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  1. This is an outrage.

    This idiot’s harassment of a working scientist is a sign of things to come. The right wing in America has named science as an enemy, and it will stop at nothing to stifle science it doesn’t like. Anyone who thinks it will stop with climate science is kidding himself.

    Comment by Adam R. — 4 Oct 2010 @ 9:41 PM

  2. I add that the blog post that Mann co-authored on RC is a BOOK REVIEW! Cuccinelli should be disbarred.

    Comment by Todd Albert — 4 Oct 2010 @ 9:45 PM

  3. Reprehensible, to say the least. It wouldn’t take much to raise this to a level of absurdity meriting the adjective “Kafkaesque.”

    But if “a fool persisting in his folly will soon become wise,” this shouldn’t take too long.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Oct 2010 @ 9:46 PM

  4. Turn him in to the Virginia Bar.

    Comment by Russ Doty — 4 Oct 2010 @ 9:48 PM

  5. Surely this cannot stand in court ? that phrase ‘should have known’ is quite orwellian.

    last night i spent an hour or two speaking with a gifted young man about a research career. he has just obtained a Bachelors from a very good university in another country and has incandescent GRE scores.

    i regret to say, i shall find it difficult to recommend a US university


    [Response: I hope you don’t really feel that way. There are many great Universities in this country, whatever the political climate may be!–eric]

    [Response: And that doesn’t make sense. –Jim]

    Comment by sidd — 4 Oct 2010 @ 9:54 PM

  6. Thus, finally, we have the gauntlet in the face. Error becomes intent. The powers that be can, by their own agenda driven ‘standards’, transform any research of any kind into skullduggery. This is, in fact, that moment which we cannot allow to continue: “it is so because I say it is so”. Truth has always been elusive for this AG, but now he doesn’t give a fig about truth. He needs a lever to accomplish his agenda, and whether this ruins the lives of people is of no moment to him. Let us be blunt about the matter. Destroying people is not a problem for Mr. Cuccinelli; they are merely impediments to his goals.
    At this point, this story needs to have national attention, if for no other reason than to protect a man of deep integrity, Dr. Mann, and his colleagues as well.
    Mr. Cuccinelli will not flinch at my words; I suspect he will merely smile. What would matter more to him is to become irrelevant. And that should be our goal.

    Comment by Diogenes — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:01 PM

  7. What is the University of Virginia’s position on this? Have they hired outside counsel? UVa has a top-notch law school, and maybe they can get some alumni lawyers to help out.

    Cuccinelli is conducting some political theater, and his actions amount to little more than a fishing episode. Perhaps a complaint to the bar association is in order.

    [Response: We had a minor discussion as to whether fishing or hunting was the appropriate analogy, and concluded it had elements of both.–Jim]

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:04 PM

  8. I’m pretty much stunned speechless by this. What a waste of taxpayer money.

    Comment by Dave Werth — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:05 PM

  9. “Fraud” has been dumbed down over the years, which is unfortunate IMO. Maybe that gives Cuccinelli some loophole. That being said, Cuccinelli strikes me as running completely amok, and from what little specifics I know might be prima facie more criminally culpable than Dr. Mann. (Just a figure of speech: I’m not implying that Mann is criminally culpable — I don’t think he is.] I might be wrong (not being a lawyer) but if there is no brand newly discovered evidence after the first toss out, I don’t think he has a right to refile the case — ethically at least, maybe legally. If he refiles the same case, even watered down, but with some (not new) evidence he “just forgot” the first time, he seems to be running close to contempt of court — IMHO.

    [Response: There is no question that Cuccinelli is abusing power, but the illegality or legality of that remains a bit obscure to me.–eric]

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:05 PM

  10. Yeah, this is scary. It’s the classic witch hunt syndrome seen throughout history. The problem with confirmation bias is it’s total blindness to the actual facts of any issue. You guys know the problem: State of Fear. The fear of the implications of climate science. Some people think that all lawyers are liars by trade and some get elected AG. There’s truth to that. This is a case in point.

    [Response: Well, let’s be careful shall we? “All lawyers” is not any more useful than “All scientists”. –eric]

    Comment by Mark A. York — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:07 PM

  11. Well, Cuccinelli need to keep trying to keep his funders happy, especially those in energy, including plenty of coal, utilities, and Koch Industries.

    One that may not be obvious is Questfore Communications … run by his father, Ken Cuccinelli, Sr.:

    “A former head of marketing for a Fortune 500 company (CNG Pittsburgh), Ken was named 1994 Gas Marketing executive and also served as chief operating officer of CNG Energy prior to joining Quest Fore. In addition to his chairman duties, he also serves as president of International Business Ventures LLC, a worldwide consulting and prospect development company that is active in Europe and Latin America.”

    Having grown up near Pittsburgh, I recognize CNG = Consolidated Natural Gas.

    The last sentence is vague, if it is gas development in Europe … well, part of Russia is in Europe.

    Also, one may recall that Cuccinelli and his sidekick Wesley Russell (who actually signed the complaint) both got their JD’s at George Mason University, a place with which I’ve become much more familiar of late, due to this, whose Appendix A.6.1 noted the amounts of money from the Kochs, Richard Mellon Scaife, etc going to GMU and its various institutes, one of which had Fred Singer for a while. Pat Michaels taught this course this summer. Someone with spare time might take a careful look at that syllabus.

    While a blog comment is not a reliable source, see “Cuccinelli an enemy to academic freedom.” If Terry Wolfe’s description of the mis-use of the GMU honor code is anything like accurate, this is not nice, but sounds like fine student practice by Cuccinelli & Russell for witch-hunts.

    Of course, as seen in Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, GMU may have some serious problems of academic misconduct, not just in the Wegman Report itself, but in things like plagiarism in 3 PhD dissertations, i.e., some rather lax PHD supervision, especially when all 3 of Wegman’s students won departmental “best dissertation of year” awards. In most schools, plagiarism in a dissertation might have consequences.

    GMU was having
    problems in 2001 with misconduct:

    “The major conclusion of the Task Force was that large segments of both students and faculty ignore the Code’s provisions. We need to remedy this. George Mason is, and will remain, an honor code university. The university maintains an active Honor Code committee, and it does take action after appropriate inquiry.”
    “Finally, it is essential the faculty themselves set a high standard in academic integrity. We are periodically reminded that researchers and teachers do not always live up to the norms we urge on our students.”

    Recall that Cuccinelli & Russell seemed to be running part of the Code enforcement.
    Maybe JD supervision has problems also?

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:19 PM

  12. This truly is scary. The malfeasance of prosecutors and the lack of consequences for their awful mistakes, such as putting innocent men on death row, is legend in this country. Just read the interview with Peter Neufeld on Slate sometime. Some prosecutors are incapable of admitting error even in the face of incontrovertible DNA evidence of their wrongful conviction of a suspect. This has struck me as a huge problem in our legal system for many years. Who guards the guards?

    Comment by John P — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:32 PM

  13. 6 eric: I hope you agree that what passes for truth in court would not pass muster in science. Just look at the number of death row convictions that get overturned because of scientific evidence.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Oct 2010 @ 10:38 PM

  14. I think he is on a mission to increase the export of brains, but I don’t understand why he had to start with his own.

    Comment by jyyh — 4 Oct 2010 @ 11:26 PM

  15. As a two-time graduate of UVA, I can tell you that the Commonwealth of Virginia contributes approximately 6.5% of the operating costs of UVA. The University refused to respond to Cuccinelli’s first request and my guess is that they will do the same with his latest fiasco. I agree that Cuccinelli should be disbarred and I plan on filing a complaint with the Virginia Bar.
    George Mason University is \owned\ by the Kochs and Singer teaches or taught there. GMU is not known for its academics.

    Comment by G. Thomas Farmer, Ph.D. — 4 Oct 2010 @ 11:55 PM

  16. It is clear that a lot of people want the enlightenment to be over. But they still want the technology that requires science. In the case of GW, the “Powers That Be” must give up political power if the human race is to survive. Nobody ever willingly gave up political power. In the past, political power was only given up when it was taken away by force of arms. You have to understand that that is how they see this event. By “this event” I mean the decades long struggle to get a strong climate bill passed. Does that cast a new light on the subject?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Oct 2010 @ 11:58 PM

  17. @7: “What is the University of Virginia’s position on this? Have they hired outside counsel?”

    UVA has already stated they would resist this subpoena just as they resisted the one quashed in August. They have hired outside counsel at considerable expense.

    Comment by Imback — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:03 AM

  18. But what a wonderful literary movement he’s called into being!

    Can I be ‘Post Normal’? Am I? And what might it mean? Is there a dress code, so we can recognize one another and feel Cool about belonging?

    Can I write our manifesto?

    Comment by forrest curo — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:07 AM

  19. I’m not a lawyer or a scientist but wouldn’t fairness require this standard to be applied to ALL grants in Virginia, i.e. couldn’t a lot of medical research be stifled if this “rule” is applied. For that matter could there be a grant related to Bextra or Vioxx ? I remember reading something about xerox suing apple a couple of decades ago and having there case dismissed because they didn’t include Microsoft. Could something like this be a defense?
    I sincerely hope that people will learn witch hunting won’t change reality any more than legislation can set the value of pi.
    best of luck jacob l

    Comment by jacob l --not mack — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:13 AM

  20. it may well be you have good universities in your country, but the atmosphere Cuccinelli and his kind create makes those very hard to recommend, it almost seems like they want to externalize education outside your country.

    Comment by jyyh — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  21. It wouldn’t take much to raise this to a level of absurdity meriting the adjective “Kafkaesque.”

    Well, the central character is a cockroach.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:21 AM

  22. Well, “post normal science” is in fact an elaborately intellectualized, politically useful fraud. I could imagine Cuccinelli liking it… Mike Mann, or any actual scientist for that matter, not so much.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:55 AM

  23. Surely, if this went further, Mann would be exonerated and Cuccinelli would have to leave the stage with his tail between his legs

    What is there to lose apart from time and inconvenience?


    Comment by Mango — 5 Oct 2010 @ 2:00 AM

  24. Quick question regarding timelines. It is my understanding that the grant in question was given to Mann before the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers act became law. is this correct?

    Also it is my understanding that that law is not retroactive? Is this also true?


    Comment by Dan Moutal — 5 Oct 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  25. “There is no question that Cuccinelli is abusing power, but the illegality or legality of that remains a bit obscure to me.–eric”

    …which is why it looks to me like the previous court and the university have given Cuccinelli the rope to hang himself. If this goers to trial it would be one of those precedent setting, recalibration moments when the scientific process is upheld and witch hunting for political purposes is slapped down hard.

    Comment by Martin Smith — 5 Oct 2010 @ 2:43 AM

  26. I agree with post #10 Mark A. York. The best analogy is probably witch hunt. Arcane, but seemingly befitting the characterization, context and similar in application of reason.

    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: Natural CycleGreenhouse EffectClimate Science HistoryArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Oct 2010 @ 4:45 AM

  27. Sickening. We need to speak our minds OFF THIS BLOG and directly to OUR ELECTED LEADERS and THE MEDIA.

    A list of contacts for US Government elected leaders and many media outlets (newspaper, television, and radio) appears here:

    Please, please, please send letters to these people and alert them to this witch hunt.

    Use this link in the future when needed and I would enjoy adding any new contacts you can send to me as long as the contact info is publicly available. I do not wish to expose private email info (unlike the AG).

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 5 Oct 2010 @ 5:25 AM

  28. There might be a reason on making this challenge using an irrelevent paper. He might be probing the judge to see what sort of reasons come out when this request is rejecting, with the aim of combining the strongest possible argument with the most relevent paper. This could backfire of course by predjudicing the judge against any future requests. But if the judge shows any evidence of being predjudiced, then there is grounds for appeal.

    (I am not a lawyer, but IIUC similar tactics were used in the SCO/Linux cases.)

    Comment by Kevin C — 5 Oct 2010 @ 5:28 AM

  29. This twit seems to think that scientists should wait till they are absolutely sure that they are right before publishing. Since scientists tend to be good at thinking of ways that they might be wrong, this seems like a way to prevent scientists from publishing anything at all.

    The law tries to act as if it can provide near certainty by following set established procedures. All scientific procedures are works in progress and are refined all the time. Science squarely confonts uncertainty. The law tries to wish it away. Science, working in ways that the legal profession would see as good procedure would be bad science.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 5 Oct 2010 @ 5:35 AM

  30. Whilst I disagree with most of you about AGW and am not convinced by Mann’s work, I have to say that persecuting a scientist in an attempt to silence them is morally moribund.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 5 Oct 2010 @ 6:37 AM

  31. I see only 13 comments so far, but in case the likely flood of new comments doesn’t contain this thought, here it is: Your posting’s clincher calls to mind the bubble-bursting question that Joseph Welch famously asked Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954. Your ending simply quotes the ethical guidelines of the Virginia bar: “A lawyer should use the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others.” Mr. Welch simply asked Sen. McCarthy, “Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

    Comment by Steven T. Corneliussen — 5 Oct 2010 @ 7:18 AM

  32. I like (well, ‘like’ is the best word I could think of) how the grant he is going after had nothing to do with paleoclimatology. Priceless. Not only that, but the grant in question was awarded in 2001 (IIRC), and the Virginia fraud act didn’t come into effect till 2002. How does a guy that dumb get to be AG in the first place? Oh, wait… he was elected. Presumably he ran on the Enemy of Science platform.

    OK, so assuming this one gets tossed out like the last one did, what will happen to Cuccinelli then? Business as usual? Or are there potential repercussions arising from the AG wasting (even more) taxpayer money on Political Witch Hunt: The Sequel? I’m assuming the university can counter-sue on the grounds of “A lawyer should use the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others.”

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 5 Oct 2010 @ 7:19 AM

  33. Ken Cuccinelli is showing himself to be an strange mixture of ruthlessness, venality, and stupidity. Is he out of control, or is he trying to act in his benefactor’s interests?

    Comment by Ben Lawson — 5 Oct 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  34. While reading the legalese in Cuccinelli’s CID, what struck me is that he’s trying to accuse Mann of fraud because Mann cites his previous work to help him win the grant: “To the extend that Dr. Mann did reference or rely on his past work in these papers (or others like them) to aid in winning the grant when he knew of should have known of the potential of the papers (or others like them) to mislead the grantor, such action would subject him to potential FATA [Fraud Against Taxpayers Act] liability.”

    Thus, is appears Cuccinelli’s argument boils down to this:

    1. Mann published the “hockey stick” paper.

    2. Some people disagree with the “hockey stick.”

    3. Mann has cited the published “hockey stick” paper as evidence of his credentials as a scientist, including to help obtain a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia for unrelated research.

    4. Since Mann won’t admit his “hockey stick” paper is wrong, Cuccinelli asserts he’s committing fraud.

    Comment by Dennis — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:07 AM

  35. RS,

    I appreciate your post #30. Thank you.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:07 AM

  36. And let’s not forget KC was the guy who objected to the bared breast of the goddess “Virtus” on the Virginia state seal. I mean, has anybody ever actually looked at the Virginia state seal since about 1870, and if so, did they care about seeing Virtus’s nipple?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:09 AM

  37. OK, this thing mentions the Wegman Report 6 times, including obscure references that almost certainly came from there, like McKitrick’s talk in Australia.
    See pp. labeled 17-21.

    Will people *please* go look at Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, (SSWR, pronounced “sewer”),just read the 6-pager. Cuccinelli is simply continuing in the GMU tradition of Wegman&Said, and the evidence for their wrongdoing (not just incompetence) is so strong that if GMU does not soon take action, I think there should serious concerns about accreditation, whose next round is coming next Spring. There also ought to be serious concern about Federal funding, for reasons shown in the paper.

    But back to the Cuccinelli document, that section.
    This raises the question: Did Wesley Russell write this himself, or DID HE GET HELP? AND FROM WHOM? IS THERE ANYONE IN VA WHO MIGHT HELP OUT?

    In a quick look, I noted he mis-cited the McKitrick talk as “APEC Study Group, Australia April 4, 2003.

    From the Wegman Report, that’s really:
    McKitrick, Ross (2005) “What is the ‘Hockey Stick’ debate about?” APEC Study Group, Australia, April 4, 2005, and so you can see the URL, it is:

    I guess they wanted to base their arguments less obvious than:
    ‘McIntyre, Stephen and McKitrick, Ross (2005) “The Hockey Stick Debate: Lessons in Disclosure and Due Diligence,” September 7, 2005’
    which was really: (George Marshall Institute)
    *that* was really the basis for the Wegman Report, see Appendix W.8.9 in SSWR.

    Comment by John Mashey — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:52 AM

  38. What is the legal process for a recall in Virginia? This would be a good case for such (much better than Grey Davis in California)

    Comment by Bob — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  39. We’re likely to see similar nonsense in the House after the next election:

    Comment by Bob Day — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:11 AM

  40. We’re likely to see similar nonsense in the House after the next election:

    Comment by Bob Day — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:13 AM

  41. IANAL, but this strikes me as a clear case of malicious prosecution– at what point does Cuccinelli (and the State of Virginia) become vulnerable to a counter suit? I’d be happy to contribute to any legal action (assuming that it’s not illegal for a foreign citizen to do so).

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:27 AM

  42. Not that I would wish the results on the vast majority of decent American people, but I’d like to see some reaction that research scientists in the US, whether employed by domestic companies, foreign companies or Universities cannot be expected to and indeed will not conduct their work under threat of expensive legal harassment by ideologues, or demogogues or partisan politicians funded by money from questionable sources that would benefit from a witch hunt.

    [Response: I understand and much agree with the sentiment. On the other hand, it should be remembered that people like what’s his name would like nothing more than to see their efforts result in a slow down of the science they don’t like. In my observation, Mike has been exemplary in not allowing that to happen, and this is an inspiration to all of us who are aware, I assure you.–Jim]

    Comment by chek — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:32 AM

  43. This idiot’s harassment of a working scientist is a sign of things to come. The right wing in America has named science as an enemy, and it will stop at nothing to stifle science it doesn’t like. Anyone who thinks it will stop with climate science is kidding himself.

    I’m surprised something similar hasn’t already been tried against those who publish papers on evolution or anything that demonstrates the great age of the earth. If the ice cores have a 500,000 year record then it must be fraud because the earth is not that old, right? Maybe Dr. Neil Shubin should be investigated for that expensive trip to the Arctic where he located Tiktaalik, the predicted fish and tetrapod intermediate.

    The Dunning-Kruger is strong in this one(i.e. KC).

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  44. I think the problem is much deeper than the absurd charge of fraud the AG is going after. At another level this is a very sophisticated attempt to discredit science by promoting the notion that an error is the equivalent of fraud, whether the case is won in court or not.

    It is obvious that in this case there isn’t even a “mistake”, but the mere perception of a mistake may do the necessary damage in the public mind. This holds scientists to the impossible standard of never being wrong or of never having made a legitimate mistake. It makes the very process of peer review the weapon to discredit science and scientists.

    I fear that the high level of scientific illiteracy in the American public makes what the attorney general is doing likely to succeed. Everytime a legitimate scientist proposes a hypothesis tests it and another legitimate scientist finds a flaw in the data or analysis, they have the grounds for their nasty witch hunt, and a technique to confuse a gullible public.

    This may not stop at climate change. Will they next go after biologists, archeologists, or paleoentologists to discredit evolution? No telling where this insanity stops.

    Comment by Larry Saltzman — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:43 AM

  45. Did Mann steal Cucinelli’s high school sweetheart or something? What inspires such vindictiveness in a man that he persists in this prosecution even though he cannot demonstrate any reasonable suspicion of fraud? This is legal(ized) harassment and a waste of both taxpayer money and government + legal resources.

    From a wider perspective, it’s disconcerting to realize how leaky the separation of powers (trias politica) actually is. Climate science is politically charged enough as it is, it would be nice if the justice system would simply butt out and let people get some work done.

    Comment by Paul van Egmond — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  46. eric writes:

    “I hope you don’t really feel that way.”

    I feel torn. because, I agree that with eric that

    “There are many great Universities in this country”

    but as he continues:

    “whatever the political climate may be!”

    Ay, there’s the rub. As jyyh commented:

    “the atmosphere Cuccinelli and his kind create makes those very hard to recommend”

    Powerful, narrow minded, vicious, functionaries arise in all countries. They happen to be present here and now in the USA, and have fought research that harms their interests, and those of their masters. Couple this with the politicization of climate science, and the stranglehold exerted by fossil interests on the body politic, and perhaps my regrets become clearer. Today they came for the climatologists…

    In any event, the lad is probably much smarter than i am, certainly smart enough to make up his own mind.


    Comment by sidd — 5 Oct 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  47. 1: Adam, I think that the Cuccinelli’s of the US mark the end of the era in which the USA was looked up to by virtually the entire world. Contrast Cuccinelli’s regard for science to that of the Chinese government, (as bad as they are !), but who celebrate the mean value theorem in downtown Beijing!

    Is there a legal defense fund for Mann and co? I would happily make a contribution.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 5 Oct 2010 @ 10:06 AM

  48. Shifting the Overton window.
    Although he is unlikely to succeed in his principle demand there is a risk that his actions will have some bad consequences, some of which he will have intended.

    1. To revive the so called emailgate scandal and further divert attention from the poorly publicised Not Guilty verdicts that came out of all the enquiries.

    2. To put climatologists on the defensive with regards to some of the arguments. For example the defence that his behaviour would be unacceptable even if the papers contained errors is of course valid but may be taken out of context to mean that once again the scientists are retreating.

    3. To make people like McIntyre who is being courted by so much of the media, seem really reasonable and trustworthy on all matters, because of the distance between him and Cuccinelli.

    3A. Perhaps the same but for more outrageous propagandists like Monckton or his supporter Corbyn.

    Sooner or later there may be a court case, preferably on another issue; it could be risky and a waste of time, but also beneficial if conducted fairly and effectively. I am thinking of an analogy which may make the contrarians go up the wall, but it refers to anyone who plays fast and loose with any evidence. Deborah Lipstadt’s successful defence against libel and which rested on a legal proof of the historical facts.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 5 Oct 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  49. Mann was not the PI on that grant. Albertson was. Yet Cuccinelli does not ask for e-mails from, to, or regarding Albertson. That does not make sense.

    Comment by Mike — 5 Oct 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  50. I’m formulating the message for my sign for the Jon Stewart “Rally to Restore Sanity” based on this discussion. Pithy suggestions welcomed.

    Comment by Kathy — 5 Oct 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  51. This is very reminiscent of what is happening locally in Phoenix…Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former county prosecuter Andrew Thomas are now under investigation for abuse of power in similar ways…overreaching to punish enemies. Federal investigation into Arpaio now fully underway. I suggest that a similar request to Holder et al might bring a similar outcome. All it takes is someone with a bit of clout to get this on the federal radar…it passes the smell test of a continous pattern of intimidation and fishing that we see locally here.

    Comment by Diogenes — 5 Oct 2010 @ 11:10 AM

  52. > APEC Study Group
    Oddly, searching for the cite with the 2003 date Cuccinelli used
    turns up copies like this one, with “2003” in the header line:
    As John Mashey points out, a clue that the writer didn’t look at the original.
    McK has a correctly dated page at his website:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Oct 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  53. I’m not a lawyer but I read Cucc’s original subpoena and I saw the obvious problems with it. Indeed, the judge’s decision told Cucc to stick to the law and only the one state grant was under Va’s jurisdiction. Further, Cucc had to present a reason for suspicion of that work.

    It appears Cucc did not heed the judge’s admonitions and is way of the legal questions again. I’m betting the judge will dismiss this subpoena with some prejudice or perhaps serious censure.

    John Mashey, thanks for a great job on the Wegman report. It appears this is the basis for the \statistical\ problems cited. So you have provided excellent source material for the UVa attorneys.

    I hope Cucc gets kicked in the teeth so badly the taxpayers of Va and the voters who are decent human beings wake up to his seeming incompetence and malfeasance.

    Comment by veritas36 — 5 Oct 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  54. Guys,

    As you know, I couldn’t agree more.


    Comment by Chip Knappenberger — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  55. This is certainly very extreme. The science is pretty damn good at this point. And scientists are human beings thus emails would be more casual and rough around the edges. In my University where I work we do not walk around stating: “the hamiltonian” and “transesterifcation of the spliceosome.” We argue, debate and engage in Uni politics. This does not mean the science we teach and research we conducted is fraud or anything of the sort at all. Ofcourse our microbiology professor thinks her program should get more funding than the “evo” biology program in the more classical tradition. Climate science is a science conducted by humans who do some very excellent work. I have yet to see any legitimate statistician disprove AGW; or physicist for that matter.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:10 PM

  56. A document thar may be of interest: ‘Science, Technology, and the First Amendment Special Report: Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment’.

