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« Weekly Standard on CG2 | Main | Tim Barnett on the Hockey Stick »

Crushing of dissent

I was having a little Twitter tiff with Leo Hickman over the Guardian's attacks on the editor of the Spectator for publishing an article by Nils Axel Morner - an expert on sea level rises who has been fiercely critical of the IPCC's predictions. As I explained to Leo, I have no particular horse in this race - I know little about the science of sea levels - but I do have libertarian concerns over attempts to silence dissenting voices by attacking anyone who publishes them or other by other underhand methods. 

I listed a few examples for Leo's benefit:

To which Jonathan Jones added

Can readers here think of other examples of attempts to silence dissent?

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  • Response
    Response: Dowsing does work!
    Leo Hickman of the Guardian is apparently angry (as Bishop Hill mentions here) that the Spectator published an article by sea level expert Nils-Axel M�rner, an article I recycled the concluding paragraphs of as a(n) SQotD here on Thursday, and Leo Hickman isn't the only one. The general mood in the ...

Reader Comments (151)

Attempt to prevent Durkin issuing The Great Global Warming Swindle as a DVD

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

This is going to be a long long list!

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Including you, Your Grace? The libellous attack in the Guardian by Bob Ward comes to mind, when he tried to smear you and your work shortly before the publication of your Inquiry into the Inquiries for GWPF. [sic]

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

10:10 "no pressure" video

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes


I'm not really after people being offensive. It has to be concerted smear campaigns, cutting off of funding, that kind of thing.

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:46 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Of course there was the example of Revkin being threatened with the "big cutoff" by a climatologist, whose name I forget.

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:47 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Could you please provide links to where the incidents are described/documented?

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterTroels Halken

Nils-Axel Moerner is a bona fide academic. I cannot judge the contents of his work, but he has published over 100 papers in decent journals and is cited frequently.

Dec 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Michael Mann and Gavin Jones deleting Steve McIntyres postings on Realclimate Re: Yamal

"Gavin and I (having consulted also w/ Malcolm) are wondering what to make of this, and what sort of response---if any---is necessary and appropriate. So far, we've simply deleted all of the attempts by McIntyre and his minions to draw attention to this at RealClimate."

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Sir Crispin Tickell disliking Tom Wigley, for publishing an obviously not sufficiently alarmist paper


date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 17:11:20 +0000
from: Trevor Davies <>
subject: Research Director for TC
to: m.hulme@uea

Mike, Be aware that Tickell dislikes Tom Wigley; this isn't hearsay - I
know this for a fact. After Tom published that "delaying -emissions
cutbacks - scenario" analysis in Nature, Tickell told me that Tom was
irresponsible, & had damaged the likelihood of the cc issue being addressed
seriously. There is also the baggage about Tickell pinching some of CRU's
ideas & Tom telling him so rather unsubtly. So - he needs to be the "sort
of top research scientist we know is interested".


Dec 3, 2011 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

I think the Revkin cutoff issue was not a CG leak but revealed in another mailing list that goes around the great and the good. Pielke Jr mentioned it here:

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

If Leo Hickman was a proper journalist he would have been concerned about the case of Irene Meichsner and the issue of freedom of the press.

Stefan Rahmstorff was convicted of defaming a journalist, Irene Meichsner. Meisschner reported errors in the IPCC 2007 report in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, in early 2010. Rahmstorff publicly attacked Meichsner's article; the newspaper withdrew it. Meissner sued, and won. The Cologne court ruled that Rahmstorf's attacks were unsupported by evidence and even libelous

Hickman is an eco-militant and a dick.

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

How about the Remote Sensing journal machinations?

The dinner I made on Thursday wasn't up to scratch. I must admit I haven't found the time to apologize to Trenberth for it yet.

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered Commenteramoorhouse

Would the business with Chris de Freitas count as a smeer or an attempt to silence?

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTony Windsor

The whole Chris de Freitas issue creeps me out. The team just didn't like him didn't they?

