A devastating response to "There's nothing to see here, move along"

Guest post by John A

The usual armwaving denial that we should not trust our own lying eyes was delivered by a Harvard Professor in the Boston Globe:

James McCarthy, a respected Harvard professor who was a former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author, sent a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) today stressing that e-mails stolen from climate scientists do not undermine the evidenc[e] for manmade global warming.

McCarthy is board chair of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The letter reads “The scientific process depends on open access to methodology, data, and a rigorous peer-review process. The robust exchange of ideas in the peer-reviewed literature regarding climate science is evidence of the high degree of integrity in this process. The body of evidence that human activity is prominent agent in global warming is overwhelming. The content of these a few personal emails has no impact what-so-ever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.”

In the words of Frank Drebin: “Nothing to see here, move along!”

Nothing to see here...from the Naked Gun 2 1/2

And then comes this response (comment 13) to which I’ve added a few paragraph breaks and one piece of emphasis:

I am a climate scientist, and it is clear that the evidence that “human activity is prominent [sic] agent in global warming” is NOT overwhelming. The repeated statement that it is does not make it so. Further, even if we accepted the hypothesis, cap-and-trade legislation does not do anything about it.

Here are the facts. We have known for years that the Mann hockey stick model was wrong, and we know why it was wrong (Mann used only selected data to normalize the principal component analysis, not all of it). He retracted the model. We have known for years that the Medieval Warm period occurred, where the temperatures were higher than they are now (Chaucer spoke of vineyards in northern England).

Long before ClimateGate it was known that the IPCC people were trying to fudge the data to get rid of the MWP. And for good reason. If the MWP is “allowed” to exist, this means that temperatures higher than today did not then create a “runaway greenhouse” in the Middle Ages with methane released from the Arctic tundra, ice cap albedo lost, sea levels rising to flood London, etc. etc.), and means that Jim Hansen’s runaway greenhouse that posits only amplifying feedbacks (and no damping feedbacks) will not happen now. We now know that the models on which the IPCC alarms are based to not do clouds, they do not do the biosphere, they do not explain the Pliocene warming, and they have never predicted anything, ever, correctly.

As the believers know but, like religious faithful, every wrong prediction (IPCC underestimated some trends) is claimed to justify even greater alarm (not that the models are poor approximations for reality); the underpredictions (where are the storms? Why “hide the decline”?) are ignored or hidden.

As for CO2, we have known for years that CO2 increases have never in the past 300,000 years caused temperature rise (CO2 rise trails temperature increase). IPCC scientists know this too (see their “Copenhagen Diagnosis”); we know that their mathematical fudges that dismiss the fact that CO2 has not been historically causative of temperature rise are incorrect as well. We have also known for years that the alleged one degree temperature rise from 1880 vanishes if sites exposed to urban heat islands are not considered.

We have long known that Jones’s paper dismissing this explanation (Jones, et al. 1990. Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land, Nature 347 169- 172) is wrong and potentially fraudulent (see the same data used to confirm urban heat islands in Wang, W-C, Z. Zeng, T. R Karl, 1990. Urban Heat Islands in China. Geophys. Res. Lett. 17, 2377-2380). Everyone except Briffa knows that the Briffa conclusions are wrong, and why they are wrong; groups in Finland, Canada (lots of places actually) show cooling by this proxy, not warming; the IPCC even printed the Finn’s plot upside down to convert the fact (cooling) into the dogma (warming).

Prof. McCarthy is, of course, part of the IPCC that has suppressed dissenting viewpoints based on solid climate science. His claim to support by “peer review” is nonsense; he has helped corrupt the peer review process. We now have documentary evidence that Jones, Mann, and the other IPCC scientists have been gaming peer review and blackballing opponents. On this point, the entire IPCC staff, including Prof. McCarthy, neither have nor deserve our trust.

