Climategate

Mon, 2010-04-05 09:08Jim Hoggan
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The Smoking Guns and Blue Dress Moments of Climategate

In the days and weeks following the theft of climate scientists’ emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in November, climate change skeptics and deniers flooded the blogosphere and mainstream press with reactions suggesting that the ‘scandal’ had proven global warming was a myth. 

In many instances, the reactions sounded like a choreographed choir singing from the same sheet of talking points, or at least the same sheet of of well-worn memes and cliches, like ‘smoking gun’ and ‘final nail in the coffin.’

The Desmog team took a look at several unique phrases that flew around the denier echo chamber in the aftermath of the CRU email hack, and how those memes were often adopted by the mainstream media as a result.  Here is a sampling of what we identified:

Wed, 2010-03-31 14:32Jim Hoggan
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Phil Jones Exonerated by British House of Commons

The British House of Commons today issued a report exonerating Professor Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.  Dr. Jones was embroiled in controversy following the theft of internal emails and documents from the University’s servers in November of last year. 

The report states 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.”

CEI fails to manufacture its own 'stolen emails' controversy

The folks at Competitive Enterprise Institute seemed to enjoy Climategate so much that they tried to manufacture an email scandal of their own.  But two months and several attempts later, they haven’t been able to generate much interest.

Wed, 2010-03-17 16:25Richard Littlemore
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John Mashey: Crescendo Climategate Cacophony

A new paper by the computer scientist and entrepreneur John Mashey, (attached) digs ever deeper (and in an increasingly well-organized way), into the morass of deception and disinformation that has characterized the recent climate conversation.

Mashey never uses the word “lies,” but somehow it seemed an appropriate illustration of what he finds underlying the recent campaign against climate science, scientists and anyone who respects their work.

This and Mashey’s previous paper point an unflinching finger at corporate front groups and free market think tanks that have worked so hard in the last two decades to spread confusion about climate science and to block public policy that would regulate the use of fossil fuels.

Mashey makes a compelling case that Congress has been misled in the process - which is an offense against the democracy that think tankers claim to love (in addition to being a felony).

For a visual reckoning of the kinds of think tanks involved, Mashey has populated a Google Map locating the major and minor players - although care should be taken to sort out those tanks that have the worst record in all of this - say, the George C. Marshall Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and the Heartland Institute - from some that are just going along with the pack.

Thu, 2010-03-04 18:42Brendan DeMelle
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Evidence Provided In UK Parliamentary Inquiry Into Climate Scientists Was Prepared By Oil and Gas Industry Consultant

The Guardian just broke the news that a consultant to Shell and other oil and gas interests was the source of ‘evidence’ provided by the Institute of Physics in the current UK parliamentary review of the controversy in England over climate scientists’ emails stolen from servers at the University of East Anglia.

The Guardian reports:

“Evidence from a respected scientific body to a parliamentary inquiry examining the behaviour of climate-change scientists, was drawn from an energy industry consultant who argues that global warming is a religion

The Guardian has established that the institute prepared its evidence, which was highly critical of the CRU scientists, after inviting views from Peter Gill, an IOP official who is head of a company in Surrey called Crestport Services.

According to Gill, Crestport offers “consultancy and management support services … particularly within the energy and energy intensive industries worldwide”, and says that it has worked with “oil and gas production companies including Shell, British Gas, and Petroleum Development Oman”.

Thu, 2010-02-25 11:18Kevin Grandia
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Common Sense and the Attack on the IPCC

When all logic leaves an argument, which is something that seems to happen on a daily basis in politics, it is good to step back and lay things out in black and white. Give some perspective to a situation to show just how ridiculous the situation has become.

The unprecedented attack on the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has reached new heights with Republican Senator James Inhofe now calling for criminal investigations into the work of prominent climate change scientists.

Inhofe makes some very broad claims, based on a very narrow band of evidence, saying that, “the Minority Staff believes the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC-based “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.”

Inhofe is claiming that based on statements made in 3 emails, by a single person, he has enough evidence to now claim that decades of research by thousands of scientists is “seriously compromised.” Like I said, politics and logic rarely go had-in-hand.

