«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 ...»
FYI—Jolene can you set up a conference call with all the parties listed below, including Ben.
Ben Santer replies to Tom Karl, copying in many colleagues:
My personal opinion is that both of McIntyre’s FOI requests … are intrusive and unreasonable. Steven McIntyre provides absolutely no scientific justification or explanation for such requests. I believe that McIntyre is pursuing a calculated strategy to divert my attention and focus away from research. As the recent experiences of Mike Mann and Phil Jones have shown, this request is the thin edge of wedge. It will be followed by further requests for computer programs, additional material and explanations, etc., etc.
Santer is trying to offer the ludicrous excuse that he does not have time to prepare this material for release to McIntyre. In reality, the necessary work in carefully documenting and archiving the material should already have been done, as a routine part of his job.
Quite frankly, Tom, … I am unwilling to waste more of my time fulfilling the intrusive and frivolous requests of Steven McIntyre.
Santer shares the view of his colleagues that their research is “personal” and immune from “intrusion”. If so, it should never have been published in the professional scientific literature. Is review and replication of scientific research now a “frivolous” activity?
I believe that our community should no longer tolerate the behavior of Mr. McIntyre and his cronies. McIntyre has no interest in improving our scientific understanding of the nature and causes of climate change. He has no interest in rational scientific discourse. He deals in the currency of threats and intimidation.
Those words describe exactly Santer’s response to McIntyre, copied to an extensive list of colleagues? And where, exactly, are the threats and intimidation from McIntyre in his requests for information?
We should be able to conduct our scientific research without constant fear of an “audit” by Steven McIntyre; without having to weigh every word we write in every email we send to our scientific colleagues.
Again, their results should be taken on their say-so, without any chance of independent verification. This is not how science works.
In my opinion, Steven McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science. I am unwilling to submit to this McCarthy-style investigation of my scientific research. As you know, I have refused to send McIntyre the “derived” model data he requests, since all of the primary model data necessary to replicate our results are freely available to him. I will continue to refuse such data requests in the future. Nor will I provide McIntyre with computer programs, email correspondence, etc. I feel very strongly about these issues. We should not be coerced by the scientific equivalent of a playground bully.
Again, “a playground bully” is a concise description of himself.
I will be consulting Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Legal Affairs Office in order to determine how the Department Of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory should respond to any Freedom Of Information requests that we receive from McIntyre. I assume that such requests will be forthcoming.
We will see shortly the results of this consultation.
I am copying this email to all co-authors of our 2008 IJoC paper, to my immediate superior at the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (Dave Bader), to Anjuli Bamzai at the Department Of Energy headquarters, and to Professor Glenn McGregor (the editor who was in charge of our paper at IJoC).
That seems to be as intimidatory as it gets.
I’d be very happy to discuss these issues with you tomorrow. I’m sorry that the tone of this letter is so formal, Tom. Unfortunately, after today’s events, I must assume that any email I write to you may be subject to FOI requests, and could ultimately appear on McIntyre’s Climate Audit website.
Is Santer perhaps finally beginning to understand?
December 2, 2008: email 1228249747
Ben Santer’s bluff has been called. He writes to many:
Dear folks, There has been some additional fallout from the publication of our paper in the International Journal of Climatology. After reading Steven McIntyre’s discussion of our paper on climateaudit.com (and reading about my failure to provide McIntyre with the data he requested), an official at Department Of Energy headquarters has written to Cherry Murray at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory(LLNL), claiming that my behavior is bringing LLNL’s good name into disrepute. Cherry is the Principal Associate Director for Science and Technology at LLNL, and reports to LLNL’s Director (George Miller).
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national scientific establishment established in the 1950s with a high reputation for science and engineering. At last, someone in an oversight position has realized that the climate scientists are running amok and bringing this prestigious organization into disrepute.
I’m getting sick of this kind of stuff, and am tired of simply taking it on the chin.
Accordingly, I have been trying to evaluate my options. I believe that one option is to write a letter to Nature, briefly outlining some of the events that have transpired subsequent to the publication of our IJoC paper. … … Since it was my decision not to provide McIntyre with derived data, I’m perfectly happy to be the sole author of such a letter to Nature.
Tom Wigley realizes that independent verification is a crucial part of the scientific
process, and counsels Santer:
I support you on this. However, there is more to be said than what you give below. For instance, it would be useful to note that, in principle, an audit scheme could be a good thing if done properly. But an audit must start at square one (your point). So, one can appear to applaud McIntyre at first, but then go on to note that his method of operation seems to be flawed.
