Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Climategate is a name that will stick, just like the Greenhouse Effect, but both are very poor analogies. The Earth’s atmosphere does not work like a greenhouse except in peripheral ways. Similarly, Climategate is only like Watergate because previously unknown information was released. Beyond that, the events diverge profoundly because of the cover-ups.
I have already made the point that the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) claim is the original fake news, deep state, story. It hit the media with James Hansen’s contrived appearance before Congress in 1988. That means at 30 years it is statistically equivalent to a climate normal, but there is nothing normal about it. Just like all the fake news stories these days, there was a claim of Russian Collusion. This involved the release of information that exposed the corruption of science used to delude the world about AGW. This story is not credible in light of the events, so, the question remains, who released the information? Ironically, the reason is quite clear, but the objective failed as the world continues to pursue the AGW deception and wastes trillions of dollars and precludes development in most countries. It is important for the person who did it to identify themselves because the original leak failed.
Thus, it is informative and revealing to revisit the events surrounding the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) located on the campus of the University of East Anglia (UEA) in November of 2009. It became known as Climategate, after the Watergate scandal. It was only like that scandal in terms of the exposure of malfeasance, corruption, and misuse of power. It is completely unlike Watergate in a very important way. It wasn’t the revelation of the break-in that caused the downfall of all those even peripherally involved, but the coverup. The proponents and supporters of the AGW claim achieved a very effective cover-up, the corruption continues, and nobody so far was held accountable.
Approximately 1000 emails were reported ‘stolen’ by the head of the CRU, Phil Jones. The date of the release is very important because it predated a scheduled meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Copenhagen in December at which the potentially world-changing Kyoto Protocol was scheduled for approval and implementation.
The role of the COP is to determine the policy and funding for climate research going forward. They are required to operate on the basis of the ‘science’ provided to them by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is another of Maurice Strong’s devious self-contained, self-controlling, and self-perpetuating techniques. The COP establishes funding and policy for the IPCC who in turn give them the justification they need for their decision.
The timing of the leak was clearly designed to undermine this self-serving circle by exposing the malfeasance of the few scientists at the CRU who controlled the IPCC. They didn’t control the entire thing, just the key chapters in the Report of Working Group I, “The Physical Science Basis.” These chapters were the modern instrumental data, the historical (paleoclimate) data; and the computer models. They also ensured that one of them was an advisor to the Summary for Policymakers (SPM). This way, they presented exaggerated and alarmist views that assured the proper reaction from the COP and the media. The Wegman Report partly identified this problem in Recommendation 1.
It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers.
They also knew the COP and media wouldn’t know they were being misled, as David Wojick explained.
Glaring omissions are only glaring to experts, so the “policymakers”—including the press and the public—who read the SPM will not realize they are being told only one side of a story. But the scientists who drafted the SPM know the truth, as revealed by the sometimes artful way they conceal it.
What is systematically omitted from the SPM are precisely the uncertainties and positive counter evidence that might negate the human interference theory. Instead of assessing these objections, the Summary confidently asserts just those findings that support its case. In short, this is advocacy, not assessment.
It is clear from the emails that everything was done at the CRU without a thought of being exposed. This sense of invulnerability is a major vulnerability in the symptoms of Groupthink.
“Members pressure any in the group who expresses arguments against the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.”
When you read the leaked emails (here is a search engine), there are people asking questions and raising concerns, such as Edward Cook. The reactions were defensive, an unhealthy pattern repeated when later legitimate requests through Freedom of Information (FOI) became troublesome.
You also see how they are quickly admonished. However, one conflict stands out as pervasive and ongoing, and that is the dispute between Keith Briffa and the others. They frequently disagreed over the data, and methods, used in reconstructing global temperature over the last thousand years. It is clear Briffa had difficulty, as did Cox and others, with the methods and science used by Mann. Eventually, we know after interventions and ameliorations by various people including Tom Wigley and Phil Jones, that Mann’s version wins out because it appeared as the ‘hockey stick’ in the 2001 IPCC Report.
