Guardian: Climategate “…exposes the real process of science, its jealousies and tribalism”

For the Guardian, it has been a week of finally coming to terms with what we’ve known here at WUWT for months now. The issues of Climategate are finally getting full sunlight in the UK, and it’s white hot light. Even Monbiot is calling for resignations beyond that of Phil Jones. Though Monbiot needs a bit of education on who “broke” these stories. It certainly wasn’t the Guardian.

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Embedded with permission from dilbert.com - click to see original

By Fred Pearce

Scientists sometimes like to portray what they do as divorced from the everyday jealousies, rivalries and tribalism of human relationships. What makes science special is that data and results that can be replicated are what matters and the scientific truth will out in the end.

But a close reading of the emails hacked from the University of East Anglia in November exposes the real process of everyday science in lurid detail.

Many of the emails reveal strenuous efforts by the mainstream climate scientists to do what outside observers would regard as censoring their critics. And the correspondence raises awkward questions about the effectiveness of peer review – the supposed gold standard of scientific merit – and the operation of the UN’s top climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The scientists involved disagree. They say they were engaged not in suppressing dissent but in upholding scientific standards by keeping bad science out of peer-reviewed journals. Either way, when passing judgment on papers that directly attack their own work, they were mired in conflicts of interest that would not be allowed in most professions.

The cornerstone of maintaining the quality of scientific papers is the peer review system. Under this, papers submitted to scientific journals are reviewed anonymously by experts in the field. Conducting reviews is seen as part of the job for academics, who are generally not paid for the work.

The papers are normally sent back to the authors for improvement and only published when the reviewers give their approval. But the system relies on trust, especially if editors send papers to ­reviewers whose own work is being criticised in the paper. It also relies on anonymity, so reviewers can give candid opinions.

Cracks in the system have been obvious for years. Yesterday it emerged that 14 leading researchers in a different field – stem cell research – have written an open letter to journal editors to highlight their dissatisfaction with the process. They allege that a small scientific clique is using peer review to block papers from other researchers.

Many will see a similar pattern in the emails from UEA’s Climatic Research Unit, which brutally expose what happens behind the scenes of peer review and how a chance meeting at a barbecue years earlier had led to one journal editor being suspected of being in the “greenhouse sceptics camp”.

The head of the CRU, Professor Phil Jones, as a top expert in his field, was regularly asked to review papers and he sometimes wrote critical reviews that may have had the effect of blackballing papers criticising his work.

Here is how it worked in one case.

Read the rest of this article at the Guardian here

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Related articles from the Guardian:

Doubts about “hockey stick” graph revealed

No apology from IPCC chief Pachauri for glacier fallacy

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91 thoughts on “Guardian: Climategate “…exposes the real process of science, its jealousies and tribalism”

  1. The Guardian did several articles recently like this one: remarkably honest. They still interspersed them with more recognizable skeptic bashing. But I’ll take uniform criticizm over blatant bias anyday.

  2. If the implication by the Guardian’s Pearce is that Jones (et al) are just behaving as normal scientists currently do, then . . . . if I was a professional scientist I would be contacting Mr. Pearce with some extremely strong objections.

    John

  3. For the Guardian, this is a huge climbdown.

    Maybe someone looked around and noted that the limb they’d crawled out to the end of was about to be sawn off and figured climbing down was better than plunging to Earth head-first.

    Maybe they’re setting themselves up to oppose the ‘green’ Tories and their newly-hired green something-or-another, Nicholas Stern infamously of the Stern Review, when they take over Number 10.

  4. The Guardian needs to put its own house in order. Their environment blog pages are heavily censored and a clearing out is necessary. They should also consider whether their association with UnReal Climate has any merit. Monbiot’s holier than thou approach is quite frankly nauseating considering the number of people who have been trying to put him straight on the whole fiasco.

  5. In a similar vein, in New Scientist this week there was an article about Burt Rutan. It did at least mention his views, although did not give them air time. Sort of a ‘maverick genius going against the flow’ piece.

    Still, it’s s start, I reckon. Time was when he would have been maligned.

  6. Reading thru Moonbat’s comments thread, it becomes apparent that I know more about the subject than he does, and my knowledge barely touches the sides!

    This is a global warming champion? Reads like all he ever looks at is RealClimate.

    I get the impression he really, really thinks the Grauniad (copyright Private Eye ad nauseam) is breaking something….

  7. Everything these days has just come down to; being just as blunt as you can possibly be, about the true nature of the situation…No matter what the subject. All conspiracies are on the table and open for discussion. No matter how traumatizing to this group or that group. No one can possibly be any plainer than that, with that dilbert explanation.

    That’s called the awakening process.

  8. I would suggest that we reached a “tipping point” regarding MSM when Glaciergate and Pachauri’s conflicts of interest hit the blogs. It’s all downhill from here

  9. Sadly, this type behavior is more prevalent in scientific circles than is generally known by the public:

    Because scientists are subject to Human Nature just as we all are…

    Nobody likes to have their opinions or “assessments” pointed out as wrong.

    And nobody wants to have their world-view contradicted.

  10. Don’t be deceived. This is a ‘sauve qui peut’ (in losing a battle or war, it is a last command – ‘save what you can’). Gee these scietists are just regular guys. Jeolousy is fine. Cooking results and getting editors fired is not the norm of science Mr Pearce.

  11. The Guardian, despite its own reports, is STILL clinging to its default position that warming theories are sound. Monbiot in particular is seeing recent revelations as failures in Public Relations rather than core dishonesty or flawed data per se. The Guardian is also being very cheeky in implying that it is somehow revealing stuff that wasn’t already on this blog, and many others, for a long time.

    Unfortunately the average Guardian reader will accept everything it says. I would expect a gradual winding down of its fervent, almost religious adherence to official science over the next few months, because admitting they got it wrong in one fell swoop would be a humiliating climb down.