We have tolerated years of the refusal of Mann and Jones to release data. Now, we learn that much of these data were discarded (one of about 4 data sets that exist), something that would in any other field of science lead to disbarment. We have been annoyed by Al Gore, who declared this science “settled”, refused to debate, and demonized skeptics (this is anti-science: debate and skepticism are the core of real science, which is never settled). The very fact that Prof. McCarthy attempts to bluff Congress by asserting the existence of fictional “overwhelming evidence” continues this anti-science activity.

All of this was known before Climategate. What was not known until now was the extent to which Jones and Mann were simply deceiving themselves (which happens often in science) or fraudently attempting to deceive others. I am not willing to crucify Jones on the word “trick”. Nor, for that matter, on the loss of primary data, keeping only “value added” data (which is hopelessly bad science, but still conceivably not fraud).

But the computer code is transparently fraudulent. Here, one finds matrices that add unexplained numbers to recent temperatures and subtract them from older temperatures (these numbers are hard-programmed in), splining observational data to model data, and other smoking guns, all showing that they were doing what was necessary to get the answers that the IPCC wanted, not the answers that the data held. They knew what they were doing, and why they were doing it.

If, as Prof. McCarthy insists, “peer review” was functioning, and the IPCC reports are rigorously peer reviewed, why was this not caught? When placing it in context made it highly likely that this type of fraud was occurring?

The second question is: Will this revelation be enough to cause the “global warming believers” to abandon their crusade, and for people to return to sensible environmental science (water use, habitat destruction, land use, this kind of thing)? Perhaps it will.

Contrary to Prof. McCarthy’s assertion, we have not lost just one research project amid dozens of others that survive. A huge set of primary data are apparently gone. Satellite data are scarcely 40 years old. Everything is interconnected, and anchored on these few studies. Even without the corruption of the peer review process, this is as big a change as quantum mechanics was in physics a century ago.

But now we know that peer review was corrupted, and that no “consensus” exists. The “2500 scientists agree” number is fiction (God knows who they are counting, but to get to this number, they must be including referees, spouses, and pets).

The best argument now for AGW is to argue that CO2 is, after all, a greenhouse gas, its concentration is, after all, increasing, and feedbacks that regulated climate for millions of years might (we can hypothesize) be overwhelmed by human CO2 emissions. It is a hypothesis worthy of investigation, but it has little evidentiary support.

Thus, there is hope that Climategate will bring to an end the field of political climatology, and allow climatology to again become a science. That said, people intrinsically become committed to ideas. The Pope will not become a Protestant even if angel Gabriel taps him on the shoulder and asks him to. Likewise, Prof. McCarthy may claim until the day he retires that there remains “overwhelming support” for his position, even if every last piece of data supporting it is controverted. As a graduate student at Harvard, I was told that fields do not advance because people change their minds; rather, fields advance because people die.

Posted by Sean December 2, 09 11:26 PM

Wowza! I can only hope that more people in the climate field stick their heads above the parapet and tell it like it is.

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Harvard, because not everyone is smart enough to get into MIT.

Henry chance

“The letter reads “The scientific process depends on open access to methodology, data, and a rigorous peer-review process.”
That is the point. They are non compliant with “open access and release of information”.
There is no peer review if the studies can’t be replicated.


My morning coffee is “robust”.
Climate science data? Not so much.


I believe I owe that Sean a beer!

This is the sort of stuff which damages the AGW belief far more than we (sceptics) ever could. It would be nice if other climatologists and physicists would speak up, though I personally doubt they will. He has a point that CO2 may overwhelm feedbacks, though that hasn’t happened yet, and it is indeed the warmist’s best plan for the future. Hopefully, out of this, real ‘science’ will return – where we will go back to testing and evaluating, not having a preconceived conclusion. Great damage has been done to science in the past few weeks, or rather shown to be done. Massive damage will be done if and when AGW is proved incorrect.


Great comment!


