Saturday, November 21, 2009

CRU climate conspiracy - the proof!

Now I've had a look at the stolen data, and the full extent of the International Program for Climate Conspiracy is clear.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. There are:

NO documents describing the microwave-sending units on satellites that are up there warming the planet (you didn't really think that MSU meant microwave sounding unit did you?!).

NO evidence of the hairdryer-wielding scientists who are melting the glaciers on their "field trips".

NO pictures of the heaps of rocks we throw into the sea each night to raise the sea level.

And what this means is...





Tom C said...

This is serious stuff and you are making a fool of yourself by pretending otherwise. Several E-mails outlining strategies for evading FOI requests? Come on.

skanky said...

Serious? It's funny.

Avoiding FOI requests is SOP in government departments, so it's not exactly shocking that a university should wish to do the same. It's more surprising that they even come under the legislation. If the CRU was based at Oxbridge an FOI would probably just be laughed at.

Anyway (though possibly irrelevant) it's not exactly as if those making the request would jump to fulfill a similar one.

Geckko said...

Science is a big loser here.

As a taxpayer, I am increasingly in favour of cutting research funding to all who are being damned by their own words.

To treat a possible breach of the FOI Act in the UK (a criminal at) in such a dismissive way, as if "climate scientists" have a right is leading

You really should be careful posting this type of comment on the internet. Are you certain that someone with accountability for some of the taxpayers' money that comes your(and others) way in grants, salaries or consultancy fees might think this more serious than you?

James Annan said...

I do have a more serious post coming. I have not read all the documents (and indeed do not intend to).

Carl C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Roberts said...

skanky said...

As a tax payer, I'm increasingly in favour of cutting funding to all sorts of things, they still get/got funded.

There is a big FOI avoidance issue going on at the moment. It's to do with publishing exactly what the UK intelligence agencies actually knew about, and how much they colluded with, the CIA in its kidnapping and torture activities.

Compared to the CRU FOI request, and what was or wasn't done to perhaps avoid it, or not (and the emails published so far are certainly not proof), it hardly ranks.

If there's a case to answer, it's no more than a rap on the knuckles, and is totally irrelevant to the science of AGW - which is why it's been latched onto so shrilly.

David B. Benson said...

Is there no surcease from this?

Every legit and semi-legit climate website all blathering about the same teapot tempest?

Is there nothing of actual importance such as Greenland ice cap sliding into the Nordic Sea? PIG flying? Something?

skanky said...

David, this is quite interesting:

(via stoat & climateprogress)

James Annan said...


Aw, let the emails have their day. They will be tomorrow's fish and chip paper, they might as well be today's news. The Greenland ice cap will still be there tomorrow, I hope!


Lovely to hear from you. Shame you thought better of your comment (which I got by email, of course). I think it's harsh to tar all climate scientists by the standards of your previous employers :-)

Francis Turner said...

Carl C said...

well James I thought you'd be a little harsher on these guys, considering the conspiracy theories & ad-hom attacks you love to do on my old Oxford employers. After all this is all a bit more shocking and more newsworthy than uniform priors! ;-)

At the very least I would say that it is a good bit of damage to the field; at the very least it exposes what seems to be a "good old boy club"; and will make the 'man in the street' wonder about tossing all their tax money. It's at the very least "say it ain't so Joe" moment for science and puts them in the realm of typical politicians.

The field has already been damaged by the perceived pretentiousness & pompousness of scientists (you may remember Gavin "losing" the debate with Michael Crichton, not to mention all the snarky smart-ass "oh-so-clever" climate blogs by Oxbridge types). So I would have thought this latest snafu deserved more of a wrist-slap from you (Chief Snark-in-Chief of the climate field :-)

I should probably apologize to the ClimateAudit guys for having so much faith in scientists to "do the right thing", of course with the big egos also over at CA it wouldn't mean much....

James Annan said...


It's clear that there are some embarrassing and ill-judged emails in the heap and I'm sure that some of the authors are cringing. But I already knew that people are sometimes cliquey and bitchy in private conversation, I don't really need to read their private email to work that out.