Here's Jones in 4132:


Now had a chance to catch up a little. On de Freitas I hope something is going to happen, but I don't to say anything yet. Hans and Clare will write to the publishers and try to get the reviews from de Freitas. Hans is now convinced he should go, but wants to do on a due cause basis and by the book so any backlash can be dealt with in a fair manner.

Looks like they'd already come up with the decision "he should go" before they could articulate a clear reason, no doubt he made their life uncomfortable by having to respond to criticism, so they looked around for a "cause" after the fact. Just like a lot of other things in the "science" ;)

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Leo Hickman?

Good luck arguing with a dishonest "Team" glove puppet.

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

Sadly your wasting your time with Leo , he has no interest in dealing with these issue unless it can be used against AGW skeptics otherwise have with seen with the 'Teams' behavior the Guardains 'investigative' journalists keep their mouths shut , their ears covered and the eyes firmly shut in the name of the 'cause' .

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Don't forget Mann in 1680

I have been talking w/ folks in the states about finding an
investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre, and his
thusfar unexplored connections with fossil fuel interests.Perhaps the
same needs to be done w/ this Keenan guy.

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement


A journalistic expose of the unscientific practices might work and
>embarass the sceptics/industry lobbies (if they are capable of being
>embarassed) e.g., through a reliable lead reporter for Science or Nature.
>Offending editors could be labelled as "rogue editors", in line with current
>international practice? Or is that defamatory?

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Mann to Hulme 0255. It appears Mann decides he doesn't like Otto Kinne because he had the temerity to assess the reviews and say de Freitas did a good job :

Thanks Mike
It seems to me that this "Kinne" character's words are disingenuous, and he probably supports what De Freitas is trying to do. It seems clear we have to go above him. I think that the community should, as Mike H 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,

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Consistent harassment and belittlement of Chris Landsea.?

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

It would be interesting if a detailed dossier on malpractice in climate science were to be compiled and then presented to the media and to organisations like the Royal Society and its foreign equivalents. Of course the Royal Society has not exactly been impartial on the issue of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming but media interest in such a dossier would probably embarrass it into making some sort of response and it could hardly condone evidence of malpractice without seriously damaging itself and "the Cause."

The most that the Royal Society could say in mitigation of the warmists is that scientists sometimes get so enthusiastic about their work that they sometimes get carried away in academic disputes such as those between Newton and Hooke and Newton again and Leibniz.

The example of Newton does show that even great men have feet of clay but in his defence it could be said that not only was he possibly the greatest scientist of all time (personally I would put Archimedes on a par with him and Einstein some way behind in 3rd position) but, unlike the warmists, he did not propose ruining the British or the World economy. On the contrary, in his role as Master of the Royal Mint Isaac Newton helped to save the British economy by carrying out the Great Recoinage, thus rescuing the currency which was becoming as dysfunctional as the Euro owing to wear and tear on existing silver and gold coins, clipping metal off coins, counterfeiting etc.

Somehow if the warmists were to compare themselves to Newton I do not think even the Guardian would find the comparison very plausible.

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) saw off an attempt to discourage Delingpole. In his own words 'Basically the UEA were trying to use the PCC as a way of gagging this blog from speaking unpalatable truths about the shoddy goings-on in its notorious Climatic Research Unit.' (

Jo Nova has covered that, and also the legal action underway against Tim Ball, under the general heading 'Legal Warfare Against Skeptics': This reproduces part of a piece by John O'Sullivan which includes a link to a blogspost with this in 2008:

'Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was expected to become a major player on the federal political scene as climate change dominated the public agenda. But her insistence that those who don't agree with her are reminiscent of Nazi appeasers makes her look desperate and irrelevant.

And now B.C.'s very own David Suzuki, a Companion of the Order of Canada, wants to throw politicians who question his climate-change thesis in prison.

The celebrity scientist dropped the bombshell while addressing an audience at McGill University. He urged students to seek ways to incarcerate elected officials who are "committing a criminal act by ignoring science."