“Thus, there is hope that Climategate will bring to an end the field of political climatology, and allow climatology to again become a science.”
At last, a climate observation we can all agree on?


more people will step up and start talking, once they feel its safe to do so… this is what politics does our days, it takes away rights pretending to guard them.
it makes you sick thinking we are back in the dark ages when scientists were afraid for their lives… :((

tim heyes

wow. wonderfully concise, focussed and, as you say, devastating.

Fred Lightfoot

Now we all know that you can’t LIE to the President of the USA, he has only the ‘truth’ in his ” think tank”
when intelligent people leave politics to idiots they reap there just rewards.

Bill Briggs

Two things to look at regarding the “climategate” material. What you can prove, and what you can conclude. You can prove that some level of cheating or shading, and cherrypicking data took place with the result of the CRU conclusions being somewhat less that firm.
You can conclude lots more. Some of the defenses of the emails remind me of Bill Clinton parsing the meaning of the word “is”. Remember, it is likely these scientists do more than sit around all day e-mailing each other. They are working hard, and working intelligently, to achieve their goals. Once you get past the idea that fairness demands geometric proofs, just take the long-range view of their activities. Why would you believe climate research done by these people is any higher level than the Piltdown Man? Maybe a greater cost to society, but not much more important. Perhaps their motives are more pure, and perhaps not.


Harvard? On the way to a 2nd class university?
What do students learn at Harvard? 2nd class science? Religion? Does anybody know? Is there a discussion among students? Do they ask questiones?
The universities -meant to be the spearheads od our societies- are just knuckling under. No leadership in science, non!


Thanks to Anthony Watts and the numerous scientists, bloggers, posters, and contributors here who have helped my understanding of where climate science is now. I am a physician by trade with a love for physics who felt for a few years conned and exploited by media and politicians on this subject. I somehow found a link to this site and am ever so grateful for getting some intelligent perspective.
Again kudos to Mr. Watts for his work!! 🙂

Leon Brozyna

Stunning response.
Now’s the time for other climate scientists to speak out loudly, forcefully, and often to bring this gravy train to a screeching halt!
In another area, let’s once again hear it for Anthony and the mods for an amazing job being done. According to Quantcast, the numbers for WUWT hit the second highest level on Dec 2 since this whole sleigh ride began:
What’s even more amazing is the work Anthony’s also doing fixing up Steve’s CA site.
When do y’all sleep?
And finally, a couple of Academy members are calling for Al Gore’s Oscar to be rescinded (probably won’t happen, but it gives folks something to think about):


The Global Warming Believers cannot and will not abandon their gospel nor their jihad for a better world. It is their religion. Their reason to wake up and get out of bed in the morning. They have surrendered themselves to those they believe are the true prophets and they have sworn themselves to be guardians of the new truth. They have abandoned science as it is traditionally known and practiced in favor of the revealed science of their new faith. Some may be deprogrammable. Most are not. They are followed by a rag tag army of semi-believers and non-believers who want to be part of the “happening”, or on the “right” (aka: winning) side of the argument. These are the people who are now listening to the ongoing argument created by Climategate and waiting for some definitive proof to sway them in a different direction. Focus on convincing the rag tag followers and you’ll win the battle for truth in science. Ain’t life a beach?

Jason S


mark in austin

that was GREAT! thank you…i appreciated the insights.

David Madsen

Unfortunately, I know what Barbara Boxer, who is my Senator, will do with this letter. It will go into the “circulation” file. She’s like the Pope: “[she] will not become a Protestant even if angel Gabriel taps [her] on the shoulder and asks [her] to.” She won’t give up her ambitions to push forward environmentalism.