A few hours after the emails were revealed missing Jones called in the Norwich police. It appears that Jones’ actions were orchestrated from the start. It is reported that he told the police after a few hours they were stolen. This apparently anticipated what might happen later in a court. As I understand, at the time UK law allowed that if they were leaked, they could be used in a trial, but if they were hacked, they could not. Jones could have said they were not CRU emails, but he didn’t. In order to identify them as hacked, he had to identify them as genuine. If you think Jones would not know what to do, read the emails again. They were constantly talking about whom to contact in the media or other agencies when confronted with a political problem such as getting rid of an editor who published an article they didn’t like.
As early as December 8, 2009, Clive Crook of The Atlantic summarized the response to Climategate.
The response of the climate-science establishment to Climategate has been disappointing if predictable. The guild mentality has come to the fore. Campaigns are under way to defend the integrity of science from a scurrilous smear campaign. The message is simple: you are either with us or you are a barbarian.
The first line of response to the leaked or hacked emails, you recall, was to say that they showed science going on as usual–even science at its best, some argued. “Trick” did not mean trick; “hiding the decline” did not mean hiding the decline. These were innocent phrases torn out of context. As for the expostulations of harry_read_me, and discussing ways to punish or silence dissidents, and musing over the deletion of data that might be demanded under FOI requests, er, this is all just part of the healthy cut and thrust of normal scientific enquiry. We all have to let off steam now and then. No conspiracy. Nothing improper.
If this is true, as the UEA and CRU claim, then why hire a high-profile PR firm known for dealing with contentious issues? The cover-up began almost right away and although fraught with problems and failures, was very effective. As with those who challenged the science, it was easy to marginalize the few who understood what was going on.
It appears the PR people were brought in very early, although that information didn’t appear until mid-2011. Anthony Watts recognized the significance of these actions.
Today brings news of the arrest of the managing director of a firm hired by the University of East Anglia’s CRU (Climatic Research Unit) to carry out “covert” operations – h/t reader Chu here).
Certainly, the group Neil Wallis worked for “Outside Organization,” were on board by July of 2010. An article in “Music Week” at the time said,
Don’t tell the conspiracy theorists. But one PR company was at the centre of the Michael Jackson funeral, Climategate and Naomi Campbell’s appearance at Charles Taylor’s trial in The Hague.
The campaign, from the admission they were CRU emails to the early actions of the UEA, all take the offensive. Deflect the blame, divert attention away from the perpetrators, play the victim card. As early as April 2010 the Sunday Express reports as follows.
The University of East Anglia claimed it had been deluged with requests from sceptics under the Freedom of Information Act shortly before hacked emails were published which appeared to show scientists manipulating climate change data.
But the university has angered privacy campaigners after passing on the details of those asking for information to Norfolk Police, which is investigating the alleged email theft with the National Domestic Extremism Unit.
Detectives are interviewing all those who legally used the FOI Act to request information from the Climatic Research Unit, questioning them about their scientific and political beliefs.
In a conclusion reminiscent of the latest directive from the EPA under Scott Pruitt, the Express reports,
A Parliamentary Select Committee report found the university had a “reprehensible” culture of withholding information and called for greater transparency in climate research.
Even strong advocates for the work of the IPCC and the CRU were clear. George Monbiot of The Guardian, long a “go to guy” of the CRU crowd, wrote,
It’s no use pretending that this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them. Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.
Other committees set up, likely at the direction of the PR people, all followed a pattern. Don’t interview anybody who raised questions or who might know something. They were carefully orchestrated whitewashes, as you would expect from a PR campaign. Again, we have Clive Crook’s perceptive summary.
“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.”
Despite all these outrageous and often inept cover-ups, they were enormously successful. Unlike Watergate, when the cover-up became the undoing, Climategate gained strength, and the corrupt, deceptive science continues as strong as it ever was.