This was no slip of the tongue. According to the National Post, he said very much the same thing during a speech at the University of Toronto last month.

Both ludicrous and dangerous, it's this type of talk that causes many to wonder just how legitimate the science in this area actually is.

To even joke -- and there's nothing to suggest Suzuki was trying to be funny -- about jailing dissenters is an outrage. The pursuit of scientific inquiry has always welcomed informed skepticism. Otherwise, there is no science, only blind faith.

It's very difficult to attribute even a modicum of credibility to someone who would put forth such a frightening notion. Throughout history, the most oppressive and brutal regimes have locked up those who dared voice dissenting views. Thousands of Canadians have given their lives fighting the very type of society Suzuki appears to desire. He has clearly forfeited his leadership on the climate-change file.

Yet, as disturbing as his words are, there is something even more troubling. It was reported the audience of 600 students cheered wildly at the suggestion to throw non-believers in the green gulag.

In fairness, Suzuki may simply be exhausted. Or perhaps frustration with what he perceives as inaction is clouding his judgment.

But when an auditorium full of university students vigorously applauds a reckless and brutal ideal that is at the core of totalitarianism, we may soon face a problem much more serious than a couple of degrees Celsius in one direction or the other.' (

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

This Pielke Jr post highlights some Jones and Trenberth gatekeeping to reduce the impact of one of his papers in the IPCC AR4

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

There is of course the bruhaha over the IoP submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the disclosure of climate data and emails from CRU.

The usual cast is involved in finding the author of the IoP submission and have the submission retracted.

PhysicsWorld discussion here:

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterEksperimentalfysiker

Here is an extract from a US Senate Committee in 2008 (my emboldening):
'“We [fellow skeptical scientists] talked mostly of work and upcoming papers and went through the standard ritual of griping about journal editors and the ridiculous hoops we sometimes have to jump through to get papers published. But some of the guys had absolute horror stories of what happened to them when they tried getting papers published that explored non-‘consensus’ views. Really outrageous and unethical behavior on the parts of some editors. I was shocked,” wrote conference participant Dr. William M. Briggs, a climate statistician who serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review, on his blog on March 4. (LINK)

Prominent Hungarian Physicist Dr. Miklós Zágoni, a former global warming activist who recently reversed his views about man-made climate fears and is now a skeptic, presented scientific findings at the conference refuting rising CO2 fears. Zágoni’s scientific mentor Hungarian scientist, Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi, an atmospheric physicist, resigned from his post working with NASA because he was disgusted with the agency’s lack of scientific freedom. Miskolczi, who also presented his peer-reviewed findings at the conference, said he wanted to release his new research that showed "runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations," but he claims NASA refused to allow him.

“Unfortunately, my working relationship with my NASA supervisors eroded to a level that I am not able to tolerate. My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results,” Miskolczi said according to a March 6 Daily Tech article. (LINK) & (LINK) [Note: Clarification from original posting. Miskolczi worked with NASA, not Zágoni.]

Meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo, the first Director of Meteorology at The Weather Channel and former chairman of the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, noted that many of his scientific colleagues did not attend the conference because they “feared their attendance might affect their employment.” D’Aleo described the fear of retribution many skeptics face as a “sad state of affairs.” But D’Aleo noted that he believes there is “very likely a silent majority of scientists in climatology, meteorology, and allied sciences who do not endorse what is said to be the ‘consensus’ position.”

Other scientists have echoed these claims. Atmospheric scientist Dr. Nathan Paldor, Professor of Dynamical Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of almost 70 peer-reviewed studies, asserted in December 2007 that skeptics have a much harder time publishing in peer-reviewed literature.

"Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media," Paldor, who was not in attendance at the New York conference, wrote in December. [Note: In February 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki publicly called for politicians skeptical of a man-made climate ‘crisis’ to be thrown “into jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act.” (LINK) - See also July 2007 comprehensive report detailing how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation - LINK ] '

For the above, and more:

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

2143 Phil Jones spreading the word of Australia's David Jones of the BOM 2143 "I had an email from David Jones of BMRC, saying they will be ignoring anything on CA and anything from Warwick Hughes."

The rib-tickler for me is Phil handing out advice that lamentably he fails to do for himself. 3791
Mon, 8 Dec 2008 7:49:18 pm
...for a number of months and possibly years, and could be released under FOI
if a request is made for it during that time!]... I assume that you didn't
delete any emails that David Holland has requested (because that would be
illegal) but that instead his request merely prompted you to do a spring
clean of various other emails that hadn't been requested…..

I shall delete this email and those related to it as part of my regular
-routine of deleting old emails!

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Thank you Bishop and all..this is very topical for the Index On Censorship debate, and for another thing I've been preparing for a while (more soon...hopefully!!)

Never mind the scientists, the attacks on the journalists ARE a matter of smothering freedom.

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

For the avoidance of doubt, it doesn't matter whether these issues are climategate related or not. Just want a full list of what people have been getting up to.

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

7298 where some of the Team try to suppress others of the team
Has Wigley left yet? Did he try to reinvent the statistical wheel again? Fred
Singer was here on Monday and gave a rather uninspired talk criticizing
global warming, etc. He did show an example of the mis-use of statistics in
the greenhouse attribution debate and it was one of Wigley's papers. It was
the one in which Tom tried to show that the autocorrelation function of
instrumental temperatures was far greater than the acf of temperatures from
unforced OAGCM models, therefore "proving" that greenhouse gases were
forcing instrumental temperatures. It was a pathetically poor paper that
had Mark Cane, Yochanan Kushnir, Upmanu Lall, Balaji Rajagoplan (all good
maths/stats people), and me just shaking our collective heads wondering
what the fuck Wigley was trying to do. Needless to say, Singer quite easily
showed how hopelessly flawed and ridiculous the analysis was, and everyone
agreed with him for once. Other than that he pretty much fell on his face."

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Bob Ward has tried to use the Press Complaints Commission as a tool to silence Booker.

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The BBC not allowing people on their programmes who have said they do not believe in the cause.e.g.. Johnny Ball, David Bellamy

Campaigns against Willie Soon, Steve McIntyre


Dec 3, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterCinbadtheSailor


Your're way too late.

I called Mann the “Galileo of climate science,” and increasingly, I think this is not mere hyperbole.

OK, it's only Chris Mooney talking, but wide-eyed worship causes some weird statements to be made

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Garth Paltridge? Bob Carter?

Wasn't Lomborg wheeled in front of some draconian named Danish Institute for the Integrity of Truth in Science or something?

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

Wasn't Delingpole subject of a Press Complaint from UEA?

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterCinbadtheSailor

Then there were the public statements recently in Australia about "tattooing" (Richard Glover, SMH) and "gassing" (Jill Singer, Herald Sun) skeptics, about which Monckton has spoken.

Blog comments about Monckton's appearance on a lecture tour were in a similar vein.

Perhaps we could organise a get together with Lord Monckton. The Lord could guzzle some DDT, Booker could pamper himself with some white asbestos

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

From Email 3205, Jones

"Useful ones (for IPCC) might be Baldwin, Benestad (written on the solar/cloud issue - on the right side, i.e. anti -Svensmark) . . . "

I have not yet seen any related derogatory Emails from around 1998, but from what we have already seen they are pretty certain to exist.

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommentermikemUK

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM | Roy
I agree, This would be a good idea. I doubt that it would be published nor acted upon but when the birds come home to roost and an enquiry into how the world was duped by the cAGW scam is conducted (as no doubt it will be in 10, 20 or 30 years time), it will make it much more difficult for those who remained silent and did nothing to bring this matter into the open (so as to have a proper debate on cAGW and what if any response should be conducted to deal with runaway warming) to argue that they were ignorent of the problems striking at the heart and corruption of science

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

A lesson in how not to put across the fact that you disagree with someone.

