Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
I keep adding to my homemade list of aphorisms as events in this crazy world over take me. One I listed says,
Rules designed to facilitate operations bring them to a halt when people work to rule.
Misuse of rules was central to the corruption of climate science and, sadly but not surprisingly it continues.
We just passed the 6th anniversary of the release of emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), an event James Delingpole called Climategate. I would like to say celebrated, but the full impact of the release did not affect science and society like its namesake. Instead, it is impacting in negative ways as the culprits continue their assault on the advance of knowledge and dissemination of information in a free and open society. Exposure of the cover-up was Watergate’s undoing, but the Climategate cover-up succeeded. The spin-doctors took over and orchestrated inquiries exposed later as a travesty but were effective. As Clive Crook, Senior Editor of The Atlantic wrote,
“I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.”
This occurred even though Fred Pearce of the Guardian acknowledged that Andrew Montford made some effective points in an article titled “Montford lands some solid blows in review of ‘climategate’ inquiries.” Pearce tempered this for the regular reader in the standard way by noting that Montford received £3000 from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).
About 30 years ago I gave a presentation at a large agricultural conference in North Dakota. I don’t normally stay for the formal dinner, but my travel schedule, the speaker, and the topic was intriguing. A US representative to the UN spoke presciently about an issue that is central to society and science in general but is already critical in the climate debate.
He said that a subtle but dominant battle would develop over the next 50 years as capitalism, the marketplace and society evolved. The central but simple point made involved a pen.
He held out a pen and said, “If I sell you this pen, you have the pen, and I no longer have it.” There is a complete transferal of property, and the pen retains most of its value.
He then explained that the world was increasingly one of ideas, and that creates a problem in the marketplace. If I have an idea and sell you the idea, you have the idea but I retain the idea. The minute you buy the idea it loses at least half the value. The challenge is how do you sell an idea and yet retain its value. How do you buy an idea and get intellectual and financial control? He predicted that the legalities of these challenges would alter every form of transaction and relationships at all levels. It would involve politicians and lawyers struggling to produce and apply legislation to protect the idea and the owner.
Most of these center round the idea of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) that is one of the most contentious issues. As the National Law Review notes,
One of the primary U.S. trade negotiating objectives, as set forth in TPA, is “to further promote adequate and effective protection of intellectual property [IP] rights.” Free trade agreements (FTAs) to which the United States is a party therefore traditionally include robust IP protection and enforcement obligations. The final text of the TPP’s IP chapter remains broadly consistent with other U.S. trade agreements. However, the chapter does include some new, different, and in some cases controversial obligations and limitations.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a recent example of protecting ideas and their economic potential. Industrial espionage, especially by nations like China, is well known. It is so important and negotiated in such secrecy with the TPP that on 13 November 2013 Wikileaks published
“Advanced Intellectual Property Chapter for All 12 Nations with Negotiating Positions (August 30, 2013 consolidated bracketed negotiating text)”
Rules of Intellectual property are designed to provide credit and reward to the individual; a concept academics enshrine in condemnation of plagiarism. Despite this, the people associated with Climategate saw IP as a potential for hiding their malfeasance. They used it to ignore completely the most well known of all math exam instructions, “Show your work.” The entire mentality is encapsulated in this email exchange between Climategate CRU Director Phil Jones to former CRU Director Tom Wigley, on January 21, 2005.
Wigley: I got a brochure on the FOI Act from UEA (University of East Anglia). Does this mean that, if someone asks for a computer program we have to give it out?? Can you check this for me (and Sarah). I will be at CRU next Mon, Tue, Wed in case Sarah did not tell you.
Jones: On the FOI Act there is a little leaflet we have all been sent. It doesn’t really clarify what we might have to do re programs or data. Like all things in Britain we will only find out when the first person or organization asks. I wouldn’t tell anybody about the FOI Act in Britain. I don’t think UEA really knows what’s involved. As you’re no longer an employee I would use this argument if anything comes along.
Wigley: Thanks for the quick reply. The leaflet appeared so general, but it was prepared by UEA so they may have simplified things. From their wording, computer code would be covered by the FOIA. My concern was if Sarah is/was still employed by UEA. I guess she could claim that she had only written one tenth of the code and release every tenth line.