Unfortually, I doubt there will be any coming back to science when it comes to climate debate. It has been tainted by the disgusting virus we call politics. The majority of supporters for both sides have already closed their minds completely, reguardless of what you can show them as proof.
Ill be the first to admit that I do it as well, everytime i read a global warming story now, I blow it off completely, or just skim it till I find something i dont like then stop reading. I think the majority of people are like me.
As far as im concered it appears the powers that be and their backers have already decided to push ahead with it reguardless of whatever truth or lies there are with the subject. Afterall this is the perfect topic needed to finally get their feet in the door for proposing a legit world government. Who could be against clean air after all? The bonus being there is a lot of power and money in green right now.
The only thing we can hope for is that we can fight this long enough that the powers that be dont get too often an opportunity to squander world resources on this fake emergency. The resources will be wasted, but we can decide how much.

P Gosselin

100% right on.
Unfortunately, the MSM is playing down all the inconveninet facts and pretty much parroting McCarthey lines.

“Guest post by by John A”
“Posted by Sean December 2, 09 11:26 PM”
As a matter of interest, who are “John A” and “Sean”, and what are their backgrounds?
Many thanks.
PS: Keep up the great work, folks.
PPS: Speaking of CO2, does anyone know why IPCC chose to use the lowest level of “pre-industrial” CO2 value (270 ppm) determined via the Pettenkofer method from about 1810 to 1959 rather than an average or more “normal” value?
Obviously, using the lowest pre-industrial value results in current CO2 levels that support the whole AGW position.
Thanks again.


Great post. Over here in the UK, the BBC has finally “discovered” ClimateGate.
“News” 24 has been spinning like an Iranian centrifuge factory!
The bike-sheds at BBC towers must be overflowing into reception as the ranks of ardent believers get wheeled on screen.
The science is still settled, the overwhelming consensus is that children can still be frightened to death!
Still its a start, the dam will soon succumb to the rising waters of Truth.
As an aside, last Friday 27th Nov I googled “Google Climategate” – the quotes are necessary- and got 223 hits.
Today, Friday 4th Dec, a week later I got 1923 hits and Delingpole of the Daily Telegraph and WUWT take up all the top spots.
Now this looks like another Hockey Stick in the
making to throw on the barbecue that’ll cook the Alarmists Goose!


My post to this blog was moderated out – no surprise – as i pointed out a truth so damning they would not dare let the people of Boston read about it.
Basically I called into question the intellectual integrity of both Harvard and MIT (once illustrious institutions in a bygone era).
My point is that MIT President is on record for making alarmist statements about catestrophic climate change. Harvard also supports the CimateGate fraud.
The way I see it, this is Intellectual Prostitution – a Faustian pact with politicians and vested interests – ‘cry wolf’ about the climate catastrophe loud enough and Academic Institutons are sure to secure bucket loads of research funding and the Leaders of these institutions get to hob knob with the Head of GE (Immelt) and even The President Obama himself will come and visit… (he visited MIT about 6 weeks ago)
Sadly, Intellectual Prostitution is what ClimateGate is all about. Follow the money….

“But the computer code is transparently fraudulent.”
Do we know if the output of this code been published? And if so, where? If it hasn’t then it’s suspicious code, but not fraud.

Oliver Ramsay

With the email apologists always claiming that the “primary data” still exists and that Phil and pals merely deleted their copies, I don’t have a clear picture of what they mean. Is it that the entries in logs in Nepal or Mauritania are still there at the weather station sites, or are the data all collected at national Met. offices around the world? How do all the international data find their way to Norwich? Daily? Monthly? Who audits the sites, other than Anthony’s Surfacestations project?
How do our Canadian Data get into the big picture? I keep coming across incongruities but nobody ever replies to my inquiries.

Frank K.

“The robust exchange of ideas in the peer-reviewed literature regarding climate science is evidence of the high degree of integrity in this process.”
Except that the peer-review process in the climate literature has been gamed by Jones, Mann, and company, as evidenced ** many times ** in the CRU e-mails.
BTW – do think these guys can put out a press release or write a single paper without using the word “robust”?!