To lay out in black and white, below I have compiled a list of the scientific references used in just two of the forty four chapters of the last IPCC report. There are thousands of papers, by thousands of scientists, over decades that make up this body of research.

Even if the so-called “climate gate” turned out to be the scandal Inhofe wants it to be, you could throw out that research and there would still remain thousands of papers, by thousands of scientists.

Take a quick look below at the list and you’ll see what I mean. That is, of course, if you’re willing to allow common sense back into the conversation on the subject of climate change.

Thu, 2010-02-18 13:12Emily Murgatroyd
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Selective Journalism

The echo chamber is alive and well and currently bouncing Phil Jones’ bastardized quote all over the global media. Recap - Phil Jones speaks to the BBC about climate change. The Daily Mail selects part of his response, stripping it of its context and using that selection to argue that Prof. Jones is backtracking on the likelihood of global warming.

Then every half-wit, oil company shill and agenda-driven journalist in the world picks up the Mail’s manipulation and uses it as if it’s real.

Here is the ACTUAL exchange:

BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present, there has been no statstically-significant global warming”

Prof Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995-2009. This trend (0.12 per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods and much less likely for shorter periods.

And here’s how the accuracy-challenged press is using the quote:

“… in a weekend BBC interview, he (Jones) dropped a bombshell. He acknowledged there’s been no statistically significant warming since 1995.

“Hello? When other people say that, they’re called deniers.”

Wed, 2010-02-03 17:51Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Skeptics Try To Spin Penn State Exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”

Penn State University’s inquiry into climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann’s conduct surrounding the emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University concluded there is no evidence to substantiate the claims made by the right-wing media against Mann.

The Penn State panel cleared Dr. Mann of any wrongdoing in three of the four areas it probed, recommending only that a separate panel of faculty members pursue a follow-up investigation into the allegation that Dr. Mann “engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.”

Dr. Mann’s response to the outcome:
“This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong.

I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts. I intend to cooperate fully in this matter – as I have since the beginning of the process.”


Pete Altman over at NRDC’s Switchboard blog notes: “That’s about as close to a silver bullet as you are going to find in terms of shooting down the conspiracy theorists who are touting their ‘climategate’ nonsense.”

Altman notes that Professor Mann has “has been the victim of an extended vicious and unfounded smear campaign.”

But none of that seems to sink into the brain of the self-titled “Junkman,” Steven Milloy, who instead screams “whitewash” and accuses Penn State of ignoring allegations that were never under question.  Milloy would rather Penn State investigate whether global warming is real to suit his own fantasies that there is a debate on that question.  He just can’t stand the fact that a formal inquiry launched by a prestigious university didn’t end up the way he wanted it to.

Mon, 2010-02-01 20:28Kevin Grandia
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Why Climate Gate is bogus and based on lies

Writing for the UK’s Gaurdian news today, Fred Pearce has a very in-depth analysis of how the ‘climategate’ scandal is bogus and based on climate sceptics’ lies.

Pearce explains that,

“Almost all the media and political discussion about the hacked climate emails has been based on brief soundbites publicised by professional sceptics and their blogs. In many cases, these have been taken out of context and twisted to mean something they were never intended to.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. The so-called ‘climategate’ has been hyped by an over-the-top right-wing press and an over-excited gang of bloggers who use everything other than actual scientific research to prove their point.

Mon, 2010-02-01 17:27Brendan DeMelle
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CRU Hack Was A Highly Sophisticated Spy Job, Prominent British Scientist Says

Sir David King, the UK’s former chief scientist, strongly believes that the theft of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia was carried out by highly-paid professionals, perhaps a foreign intelligence agency, and was deliberately designed to destabilize the Copenhagen climate talks last December.

The highly sophisticated hacking operation involved stealing more than 1,000 emails and some 2,000 documents from a backup server at the University which would have been difficult to access remotely. 

According to The Independent newspaper, King believes the hack “was carried out by a team of skilled professionals, either on behalf of a foreign government or at the behest of anti-climate change lobbyists in the United States.” 

“It was a sophisticated and expensive operation. In terms of the expense, there is the American lobby system which is a very likely source of finance. Right now, the American lobbyists are a very likely source of finance for this, so the finger must point to them,” he said.

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