    If you jump to page 67, it talks about a Professor Steven Goldberg of Georgetown University Law Center (who sadly passed away last August) and his arguments that science enjoys special protection under the First Amendment. Perhaps someone in Georgetown could give some advice on this?

    “Professor Steven Goldberg of The Georgetown University Law Center is among those who argue that science enjoys, under the Constitution, possibly more protection than even political or literary speech. He argues that those who participated in drafting the U.S. Constitution, particularly Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Franklin, were men of the Enlightenment, with broad interests in science, who regarded scientific freedom from constraint by church and state as essential to democracy and constitutionalism.2 Goldberg argues that the Constitution contains an ‘implied science clause”: that Congress may legislate the establishment of science but not prohibit the free exercise of scientific speech.
    “As leading first amendment scholars have long recognized, suppression of scientific information is inconsistent with the democratic political process . . . . Even when scientific work is not immediately applicable to political controversies, it plays an important role in maintaining a free and informed society. Such was the view of the framers, and it has been the consistent view of the courts (p. 16).””

    I’m not sure how that plays against local state legislation, but surely (especially in light of the singling out of an individual PI) Cuccinelli could be at least attempting to limit First Amendment rights in context of pursuing scientific truth (with a right to make mistakes without criminilisation), and is using Michael Mann and his research as a vexatious test case that could challenge the First Amendment?

    Comment by J Bowers — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  57. Hey all:

    Long time lurker (since the site appeared on the intertubes) and a skeptic (not denialist, skeptic). I just want to add my two cents… this is a travesty. As I wrote when this broke a few months back, if this is strictly about misappropriation of funds, then fine. If it’s about a conservative AG’s political witch hunt trying to prove the science is a fraud through the court, rather than through science, then this is a VERY bad idea. The courts are NOT the place to decide science – John Edwards and the faux cessation /Cerebral Palsy link comes to mind. When thinking about policy decisions, I always try and put the shoe on the other foot. My question to the hard core skeptics, what will happen when a “AGW True Believer” AG decides to go after Pat Michaels or Richard Lindzen in the same manner, simply because they disagree with the science? Would you be OK with that too? I bet not.

    PS. No offense to any witches who might get angry at being associated with Mann – please don’t turn me into a newt! :-)

    Comment by Sonicfrog — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  58. Oops, should have been cesarean….

    Comment by Sonicfrog — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  59. Cuccinelli is involved in multiple arguments for the broad conservative agenda, each demanding individual attention. Tactically, it’s effective; people may focus on distractions meant only to suck energy and attention away from much more important moves.

    Cuccinelli’s challenge to federal health care law uses “arguments similar to those made against the New Deal legislation” (New Yorker 9/27/2010 at 34, 40, Toobin’s article on Justice Breyer). One of those will get to the current Supreme Court — which has already overturned decisions by previous Courts and is taking cases offering more such opportunities.

    It’s a broad and well-funded program, e.g.:

    Watch for the smoke and mirrors.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  60. The subpoena

    seems to hang on Mann’s references to his earlier paleoclimate papers in his application for the grant. #32 Steve Melzer points out that Mann’s grant application predates the Va law Cuccinelli is invoking.

    If the judge reads it this way, he will throw the case out. His original decision strongly suggested Cucc come back with good legal reasoning. I don’t think this subpoena qualifies; I will be interested to see how the judge handles this.

    The subpoena requests email,etc, from a who’s who in climate science. And some who are n’t there, like Wegman.

    By the way, I dislike the distressing suggestion that statisticians ought to validate climate science, otherwise the scientists are negligent.

    Comment by veritas36 — 5 Oct 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  61. I do not see a problem with statisticians working with climate scientists since even the independent reports indicated general accuracy but need for less sloppy methods. I agree #59 that the suggestion that it is all false without them is extreme as well. There was a recent independent statistical analysis that did validate the general findings of Mann and others though which I was glad to see. Of course the range for future temp projections are still quite large and some of the published papers do have wide error bars but the general premise that C02 especially acts as a positive forcing and water vapor as a positive feedback, is clear.

    Now I agree with Gavin:

    A 6 degree increase from doubling looks far too high. That does not mean that Hansen’s work is fraudulent either. His is a high estimate. These are not predictions they are projections. A statistician or two would be helpful which is different from being a pure mathematician but there is a lot of physics and chemistry involved in these processes too being considered. Some warmin causes cooling but this does not translate into a global cooling. The papers do vary with quality and accuracy but they are not purposely made to lie to the people either. Climate science like any science has plenty of room for improvements and past errors.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  62. A useful test of Cucinelli’s charge would be to expand its reasoning to the office of Attorney General: all investigations in the state that fail to lead to convictions should be considered grounds for indictment of the state Attorney General.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  63. Cuccinelli’s complaints, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the Tea Party’s astroturf uprising, climate gate, Proposition 23 in California, Inhofe’s attacks on the reputations of scientists are all part of obscenely rich American libertarian industrialist’s conspiracy to make government in America of, by, and for the rich. If they can confuse the public enough about a warming climate they can enrage and confuse us enough to have us toss out everyone focused on doing something about it. It’s all about Capitalism and power, the power to pollute in the pursuit of profit.

    The merits of Cuccinelli’s case have little relevancy to a strategy of overthrowing the ruling political party and the will of the populace by any and every means available. Whether Cuccinelli wins or loses the dirty work is done.

    All they have to do is create enough fear of jobs being lost to the the dubious merits of environmental legislation. Their campaigns of instilling fear and hatred are well documented. The strategy is expressed in a very simple equation. Fear plus hatred equal power. Create the fear. Focus the hatred. Give people an answer and they will give you the power of elected office to calm your anxieties about the future. It’s brutal, Machiavellian. And it works.

    We can’t just focus on a narrow court case. The whole thing has to be put into the right perspective so folks are
    enlightened as to the nature of the game.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:27 PM

  64. Below is what I sent to 60+ contacts in the government and media. Please consider doing so also.

    The Attorney General of the state of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli II, is attempting to force the University of Virginia to turn over email communications and other documents related to the climate science research of Dr. Michael Mann who worked at the University between 1999 and 2005. This is Cuccinelli’s second attempt to question the integrity of Dr. Mann’s work. A Virginia judge has already ruled against Cuccinelli’s first attempt.

    In 1998 and 1999, Dr. Mann, along with Drs. Bradley and Hughes, published two important research articles related to historical temperature reconstructions known as MBH98/99. MBH98/99 were essentially the first of their kind and showed that the last few decades have been warmer than any in the past 1,000 years.

    At the request of Congress in 2006, a panel of scientific experts was convened by the National Research Council to assess the validity of MBH98/99. The panel chaired by Dr. Gerald North found that although there were some statistical problems with the reconstructions, these issues were minor and did not change the results. Modern global temperatures were significantly warmer than in the past 1000 years.

    The most recent article on this subject by Dr. Mann and six other scientists is dated 2008 and shows essentially the same results. More recently, Kaufmann et al. (2009) and Thibodeau et al (2010) confirm Mann’s results. The IPCC (2007) concluded:

    Paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years. Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.

    Since 2007, just about every international body of science supports the IPCC conclusions.

    Cuccinelli’s latest move would mean that if a scientist makes a mistake in a published document while using public funding, that scientist has committed fraud. Science advances by trial and error. When mistakes are made, the peer-review publication process usually roots them out. Cuccinelli’s version of this process is “make an error and go to trial.” Einstein did not arrive at E=mc2 in his first attempt. If he were working in the state of Virginia under Cuccinelli today, he could be jailed for his initial mistakes and perhaps never achieve that landmark equation.

    Dr. Mann and other scientists who are trying to understand climate change will not be available to help prevent the crisis if they are defending themselves against politically motivated witch hunts, or worse, sitting in a jail where their talents are being wasted.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:27 PM

  65. Obscene as Cuccinelli’s CID is, a paragraph of truth may be found on pages 22–23.

    Comment by CM — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  66. I agree with Gavin … a 6 degree increase from doubling looks far too high.

    But you can’t tell anyone why you agree or why it is too high. Let me guess – “It just is”!

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  67. This is what ambitious Attorney Generals and District Attorneys do. It is a standard mode of advancement, from a job that should be not at all political into a position to be candidate for higher office.

    In a just world, this would be something that could be safely ignored, as a reasonable judge would simply throw it out and discipline the abusive Attorney General. And all this should go on as quietly as possible to avoid lifting the perp to a level of fame with angry people who have no idea what this is all about. But skill to handle this immediate issue in the actual, real world is an art I do not know.

    There is a bigger problem to deal with, while this silliness passes. How that is handled will determine whether a lot more of this kind of silliness goes on. If I understand the political mood of this country correctly, we are in a time when demagoguery will fluorish. In this kind of political climate, the more confrontational the global warming issue becomes, the more unlikely will it be that meaningful action will come to pass.

    In this way of thinking, I suggest that measures that amount to handing out stern medicine to fix the CO2 problem are not so wise. I put the various financial schemes to tax fossil fuel dependent activities in the category of stern medicine. Strict limits on CO2 and requirements for ‘carbon’ capture are also stern medicine. The scientific rationalle behind such measures is obvious, but the wisdom of such is another thing.

    This is why I sense that it is time for a ‘coming together’ kind of solution such as the massive forestation concept I have discussed in previous comments at this site. Simply reiterated, this would involve massive forests being established in low productive areas of continental North America, using water distribution by an aquaduct system that would enable us to make use of water from northern areas of the continent. Standing forest mass would capture CO2 and sequester it as carbon compounds in wood. Using an approximate formula that a ton of forest mass would balance use of a ton of coal, this project would support continuing use of the abundant coal that we have available. An essential feature is that this forest project would be a self sustaining economic system, where initial and on-going costs would be recovered from forest products and agricultural products that would also be made possible with the water system. Establishing and managing such a project, to insure capacity and permanence of such carbon sequestration, would be a National project of scope necessary to alleviate the employment crisis that we face. This is the simple basic plan; I only note that it would also involve serious discussion of the international issues as well as the technical details. The key words are \water distribution\ and \massive standing forest mass\.

    I suggest a plan of this sort would fit with research in other energy production concepts such as nuclear, where the forest plan would hold things under control until research in nuclear power found ways to deal with the present waste problem and also brought to a level of practicality that it would enable cost effective transition from the existing coal fired electric power installations.

    So it seems to me that there is an opportunity to step forward with a new kind of thinking about solutions, such as described, that will work for everybody. It might turn out that water will douse this demagoguery and anti-science will be made a soggy subject of no political appeal.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:37 PM

  68. “What inspires such vindictiveness in a man that he persists in this prosecution even though he cannot demonstrate any reasonable suspicion of fraud? ”

    There is language in there that reflects that of our friends over at WUWT and Climate Audit and the specific statistical routines that they’ve written about.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:53 PM

  69. Doug Bostrom says:
    5 October 2010 at 0:21
    …Well, the central character is a cockroach.

    I think you’ve totally missed the point of the previous “Kafkaesque” allusion. This is not about “The Metamorphosis”, but “The Trial”, in which the defendant never knows what the accusation is, and in this case the situation is in a lot of respects just as surreal, but also in this case I would have a lot more confidence in the judiciary than Josef could have. I can’t see out-of-control prosecutors winning out in the end.

    Comment by Al — 5 Oct 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  70. Just dropping by to express my support to you guys, and to prof. Mann particularly. You do a historically essential job, and should not be bothered with this kind of nonsense.

    Please, give it as little energy as possible.

    Comment by Alexandre — 5 Oct 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  71. Micheal Mann, If you are reading this, I hope nothing but complete victory and total vindication for you and your coleagues. This is an absolute discrace, not only to Science, but to the tax payers footing the bill, and makes a complete mockery of the justice system.

    Good Luck, but in this case, I doubt it will be needed.

    Comment by mattlant — 5 Oct 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  72. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the indictment is based on entries to a CV. Would it not be just as bad to excise published papers from a CV?

    I have read WUWT and I know stupid, but there can be few still loose who would find the word community confusing.

    Comment by John McManus — 5 Oct 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  73. I just read the pastiche, er, filing. Great opportunity. A line by line critique of this would be very useful.

    Comment by Mike#22 — 5 Oct 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  74. Correct me if I’m wrong but the complaint seems to be entries in a CV. Would it not be wrong to delete published papers from a CV?

    I have read WUWT and I know stupid, but I doubt anyone at liberty would be confused by the word community.

    Comment by John McManus — 5 Oct 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  75. Just after Clinton and his staffers moved out of the White House, there was a spate of news stories about how the incoming Bush administration accused the “Clintonistas” of intentionally trashing the place — removing the “W” keys from typewriters, etc.

    Ultimately, a GAO investigation found some intentional damage, but no way to determine who was responsible. By that time, responsible newspapers (e.g. the Boston Globe) had decided the charges were trumped up. But the new administration had the advantage of several months of headlines critical of its opposition.

    Cuccinelli’s campaign strikes me as similar. He’s not likely to make it into court, but even so the news media in Virginia will have covered it for several months, off and on, and now on the verge of the mid-term elections. No doubt he’s doing it in hopes of advancing his career; but failing that, the public will see headlines charging that Mann (and by extension all of climate science) is a fraud. Advantage: GOP.

    Comment by Chris Winter — 5 Oct 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  76. knew or should have known [that they] contained false information, unsubstantiated claims, and/or were otherwise misleading. Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect.

    This is an exact description of why deniers like Cuccinelli are going to be prosecuted under a Nuremberg type tribunal.

    Remember this- no Nazi broke any German law. The law we prosecuted Nazis under – crimes against humanity- did not exist at the time the Nazis were later decided to be breaking them. In fact, the Allies prosecuted the Nazis ex post facto- their actions were categorized as criminal after they occurred; the laws we applied were retroactive.

    Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Cuccinelli and all the other DA’s political operatives, oil executives, lobbyists, congressmen the whole criminal gallery who, as Mr. Cuccinelli puts it ” knew or should have known [that they] contained false information, unsubstantiated claims, and/or were otherwise misleading. Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect. and whose actions resulted in harm and death to billions of innocent people are, in fact, guilty of crimes against humanity.

    Cuccinelli and his ilk are declaring a point blank war on science and war on scientists. That is another way of saying they are declaring war on civilization.

    If they’re not stopped, we’re going to be like the Soviet Union under Stalin where scientists who pursued the wrong avenues of inquiry or reached the wrong conclusions were “dealt with”.

    People like Cuccinelli will decide what the nature of reality is.

    And don’t kid yourself, this would be A-OK with the most active 30% of the American political electorate.

    No one is going to save us just as no one is going to save the earth. There is no higher authority to appeal to, this is a war for civilization and the fate of the earth itself as much as WWII ever was . This is WWIII.

    We’re at a crossroads with the climate. Future generations will judge us on when we recognized the true nature of the threat and what we did about it as scientists. Either science in the person of scientists will use the tools at their disposal to act to preserve civilization or civilization will perish from the face of the earth.

    Comment by swv — 5 Oct 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  77. Sung to the tune of “Mack the Knife,” with apologies to Bertholt Brecht…and everyone else.

    In the state of Ol’ Virginia;
    Lives the nozzle of a Douche;
    And if he has a grudge agin’ ya;
    Then beware of Ken the Cooch.

    Well in science, he’s no training;
    Neither clue nor expertise;
    But who needs to tell it’s raining?
    He’ll just rely on sleaze.

    In the courts he’ll seek to try us;
    Who cares if the charge true;
    After all, reality has a liberal bias;
    Or so says you know who.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Oct 2010 @ 3:30 PM

  78. Richmond, VA sits about 46 masl. Perhaps someone should acquaint the attorney general with Pascal’s Wager? Even if he does not care, perhaps his children do?

    Comment by BillS — 5 Oct 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  79. Careful guys, don’t go to the barricades on this one. In a knock down drag out fight, there are nowhere near enough scientists to win.

    The Cucinellis of this world are delighted to pick a fight that they know will be a brawl that they will benefit from.

    Try to find ways to make common cause with reasonable people. Even some people who are a little unsure about it all might be useful allies.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 5 Oct 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  80. I sometimes use a text-to-speech utility to “listen” to blog posts and comments. The software pronounces Cuccinelli as “Kook”-sinelli.

    It makes hearing about this clown slightly more bearable.

    Comment by Douglas — 5 Oct 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  81. What exactly is Cuccinelli hoping to find ? The linked post article mentions that he is trying to get five grant applications written by Mann – surely these and anything else relevant to the allocation of research grants are in the public domain anyway ?

    Comment by david — 5 Oct 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  82. Anyone who has dipped into the ‘grass-roots’ or astroturf comments which follow some of the articles about climate science in the media will not be so surprised at recent developments. Even the moderated comments have included some extremely personalised attacks and libellous lies.

    Much of this stuff trickled down from above. Someone with influence is now behaving like one of those disagreeable and foolish commentators. What is needed is some effective method of moderating people with power. Difficult problem.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 5 Oct 2010 @ 6:11 PM

  83. As a lawyer in Virginia and a professor of the law of climate change, I have been following Mr. Cuccenelli’s actions quite closely. There are a number of half-hearted attempts to have him recalled. The Mann witch hunt is but one of many deplorable things he has been doing to waste taxpayer money. He has also filed suit in my state’s name over EPA’s endangerment finding and the health care bill. He’s advised Va. universities that they are not allowed to grant protections to students based on their sexual orientation. He has advised law enforcement folks that they have the current authority to stop citizens to demand proof of citizenship, as the AZ law tries to do. He covered the woman’s breast on the state seal of Virginia. He has advised that Planned Parenthood facilities must meet certain hospital standards with regard to facilities (that he knows they cannot meet). He snatched photos from a student newspaper without a warrant. The guy is pretty far out there. There probably are legitimate grounds for recall if someone would get serious about it. The starting point is a petition signed by 10% of the number of registered voters who voted during the AG election in 2008. I hope someone gets serious about pursuing his recall. He ambarrasses me as a lawyer, a Virginian, and a citizen concerned about climate change.

    Comment by Buzz Belleville — 5 Oct 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  84. Terrifying…I hope that the courts realize how out of line this is.


    Comment by Kate — 5 Oct 2010 @ 6:57 PM

  85. The profits at stake here are orders of magnitude larger than the profits that led to the deliberate introduction of lead in gasoline. To get an idea of what to expect, please read this account in the Nation:

    As you can see, even today, 75 years later, corporations are continuing to poison third world countries with leaded gasoline, putting profits over human life.

    The American political system has always led to tense struggles between the pursuit of profits vs. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At various times, e.g., slavery in the nineteenth century, the pursuit of profits has had the upper hand, but the system has eventually righted itself. I’m afraid that we must expect persecutions such as that undertaken by Cuccinelli to continue as fossil fuel interests are not going to go quietly into the night.

    Is there a legal fund set up to support Prof. Mann, or is Penn State defending him?

    Comment by Sailesh Rao — 5 Oct 2010 @ 7:09 PM

  86. First they came for the climatologists, but I wasn’t a climatologist, so I didn’t speak up…
    That’s what KC is counting on. We must speak up.

    Comment by Paul A. — 5 Oct 2010 @ 7:16 PM

  87. It’s too bad the media hasn’t caught on to the potential for satire here. Cuccinelli is a news producer’s dream, talking to reporters about “fraud”.

    This may be a good excuse to take a stand. A commenter here put it very kindly when he said that George Mason University is “Not renowned for its academic prowess”. People like David Koch are clearly trying to stir up baseless attacks on scientists, and the only way to discourage them is to fight back as hard as you can.

    Comment by mike roddy — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:13 PM

  88. Someone above noted in passing what I have been saying for some time: Cuccinelli’s father was a lobbyist with the American Gas Association and subsequently has been an executive in an advertizing company. His expertise in the gas industry and his “European” clients are noted on his site.

    I know a lot about Russia and how they orchestrate their “active measures”–political influence activities. I think there is a strong possibility that the father’s clients are Russian gas companies. They are pretty much taking over in Europe because they supply the gas and control a lot of politicians and political parties. They often appear to be something other than Russian, but the owners are Russian.

    The Russian government and gas companies work as a team. The companies do double duty as outposts of state security. President Medvedev is the former CEO of Gazprom, and that is what pays the bills in Russia.

    The Kremlin-sponsored media funds denialist propaganda. I read this stuff, it is a fact. The Russian media and FOX sound exactly the same. Sometimes Pravda cites FOX about Climategate. All these “conservative” and “right wing” blogs are repeating what I read in the Russian media, which is controlled by the ruling party and often owned by energy companies.

    I have been asking W. Russell to identify the elder Cuccinelli’s clients and what services these clients have received. I have written possibly 20 or more emails and W. Russell has never answered. I use my real name.

    I think the AG office has been hijacked and serves gas interests–probably “European” (Russian) ones. Now what you are seeing is a purge of scientists who are seen as a threat to the natural gas companies. People who study Russia use words like “infiltrate,” hijack,” “subvert,” and purge for a reason.

    Cuccinelli’s office refuses to be transparent.
    They are arrogant for a reason—a lot of money and political power. They don’t care about science. They want to sell gas and prevent people from developing renewables.

    I have also asked my questions about these clients in other places.

    Cuccinelli talks like a revolutionary, and that’s what he is. It’s not really ideological; that’s just to fool honest people with conservative principles. Certainly it’s not really about limited government. Cuccinelli is abusing his powers. It’s about a limited federal government and unlimited power for gas companies.

    Cuccinelli is practically inciting people against the federal government in the name of states’ rights, but I seem to recall that we fought a revolution in Virginia because we didn’t like “European” tyrants, not because the EPA was trying to keeps us safe from global warming.

    Cuccinelli’s father’s company gave the son’s campaign over 96,000 dollars, so there is every possibility that the AG’s office is providing the father’s clients with services.

    There is also the strange case of the criminal Bobby Thompson in Florida who gave Cuccinelli’s campaign 55,000. This “charity” for Navy veterans was a massive fraud, but the criminal seems to have escaped. He seems to have raised tens of millions, but he lived very poorly. This is strange behavior for an ordinary criminal.

    This criminal was also giving money to a former attorney general in Ohio whose law firm specialized in “consumer affairs.” Cuccinelli tried to take over Virginia’s consumer affairs.
    The Ohio law firm got hundreds of thousands in “legal fees.” They represented a total fraud whose “board” of over 80 people were all fake people.

    There is a very good book called “The KGB Lawsuits” which explains how the Russians advance their interests in foreign courts through proxies.

    There is also the example of Congressman Weldon. The FBI came after him because he was promoting the interests of the Russian gas company Itera while his daughter got 500,000 in “consulting” fees. They got in some trouble because they got some money directly from the Russian company, I think. Maybe they didn’t launder it all as “consulting.”

    Cuccinelli’s father probably has “European” clients who are natural gas companies because that was his career–he was an expert lobbyist on marketing gas. These companies may be Russian, but Cuccinelli’s underling won’t respond when I ask that. There is no transparency. Often is is not so easy to trace the owners. Their partners can just play stupid.

    Comment by Snapple — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:18 PM

  89. “Anyone who thinks it will stop with climate science is kidding himself.” – 1

    Absolutely correct.

    What do you intend to do about it?

    [Response: Pot, meet mr. kettle. –Jim]

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  90. “I hope Cucc gets kicked in the teeth so badly the taxpayers of Va and the voters who are decent human beings wake up to his seeming incompetence and malfeasance.” – 53!

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  91. @78, Jim Bullis. I disagree. It’s not the scientists who’ll be fighting at the barricades.

    Those of us who “support” them will be in front, hissing, biting and scratching like any self-respecting mother cat would do to protect her precious ones.

    Comment by adelady — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  92. If Cuccinelli Fails, There Will Be Civil War

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 5 Oct 2010 @ 8:55 PM

  93. Way to waste those taxpayer dollars, Cuccinelli.

    there are nowhere near enough scientists to win….Try to find ways to make common cause with reasonable people.

    Uh, wha? Angry scientists make you nervous? Concern troll them unreasonable little science dogies into the corral of ‘reasonable’ people?

    Now why would anybody be suspicious of that?

    Comment by Radge Havers — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:04 PM

  94. “Careful guys, don’t go to the barricades on this one. In a knock down drag out fight, there are nowhere near enough scientists to win.” – 78

    Then you will continue to be vilified, and marginalized and crushed out of existence in the coming Christian American TeaBagger Utopia.

    I have never been beset upon by a gang of low lifes looking for a thrill kill. But one thing I can tell you is that I wouldn’t go down without a fight as you are proposing.

    I have advised in the past that American Scientists might save themselves by escaping the ongoing collapse of American Society by renouncing their citizenship and leaving.

