«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 ...»
Skepticism is essential for the functioning of science. It yields an erratic path towards eventual truth.
Sounds fine so far.
But legitimate scientific skepticism is exercised through formal scientific circles, in particular the peer review process. A necessary though not in general sufficient condition for taking a scientific criticism seriously is that it has passed through the legitimate scientific peer review process. Those such as McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside of this system are not to be trusted.
Ironically, Mann’s “delegitimization” of the peer-review process will be his most devastating legacy.
September 30, 2009: email 1254323180 Phil Jones writes to Mike Mann and Gavin Schmidt about the Briffa Russian tree ring
Another issue is science by blog sites—and the then immediate response mode. Science ought to work through the peer-review system.
Again—unless it’s Revkin’s blog site, or their own website.
Even though I’ve had loads of Freedom Of Information requests and nasty emails, a few in the last two days have been the worst yet. I’m realizing more what those working on animal experiments must have gone through.
It’s part of the attack of the corporate-funded attack machine, i.e. it’s a direct and highly intended outcome of a highly orchestrated, heavilyfunded corporate attack campaign.
But Mike Mann and colleagues are the heavily-funded ones—who claim to “own” the climate data, no less.
We saw it over the summer with the health insurance industry trying to defeat Obama’s health plan, and we’ll see it now as the United States Senate moves on to focus on the Cap and Trade bill that passed Congress this summer.
Here the author of the discredited “hockey stick” treats the climate change debate as just another partisan political battle?
It isn’t coincidental that the original McIntyre and McKitrick Energy and Environment paper with associated press release came out the day before the United States Senate was considering the McCain–Lieberman Climate Bill in 2005.
What about Mann and colleagues’ repeated rushing of papers into print barely hours before the deadline to appear in the IPCC Report?
We’re doing the best we can to expose this. I hope our website post goes some ways to exposing the campaign and pre-emptively deal with the continued onslaught we can expect over the next month.
Ah, pre-emptive strikes are fine, as long as you’re the “good guys”.
October 2, 2009: email 1254505571
Malcolm Hughes writes to Keith Briffa:
What’s going on? On 21st September I got an email from Tom Melvin (a colleague of Briffa’s) that contained the following paragraph, among other
more general discussion:
“Keith has been complained at by Climate Audit for cherry-picking and not using your long Russian data set. Not used because we did not have the data.
Please, could we have the data? We will make proper acknowledgement or coauthorship if we use the data.” I replied pretty much straight away thus: “Hi Tom … The Russian data set is not yet available because it has not been published. …” So far, I have had no direct response to this email from Tom.
This morning I get an email from Anders Moberg, telling me that you had asked him for the Russian data. … In other words, Briffa has been unable to get the data from Hughes—a colleague.
Once again, the actual data are unpublished, in spite of having been discussed in the Russian literature by Siderova and co-workers. A large proportion of the raw data are not yet in the public domain, and so you would not be able to critically evaluate the data as a possible climate proxy.
So the data has already been discussed in the literature, but is not available even to Briffa (let alone skeptics).
As you know, it is my intention to be friendly, cooperative and open, but I’m determined to get some scientific value from all the years of work I’ve invested in the Russian … work, and in cooperation with Russia in general.
Releasing these data now would be too much.
Hughes wants to have the exclusive right to exploit the Russian data. That would be fine—if he didn’t publicly publish papers based on that “private” data.
In his reply, Keith Briffa admits that he didn’t actually understand where the data sets
were coming from:
I fully accept and would never go behind your back to ask for the data. … I could do without all this now—I don’t really understand what Climate Audit are getting so hysterical about, but I feel that I cannot ignore it this time—but I don’t feel up to getting involved. I fully admit to being out of the loop as regards all this and having trouble getting back to it.
…—to be honest also—I actually was not really aware that the data you were producing and that used by Sidorova were one and the same.
This is unbelievable! The conspirators are so possessive of their own data that even their own colleagues couldn’t work out whose data were from where. How could anyone be expected to peer-review the work? Can anyone have any faith in any of the published papers?
October 5, 2009: email 1254746802
Phil Jones to Mike Mann and Gavin Schmidt:
I assume you are both aware of this prat—Neil Craig, see below. Keith won’t be responding.
I never acknowledge emails from people I don’t know, about topics that are in any way sensitive. This is a perfect example of something that goes right into the trash bin.
October 5, 2009: email 1254756944 Tom Wigley writes to Phil Jones, over the growing controversy surrounding Keith
… Keith does seem to have got himself into a mess. … But, more generally, … how does Keith explain the McIntyre graph that compares data sets? And how does he explain the apparent “selection” of the less well-replicated data rather that the later (better replicated) data?