Jones: “I wouldn’t worry about the code. If FOIA does ever get used by anyone, there is also IPR to consider as well. Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them. I’ll be passing any requests onto the person at UEA who has been given a post to deal with them.
“Hide the decline” to bypass evidence and hiding behind rules designed for openness was a favorite practice at the CRU under Jones.
There is another section in one of the emails from Wigley to Jones that reveals the thinking.
Let me fill you in a bit (confidentially). You probably know the panel members. We were concerned that the chair would be a strong person. It is Jerry Mahlman — about the best possible choice. (wonder how Mahlman feels as a “weak” person.) Richard Smith is the statistician — also excellent. Dave Randall, too — very good.
As token skeptic there is Dick Lindzen — but at least he is a smart guy and he does listen. He may raise his paper with Gianitsis that purports to show low climate sensitivity from volcanoes. I will attach our paper that proves otherwise, in press in JGR.
Michael Mann invoked the IP in his defense against requests for his emails concerning the ‘hockey stick’. The lawyer requesting the emails explained.
These emails represent a period of time when the science upon which major national and international policies have been based was being done. In light of the extremely important public policy issues that these emails informed, the public has a right to know what these government employees were doing and how they were doing it.
Mann won that case as the court ruled he was not required to disclose because the information was his IP. It didn’t matter that the public paid for the research or that the ‘hockey stick’ it produced was used as the basis of the 2001 IPCC Report that became the basis of the political agenda for political and economic control.
Two central players have now disclosed the truth about the agenda. Christiana Figueres executive secretary of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.
“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.
SPIEGEL: You’re an activist, and you’ve blamed capitalism for all kinds of things over the years. Now you’re blaming it for climate change too?
Klein: That’s no reason for irony. The numbers tell the story. During the 1990s, emissions went up by 1 percent per year. Starting in 2000, they started to go up by an average of 3.4 percent. The American Dream was exported globally and consumer goods that we thought of as essential to meet our needs expanded rapidly. We started seeing ourselves exclusively as consumers. When shopping as a way of life is exported to every corner of the globe, that requires energy. A lot of energy.
The latest use of IP to hide rather than protect involves the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A paper published in Science (June 2015) titled “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus” produced by NOAA employees, Tom Karl et al., tried to eliminate the hiatus or pause in the temperature increase of the last 19 years. Ross McKitrick, who worked with Steve McIntyre to expose Michael Mann’s ‘hockey stick’, quickly identified the problems. Others followed providing further confirmation of the falseness of the claim.
As usual, the cover-up reveals the real story.
Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Kathryn Sullivan responding to the agency’s unjustified refusal to provide the Committee with documents related to the agency’s decision to alter historical climate data. After three letters requesting these documents, Chairman Smith issued a subpoena on October 13th to obtain communications related to NOAA’s decision.
NOAA failed to respond. Subsequently NOAA provided what is tantamount to an IP claim.
Although NOAA failed to provide the Committee with any justification for withholding documents, a NOAA spokeswoman was quoted in the media saying that the agency’s “internal communications are confidential and not related to what Smith is trying to find out.” As such, NOAA reportedly does not intend to provide the Committee with communications.
This is more egregious than Michael Mann’s IP claim, because the people involved are federal bureaucrats, so the taxpayer directly funds their salary and work. However, like Mann, the work is critical to US and UN policy and is the basis for world policy plans for discussion in Paris. Another revelation underscored the parallel with other IPCC practices. Congressman Smith revealed that
Whistleblowers have told the committee, according to Smith’s letter, that Thomas Karl — the director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, which led the study — “rushed” to publish the climate study “before all appropriate reviews of the underlying science and new methodologies” used in the climate data sets were conducted.
Mary McCarthy’s definition is confirmed.
Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.
Most of the people going to Paris will know nothing about the climatology or climate science. They will not know or want to know that the science used as the basis for the conference is a creation of corrupted people who hide behind rules created for a completely different purpose. Charles Dicken’s summarizes Climategate and Paris.
I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don’t trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance, any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.