#0112: 5 February 2007, Michael Mann to Curt Covey re IPPC sea level rise paleodata

cc.Stefan Rahmstorf Gavin Schmidt, Caspar Ammann , Ben Santer ,Raymond S. Bradle,y Malcolm Hughes , Phil Jones , James Hansen.

"Curt, I can't believe the nonsense you are spouting, and I furthermore cannot imagine why you would be so presumptuous as to entrain me into an exchange with these charlatans. What on earth are you thinking? You're not even remotely correct in your reading of the report, first of all. The AR4 came to stronger conclusions that IPCC(2001) on the paleoclimate conclusions, finding that the recent warmth is likely anomalous in the last 1300 years, not just the last 1000 years…
I find It terribly irresponsible for you to be sending messages like this to Singer and Monckton. You are speaking from ignorance here, and you must further know how your statements are going to be used. You could have sought some feedback from others who would have told you that you are speaking out of your depth on this. By instead simply blurting all of this nonsense out in an email to these sorts charlatans you've done some irreversible damage. shame on you for such irresponsible behavior!
Mike Mann".

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Abrupt/catastrophic climate change and tipping points are used to crush dissent. Michael Crichton described such exploitation in State of Fear. Same story with the precautionary principle. Lindzen has often commented on that.

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Polly Higgins- ecocide.

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Dec 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM | Roy
I agree, This would be a good idea. I doubt that it would be published nor acted upon but when the birds come home to roost and an enquiry into how the world was duped by the cAGW scam is conducted (as no doubt it will be in 10, 20 or 30 years time), it will make it much more difficult for those who remained silent and did nothing to bring this matter into the open (so as to have a proper debate on cAGW and what if any response should be conducted to deal with runaway warming) to argue that they were ignorent of the problems striking at the heart and corruption of science

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

I would not call it crushing of dissent, but don't forget that some within UEA did not like the off message views being presented by Ian Kendall in his lectures (which would confuse the students rather than promoting them to think for themselves) and it appears some eithin UEA were contemplating steps to silence/remove him was it not for the fact that he was retiring in the then near future.

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

10 Sep 2003
TO; Laura Middleton. Scientific Assistant, The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
From: David Cromwell, James Rennell Division for Ocean Circulation and Climate Southampton Oceanography Centre

Please consider signing the following letter [ TO CHALLENGE THE UK MEDIA ON ITS COVERAGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE DURINGTHE RECENT HEAT WAVE] and perhaps sending round Tyndall
Centre colleagues: ............................................................................................................................
......................... Prominent and uncritical coverage was given to the tiny handful of confident self promoting contrarians who defy the scientific consensus.....etc, etc

See full text of letter in the FOIA collection, No 3434.

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

And the one from Mann, hoping Yang (& Jones) would sue Keenan and EE over publishing Keenans paper which crapped on the Yang Jones one (still the basis for denying UHI) which might, Mann added, have the happy effect of shutting EE down

Dec 3, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Appeal for press suppression letter from the Royal Society-

Anti-sceptic editorial bias in 'Science' and 'Nature' journals-

Dec 3, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Last year I had posted on a dissenting voice on Chris Mooney's Discover blog:

My posts were removed.

Last month i was at an Energy / Climate Conference at UMass Amherst.

There was a debate between two Physicists. One gave a dissenting voice and actually passed out material by Anthony Watts and Joanna Nova. The other stuck to the facts of published Hockey sticks, etc.

Among the crowd there, there seemed to be the clear impression that the dissenting voice characterized anecdotal evidence, while the on-point hockey stick voice representing "peer-reviewed" facts. There was an impression that the dissenting physicists was the crazy uncle.

Dec 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Anyone mentioned the recent german court decision against that german scientist (real climate) by a reporter that dared to say inconvinient stuff about the ipcc? Im terrible with german names, sorry

Dec 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLuis Dias

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