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Stourton on global warming

I caught most of Edward Stourton's history of global warming on Radio 4 this morning. This seems to represent something of a shift for the BBC, moving from outright cheerleading and propaganising to something slightly more balanced. Stourton even managed to include some sceptical views (Pat Michaels and Myron Ebell) without sneering or otherwise belittling them. He also managed not to mention the Hockey Stick as far as I could tell, and one wonders whether this was significant or not.

The shocker was that he covered the Stern Report without informing the listener that Stern reinvented the subject of economics in order to get to the answer he did. Let us say charitably that this is probably a case of embarrassing incompetence on Stourton's part rather than anything more sinister. Still, it is hard to credit that an organisation with the resources of the BBC could make such an oversight.

Meanwhile, no reporting of Rajendra Pachauri's conflicts of interest (latest revelations here) from our national broadcaster. I guess there are limits to how far the BBC is willing to go.



Great Northern

Richard North has two articles in the newspapers today, both on the extraordinary financial conflicts of interest in the IPCC process.

In the Telegraph, he and Christopher Booker look at how IPCC boss Rajendra Pachauri has reaped vast sums of money from his involvement in the trade in carbon credits:

What has also almost entirely escaped attention, however, is how Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC’s policy recommendations.

These outfits include banks, oil and energy companies and investment funds heavily involved in ‘carbon trading’ and ‘sustainable technologies’, which together make up the fastest-growing commodity market in the world, estimated soon to be worth trillions of dollars a year.

The Mail meanwhile, has completely messed up, attributing the story to a completely different Richard North, and printing the wrong photo alongside the article to boot. The story though is a good one, looking at the big picture of how Copenhagen was a victory for the money-men, retaining the lucrative trade in carbon credits.

Forget 'Big Oil' - this is 'Big Carbon' making the most of a 'business opportunity' that was created by the first climate treaty at Kyoto in 1997.

The frenzied negotiations we have just seen were never about 'saving the planet'. They were always about money. At stake was this new 'climate change industry' which last year ripped off £129billion from the global economy and is heading for that trillion-pound bonanza by 2020 - but only if the key parts of the Kyoto treaty could be renewed.



Searching for Phil Jones

This was rather amusing until environmentalists started to get violent.



Tool of big oil

Coincidences are funny things. Just hours after joking about my "connections" with the oil industry I got an email from Rob Schneider, the secretary of the Scottish Oil Club, wondering if I'd like to attend some of their meetings. (I always thought these approaches were meant to be accompanied by a large cheque, but what do I know?).

I've written a rather non-commital response explaining that I'm likely to be criticised if I do go, although Rob assures me that the club has as many (warmist) university types as it does sceptic oilmen. This is certainly borne out by the list of forthcoming speakers - I'd be interested to hear what Jeremy Leggett has to say at his talk in February, if only so I can ask him some difficult questions.




In which I go beyond the pale

The Yale Climate Forum has a post up about Climategate - standard "move along now nothing to see here" fare. Perhaps attracted by the Yale name, I decided to make a small contribution to the debate there, picking up on some remarks by the piece's author Zeke Hausfather. Here's what he said about "hiding the decline":

This may be somewhat dubious in that it gives the impression that proxy reconstructions match the observed temperature record better than they otherwise would.

My comment was that "somewhat dubious" is a remarkable way to describe what Jones did. I pointed out that if he had done this as part of a share issue he would be looking at a long jail term. This is factually correct, and was posted pretty much in the terms I've given here.

Unfortunately though, The Yale Climate Forum viewed the posting of a true statement in mild terms as being completely beyond the pale and they decided to delete my comment.

I complain regularly that the climate debate often lapses into those on the other side of the argument claiming that words have different meanings to normal when they use them. The word "Forum" is clearly used in a profoundly different sense at Yale.



Smearing at long range

A few days back I mentioned the attempts to connect Steve McIntyre to big oil by pointing out that he had once given a talk at a think tank that had once received a donation from an oil company.

I'm not sure everyone believed me, but there's another hilarious example of the same thing today, with a connection being "revealed" between McIntyre and the Russians. Speaking of James Delingpole's story about the Institute of Economic Analysis, who have accused the Met Office of cooking the temperature books, Unity has this to say.

What Delingpole failed to disclose was the series of connections linking the Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) to a number of Western right-wing economic think tanks and, through those think-tanks, to a number of high profile global warming deniers and, through one of these, directly to Steve McIntyre.

I can't help but be reminded of the old saw about everyone being connected to  everyone else in the world by no more than seven links of association.

