It’s the tenth anniversary next week of the 2009 Climategate email dump that exposed top climate scientists’ chicanery and subversion of science – and did so in their own words and out of their own mouths, or keyboards.
I’ll list a few emails-of-infamy shortly, but first some background.
For the three years before Climategate, the climate crowd was ascendant with its pseudo-narrative of “settled science”. Al Gore’s error-riddled propaganda movie Inconvenient Truth of 2006 had swept the Western world and its readily-traduced schoolkids. In 2007 Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the Nobel Peace Prize. In late 2008 Barack Obama won the White House, proclaiming in his modest way, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
The Climategate emails hit the blogosphere just a month before the Copenhagen summit was scheduled to lock Western countries into Kyoto Mark 2, a legally-binding commitment to renewables from 2012. Climategate destroyed warmists’ moral high ground and reinforced the natural reluctance of most governments to up-end their economies with emission controls. The Copenhagen circus fell apart, resolving merely to “take note” of the exhortations to action by Obama and like-minded leaders.
The mainstream media strove to ignore and bury the Climategate revelations. The climate establishment ran half a dozen inquiries with limited briefs and ludicrous lack of rigour, all of which purported to clear the climate scientists of wrong-doing. But even today, ten years after, scientists faithful to their calling and disciplines can only shudder at what Climategate revealed. Those who subverted the scientific method were not fringe players but at the pinnacle. They were doing the archetypal studies “proving” catastrophic human-caused catastrophic warming (CAGW) and shaping the content and messaging in the six-yearly reports of the IPCC.
The hacked (or otherwise revealed) email archive spanning the prior decade was stored by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. The CRU co-compiled the HadCRUT global temperature series, along with the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre. This data set charting alleged global warming in fractions of a degree was a key input to the climate computer models forecasting doomladen heat for this century. (The model forecasts continue to exceed actual measured warming). Based on these dud modelled forecasts, the West is now spending $US1.5 trillion a year in quest of zero CO2 emissions.
Today, anyone questioning this colossal enterprise is told to “respect the science”. Based on the Climategate emails released in 2009, 2013 and 2015, I’d rather respect the Mafia, who at least don’t claim to be saving the planet. For example, today we’re told that warming of 2 deg C above pre-industrial level is some sort of a tipping point of doom. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, emailed on September 6, 2007, that the supposed 2-degree limit was “plucked out of thin air”, a throwaway line in an early 1990s paper from the catastrophists at the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute.
Now for the emails. We journos love a local angle, and here’s one – the CRU’s Ian “Harry” Harris worked for four years to de-bug and properly document a CRU data base “TS 2.1” of global stations recording monthly temperatures.
One input was from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, with its frequent adjustments that result in a greater warming trend (think Rutherglen and Darwin). Harry’s comments in a 200-page logging of notes:
What a bloody mess. Now looking at the dates… something bad has happened, hasn’t it. COBAR AIRPORT AWS [data from an Australian weather station] cannot start in 1962, it didn’t open until 1993! … getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data. So many new stations have been introduced, so many false references … so many changes that aren’t documented … I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was…Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight…!
What else did Harry Harris mention? Perhaps science-respecting Dr Ross Garnaut (Q&A on November 11) could get his head around this lot (emphasis added):
OH F**K THIS. It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases … Bear in mind that there is no working synthetic method for cloud, because Mark New lost the coefficients file and never found it again (despite searching on tape archives at UEA) and never recreated it … This whole project is SUCH A MESS. No wonder I needed therapy!! … So, uhhhh what in tarnation is going on? Just how off-beam are these datasets?!! … Unbelievable — even here the conventions have not been followed. It’s botch after botch after botch …Where is the documentation to explain all this?! … It’s halfway through April and I’m still working on it. This surely is the worst project I’ve ever attempted. Eeeek … Oh bugger. What the HELL is going on?!.. Oh GOD if I could start this project again and actually argue the case for junking the inherited program suite!! .,. Am I the first person to attempt to get the CRU databases in working order?!! … So, we can have a proper result, but only by including a load of garbage…
Who added those two series together? When? Why? Untraceable, except anecdotally. It’s the same story for many other Russian stations, unfortunately — meaning that (probably) there was a full Russian update that did no data integrity checking at all. I just hope it’s restricted to Russia!! … What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have … [My attempted corrections] will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad, but I really don’t think people care enough to fix ’em, and it’s the main reason the project is nearly a year late.”
