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Climate Change Conspiracy?

November 25, 2009

err, dude...

The internets are abuzz with talk of the hack into the email server at the Hadley Climate Research Centre at the University of East Anglia in the UK (or as one website strangely call them a “global-warming advocacy centre”…but then facts do have a liberal bias). A link to access the emails was then sent to a number of (mostly skeptic) websites, along with messages similar to this (reproduced here):

We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to
be kept under wraps.

We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents

The University has since all but confirmed they are genuine, and since the emails and files number into the thousands dating back over a decade the chances of someone having the time or skill to mount a convincing fraud on that scale are fairly low.

What has made them such hot property are statements such as this:

From: Phil Jones
To: ray bradley ,,
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Cc: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx,

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,

…I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline…


From: Tom Wigley
To: Phil Jones
Subject: LAND vs OCEAN
Date: Fri, 06 Nov 2009 17:36:15 -0700

…The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate…


From: Phil Jones
To: “Michael E. Mann”
Subject: IPCC & FOI
Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008


Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!



Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit

Cue dramaz!!

Andrew Bolt, writing in the Australain newspaper Herald Sun called the files:

definitely not sinister

evidence of a scandal involving most of the most prominent scientists pushing the man-made warming theory – a scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science.

In the US this view is echoed by balanced commentators like

not smiling inside

Michelle Malkin who are simply calling it:

The global warming scandal of the century

And in the UK James Delingpole writing in the Daily Telegraph is on hand with some useful financial advice:

lover not a fighter

If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed

and then in a subseqeunt article (“Climategate reminds us of the liberal-left’s visceral loathing of open debate“) takes his outrage further in a series of equivocations that borders on some kind of reactionary tourettes syndrome:

Criticize the European Socialist Superstate and you’re a “Little Englander”; object to wind farms spoiling your view and you’re a “NIMBY”; demand curbs on immigration and you’re “a racist”; desire better education for your kids and you’re “elitist”; question the current majority scientific view on AGW and you’re a “Denier” who deserves only to be scorned, vilified and preferably silenced.

…dress up as Hitler and deny the holocaust and people call you “Nazi”…hang around outside primary schools taking pictures and people call you a “paedo”…

Hands up who thinks James Delingpole was bullied at school?

So what do we actually learn from these emails and their coverage? Well first the fact that wherever you go, out of 1079 emails you see the same few emails reproduced, the three above and a handful or so more.  And to be sure if there was more potentially incriminating evidence of a grand scientific conspiracy by the “global warming advocates” they would have been plastered all over the place. So this strongly suggests that about a 0.05% of the emails contained anything remotely interesting. This must be about the most hyper efficient conspiracy in history.

Second it is worth noting the timing. This is a fairly transparent attempt to create some negative press and throw sand in the wheels of those who are pushing for a comprehensive agreement at the forthcoming Copenhagen climate conference (as if much help was really needed on that front).

And third, and most importantly, though they managed to find among the 1079 emails the 0.05% of them that looked bad, contrary to the impression you might get from those with their own particular agenda, they really don’t constitute the ‘smoking gun’ they so desperately want to make them out to be.  The Hadley Climate Centre have now released a statement directly addressing some of the assertions made using the emails. For example, referring to the first of the emails included above they point out:

This email referred to a “trick” of adding recent instrumental data to the end of temperature reconstructions that were based on proxy data. The requirement for the WMO Statement was for up-to-date evidence showing how temperatures may have changed over the last 1000 years. To produce temperature series that were completely up-to-date (i.e. through to 1999) it was necessary to combine the temperature reconstructions with the instrumental record, because the temperature reconstructions from proxy data ended many years earlier whereas the instrumental record is updated every month. The use of the word “trick” was not intended to imply any deception.

Phil Jones comments further: “One of the three temperature reconstructions was based entirely on a particular set of tree-ring data that shows a strong correlation with temperature from the 19th century through to the mid-20th century, but does not show a realistic trend of temperature after 1960. This is well known and is called the ‘decline’ or ‘divergence’. The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste. CRU has not sought to hide the decline. Indeed, CRU has published a number of articles that both illustrate, and discuss the implications of, this recent tree-ring decline, including the article that is listed in the legend of the WMO Statement figure. It is because of this trend in these tree-ring data that we know does not represent temperature change that I only show this series up to 1960 in the WMO Statement.

What perhaps is clear from the emails that are being discussed is the way that climate scientists feel they need to be political in everything that they say and write precisely because there are a group of people who are waiting for any opportunity to jump on the slightest shred of evidence to argue that global warming is a massive hoax. And these people are not just a load crackpots, they number among them some people with actual power in countries where the argument about whether to take any action at all is still very much alive. In the case of the US, if these people succeed in blocking progress toward binding commitments to emissions reductions then globally we are fucked. That is an increadible burden to carry. The politicisation of scientific work is not a good thing, but to suggest that this is the consequence of conspiratorial “advocates” for global warming is disingenuous; the causal mechanism is in fact the other way round.

The facts are the facts. If there were a grand scientific conspiracy to fool us into believing in man-made climate change, then it have to look a bit more like the Knights Carbonic as imagined reproduced by Alex Evans

Gentlemen, the culmination of our great plan approaches fast. What the Master called “the ordering of men’s affairs by a transcendent world state, ordained by God and answerable to no man”, which we now know as Communist World Government, advances towards its climax at Copenhagen.

The thinning of the Arctic ice cap was a masterstroke. The ring of secret nuclear power stations around the Arctic circle, attached to giant immersion heaters, remains undetected, as do the space-based lasers dissolving the world’s glaciers.

Altering the migratory and reproductive patterns of the world’s wildlife has proved more challenging. Though we have now asserted control over the world’s biologists, there is no accounting for the unauthorised observations of farmers, gardeners, birdwatchers and other troublemakers. We have therefore been forced to drive migrating birds, fish and insects into higher latitudes, and to release several million tonnes of plant pheromones every year to accelerate flowering and fruiting.

The co-operation of…governments requires unflagging effort. The capture of George W Bush, a late convert to the cause of Communist World Government, was made possible only by the threatened release of footage filmed by a knight at Yale, showing the future president engaged in coitus with a Ford Mustang.

Now that I can believe.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. snugglebus permalink*
    November 26, 2009 2:59 pm

  2. Simon Jones permalink
    November 27, 2009 8:44 pm

    Given the debate is about misrepresentation of reality you might want to correctly cite the source of the “Knights Carbonic” leak. Alex Evans provided a “via” link to the original author, George Monbiot. He did not imagine it himself, just quoted it with concealed context for ironic effect.

  3. snugglebus permalink*
    November 28, 2009 11:25 pm

    Duely noted!


  1. Why I’m sceptical about climate change sceptics. « err…whaterverz

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