions from the hacked documents and emails.”

There is little that can dissuade someone who is convinced of a certain narrative, but fresh angles and a fresh perspective, such as Angliss offers, are an excellent part of the solution.  Check out the full article for interviews with both skeptics and scientists, and a fascinating look at how a study of computer bug fixes can be used to illustrate the incompleteness of the electronic trail.  See the full post at Scholars and Rogues

Tue, 2010-05-18 13:34Brendan DeMelle
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House Select Committee Hearing Thursday On Political Attacks Against Climate Scientists

The U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the recent string of politically-motivated attacks against climate scientists.

Several prominent climate scientists will testify and field questions at the hearing, entitled “Climate Science in the Political Arena,” including some who have been targets of such political attacks themselves.

Look for plenty of questions from the GOP minority about the Climategate non-scandal that deniers remain obsessed with, despite the exoneration by the British House of Commons of the CRU scientists at the University of East Anglia targeted by the hackers.

Fri, 2010-05-14 14:58Brendan DeMelle
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Nature Pens Scathing Editorial On Virginia A.G. Cuccinelli Witch Hunt of Michael Mann

In a scathing rebuke of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s witch hunt relating to the work of climatologist Michael Mann, the highly-regarded journal Nature this week published an editorial called “Science subpoenaed” that condemns the latest political attack on a climate scientist and calls into serious question Cuccinelli’s motives.

AG Cuccinelli, a former Republican state Senator, earlier this month launched a ridiculously over-the-top inquiry demanding that the University of Virginia turn over a massive number of documents and personal communications related to Professor Mann’s work and government contracts.  Cuccinelli demands to see eleven years’ worth of Mann’s emails and other correspondence with climate scientists, and all available documents, computer code and data relating to Mann’s research on five different state and federal grants.

Echoing The Washington Post, which published a similar editorial lambasting Cuccinelli’s “witch hunt” of Professor Mann, the Nature editorial similarly slammed the AG.

Fri, 2010-05-07 13:06Brendan DeMelle
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Esteemed Scientists Hit Back at Climate Denier Campaign In Science Letter

255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel laureates, have penned a letter in Science slamming the disinformation campaign orchestrated by a small network of climate deniers that has confused the public about the real danger of climate disruption.

The scientists’ letter, published in the May 7th issue of the journal Science (subscription req’d), says:

“We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular.”

The scientists note that the fundamental science of climate change is sound, despite the extensive campaign by deniers and skeptics to confuse politicians and the general public:
 
“There is compelling, comprehensive, and consistent objective evidence that humans are changing the climate in ways that threaten our societies and the ecosystems on which we depend.”

Wed, 2010-05-05 14:21Brendan DeMelle
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GOP Chooses Lord "Hitler Youth" Monckton as Expert Witness on Climate Change Science

House Republicans have chosen Lord Christopher Monckton, a non-scientist with a penchant for outrageous remarks, as its sole witness at tomorrow’s hearing in front of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) called the hearing in an effort to further restore public confidence in climate science, and to set the record straight that ‘Climategate’ was not the scandal climate deniers and the right-wing media tried to portray in the wake of the theft of private emails from scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.

A press release announcing the hearing states that the scientists “will address the claims of deniers head-on.”

Thu, 2010-04-29 12:35Morgan Goodwin
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Conservative Talk Show Host Brian Sussman Adds 'Climategate' to His List of Favorite Conspiracy Theories

Newest climategate book a 'greatest hits' of conspiracy theories

The book “Climategate: A Meteorologist Exposes the Myth of Global Warming” is the newest bang on the Climategate drum.  It is written by none other than Brian Sussman, the California TV personality whose conspiracy theories also include ‘birther’ arguments and the discovery of the real Noah’s Ark

The conservative media has fallen into a rut of chanting ‘climategate, climategate, climategate’ every time global warming is mentioned.  If conservative mojo is demonstrated by how loudly one can say it, Brian Sussman just announced his candidacy for denier-in-chief.

Sussman’s book, released on Earth Day 2010, is based on the over-arching theory that the entire environmental movement is a farce.  The back cover reads: “For many decades, communists, socialists and the global elite have tossed a dizzying array of predicaments into American culture; that carbon dioxide emissions generated by mankind are ruining the planet, is their greatest assertion yet.”

According to Sussman, Earth Day is a socialist plot, DDT is harmless, Rachel Carson was wrong, and Al Gore doesn’t even believe in global warming.  Indeed, he thinks practically every environmental issue can be explained away as part of this theory. The book includes such gems as explaining how installing smart-meters that help the grid save energy is really just helping Big Brother become a reality

It’s not necessary to address Sussman’s claims about Climategate, as numerous investigations have cleared the scientists of wrongdoing and found the underlying science sound.  The book’s title is merely a trendy hook slapped on a book that’s been in the works for two years.

Thu, 2010-04-15 10:48Kevin Grandia
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Second expert panel shows "ClimateGate" was a ClimateSham

An independent panel of experts in the United Kingdom has released a report  finding there to be, “no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it.”

The inquiry was headed by former Chair of the House of Lords science and technology select committee, Lord Oxburgh.

As reported in the Economist today, “The scientists in ‘climategate’ did not fudge the data.”

The Wall Street Journal writes on the matter that:

“An independent academic panel said Wednesday that the U.K. climate researchers at the center of a scandal over hacked emails didn’t commit any deliberate scientific malpractice.”

This is the second inquiry out of the UK in the last month finding no wrongdoing around the so-called “climategate” incident involving the theft of private emails from top climate researchers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.

An inquiry last month led by a bi-partisan UK government committee found the claims made around the stolen emails to be without merit.

The bi-partisan committee found that “the focus on CRU and Professor Phil Jones, Director of CRU, in particular, has largely been misplaced,” and that Dr. Jones’s actions were “in line with common practice in the climate science community,” and the CRU’s “analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.”

You can download that report here: “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.”

Tue, 2010-04-06 21:09Brendan DeMelle
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Fox News’ Ed Barnes Tries to Re-Ignite Attacks on Climate Scientist Exonerated by Penn State

In his “exclusive” story, titled “Top Climate Scientist’s Exoneration Won’t Be the Last Word,” Fox News’ Ed Barnes suggests that the Penn State investigation that cleared Dr. Michael Mann of any wrong-doing was a “whitewash” designed to protect the “millions of dollars in grant money it gets by having Mann on the faculty.”

Barnes claims that Penn State’s decision to exonerate Mann generated “a storm of controversy” and “came under severe attack.”  Reading his inflammatory language, you might think that a whole lot of academics and scientists ridiculed the inquiry.  Who is this angry mob that generated such a “storm of controversy?” 

Actually, the Barnes storm is comprised of only three people - a mining executive, the wealthiest member of Congress, and a former FoxNews.com columnist.

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