    [Response: And this would accomplish something positive I guess you imagine?–Jim]

    Time is running out.

    [Response: Everyone please knock it off with the melodrama and doomsday talk, OK? Just discuss the issues rationally without working yourselves into a frenzy, as in any RC post.–Jim]

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:06 PM

  95. “What is needed is some effective method of moderating people with power. Difficult problem.” – 81

    That is what an educated electorate is supposed to do. But Americans have grown increasingly stupid over the last 30 years, and now a good fraction of them can’t fathom the simple skills of addition, subtraction and multiplication that are needed to understand the nations budget.

    Hence the wide spread belief in the U.S. that the current President not only caused the current recession but is also responsible for virtually all of the U.S. national debt.

    You can’t reason with idiocy.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:14 PM

  96. # 66 Thomas, Of course I can tell you why. One is the GCM’s that predict a 6 degree increase overestimate the climate sensitivity. Another it seems to me from some published papers is an old assumption based upon caloric theory which is false. Even as an open system the laws of thermodynamics still hold. Heat energy processes also cause localized and spread out cooling. Latent heat converts heat to work as it works against molecules. Some but not all models do not take this into consideration.

    We can expect around a 3 degree C increase with C02 doubling if feedbacks and other conditions hold to the approximate of what the data seems to indicate now and in the forseeable future. The statistical clustering is around 3 degrees C or a tad higher by some recent published papers in peer review, like 3.4-3.8 degrees.

    Even on the Earth energy cannot be created or destroyed and heat transfer causes changes in cloud cover, with it seems more potent positive feedbacks than negative but these negative feedbacks and sinks do dampen positive feedbacks just the same. If they did not it would be extremely hot and and weather bipolar by now so far worse than we are currently experiencing.

    I do take the time to review the published papers from each climate scientists here at RC, my textbooks on the physics of heat and bulk flow and I understand statistical clustering.

    At any rate I am not going to keep a conversation going like the one that occurred in warmer and warmer so RC mods please just publish this one response. I am clearly not denying AGW nor am I unaware of the issues.

    [Response: Hmm. I don’t follow most of what you’re saying but… have your say! What is ‘bipolar weather’?–eric]

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  97. “I’m formulating the message for my sign for the Jon Stewart “Rally to Restore Sanity” based on this discussion. Pithy suggestions welcomed.” – 50

    How about…

    “Faithful member of the Reality Based Community.”

    [Response: The 1 post per day limit rule is now in effect for you.–Jim]

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:43 PM

  98. I would invite Mann et al. to come to Canada, but I’m afraid we have the Canadian equivalent of the Tea Party in power right now.

    Seriously though, my heart goes out to everyone under attack by Cuccinelli. This is ludicrous in the extreme and should be condemned by all in the strongest possible terms.

    I am struck by the irony of Cuccinelli citing dubious scholarship from GMU and CA (some might even go further than that) as evidence that Mann et al. have allegedly engaged in fraud. That would be laughable if it were not such serious and grave matter.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 5 Oct 2010 @ 9:47 PM

  99. “Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” – 31

    That question was asked at a point where that Conservative Political Regime was about to collapse. It was one of the final straws.

    You don’t have that in this situation. The movement is still growing in popularity and strength.

    Either take it on now, escape it, or try to live through it.

    But make no mistake. That which the TeaPublicans cannot control they will attempt to destroy. That has been the NeoCon pattern of behavior for the last 40 years.

    Consider this quote.

    “We need to manufacture an .economic. crisis in order to assure that there is no alternative to a smaller government.” – Jeb Bush Imprimus magazine 1995

    Starve the Beast!

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 5 Oct 2010 @ 10:51 PM

  100. I think it’s worth looking at this mess in a somewhat abstract fashion, to put a little distance between the facts and our emotions. (And I’m as upset as anyone commenting here, I’d guess.)

    Cuccinelli is nothing more or less than a political opportunist. I have no way of knowing what he really believes, but if I had to bet lunch at my favorite pizza joint, I’d say he doesn’t believe what he’s saying in his filings. He’s merely looking for a political fulcrum point in the current, highly charged environment, and doesn’t care who or what is damaged in the process. That is NOT in any way meant to be an excuse for his actions; what he’s doing is disgusting and unforgivable for any lawyer or public servant.

    There are only two things that will stop him and people like him:

    1. They and their political friends pay a high enough price at the voting booth. They’re doing this to pander to a certain segment of the voting public, so losing votes would be a gigantic deterrent.

    2. The judge in the case and then the media turn this into a Very Big Deal that makes Cuccinelli look like an opportunist or a fool. I admit that I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here and assuming that he actually cares about something other than garnering votes so he can hold on to or gain more power. Perhaps I’m being too generous.

    The bottom line is that when viewed this way the main thing all those of us who can’t vote in Virginia elections can do is what Scott Mandia suggested way upthread: Contact your own elected representatives (if you’re in the US) and the media. Wallowing in anger and frustration and typing at each other here does zero good. Contacting the media and other lawmakers, if done well enough and in sufficient numbers, just might accomplish something.

    Comment by Lou Grinzo — 5 Oct 2010 @ 11:18 PM

  101. US Constitution Article 1 Section 9: “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”
    Article 1 Section 10: “No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.”
    The US Constitution clearly prohibits what Cuccinelli is doing. Since the law was passed AFTER the alleged fraud supposedly happened, the judge erred in not dismissing the case in its entirety.
    Dr. Mann should appeal immediately under ex post facto. Any/every US citizen should know this.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Oct 2010 @ 11:26 PM

  102. Could you give us the necessary information to file an amicus [friend of court] brief? Name & address of the court, docket number, etc.? The front page of the lawsuit? I’m not a lawyer, but I wouldn’t put it past me to file pro se.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Oct 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  103. Re my #82: moderation in the media (does not refer to Realclimate).

    As far as I can see the moderation policy on many of the comments which follow blogs is to ban comments which have offended other commentators. No such ban exists for much worse attacks on researchers, there is a free for all. It has become a kind of sado-sport. There are still people around who defend this lack of regulation.

    This culture emboldens people like Cuccinelli who may be hoping to receive support from some of the public.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 6 Oct 2010 @ 4:24 AM

  104. I think this should be seen less as a climate science issue than as part of a general pattern of overreach by unaccountable prosecutors. And this unaccountability is what people should concentrate on attacking. This is not a type of malfeasance thatis confined to one side of poliics. Prosecutors have too little to lose by charging innocent people.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 6 Oct 2010 @ 5:05 AM

  105. Does Dennis at #34 have a valid point? Is that one of Cuccinelli’s major planks?

    Comment by Anand — 6 Oct 2010 @ 5:37 AM

  106. #96,

    [edit – OT]

    Comment by Dan H. — 6 Oct 2010 @ 6:09 AM

  107. My petition supporting climate scientists remains relevant, sadly:

    It could be worse: too few people fought back against the original McCarthyism. At least this time we are recognising what this is from the start.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 6 Oct 2010 @ 6:13 AM

  108. 76 swv: Thank you.

    83 Buzz Belleville: Thank you.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Oct 2010 @ 6:21 AM

  109. It seems to be lost on this blog that it is the use of public money that is the concern.

    [Response: Uh huh. Here are the numbers, from the Washington Post: “To defend itself from Mr. Cuccinelli’s
    investigation into the distribution of a $214,700 research grant, the
    University of Virginia has spent $350,000, with more to come, and that
    doesn’t count the taxpayer funds Mr. Cuccinelli is devoting to this cause.” –eric]

    Comment by RalphieGM — 6 Oct 2010 @ 6:49 AM

  110. The thing is, even if Cuccinelli’s new demand is thrown out by the judge he has still achieved something because his supporters in the denialsphere are portraying UVa’s attempts to fight his demands as proof that they have something to hide.

    Comment by andrew adams — 6 Oct 2010 @ 6:59 AM

  111. I was interested to know what Judith Curry’s take was on this whole affair, so I googled: ‘judith curry cuccinelli’, and the first result is a (very brief, probably via e-mail) interview with Judith: interview with Judith Curry

    At the outset she roundly condemns Cuccinelli and his witch hunt, so I thought: “Good, my faith in humanity is restored. At least she’s not gone completely over to the other side.” At that point I almost stopped reading, but… then she goes off on a completely different tack and gets in quite a few nasty digs concerning Mann, the hockey stick, and the IPCC! It’s real Jekyll and Hyde stuff.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 6 Oct 2010 @ 7:02 AM

  112. Consider that every Republican running for the Senate this year is an anti AGW denier. Even John McCain seems to have drunk the Kool Aid. We can expect the future will be fraught with the kinds of antics were seeing from the AG of Virginia along with political machinations that will ham string any attempts to move us forward in dealing with the AGW in any serious manner. Any hope that we’d smarten up and do the right thing will be put on hold for at least another two years if not more. We’re going to be under people who are slaves to their ideology so we can forget about anything approaching pragmatism.

    I hate to say it but the situation is becoming bleaker by the day.

    Comment by Dale — 6 Oct 2010 @ 7:11 AM

  113. Dan H. (#106):

    Removing the cloud feedback, lowers the climate sensitivity value to ~2C/doubling of CO2. This value is still higher than the observed warming.

    Well, gee. Could that be because we aren’t anywheres near a pre-industrial doubling of 560ppm yet? I also agree that 6C seems high, but it looks like we’re pretty much on track for at least 3C/doubling of CO2.

    [Response: This is not a thread about climate sensitivity. Curiously, those tend to get overrun with people who want to talk about something else. In either case, conversations are best served by staying on topic. Thanks. – gavin]

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 6 Oct 2010 @ 8:11 AM

  114. 101 (Edward G)

    Dr. Mann should appeal immediately under ex post facto.

    I disagree, because it would give the impression of an admission of potential “guilt,” excused by a loophole (i.e. that the statute would have applied had it been passed earlier).

    I actually think this case should be allowed to go to trial, to establish a clear precedent for the necessary freedom of academics and research, and to make it clear and unchallenged that the anti-AGW crowd is dangerously anti-science, to the point of overstepping the bounds of a reasonable society and government. I’m sorry for what it would put Dr. Mann through, but I think it would be as or more important than the Scopes trial, or the McCarthy trials (which served the purpose of making such behavior so distasteful to several generations of Americans that it hasn’t happened since, at least in a structured form and forum such as U.S. Senate hearings).

    No matter where this goes, this is a no win and a must win, IMO, because those that approve of Cuccinelli’s attack will claim that any failure on his part is a result of a corrupt system fixed to let Mann et al “escape.” It doesn’t matter if a judge recommends that Cuccinelli be disbarred, or if it actually goes to trial and is a media-frenzy, public laugher there. I’m stunned at the mindless, eager denialsphere acceptance on other blogs of what should be an embarrassing stance that should trigger disgust in any American, but that’s the polarized, winner-take-all my-side-is-the-only-side world we live in today. People are so confident and firm in their fanatically extreme beliefs that they cheer like provincial sports fans for any new tactic in the game that offers potential points for their side.

    On the other hand, rational people that see this for what it is (a gambit, a ploy, a charade, a witch hunt, a fabrication, a distraction, and a distortion) will take some solace in any of the range of eventual outcomes (from dismissal of the case to disbarment of the AG), but that will just be replaced by the next assault. It’s just evidence of how far the deniers will go to stall action.

    And isn’t that a puzzle? Isn’t it rather amazing that a scientific proposition, right or wrong, aimed at the unquestionable good of protecting civilization and humanity, should be twisted and distorted not only into an act of evil and self-interest, but one that actually enrages a strangely susceptible portion of the population (“These are not the droids you’re looking for…”)? Isn’t it beyond amazing, and frightening, that not only is the science being attacked and vilified, but the scientists themselves?

    What is more bothersome to me than the AG’s assault itself is the venomous disgust expressed for Dr. Mann as an individual that I see expressed in denier blogs.

    Meanwhile, UAH has more records for September, despite falling SSTs, and Spencer chimes in with “I currently have no explanation for this.” Time for Church Lady to step in… “Hmmmm… let me seeeee… could it be… SATAN???” At the same time, I’ve seen recent denialsphere attacks on the quality and validity of the satellite record, since pretty soon the rise in temperatures will not be able to be dismissed by declaring corruption and failure in the global surface temperature datasets alone.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Oct 2010 @ 8:54 AM

  115. I think the most disturbing thing about all of this is that we now have an electorate that accepts the most mind-bogglingly stupid assertions from our elected politicians without even blinking. In the same week we have a States Attorney who thinks he’s a climate expert and a Senate candidate asserting that she’s not a witch. And the electorate, rather than laughing both off the political stage, merely says “Baa-aah!”

    This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. This is a reality vs. nutjob issue.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Oct 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  116. #111–Dale, don’t assume they are all going to win. There are some signs of the pendulum swinging back, some at least. Some of these folks are so visibly nutjobs that quite a few “ordinary folks” have noticed, and the so-called “enthusiasm gap” has been closing. . . in some cases, has reversed.

    One case in point, I don’t think our “not-witch” is going to fly. . .

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Oct 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  117. 114 (Ray),

    This is a reality vs. nutjob issue.

    I agree, although I think there always have been and always will be a large (but proportionally fractional) segment of nutjobs. I think the real problem is that modern society is accentuating and empowering the vocal but minority nutjobs, while marginalizing (and so confusing) the large majority of mainstream, reasonable people.

    I blame this in part on the media, with Faux News being a particularly vile culprit, but with all of them being complicit in some way. I’d say that the political parties are also culpable, except that they are also victims. They’ve been hijacked by extremists on both sides, as much as they themselves have been enablers of the nutjobs.

    Hence the need for a comedian to call for a Rally to Restore Sanity.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Oct 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  118. RCM progress: The solution to my overbright surface was simple. The figure was supposed to be NET shortwave input, not GROSS. SW flux density down at top – SW flux density up at top. So now I’m getting 183 W/m^2 instead of 213. Still high (Trenberth et al. 2009 get 161), but a lot more reasonable.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Oct 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  119. @ Ray Ladbury’s song parody #77 and Douglas’s schoolyard insults #80:

    OK, Cuccinelli has forsaken truth and honor and damaged us all. But I advise the moderators to flush anything, any time, that makes fun of someone’s name. It adds nothing and sounds juvenile.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 6 Oct 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  120. I will revise my own position in 113 somewhat, in that while I think it would be good for this to go to trial and set some rules, Cucinelli is clearly on a fishing expedition. It’s my belief that he’s not actually hoping to win his case, or even get it to court. What’s he’s hoping for is access to a decade of unrelated e-mails, which he’s hoping will reveal something that can then be taken out of context and put into the public spotlight under the auspices of his suit, sort of “Climategate, The Sequel.” It would be an even worse abuse of power than bringing the suit, and a worse invasion of privacy than the release of the hacked e-mails, but that doesn’t seem to bother a certain sort of person in the least.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Oct 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  121. Re #113

    In spite of agreeing with some of what you say, I don’t think any of us has the right to persuade someone else to go into the front line. Diverting researchers into litigation would be a partial victory for anti-science. Ideally someone else such as a retired researcher might initiate a court action; failing that a well informed amateur or environmentlist?

    Sorry to pour cold water on your choice of Cuccinelli for a court action but he might lose because of his bad law. That would be excellent news but it would not be analagous to the great legal actions of the past such those involving Scopes or Lipstadt, which rested on exposing misinformation. In fact it might hardly be reported, judging from the lack of truthful publicity given to the results of the numerous inquiries into the CRU emails.

    Other people correctly argue that we can’t do science in a law court. While agreeing with that,(e.g over the hockey stick) I think a court might be able to expose nonsense posing as truth. It is sometimes done in the case of patents. The obvious targets would be Plimer,Monckton or his supporter Corbyn.They all threaten litigation but unfortunately its probably just bluster.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 6 Oct 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  122. The Washington Post has an editorial on Cuccinelli’s actions out today.
    “Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to embarrass Virginia”

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 6 Oct 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  123. Ric@118–your criticism is without Merritt!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Oct 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  124. I think the widespread insanity is the product the neo-Cons rump trying to demonstrate that democracy is a bad idea. Every time you think that some insane position won’t be believed by the mob, the unreality crowd leap-frogs its old positions and something crazier is accepted. Defending democracy at this stage in history demands a strong stomach and a whole lot of stout assertion.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 6 Oct 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  125. Bob (Sphaerica) (119), you raise a frightful and significant point. As the saying goes, there is not a person alive (at least over 30) that could beat the scrutiny of a malevolent zealous investigator who had access to everything that person said or did.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Oct 2010 @ 12:49 PM

  126. 101 – Edward Greisch:

    If we had an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, you’d be correct.

    Unfortunately, proponents of the “Living Document” theory of Constitutional interpretation have created a distinction between ex post facto laws that define criminal offenses, and those that define civil offenses.

    As long as Mann is not threatened with jail time, the progressive jurists have deprived him of this absolute defense. Of course, at the time, their well-meaning intent was to only retroactively punish “evil” businesses. Once Constitutional protections are weakened, however, they tend to wither and die. [see, e.g. – the Patriot Act]

    The AG can assert a civil prosecution on a whim [with a much lower burden of proof than for criminal prosecution], forcing Mann to incur stress, lost time, legal expense, embarassment, and potentially significant fines or other civil penalties.

    The AG and the State have sovereign immunity from any claims for overly-zealous prosecution. The AG also has complete discretion to pick on Mann and ignore others.

    Dr. Mann, welcome to the life of a small-to-medium-sized business owner.

    [P.S. – I have long argued that calls for legal action against Mann, Jones, and/or so-called ‘deniers’ are dangerous.]

    Comment by jim edwards — 6 Oct 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  127. Re #124, 119:

    “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.” – Cardinal Richelieu

    (hat tip to SF writer Charles Stross, commenting on the CRU hack)

    Another angle for Cuccinelli and his mentors is that as long as he is allowed to keep up this charade, hacks will be able to describe Mike Mann as “subject of a fraud investigation”.

    Folks like us will feel obliged to keep repeating that he’s being, say, “martyred in a political witch hunt”, which, while actually true, does not do much to keep the “debate” down to a low scream so the grownups can get on with sorting out some kind of mitigation policy.

    Comment by CM — 6 Oct 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  128. The fossil fuel corporations collectively rake in ONE BILLION DOLLARS PER DAY in profit — not revenue, profit.

    Every single DAY that the urgently needed, rapid phaseout of fossil fuels can be delayed, and business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels can be continued, is another ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN PROFIT for the world’s largest, richest and most powerful corporations.

    That’s what Cuccinelli’s antics are ultimately about: manufacturing more phony reasons to delay the phaseout of fossil fuels.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Oct 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  129. #124 – Jeff Davis

    Government is the majority with a big stick.

    Democracy is dangerous. Political majorities have existed within readers’ lifetimes for enforced racial segregation, incarceration or involuntary commitment of homosexuals, and denial of a property owner’s plans to build a house of worship [WTC mosque].

    The more power given to government, the more likely it is that disfavored minorities will be oppressed.

    Anti-democratic limitations on government power [e.g. – Bill of Rights, limits on bills of attainder / ex post facto laws, and seizure of property…] are necessary to prevent oppression and violent response by the oppressed. It’s a shame the courts rarely question any action of the Legislature.

    Comment by jim edwards — 6 Oct 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  130. sidd #5

    The phrase “knew, or should have known” is actually pretty standard legalese, and is not as draconian as it sounds. The context of “should have known” is professional, i.e., this is something that someone claiming to be a professional really should know, and if he doesn’t, he’s a quack.

    “At the time he prescribed it for his original wife, Dr. Moribund knew, or should have known, that potassium at the specified level would have fatal consequences.”

    This is not to defend the rest of Kounselor Kenny’s ridiculous screed.

    Comment by ChrisD — 6 Oct 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  131. 121 (deconvoluter)

    Other people correctly argue that we can’t do science in a law court

    I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying.

    By no means should climate science be tried in a court of law, and the validity of the science would not be the issue.

    What would ultimately be on trial (in any reasonable defense) would be any administration’s right (or lack thereof) to try the science or the results of scientific efforts, or to argue that scientists are culpable if their results are ultimately proven wrong, i.e. the argument that the mere existence of scientific debate constitutes fraud on the part of a researcher.

    What should be clarified, with a clear judicial precedent, is the complete lack of justification or the idea that once a grant is awarded, the scientist is somehow required to produce perfect and indisputable evidence of the accuracy of his final results, as well as the results of other researchers on whom his work builds but over whom he exercises no control.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Oct 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  132. Typo:

    …lack of justification or the idea…

    should be

    …lack of justification of the idea…

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Oct 2010 @ 2:50 PM

  133. 88 Snapple: “Gazprom”: The CIA would be interested in that stuff. See:
    “Online E-mail Form:

    We read every e-mail we receive but with limited staff and resources, we simply cannot respond to all who write us.

    We do not routinely respond to questions for which answers are found within this Web site.

    If you have information which you believe might be of interest to the CIA in pursuit of the CIA’s foreign intelligence mission, you may use the form below. We will carefully protect all information you provide, including your identity. The CIA, as a foreign intelligence agency, does not engage in U.S. domestic law enforcement.”

    And you might also call the FBI. You can find the FBI in your local phone book.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Oct 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  134. Perhaps I’m missing something here, but I fail to see any basis for the “ex post facto” argument–no new law is being invoked as far as I can tell, and fraud has (of course) long been a felony.

    I also fail to see any basis to sustain a claim of fraud in fact: who, precisely, has been defrauded? As I understand it, Dr. Mann (or Dr. Spencer, or Dr. Curry–anybody, really) could make the most egregiously foolish claim imaginable–say, the proverbial chocolate cake in Jovian orbit–and it wouldn’t be fraud until some poor fool was enticed to pony up cash to go look for it.

    Am I wrong about this?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Oct 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  135. Kevin McKinney wrote: “Am I wrong about this?”

    None of that matters.

    Cuccinelli’s antics have only one purpose: to keep the idea that AGW is a “fraud” in the “news”.

    And thereby diminish public support for doing anything about it.

    And thereby perpetuate the business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels.

    Because every single DAY that business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels continues, means another billion dollars in profit for the fossil fuel corporations.

    This all has nothing to do with science. It has nothing to do with ideology. It has nothing to do with the law.

    It has everything to do with postponing as long as possible, by any means necessary, at any cost, the transfer of trillions of dollars of wealth from the fossil fuel corporations to other sectors of the economy.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Oct 2010 @ 3:54 PM

  136. knew or should have known [that they] contained false information, unsubstantiated claims, and/or were otherwise misleading. Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect.

    I think that the Attorney General of VA has the right to review all the records relating to research that the State of Virginia funded at the state university. That said, the quoted section has two terrible standards for assessing criminality or negligence.

    1. In science, how can anyone ever determine what someone ought to have known at an early stage in the investigation, or even part way through? All of the early research in anything produces confusing results. At what stage in Einstein’s career ought he to have known that “God does not play at dice” was an irrelevant criterion? The idea is absurd as soon as the question is answered. What in early research looks to one like an “unsubstantiated claim” looks to another like a reasonable conjecture. We had this debate already in the 80s with Robert Gallo and exactly when he ought to have known that HIV was not, as he thought, HTLV3; Gallo did not share the Nobel Prize with co-author Luc Montagnie, but I have not read a credible claim (pace that Chicago Tribune writer) that Gallo was criminal. Everyone knows what ought to have been thought in retrospect, and we have a dismissive name for it: “Monday Morning Quarterbacking”.

    2. There have been particular critiques of Mann et al’s statistical methods, and those critiques have themselves been critiqued. Mann et al instituted a small revolution in their field via introducing a new (to that field) multivariate technique on a kind of proxy data. At worst they did not know as much about the potential liabilities of that technique as some other researchers, statisticians specifically. But even at the most recent Joint Statistical Meetings statisticians debated some of the problems that Mann et al were accused of mishandling: selection of proxies, how many principal components to retain, how to get all the proxy records on a commensurable scale. To use a set of unresolved professional arguments about the exactly best approach with high dimensional data as a basis for an investigation into potential malfeasance is a really bad policy. Decades ago Dr. Claire Ernhardt tried to prosecute Dr. Herbert Needleman for this kind of malfeasance, and the whole episode ought to serve as a warning for any attempt to base a claim of malfeasance on a claimed statistical inadequacy.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 6 Oct 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  137. Jim Edwards wrote “The AG can assert a civil prosecution on a whim [with a much lower burden of proof than for criminal prosecution], forcing Mann to incur stress, lost time, legal expense, embarassment, and potentially significant fines or other civil penalties…Dr. Mann, welcome to the life of a small-to-medium-sized business owner.”