    The damage the Guardian has done in disseminating faith based theories for the many years it took this stance is considerable, because its vast readership of middle class professionals who are intelligent though gullible, has been so brainwashed that it is now regarded as a socially outcast thing to question ANY conventional wisdom regarding climate.

    That position is not going to be overthrown in a few days. My Guardian reading friends if anything are even more entrenched in a defensive position and are in what can only be described as a denial stage. They still believe Polar Bears are all but extinct and still confuse pollution and carbon dioxide. They are among the most mis-informed of the UK electorate exactly because they are subscribed to a closed-loop of disinformation which they genuinely believe is true, and never bother to look outside that loop.

  12. OT – mod please delete if inappropriate.
    Just found this BBC article that suggests the UK energy regulators may be taking a more realistic position and breaking ranks with the consensus of expensive unreliable electricity. It mentions specifically the ‘challenge of carbon prices’ in a negative context.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8494899.stm

  13. Steven M

    You’re dead right. The grauniad is doing what all failed journals do at a time of falling readership, etc, looking for another hot bandwagon. Their problem remains the same, no credibility!!! as for Monbiot, well what can one say of such a shallow, incompetent journalist. Nothing , I suppose

  14. These articles sound like someone beating a tactical retreat. It is interesting how they reference the BBC as a source for the expose. Even here attribution is misplaced no wonder!

  15. Not climate science but related: Many scientists doing stem cells research claim that there have been deliberate effort during peer-review process to prevent their works to be published.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8490291.stm

    I think if there is enough pressure, the process of peer-review may be improved. A simple addition like publishing the comments/review made by the reviewer together with the article should do. Readers then can decide for themselves.

    Anonymous reviewers are granted with absolute power with anonymity. Journals editor are partially to blame for not being impartial.

  16. I hate to be a scientist from now on. Given the way the AGW alarmists have behaved and the lack of resounding responses from all the scientists who don’t agree with the AGW theory, their reputations as a whole will be smashed to pieces in due course, and they will be dragged down to the same level as thieves and politicians. It serves them right for not speaking out long and hard enough.

  17. OK,
    I lifted these comments from the Huffington post and I just had to re-post it here.

    Headline:
    Obama: Senate Might Drop Carbon Cap

    “BadPlasmid I’m a Fan of BadPlasmid I’m a fan of this user 5 fans permalink

    Good. Cap N Trade is a sham. The only reason it stands a chance is because Wall Street desperately wants in on more of this ‘new’ commodity.

    What they don’t tell you is exactly how Cap N Trade reduces emissions – simply put, it has yet to prove it does. NPR actually did a good piece on it recently, and the way it was explained made me realize just how foolish an idea it is. The thought that a company could offset pollution buy paying for the ‘promise’ of a South American pig farmer to reduce methane output by modernizing his farm, despite a lack of truly measurable data seems like a poor way to reduce emissions of polluting gases.

    Add to that the increases in costs for consumers due to yet more commissions/bonuses paid to bankers/investors controlling the exchanges and you have a recipe for pricey failure at our expense with no real benefit.

    We need to do something. A lot of things really – but things like increasing auto efficiency, alternative/renewable energy sources, stricter EPA regulations and rising taxes on petroleum products will do far more to force innovation and adoption of cleaner technologies, and of course help the economy.

    None of this is ever going to happen though in the currently political system. We need independent redistricting, term limits, fully open primaries and the (re)removal of special interest money in the political system.”

    “foolonthehill I’m a Fan of foolonthehill I’m a fan of this user 24 fans permalink Agree.

    Cap and trade is a sham, and if established it would become the most bogus Wall Street money maker since the mortgage derivatives they created and flogged to the world.

    And, yes folks, Al Gore and his partners in this business, Goldman Sachs, must be weeping in their caviar over this turn of events.

    Why any Dems (or anybody) can still take Gore seriously is totally beyond comprehension – unless it is just blind party loyalty. He is a greasy used planet salesman of the worst kind.”

  18. Michael, the awakening process can only begin when some of the leading AGW alarmists are taken to court, found guilty and put behind bars. Until that happens, the con job will continue regardless of the revelations thus far. We can have 10 times more of these and nothing will change. There are far too many leaders in the relevant organizations that are part of the cover ups. Politicians will continue to push for the climate tax and much of the media will continue to ignore the truth.

  19. If George wants proof of whether his pals at RealClimate are scientists or charlatans he need only ask:
    “What biological process allows Michael Mann to use arctic tree proxies that have responded to supposed warming by growing slower?”

    Mann used these “reversed” proxies by flipping them over, despite there being no sensible biology that explains why trees would respond in this way. In fact the whole edifice of dendorclimatology is built upon an expectation that trees will grow faster in warmer conditions (everything else being equal).

    I’ve asked this question several times, and each time it is deleted. It should be noted that the charlatan pseudo-scientists on that website have not only failed to criticise Mann for this egregious unscientific data manipulation, they have actually assisted him in hiding behind a pure maths explanation of correlation that disregards the biological process taking place. They are knowingly obfuscating to cover for him and that makes them just as guilty.

  20. There have been a few articles from The Guardian in the last 2 weeks that are a world away from their previous and continual “AGW is true and nothing else, all who doubt are deniers

    The Guardian were also one of the many newspapers who all signed off the identical editorial late last year, pleading with the world to “save the planet” at Copenhagen.

    Interesting times.

    By insulting anyone with questions, and stifling debate, the “consensus climate community” and the media have been very effective at turning floating voters into skeptics/”deniers”.

    Maybe The Guardian has realized that.

    We’ll know the world has really changed when realclimate.org starts saying “it’s ok to have doubts, even we aren’t sure how good GCMs really are!“.. (hell will have frozen over)

    Science of Doom – for serious climate science where it’s ok to ask questions

  21. It certainly wasn’t Monbiot who broke the story. It was Pallava Bagla an Indian from Delhi.

    It appeared first in an article in Science and then on the BBC at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8387737.stm on 5 December

    In a very odd way, this may possibly support the rabid ravings of David King about foreign spies doing the ‘climategate job’

    Here is a totally made-up scenario.

