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National Domestic Extremism Team


IPCC glaciers - some explanation

Photo by RichDrogPa under Creative Commons. Hot on the heels of New Scientist's story about how the erroneous Himalayan glacier story found its way from the lips of an Indian Scientist called Syed Hasnain, via the World Wildlife Fund, to the pages of an IPCC report, comes this article from Jonathan Leake in the Sunday Times, which fills in much of the detail. Amazingly, the claim that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 was not even remotely credible in the first place

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, said: "Even a small glacier such as the Dokriani glacier is up to 120 metres [394ft] thick. A big one would be several hundred metres thick and tens of kilometres long. The average is 300 metres thick so to melt one even at 5 metres a year would take 60 years. That is a lot faster than anything we are seeing now so the idea of losing it all by 2035 is unrealistically high.”

This rather begs the question of how such a remarkable claim managed to pass through the allegedly bulletproof peer review process of the IPCC and the New Scientist journalist, Fred Pearce, is demanding answers. It will be interesting to see if the IPCC deigns to respond.



Hockey Stick Illusion for US readers

While my publisher has made valiant efforts to sell the US rights to The Hockey Stick Illusion and I've made my own attempts too, we've had no joy so far. US readers can buy the book direct from Amazon UK, but this may be relatively expensive. Could someone perhaps find out how much it would cost to buy and ship a single copy to the US?

I'm still very tempted to self-publish in the US. There's a typeset manuscript ready to go, which would just need a cover design. However, wiser heads are advising me to hold on, and of course if I can make an impact in the UK there's always the possibility that someone will pick me up for North America.

What do readers think?



New Scientist on glaciers

Ten years after publishing some outrageous claims about disappearing glaciers, New Scientist comes clean:

This sudden burst of inquiry from Britain's premier science magazine is certainly welcome. We've had twenty-odd years of, at best dumb acquiescence and at worst dumber cheerleading. What have the New Scientists been thinking of these last two decades?

We are entitled to an explanation too.



Reviews - 1

I thought that people might be interested in some of the pre-publication reviews of The Hockey Stick Illusion - I'll post these up over the next week or so. Here's the one that was chosen for the cover:

This is a thriller about codebreaking – not Napoleon's or Hitler's codes, but computer codes that generated a false signal to the world about runaway global warming. Like most codebreaking it was painfully slow but Montford keeps the drama pacy as the years pass, while he explains the intricacies in the plainest possible language. By military codebreaking, the likes of Scovell and Turing helped to change the course of history, and McIntyre and McKitrick should soon do the same, when the statistical fudges that misled the politicians become more widely known.

Nigel Calder
Former editor, New Scientist
co-author, The Chilling Stars



Hockey Stick Illusion ships Monday

I've had word from the publisher that The Hockey Stick Illusion will start to ship from the warehouse on Monday.

Phew! That was a long haul. Amazing to compare the turnaround at a traditional publisher to the speed with which Fuller and Mosher have produced their Climategate: The CRUTape Letters.



A BBC approach to NASA

Here's the fair and balanced BBC approaching NASA for an interview, in another email from the NASA collection.

From: James Morgan-GW
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 21:00:21 +0100
To: Leslie.M.McCarthy
Subject: BBC TV series

Dear Lesley,

I am a researcher from the BBC, in the UK. I am developing a landmark television series, looking at the effects of artificial chemicals (all things toxic!) on our environment on a global scale. It will be the ultimate global health check - an update on where we stand now, 45 years since Rachel Carson wrote her influential and controversial book Silent Spring. Using similar headings as Carson for the chapters in her book, the six episodes will be as follows:

Oceans (and Rivers)
Insects, Soils and Funghi
Animals, Birds & Fish
Our Green Mantle (trees, plants etc)

Regarding the first episode, "Planet", I am keen to speak to NASA scientists who are using satellites to measure atmospheric pollution from space. Your colleague Rob, in the Goddard media relations office, has recommended four scientists, who you may be able to put me in touch with:

James Hansen
Drew Schindel
Gavin Schmidt
Reto Reudy

I am keen to get a clear and informed idea of how the Earth has changed in the past four decades, how NASA is measuring these changes, and how we could illustrate these changes in a TV programme in the future. Also, I would like to know about any new and positive developments where chemicals which have been a problem in the atmosphere have been remedied by new and advanced methods?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


Can anyone tell the difference between James and a green campaigner?



Did NASA throw away data too?