    So we have more political grandstanding. If the AG had as much power as you say, then why did a judge already rule differently, in effect limiting the AG’s power? You also group together completely different things such as ex post facto laws and the seizure of property. These topics deserve their own books. So could we please stick to the law as regards Dr. Mann and the Virginia AG, or do we want another superficial silly political debate?

    Comment by Paul Tremblay — 6 Oct 2010 @ 4:24 PM

  138. #134, Kevin McKinney

    In posts #32 and 60, it is asserted that the particular Virginia statute the AG alleges Mann violated was not enacted until AFTER Mann had applied for, and received state money pursuant to, a grant from the state of Virginia.

    If so, it is patently unfair to harass Mann under the statute – even if he were 100% guilty.

    The federal Constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws would protect him from criminal prosecution in that case, but would NOT necessarily prevent the state from, say, requiring Mann to defend himself in a civil proceeding and then return the grant money – with interest and penalties.

    The alleged defrauded party, here, would be the state. Of course, in order for it to be actionable fraud, the AG has to show a lot more even than Mann being spectacularly wrong.

    The AG would have to show that Mann made a false statement BEFORE he received the grant money, he knew it was a false statement at the time, he intended for the false statement to have the effect of securing grant money, and the state reasonably relied on Mann’s statement in awarding a grant [or continuing to make payments, if it wasn’t a lump-sum grant]

    Sinclair Paint is an interesting civil case from California that went up the federal court ladder and pushed the limits of ex post facto law. At one time, lead-based paint was not only legal – it was specifically mandated in government contracts for schools and hospitals [white-lead paint was considerably more expensive and lasted longer than titanium-based paint]. California passed a law requiring companies to retroactively have to pay an annual, prorated fine for past sales of lead paint – even though past manufacture and sales in California were legal and actively encouraged by state and local governments.

    The fined owners were often innocent third parties who bought companies from retiring owners – long after the subject companies had stopped manufacturing lead-based paint. The majority of the profits from the use of lead paint had been absorbed by politically-favored contractors and union painters [my grandfather was one…].

    The courts held the decades-past retroactive fine on currently non-offending paint manufacturers to be constitutional.

    Comment by jim edwards — 6 Oct 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  139. #131 Misunderstood you?

    Not on that particular occasion. I had already written that I partially agree with you and that also applies to the rest of your new comment. The phrase you quoted and the paragraph that followed it were not directed at you. It was making a quite different point about another kind of litigation which I would welcome.

    Returning to your points involving Cuccinelli , I just don’t know. Its too hard to predict how it would turn out. From this distance it appears to be insane to have to go to court to demonstrate the obvious, perhaps more than once. It might succeed in that respect and yet be used as a publicity machine in other ways. It might be bad in the short term yet be useful as a permanent reference for later use. Anyway we don’t yet know whether Cucc. will follow that earlier Republican, J.MCarthy by destroying himself.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 6 Oct 2010 @ 5:59 PM

  140. Jim Edwards wrote: “Sinclair Paint is an interesting civil case from California that went up the federal court ladder and pushed the limits of ex post facto law.”

    The Sinclair Paint case does not appear to be an example of the courts enforcing an ex post facto law. Type in Sinclair Paint and ex post facto, and you will get no hits. But if you type in just Sinclair Paints, you get a nice summary here:

    Sinclair’s main argument, which was supported by the Western States Petroleum Association, California Manufacturers, and others, was that the fees collected by California are not used to regulate the paint industry and thus were actually taxes collected in violation of California’s Proposition 13.

    The State Supreme Court soundly rejected this argument, ruling that the lead industries, whose products are the major causes of childhood lead poisoning, can be required to pay fees to mitigate the harm their products created in the community.

    Since Sinclair did not even argue that they were being required to obey a law ex post facto, I don’t see how this court case proves that the courts enforced an ex post facto law. This is an example of an industry being held accountable for the defects in its product.

    There is a precedent for holding business (and individuals, for that matter) liable for any harmful products or actions. I don’t know if this precedent hypothetically extends to Mann. I suppose if a researcher knowingly lied to get grant money, and then used that grant money to research something frivolous, the courts could have the power to make him pay back the money, regardless of whether a specific law was passed. For example, I can imagine that if a quack lied about his credentials to get state money which he then used to throw parties, he could face stiff fines.

    Of course, this is all hypothetical, since the courts will require the AG to have some reason for an investigation, and the AG doesn’t.

    Comment by Paul Tremblay — 6 Oct 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  141. Re : #111

    Is this unfair?
    I have not been following this story, so wonder if you ever seen JC depart far from McCintyre’s line recently?

    On the basis of psychological projection, I gather that she is rather conscious of ‘tribes’. Perhaps she indentifies herself with the McCintryrist tribe? She would not be the only one.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 6 Oct 2010 @ 6:35 PM

  142. I think that the Attorney General of VA has the right to review all the records relating to research that the State of Virginia funded at the state university.

    Not retroactively, he don’t. The grant was obtained before the law he’s using was passed. It’s ridiculous on its face, and seems to be prima facie evidence that Kounsellor Kenny’s intent is political, not legal.

    Comment by ChrisD — 6 Oct 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  143. Also in regard to Sinclair Paint …

    The fined owners were often innocent third parties who bought companies from retiring owners

    Caveat emptor. When you buy a business, you’re not only buying the assets, you’re buying the liabilities.

    People I know bought a small general store, bar, and gas station complex. They failed to do due diligence and didn’t find out until later that the station’s gas tanks had corroded and had been leaking for years, with the ground plume spreading under the road the station front, into the school yard across the street (one room thing with 8 grades, yes, these things still exist today in the rural western US),

    Cost them big-time to clean it up.

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Oct 2010 @ 7:59 PM

  144. #138–Jim, thanks for clarifying that–I think.

    It led me to read the CID Cuccinelli filed, which was pretty much “through the looking glass.”

    The argument that Dr. A can take a contract to investigate Topic B, perform it faithfully and get paid, then get sued by the state because they claim that Paper C, which was on his resume when he applied for the grant for “B”, had problems–well, “tortured” is the word that comes to mind. “Strained” is way too weak.

    It’s hard to imagine that even a ideologue could think this will stand up legally. I mean, where’s mens rea? (OK, wait, the “guilty mind” test applies to criminal, not civil, matters.) But, damn it, the putative victim got their study on “B,” right? Hard to see that any tort occurred.

    All of which would probably make SA entirely correct, or at least largely so, regarding the true agenda here.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Oct 2010 @ 8:30 PM

  145. Put simply Eric you do understand what I am saying.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 6 Oct 2010 @ 9:08 PM

  146. …surely these and anything else relevant to the allocation of research grants are in the public domain anyway…

    Perhaps he’s been taking lessons in data acquisition from McI?

    Comment by Lotharsson — 6 Oct 2010 @ 11:10 PM

  147. Re the whole retroactivity argument: Cooch will probably claim that cashing the last check was an implicit reassertion of the “fraudulent” prior claims.

    Extremely weak, and wouldn’t pass muster under the federal version of the same law, IIRC. I’m not a Virginia lawyer though.

    I really hope this goes back to the same judge – maybe UVa lawyers can make that happen. I expect that judge will be displeased and start using language that would be useful in a bar ethics complaint.

    Comment by Brian Schmidt — 6 Oct 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  148. Bob (Sphaerica) #114: some anonymous benefactor sent be a copy of an article titled “Satellitegate: Degraded Sensors cover-up” alleging NOAA had covered up the fact that their sensors were degrading, some reporting temperatures as high as “612 degrees Fahrenheit”. Aside from the rather obvious fact that anyone with any competence at data analysis would pick up such an extreme value and raise the alarm, the article appears to be the usual mish-mash of presenting well known facts as if they were surprising and making fraudulent (there’s that word again) claims such as tying NASA in with alleged illegal breaches of FOI by CRU.

    Does anyone have the REAL story that’s behind all these claims on NOAA satellite flaws? The googles have been overwhelmed by denialist attacks. All I can find at is pretty routine reports on data errors.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 7 Oct 2010 @ 12:32 AM

  149. I fear the comments by Larry in comment #44 are coming true. I think that part of the problem is that the scientific community does not take up for itself publicly. While people like Al Gore have increased awareness by many to the issue of AGW, he is still perceived as a politician with biases in a particular political direction. AGW science needs to be presented to the public by scientist without a perceived political bias. Just educate the public with the facts about what is known and point out the the gaps where more needs to be learned. I realize this won’t stop people like the Virginia AG, but it would go a long way towards winning the trust of the general public, taxpayers.

    Comment by Kyle Harris — 7 Oct 2010 @ 12:39 AM

  150. AGW science needs to be presented…

    …political direction

    Political lobbyists will always claim political influence lies behind everything. Worse still they would grumble about people employed by the public sector presenting anything which they haven’t filtered.

    Just what have you got in mind?

    The main problem is one of access. If this work were to be done through such channels as the BBC (UK example) it would be seriously limited by spurious questions of balance and tendencies to dumb down. So far we have only had Iaian Stuart’s series ‘Climate Wars’, a Horizon programme called ‘Global Dimming’ and some radio reports Roger Harrabin. The less said the better about all of these. David Attenborough is much better but avoids the technical stuff.

    Al Gore found a way around the more orthodox route.
    He achieved a remarkable degree of publicity for a rather ordinary talk. Perhaps his success was partly based on his political skills. When he came to my local town (in the UK) his talk was sold out,although, over the years, there had been better lectures open to the public. Why was that? He was assisted by local politicians. Somehow the talk was put on in one of the local cinemas. Which scientist could organise that? Then he persuaded the UK government to agree to organise lessons around his talk in UK schools. That shows a remarkable amount of self confidence. Non politicians don’t always have such a high opinion of themselves.

    Once again what do you suggest? There are already some University courses around, which could be spread around more and , as you know , lots of stuff on the web like this site.

    Just a thought, I wonder if someone could persuade Richard Alley to use his Bjerknes lecture as the basis for a more introductory and wider series of talks…
    But he is only one person.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 7 Oct 2010 @ 5:40 AM

  151. Just educate the public…

    A noble cause, but doomed to failure. Largely, peoples’ ideology gets in the way. Also, the science behind AGW is not easily explained to a layperson. And then:

    …with the facts about what is known and point out the the gaps where more needs to be learned.

    Scientists and their spokespeople have been trying to do that for at least the past 15 years. Problem is, the Noise Machine™, funded covertly by the likes of the Koch brothers:

    The billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama

    is doing their best to undermine all efforts to communicate the seriousness of the AGW problem to the electorate. As others have pointed out, there’s a vested interest in maintaining the status quo to the tune of 1 billion dollars of *profit* per day rolling into the coffers of the fossil fuel industry.

    They are all about delaying the development of alternate energy sources, and Cuccinelli’s latest ideology-driven witch hunt is just one small facet of their tactics.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 7 Oct 2010 @ 6:19 AM

  152. My precious optimists (some of you), the important thing is that this discussion and other discussions are taking up valuable people’s time and energy. I’m not saying it isn’t necessary, just that it is a simple tragedy that good people are not doing the work that needs to be done, but trying to plough (plow) through the muck to get to the point that they are allowed to do the work that needs to be done. I’m not talking about the wonderful Dr. Mann and the rest of you who ARE continuing to work, though they too are affected, by the worldwide community of people of good will, empathy, and compassion.

    We all know that the current model of continuous exploitation for the purpose of expanding consumption has burdened our planet with an already monstrous and expanding level of toxic situations. If you are like me, you also use consumptive stuff like ever bigger and better media despite knowing that each of us must reduce our footprint, out of necessity in many cases. Until we do the work to redesign necessity and the fuel that makes our lives possible we are headed for a serious meltdown. Local food, public transit, that kind of thing are in serious deficit.

    This situation is unfolding in manifold and complex crises that are already costing everyone a lot of money, as mitigation of floods and fires, toxic sludge, and the like, is the most expensive way to deal with it. Unfortunately, it will continue to explode in scale and variety before anyone with confirmation bias will use their lying senses instead of their friends to observe what is going on. It will continue to fail to be too big to ignore for a good while yet.

    I see a lot of people mentioning Joe McCarthy and I’m afraid they are right. I’m 62 and therefore too young (!) to have lived through that and WWII, which taught a generation a lesson we all should heed.

    We live and die together, and as is pointed out in the article, it is now time to do everything and anything we can to dial down the blind hate.

    PS. I saw a couple of days ago that the Pakistani situation is causing the military to look harder at alternative fuels, the noncombustible sort. Sad this was not done decades ago!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 7 Oct 2010 @ 7:18 AM

  153. Oh dear, bad typo above: “they too are affected, BUT the worldwide community of people of good will, empathy, and compassion.”

    We could wish affected by the community of thought and compassion would not be regarded as something to sneer at by those for whom hate is more important than agape.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 7 Oct 2010 @ 7:23 AM

  154. Deconvoluter and Steve, These are valid points which I have considered. The answers are not easily solved as climate science can be very complex and confusing. I live in the middle of the USA and a huge portion of the population have bought into the propaganda of the talking heads that are financed by the Kochs and other like them. Education is the key, the question is how to get accurate information to the masses and get them to listen. True, getting the exposure that is needed is easier said than done. In this part of the country, it seems to be easier to change behavior by selling the patriotic aspects of energy independence as well as the economic aspects of savings through more sustainable practices, the problem is that this approach does nothing to increase the credibility of the scientific community in their eyes. I would like to see scientist like Dr. Mann interviewed in the national media. There are no easy answers!

    Comment by Kyle Harris — 7 Oct 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  155. Seriously, can we subpoena THEIR emails??!!

    That would be awesome.

    Comment by AnnaK — 7 Oct 2010 @ 7:57 AM

  156. #140, Paul Tremblay

    Key language from your link:
    “The court found the state’s police power can be used to require mitigation of past, present and future adverse impacts.”

    That’s another way of saying that the state can pass civil laws / regulations going back in time [ex post facto], forcing entities to make good on their past errors.

    Much of the argument in Sinclair was about the arbitrary allocation of the fine, without any showing that the determination by the state of California was proportional to the actual total amount of lead paint produced by any manufacturer. The state picked a single year and assumed that it was representative of the history of the California paint market. Incredibly, the court approved this method to allocate the burden of the fines.

    The majority of the fines collected are from oil companies, because of the past use of leaded gasoline, that’s why western states petroleum was in on the case. [Unlike the paint companies, which received only a minor fraction of the profits from lead paint, the oil companies benefitted from the bulk of profits from leaded gas – and continued to sell it in increasing volumes long after leaded paint was off the market.]

    It’s not a products liability case. The theoretical framework of products liability law is founded on the notion that the consumers who use a product should pay more for dangerous products, and the higher prices to manufacturers should aggregate and be available to pay the claims of users of the products who are injured.

    Higher prices will tend to reduce the use of dangerous products or make safer alternatives look comparatively cheap. [It’s an example of how the free market works best to resolve problems, when we have true-cost pricing.]

    In the case of lead paint, the product can’t be legally sold anymore – so costs cannot be transferred to the consumer. There’s no way for the manufacturer to retroactively increase the price of it’s products to make titanium-based paint appear to be preferable to lead-based paint 60 or 70 years ago. The basis for product liability, as explained by the courts, does not exist.

    The only identifiable consumer of the products still in existance, who it would make sense to retroactively tax for the use of these products, is the state itself.

    The law is supposed to prospectively deter bad acts, not encourage particular actions for fifty years, wait thirty more, and then annually fine a party in perpetuity.

    You may like the “justice” of going after the paint companies, rather than the state just paying the bill for its complicity in spreading lead throughout the poorer neighborhoods in California.

    The problem with this approach is that it then establishes a precedent for an AG to go fishing for private individuals for behavior that was once thought legal [this includes climate scientists…].

    It also sends the signal to manufacturers in California that they may be fined in the future for activity that’s legal today – even if the work is done to state specifications under a contract with the state. Is it any wonder why California has one of the highest unemployment rates, even though our system of higher education and location for trade is second to none. I read an article a few months back in the Sacramento Business Journal: approximately 90% of the jobs lost in the prior two years in California were in manufacturing.

    Comment by jim edwards — 7 Oct 2010 @ 9:18 AM

  157. #96 Re. Eric’s response

    I looked up bipolar disorder in wikipedia, and from this I can hypothesize that bipolar weather may refer to a climate affective disorder and/or weather depressions that occur episodically, with periods of abnormally elevated energy levels that may, or may not, be associated with the depressions.

    These episodes are usually separated by periods of “normal” weather, but in some cases the depressions and elevated energy levels may rapidly alternate.

    This may explain to some degree elevated TC formation and activity deriving from tropical depressions, as well as the, although rare, occurrence of rapid successive TC’s that rolled of Africa across the Atlantic this season with short spans of normal weather in between?

    Still waiting for more research on the matter but it is interesting. One must remember that correlation is not causation and there may be other factors involved ;)

    Truly, climate science is the ultimate in interdisciplinary exploration!

    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: Natural CycleGreenhouse EffectClimate Science HistoryArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Oct 2010 @ 9:21 AM

  158. This says it better than I could:

    Much of the ongoing debate in political, business and social/cultural arenas is rooted in an underlying disagreement about what best serves national interests and individual lives. Is it promoting the common good, or serving self-interest?

    As interdependence and interconnection on this planet become ever-more apparent, new challenges and conflicts arise for personal life, the role of government and the conduct of business leadership. In response to these new realities, people’s attitudes and behavior are shifting more towards serving the larger common good; now necessary for successful, flexible and psychologically resilient functioning.

    However, these shifts clash with a long-prevailing ideology, that the primary pursuit of self-interest best serves the public interest and personal success. That ideology has also prevailed in our views of adult psychological health and maturity. In essence, the pursuit of greed, self-centeredness and materialism have become the holy trinity of public and private conduct. ….
    (please read the whole thing!)

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 7 Oct 2010 @ 9:21 AM

  159. #143, dhogaza:

    “When you buy a business, you’re not only buying the assets, you’re buying the liabilities.”

    You’re absolutely correct, but there’s a crucial difference. The example you cite, of leaking gas tanks, is hidden – but discoverable.

    A person could look into public records and discover that a gas station had operated on the property in the past. The buyer could pay for a soils report. They could then get a quote to determine how much it would cost to clean up the soil and ask for an appropriate discount on the sales price.

    A buyer of a business could do the same for pending lawsuits, etc. They could pay to have an engineer and attorney evaluate recent products and look for exposure to products liability claims.

    The same was not true for the sale of these paint companies. Most of them were simply rented warehouses with a couple of vats and a few thousand gallons of titanium-based paint. There were few tangible assets. What was really being purchased was a brand name and a customer list [i.e. – goodwill].

    I happen to have some knowledge about this topic because I did some work for the CA AG in this area when I was in law school.

    Buyers of these paint companies had no way to predict that the law would change so dramatically to allow the state to retroactively fine them for producing a legal product.

    Buyers had no way of determining what percentage of the total amount of white lead the target company had put into the stream of commerce during its glory years. They had no way to predict which year the state would later choose to be representative of the history of lead distribution in California.

    Given that maybe 10% of a painting contract is for the paint, buyers had no way to predict that the entire retroactive fine would be applied to manufacturers.

    Buyers had no way to predict that paint retailers [who marked up the products considerably] would be explicitly exempted from paying the fine.

    Buyers had no way to predict that painting contractors [who took the bulk of the profits] would be exempted from paying the fine.

    Given that products liability law is predicated upon the consumers paying higher prices for dangerous products, buyers could not predict that major consumers of lead paint [state and local government] would shift costs off of themselves.

    As is often noted, the manufacturers of lead paint were aware that lead paint was dangerous – but so were the retailers, contractors, and institutional users.

    Contractors did not use lead paint unless it was specified and a premium paid. Lead paint had higher up-front costs, but much lower maintenance costs, than titanium-based paint. The consumers [government schools and hospitals] benefitted financially from the use of lead paint. Under traditional models of liability, the user [government] bears a burden for its negligent choice to pay more for lead paint in order to reduce operating costs.

    Of course, products liability would never be expected to be an issue for a buyer when, as in the case of paint companies, the products had been sold many years before – and statutes of limitation on the books precluded potential plaintiffs from filing lawsuits.

    While I feel bad for kids with lead poisoning, I also feel bad for people who bought these paint companies for the sales network and found themselves blindsided with retroactive fines.

    California’s lead paint scheme is conceptually similar to “land reform” in Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s government seized land from white farmers, using the logic that it had been stolen from the indigenous people decades before [I think a person could find merit in this type of ‘land reform’ without approving of the methods Mugabe used to seize and distribute the appropriated land.]. The problem is, many of the farms had been purchased at full market value just a few years before – after the buyers had been assured by the government that no such land reform would occur. The families who had lived on the ‘stolen’ land for decades received full value and left the country. Assuming land reform is wise, or morally justifiable, is it right to lay the burden at the feet of the party who just bought the farm ? How about the guy who buys a paint company ?

    In the case of Zimbabwe, the seizures gutted the few property rights that existed in the country. Is it any wonder nobody wants to invest capital in Zimbabwe, now ? Businesses’ uncertainty of future liability in California will have a similar chilling effect on our economy.

    Comment by jim edwards — 7 Oct 2010 @ 10:26 AM

  160. Susan Anderson (158), the difficulty with that academically good thought is that self-interest is the natural, inherent and prevalent trait of humans (and animals and plants for that matter). From day one out of the birth canal a person is focused on self-interest. This might change a bit as life goes on to include a serious consideration of public interest, but self interest is still fundamental. The trick is to set up a society that helps to direct natural self-interests to endeavors that aid the public good (or at the minimum doesn’t detract from the public good). This is best done through laws, rules of enterprise, appropriate cost accounting and taxation, etc. Trying to persuade people born with only self interest that they really should be more interested in public good is a long long long row to hoe, its desirability not withstanding. The pursuit of greed, self-centeredness and materialism is not a holy trinity, it is what is — like gravity. The trick is to figure out how best to use it.

    OT though not completely unrelated to the thread.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Oct 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  161. Rod B wrote: “… self-interest is the natural, inherent and prevalent trait of humans … people born with only self interest …”

    The belief that “self-interest” is not only the “prevalent” trait of humans but that humans are naturally motivated by “only self-interest” and that altruism is unnatural and inhuman and must be forcibly imposed on human beings by “laws” is a dogma of certain fundamentalist religions like Ayn Rand’s so-called “Objectivism”.

    However, it is not in accord with actual, scientific, empirical study of human beings — as well as other animals — which demonstrates that altruism is, in fact, a naturally occurring trait of social animals like human beings.

    The argument that human beings are fundamentally and solely motivated by “greed, self-centeredness and materialism” has about as much validity as the notion of the “divine right of Kings”, and it is typically deployed for pretty much the same ends.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Oct 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  162. >>The problem with this approach is that it then establishes a precedent for an AG to go fishing for private individuals for behavior that was once thought legal [this includes climate scientists…].

    No it doesn’t. That is just your over reaching libertarian ideology saying it is so. So far, the facts contradict your conclusion; if this precedent allowed for the AG to go on a fishing expedition, then why have the courts barred him once, and most likely will do so again?

    Could you please stay on topic rather than spouting a lot of empty right-wing rhetoric, that leads you to make the laughable comparison California’s lead paint laws to Zimbabwe’s land seizure?

    Comment by Paul Tremblay — 7 Oct 2010 @ 11:10 AM

  163. Rod B wrote “Susan Anderson (158), the difficulty with that academically good thought is that self-interest is the natural, inherent and prevalent trait of humans…self-centeredness and materialism is not a holy trinity, it is what is — like gravity”

    Gravity can be measured and verified; self interest cannot be, namely because it is too vague a term to begin with. Whenever science is used to justify an ideology (think of Social Darwinism), you can almost be certain there is bad philosophy behind it.

    Comment by Paul Tremblay — 7 Oct 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  164. Rod B.,
    All social animals exhibit altruism to varying degrees–from ants and bees on up. Humans are social animals. This has been known since Darwin, and at least since the 1950s we khow we can even demonstrate mathematically that altruism can be an evolutionary advantage. Sorry, but your biology and psychology are about 2 centuries out of date.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Oct 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  165. Still worrying away at the legalese. You can access the law invoked here:

    It was approved April 17, 2002. Although the grant application was made in 2001, the CID alleges that at least some payments were made in 2003, after the “Fraud Against Taxpayers Act” took effect. So it would appear that Cuccinelli’s theory is that the violation occurred in accepting payment in 2003, which gets around the ex post facto concern. But the actual motivation may be that the Act also includes an absolute limitation of ten years, which would eliminate any possible use of FATA against the “Hockey Stick” papers of ’98 and ’99.