    The Indian Government doesn’t want Copenhagen to succeed because it would severely affect Indian economic development. They arrange for various leaks to occur just before Copenhagen. First they get a compliant journalist to publish glaciergate. Then they get an employee of CRU (almost certainly an Indian National) to release the FOI material for publication.

    As I said, a totally made-up and fake scenario.

  22. I think it is just ‘normal’ science, and there are large literatures on both the problems of peer review, and also the referencing errors. That is why critical examination of assumptions and replication is vital. It is a problem in every science that believes in an objective truth.

    But the AGW crowd upped the ante by shouting down normal scientific enquiry, and making completely bogus claims such as all the IPCC work being peer reviewed. Contra that, it is abundantly clear that parts of the IPCC report have been subject to massive confirmation bias.

    As a skeptic, I looked into this in detail and then became convinced about AGW. I think the evidence (not least arctic ice melt) shows warming, and most plausibly AGW. But the arrogant attitude of Pachauri and others like him have put so many peoples backs up, and lost so much credibility, that they have to go.

    It is an act of crass stupidity to persist with a losing tactic, and to stand behind strategy of spin and exaggeration when you have been found out.

    The IPCC should hire PR Crisis experts. The kinds of people who advise on massive product recalls. They need to change their approach if they are to protect their brand. However, they are so arrogant, I doubt they would lower themselves to take advice from anybody outside the clique. Unfortunately.

  23. People here say “the tide has turned”. But I think it’s still got a long way to go. Guardianistas are still not recognizing that the whole science is a can of worms. There’s still bad climate science at every turn, in every discipline, supported by the scientific “leaders” ie NAS, Royal Society, Nature magazine, New Scientist, and heck, you should hear the stand-in for Phil Jones saying Jones is going to be completely vindicated, etc. And he looks and sounds such a nice, believable, trustworthy person. Just like Pachauri does when he’s combed his hair and is really well-dressed and in a relaxed interview.

    I wonder if it would be a good idea to run a series here on “primers” and one-page “disproofs” of AGW. I’ve done a primer that many like, but I don’t like to tout it around very much and since Climategate it’s gone slightly out of date. But there are many, many others. Warren Meyer has done a firstrate vimeo very recently. WUWT can be a peer-to-peer-review forum for all these. This would help raise awareness that Climategate is not just an isolated incident or a matter of “normal” behaviour among scientists.

  24. A quote from Huffington post, I couldn’t help my self, I’m sorry.

    “Don’t you Globull Warming evangelists ever tire of hawking these bogus, idiotic studies??

    Don’t you get it? The jig is up. Your cult is based on phony manufactured data and people aren’t willing to pay $1,000 a month for electricity so you can pat yourselves on the back for “saving the planet”!!”

    Thanks for understanding.

  25. I think Leonard Young & Lucy Skywalker have hit the nail on the head. Also along with the Guardian must sit the BBC who have mercilessly hyped up AGW and lectured us on it.
    I think we need a new body to assess the state of climate science , before we spend billions of dollars/ pounds. The body should include qualified sceptics, engineers and lawyers. The body should be set up on the understanding there is no contact with people who have vested interests in AGW either way.
    I think some of the patient comment & work by this site and its regular contributors and readers is starting to get to the truth.
    Well done everyone

  26. Look

    Thirteen years ago we came to the conclusion as postdoctoral researchers that our fate was determined by who we managed to work under.

    Where I worked almost all folks worked hard and worthily. There was no real difference in the quality of scientific work being done, but there was a real difference in the influence of who would be the senior author on our papers.

    If that person was a Prof, an editor of a journal, particularly a top one, then their papers had a far, far higher percentage chance of being published in those key, ‘high impact’ publications. Networks and influence.

    Result: scientific ‘success’ for most is due to networking skills to get a job in a top lab, allied to a reasonably good scientific ability. Not brilliance per se. Reasonably good.

    We all saw comments designed to delay publication. For the sake of it. Spurious little details mostly. It was the way it was.

    We all knew, then, what a Nature or Science paper could do for our career. And we all saw how certain colleagues’ attitudes to us changed with a new publication coming out. It told us more about them than it did about us.

    Science is like anything else: you got a good idea, there are 20 folks without a good idea looking to take it from you and run with it. So you either need to learn silence or you need to be allied to political power. To put the frighteners on the spongers. Science isn’t a place for collegial practice in my experience……..

    Science is about egos, prestige and self-interest. One bad piece of publicity on Gene Therapy in the late 1990s and the scientific politicians in the UK ran for the hills. As if a field like that would come to fruition without hiccups along the way, eh?

    It’s about relationships with key editors to ‘shape the market’ for your field, making it sexy to justify ‘high impact’ publications. Stem cells were ‘sexy’ in science in the 1980s, although the public didn’t know they existed then. Editors had been primed.

    It’s about credit. Some folks I know are still named on papers 10 years after finishing work in a field. Others published one and then got no further credit. They both did the same work. One got on, the other didn’t. Name in lights means more than hard work at the end of the day…..just like show business.

    Science is about power games. Medics treating scientists as technicians. Medics playing hard ball about access to clinical samples. Scientists wanting a side kick to run their labs, so damning the reluctant side-kick with faint praise when they try to become independent. Nothing to do with science that. To do with base human selfishness. No different in science and medicine to anywhere else.

    Science is about spinning. Spinning hype with newspapers and not addressing the excesses of the journalist. I once fielded a call in the UK from New Orleans when my boss was on holiday due to a typical piece of hype in an English tabloid which some Americans had picked up on through the wires. I explained clearly to them what the hype was, what was genuine and what wasn’t, directed them to a Prof in Boston and suggested they called back when my boss was back. I was regarded as dangerously honest. Nothing I said was other than 100% truth. But journalists were ‘the enemy’. They weren’t actually. They didn’t understand the story but understood the hype. Like good journalists they bit until they got what they wanted. I simply opened the Pedigree Chum and fed them, making it clear I was speaking off the record. And they were happy as a result.