Wigley then points out that they themselves have already provided their own form of “auditing”:
The issue of auditing is a tricky one. The auditors must, themselves, be able to demonstrate that they have no ulterior motives. One way to do this would be to audit papers on both sides of an issue. In other words, both us and Douglass should be audited together. In a sense, our paper is an audit of Douglass—and we found his work to be flawed. A second opinion on this already exists, through the refereeing of our paper. I suppose a third opinion from the likes of McIntyre might be of value in a controversial area like this. But then, is McIntyre the right person to do this? Is he unbiased?
Does he have the right credentials (as a statistician)?
This is the ultimate example of the pot calling the kettle black: when superior statisticians criticize their results, they try to lock them out as not being part of their soft-science club.
December 3, 2008: email 1228330629
Ben Santer writes to Tom Wigley and others:
… had I acceded to McIntyre’s initial request for climate model data, I’m convinced (based on the past experiences of Mike Mann, Phil, and Gavin) that I would have spent years of my scientific career dealing with demands for further explanations, additional data, computer programs, etc. (Phil has been complying with Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act requests from McIntyre and his cronies for over two years).
Santer is admitting that his lack of proper documentation and archiving of his data and computer programs is so deficient that it would take years of work to rectify.
For the remainder of my scientific career, I’d like to dictate my own research agenda. I don’t want that agenda driven by the constant need to respond to Christy, Douglass, and Singer. And I certainly don’t want to spend years of my life interacting with the likes of Steven McIntyre.
Santer, full of self-pity, no longer wants to work in science.
I hope Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory management will provide me with their full support. If they do not, I’m fully prepared to seek employment elsewhere.
I am glad to hear it. Santer is completely unsuited to science research.
Phil Jones describes the con job that he has apparently successfully sold within his
When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide by the requests. It took a couple of half-hour sessions—one at a computer screen, to convince them otherwise, showing them what Climate Audit was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing with, everyone at the University of East Anglia (in the Registry (administration) and in the Environmental Sciences School—the Head of School and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI person quite well, and the Chief Librarian—who deals with appeals. The Vice-Chancellor is also aware of what is going on—at least for one of the requests, but probably doesn’t know the number we’re dealing with. We are in double figures.
Jones must be extremely convincing, to get all of these officials to be complicit in flouting the law.
One of his tactics is, perversely, to use the sheer number of requests to argue against
One issue is that these requests aren’t that widely known within the School.
So I don’t know who else at the University of East Anglia may be getting them. The Climatic Research Unit is moving up the ladder of requests at the University of East Anglia though. … We’re aware of requests going to others in the United Kingdom—Meteorological Office Hadley Centre, the University of Reading, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Imperial College.
Jones now describes how he evaded the latest request:
The inadvertent email I sent last month has led to a Data Protection Act request sent by a certain Canadian, saying that the email maligned his scientific credibility with his peers!
If he pays 10 pounds (which he hasn’t yet) I am supposed to go through my emails and he can get anything I’ve written about him. About 2 months ago I deleted loads of emails, so have very little—if anything at all.
In response to FOI and Environmental Information Regulations requests, we’ve put up some data—mainly paleoclimatology data. Each request generally leads to more—to explain what we’ve put up. Every time, so far, that hasn’t led to anything being added by us—instead we just put up statements saying “Read what is in the papers and what is on the web site!” Tim Osborn sent one such response (via the FOI person) earlier this week.
We’ve never sent computer programs … or manuals.
December 9, 2008: email 1228922050 Ben Santer catches on to Phil Jones’s strategy of arguing that a greater number of
requests implies lower credibility and validity, rather than the opposite:
I had a quick question for you: What is the total number of Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act requests that you’ve received from Steven McIntyre?
I haven’t got a reply from the FOI person here at the University of East Anglia. So I’m not entirely confident the numbers are correct. … I did get an email from the FOI person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn’t be deleting emails—unless this was “normal” deleting to keep emails manageable!
McIntyre hasn’t paid his 10 pounds, so nothing looks likely to happen regarding his Data Protection Act email.
Anyway, requests have been of three types—observational data, paleoclimatology data, and who made IPCC changes and why. … According to the FOI Commissioner’s Office, the IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI Act. Even if the University of East Anglia holds anything about the IPCC, we are not obliged to pass it on, unless it has anything to do with our core business—and it doesn’t! I’m sounding like Sir Humphrey here!
At least Jones recognizes that his arguments are as ridiculous as the fictional public servant in the famous television series Yes Minister. The Climatic Research Unit’s “core business” has nothing to do with the IPCC?