«Edited and Annotated by John Costella The Lavoisier Group March 2010 About the Author John Costella was born in East Melbourne in 1966. After being ...»
THE CLIMATEGATE EMAILS
Edited and Annotated by
The Lavoisier Group
About the Author
John Costella was born in East Melbourne in 1966. After being expelled from Xavier
College Kew in 1981, he went on to be dux of St. Kevin’s College Toorak in 1984
and dux of Electrical Engineering Honours at the University of Melbourne in 1989.
Having fallen in love with physics during second year, he went on to be dux of
Physics Honours in 1990 and completed a PhD in theoretical physics in 1994. After spending a few years on the early rungs of the postdoctoral physics research ladder, during which time he became accustomed to distilling information from academic emails, he decided that the life of an itinerant academic was not for him, so he took up school teaching instead, at the same time keeping up his interests in sub-atomic physics.
After teaching for eight years at Mentone Grammar and The Peninsula School, he took up a position as reliability engineer with the Department of Defence in 2006, analysing statistical data for Defence equipment.
He then moved into the financial sector in April 2007, where he works as Data Manager and Senior Research Scientist for a leading investment firm.
Dedication This booklet is dedicated to the memory of John Daly, Australia’s pioneer global warming skeptic. John’s first publication about global warming, The Greenhouse Trap, was published by Bantam Books in 1989. It has stood the test of time extremely well.
John was a pioneer in the use of the Web to disseminate information that was relevant to this important debate and his website, ‘Still Waiting for Greenhouse’, showed the power which the Web afforded to those who were shut out of the mainstream media, but who had important information to make available to all who were involved in this historic debate.
His sudden, untimely death in January 2004, at the age of 61, was a great loss to the skeptics’ cause, and tributes to him flowed in from all over the world. An obituary can be found on the Lavoisier Group website.
The Climategate Emails edited and annotated by John Costella The Lavoisier Group March 2010 i © 2010 John Costella and The Lavoisier Group Inc.
A facsimile version of this publication, in PDF form, with
hyperlinks, is available on the Lavoisier Group website:
www.lavoisier.com.au Layout and typesetting by Foxpress (a division of Fergco Pty Ltd) www.fergco.com firstname.lastname@example.org Body text set in Minion Pro 12/14.4 pt ii Foreword The Climategate emails expose to our view a world that was previously hidden from virtually everyone.
This formerly hidden world was made upof a very few players. But they controlled those critical Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) processes involving the temperature records from the past, and the official interpretation of current temperature data. They exerted previously unrecognized influence on the “peer review” process for papers seeking publication in the officially recognised climate science literature from which the IPCC was supposed to rely exclusively in order to draw its conclusions.
The Climategate emails demonstrate that these people had no regard for the traditions and assumptions which had developed over centuries and which provided the foundations of Western science. At the very core of this tradition is respect for truth and honesty in reporting data and results; and a recognition that all the data, and all the steps required to reach a result, had to be available to the scientific world at large.
There are two issues which now have to be addressed. The first is the damage which has been done to the standing of science as an intellectual discipline on which our civilisation depends. The second is the status of the IPCC, since that institution is the source of scientific authority on which prime ministers and other political leaders rely to legitimise their statements about global warming.
The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Panel (UNEP) in 1988. From the very beginning its brief was to report on mankind’s influence on climate change.
The IPCC has published four assessment reports, in 1991, 1996, 2001, and in 2007.
Every successive report has upped the ante, both in the confidence of their predictions of increasing global temperatures and rising sea-levels, and in the surety that mankind is responsible for continued warming.
The Climategate emails originate from the University of East Anglia’s, Climatic Research Unit, (CRU) founded by climatology pioneer Hubert Lamb. Tom Wigley, who was born and educated in Adelaide, was Director of the CRU until 1993 and was succeeded by Phil Jones, who is one of two lead players in this story.
The other lead player is Mike Mann, from Penn State University. Mike Mann leapt from relative obscurity to international fame with his “hockey stick”, a graph of global temperatures from 1000 AD to the present, which was the showpiece at the iii launching of the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report in Shanghai in January 2001.
The hockey stick became a corporate logo for the IPCC, but because it rubbed out the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age from the historical record, it was subjected to a US congressional inquiry. Eventually it was shown that random data fed into the algorithms used by Mann to produce his hockey stick from bristle cone pine tree ring data, also yielded hockey stick results.
In this annotated edition of the Climategate emails, John Costella shows us how a very small cabal of climate scientists, based at the University of East Anglia and at Penn State University, were able to control the temperature record fed into the IPCC reports and which comprised the foundation on which the whole global warming structure was based. The only data base which they could not influence was the satellite measured temperature data which John Christy and Roy Spencer, from the University of Alabama, had established from 1979 on.