    But scientists must let the ‘leaders’ deal with the Press. 10 years of reading hyped rubbish told me that the leaders weren’t doing a good job at all…….

    I’m glad all this is coming out. It’ll do scientists good to get rid of the hypocritical airs and graces, the sanctimonious superiority and the petty little power games. The spinning to get grant income and budgets from the State. And the ‘my new baby will be an Oxford Professor one day’ translation of an initial interesting result into imminent ‘change the world’ technology.

    Go earn your Nobel Prizes. Others did.

  27. leave ol phil jones alone he thought he was right and he wasn’t let’s forget it and move on. He probably has kids and a family just like you and me. The eareth ain’t warming due to AGW so whaT?

  28. “Phil Jones, scientist in climate data row, promises to be more open”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7013060.ece

    “The scientist at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails has admitted that he (Dr Jones) and his colleagues need to be more open with their data. ”

    “He said: “We are facing more and more public scrutiny and any future work we do is going to have much greater scrutiny by our peers and by the public. We do need to make more of the data available, I fully accept that. ”

    Read it all in The Times, but note Dr Jones is only promising to make more information available, not ALL information. At least it is progress of a kind and an admission that he has been “economical” with release of information in the past.

  29. I think the “So what” is, Stephan, that his mistake could bring down the economies of the Western World.

  30. LeonardYoung (01:07:55) :
    “…middle class professionals who are intelligent though gullible, has been so brainwashed that it is now regarded as a socially outcast thing to question ANY conventional wisdom regarding climate. They still believe Polar Bears are all but extinct and still confuse pollution and carbon dioxide. They are among the most mis-informed of the UK electorate exactly because they are subscribed to a closed-loop of disinformation which they genuinely believe is true, and never bother to look outside that loop.”

    You are correct, and this situation is changing. The BBC is being dragged kicking and screaming into the real world in the face of an imminent change of government, the first port of call of which will be to start hacking away at the bloated corporate structure the BBC has become. The BBC is part of the Guardian/Independent/BBC axis of lying propaganda that climate science has become in this country, and which is being attacked from all sides for its bloody-minded refusal to allow any other views than its own to be aired on this subject for nearly 40 years.

    The BBC science output’s chickens are also coming home to roost, as it has become painfully apparent that the public are not convinced by either the government, the newspapers, civil servants, politicians, or government scientists that man-made global warming even exists as described by these entities. The BBC is now under attack for its blatantly biased science output as never before by scientists themselves, and by informed members of the public…

    For example:

    BBC criticised for scientific ‘cheap sensationalism’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7128624/BBC-criticised-for-scientific-cheap-sensationalism.html

    [Extract]

    The BBC has been accused of “exaggerating” the threat of global warming to the oceans in a documentary.

    The programme Britain’s really disgusting food: Fish has been accused of pushing scientific “cheap sensationalism” by fisherman and the seafood industry. The documentary, the third in the ‘disgusting food’ series, featured BBC presenter Alex Riley investigating the seafood industry. Shown on BBC One last week, the programme contained “willful factual errors” including the assertion that there will be no fish left in the sea in fifty years time, according to campaigners.

    James Wood, from Seafish, the industry body which is sponsored by four UK government fisheries departments to promote good quality and sustainable seafood, said: “World fish supply has been boringly stable for the last 35 years”. The organization claims that despite countless phone calls to producers who were made aware that cod stocks in the North Sea have increased by 40% since 2000, BBC producers chose to “ignore the facts”….

    …The BBC was also criticized for its reporting of science stories in recent months. It has been accused of failing to cover the climate change debate objectively. The corporation came under fire in November, after a broadcaster admitted he knew about controversial emails in which scientists discussed “spinning” climate data long before it reported on them.

    It comes amid anger over the way predictions about climate change are published by experts. Bob Watson, the chief scientist at the Department for the Environment, said the scientific community needed to be more honest about the “uncertainties” surrounding climate change. The former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that climate change skeptics needed to be included in future reports on global warming from international bodies.

    The IPCC has been criticized for using anecdotal evidence and non-peer reviewed science in its reports. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the current chairman of the IPCC, was criticized at the weekend after it was reported that he drove to work in a Toyota and he has admitted the IPCC was wrong to include a claim that the glaciers would melt by 2035 in a recent report.

    The BBC’s governing body announced last month that it will carry out a review in the spring to assess the “accuracy and impartiality” of the corporation’s coverage of science.”

  31. My only problem with AGW was the “virtual certainty” claimed by its proponents. Arguments became ridiculous blocking tactics. If you question “the science” for lacking enough evidence, then you’re claiming the sun won’t rise tomorrow. They pigeonhole any objection into unreasonable positions—that you’re either demanding 100% certainty or claiming that any knowledge is impossible and there’s zero knowledge about anything. You either accept “the science” or the IPCC chairman himself will call you a Flat Earther. Utterly utterly idiotic.

    Too damned right they have a PR problem. They claimed virtual certainty, when we all knew that was not possible with the knowledge available, and now they’ve been caught out as the weakness of their evidence has been exposed.

    It didn’t need to be this way. They could just have been honest about the quality of the evidence. The evidence suggests there may be links between CO2 and climate change, but this is merely observational and could be a fluke correlation. We need find ways to study it experimentally.

    They ridiculed skeptics because that’s all they could do, as they couldn’t defend their thesis.

    The real worry is that they managed to do this for so long. Their basic claim, that the science was settled on their 100 year predictions about a giant complex old system of systems of systems hundreds of millions of years old with multiple overlapping cycles, should have elicited a loud belly laugh from any average person.

    Think for yourselves—hundreds of years later we’re still trying to learn that one.