At the 2010 COP (16) meeting in Durban, they didn’t miss a beat. There was simply a delay in achieving the objective of demonizing CO2 and using that to control governments, energy, economies and therefore people on a global scale. It was on track just as Maurice Strong planned at the start. The Kyoto Protocol was replaced by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with most of the same provisions and goals. They rescheduled ratification for COP 21 in Paris.
The PR cover-up was extremely effective even if people saw through it quickly. It demonstrated why the CO2 deception was so easy. Even though the scientists and their corrupt work were exposed, the same deceptive science continued. Even though this information was the basis for the politically motivated, socialist, agenda of punishing and restricting capitalist development and transferring their wealth it continued. From a political perspective, it has not lost any momentum.
We still don’t know who leaked the information. It certainly presaged the countless leaks currently occurring within the US government that create so much fake news. It was an early example of the claim that Russian internet addresses were used. Even now, the claim that the leak was carried out by an outside person prevails. In my opinion, this is illogical and unacceptable. Indeed, the story may have been created by the PR agency to divert attention.
A story appeared in the Daily Mail shortly after the first release that began as follows,
The controversy surrounding the global warming e-mail scandal has deepened after a BBC correspondent admitted he was sent the leaked messages more than a month before they were made public.
Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate change expert, claims the documents allegedly sent between some of the world’s leading scientists are of a direct result of an article he wrote.
Hudson believes he received the emails because he wrote an article suggesting the pause in temperature rise was challenging the IPCC and CRU claims. Hudson was known to the people at CRU, and it appears that his conduit through the BBC gave access to global distribution of the material. Hudson did nothing with the information, and as the Copenhagen meeting was approaching, the leaker uploaded the material to a blog called Air Vent on a Russian server. He confirmed that,
‘The e-mails released on the internet as a result of CRU being hacked into are identical to the ones I was forwarded and read at the time and so, as far as l can see, they are authentic.
Hudson said he would write a blog explaining this very serious affair but never did so. It is my opinion he was warned off. Here is what Michael Mann wrote in a leaked email about Hudson’s article questioning the temperature pause.
“…extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. It’s particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job). From what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office. We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what’s up here?”
Now consider what happened once the police became involved. The Norfolk police remained in overall control, but a group called the National Domestic Extremism Unit were brought in. Why, because somebody knew that the exposure of the climate scam was the undoing of a global scam. This move contradicts the message to the public that there was nothing important or threatening going on. Another damming event was that the final investigation report was released by the Norfolk police after the statute of limitations on any prosecution expired. Most important, the only thing they said with the release was that as far as they could tell it was not an inside job. Why would they go out of their way to emphasize that?
We are told that an outside agent penetrated the UEA and then the CRU security systems and from some 120,000 emails selected 1000 that exposed the venality of the scientists at the CRU. How long did this take? Why didn’t it trigger alarms? How would an outsider suspect what was going? I followed the work of the CRU and the IPCC from their start. I knew there was something wrong including the way they treated Professor Lamb founder of the CRU. I knew their science was very questionable but never imagined the corruption was as bad as the emails exposed.
The first 1000 released included very few that spoke of the scientific deceptions. The predominant theme spoke of actions and behaviors that anybody would recognize as unacceptable. For example, Phil Jones wrote to Michael Mann,
I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!
British sceptic David Holland sought release of all emails sent and received by Briffa. As I mentioned earlier, Briffa was the center of the conflicts within CRU. Jones warned them about this and advised the following.
Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise… Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
Watergate involved political actions for a political agenda. Wrong as these actions were, the biggest sin and the reason it became exposed was that the cover-up failed. Climategate was a perversion of science for a political agenda. It was exposed, but unlike Watergate, the cover-up was deliberate and coordinated. It was very successful because most of the public have no idea about the science, are unaware of the release of the emails, or understand their significance. The deception with its enormous cost and damage to the credibility of science continues. It is time for the leaker to come forward and provide a framework for dissection of the cover-up, so it can fail like in Watergate. Only then can the analogy of Climategate be accurate.