    That’s why Cuccinelli had to hang his legal hat on a paper that is utterly unrelated to his ‘real’ targets. (Never mend all the reasons why those targets are scientifically stupid at this point.)

    Of course, that does leave him stuck with a pretty tenuous connection between the “target” and the lawsuit. “C” isn’t alleging that there’s anything wrong with the 2003 paper; just that the grant award may have been influenced by the earlier work, which of course was on Dr. Mann’s CV. But if the 2003 contract was fulfilled, I think the fraud allegation goes away completely. No harm occurred to the taxpayer; a paper on climate and biome was promised, received, and not even “C” is claiming there’s anything wrong with it.

    And even the question about the CV per se is pretty tenuous: Dr. Mann really did co-author those papers, after all, no matter what the reaction in various quarters to them might, or might not, have been. Did the CV claim any more than that? I doubt it.

    I really can’t help but think that, were I the judge asked to decide this, I’d work really hard on the most efficacious wrist slap I could come up with, in order to dissuade the AG from further egregious wastes of my time–and, ironically enough, taxpayer’s money!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Oct 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  166. “AGW science needs to be presented to the public by scientist without a perceived political bias.”

    The problem is that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Stephen Colbert – transcript at
    This is beginning to sink in to the conservative political psyche, and they have painted themselves into a corner where the only way out is to attack science.

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
    Convention of the World Meteorological Organization [1947] PITSE 4 (11 October 1947) ENTRY INTO FORCE: 23 MARCH 1950 Depositary: The Government of the United States of America
    The purposes of the Organization shall be:
    (a)To facilitate worldwide cooperation in the establishment of networks of stations for the making of meteorological observations or other geophysical observations related to meteorology
    (c)To promote standardization of meteorological observations and to ensure the uniform publication of observations and statistics;
    (d)To further the application of meteorology to aviation, shipping, agriculture, and other human activities;

    Article 19 (a) Commissions consisting of technical experts may be established by the Congress to study and make recommendations to the Congress and the Executive Committee on any subject within the purposes of the Organization.

    “UNEP is the designated authority of the United Nations system in environmental issues at the global and regional level.”
    “The mandate and objectives of UNEP emanate from United Nations General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII) of 15 December 1972 and subsequent amendments adopted at UNCED in 1992, the Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of UNEP, adopted at the Nineteenth Session of the UNEP Governing Council, and the Malmö Ministerial Declaration of 31 May, 2000.”,

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by two United Nations Organizations, the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to assess “the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.”

    All of this taken together means that under US Constitutional law, the IPCC reports have legal standing comparable to that of a policeman or other expert witnesses testimony; like a cop, the IPCC standing as an expert witness is presumed, and doesn’t need to be established. It’s up to the opposition to disprove their assertions; and it’s not a matter of “a priori” decision of whether the expert is right, but of where the “burden of proof” lies.

    This is the reason that there is a coordinated attack on the science by conservatives-
    “The State explained that the IPCC – and therefore the EPA – relied on flawed science…
    and the legal strawman that they are attempting to set up; that if Mann et al are wrong(and that includes conflating “wrong” with the least bit inaccurate, i,e, “statistical rigor”), because “Those climate scientists who control the final product…” of the IPCC “…are few in number” and “…through connections with Mann, they form a mutually supporting and reinforcing group, peer reviewing and co-authoring each other’s papers.” the the de jure position of the IPCC can be impeached.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 7 Oct 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  167. re my #67 and #79 and adelady #91 and Vendica Decarian #94

    There is indeed a conflict going on. Discussing how it might turn out is not the same as gloom and doom, though in reality, power seems to be swinging toward the reactionary side, as represented by Tea Party thinking and the playing to it as discussed in the lead article of this post.

    I discuss a strategic shift in my #67 which is not at all giving up. It would be better described as taking a position that could lead to success in achieving the goal of reducing CO2.

    The goal here is not to win a battle; it is to win a war. Winning the battle is fine, but that this should not be perceived as being the real victory.

    Yes, battles and wars are metaphorical talk, but this seems useful here.

    Standing forests of massive scale seem like a way to accomplish CCS (CO2 capture and sequestration) that will satisfy almost everybody.

    I find it hard to understand why there is not great interest in such a plan from people who seem dedicated to reducing CO2. It might be satisfying to rail agains lobbyists and corporations, but maybe it is a better strategy to outflank them with a bold stroke to the heart of the matter. (Sorry for the military talk, but Napoleonic terminology seems useful in making the point.)

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 7 Oct 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  168. #166, Brian Dodge:

    “All of this taken together means that under US Constitutional law, the IPCC reports have legal standing comparable to that of a policeman or other expert witnesses testimony; like a cop, the IPCC standing as an expert witness is presumed, and doesn’t need to be established. It’s up to the opposition to disprove their assertions; and it’s not a matter of “a priori” decision of whether the expert is right, but of where the “burden of proof” lies.”

    This is a little off. Documents are not people. I believe that the IPCC reports are “learned treatises” under the Federal Rules of Evidence. [No need to resort to UN treaties, etc.] Normally, a writing by a third party would be inadmissable in court – because it’s hearsay. [hearsay is an out of court statement that’s alleged to be true…]
    There is an exception from the hearsay exclusion for “learned treatises”, which are allowed into evidence, without testimony from the authors attesting to the truth / correctness of the document.

    Somebody will have to explain to the court what the whole thing means. As you suggest, a party who disagrees with the proferred interpretation of the IPCC report would be wise to introduce their own expert evidence [testimony of experts, newer papers that missed the report deadline, etc.].

    Comment by jim edwards — 7 Oct 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  169. I’d post this to an open thread if we had one, but not too OT here–this just in from the UCS:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Oct 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  170. I suspect Cuccinelli’s barratry is driven by the same territorial factor that led him to cover the breasts of Liberty on Virginia’s Great Seal.

    It’s a relatively small state, and there is only room for one boob in the Attorney General’s office.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 7 Oct 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  171. We need to take practical actions. Not smart grid with all that hacker vulnerable computer technology and biofuels that are far too expensive to produce and which are still hydrocarbons.

    Most people period do not really understand global warming, even many scientifically literate. Education is important of course. I am not suggesting we give up. To solve the actual issues of AGW relies upon building high voltage lines like they have done In Brazil, I believe, and elsewhere, and we need to use more steam, like in NYC. Steam pipes work great. But no one seeems to recall the technology has existed for sometime. That is where education has failed us all. The latest and greatest digital gadgets are not going to solve the problems and neither is science education that is too watered down or too technical for anyone to understand. Teaching science is an art. I too find these court attempts to be a waste of time. But we should not just be talking it to death. We ought to also stop carbon taxes and cap and trade which are also a waste of time and just as dangerous as Cuccinelli!

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Oct 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  172. > people born with only self interest

    Please, don’t take the bait. He knows what he’s doing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Oct 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  173. Actually, as I understand it, there are some “people born with only self interest” — people who are absolutely, and apparently congenitally, devoid of any empathy or altruism at all. In the technical language of psychology they are referred to as “psychopaths” or “sociopaths”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Oct 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  174. People only with self interest make me sick. I hope to see this planet and its inhabitants for the rest of my life and towards the end of my life I hope to see improvements in the way we handle society, technology and the environment.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Oct 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  175. The title of this piece is less than optimal.
    Lewis Carroll may offer a better model than fishing, i.e., hunting.

    In particular, Cuccinelli & Russell seem fond of hunting snarks, like defenseless state seals in dishabille. This is a fine pastime, to be sure, but there are many kinds of snarks. Some may turn out to be boojums…

    Comment by John Mashey — 7 Oct 2010 @ 4:59 PM

  176. In psychology the term socio-path is now avoided as to not encourage the behavior of clients, especially in forensic settings.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Oct 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  177. Some of you have mentioned that the Koch company funds global warming denialism.

    This company funds the \Libertarian\ Cato Institute. Their global warming \expert\ is a Russian economist named Andrei Illarionov.

    Illarionov claims that there is no link between CO2 and global warming.

    He is a \former\ adviser to Putin. He used to work for Chernomyrdin, who was the head of the Soviet-era gas ministry, now called Gazprom.

    Supposedly, the economist Andrei Illarionov had some falling-out with Putin over policy, so he ended up in a US think tank instead of at the pinnacle of power in Russia. Still, he continues to have some think-tank in Russia that spouts stuff about global warming.

    These big communist bosses suddenly morphed into \Libertarians\ and ended up owning a mammoth gas company.

    Russian Libertarians want to do what they did under communism–run and own everything under the sun with no accountability.

    You might look at Illarionov’s Russian and English posts. I think a lot of this economist’s \science\ is picked up by these denialists. Perhaps it will even turn up in Cuccinelli’s arguments.

    Illarionov’s stuff is in English at the Cato Institute and in Russian at the Institute for Economic Analysis.

    Sometimes that Google translation tool is not terrible. You might look at all his graphs.

    As I noted the other day, Cucccinelli’s dad is a career lobbyist for the American Gas Association who currently is an executive with a firm that touts his expertise in the gas industry and his \European\ clients.

    I think it is very probable that the elder Cuccinelli’s clients include Russian gas companies, but the AG office won’t respond to questions about this.

    There are lots of people in Russia whose jobs are to orchestrate political campaigns in other countries. They call this \active measures.\
    They also try to discredit people using what they call \kompromat.\ Climategate appears to me to be Kompromat.

    Until the propaganda campaign in support of denialism, the Kremlin’s biggest succes was the AIDS propaganda campaign. Kremlin propaganda outlets have a history of defaming scientists–their own and ours.

    For complicated reasons, KGB chief Primakov finally admitted the KGB’s role in the AIDS campaign.

    Izvestiya (3-19-92) reported:

    \[Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists’ \crafty\ plots were fabricated in KGB offices.\

    One more time: Izvestia (not me) confirmed:

    \According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists’ \crafty\ plots were fabricated in KGB offices.\

    The great Russian scientists did not collaborate in this disinformation.

    Not infrequently, when the line changes, they do tell the truth and throw their collaborators under the bus, but this takes a long time.

    The CIA has a good history of the AIDS campaign on-line called Opertion Infektion. You can see how these operations make use of Western conspiracy theorists.

    Comment by Snapple — 7 Oct 2010 @ 7:35 PM

  178. Periodically I email Cuccinelli’s minion W. Russell

    and ask him about the elder Cuccinelli’s business, which gave over 96,000 to the Attorney Generals’ campaign.

    Here is what I found.

    I ask if the dad’s clients include Russian gas companies, what services the elder Cuccinelli is providing his clients, and if he is providing his clients with the services of our Attorney General.

    Cuccinelli acts like global warming is some kind of nefarious plot by greedy, mendacious climate scientists. Really, this sounds like old communist propaganda to me. You can read the same garbage on the Russian tabloid Pravda from the mouth of a 9-11 Truther. That’s how dumb this is.

    Cuccinelli is Catholic, and the Vatican says there is global warming. Catholic schools teach about global warming in science. I know his HS and his wife’s HS teach real science about global warming.

    I ask W. Russell if the teachers in Catholic schools and the Pope are also greedy liars. They don’t answer that one, either.

    You scientists are not doing climate science any favors when you bash Christians for being denialists. Evangelicals also support climate science. Christians are supposed to be good stewards of God’s creation.

    Equating denialism with Christianity is part of the propaganda to fool ignorant Christians who don’t know their church’s stance on these issues or possibly some fundamentalist churches.

    I have a Catholic friend who loves Cuccinelli. She got sort of quiet when I told her the Vatican says global warming is real.

    Cuccinelli has also kidnapped the term “conservative.” The guy is a radical. What is he conserving? Our judicial system? The independence of scholarship? The planet?

    The only thing he is conserving is his family’s money.

    Comment by Snapple — 7 Oct 2010 @ 8:09 PM

  179. John Mashey

    One has a clear legal duty to submit attorney generals committing barratry to the full force of the First Law of Snarkery :

    ” You distort, we deride.”

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 7 Oct 2010 @ 8:18 PM

  180. SecularAnimist (161), a newborn fresh out of the birth canal has one and only one sharply focused interest — self-interest of preservation. As time goes on changes are seen but they are predominately (not entirely) one of cooperation and compromise, not altruism. And cooperation mainly because the guy earlier solely focused on self interest discovers that his self interest and preservation actually improves if he doesn’t autonomously try to kill every human that comes over the hill.

    I did not say people are “solely motivated by “greed, self-centeredness and materialism” ” I did say it is innate and fundamental — because it is.

    reCAPTCHA: rearrole love ???

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Oct 2010 @ 8:56 PM

  181. Ray Ladbury (164), Ot from the OT, but can’t resist. You say, “…can demonstrate mathematically that altruism can be an evolutionary advantage.” What do you mean “can be?” It is or it isn’t. If you assert that altruism is demonstrated mathematically to be evolutionary, you need to change your smokes brand. I never said people (or animals or plants) never show altruism. They do. Some die for others. Just not often. And not fundamentally or innately.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Oct 2010 @ 9:06 PM

  182. Kevin McKinney (165), good info, especially the name, “Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.” There has got to be a pony in there that can get every Congressman, the President, and Cuccinelli himself, the latter which ought to be a slam dunk — even though I said such doesn’t exist!

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Oct 2010 @ 9:14 PM

  183. Brian Dodge, shirley you jest…

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Oct 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  184. I looked it up in Wikipedia and one of the first things it says is that barratry is a misdemeanor in Virginia. Hmm.

    Comment by Dave Werth — 7 Oct 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  185. With the bit about “Post Normal science” on the last pages of the order, Cuccinelli’s argument harks back to a classical witch hunt:

    Knight: What makes you think he is Post Normal?
    Villager #3: Well, he turned me into a hockey stick.
    Knight: A hockey stick?!
    Villager #3 (defensively): I got better.
    Crowd: Burn him anyway! Burn him! Burn him!
    Knight: Quiet! There are ways of telling whether he is Post Normal.
    Crowd: Are there? What are they?
    Knight: Tell me, how do Post Normals think scientific quality is achieved?
    Villager #2: Through consensus in a peer community.
    Knight: And who else speaks of ‘community’?
    Villager #1: More Post Normals!
    Villager #2: Soccer moms.
    Villager #3: ‘Community’… communi… Communists!
    Knight: Exactly! So, logically…,
    Villager #1: If he… uses the word ‘community’… he’s a Commie.
    Knight: And therefore…?
    Villager #2: A soccer mom?
    Villager #1: And a Post Normal scientist!
    Crowd: Burn him! Burn him!

    Sort of, anyway. The original ( made a lot more sense.

    Comment by CM — 8 Oct 2010 @ 6:08 AM

  186. Thanks to Eli, I saw this good editorial today.

    Comment by Deech56 — 8 Oct 2010 @ 6:44 AM

  187. Rod B., I direct you to the work of one William Hamilton, evolutionary biologist.

    Hamilton showed that in populations with a high degree of genetic relation, altruistic behavior actually promotes survival of the altruistic individuals genetics even if it decreases the chances of survival or reproduction of the altruistic individual. It has been verified for social insects and also social mammals (e.g. naked mole rats). It is thought that all social animals probably exhibit some degree of altruism toward their hive/pack/tribe… in part due to this phenomenon.

    For altruism toward unrelated individuals, one can use game theory to illustrate whether a particular strategy yields an evolutionary and/or social advantage.

    The reason I say “can be” is because not all altruistic strategies are advantageous in an evolutionary sense. Nonetheless, humans owe their moral sense mainly to their nature as social animals.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Oct 2010 @ 7:48 AM

  188. Rod B wrote: “… a newborn fresh out of the birth canal has one and only one sharply focused interest — self-interest of preservation …”

    Your comment is interesting, in as much as it is usually critics of “libertarianism” who assert that it is little more than infantile narcissism dressed up as an ideology.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Oct 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  189. 185

    Cuccinelli seems to experience difficulty in distinguishing between Post-Normal science, which he’s against, and Pre-Norman science which he’s for.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 8 Oct 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  190. Professor Mann has an excellent op-ed in today’s Washington Post:

    Get the anti-science bent out of politics
    By Michael E. Mann
    Friday, October 8, 2010
    The Washington Post

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Oct 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  191. Further to Ray Ladbury@187, there are at least two other mechanisms that can make altruism advantageous in an evolutionary sense:
    1) The “Handicap Principle”: it can be a way of showing your quality to potential sexual and social partners: “Look how fit I am, I can afford to sacrifice my immediate interests to help others” (of course there need not be any conscious recognition that this is what the altruist is doing).
    2) Reputational effects. Again in relation to others selecting you as a sexual or social partner, would you rather partner with a psychopath, or someone who actually cares about others and so is likely to take your preferences and interests into account? Of course, altruism can be faked, but that means there is selection pressure for the detection of such fakery.

    I’m afraid, Rod B., your belief that we’re all basically selfish is completely outmoded as far as science is concerned: it survives only because it fits right-wing ideology. Of course, it’s quite possible that right-wingers are unsoundly generalising from their knowledge of themselves.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 8 Oct 2010 @ 10:43 AM

  192. JM 171: We ought to also stop carbon taxes and cap and trade which are also a waste of time and just as dangerous as Cuccinelli!

    BPL: Carbon taxes or a cap and trade scheme are probably the only way global disaster can be averted.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Oct 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  193. JM 175,

    What I tell you three times is true!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Oct 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  194. 192 BPL cap and trade and those taxes are part of the liberal agenda.
    How about tax breaks to companies providing cleaner burning green plants so people can get to work on it? Raising taxes only stops corporations from hiring. We are very much still in a recession regardless of what some economists state. Make them green since factories are much bigger emitters than vehicles but use tax breaks instead to encourage it.

    [Response: You should consider that the moment you say something like “liberal agenda” your objectivity is thrown into immediate suspicion by those focused on solving the problem rather than political “agendas”. Not surprisingly from you, this is completely off topic (not to mention highly questionable in substance)–no more on it whatsoever.–Jim]

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 8 Oct 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  195. USA Today: Wegman is Being Investigated

    According to USA Today, “Officials at George Mason University confirmed Thursday that they are investigating plagiarism and misconduct charges made against a noted climate science critic.”

    In my previous blog post, Wegman-gate: Alert Congress & the Media, I asked readers to alert the media and their elected officials about the Wegman Report. As detailed in John Mashey in Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, the Wegman report was “a facade for a PR campaign well-honed by Washington, DC ‘think tanks’ and allies, underway for years.”

    I hope you will join me in writing to media and government contacts to ask them:

    “USA Today is covering this story. Maybe you should look into this also?”

    I have made it very easy for you to contact the press here.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 8 Oct 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  196. 181, Rod B. If you assert that altruism is demonstrated mathematically to be evolutionary, you need to change your smokes brand.

    I assume that “to be evolutionary” in this quote means “to have a reproductive advantage”.

    It has been demonstrated mathematically, and in the journal Science, no less. I hope to find the cite later today.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 8 Oct 2010 @ 1:27 PM

  197. Jacob Mack wrote: “… cap and trade and those taxes are part of the liberal agenda …”

    Both carbon taxes and cap-and-trade are methods of capturing the costs of the damages caused by carbon pollution and requiring those responsible for the pollution to pay those costs. Is that what you mean by a “liberal agenda”?

    Do you prefer the status quo, where polluters can externalize those costs and thereby force the rest of us to pay them, while the polluters enjoy the profits?

    I’m glad you are not my next-door neighbor, since you would probably want to dump your garbage in my yard and make me deal with it, and if I insisted that you really should pay to have it properly disposed of, you would scream about my “liberal agenda”.

    [Response: I know you’re just responding, but it’s OT, no more on it please. Thanks–Jim]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Oct 2010 @ 1:37 PM

  198. 195: Scott: Do you happen to know if Wegman had federal or Virginia state funding for the work in question?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 8 Oct 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  199. As per my comment in #175:
    “In particular, Cuccinelli & Russell seem fond of hunting snarks, like defenseless state seals in dishabille. This is a fine pastime, to be sure, but there are many kinds of snarks. Some may turn out to be boojums…”

    Following Scott in #195, let us recall that Cuccinelli’s latest relies quite heavily on the Wegman Report. We now have WaPo, noting connection, ending with:

    “We’ve asked Cuccinelli’s office for reaction to news of the GMU investigation and we’ll bring you any response we receive.”

    “It’s a snark!”

    “It’s a boo-“

    Comment by John Mashey — 8 Oct 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  200. Further to my #185, re: the post-normal ramblings of the Virginia
    Attorney General [AG]:

    The AG’s, ehem, argument linking Mann with post-normal science does
    not only involve logical fallacy, but also an apparent misreading of a central tenet of the post-normal science argument. The Civil Investigative
    Demand [CID] states at p. 26:

    “Scientific quality under this theory is achieved through consensus in a peer community.”

    In support, the CID cites Funtowicz and Ravetz 2003, pp. 7 and 9–11. (The latter is a mis-cite, pages 9–11 are the references and a blank page.)

    But FR03 argue the point that maintenance of quality in post-normal science “depends on open dialogue between all those affected”, and so requires the involvement of an extended peer community of stakeholders, citizens’ juries, consensus conferences and whatnot. Not just classical peer review by and consensus among professional scientists. Omit “extended”, as does the AG, and post-normal science sounds, well, pretty much like good ol’ normal science.

    Ref: S. Funtowicz and J. Ravetz, “Post-Normal Science”, Internet Encyclopaedia of Ecological Economics, International Society for Ecological Economics, February 2003, PDF at

    Comment by CM — 8 Oct 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  201. Re: 195 – Worst case, Wegman would conclude that he had to leave GMU…at which time he would no doubt be provided with a full-time position on the staff of a conservative “think tank,” and the charade would continue.

    Comment by dreater — 8 Oct 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  202. Good evening,

    I am sorry for asking this question here specifically, but I do not know how to start a new topic.
    Is it true that the North Atlantic Current is no longer functioning or this is a very sick joke?
    I found this article:

    As for Cuccinelli, don’t you all get the feeling that we live in the Middle Ages again?

    Thank you for reading,

    Dr. Will Denayer, Ireland

    Comment by will denayer — 8 Oct 2010 @ 6:09 PM

  203. 202: Will Denayer: What kind of doctor are you that you don’t you have an internal alarm that goes off (quack! quack! quack!) when you read stuff like this???

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 8 Oct 2010 @ 7:12 PM

  204. John E. Pearson (#198):

    Do you happen to know if Wegman had federal or Virginia state funding for the work in question?

    I realise that Jim, Eric, Gavin, et. al. are giving us more than a bit of leeway to air our political views on this thread, seeing as that is its stated intention. Having said that… you win the thread with that one. Spot on.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 8 Oct 2010 @ 7:39 PM

    No worries for honest fishing operators.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Oct 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  206. Here is the mathematics of which I wrote above:

    I don’t think that it is behind the paywall.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 8 Oct 2010 @ 9:16 PM

  207. re: 210
    Please read the SWSR report, at least the first sections.

    Other outcomes include:
    1) Civil litigation for copyright problems.
    Although of varying degrees, some minor, there are 5 different books, several Wikipedia pages, 16 articles and Mann’s dissertation. ( well, maybe 13: 3 are from M&M, pretty safe.)

    2) Possible mis-use of funds problems from the NIAAA, ARL, ARO. I don’t know offhand what penalties accrue.

    3) Then there is the possibility of 18USC1001 (misleading Congress), and 18USC271 (conspiracy to commit felony). I have discussed this with Washington-savvy lawyers who think this is not fantasy, but if you do, you should read the US Code more than I have and tell me why. I am certainly no lawyer. To save time, those 2 could add up to 10 years in Federal prison, plus fines.

    If they get into that, then 18USC1512, 1519 may come into play for one or more people at GMU, given removal of key evidence files in August. Although unlikely in this case, that’s up to 20 years…

    People are focused right now on the plagiarism, but if that’s all they look at, they are missing the wealth of other problems. I cringe at the thought of yet another -gate, but really, DC’s happenstance finding of the original slice of plagiarism really is the best analogy to the original Watergate breakin. Nobody expected to find such a giant mess attached.

    Comment by John Mashey — 9 Oct 2010 @ 12:56 AM

  208. Altruism vs psychopath/sociopath/sciopath:
    SEE: “The Genetics of Altruism” by Lumsden and Wilson. No longer in the Library of Congress. That’s E.O. Wilson. This is the book that started Sociobiology [sciobio]. Sciobio is the science of ethics and morality. “The Genetics of Altruism” gets mathematical, as I remember. It has been quite some time. There is a gene involved.
    Anyway, there are times when altruism is good [when it will be returned] and times when it is bad [when it will not be returned.]