  32. Critics of Jones such as the prominent sceptical Stephen McIntyre, who runs the Climate Audit blog have long accused him of preventing critical research from having an airing. McIntyre wrote on his web site in December: “CRU’s policies of obstructing critical articles

    For this positive attribution to McIntyre to appear on a Guardian blog by Fred Pearce this afternoon is significant. And this change of tack will have a flow on. For example, in Australia one of the gatekeepers of information on this topic is Robyn Williams who relies on the likes of Pearce for assistance at the gate.

    Why the change of heart? Surely in some way or another the hit-rates, reader behaviour, comments, competition from WUWT etc…would give a hint that they are not going to maintain credibility or readership if they did not respond to the wind change.

  33. Just now posted on Monbiot’s Guardian blog :

    The University of East Anglia is repressing information and is misleading in its statement about Jones.

    Warwick Hughes presented a report to the Tasman Institute in Melbourne (a private think tank to which I provided suggestions for projects and funding) late 1991. The report alleged, with illustrations, cherry picking by Jones in his 1988 paper about Southern Hemisphere temperature patterns.

    This UEA statement is wrong. “The FOI request from Douglas Keenan was responded to by the university in full in 2007. The data used in the 1990 paper were indeed sent to Mr Keenan, including both the locations of the stations and the station temperature data for China, Australia and western parts of the former Soviet Union. For China, the data covered the period 1954 to 1983. The data were also uploaded onto the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) website.”

    I know it is wrong because the Australian raw data have not as yet been released because Jones maintains that he lost them. (Personal email to me).

    Here is some of the report by Hughes to Tasman: “Jones et al 1986 looked at 86 Australian stations and rejected 46 (25 Short term ? 21 long term). Of the 40 they used 27 were short term and 13 long term. Of the long term there were 5 large cities.”

    Last year I replotted some of the earlier data and can attest that the sites selected by Jones show warming on avarage and the rejected sites, averaged, show essentially none.

    A chronology is at

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=363

  34. I agree with Lucy, there’s still a long way to go, and until the BBC has a complete clearout of Harribin, Black, and Shuckman and the Policy Unit issues new advice to remaining journalists, I won’t hold my breath waiting for balanced coverage and the dam bursting.

    Here’s some satire from Scotland on the latest aspect of climategate:

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/environment/trees-will-not-become-unstoppable-killing-machines%2c-admit-climate-scientists-201002022433/

    (mild warning – this story is work safe but other’s on the Daily Mash may not be).

  35. “But a close reading of the emails hacked from the University of East Anglia in November exposes the real process of everyday science in lurid detail.”

    Rubbish. It exposes the reality of government funded politics and nothing more. Real science has nothing to do with what Mann, Jones, et al are doing.

  36. The Met Office is the next institution that is going to be even more embarrassed than it already is. Already forced to publish data it previously refused, and having several times predicted long-term weather that was way off the mark, its new challenge is to bring an end to its current defense against sceptics, which is to patronise the public with condescending articles, a good example of which is:

    Dr Richard Betts, Met Office “Head of Climate Impacts”, who implies in his piece “Clarifying climate change messages”, that it is not the science that is wrong, its just that somehow its not coming across in the right way.

    This is the precise argument used by politcal parties who lose elections – “it’s not that our policies were wrong….we just didn’t get our point across in the right way”.

    Don’t be taken in by this lame attempt at deflecting criticism. It is always the refuge of those who have been found out!

  37. @ Andy Scrase (00:25:50) :

    Good link, but following on from there I think the current state of play is actually closer to Cargo Cult science. See Feynman’s completely brilliant speech at http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm. Thirty-five years on, it should be compulsory reading for all the scientists involved in the GW business — indeed, for all scientists everywhere — in that it describes how science OUGHT to be done, and why. It seems Feynman’s words had been forgotten.

  38. At last some investigative articles from the Guardian, formerly a leading warmist media outlet.

    What happened to Fred Pearce? Maybe he thought that speaking out could be the best way to preserve his own and the newspaper’s credibility.

  39. I’m not sure if that Guardian link was a portal to another universe, but did I read Monbiot criticising the CRU and IPCC? And then backing up those statements in the comments? Or did I just read it wrong?

    ‘The guardian has discovered’ . Please – this information has been out for months. That is a very cheap trick to plagiarise and then claim credit.

    Is not this link :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/01/climate-emails-sceptics

    by the very same Fred Pearce 2 days ago and asserts that (and I quote)
    “Almost all the media and political discussion about the hacked climate emails has been based on brief soundbites publicised by professional sceptics and their blogs. In many cases, these have been taken out of context and twisted to mean something they were never intended to.”

    So, are we to assume that the linked Guardian article is ‘based on brief soundbites’ and ‘taken out of context’. Do the emails show attempts to subvert FOI request, manipulate data, or do they not?

    My head is spinning.

  40. Lucy Skywalker and Andrew P

    There may be a way to go yet, but I remember when the Soviet Union and its satellites started to collapse, and this feels awfully similar.

  41. The “Pearce” Review Process

    We may owe a great debt of gratitude to Fred Pearce, the co writer of this Guardian headline story and the writer of a two page spread on the inside pages. It was an unintended but extremely valuable consequence of his New Scientist article back in 1999 entitled “Flooded Out” in which the 2035 claim was made that ultimately led to the exposure of the IPCC deceit. Without his lazy journalistic approach in not checking his source, or perhaps because he was only interested in promoting the cause, we would never have had this brilliant piece of AGW propaganda to set in train the process which ultimately lead to the spurious IPCC claims on this and supposed other disastrous consequences. He says that he made clear that the report he was citing was not peer reviewed. The article does not say this, but does give the claim an air of authority as if it had been peer reviewed, or was it perhaps just “Pearce” reviewed.

