Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Bureaucracies are ideal environments for groupthink because it is critical for them to eliminate any notion that they are unnecessary or that the problems might have a resolution. You control the story by any means necessary.
Those involved in fighting the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) deception from the start, are all too familiar with the signs of groupthink that I identified in an earlier article. It was even more important in this case because, as the leaked Climatic Research Unit (CRU) emails indicate, they knew it was a false message. Indeed, the fact that the emails were so damaging is strong evidence.
A role of some members of the group is to act as “Mindguards,” those “who act as self-appointed censors to hide problematic information from the group.” It appears, we have a case of one of the Mindguards still operating. The question is why?
Recently, an event occurred that on the surface seemed innocuous. It reminded me that even though CRU and its denizens were exposed for corrupting climate science, many of them escaped and scattered to plum jobs groupthink continues., some continue the battle. One of the people heavily involved almost from the start was Gavin Schmidt. He later gained employment with NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (NASA GISS) where he appears to pursue the same activities of defending a false message. Recently it was reported that Schmidt sent the following Twitter message.
“This reminds me of a point made before (but not recently I think): the claim that the Jun 23rd 1988 Hansen testimony was deliberately scheduled for the climatologically hottest day of the year was (and is) wrong.”
The problem for Gavin is that the person who arranged the hearing explained what he did. Senator Timothy Wirth was interviewed on PBS Frontline, hardly a Koch Brothers sponsored network and responded to questions as follows.
“How did you know about Jim Hansen?
… I don’t remember exactly where the data came from, but we knew there was this scientist at NASA who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So we called him up and asked him if he would testify. Now, this is a tough thing for a scientist to do when you’re going to make such an outspoken statement as this and you’re (sic) part of the federal bureaucracy. Jim Hansen has always been a very brave and outspoken individual.”
What else was happening that summer? What was the weather like that summer?
Believe it or not, we called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6 or June 9 or whatever it was, so we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo: It was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it. It was stiflingly hot that summer. [At] the same time you had this drought all across the country, so the linkage between the Hansen hearing and the drought became very intense.
And did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day?
… What we did it was went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right? So that the air conditioning wasn’t working inside the room and so when the, when the hearing occurred there was not only bliss, which is television cameras in double figures, but it was really hot. …
So Hansen’s giving this testimony, you’ve got these television cameras back there heating up the room, and the air conditioning in the room didn’t appear to work. So it was sort of a perfect collection of events that happened that day, with the wonderful Jim Hansen, who was wiping his brow at the witness table and giving this remarkable testimony. …
What is it about this that Schmidt doesn’t understand? Why is he claiming that it didn’t happen?
Some might say it’s because of the the recent WaPo article where Senator Wirth recants his former interview with PBS Frontline, which aired in 2007. Now 11 years later, he says he “made it up”, perhaps in response to blowback he’s gotten.
In my opinion, the answer to these questions appears to be in Schmidt’s role at the CRU. He was in groupthink classification a “Mindguard.” The group was increasingly annoyed at the questions and challenges they were getting as more people began to catch on to what they were doing. Schmidt proposed a counterattack.
The idea is that we working climate scientists should have a place where we can mount a rapid response to supposedly ‘bombshell’ papers that are doing the rounds and give more context to climate related stories or events.
The word “working” was used frequently by the group to suggest all those who criticized them lacked currency and inside information and were obviously uninformed. It is another trait of groupthink.
We know from the emails that they had reliable mainstream media people directly communicating with them. For example, on July 23, 2009, Seth Borenstein, masquerading as a national science writer for the Associated Press wrote to them,
“Kevin, Gavin, Mike, It’s Seth again. Attached is a paper in JGR today that Marc Morano is hyping wildly. It’s in a legit journal. Watchya think?”
Another example was the unhealthy connection between Richard Black of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the CRU. As Michael Mann wrote,
…extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. Its (sic) particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job).
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?
RealClimate is a reference to Schmidt’s counterattack solution driven by their siege mentality, and clearly, these media people could serve as conduits. On December 10, 2004, Schmidt reported:
Colleagues, No doubt some of you share our frustration with the current state of media reporting on the climate change issue. Far too often we see agenda-driven “commentary” on the Internet and in the opinion columns of newspapers crowding out careful analysis. Many of us work hard on educating the public and journalists through lectures, interviews and letters to the editor, but this is often a thankless task. In order to be a little bit more pro-active, a group of us (see below) have recently got together to build a new ‘climate blog’ website: RealClimate.org which will be launched over the next few days:
The group he referred to included Mike Mann, Eric Steig, William Connolley, Stefan Rahmstorf, Ray Bradley, Amy Clement, Rasmus Benestad and Caspar Ammann. They are familiar names to anyone who followed the saga of the leaked emails and the ongoing climate science debate. Evasiveness pervaded the behavior recorded in the CRU emails, and RealClimate (RC) continued to counterattack.
So, we know Schmidt carved out a role as Mindguard at CRU. Now it appears he is continuing the role at NASA GISS. Why would he bother to concern himself with the shenanigans in 1988? Why would he try to revise what happened? We know the group has a history of rewriting history including the paleoclimatic and secular record.
There appear to be a few incentives. One is that public concern is waning as this report notes,
A lot of work on climate change these days is trying to address what seems to be a major part of the problem; people don’t care all that much.
A survey by the Guardian newspaper of 18,000 people in 17 different countries found that,
Overall, climate change achieved a 12.8 percent share of concern, ranking behind only international terrorism and the threat of poverty as the most concerning issues globally.
However, doesn’t that mean that 87.2% are not concerned?
The second incentive is the Trump election. It is threatening to expose the entire fiasco and certainly is making more people look at what was involved. US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was followed by actions against the EPA and their involvement with the global warming issue. Pruitt began the process, but his replacement Wheeler is going to dig deeper and discover the entire story.
The third incentive is that the Green Climate Fund that replaced the Kyoto Protocol is failing. Virtually nobody is paying up, and the Executive Director Howard Bamsey resigned following a disastrous meeting in which no new projects were approved.
As more people reconstruct the entire AGW deception, they will undoubtedly find the Senator Wirth orchestration of the 1988 Senate hearing. The tone and details of the story are alarming and deeply disturbing to any normal outside person. What’s frightening is that Wirth appears to think that what he did was clever and well within the manipulations associated with Senate hearings. The truth is it is extreme even for that environment. Tell that story to the public, and you realize how damaging it is to the entire AGW story. I think that is why Schmidt wants to claim it never happened. On the face, this appears illogical because by mentioning it you run the risk of drawing attention. It was the type of risk the CRU group, with Schmidt’s active involvement as Mindguard, took for years. They thought as the creation of RealClimate confirms that by getting out in front of the story they could control it.