That was then. How’s things today?
In 2015 Prime Minister Tony Abbott set in train an audit of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology’s temperature adjustments that increased Australia’s apparent warming, but one of the first moves of his successor, Malcolm Turnbull, was to scuttle that audit. Of equal significance is that late last year, Melbourne scientist Dr John McLean published the first-ever audit of Britain’s HADCRUT4 temperature data set and commented,
It’s very careless and amateur. About the standard of a first-year university student … Governments have had 25 years to check the data on which they’ve been spending billions of dollars. And they haven’t done so once.
For example, he found that for two years the temperatures over land in the Southern Hemisphere were derived from just one site in Indonesia, and on two occasions the average December temperature at an airport on tropical St Kitts in the Caribbean was reported at zero degrees. The inaccuracies in the data record are so bad, McLean believes, that it is impossible to know how much global temperatures have really risen – probably about 0.4degC in 70 years, not the 0.6degC claimed.
Subverting peer review
Climategate showed how warmist scientists gamed the peer review process to ensure a monopoly for their views. When two papers contrary to their ‘consensus’ were published, CRU director Phil Jones and his circle pulled out all stops to get the editor sacked and prevent such papers being considered by the IPCC. Jones, 8 July 2004:
…I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth, leading climate scientist] and I will keep them out somehow, even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!
US colleague Dr Michael Mann (author of the influential-but-wrong Hockey Stick graph of the past 1000 years’ temperature), July 3, 2003:
It seems clear we have to go above [the sceptic author Chris de Freitas] … I think that the community should, as Mike H [warmist scientist] has previously suggested in this eventuality, terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels –reviewing, editing, and submitting, and leave it to wither way into oblivion and disrepute.
The IPCC exposed
UK Met Bureau’s Peter Thorne, concerning work on the IPCC’s 2007 fourth report:
I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.
Jones admits the political bias in the IPCC’s all-important Summary for Policy Makers (SPM):
He says he’ll read the IPCC Chapters! He hadn’t as he said he thought they were politically biased. I assured him they were not. The SPM [Summary for Policy Makers] may be, but not the chapters.
IPCC coordinating lead author Jonathan Overpeck:
The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what’s included and what is left out [of IPCC reports].
Need it be said that leaving out inconvenient stuff is anathema to real, genuine, principled science?
Warmist Mike Hulme agrees that
the debate around climate change is fundamentally about power and politics rather than the environment … There are not that many ‘facts’ about (the meaning of) climate change which science can unequivocally reveal
From climate scientist Giorgi Filippo, who contributed to all five IPCC Assessment Reports:
I feel rather uncomfortable about using not only unpublished but also un- reviewed material as the backbone of our conclusions (or any conclusions)…I feel that at this point there are very little rules and almost anything goes
Email 5286 from scientist Hans von Storch:
We should explain why we don’t think the information robust yet. Climate research has become a postnormal science, with the intrusion of political demands and significant influence by activists driven by ideological (well meant) concerns.”
Also from von Storch:
The concealment of dissent and uncertainty in favor of a politically good cause takes its toll on credibility, for the public is more intelligent than is usually assumed
Scientist Richard Somerville, 2004:
We don’t understand cloud feedbacks. We don’t understand air-sea interactions. We don’t understand aerosol indirect effects. The list is long.
Warmist Kevin Trenberth:
We are nowhere close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter
Michael Mann, 2006:
We certainly don’t know the GLOBAL mean temperature anomaly very well, and nobody has ever claimed we do.