    It may however be another travesty to Trenberth that this ultra disciple of the warming cause has lead to one of their greatest set backs and that he is now appearing as Mr Innocent and capitalising on his insider knowledge to be able to earn himself a nice little number writing front page stories and in depth articles on this and other emerging stories. There is an excellent article at Climate Resistance where Fred Pearce’s involvement is exposed.

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2010/01/the-ipcc-and-the-melting-glaciers-story.html

    Pearce actually responds to the article in the blog with this comment.

    Fred Pearce says:
    January 21, 2010 at 4:06 am
    “You accuse me of having a hidden agenda on this in my writing. This is nonsense. In 1999 I found Hasnain’s claims about the eastern and central Himalayas melting away by 2035 sufficiently interesting, coming from a leading Indian glacioplogist after a four year study, to be newsworthy. I wrote the story. Some years later, I spoke to other glaciologists who seriously contested the claim and i did not repeat it after that, regarding it as at best unreliable. Then it turned up in the IPCC report. I presumed it must have been substantiated, and used it (attributed to IPCC) in a brief pre-Copenhagen roundup of climate science in the online Daily Telegraph. At that point glaciologists contacted me to point out both that it STILL wasn’t true and that my article may have been the starting point for the IPCC paragraph. As a conscientious journalist, I followed up the story and published in New Scientist. The Sunday Times picked up that story and everyone else picked up from them.
    I have no hidden agenda for or against the IPCC. Indeed, I exposed the scandal.”

    Note that he recognizes the status of the whole process by referring to it as a scandal. This blog is immediately followed with a response from the editor which says far more than I can about the professional qualities of Mr Pearce.

    1. Editors says:
    January 21, 2010 at 5:22 am
    “Fred,
    at no point do we accuse you having a ‘hidden’ agenda. On the contrary, we say that your agenda is all too obvious, as is the New Scientist’s.
    Some years later, I spoke to other glaciologists who seriously contested the claim and i did not repeat it after that, regarding it as at best unreliable.
    Wasn’t that a story in itself: On the one hand, a scientist apparently claims that Himalayan glaciers will melt in decades, another says not? A scientific controversy worthy of reporting on, no?
    Since your article, however, you wrote two books on water shortages, and the social catastrophe that they will cause.
    The product description on the Amazon site for your book, When the Rivers Run Dry: What Happens When Our Water Runs Out? says that
    That we face a world-wide crisis is no idle threat. Pearce’s 15-year research into water issues has taken him all over the world. His vivid reportage reveals the personal stories behind failing rivers, barren fields, desertification, floods and water wars. His book gives a clear and terrifying picture of the consequences if no remedial action is taken, but also a brilliantly challenging explanation of the steps we must take to ensure the ‘blue revolution’ the world desperately needs.
    How can someone spend 15 years researching and writing about water, and not be aware of the status of the scientific claims relating to the water supply of possibly more than a billion Asians?
    Then it turned up in the IPCC report. I presumed it must have been substantiated, and used it (attributed to IPCC) in a brief pre-Copenhagen roundup of climate science in the online Daily Telegraph.
    So you did see the claim in the IPCC report, and yet you, a science journalist, and someone who had spent 15 years researching water security, didn’t think to investigate where the claim – that you had previously regarded as dubious, and controversial – had been substantiated, but decided to take at face value?
    That is what we are criticising, Fred. If the science fits the political narrative, obviously there’s not point in scrutinising it. That doesn’t speak about a hidden political agenda; it speaks about the way in which politics is prior to the science, in the arguments made throughout the debate, leading to the array of apocalyptic fantasies that it consists of now.”

    It seems to me that the Climate Resistance article makes some very good points on the antics and motivations of Mr Pearce. When you read the 1999 article in the New Scientist, you have to come to the conclusion that with Pearce’s knowledge on the subject, the giant Gangotri Glacier could not possibly disappear in 40 years at an attrition rate of 30m per year and yet he chose to publish the article anyway. And even after he had been told by glaciologists that the report was nonsense he chose to produce this and other pieces of propaganda in the Telegraph in the run up to Copenhagen.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6730317/Copenhagen-climate-summit-issues-ice-caps.html

    Anthony, is it not worth investigating the activity of Pearce and perhaps other environmental correspondents in the whole shoddy business of AWG propaganda peddling. The Climate Resistance article would make a very good starting point.

  42. To anyone who has been in a graduate level science program, this is old news. Even when I got my masters 20+ years ago, the same behaviors were prevalent. It is good that the outside world is being educated on what goes on behind the scenes & that scientists *gasp* are just like anyone else, complete with the same flaws.

    It is really pretty intuitively obvious – when you depend on grant money for your liveleyhood, you have a much stronger profit motive to do what ever you need to do (including twisting results to keep your grantees happy) to keepthe grant money coming. A process to make grants double blind would help the scientific process greatly.

    Anyone who suggests research has no profit motive but “big evil corporations”so, doesnt understand the process

  43. Got bit by that one myself. We sent my paper (a re-write of my master’s thesis research on the auditory brainstem) to one journal who’s editor at the time was doing the same research we were doing, but we submitted first. He refused to allow the paper to be reviewed, saying it was not new information. We had to go journal shopping just to get in the door of peer review, let alone not get it returned unopened. We also added a cross town colleague to the re-writing process, one that brought a great deal more prestige and may I say interpretative genius to the team. The research, data, and results never changed but the technical interpretation was much improved. It finally got published. But by then I was so unimpressed by peer review politics, the pressure to smudge the data and bend/break rules, and territorial idiocy that I quit after my paper was accepted. These types of shenanigans were finely penned by Candace Pert in her book “Molecules of Emotion”. The fact that she stayed the course shames me. An excellent read by any measure.

  44. By the way, an interesting side note about the early victorian era of scientific research. It was often the gentleman with time on his hands and a yen for an engaging hobby who made amazing discoveries. It was even because of a bit of snobbery that these gentleman had little to say about those who needed to go to school to learn how to be a scientist.