Steve Keohane

Excellent, concise statement by Sean, pleasant reprise from having trying to first hear and then read John Rennie’s piece of 12/3, “Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense”, at SciAm. He was once editor in chief for 15 years.
I gave up on the pod cast due to the contextual attitude they were dealing with inferior thought processes in sceptics. He did latch onto what Sean pointed out as AGW’s best argument in his first point.


These people are unutterably vile.

Bob S

Any wonder Gore bailed on Copenhaggen? He, like POTUS, is a simple, uneducated mouthpiece (toastmaster) requiring groopies and cue-cards. Gore merely provides wind (hot air).


We need to get to know Sean much better.
He lays it out too well to be in this anonymously.

Harvard and the IPCC has been infiltrated by the Union of Concerned Scientists? That explains a lot.
> What do students learn at Harvard?
They have a very good school of Political Science.

Fred Lightfoot

just Googled climategate 26,800,000 anybody know which one of these was Obama ?

Phillip Bratby

That comment needs publishing far and wide. Thank you Sean.

Fred Lightfoot

Response from Obama !
Google whats that ?
Climategate whats that ?
I got advisers that get paid billions of dollars to filter stuff like that.!!!!

Nigel Alcazar

BBC radio two managed to have a bias discussion today about the Emails. A sceptic was given a right of reply for a couple of minuits and a climate change expert was given time to refute any aligation made throughout the whole segment of the program. The main thrust of the program was the so called trick in the Emails. One caller asked “how come tree ring temp is ok up to 1960 but suddenly because it doesent fit allowed to be adjusted”. This was but allowed to be brushed over although this surly is the whole point. When the facts don’t fit a mecanism is invented to get the required results.
This is not science but the sort of thing kids do in lessons find the answer and work backwards.
A couple of weeks ago on AM A sunday morning program Mr Ed Milliband was allowed to pick and chose which sientific studies were true. Climate change the science is proven, A sientific study about the future uk energy needs had embarrasing findings for him so was wrong.I read today that the over excitable school boy is running round saying Sceptic Conservitives need to keep quiert and not rock the boat in the run up to Copenhagen.What next
make it ilegal to be a sceptic? I am sure they would like to.
I often wonder it the climate change advocates would be quite so sure of their position if they were personaly liable for the staggering costs that the world community is being asked to provide.


In 66 comments at that site I saw only one pro-AGW. And it was a typical ad-hom attack. Tide has turned on these grifters.

Where is the “overwhelming” evidence? I’ve not seen it. Where is the mountain of evidence? I’ve not seen it.
Whenever someone says there is a mountain of overwhelming evidence I ask, ok show it to me? Where is it? Please refer to the papers that support global warming alarmism? Where is the data? Where does the data come from? How was it processed? Who processed it? Is the data, all of the raw data, available to the public? What disenting papers refute the papers you mention? What counter evidence have you considered? Why did you reject it? What about the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) that shows that when the Earth warms it radiates more heat (~6X) than the so called climate models predict.
Show me the mountain of overwhelming evidence. Don’t let anyone get away with saying there is a mountain of overwhelming evidence. Let’s see it (if we haven’t already)!

Wondering Aloud

Sean’s letter (with his full name) should be emailed to every member of congress.
Boxer will just ignore it.


“The majority of supporters for both sides have already closed their minds completely, reguardless of what you can show them as proof.” Sunfighter
Why not? The boy who cried wolf falsely deserves to be ignored forever or at least greatly discounted. What he says in the future may or may not be true but why bother with him anymore?
As for the alarmists, they know something is wrong with the world, give them credit for that. Until we fix our economic system, they will not go away.