(Declaration of interest - I know a guy who works on an oil rig. That's my credibility shot then.)



JG-C is worried

John Graham-Cumming is worried he may have found an error in the CRU temperature series algorithm.

Read it here.



Hans von Storch interview

English translation here:

It appears from the so-called CRU-Mails that the cartel has sinned against a basic scientific principle namely the principle of transparency. Science should be practiced openly. All published results should in principle be verifiable, should be open to criticism, also to criticism from people who are not well-meaning. That is something a scientist must accept, that people who are not well-meaning scrutinize him.

The e-mails from CRU indicate that there have been attempts to keep people from publishing
by contacting authors or publishers, that one lead author of the IPPC has at the least  expressed the thought of keeping certain persons out of the whole process and lastly, and possibly the worst, that the data on which their research is based has not been put into the open for verification. This is not acceptable.




The heights of bizarre

Warmist blogger Deep Climate has been doing some detective work and has found an extraordinary similarity between a paragraph of the Wegman Report (which demonstrated that the Hockey Stick algorithm was wrong) and a paragraph of a book written by a sceptic physicist, Donald Rapp.

Here's the Wegman section:

The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere. Obviously there are many confounding factors so the problem is to extract the temperature signal and to distinguish the temperature signal from the noise caused by the many confounding factors.

And here's the Rapp equivalent

The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere. Obviously there are many confounding factors so the problem challenge is to extract the temperature signal and to thus distinguish the temperature signal from the noise caused by the many confounding factors.

Too similar to be accidental, I'm sure you would agree.

The Wegman Report was published in 2006, while Rapp's book appeared two years later. Now you or I would therefore assume that Dr Rapp had pinched the relevant paragraph from Professor Wegman, but in the bizarre world of climate science such simple explanations do not hold. Deep Climate concludes instead that Dr Rapp was a ghostwriter for the Wegman report.

And slowly the awful truth dawned on me. The Wegman report section was an early version of the text book chapter, not the other way around. I had just discovered a hitherto well hidden fourth author.

I'm speechless. I simply do not have the words to express how ridiculous this is. I'm not the only one either. One of Deep Climate's commenters wonders if our hero hasn't maybe got things back to front:

DC, are you sure you don’t have the plagiarism backwards? Rapp author was ripping off Wegman, rather than Wegman ripping off/collaborating with Rapp?

To which our supersleuth replies thusly:

[DC: That doesn't work. First off, Wegman has no knowledge of climate proxies at all. But suppose he or one of his co-authors wrote it. Then you have to suppose Rapp took that and extended it to three other proxies but kept the same style. And kept on going. I just can't see it. Something else is going on here ...]

If you refer back to the paragraphs quoted above, this is Paleoclimate 101 stuff - anyone who had read a few review papers on paleoclimate or the IPCC reports could have put this together. The idea that Wegman needed to get expert help to write this is simply risible. Half the commenters on ClimateAudit or RealClimate could have put that handful of sentences together.

It all smacks of a desperate attempt to try to smear Wegman, but one that is so transparent in its efforts to twist the facts to fit a preconceived conclusion that I think it will simply backfire on its author. It's just too funny.



More evidence of gatekeeping

The news that a Russian think tank has accused the CRU of cooking the books has been doing the rounds of the internet. The other intriguing angle to this story though was further evidence of climate sceptic papers being illegitimately rejected by reviewers. Here Phil Jones reports to Mann what he has done.

Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.

Now, someone has identified themselves as being the authors of one of the papers concerned. Commenting at Climate Audit, Lars Kamel says this:

One of those rejected papers about Siberian temperatures may have been by me. The time is about right. I got it rejected because of nonsense from a reviewer and the editor saw it as an attack on him when I critized the quality of the review. After that, I gave up the idea of ever getting something AGW critical published in a journal.

It will be interesting to see if Kamel's paper on CRU's handling of Siberian temperatures was valid, or if Jones rejected it simply because it disagreed with him. I wonder if we can get hold of Jones' review? The second part of Kamel's point is important though. This suggests that at least some sceptics simply gave up trying to get their views published because they knew they could not get their findings past the gatekeepers. This demonstrates that the IPCC reports can never be anything other than biased. The scientific literature does not represent the collected knowledge mankind has about the climate. It represents the collected views of part of the climatological community.

Another scientist has been speaking out on the same issue. Dutch professor, Arthur Rorsch, is making further allegations of misdeeds by climatologists. In an article entitled "Sick science" he explains how difficult it was for sceptics to get published.