    Reference book: “The sociopath next door : the ruthless versus the rest of us” by Martha Stout.
    New York : Broadway Books, 2005.
    4% of all people are born sociopaths/sciopaths/psychopaths. There is no cure because it is caused by a part of the brain simply being missing. A written test, the MMPI [Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory] can identify sociopaths before they cause destruction.

    Psychopaths in positions of power are a problem for us. They spend billions to prevent us from stopping GW. Why would they want to be in positions of power? Since they don’t care, they are easily bored.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Oct 2010 @ 2:55 AM

  209. > Nobody expected to find such a giant mess attached.

    A textbook example:

    Scientific Writing for Computer Science Students
    Wilhelmiina Hämäläinen
    Course material September 20, 2006
    Department of Computer Science
    University of Joensuu

    —-quote follows—–

    • If you express somebody else’s ideas by your own words, then put the
    reference immediately after the idea.
    • If you express somebody’s ideas by her/his own words, then it is a
    • If quotation marks ”…” are missing, it is called plagiarism!
    • As a rule of thumb: if you borrow more than 7 words, then use quota-
    tion marks.
    • If the citation is translated, then mention also the translator in refer-
    • If you add or dropp words, show it by [] or ….
    • If you emphasize words, mention it.
    • An example:
    Nykänen [Nyk03] remarks that unreferred citation is plagiarism (trans-
    lation and emphasis by the author): ”If you borrow more than seven
    words … from a text it [borrowing] is called literary theft.”

    —–end quote—–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Oct 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  210. Re #207

    Shouldn’t the reference to #210 be replaced with #201? [RC doesn’t do pre-cognition.]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Oct 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  211. Re: #209 Hank.

    Don’t you think those rules could be a bit onerous at times especially in educational and journalistic, as opposed to research, material?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Oct 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  212. Geoff, no, I think the limits of borrowing, plagiarism, and literary theft are clearly understood by writers these days. Taking other people’s work is no more tolerated in education than in literature or fiction.

    The excerpt I quoted from is from coursework for computer scientists — it’s one example of a straightforward explanation for people not coming from a background in writing about how to reuse other people’s work honestly. Take a look at the full document for context.

    Yes, much of what appears in many newspapers is simply copypasted from press releases without attribution. Take any science story in most newspapers and ‘oogle strings and you’ll find the same stuff many places, sliced and diced to fit the available space between the ads. But that’s not “journalism.” I’m sure you’ll find journalism schools teach similar rules.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Oct 2010 @ 12:37 PM

  213. #178 Snapple

    Many thanks for the link. I was going to ask what the betting is that Cuccinelli would end up in a right wing think tank but it looks like he has no financial need – tame reporters will help the story along. And when this episode falls on richly deserved stony ground expect Cuccinelli to do a “persecuted for my beliefs” routine.

    Comment by Mike Donald — 9 Oct 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  214. 293: Pearson.

    A good one. Now can you say something about the content? It’s clearly not impossible, so is this article crap or not and why? Thank you!


    Comment by will denayer — 9 Oct 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  215. will denayer (202, 214)

    It is crap.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 9 Oct 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  216. Re #209

    The first rule is the problematic one for teachers i.e.

    If you express somebody else’s ideas by your own words, then put the reference immediately after the idea.

    so the teacher writes a lot of text which follows

    …”on the shoulders of giants”.

    The quotes are right, now for the source Newton , now for the full reference.

    How about all those other giants invoked by the teacher in the text? Do they have to be mentioned explictly? Will the choice of references be non-controversial? Will the reader want them? Yes definitely,if (s)he is learning the history of the subject.

    That raises further issues; should references to text books and reviews be avoided? should the reference be to the first source? how far back does this advice go? These comprise a different topic (sorry) but they do come under the general area of accuracy.

    It is clear that secondary references should be allowed; but what if the cited author has broken the quoted rule and been unfair to the originator of the idea?

    How many times do you see the statement that the relative humidity is roughly independent of temperature, with no reference to Arrhenius?

    If you plot temperature against time do you have to provide a reference to Descarte for inventing rectangular coordinates?

    It is also quite common for the names of formulae or equations to be given instead of an attribution or reference and then to be unfair or wrong e.g. Clausius-Clapeyron instead of Carnot? Snell’s or Descarte’s or Hariot’s law instead of Ibn Sahl’s etc.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Oct 2010 @ 4:26 PM

  217. OT, politics north of the border.

    Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) in the news.

    “Villains who twirl their moustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged.”
    –Captain Picard, Star Trek, The Drumhead

    Comment by Radge Havers — 9 Oct 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  218. I don’t even agree with a lot of your global warming views, and I still think this guy should stand down. My sympathies that you have to go through this.

    Comment by Andrew Thompson — 9 Oct 2010 @ 7:20 PM

  219. Geoff, look at the source I quoted from and you’ll be reassured: that’s not about lecture notes or teacher’s lectures to classes, or blogging for that matter.

    That is an example of directions for citation specifically for computer science students, who are not native English speakers, and who will write a Master’s level thesis. Rules for that particular context.

    How each institution granting degrees explains this is of interest.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Oct 2010 @ 7:51 PM

  220. And more Cuccinelli today at the Washington Post.

    “But every mention of the outspoken attorney general drew loud applause, and some activists handed out ‘Cuccinelli for President’ lapel stickers.”

    Comment by Radge Havers — 9 Oct 2010 @ 8:46 PM

  221. I was simply replying to Susan’s implication that there is a good shot at winning the debate just because natural altruism will make it so (simplified for brevity with apologizes to Susan). If you all and Dr. Hamilton are (were) convinced of this strategy, go for it. I would suggest ain’t gonna happen.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Oct 2010 @ 8:49 PM

  222. I filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get a copy of the most recent CID. Cucchinelli’s office complied with that. I also asked for an estimate of the number of man-hours that Cucchinelli’s office has spent in the Cucchinelli v. U.Va. case. They refused to comply with that, claiming that they don’t keep records of such things. That seems far-fetched.

    I sent a copy of the response from Cucchinelli’s office to my local community newspaper, in the hopes of getting the word out about Cucchinelli’s abuse of power.

    Comment by Jim Cox — 9 Oct 2010 @ 10:15 PM

  223. Shouldn’t the reference to #210 be replaced with #201? [RC doesn’t do pre-cognition.]

    RC’s precognition worked pretty well in this case once you invoke the transitive property of chained references ;-)

    Comment by Lotharsson — 9 Oct 2010 @ 10:38 PM

  224. 220 Jim Cox — “They refused to comply with that, claiming that they don’t keep records of such things.”

    Lawyers who don’t keep track of their hours. Hmmmm…

    Comment by J Bowers — 9 Oct 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  225. #218 Hank.

    That is an example of directions for citation ……. a Master’s level thesis.


    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 10 Oct 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  226. USA Today notes:

    “‘Clearly, text was just lifted verbatim from my book and placed in the (Wegman) report,’ says [Raymond] Bradley, who is also one of the authors of the 1999 [“hockey stick”] Nature study. In response to earlier concerns raised by the Deep Climate website, Bradley says he wrote a letter in April to GMU, noting the possibility of plagiarism and demanding an investigation of both the 2006 report and a subsequent, federally-funded study published by some of Wegman’s students. ‘Talk about irony. It just seems surreal (that) these authors could criticize my work when they are lifting my words.'”—U.S.A. Today (10-8-10)

    I wonder if Dr. Wegman was under oath when he testified in Congress. If the research misconduct investigation finds deliberate dishonesty in the Wegman Report, he might be accused of lying to Congress/purjury.

    Cuccinelli yaks about “states’ rights” and Virginia’s revolutionary traditions; but he won’t answer my questions about his dad’s clients, even though I stupidly voted for him before I understood his true agenda.

    Virginians revolted because they didn’t like being ruled by European tyrants, not because the EPA was trying to protect us from global warming.

    Cuccinelli’s campaign gets money from his father’s advertising company.

    The father used to be an executive with the American Gas Association and now has an advertising company which touts the elder Cuccinelli’s history as a gas expert and his “European” clients. Cuccinelli’s financial patrons may include Russian gas companies, but the AG office won’t answer questions about the elder Cuccinelli’s clients.

    Cuccinelli can probably be stopped in court this time, but unless he can be recalled or disbarred, he will keep coming. He has the recources of his dad’s clients and the resources of the state of Virginia. Cuccinelli is a subversive who is attempting to purge independent scholars. He can loose in court but continue to make gains politically.

    Winning is court is not enough.

    The Russian gas companies are subverting European politicians, and they are probably starting that process here.

    “European” gas interests have a lot of money. The former CEO of Russia’s Gazprom is President Medvedev, and the Kremlin-financed media is sponsoring denialist propaganda. The fossil fuel companies in Russia are often partly state-owned, and they all must collaborate with the foreign intelligence service’s political operations.

    Scientists should not identify Christians with denialists. This is not true. The big denominations accept the science of global warming. If you bash Christians, you are playing into Cuccinelli’s hands.

    It would be better if scientists highlighted the efforts of Christian denominations to fight global warming. The theological reason is that Christians are supposed to be stewards of the Earth.

    Maybe scientists should be speaking at churches and inviting clergymen to your universities and government agencies.

    Religion is a very powerful political force for good or evil.

    Cuccinelli doesn’t just want to be governor, he wants to be President of the United States.

    Comment by Snapple — 10 Oct 2010 @ 8:08 AM

  227. 225 Snapple — “I wonder if Dr. Wegman was under oath when he testified in Congress.”

    Automatically assumed without a need to actually swear an oath, and it’s a criminal offence to lie to Congress, regardless, last I read. When you watch a Congressional hearing and the witnesses take oaths, I believe it’s not actually necessary and more for the TV age.

    Comment by J Bowers — 10 Oct 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  228. The few Wegman Report snippets I’ve seen alleging plagiarism do not, in my view, rise to the level of serious plagiarism, although they may deserve a scolding for the technical infraction of excessive verbatim copying. Why that infraction is minor rests on the nature of what was copied.

    One can plagiarize the thoughts and information originating from someone else, but the Report clearly attributes its content to Bradley, and does not pretend to have been the originator of the tree ring data that it presumes to assess.

    Plagiarism can also entail an attempt to claim credit for the way content is expressed. Here, the issue, as I see it, is how much credit is attributable to the very pedestrian declarative sentences describing the data – sentences that would seem to be a rather natural way to state the information by anyone wanting to write about it. I found nothing in the nature of the writing itself that was exceptionally creditable – it was not eloquent, inspirational, stylistically original or creative. If plagiarism implies an attempt to steal credit, what was there in the writing that was worth stealing? Of course, if one copies, without attribution, entire pages, one is also offering readers the logical narrative that comes from how each thought progresses to the next. That may deserve some credit, but in this case, the progression seemed clearly to be an attempt by the Report to follow the content as it was originally written by Bradley.

    The writers of the Report were careless, and by excessive verbatim copying, set a bad example for others who might emulate them while claiming undeserved credit for truly distinguished writing. That deserves some censure. On the basis of the items I’ve seen, I doubt that it deserves much more, but there may be additional evidence that supports a stronger case against Wegman than the few examples that so far have found their way into the news.

    Incidentally, I found both the content and the writing of Michael Mann’s WAPO piece to be very creditable.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 10 Oct 2010 @ 10:28 AM

  229. Fred Moolten:

    The few Wegman Report snippets I’ve seen alleging plagiarism do not, in my view, rise to the level of serious plagiarism, although they may deserve a scolding for the technical infraction of excessive verbatim copying.

    Can you back this up with an academic institution’s definition of “serious plagiarism” vs. “the technical infraction of excessive verbatim copying plagiarism”?

    I doubt it …

    reCAPTCHA suggests you’re “protecting pocres” …

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Oct 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  230. From email: “News just broke that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—one of the biggest sources of corporate cash backing Republicans this year—has been using money from foreign corporations in India, Bahrain, and elsewhere to fund its attack ads, in apparent violation of the law.” It references:

    Snapple: If you can trace money from Russia to Ken Cuccinelli with hard evidence, that would be an interesting case.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Oct 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  231. I liked Dr. Mann’s letter in the Washington Post, too. Cuccinelli is barking up the wrong tree if he thinks he can intimidate Dr. Mann!

    Before I read anything about climate science, I assumed there was actually a scientific debate about global warming; but as soon as I began to look at what the scientific organizations like the NAS said, I realized that denialists really were mouthpieces for the fossil fuel industry who were trying to fool me.

    High school textbooks discuss global warming a lot. The textbooks even have windmills on them! This wouldn’t happen if the science weren’t well accepted because many scholars write textbooks.

    There was even a scientist at Princeton named Happer who testified in Congress, but he didn’t provide evidence or footnotes. Happer’s testimony showed me denialism was fake. After his testimony, Dr. Happer let the SPPI add footnotes to his paper. Many of the footnotes cited the non-scientist Lord Monckton!

    I saw that last winter before Copenhagen the Kremlin-financed satellite channel Russia Today used Lord Monckton to propagate the Russian line on global warming. Monckton speaks English and is a nobleman, so the Kremlin propaganda agencies know he will seem credible. Pravda also calls global warming a “hoax” by greedy, dishonest scientists. If you follow Russian politics as I do, you have heard that KGB cliche about the greedy dishonest scientists pretty often. Stalin’s “Doctors’ Plot” and the KGB’s AIDS propaganda are good examples.

    I don’t have a Ph.D., and I never took physics; but didn’t just fall off the back of the turnip truck, either. I have read Congressional testimony by scholars before, and they put real evidence and research in their own footnotes. I thought Dr. Happer’s behavior lacked integrity, even though he is at Princeton.

    Dr. Happer testified that there is global warming but that the effects of increased CO2 will be beneficial to mankind. Dr. Happer did not address the research of other scientists about the harmful effects of increased CO2. His official testimony doesn’t include footnotes to support his “scientific” opinions and is sprinkled with irrelevant, silly, historical analogies that don’t really have anything to do with global warming. Happer seemed to think that saying he was from Princeton was enough, but his testimony was not what I would expect of a Princeton professor.

    The footnotes (often from Monckton) were added to that paper by the SPPI after he testified.


    “Why Did Dr. Will Happer Let the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) Add Footnotes to His February 25, 2009 Senate Testimony?”

    Comment by Snapple — 10 Oct 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  232. Radge Havers tells us “But every mention of the outspoken attorney general drew loud applause, and some activists handed out ‘Cuccinelli for President’ lapel stickers.”

    Yes, there’s a certain contingent in the electorate for whom rejection of reality is a badge of honor.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Oct 2010 @ 1:08 PM

  233. Fred Moolten writes:

    “The few Wegman Report snippets I’ve seen alleging plagiarism do not, in my view, rise to the level of serious plagiarism…”

    The reported allegations are pretty serious. They reportedly include the charge of fabrication.

    USA Today notes:

    “GMU spokesman Daniel Walsch confirms that the university, located in Fairfax, Va., is now investigating allegations that the Wegman report was partly plagiarized and contains fabrications. Last month, a 250-page report on the Deep Climate website written by computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif., raised some of these concerns. Mashey says his analysis shows that 35 of the 91 pages in the 2006 Wegman report are plagiarized (with some of the text taken from a book, Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, by Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts) and contain erroneous citations of data, as well.”

    Maybe the scholars at GMU who are on the committee to investigate the research misconduct will publish their findings.

    Comment by Snapple — 10 Oct 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  234. Radge Havers, your post #219 is accurate but misleading. The positive response to Cuccinelli at that rally likely had nothing to do with his suit(s) against Mann.

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Oct 2010 @ 1:21 PM

  235. Fred Moolten:

    Plagiarism can also entail an attempt to claim credit for the way content is expressed. Here, the issue, as I see it, is how much credit is attributable to the very pedestrian declarative sentences describing the data – sentences that would seem to be a rather natural way to state the information by anyone wanting to write about it. I found nothing in the nature of the writing itself that was exceptionally creditable – it was not eloquent, inspirational, stylistically original or creative. If plagiarism implies an attempt to steal credit, what was there in the writing that was worth stealing?

    Unlike property theft, the seriousness of plagiarism doesn’t rest upon the “worth” (eloquence, creativity, etc) of the writing that’s been stolen. From the same source:

    Plagiarists steal good stuff and they steal garbage.

    And, just for humor’s sake, sometimes they plagiarize when writing about plagiarism:

    the New York Times’ Fox Butterfield, [who] rooked several paragraphs of a Boston Globe story—a story about plagiarism

    Nor does providing a reference to the source material get one off the hook, if it isn’t properly cited and/or quoted.

    For instance:

    Stephen Ambrose handled his first plagiarism scandal of the week with the graceful humility you’d expect from America’s Uncle History. Over the weekend, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes nailed Ambrose for heisting several passages of The Wild Blue, his recent best seller about World War II B-24 bomber crews, from historian Thomas Childers. Ambrose had footnoted Childers but still passed off Childers’ elegant prose as his own. Ambrose apologized immediately for the “mistake,” blamed it on faulty attribution, and promised to place the text in quotations in future editions.

    Note that unlike Wegman, Ambrose quickly owned up to his sin, and promised to make amends (and, no, the appearance of the word “elegant” in describing Childers’ prose is not the basis of the charge).

    Of course, Ambrose may’ve been hoping that his quick admittance of sin might cause people to treat this as a one-off “mistake”, rather than a pattern of behavior, but he was wrong.

    Like Wegman and his graduate students, Ambrose was exposed as a serial plagiarist.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Oct 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  236. > oath
    Amateur opinions, including mine, aren’t going to matter.

    This story describes a “19 page indictment” charging “… making false statements, … perjury and … obstruction of Congress”

    My hunch: a witness who does not take the oath doesn’t risk a perjury charge.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Oct 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  237. 231 Ray

    233 Rod
    Hardly misleading. I offered no comment other than the pull quote. Given the way things are going these days, the disturbing thing about that is, in my view, imagining that he could end up as President– where he would be in an even stronger position to launch attacks on science. I left the comment short so that anyone reading it could draw their own conclusion, my own view being fairly trivial and the assumptions people make when commenting so often being revealing.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 10 Oct 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  238. [OT – please, no more]

    Comment by Snapple — 10 Oct 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  239. Fine, but check out pages 15-16 in Cuccinelli’s legal document against the EPA.

    He is citing the Russian economist Andrei Illarionov’s Russian Institute for Economic Analysis–the IEA:

    “On December 15, 2009—the very day that EPA announced the Endangerment Finding—the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis (“IEA”) reported that CRU probably tampered with Russian climate data and that the Russian meteorological station data do not support human-caused global warming……” etc

    Illarionov is an adviser to the Cato Institute and a “former adviser” to Putin and to Chernomyrdin, the former head of the Soviet Gas Ministry. Supposedly he had a “falling out” with Putin. Most people who fall out with Putin don’t make such graceful landings.

    The legal document also cites RIA Novosti, which is the official government news service.

    This summer while NASA was helping them spot hundreds of fires, the government line changed and RIA Novosti reported that Medvedev confirmed global warming.

    Cuccinelli failed to cite reputable Russian scientists who say there is global warming, but he cited only official Russian government sources.

    Comment by Snapple — 10 Oct 2010 @ 5:03 PM

  240. There is a lot of very complicated information about Wegman’s alleged research misconduct in this 250-page report titled “Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report.”

    Probably the GMU investigation of Wegman is looking at some of these issues.

    Comment by Snapple — 11 Oct 2010 @ 6:05 AM

  241. 240 Snapple: Hat’s off to John Mashey! Kudos to John Mashey. Well done!

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 11 Oct 2010 @ 8:01 AM

  242. To Dhogaza (229, 235) and Snapple (233) –

    I haven’t seen the evidence regarding fabrication, but the plagiarism charge strikes me as unworthy of very vigorous prosecution, based on the examples in the news media.

    The reason I see the charge as rather trivial (and unlikely to result in more than a scolding if the cited examples are representative) is that there seems to be little evidence that the Wegman Report writers were trying to steal credit for anything, which is the moral essence of plagiarism. If there is no attempt to steal, and if the original writer (Bradley) is deprived of nothing of value, a charge of serious plagiarism will be hard to sustain.

    The report clearly attributes its content to Bradley, and then recapitulates much of that content as background for its analysis. In so doing, the writers often copied some passages verbatim or nearly so from Bradley, but it is a stretch to believe that they were trying to get away with a dishonest effort to earn undeserved credit for their writing skills. Rather, they were mainly careless and willing to cut corners. It would have been more circumspect either to paraphrase every statement or to separate out each of the verbatim citations in quotation marks (although it would have been somewhat cumbersome, considering the number of both copied and non-copied passages). One can argue that the writers should have taken more time and trouble, but I doubt that their failure in that regard deserves a severe penalty inflicted by the law or by the University.

    If one looks at well established examples of plagiarism in the scientific or literary sphere, they differ significantly from the current case. Often, they involve false implications that the plagiarist originated the thoughts or data that were presented. When it is only the writing itself that is involved rather than the content, the verbatim copying of passages from elsewhere is almost inevitably an issue when the passages exhibited some particular literary skill, style or flourish. Merely stating facts in a straightforward way is rarely by itself grounds for a plagiarism charge that sticks, if the statements are very much what anyone would write to describe the given facts. If yesterday’s newspaper stated that the “high temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit and the low temperature was 58 degrees Fahrenheit”, and I later write the same statement, word for word, in a local community column without attribution, I won’t be seen as trying to steal anything and I doubt that the Weather Channel will sue me for plagiarism. I’m unaware of successful plagiarism suits based exclusively on the issue of copying when what is copied is simply a straightforward description of factual content, and when the content is appropriately attributed to its originator. Can such an example by cited?

    You asked me, Dhogaza, about institutional definitions of plagiarism. Having worked in academic institutions for many years, I’m very familiar with the task these institutions face, and I concur with their attempts to write rules that minimize the latitude given to writers to write in a way that might constitute plagiarism. These rules are sometimes quite rigid, but that is appropriate when it’s impossible to micromanage every piece of writing within the institution. For this reason, I suggested above that a “technical” infraction might be seen in the Wegman Report. What I did not see was evidence of dishonesty. My guess (it’s only that), is that when the dust settles, that perspective will be the one that prevails.

    Given that prospect, I recommend that we avoid excessive denunciations of actions that don’t deserve very harsh criticism. Otherwise, we risk appearing vindictive and unfair, and in the end, we will be the losers for it. What later emerges in the form of additional evidence will be another matter.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 11 Oct 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  243. Here is an interesting snip from Dr. Mashey’s document. He puts this line in bold: “Congress and the DoJ should investigate the manufacture of the Wegman Report.”

    [Mashey’s] Recommendations.
    George Mason University ought to investigate many problems, as should several other universities and journals, the US Office of Research Integrity and perhaps the American Statistical Association (ethics issues). At least 4 agencies may have possible fund mis-uses to consider. Some authors or publishers might pursue copyright issues. Congress and the DoJ should investigate the manufacture of the Wegman Report. Possible felonies are covered by the US Code, 18.U.S.C §1001 (misleading Congress), §371 (conspiracy), §4 (misprision), which might involve many more people.
    The report lists about 30 issues, not all for Wegman Report itself, but including derivations and related activities.

    Comment by Snapple — 11 Oct 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  244. Fred Moolten, I have two examples of potential dishonesty:
    1. Bradley was cited in some places, but not for most of the sections that were copied almost verbatim. Why?

    2. There were some, textually speaking minor, changes in the cited text. Some of those changes introduced errors, some outright distortions. The same actually happened with the “summaries” of several articles (they were also mostly verbatim copies of the abstracts), in one case, IIRC, turning around the conclusion of that paper.

    Anyone know who hazzerer Kevin is? He’s in the recaptcha and wants out.

    Comment by Marco — 11 Oct 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  245. You asked me, Dhogaza, about institutional definitions of plagiarism. Having worked in academic institutions for many years, I’m very familiar with the task these institutions face, and I concur with their attempts to write rules that minimize the latitude given to writers to write in a way that might constitute plagiarism. These rules are sometimes quite rigid, but that is appropriate when it’s impossible to micromanage every piece of writing within the institution. For this reason, I suggested above that a “technical” infraction might be seen in the Wegman Report. What I did not see was evidence of dishonesty. My guess (it’s only that), is that when the dust settles, that perspective will be the one that prevails.

    And the repeated plagiarism by a doctoral student who had Wegman as her thesis advisor?

    You’ll let her skate, too?

    The plagiarism charge may be trivial in your view, however GMU has clarified that they’ve moved beyond the inquiry phase into the investigatory phase (since you’re fond of courts, from grand jury indictment to trial, as an analogy). Clearly GMU is treating this seriously.

    Note also that plagiarism is only one of many problems covered by Mashey in his 250 page investigation.