Of course, I don’t know how often some of the data has really been used in recent, post-1995, work. I suspect from what you say it is much less often than McIntyre and McKitrick say—but where did they get their information? I presume they went through papers to see if the data was cited, a pretty foolproof method if you ask me. Perhaps these things can be explained clearly and concisely—but I am not sure Keith is able to do this as he is too close to the issue and probably quite pissed off.
Wigley’s criticisms of Briffa have unquestioned credibility: he still supports the man, just not his science.
And the issue of withholding data is still a hot potato, one that affects both you and Keith (and Mann). Yes, there are reasons—but many good scientists appear to be unsympathetic to these. The trouble here is that withholding data looks like hiding something, and hiding means (in some eyes) that it is bogus science that is being hidden.
I think Keith needs to be very, very careful in how he handles this.
Wigley comprehends that their “reasons” are merely excuses, and that refusing transparency is fundamentally indefensible.
October 6, 2009: email 1254832684 Martin Lutyens, of the British CO2morrow project, writes to the Climatic Research
Unit’s Andrew Manning, the scientific consultant to CO2morrow:
I just came across an article in The Week, called “The case of the vanishing data”. It writes in a rather wry and skeptical way about your University of East Anglia colleagues Phil Jones and Tom Wigley, saying that only their “homogenised” or “adjusted” historical data is available, and the original, raw data has gone missing. Apparently some other environmental gurus now want to look at the original data and were “fobbed off ”.
According to the article, the adjusted data forms the basis for much of the climate change debate and, because others now want to look at the source data, it is “at the centre of an academic spat that could have major implications for the climate change debate”. The author of the original article is Patrick Michaels in The National Review, who may just be stirring it.
The article concludes, “In short, the data invoked to verify the most significant forecasts about the world’s future, have simply vanished.” Could you comment on this please, as someone (e.g. Siemens Corporation) may pick this up and I think we should all be forearmed by knowing what really happened and what to say if asked.
The reality of the good ship Global Warming hitting an iceberg has started to sink in, and the crew are looking for the lifeboats. We are here just six days away from the Climategate whistle-blower leaking the first tranche of emails to Paul Hudson of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Manning forwards the query to Phil Jones:
Is this another witch hunt …? How should I respond to the email below?
(I’m in the process of trying to persuade Siemens Corporation (a company with half a million employees in 190 countries!) to donate me a little cash to do some carbon dioxide measurements here in the United Kingdom—it is looking promising, so the last thing I need is news articles calling into question (again) observed temperature increases—I thought we’d moved the debate beyond this, but it seems that these skeptics are real die-hards!).
McIntyre has no interest in publishing his results in the peer-review literature. The IPCC won’t be able to assess any of it unless he does.
What? Jones seems to think that even exposing the missing data is something that has to run through the gauntlet of their “peer review”.
Your dad (Martin Manning, Director of Climate Change at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute) and Susan Solomon have had run-ins with him and others.
So this is now a generational feud?
So other groups around the world have also entered into agreements restricting access to data. I know this doesn’t make it right, but it is the way of the world with both instrumental and paleoclimatology data. I frequently try and get data from other people without success, sometimes from people who send me a soft copy of their paper, then tell me they can’t send me the data that generated their plots.
At last, Jones admits that all this “hiding” is not right—but he tries to deflect the blame onto others.
It is the right-wing web sites doing all this, presumably in the build up to Copenhagen.
As with Mann in the United States, so with Jones in the United Kingdom: it is all a partisan political battle.
October 8, 2009: email 1255095172 Rick Piltz, founder of Climate Science Watch in the United States, writes to Ben Santer, copying in Tom Wigley, Tom Karl, Jim Hansen, Bob Watson, Mike MacCracken, and
Gentlemen— I expect that you have already been made aware of the petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) (and Pat Michaels) calling for a re-opening of public comment on EPA’s prospective “endangerment” finding on greenhouse gases. CEI is charging that the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has destroyed the raw data for a portion of the global temperature record, thus destroying the integrity of the IPCC assessments and any other work that treats the United Kingdom Jones–Wigley global temperature data record as scientifically legitimate. I have attached the petition in soft copy, with the statements by CEI and Michaels.
The story was reported in Environment & Energy Daily yesterday (below).
They called me for it, presumably because I am on their call list as someone who gets in the face of the global warming disinformation campaign, among other things. I hit the CEI, but I don’t have a technical response to their allegations.
So he attacked the CEI in lieu of having any valid response? And it would seem the
EPA will also have no valid response:
Who is responding to this charge on behalf of the science community?
Surely someone will have to, if only because the EPA will need to know exactly what to say. And really, I believe that all of you, as the authoritative experts, should be prepared to do that in a way that has some collective coherence.