George E. Smith

Am I the only one who seems to have noticed that the CYA crowd; led by Mrs Barbara Boxer (she worked hard to achieve that title) are hell bent on establishing that this release of files from CRU was an outside “crime”; and yet their spokesfolks all seem to add that the “criminal” has not been identified.
If the crown jewels disappear, with no sign of forced entry; does one immediately assume that someone as yet unknown must have got into the tower somehow, as yet unknown, to remove them; or is it much more likely that someone on the inside who is thoroughly knowledgeable of what is there and exactly where, and how protected, might take advantage of that insider special knowledge, to defeat the protections systems (if any) and remove only those items of immediate value, and place them in a trash bin or laundry bag which can transport them without suspicion to a place where they can be fenced.
Embezzlement is a whole lot easier, and safer too than (unarmed) bank robbery.
So please Mrs Boxer; get off this silly “Criminal” kick. Was it criminal that people stole the e-mails of Alaska Governor Palin ? Howcome you didn’t get your dander up then. I don’t recall you raising an uproar over that; and that Mrs Boxer was a crime that was committed inside the United States of America.
What is your Constitutional duty to involve your office; yes an office of The United States Senate in prosecuting an alleged criminal (unproven) activity; that took place entirely outside of any territory of the United States of America; and inside another Sovereign nation.
Americans might call that brazen; or more likely something a lot less complimentary. In England and the UK in general, they would probably call you “cheeky”, and that label you have most decidedly earned through your hard work. So buzz off, and get back to the work that the Citizens of California chose you to take care of as an elected public servant.

Ed Fix

This is TOO funny. Within the half hour after I skipped from this post to the Boston Globe Glog, the number of comments at on that post went from 24 to 66!
Anthony, are you trying to DDoS the Globe?


From the comments: “Witchdoctors are always ready to take your chickens and dance for weather.”

Ed Fix

umm, that’s Blog, not Glog.
I really should learn to proofread before I submit.

Peter Plail

Wow, there are some really angry people commenting on the Boston Globe’s disgraceful piece of reporting.
The more I see and hear, the more I believe that there is a massive groundswell of ordinary people who are:
fed up with being treated like ignoramuses by the so-called scientific elite and the politicians who were happy to jump on their bandwagon
offended to be called deniers, denialists and sceptics, when all they were seeking was a balanced, unspun answer rather than can
wary of anyone who says “trust me, I know better than you”
suspicious of those who claim the highest of motives but use the basest of language and actions against their fellow man (Gavin Schmidt – I mean you and your cohort especially here)
Strikes me that there are worms turning all over the globe, and woe betide anyone who tries to bring out the whitewash brush!

The last bit of this item from RTE [ yes the story is coming to life here in Ireland at last ] should cause concern.It seems that Milliband has decided on the outcome of the investigation already or is he just hinting that he will try to bugger things up?
“Speaking after an event at the Natural History Museum in London, British Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: ‘We need maximum transparency including about all the data but it’s also very, very important to say one chain of emails, potentially misrepresented, does not undo the global science.
‘I think we want to send a very clear message to people about that.
‘The science is very clear about climate change and people should be in no doubt about that.’
Mr Miliband said he had faith in the university’s own investigation and the UN body’s inquiry was also welcome.
He added: ‘There will be people that want to use this to try and undermine the science and we’re not going to let them.’ ”

Ron de Haan

It’s a devastating comment which tells a lot of the mentality of the people behind the fraud. They are opportunistic ruthless cons representing not only an embarrassment to the world of science but humanity as well.
Thanks a lot for the publishing this.


“Laughs more he who laughs more”. Climategate’s “deepdecline”
will release some zipped surprises before jamboree starts.☺
Let’s get more popcorn!


Typo: “he who laughs last”


Where does Anthony find the time to stay on top of all this? I know he has lots of people feeding him information, but still, it takes a lot of time to sort through it, and decide what is worth reporting. In this case, of course, the info comes from someone he knows (“John A”), but still, the volume of info that has been filtered through WUWT in recent days, and weeks, is just staggering. We owe a huge debt to Anthony (and his mods).


“As a graduate student at Harvard, I was told that fields do not advance because people change their minds; rather, fields advance because people die.” Harvard, eh? Because that’s surely just another of those dogmas that could do with some critical scrutiny? Scepticism isn’t just for Christmas.