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Oct 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  246. Re 245 – Rather than repeat myself, I would refer to my previous comments (242, 228) to explain why I perceive the plagiarism charges to be relatively inconsequential, reflecting shoddy scholarhsip rather than deliberate dishonesty.

    I’m not sure it’s worth more column inches here for further exchanges of opinions on this issue. Readers can review what’s been said and make their own judgments. However, I will tentatively predict that the final result of the investigation will be to scold Wegman and/or his grad students for their bad scholarship but to find them innocent of deliberate dishonesty. In other words, I expect the conclusions to be, “You were careless and sloppy, but you’re not cheaters.” In any case, we’ll see what transpires.

    My comments refer exclusively to examples I’ve seen in the news media. I make no judgment about other allegations in Mashey’s report, because I haven’t read it. More generally, though, I expect it’s a tactical mistake to focus on Wegman and thereby dilute the focus on Cuccinelli, who appears to be a demagogue trying to intimidate scientists in order to further his political ambitions. Wegman is much less vulnerable to charges of deliberate wrongdoing, and shifting the focus to him may backfire. I believe most objective observers will be sympathetic to our condemnation of what Cuccinelli is doing, but may conclude we’re being too harsh on Wegman, even if he is not immune to criticism.

    [Response: Fred, I don’t necessarily disagree with your take on ‘likely outcomes’, but I do object to the implication that there is some ‘strategy’ involved here. Scientists are simply defending themselves against attacks, not doing ‘strategic planning.’ So even if you are right about what the ‘strategy’ ought to be, it won’t have much impact, since there is no grand strategy! Perhaps we ought to be organized — as the anti-science crowd certainly appears to be — but the truth is, that we are not, whatever the attempts to tell the public we are (with their persistent use of the word ‘Team” for example).–eric]

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 11 Oct 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  247. Fred Moolten says, \The reason I see the charge as rather trivial (and unlikely to result in more than a scolding if the cited examples are representative) is that there seems to be little evidence that the Wegman Report writers were trying to steal credit for anything, which is the moral essence of plagiarism.\

    While I agree that I really don’t want to see this pursued to its end, I would point out that Wegman did have reason to hide the extent to which he relied on Bradley, et al. He did not want people to see how ignorant he was of his subject matter. He was being put forward by M&M among others as an expert.

    Wegman’s effort smells. Deep Climate and John Mashey have identified many troubling aspects to the report. Unfortunately, I rather doubt anything will come of it. I am sure Wegman and his collaborators had access to sufficient funds to consult attorneys and so stayed just this side of legal.

    It bothers me that science is even having to play such silly games to defend itself.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Oct 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  248. Fred Moolten: a “technical” infraction is usually just an isolated case, not a systemic problem. If repeated technical infractions (almost too many to count) don’t constitute dishonesty, then it must be a *serious* case of incompetence.

    But technical or not, plagiarism is plagiarism – and usually something tenured Professors can get away with with impunity, as you so unsubtly (and rightly) imply. Someone earlier mentioned disinfecting sunlight. That is what we have here: with the media watching, GMU can’t do the usual academic wrist-slap cover-up.

    Undergraduates get kicked out for plagiarism on this scale. I see no reason why the same standard should not apply to everyone.

    Fred Moolten, given your comments, I strongly suspect that you haven’t looked at the reams of evidence that John has provided. Yes, if you just take one sentence that was copied in isolation, the similarity could arguably be coincidental. But when it continues for paragraph after paragraph, the evidence becomes damning.

    Why *haven’t* you read John Mashey’s report, before making such strong and baseless claims?

    [Response: Umm. guys, seems to me that there are a lot of opinions forming here on the basis of insufficient knowledge. I agree that Moolten is writing without really understanding the issues very well, but now I must ask you, Didactylos, where you get the idea that there is usually an “academic wrist-slap cover-up” for plagiarism, or that professors can ‘get away’ with anything. My one experience with this has been that questions start getting asked immediately by University administrators, even when the charges are trumped-up falsehoods perpetuated by people with a track record of harassment of anyone they disgree with. Enough speculation on all sides, okay?–eric]

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Oct 2010 @ 3:20 PM

  249. Monday, October 11th 2010, 2:21 PM EDT Co2sceptic (Site Admin) Ninety legal challenges in the US against the global warming fraud are bolstered by an increase in the number of top scientists now prepared to speak out.

    Hal Lewis ???

    [Response:Never heard of him. A quick search on Web of Science gives 6 citations, 3 of them political opinion pieces about nuclear energy, and one a complaint about IPCC co-written with Fred Singer. Hmm.-eric]

    Comment by Bob Conklin — 11 Oct 2010 @ 4:11 PM

  250. Fred Moolten:
    Maybe Wegman wasn’t trying to take credit for Bradley’s ideas, but he altered them to try and scre Mann.

    The scenario I see is as follows:
    The word comes down to Barton from the brothers Grimm that an attack on Mann is necessary. All that lovely coal money you see.

    Inside a smoky senate backroom the bourbon is poured and Wegs gets the job. Cash for a hatchet job on Mann. No pressure, just produce a document we can use. t doesn’t have to be good, who’e ever going to read it. But it has to be long enough to appear scholarly. Here is the info we want included. It is from a Canadian mining promoter ( remember Briex) .

    A couple of GMU underlings, glad for the coal cash do a quick web search, cut, paste and pad and bingo A REPORT.

    Careless to the point of unethical the saving grace was the fact that the Wegman report was so poor it got little scrutiny. Put the trash out, do not go through it.

    Mashey may be a dumpster diver, but he is an invaluable dumpster diver. What is more interesting is the intervention of Ritson. A man with the understanding of the subject and the math and statistic skills undemonstrated by Wegman, he sees mistakes.

    This would not be the first time . McIntyre comeon down.

    Comment by John McManus — 11 Oct 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  251. Re 245 – Rather than repeat myself, I would refer to my previous comments (242, 228) to explain why I perceive the plagiarism charges to be relatively inconsequential, reflecting shoddy scholarhsip rather than deliberate dishonesty.

    I’m not sure it’s worth more column inches here for further exchanges of opinions on this issue. Readers can review what’s been said and make their own judgments. However, I will tentatively predict that the final result of the investigation will be to scold Wegman and/or his grad students for their bad scholarship but to find them innocent of deliberate dishonesty. In other words, I expect the conclusions to be, “You were careless and sloppy, but you’re not cheaters.” In any case, we’ll see what transpires.

    And how would the GMU Honor Committee be able to deal with the next plagiarism case that comes to them when the student charged says in his defense that “I was careless and sloppy, but I’m not a cheater”? Ironically I believe that Cuccinelli was chairman of the Honor Committee during his time at GMU.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 11 Oct 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  252. Well, here is the 250-page document. It is tough going. Dr. Mashey is a famous computer expert who may have compared original and plagiarized texts on a computer. He puts the texts alongside each other and shows the similarities and the changes with different colors.

    Sometimes the plagiarism is changed so it means something different. That’s probably the falsification.

    Mashey claims:

    “Of 91 pages, 35 are mostly plagiarized, but injected with biases, errors or changed meanings that often weaken or invert original results. Some might thus also be called fabrication.”

    These are not trivial errors. A teenager would know this was wrong.

    Probably many of these allegations will be put before the committe of professors.

    Wegman allegedly gave his name to this project to give it credibility, but a Congressional aid allegedly put the papers together.

    According to Dr. Mashey,

    “Congress and the DoJ should investigate the manufacture of the Wegman Report.”


    “Barton staffer Peter Spencer selected the team‘s papers or passed them from those behind the PR campaign, local ―thinktanks‖ or close allies.”

    What is really goofy is that the Report extensively plagiarized Bradley, who was an author of the two “hockey stick” papers that the Wegman Report is trying to discredit!

    Comment by Snapple — 11 Oct 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  253. Eric: it was an article I read a year or two back, making the point that universities tend to deal with complaints, including plagiarism claims, quietly, internally, and with no visible effects.

    However, I think the article focussed on complaints that were dealt with at the department level. It may be unfair of me to imply that universities attempt a white-wash once an administrative enquiry has been opened.

    It is possible I misremember – I can’t find the original article. Obviously, these are blanket statements. They don’t apply equally to all institutions.

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Oct 2010 @ 4:53 PM

  254. > Hal Lewis
    that would be Harold W., who recently resigned from APS over climate change; that resignation letter is copied all over the place; here’s one:

    “This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it…. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst….”

    His work goes back a ways.
    Oral history (1986):
    He was part of the JASONs group

    [Response: Hmm. Yes, I found that he published a bit, 50 years ago. Not exactly evidence of his being up on current affairs.–eric]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Oct 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  255. Fred Moolten: the alleged level of plagiarism is not a “technical” infraction. I’ve had a student expelled for less. And this is in Australia, where the academic code is less strictly enforced in my experience than in most top US universities. It is also possible in this country for an academic to be fired for this sort of infraction, a rare event here. To the public who are more concerned with whether the right policy decisions are made, it may seem “technical” vs. getting the facts wrong or citing a reference to make the opposite point to the original (and it seems he did those too), but to an academic, this is highly reprehensible conduct. If the charges stand, this is a firing offence.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 11 Oct 2010 @ 5:33 PM

  256. #254–On advice from my academic superior, the guilty students in two similar incidents for which I was instructor of record got by with additional work and loss of credit.

    But there’s a considerable difference between a minor paper for an elective course at the undergrad level, and a semi-official report for the minority Congressional delegation, with policy implications at the national level.

    Or so I would have thought.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Oct 2010 @ 7:30 PM

  257. Here’s the latest on the George Mason University plagiarism investigation. Apparently, a full seven months after Ray Bradley’s initial letter of complaint, GMU has finally passed through the preliminary “inquiry” stage and has initiated a full-blown plagiarism investigation.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 11 Oct 2010 @ 7:57 PM

  258. In my view, Wegman’s former Ph.D. problems in their search for finding jobs. They may get hit both from their own involvement as well as their advisor’s reputation.

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 11 Oct 2010 @ 8:02 PM

  259. [edit]Never mind. We could argue this endlessly to no conclusion. Rather, I will repeat my prediction (admittedly tentative) that GMU will see things the way I have described, and will chastise Wegman and/or the grad students for poor scholarship but will clear them of dishonesty or cheating. In essence, we’ll find out how it ends sooner or later, and others can then decide whose perspective was shared within the GMU investigation, which will be an important source ultimately of the outside world’s perspective on the matter.

    I don’t know whether Wegman et al are guilty of infractions more serious than the cited examples of plagiarism. If so, then maybe these individuals deserve to be discredited. To me, this is less important than the need to discredit the vile behavior of Cuccinelli, who is a danger if left unimpeded. Whatever the Wegman outcome, I doubt it will be definitive, but the outcome of Cuccinelli’s machination could be disastrous, and I suggest we focus our attention on that danger.

    [Response: Fred: The point is that it is actually is quite clear that the issue here is not ‘simply’ plagiarism. Plagiarism is one thing. Changing the meaning of the plagiarised material so that it still sounds authoritative (Bradley is a very good writer) but supports an opposite (false) point of view is another level. That’s what the concern is. As for Cuccinelli — well, there we are clearly in total agreement. ’nuff said.–eric]

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 11 Oct 2010 @ 8:23 PM

  260. Harold Lewis has written some books since his publishing days, notably one in 1990 that seeks to downplay human-caused environmental risks, while chastizing environmentalists. He lends praise to a contrarian biologist who believes pesticides aren’t harmful.

    So he seemed stuck on the notion that most human-caused health/environmental were nil to minimal. A preview of his book online reveals that he believed the climate threat (if any) was many decades down the road and shouldn’t be addressed through mitigation.

    With the mounting evidence on global warming over the last couple of decades, he was faced with either conceding he may have been wrong, thus undermining past statements, or declaring everyone’s in on a grand scam. He’s chosen the latter. It’s sad.

    Comment by MarkB — 11 Oct 2010 @ 8:41 PM

  261. How do you pronounce “Cuccinelli”? Is it Cukinelli or Cuchinelli with a c as in cello?

    Eric: It seems to me that a strategy would be helpful, if unscientific. For example, has a petition to sign to get the Department of Justice to investigate foreign money in US politics.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Oct 2010 @ 9:34 PM

  262. I am mystified that people offer opinions on a 250-page report, having only read about it elsewhere. Unfortunately, the intertangled problems were far too messy to do the Cliff Notes version.

    There is an odd comparison with surface temperatures, in that the overall *pattern* is far more important than any single issue, although some are pretty egregious standalone.
    Some of the errors are incompetence, because no one would purposefully change “statuses” to “statues” and even undergrad cut-and-pasters know to change “we” to “they.”

    The pattern only merged when I was part way through the Summaries, and started categorizing the issues. See the table on pp.193-195 of SSWR, and check out any of them in context, especially the capital B’s. There were more elsewhere, although I didn’t make a table of them. If I were to redo it, I’d have done Issues like Memes, so they showed up in the Index.
    On p.22 there is a section-by-section Summary, with Errors, mean changes and Biases at right. It’s a slight undercount, as I didn’t try to sort out the issues in DC’s pages (2.1-2.3), but then, people may disagree with any of them. Throw out the lowercase ones, there are still too many. The Summaries were laced with subtle to not-so-subtle bias, some of which may well rise to fabrication. On pp.193-195, see the items labeled both C and B.

    Comment by John Mashey — 11 Oct 2010 @ 9:57 PM

  263. #257

    In his response, Eric Steig said “The issue is not simply plagiarism”.

    Exactly. Wegman et al recycled Bradley, mostly verbatim, but somehow key statements got changed. Here is possibly the most egregious example:

    Bradley on calibration:

    If an equation can be developed that accurately describes instrumentally observed climatic variability in terms of tree growth over the same interval, then paleoclimatic reconstructions can be made using only the tree-ring data.

    Wegman et al (immediately following passages clearly derived from Bradley):

    As pointed out earlier, many different sets of climatic conditions can and do yield similar tree ring profiles. Thus tree ring proxy data alone is not sufficient to determine past climate variables.

    I raised this issue from the beginning:

    It’s unconscionable that Wegman et al copied and then distorted Bradley’s text in order to attack him.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 11 Oct 2010 @ 10:42 PM

  264. Just a quick heads-up. Congressman Joe Barton has just responded to Michael Mann’s WP column (linky

    Well-informed folks are more than encouraged to wander on over there to set the record straight in the comments section.

    Comment by caerbannog — 12 Oct 2010 @ 12:19 AM

  265. Fred Moolten:

    I both agree and disagree with your comments on having to focus on Cuccinelli. Yes, he’s behavior is more appalling and dangerous than that of Wegman, but remember that Cuccinelli’s CID relies heavily on…the Wegman report!

    Comment by Marco — 12 Oct 2010 @ 1:30 AM

  266. EG 260,

    It’s my understanding that in Italian, C followed by A, O or U is hard, but followed by I or E is a “tch” sound.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Oct 2010 @ 4:58 AM

  267. Eric, in your comment in #258 Fred Moolten: what you say applies equally to Ian Plimer’s book, yet when I asked the University of Adelaide to investigate him for potential misconduct, I was favoured with this reply from the vice-chancellor (university president in the US system):

    The University acknowledges that individual staff members may express their
    opinions or interpretation of scientific data and research in their area of
    expertise. The University feels that this issue, which may be perceived as
    controversial, is an accepted part of the freedom of debate in higher

    No one is accusing him of plagiarism, but he certainly has been accused of wide-scale fabrication and mis-citing references.

    Contrast this with my earlier Australia stories.

    I have “grand-jury” in my captcha …

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 12 Oct 2010 @ 6:37 AM

  268. caerbannog (#262): When you type a URL in comment, you need to add a space at the end of it. The blog software of added an ending parenthesis to the WaPo URL you gave. The correct URL is

    Joe Barton’s lame comment on Dr Mann:

    Comment by Fred Lua — 12 Oct 2010 @ 8:00 AM

  269. Barton’s comment is indeed sad, but it reflects the sort of idiocy that prevails in much of the American electorate.

    The peer-reviewed scientific journals are the appropriate venue for challenging any research, including that of Dr. Mann, as it insures that the questions are raised by those conversant with the science rather than by ignorant food tubes.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Oct 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  270. #260, 264–

    Yes, if Cuccinelli follows regular Italian conventions (not always the case in Italian-American surnames), it should be “Cooch-i-nelly.” (Cf., “Puccini.”)

    But who’d want to be “kook-i-nelly?”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Oct 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  271. FYI, John Mashey has replied to Barton’s piece over at the WP. Here is his comment, reproduced in full:

    I allege that Joe Barton organized an effort to mislead Congress, 18USC1001, 18USC371 in manufacturing the Wegman Report.
    It was claimemd to be “independent, impartial, expert”‖ work by a team of “eminent statisticians.”

    It was managed by Barton Staffer Peter Spencer, it has numerous cases of bias, 35 of the 91 pages are mostly plagiarism filled with errors. More than half of it was put together by someone less than one year past PhD (Yasmin Said) plus help from grad students. The 2nd author, David Scott, wrote only a 3-page mathematical appendix, was barely involved. Basically, this “eminent” team was Wegamn plus his students. This was represented as being “like” an NRC report.


    George Mason University, despite every attempt to foot-drag, is finally starting to investigate the first of many problems for Wegman.

    Comment by caerbannog — 12 Oct 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  272. OT – just a little heads up on the Hal Lewis non-story, but he appears to have his own wiki page now. Somebody with wiki editing privileges may want to go over and review and edit it for ‘clarity’. Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 12 Oct 2010 @ 3:44 PM

    Short-lived greenhouse gases and black-carbon aerosols have contributed to past climate warming. Curbing their emissions and quantifying the forcing by all short-lived components could both mitigate climate change in the short term and help to refine projections of global warming.

    Comment by Some Body — 12 Oct 2010 @ 4:38 PM

  274. Absolutely incredible. You have to wonder what motivates such people. Ignorance? Check. Lack of integrity? Check (in the case of the most vociferous deniers, like the ones at Planet Gore). Free market ideology? Check. Money interests? Check, check, and check. But maybe something else, at least unconsciously: The consequences of anthropogenic global warming refute, in effect, the last book of the Bible. There, the world ends with a bang, at the behest of the Antichrist. With unchecked global warming, the world ends not with a bang but a whimper, at the behest of Mother Earth. The whole endtimes scenario in the Book of Revelation (and only in that “outlier” of a book) rings false in the light of anthropogenic global warming and its planetary consequences.

    Comment by Ken Zaretzke — 12 Oct 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  275. Ken Z,

    I don’t want to have to say this again!

    You must not attend church or you would not make such an uninformed and prejudiced comment about religion. Christians aren’t talking about Revelation in connection with global warming. They are talking about the Biblical injunction to be good stewards to the Earth.

    The leadership of major religous organizations, such as Catholics and Evangelicals, accept global warming. Cuccinelli, a Catholic, is going against the Vatican and what is taught in science in Catholic schools; and it wouldn’t hurt to mention this.

    Galileo was a long time ago, guys. In Catholic school, the science books have windmills on the covers, and posters of Al Gore’s movie are plastered on the wall.

    The denialists may have some success falsely claiming religious authority with ignorant people who don’t know their denomination’s stance on global warming. Does that mean you have to repeat denialist propaganda?

    Do not turn this into religion vs science.

    It might be smart–and also truthful–to emphasize that educated religious people support the scientific consensus on global warming because the Bible says that man is supposed to be a good steward of the Earth. That’s what clergymen say in church about global warming. They don’t say anything about Revelation!

    Fossil fuel interests are fooling people, especially in Russia where the big gas monopolies are owned by the old communist ATHEISTS who always owned everything!
    That’s why the Russians are singing the Libertarian tune about how great it is to be a selfish atheist like Ayn Rand.

    Here is the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations:

    “The scientific evidence for global warming and for humanity’s role in the increase of greenhouse gasses becomes ever more unimpeachable, as the IPCC findings are going to suggest; and such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well. The consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but in the entire socio-economic system and, as seen in the findings of numerous reports already available, they will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk…Many of the most vulnerable societies, already facing energy problems, rely upon agriculture, the very sector most likely to suffer from climatic shifts.”—Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, H.E. MSGR. Celestino Migliore (5-10-07)

    Comment by Snapple — 12 Oct 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  276. I often ask Cuccinelli’s deputy W. Russell if the Holy Father, who believes in global warming, is a money-grubbing fabricator who is perpetrating a hoax.

    He doesn’t answer.

    Scientists should not be gullible and spread the denialist memes about religious people being in the denialist camp. You help the other side when you do this because then some religious people think you are attacking religion. And you are.

    Talk about how the churches and the scientists are trying to be good stewards of the Earth.

    Recently, when the Pope was in England, he took his global warming expert with him.
    Did anyone pay attention to this? The Vatican leaders are not a bunch of morons.
    Did you see what John Paul did with the Polish trade union Solidarity?

    The Guardian reports:

    The Foreign Office said the Vatican had “a proactive stance” on the environment the Pope’s visit would “reposition the issue of climate change not just as a matter of economics and energy security, but also one of social justice, stewardship of the natural world and of fundamental import to the peaceful coexistence of man”.

    During the visit, the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, met with Cardinal Turkson, the Vatican lead on climate change. However no announcements have been made about what was discussed…

    The Vatican has taken steps to green its energy supply. The roof of the Paul VI auditorium carries 2,700 solar panels – a gift worth $1.5m (£940,000) from the German company Solar World. Another wealthy donor paid for trees to be planted in a Hungarian national park to offset all of the Vatican’s carbon emissions.

    In 2014 the Vatican will open its €500m 100-megawatt solar power plant. This will make Vatican City, the world’s smallest country, the first in the world to be powered solely by renewables. Excess solar electricity will be exported across its borders into Italy, where it will be used to power 40,000 homes. Based on the current feed-in tariff, electricity produced by the plant could earn the Vatican €57m (£49m) a year, according to estimates by the UK firm Solar Century.

    Comment by Snapple — 12 Oct 2010 @ 9:09 PM

  277. Between 271 and 272 I have a comment stuck in moderation.

    Comment by Snapple — 13 Oct 2010 @ 4:22 AM

  278. KZ 271: The consequences of anthropogenic global warming refute, in effect, the last book of the Bible. There, the world ends with a bang, at the behest of the Antichrist. With unchecked global warming, the world ends not with a bang but a whimper, at the behest of Mother Earth. The whole endtimes scenario in the Book of Revelation (and only in that “outlier” of a book) rings false in the light of anthropogenic global warming and its planetary consequences.

    BPL: You assume the population crash coming due to AGW will end the world. It ain’t necessarily so. The species will survive; just not advanced civilization.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Oct 2010 @ 4:31 AM

  279. Very good comment by John Mashey over at the Washington Post
    TimothyChase has also written a couple of good acounts especially in his 2nd comment (12th.Oct.)

    Perhaps one day the Guardian and BBC comments sections will get comparable informed help.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 13 Oct 2010 @ 5:18 AM

  280. Snapple Re: avoidance of religious stereotyping.

    An even stronger example; John Houghton

    Comment by deconvoluter — 13 Oct 2010 @ 5:27 AM

  281. Sorry, I read all comments eventually but have been busy elsewhere. My original extract about self-interest departed from the point that interests me, which is that possessiveness and greed have come to be regarded as virtues and education and knowledge as obstacles in the path of the most acquisitive.

    Unfortunately, people less knowledgeable about history and the big picture, as well as science, have ready access to propaganda to confirm their bias. Money from the fabulously successful is being deployed to promote ignorance. Koch and Cuccinelli are just one tentacle of this monstrous beast.

    By quoting (and though I did attribute, I see I was a little too sketchy) a section of the article, I seem to have provided material for a different discussion.

    We are becoming deficient in the golden rule, empathy, compassion, and agape as unfettered materialism captures the prejudices of those who think tantrums will accomplish goals.

    Since religion has been mentioned (I hesitated to introduce this distracting area) it is important to note that a true reading of most religious texts does include stewardship and does not include wealth as an indication of spiritual accomplishment and approval. However, all too many people believe in a god made in their own image, no matter how often they claim it is the reverse.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 13 Oct 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  282. I’m glad GMU is going after Wegman, and Deepclimate certainly did an excellent job here, but…

    Why haven’t you climate scientists debunked the Wegman Report more forcefully in the literature, and detailed Mr. Wegman’s rank incompetence and dishonesty?

    Denier think tanks and attack dogs write thousands of pages containing false attacks on the hockey stick, touting MWP, etc. A serious effort to deconstruct an obvious charlatan is called for here, rather than the cursory dismissals from scientists that we have seen so far.

    Is there a professional scientific organization willing to take this on? It’s not good enough to issue yet another report confirming the basic robustness of climate science.