  45. Andy Scrase (00:25:50) :

    “Earth to Guardian readers: ( and George Monbiot )”

    We are not talking about Science here, we are talking “Post Normal Science”

    There is a Wikipedia page on this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-normal_science

    We can save the planet and have real science too,

    —————————————————————–

    No Andy…. We can only have the “Scientific Method”…. There is nothing else…. It really is that simple.

    ….. The rest is Politics. There is really no protection against Scientists engaging in Partisan politics or allowing Government or Private funding to buy Scientific justification of Policy or ideology….

    It all comes back to the empirical evidence and the interpretation of that evidence as it pertains to the theory it supports….

    There is only one solution. Open transparency in which all data and methodology is available for anyone to test and interpret. The contention is then open to all.

  46. Whilst these more honest (and somewhat belated) articles in The Guardian blogs are welcome, the hypocracy is glaring. When Sceptics made essentially these very same statements just a few months ago, they were either censored or patronisingly put down as Denialists and Flat Earthers. Still, I suggest we do not rub their faces in it (too much) and instead welcome and encourage more of this openness. Let them pretend they ‘broke’ the stories – it’s a small price to pay for the satisfaction of their change of heart.

  47. artwest (04:32:59) :
    “After watching last night’s Newsnight, I can only come to one conclusion: the BBC has become this country’s most pernicious climate-change-denying media outlet in the UK.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/03/bbc-climate-change-denier

    …Don’t bother reading through that article. It’s just a nasty columnist shouting and screaming names at anyone not convinced man-made global warming is a proven scientific fact. Pathetic, really.

  48. Jeef (00:45:45)

    “Reads like all he ever looks at is RealClimate.”

    It seems that ‘we’ have an advantage over the likes of G Monbiot et al in that sceptics are more open to reading the AGW alarmist articles and literature than vice versa.

    I regularly visit realclimate, grist etc to see what they are saying. I even check on the egregiously daft Jo Abbess’s babblings from time to time. She refuses to read ANY sceptical offerings. (If you check her out, please don’t be tempted to leave a comment, you will spoil an almost unbroken record! Poor Jo no mates.)

    I think this gives us a distinctly more wholesome and educated outlook.

    And thanks for reminding me of Spiked’s article on GM – I read it some time ago, but it’s even more relevant today.

  49. igi (01:03:23) :

    Breaking! news:

    Climate skeptic Ron Armstrong of Hoquiam, Washington has today learned from Penn State University that they are exempt from the Freedom Of Information Act and Pennsylvania’ s Right To Know Law

    http://www.climategate.com/breaking-penn-state-says-they-are-exempt-from-freedom-of-information-act

    Hillsdale College takes NO Federal money at all, student scholarships or grants, therefore they are exempt from many federal laws. However if Penn takes Federal scholarships or grants, they may have a real hard time defending the position – exempt from the Freedom Of Information Act.

    I wonder if it will go all the way to the Supreme Court?

  50. Re
    artwest (04:32:59) :

    In a strong field we have a leading contender for most absurd CiF post of the century:

    I agree what a disgusting RANT, how can the Guardian have such a split personality?

  51. Fraud, in its various forms, seems to have become a national disease in Great Britain. From the revelations of climategate, to “Though Monbiot needs a bit of education on who “broke” these stories. It certainly wasn’t the Guardian” , this persistent arrogance and hubris, always a defining characteristic of those from the Isles (ask any denizen of “the colonies”), has reached a level almost beyond comprehension. In so many ways, GB is a nation on the brink. With luck, Climategate might refocus the national psyche back to some semblance of rational normalcy.

  52. Haha, didn’t the AP have 5 people thoroughly investigate the CRU e-mails only to conclude “[nothing to see here, move along]”

    “Big Oil” must have bought off the Guardian :P

  53. Have a look at this article for the evolution of Monbiot.

    It doesn’t elucidate why he goes rabid. It’s an unpleasant sight when he does.

  54. I doubt stem cell research is the only one to suffer from bias. String theory bias in Physics appears to be another.

    I think the next major scandal is the bias in research funding. NAS in particular. It’s just prime for someone to dig in and find activists controlling the funding. Would probably require someone with access to the internal workings. NASgate anyone?

    For example, I read the summary on wolverines. Purely an example of well known science known better as survival of the fittest. One could probably find just as many examples of species doing better on changes in snow depth. However, would they have been funded? Very doubtful. I did note in the parts that I read that the author only referred to climate change and left out the MM part. That way the AGW supporters would automatically think this article supported there position, while it was really only discussing regional climate effects that have been occurring forever.

  55. People are human
    Scientists are people
    Scientists are human.

    Professional organizations no longer do well, as a group, of policing their own houses. Scientists, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs, or whatever, are no different than people anywhere. Today the rule is “Let somebody else do it, I’m too busy.” While everyone else is off doing their own thing, a caretaker is appointed –excuse me, elected– to answer the phones and the mail and sweep up the Old Guildhall; oh, and put out the Grand Old Journal.

    OR

    They don’t even bother doing that. They decided long ago to put their submissions in a for profit, for politics, “commercial” journal like “Science” or Nature” or “Indian Chief Memos” or “Nuc Medicine International Monthly” or “How to Sue Anybody Quarterly” — and they (the “professionals”) really have no control over anything anymore.

  56. Ha, Fred Pearce wrote this article yet for years he has been an alarmist, attacked skeptics as deniers, and his behaviour allowed this scandal to manifest because those scientists thought the media would always cover their arses.

  57. The day when we will all receive our NEW CARBON PLASTIC credit card, or worse a brand new implanted carbon chip, is near, watch your local greenies!

  58. Could someone please ask the AGW fans who constantly state “the overwhelming majority of the science supports that warming is real and man-made…” to follow-up this party line statement with a reference to some, ANY, actual science that backs this statement up! I swear to Odin that the repetition of this statement by “Climate Communication Specialists” is grating on my very last nerve. I don’t think I have EVER seen someone issue that platitude and then point to anything…not even the highly contentious Global Climate Model predictions! HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT THEY SAY!