The NASA emails are interesting, but I haven't noticed anything too scandalous, apart perhaps from this. After the initial furore over the discovery of the error in their temperature data, NASA bigwig James Hansen decides the correct response is to show that the impact of the correction is small. Unfortunately Makiko Sato, the scientist who maintains the temperature data tells him there's a problem:

On Fri, 2007-08-10 at 11:59 -0500, James Hansen wrote:

Makiko, Reto,
r am being beseiged by these (see below), The appropriate response is to show the curves for U.S. and global temperatures before and after (before and after McIntyre's correction). Makiko doubts that this is possible because the earlier result has been "thrown away", We will never live this down if we give such a statement. It must be possible to reconstruct the "before" result. Unfortunately, this needs to be done soon, as there are various writers with deadlines this afternoon. I hope that is possible -- this should have a higher priority that the
calculation that we mentioned yesterday.


By the way, I think that we should save the results of the analyses at least once per year, so we will have a record of how they change.

Oh goodness, not NASA too, I hear you cry. Surely they haven't been ditching data just like their colleagues at CRU? And it's all very well saying that results should be saved "at least once a year", but that's not much good after the bird has flown the coop.

Fortunately, Reto has better news...

From: Reto Ruedy
To: James Hansen
Cc: Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy
Subject: Re: Fwd: FW: GISS - Truth driven vs agenda driven
Date: Frt 10 Aug 2007 13:09:56 -0400


Nothing was thrown out ~ I made the corresponding graphs.


Well that's a relief, but one can't help but wonder if they actually found their earlier results, or if they managed to reconstruct them from scratch.



Judicial Watch obtains NASA emails

This is hot off the presses - Judicial Watch has obtained NASA emails relating to the furore over Steve McIntyre's discovery of an error in their data back in 2007. The revelation of the so-called "Y2K error" lead to a reassessment of climate history in the US, with 1934 being promoted above 20051998 as the hottest year on record.

Judicial Watch article here. The emails are here. Enjoy.



Guardian moderates

That's odd - when I look at Comment is Free threads I get a message above the comment box saying that "This comment will be held for moderation". Does everyone get this or am I on some sort of a blacklist? If the latter, I'm rather bemused as I can't think of anything I've said that would upset the Graun. I don't even post there very often.

Perhaps the Domestic Extremism Team have told them that I'm persona non grata?



PSU inquiry to be held in private

The inquiry into the Michael Mann's conduct launched by Penn State University in the wake of the Climategate revelations is to be held in private, with only PSU staff present.

The initial probe involves a committee of just three, all of whom are Penn State employees with a clear interest in preserving the reputation of a university ranked ninth in the nation in receiving government research and development grants. It may raise some eyebrows to know that no outsiders will monitor the proceedings.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. The perception of integrity in the climate research community will likely determine whether trillions of dollars are pumped into less-developed nations in the form of virtual reparations to atone for 150 years of unequal occupation of the so-called “carbon space” by more prosperous nations.

Still, the public is asked to trust the findings of a secret probe conducted by the colleagues of the accused.

Meanwhile there is no information at all about the parallel inquiry into CRU. I'm trying to rectify that and will report back as soon as I know something.




Bishop Hill reader Josh send this cartoon to enliven my site (some of you may already have seen it at SPPI blog).



Environment correspondents

This is a guest post by Andrew K.

This is as much as anything an appeal for information: to do a little crowdsourcing.
I have been aware for a while that the post of Environment Correspondent isn't necessarily held by either scientists or economists, and can be a favoured career destination for activists.
I have produced a small list which can be downloaded here.  It is by no means comprehensive.  In particular the tabloids are poorly covered, as they tend not to be forthcoming with byelines.  What I am looking for is people to fill in the gaps and add to our knowledge, either by posting in comments or if preferred by e-mail to my gracious host for forwarding.  What I particularly need is
  1. Any missing names, and the publications or media sources they are attached to.
  2. Educational backgrounds, in particular degrees held
  3. Career backgorounds: e.g. former fashion correspondent.
  4. Any history of activism in the area of Climate Change, either convinced or sceptical.
It would be helpful of sources and/or references could be provided.
I hope in due course to produce a comprehensive listing which should help to inform the debate



Mosher's story

Is up at BigJournalism.

Whodunnit? He isn't saying:

Several days before the Climategate files were made public, Mosher says he had been given the files from an undisclosed source. “[The] file came to me in the form of a CD, and I was asked by people to take a look at it and give my opinion whether it was a hoax or not.”



Police are climate change experts

The BBC has picked up on the Domestic Extremist angle to Climategate in an article posted in the regional news section of their website.

A police unit set up to support forces dealing with extremism in the UK is helping investigate the leaking of climate change data in Norfolk.

A spokesman for the unit said: "At present we have two police officers assisting Norfolk with their investigation, and we have also provided computer forensic expertise.

"While this is not strictly a domestic extremism matter, as a national police unit we had the expertise and resource to assist with this investigation, as well as good background knowledge of climate change issues in relation to criminal investigations."

Read that last sentence again. Can they really mean that? The National Domestic Extremist Team has background knowledge of climate change issues?