True, if I had an axe to grind one way or the other, I'd probably be taking advantage of it. Like I said, people are sometimes cliquey and bitchy :-)

But I don't think there is much to be gained by sacrificing one or two people only to have them replaced with others from a different clique.

Carl C said...

ok, well James you're being a bit generous I think. I'm no longer in the field and affiliated with anyone (and was only a computer geek anyway) - but it seems this has been going on a long time (well it was '98 wasn't it when the 'hockey stick' came about). Has all the fighting over this i.e. refusals to release data and code for processing etc been worth it? It would probably have been better for them to release it (or acknowledge problems) years ago and nip it in the bud then drag on? Isn't it about time Jones & Mann fall on their swords? It's certainly going to hang around and be brought up every IPCC report?

Because unfortunately it's really bit everyone in the butt now and pretty much tarnished the whole field - now there's Republican inquiries & subpoenas, not to mention the Limbaugh's & Fox News/Murdoch's/Wall Street Journal et al having a field day. Or maybe, more cynically, scientists didn't mind the "hockey stick" taking the brunt of the right-wing opprobium since it kept the nutters away from climate modelling and other areas?

Anyway, since there's scientist's pride & egos involved (and I know what big and precious things those are) - I don't know what could have been done, i.e IPCC force the release or a new study of the "hockey stick". But I think it's giving plenty of people who aren't right-wing nutjobs pause for thought i.e. "these hotshot scientists can't get this thing right; so can we trust them for spending trillions etc."

So I sort of think Hans von Storch is right, Jones & Mann need to get out of anything IPCC related and there should be some sort of "disciplinary action" (I have no clue what form it would/should take, maybe just a resignation and a special hockey stick committee formed etc). Hell maybe even get McIntyre involved as it could be better (as LBJ said) to have him "pissing from inside the tent rather than outside pissing in."

PS -- this "scandal" is pretty big news here in the states, my buddies in the UK says it's more focused on the "criminal hacker" angle rather than the "evil scientist cover-up" angle.

James Annan said...


Well I do accept that other people (eg HvS) might reasonably argue for a harder line. As for data availability, things are changing but there's a historical aspect to this - both data and modelling people have typically been pretty possessive about their stuff, wanting to squeeze everything out of it before allowing anyone else access. Note that there is still(?) a basic presumption of pay-to-view in the UK, which almost every scientist detests.

I would argue that if the IPCC has a cliquey aspect then it's best to be as inclusive as possible rather than blackballing people. But note that Mann wasn't even an author on IPCC AR4! And from the very little I saw, the emails actually reveal him to have been responsible and conscientious in trying to include diverse viewpoints in the TAR, IMO. And as you suggest, having those guys up there act as lightning rods keeps the flack off those of us further down the ladder, so I've no desire to chuck them under the next bus!

I do think it's a pity that McI devotes his efforts to snark on the the blogs rather than writing up some more papers - a venue like Climate of the Past would give him a fair (and very public) hearing. I don't think he can claim to have been blackballed or unfairly excluded, he has barely tried.

[Yeah, I do the snark too, but I also do try to write enough papers to back it up :-) ]

Carl C said...

fair 'nuff, I just dread another Thanksgiving Day dinner with my right-wing relatives trying to explain/excuse climate scientists! ;-)

McI is a bit too "chicken little" -- i.e. every day he screeches he's uncovered a new smoking gun & scandal, so I suppose his head has exploded with the CRU emails.

There's plenty of data & modelling output online so I don't see what the CRU was so nuts about (it didn't seem like anything proprietary e.g. the entire MetOffice UM source code). maybe it just boils down to they didn't have the staff to put it online in a decent meaningful form as the BADC etc. or paranoia that people will focus on the wrong stuff and not the whole thing, i.e. you can cherry-pick CPDN data online and just look at models that cooled, or ones that went up 11C! ;-)

James Annan said...

I think Robin Hanson has a reasonably independent and objective take on it here.

not sure about McI's head, but his blog seems to have exploded, which is no great loss <- O NOES A CLIMATE SCIENTIST HAS SAID SOMETHING RUDE SO AGW MUST ALL BE A HOAX!