  59. Paul Coppin

    Go on, extrapolate a few people to represent all 60 million of us in the UK. We didn’t do Enron, or WorldCom, or Watergate, or glaciergate, or Bernie Madoff…

    There’s no need to be egregiously nasty. Save your venom for the warmistas of every nation. I wonder what the “colonies” would look like without the founding traditions of the British emigrants from whom you are undoubtedly descended.

  60. Now I know what happen to the honor of the science community, they have been contaminated from contact with National Science Foundation employees!

    Probe of cam-to-cam sexporn in government office. ,i.”…a report from the National Science Foundation — a report that says NSF employees have been spending significant amounts of company time on smut sites and in other explicit pursuits. In one particularly egregious case, the report says one NSF “senior official” was discovered to have spent as much as 20 percent of his working hours over a two-year interval “viewing sexually explicit images and engaging in sexually explicit online ‘chats’ with various women. Investigators calculated the value of the time lost at more than $58,000 — for that employee alone.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0109/18070.html

    So now we know where Rajendra Pachauri got his ideas for a his book from. He must have read this report./sarc

  61. This explains everything:

    “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself. Democracy is not a panacea. It cannot organize everything and it is unaware of its own limits. These facts must be faced squarely. Sacrilegious though this may sound, democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead.” – The First Global Revolution, a report by The Club of Rome

    http://www.green-agenda.com/spiritualunitednations.html

  62. Did anyone notice the revelation that the scientific cabal that recommended mass vaccinations for the porcine flue had financial connections to the vaccine makers. It’s not just jealousy and tribalism – it’s plain old selfish greed.

    One thing Rhys didn’t mention is that the most employable professors are those who can write good grant applications. Such skills are not that common because quite frankly, base dishonesty is essential and most scientists are actually quite honest. It’s why Universities readily tolerate gross professional misconduct from certain professors, and yet very good but honest professors (such as the one who warned a minor hurricane would burst the New Orleans levees) are easily dismissed if they affect University funding. It’s why the most blatantly dishonest and incompetent individuals always rise to the top.

  63. ” Veronica (08:48:48) :
    […]
    I wonder what the “colonies” would look like without the founding traditions of the British emigrants from whom you are undoubtedly descended.
    […]

    Veronica, thank you for proving my point.

    Of course, gross generalizations are mostly inappropriate, but are they when they actually begin to define a national character? The trademark of the political left is its moral relativism. That’s not to absolve any other persuasion of its moral transgressions, but I’ve always felt the mainstream media were an important bellweather of the moral pulse of a society. There is a line between reporting and discussing perspectives, origins of sources and stories, and the wholesale fabrication of stories, failure to honestly attribute material, and the perversion of the message of the media for more than the bottom line of the business. When the map of the higher road has been lost to purveyors of “knowledge”, so will go the society.
    Britain is known around the world for its tabloids, and of late, seems to offer no other alternative to them, and its showing. I actually heard a reporter recently profess her preference for “stunt journalism”, as if there actually was valid connection between the concepts.

    The problem of “global warming” won’t go away until an awful lot of moral relativists can sit in a circle, hold hands, and instead of singing kumbyah, simply say, “Hello, my name is Phil (Gordon, Michael, Al, David, ad redundum), I am a fraud, and its been many years since I last confessed”.

  64. Rob (09:24:01) :
    Pity Snow can`t keep his mouth shut and let the elderly Lord Lawson finish, I wonder if channel 4 would air another documentary similar to The Swindle.

    …At the moment this is a red-hot issue for C4, so they are more likely to let someone else make a program which they will broadcast. C4 has a problem with cashflow at the moment and they don’t want another version of The Great Global Warming Swindle with all the accompanying controversy. If I was making a program about global warming for C4 it would be covering the Great Carbon Trading Swindle, and how much this is costing everybody every day, and how obscenely rich a few people are getting from this racket. That would do some real political damage in Britain, unlike the endless arguments about climate science which most people find confusing at the best of times. Everybody understands money.

    As for the C4 news item, what I found very amusing was watching Dr Watson’s pained expression when he was listening to Lord Lawson speaking global warming heresy. He wriggled and squirmed around in his seat and looked in considerable distress with his red face all scrunched up and practically bursting at the seams with indignation at Lawson. These global warming people have had it so easy for so long they don’t know what to do when someone knowledgeable answers back.

  65. Leonard Young,

    Don’t underestimate us long term Guardian readers, we have the nous to know when the paper is going off ‘half-cocked’!

  66. Comment on Fred Pierce’s latest climategate piece on Yamal from James Randerson, the editor of their environment bit. Seems they’re planning to play the “it was all a bad dream” card when the series ends:

    “Is there evidence in the emails of data manipulation? Is there evidence of abuse of peer review and FOI? Is there evidence of “hiding” temperature declines? Is there evidence of fraud and conspiracy? etc etc

    The answer to most of these questions turned out to be no. ”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/03/yamal-data-climate-change-hacked-email?showallcomments=true#CommentKey:e0ef5aea-839d-45ed-b8d8-023619833cf5

  67. Ref – Paul Coppin (07:30:40) :
    “Fraud, in its various forms, seems to have become a national disease in Great Britain….”
    ————–
    Paul Ol’ Man, I think you’re a little too focused. Step back and look at the pathetic condition this country is in (I’m assuming you’re a Greengo, Yankee, etc.) The good ol’ USofA is so in debt to everyone that we don’t even have the wherewithall (guts, nerve, macho) to tell the Chinese to shut up about Taiwan, or The Dalhi Lama, or the price of grits in Georgia. That’s the way it happens Sport, one day you’re on top of the world, the next you’re under it. Happens to every generation that thinks they can spend and waste their grandchildrens’ money. We’s in da po’house!

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