"It is exactly as we feared.   If I were to submit an article from a friendly colleague who wanted to publish in a scientific journal, we would always get a rejection; without proper  argumentation. I was not the only Dutch researcher that happened to. Climate skeptics everywhere ran into brick walls.  

He describes the emails as demonstrating an intent to deceive and has this to say of the state of climatology:

This is no longer genuine science.  These are politically motivated is a religion, or rather, a belief.



Payday for Pachauri (redux)

Richard North has done it again, identifying a whole new source of income for everyone's favourite railway engineer, IPCC boss, Rajendra Pachauri. This man could teach even British MPs a thing or two about troughing.


Quote of the day

From the University of East Anglia media relations page:

Since it was founded in 1963, UEA has broken the mould in a number of areas, from creative writing to environmental sciences.

Presumably cross-disciplinary fertilisation is a particular strong point too?



Science-free journal

Fred Pearce has a shocking report in New Scientist. Two of the claims he makes are simply not true.

This is turning into a bad week for NS, what with the world and his wife now referring to the once august publication as "non-scientist".

Pearce is attempting to explain away the failure of the CRU to release its raw data - "move along, nothing to see here". The reason the data has been withheld, he says, is quite simple:

It is tied up in confidentiality agreements with the governments that provided it. The Met Office and the UK government say they are now seeking permission to publish it.

This is not true. When CRU was questioned about these alleged agreements there were found only to be a couple which prevented commercial reuse and that was it.  The CRU page where this was shown has now been taken down, but that's what it was. The Climate Audit thread at the time is here. Even then, we know that the data was being merrily passed on to other favoured researchers, i.e. Peter Webster at Georgia Tech.

Pearce looks as though he is acting as a willing accomplice to a programme of disinformation.

Meanwhile Pearce also has this to say about Doug Keenan's work on the Wang papers on urban heat islands in China:

Keenan won his FOI request and said it showed the data was flawed, because some of the stations had been moved by the Chinese scientists who ran them. He said Jones's reluctance to share the data was evidence of fraud.

Keenan said nothing of the sort. This is what he actually said:

The two papers relied on data from 84 weather stations in China that were required to have very few significant moves. Of the stations, 42 were classified as rural and 42 as urban. For 40 of the rural stations, no histories exist (hence moves cannot be determined); the other 2 stations had substantial moves. For 9 of the urban stations, no histories exist; most of the other 33 had substantial moves.

In other words Keenan was saying that the researchers had made false representations of their data.




Any excuse

Snaffled from the comments at WUWT (where I seem to get a lot of my material these days!) this from someone who has been trying to get more information on the "trick". Commenter "Informant" asked for any emails related to the WMO document in question and received a refusal on the following grounds:

i) information not held.

the only location that this information was held on was on a backup server as the original information had been ‘deleted’ some years ago. Only a technical measure resulted in the information being held on the server and, following Department of Justice guidance on this point, we feel that this information was not ‘held’ by this institution at the time of the request.

This is possibly the most bizarre attempt to avoid FoI requests I've ever come across. The idea that Department of Justice guidance allows FoI requests to be refused on the grounds that the data was on a server due to a "technical measure" is monstrous. There is simply nothing in the FoI legislation that allows information to be refused on these grounds.

Perhaps anticipating this reaction, UEA has another excuse up its sleeve.

ii) material subject to police investigation

pursuant to an investigation carried out by the Norfolk Constabulary, the server upon which the requested information resided was taken from the University grounds and now resides with the police forces conducting an investigation into a possible criminal offence. We no longer have access to either the server or any of the material on it.

This is interesting because of the light it shines on possible sources of the leak - a backup server would presumably not have been accessible to just anyone. It can only be a reason for a delay rather than an outright refusal. I'm also rather bemused that UEA doesn't have a backup of the data on the server.

Either way, this does rather give the impression that UEA will give any excuse to withhold information. They just don't appear to be an organisation that is keen on openness.



Two degrees/century still falsified

Those who are new to the nitty gritty of the climate debate may not be aware of the sterling work Lucia Liljegren does in monitoring monthly temperature anomalies against the IPCC's last published predictions of warming at 2°C/century.

Lucia is very careful to make her work bulletproof, in terms of avoiding accusations of cherrypicked start points and careful treatment of "weather noise". I think the warmists have stopped trying to poke holes in her results now.

The GISS figures are out for November and Lucia reports that they are highish, at 0.68°C, but not high enough to stop the IPCC's hypothesis from being remaining in falsified territory. I wonder why I don't read this in the newspapers?