That this was a real conspiracy is beyond argument. The word “conspiracy” is used by the players themselves. In any conspiracy there is a tight inner core and then successive rings of collaborators, who accept the leadership of the central core.
The hero who emerges from these emails is Steve McIntyre, a Canadian ex-geologist and mining analyst, who with remarkable patience and courtesy kept on asking for the data and the computer programmes upon which the various IPCC pronouncements were based. He has performed a great service for the world, which one day will surely be recognised.
The other hero, so far unknown, is the whistle-blower who realised the implications of what was going on and was able to place all these emails on an obscure Russian website.
John Costella has done a great service in making these emails intelligible to us all.
The Lavoisier Group is grateful to him for allowing us to publish his work. The cost of this publication was met through donations from the Lavoisier Group’s member and friends and on behalf of the Board I thank them for their generous support.
The most difficult thing for a scientist in the era of Climategate is trying to explain to family and friends why it is so distressing to scientists. Most people don’t know how science really works: there are no popular television shows, movies or books that really depict the everyday lives of real scientists; it just isn’t exciting enough. I’m not talking here about the major discoveries of science—which are well-described in documentaries, popular science series, and magazines—but rather how the weekby-week process of science (often called the “scientific method”) actually works.
The best analogy that I have been able to come up with, in recent weeks, is the criminal justice system—which is often depicted in the popular media. Everyone knows what happens if the police obtain evidence by illegal means: the evidence is ruled inadmissible; and, if a case rests on that tainted evidence, it is thrown out of court.
The justice system is not saying that the accused is necessarily innocent; rather, that determining the truth is impossible if evidence is not protected from tampering or fabrication.
The same is true in science: scientists assume that the rules of the scientific method have been followed, at least in any discipline that publishes its results for public consumption. It is that trust in the process that allows me, for example, to believe that the human genome has been mapped—despite my knowing nothing about that field of science at all. That same trust has allowed scientists at large to similarly believe in the results of climate science.
So what are the “rules” of the scientific method? Actually, they are not all that different from those of the justice system. Just as it is a fundamental right of every affected party to be heard and fairly considered by the court, it is of crucial importance to science that all points of view be given a chance to be heard, and fairly debated. But, of course, it would be impossible to allow an “open slather” type of arrangement, like discussion forums on the Internet; so how do we admit all points of view, without descending into anarchy?
This question touches on something of a dark secret within science—one which most scientists, through the need for self-preservation, are scared to admit: most disciplines of science are, to a greater or lesser extent, controlled by fashions, biases and dogma. Why is this so? Because the mechanism by which scientific debate has been “regulated” to avoid anarchy—at least since the second half of the twentieth v century—has been the “peer review” process. The career of any professional scientist lives or dies on their success in achieving publication of their papers in “peerreviewed” journals. So what, exactly, does “peer-reviewed” mean? Simply that other professional scientists in that discipline must agree that the paper is worthy of publication. And what is the criterion that determines who these “professional scientists” should be? Their success in achieving publication of their papers in peer-reviewed journals! Catch-22.
It may seem, on the surface, that this circular process is fundamentally flawed but, borrowing the words of Winston Churchill, it is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. Science is not, of course, alone in this respect; for example, in the justice system, judges are generally selected from the ranks of lawyers. So what is it that allows this form of system to work, despite its evident circularity?
The justice system again provides a clue: judges are not the ones who ultimately decide what occurs in a courtroom: they simply implement the laws passed or imposed by the government—and politicians are not, in general, selected solely from the ranks of the legal profession. This is the ultimate “reality check” that prevents the legal system from spiralling into navel-gazing irrelevance.
Equivalent “escape valves” for science are not as explicitly obvious, but they exist nonetheless.
First, a scientific discipline can maintain a “closed shop” mentality for a while, but eventually the institutions and funding agencies that provide the lifeblood of their work—the money that pays their wages and funds their research—will begin to question the relevance and usefulness of the discipline, particularly in relation to other disciplines that are competing for the same funds. This will generally be seen by the affected scientists as “political interference”, but it is a reflection of their descent into arrogance and delusions of self-importance for them to believe that only they themselves are worthy of judging their own merits.
Second, scientists who are capable and worthy, but unfairly “locked out” of a given discipline, will generally migrate to other disciplines in which the scientific process is working as it should. Dysfunctional disciplines will, in time, atrophy, in favour of those that are healthy and dynamic.