    Comment by mike roddy — 13 Oct 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  283. Is it the considered judgment here that the state of VA does not have the right to investigate documents and works that result from its contracts?

    Or perhaps that the right does not reside in the executive branch, but only the legislature (e.g. the VA equivalent of the GAO) or courts?

    Or perhaps that the right resides in the executive branch but not under the control of the attorney general?

    Or perhaps the right resides in the AG’s office only if the AG has pure motives?

    Cuccinelli’s first suit was dismissed without prejudice because it was too broad, and requested documents pursuant to federal contracts. But surely someone in the state government has the right to investigate state contracts and grants in detail — don’t you think so?

    The federal government, when it wants to, can investigate research contracts and grants when it wants to, without an a priori showing of probable malfeasance; this has been shown when it has shut down research pending an investigation, as happened for example at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. I don’t remember the exact year, about 2000. Research conducted by UCLA faculty at the Brentwood VA was also halted pending the results of an investigation within a few months of that. John Dingle prosecuted several investigations in the 1980s-90s with little “probable cause” other than the complaints of disgruntled lab assistants. The most famous was the investigation of David Baltimore and Theresa Imanishi-Kari, who were vindicated after some years passed.

    [Response: The issue is not the right to investigate wrongdoing, but the abuse of state apparatus to harass and intimidate people for political gain without probable cause. If you think that is healthy for democracy, or academic freedom, or even basic freedom of speech, I will strongly disagree. Prosecutors are not allowed to demand unlimited information from anyone, regardless how removed it is from any actual case or probable cause. To support the contrary position is equivalent to supporting a state in which political opponents are routinely harassed purely for the ‘crime’ of speaking out. That is not somewhere I would want to live, and it is not representative of the country in which I do live. Please try and see the bigger principle at stake here. – gavin]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Oct 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  284. 275, Barton Paul Levenson: You assume the population crash coming due to AGW will end the world. It ain’t necessarily so. The species will survive; just not advanced civilization.

    The quantitative scenarios written out in the IPCC AR4 “are consistent with” the survival of advanced civilization in nearly every place that it now exists. What is required of advanced civilization to survive is to follow the examples of USA in the 20th century and China throughout the growth periods of its history and build better flood control and other water works.

    The phrase “advanced civilization” is somewhat vague. Does “advanced civilization” still exist in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe? Nothing in the IPCC scenarios leads to an expectation that the entire world will be worse than those places in response to CO2. On the other hand, “advanced civilization” can disappear from some parts of the globe with or without AGW.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Oct 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  285. Re: Ken Zaretzke (271)

    One can make a substantive case that AGW is a fulfillment of Revelation: we have already thrown a mountain (of carbon) into the sea, causing ocean acidification and warming leading to species loss (see 40% phytoplankton loss over the last 40 years).

    If we see a large-scale methane hydrate/clathrate release in the warming Arctic, a subsequent PETM-style extinction event would fulfill the other mass-extinctions found in Revelation, including that of the specified portions of humanity still alive.

    Just sayin’

    The Yooper

    Comment by Daniel Bailey — 13 Oct 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  286. On the Lewis front, the APS has a response:

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 13 Oct 2010 @ 1:21 PM

  287. Rattus, thanks for the heads-up on that press release from the APS. It is full of win!

    Turns out he was a grumpy old crank after all. Who knew? /sarcasm

    Unfortunately, this will not deter the deniers one single bit. They’ll still be waving Lewis’ resignation letter in our face years from now, till we’re sick of it. Everyone, keep a permanent link to that press release. We’re gonna need it. Of course, even *that* won’t keep the deniers ‘happy’. It seems that almost nothing can stop someone believing in something for ideological reasons…

    [Response: This letter will be forgotten as soon as they find some new distraction. You had not heard of Hal Lewis before last week, and you will be hard pushed to remember the case in year’s time. A new Martin Luther he is not. – gavin]

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 13 Oct 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  288. P.S. No doubt deniers will automatically read that as: “It is full of wind!” :-)

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 13 Oct 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  289. I reiterate some here, but to get above the squabbling here is a way:

    Standing Forests Solve Global Warming At No Cost
    The game winning answer to global warming is to create standing forests, where every ton of newly existing forest mass, on a sustaining basis, compensates by CO2 capture for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. Key to this solution is distribution of water in North America on a continental basis.
    I have been dismayed by promotion of electric vehicles with implicit increased use of electricity and the associated increase in CO2. Viable, large scale solutions to this problem have been absent. But I have been shocked by the planning put forward by the US EPA ** regarding ‘carbon’ capture and sequestration (CCS), where the capture cost burden per ton of coal used would be up to $180-$320. This would be for capture of CO2 only, with additional costs for transportation and pumping it into caverns being not addressed, but acknowledged as additional expense.
    Thus motivated, I looked for a better solution, and found that China seems to have taken the lead over our environmentalists in this very practical matter. A year ago, in a speech about how China was planning to react to the global warming problem, President Hu spoke of “forest carbon”. ***
    It is not a big step to think that this kind of solution would be possible in North America, Brazil perhaps, and other places yet to be identified. It is a big step to think big about water distribution that would be needed to accomplish CCS on the needed scale, but in North America this is within reach, with the action of wise government assumed. Of course there would be a need for due diligence in protecting Northern ecosystems, as well as due deference to rights of others. The goal of CO2 mitigation is not just our concern, so there would seem to be motivation for Canada to lend their essential support to such a project.
    Every ton of forest mass, that exists on a sustaining basis, sequesters CO2 sufficiently to compensate for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. As it grows, it captures that CO2 from the atmosphere. Mature forests must be maintained and harvested wisely, and new forests must continue to grow.
    Using minimally productive land in selected regions, a fifty year project should be possible, where fifty years of coal fired power plant operation would be supported. In this time we would need to solve the problems of nuclear waste, so that there could be an eventual transition to that form of energy. During this fifty years, we would also need to work toward minimizing the amount of energy needed for our vehicles.
    This forest project, along with ancillary agricultural development, would be quickly self supporting. We know about the agricultural results from the latest California Aquaduct project implemented in 1963 through the California Central Valley. The forest part would be something new.
    The immediate benefit of such a project would be high quantity job creation, but up front investment in the permanent forest infrastructure would be repaid over the long term of highly productive operation. A large cadre of trained workers for forest management, a large expansion of agricultural operations, and a long term flow of export products would lift us from our current employment debacle.
    We see this as a public project that should appeal to all political strains, since it would create a backbone infrastructure that would set the stage for use of energy to continue functioning of our developed world without damage to the global environment.
    Implementing such a concept would require much detail in its actual design, but feasibility in general is not in question. This would be a massive federal project that must be handled by government, both in regard to international water negotiations and financial arrangements.
    Is there a political force that can handle such a project?
    ** The announced plan by the EPA is to require ‘best available technology’ and the recent report by them (Sept 2010) said ‘carbon’ capture would cost up to $95 per ton of CO2. Working this out in terms of the burden on the use of a ton of coal shows that the burden for use of a ton of Powder River Basin coal (half the element carbon by weight) will be about $180 per ton of that coal, and higher carbon coal would incur proportionately higher burden, up to around $320 per ton.
    *** President Hu said, “— we will energetically increase forest carbon — we will endeavor to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from 2005 levels.” ( This was reported by Joe Romm at his ‘climateprogress’ web site. See – )

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 13 Oct 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  290. 279, Gavin: To support the contrary position is equivalent to supporting a state in which political opponents are routinely harassed purely for the ‘crime’ of speaking out.

    Respectfully (or so I intend), I disagree. This is a point in contract law, not freedom to speak out. In other contexts it would be called “due diligence”, as when the GAO investigates military contracts, or when the feds investigated UIC (the example that I gave before.) I do not support the right of government (absent warrants upon probable cause) to investigate grants from philanthropic organizations or individuals: that right belongs to the grantors, depending on the wording of the grant contract.

    I used the phrase “due diligence”. When a company buys another the purchase or merger is usually contingent on “due diligence”, which entails an exhaustive search of facilities and (for research institutions) research results and documentation. The government, who are stewards of the people’s tax payments, should have a similar right to unfettered access to the contractor’s work.

    What other government contractors have the right, in your opinion, to spend the people’s money without oversight?

    [Response: Again you are completely missing the point. No-one is claiming that governments grants should be spent without oversight – and indeed, no academic grants are spent without oversight. If you put in claims for expenses, there are multiple levels of people who check that these expenses are within the parameters of the grant and that they reflect the grantors conditions (no wine for dinners paid for my NSF for instance, no first class travel, etc.). If the grantor feels that further auditing is necessary then they are perfectly within their rights to investigate the billing and disposition of the monies. But this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Cuccinelli. He is not alleging that anyone has taken the money that was supposed to be for a graduate student and used it to build a swimming pool with jaccuzi or the travel budget was spent on a holiday for the grantees parents to Tahiti. Each of these would be actionable (and should be), but Cuccinelli’s claims are far wider and more pernicious. He is aggregating to himself the power to intimidate and harass any researcher who he feels wrote a paper that he feels (with his in depth scientific expertise) was somehow problematic or controversial and accuse them of fraud without the slightest scrap of evidence. Today it is Mike Mann, but with this scope it could be anybody – someone who writes a paper discussing nuclear safety, or on an endangered species, or in evolutionary biology, or on stem cells. For anything that is controversial, you will be able to find some politically motivated AG to allege fraud and launch hugely burdensome investigative demands without the slightest evidence. And you don’t think that power will be abused? This is profoundly undemocratic, an abuse of due process and an affront to the open society the US purportedly stands for. – gavin]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Oct 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  291. No sooner were the words out of my mouth… predictably, Anthony Watts tries to ‘deconstruct’ the APS statement:

    APS responds! – Deconstructing the APS response to Dr. Hal Lewis resignation

    Depressing, but inevitable.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 13 Oct 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  292. To Deconvoluter #277,

    Thanks very much. I will probably put that on my blog.

    Comment by Snapple — 13 Oct 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  293. Wait:

    “… every ton of forest mass … [carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen]
    sequesters CO2 … [carbon dioxide]
    to compensate for … a ton of coal” [carbon, ‘coal ash’]

    How much carbon by weight in a ton of coal?
    How much carbon by weight in a ton of forest mass?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Oct 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  294. 286, Gavin

    That’s a good response. 30 years ago I’d have agreed almost completely.

    My response to it was blocked by your spam blocker. I have no idea why. Could you modify the spam blocker to show us the offending words and phrases?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Oct 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  295. On the Lewis front, the APS has a response

    OT, but it’s rather funny to see that the APS website is managed by commercial software named “Cold Fusion” …

    Comment by dhogaza — 13 Oct 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  296. 275 Barton Paul Levenson): Sure, but all the same, the end of civilization is one of the consequences of the Apocalypse, so I think my hypothesis is valid.

    281 (Daniel Bailey): That’s an interesting point–that AGW is a confirmation of the disasters depicted in the Book of Revelation–but I think the “bang” of wars and persecution and so forth (not to mention a certain demonic political leader) is very different from the “whimper” of the gradual and humanly unintentional demise of advanced civilization (and possibly the entire human race).

    This is not an attack on the Bible as such. Rather, the point is that the anomalous Book of Revelation doesn’t belong in the scriptural canon, and churches would be well-advised to remove this impediment to belief before AGW hits with a vengeance.

    [Response: Further discussion of religion is OT. No more ‘revelations’ please. – gavin]

    Comment by Ken Zaretzke — 13 Oct 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  297. @ Skeptic Mathew

    Just to repeat what Gavin has already pointed out, no one denies that the state has the right to review how its money is spent. If Mann had used his money to throw a party with prostitutes, or even had only gone so far as to use it for a different purpose he originally stated, no one would question the AG’s right to investigate.

    But the state cannot investigate for arbitrary reasons. Otherwise, the AG could demand all the emails from a professor from the opposite party, or from an academic who writes a paper that undermines his ideology. There would be no limit to how the state could harass and undermine the entire university system.

    Keep in mind Cuccinelli wants the last 10 years of Mann’s emails! Think about what this means politically. Professor Smith at the University of Any State writes a scathing book about the policies of US President X. President X. then has the AG demand the last 20 years of emails from the professor because the professor once received a federal grant. These emails contain some sarcastic comments about his friends, as well as a relationship he carried on outside of marriage. The emails are released, and the professor’s life is ruined.

    The Soviet Union acted that way. (In *The Unbearable Lightness of Being,* Kundera describes how the Soviets did this just this, released the private conversation of a dissident to destroy him.) I can hardly believe you think the US should act the same way.

    In case you think I am exaggerating, remember that the climategate emails already were grossly unfair in the way they publicized some unpleasant things Mann said *privately.* Who hasn’t said much worse in emails; for that matter, who hasn’t said much worse about people we love in private, thinking they would remain private? It’s an outrage that none of the media, including people like Monbiot, ever pointed out.

    Comment by Paul Tremblay — 13 Oct 2010 @ 5:19 PM

  298. Peanut gallery opinion for Mike Roddy’s question above:

    Wegman’s report wasn’t published in a science journal, so articles mention it but don’t reply. You can find relevant work if you dig, for example this:
    http://www.stat.unc. edu/postscript/rs/PaleoASA.pdf
    (read it remembering it’s discussing old history, not Mann’s current work).

    Wegman, Said and Scott edit a new ‘invitation only’ journal, recently awarded “the closest thing in the scholarly publishing industry to an Oscar” according to, well, them:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Oct 2010 @ 5:46 PM

  299. Paul T.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    The BBC (3-6-09) reports that Mikhail Gorbachev characterizes Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party as “the worst version of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.”

    Russia acts pretty much the same as the USSR. The ruling United Russia party is very adept at “kompromat.” Former KGB officer Putin is the head of the party and Prime Minister. President Medvedev is the former CEO of GAZPROM, the natural gas company that was created from the Soviet Gas Ministry.

    Here is a good article about how their political operatives ruin people. They can export all of this trouble, too.

    “The [Saratov] United Russia party machine uses a noxious slurry of dirty tricks, illegal activities, and domination of the media to discredit and destroy any politician, businessperson, or anyone else deemed an enemy of the Saratov Oblast United Russia party boss and Duma deputy speaker Vyacheslav Volodin…..

    At first when a person is identified as a personal enemy of Volodin they initiate a series of negative articles in the mass media. Next those representatives of the public who only imitate the feverish activity of building civil society are activated. These pseudo-activists create paid-for articles in the media that create the necessary public outcry. Or their activities become the excuse for new paid-for articles and television reports. When the number of publications reaches a critical mass, local deputies begin flooding the state organs of the Russian Federation with official inquiries and letters from residents of Saratov Oblast demanding decisive action be taken against the target of Volodin’s attacks, although they produce no real facts that the person has violated the law, because there are no such facts. They merely cite the numerous publications in the media. As a result, authorities higher up in the government form a false image of the real situation in Saratov Oblast. People who are undesirable to Volodin and his entourage and clan are seen in a negative light, which has negative consequences for the political climate inside the region and for the level of decision making here. In short, using such political tactics is a form of disinformation targeting the highest levels of government, which should be considered a premeditated, conspiratorial crime. “—“The Way The Game Is Played” (RFE/RL, 2-5-10)

    Get it?

    Comment by Snapple — 13 Oct 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  300. Ken Zaretske @296 wrote:
    I think the “bang” of wars and persecution and so forth (not to mention a certain demonic political leader) is very different from the “whimper” of the gradual and humanly unintentional demise of advanced civilization

    You’re assuming that there would be no wars over increasingly scarce resources and even dry land along that gradual demise of advanced civilization, some of them between nuclear armed states or factions.

    As Gwynne Dyer observed in his book Climate Wars, starving people don’t just sit there and starve, they raid those who still have food stores. And in such a hypothetical future I assure you, there would be no shortage of persecution.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Oct 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  301. Hank @ 292

    A good rule of thumb is that green wood is ~50% water, dry wood is ~ 50% carbon.

    And from

    Anthracite: 86-97% carbon, less than 0.5% of the coal mined in the United States.

    Bituminous coal: 45-86% carbon, about half of U.S. coal production

    Subbituminous: 35-45% carbon, about 46% of the coal produced in the United States

    Lignite: 25%-35%, about 7% of U.S. coal

    I can’t be bothered to do the math, but it looks like Jim Bullis’s assumption about comparability of carbon in coal and wood may be in the right ballpark. Given the abundant flawed assumptions in the rest of his scenario, a very large ballpark may suffice. As for addressing those flawed assumptions, I’m not sure I know where to begin; my little brain stutters to a halt with “distribution of water in North America on a continental basis” “At No Cost”

    Comment by Rick Brown — 13 Oct 2010 @ 6:37 PM

  302. 299 Paul Tremblay: Keep in mind Cuccinelli wants the last 10 years of Mann’s emails!

    No one should write in email something he or she would not want to be made public. Especially not using a computer or network owned by the state.

    I used to think, as a statistician, how much better my life would have been if everyone I worked with knew that all our work would become public. In industry, the documents all go to FDA, PTO, or someplace like that, and the work product that eventuates is a good or service in the market that gets judged by the market. In academics it is never so clear that the public will ever express its judgment on the work that it has paid for.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Oct 2010 @ 7:05 PM

  303. Septic Matthew,
    I’m going to have to assume that you didn’t read Ken the Cooch’s little memo. Because had you read it, you would realise that the scientific basis for his challenge is non-existent, making the legal basis equally imaginary.

    Dr. Mann’s reconstruction could be wrong, but if it is, then a couple dozen other independent reconstructions, some with quite different proxies, that show the same trend are also wrong.

    Mr. Cuccinelli has the right to investigate public expenditures where he has reason to suspect malfeasance. That condition is unfulfilled here, making his witch hunt a clear abuse o power.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Oct 2010 @ 7:08 PM

  304. 293 Hank Roberts

    Hank question, \How much carbon by weight in a ton of coal?\

    Jim answer, \About 50% of Powder River Basin coal (cheap) is the element carbon. Some coal (expensive) goes up to around 90% carbon, so the word ‘roughly’ was used.\

    Hank question, \How much carbon by weight in a ton of forest mass?\

    Jim answer, \The hydrocarbons that make up wood also vary somewhat depending on the kind of wood, but a quick look at wood chemistry showed that the element carbon was roughly 50% of these compounds. But in a concept discussion, it is not necessary to speak with great precision. Of course, better data needs to be brought into the picture as the project design takes on the kind of detail that a next phase study would require.\

    The key thought is that new standing forests would be established, where the CO2 capture would be greatest during the time of maximum growth rate. Once the forest reached maturity, it would be managed to maintain the forest mass to maintain sequestration of carbon, in the form of compounds in wood. When and where it was appropriate to do so, selective harvesting would take place.

    This would be a project set apart from all the logging issues all over the world that are now going on, and while these are important for CO2, there should be clear understanding that the new forests that I would use to balance use of coal in power plants are entirely different and are in entirely different places.

    When we get into the details of where the new forests should be and the type of wood to grow, the history of forests becomes an important knowledge base. And that might get confused with the issues of logging that are currently in conflict. For example, if we were to to re-establish the forests of the eastern \Midwest\ that were demolished 150 years ago, we would need to guard against thinking that this would justify mowing down more of the Amazon rain forest. Partly for this reason, I would tend to favor establishing the new forests in relatively un-productive, formerly dry regions, where there is no forest history.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 13 Oct 2010 @ 7:08 PM

  305. 301 Rick Brown

    Thanks for the wood and coal data.

    But ‘flawed assumptions’?

    “No cost” means that there is a net result that I see as potentially very much positive, but was being reserved about it. Sure there would be up-front costs, but from the history of the California Central valley agricultural production that resulted from the most recent California Aquaduct, an enormous payback seems likely. Forest products would also be an eventual, though probably not as big a payback.

    Maybe some review of the history of the WPA and the CCC during the 1930s would stir up some brain activity from its stuttered halt, where these organizations carried out much development of infrastructure that we still benefit from. On the other hand, aquaducts are maybe better done with bigger tools than the famous WPA shovels.

    Aquaducts are not all that hard. The latest California aquaduct was started under Governor Brown the First, and the cost was carried with barely a whimper from the politicians. Maybe this is because everyone could see a long term value to both the City of Los Angeles and the farmers of the Central Valley. When a project becomes a common cause, it can get easy.

    You also might compare this project to the Federal Highway program that built our National Interstate highways. Surely, the future burdens that global warming would impose are worth fighting off with a project like that. And the North American water distribution I speak of would probably be less costly than that was.

    Just to hold back the rising sea levels would take levees more difficult to build than an aquaduct.

    Getting into the ballpark, as you say, is quite satisfactory from my point of view for a concept such as this at this stage. But how about the rest of the “abundant flawed assumptions?”

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 13 Oct 2010 @ 7:29 PM

  306. Septic Matthew,

    There’s no question that a grantor has the right to ask questions about how a grantee has conducted activities under a grant. As a former senior official of a state grant-making agency (not in Virginia), I have some first-hand knowledge here. The grantor has the right to receive financial and scientific reports; the right to enter and audit, to assure that the grantee’s reporting is accurate; the right to investigate allegations both of misuse of funds and of fraud (either in the performance under the grant or in the process of obtaining the grant).

    That said, a couple of observations. First, the Commonwealth of Virginia was not the grantor of the grant Mr. Cuccinelli is questioning. The grantor was the University of Virginia… and the grantor does not appear to share Mr. Cuccinelli’s concerns.

    Second, Mr. Cuccinelli’s CID does not indicate any concern with the expenditure of funds or the performance of activities under the questioned grant. There is no indication that he has even sought an audit of grant expenditures or activities – no indication that he believes the grant was misused in any way.

    Mr. Cuccinelli has alleged potential fraud in the application for the grant in question. However, his allegation is… well, silly. His argument is that Mr. Mann listed MBH98 and MBH99 on his curriculum vitae, and that there is controversy about the science in those two papers. That’s it; that’s the argument.

    But… 1) Mr. Mann was not the PI on the subject grant. He was included as a participating researcher. The fact that a participating researcher had a couple of well-known (and controversial, even at the time) papers on his CV was not likely to be much of a determinant in a grant-making decision. Had Mr. Mann excluded these papers, there would have been the question of why his CV was incomplete. 2) The materials requested by Mr. Cuccinelli (ten years worth of emails) bear no relationship to the subject grant.

    It is painfully obvious to this observer – and I expect to the court, as well – that Mr. Cuccinelli’s stated interest in the subject grant is nothing but a pretext. His real interest is not with this grant – neither with how the grant was won, nor with how it was executed. His real interest is digging into Michael Mann’s email correspondence, simply to see what he can find. He has no probable cause suggesting any crime – if he did, he would be talking to a grand jury and pursuing criminal charges, not this trumped-up civil action.

    This is the definition of a fishing expedition. There’s no evidence of any malfeasance on Mr. Mann’s part – and a large and growing body of evidence that Mr. Cuccinelli is simply abusing his office. And this is not to argue that the AG should not have the power to investigate credible allegations of fraud – but there is no credible allegation here. Cuccinelli hasn’t even argued that there is, unless you accept the premise that Mann’s listing MBH98 as his publication (which is clearly is) is somehow “fraud.” This is absurd on its face; it is transparently just a pretext, an attempt to gain access to Mr. Mann’s entire correspondence for a decade, to see what, if anything, can be dug up to discredit the man – not because of anything he’s done wrong, but simply because Cuccinelli sees discrediting Mann as politically convenient.

    Cuccinelli should be disbarred and removed from office. And perhaps given fifty lashes of the cat-o-nine-tails in a public square in Richmond, as an object lesson to any who might try to follow in his footsteps.

    Comment by dreater — 13 Oct 2010 @ 10:06 PM

  307. In view of what Snapple has been suggesting about Russian acivities, trying to spread doubt about global warming,have people considered the possibility that the Russiansmight be behind the UAE hack? After all, I believe the attack came from a Russian site or at least the one on Real Climate did. I thought that the use of such a site was probably because investigators would have very litte access to a Russian site but maybe there was another reason.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 13 Oct 2010 @ 10:35 PM

  308. Jim Bullis 305

    Okay, we’ve established that “at no cost” doesn’t really mean no cost, just some unspecified cost that your intuition tells you is achievable. My intuition says otherwise and I think there are doubtless much more effective ways to spend the very, very substantial sums involved. Your references to times when California and the United States had money to spare are . . . interesting.

    You haven’t mentioned the time it would take to achieve your pipe dream, but implicitly it seems to be “in no time.” My doubts here are comparable.

    Others previously pointed out the difficulties involved in sustainably irrigating in the desert. And don’t forget the fertilizer (and pesticides) that will need to be added.

    Clearing and tilling the land where you would plant trees (not forests) would not only destroy ecosystems, it would release substantial amounts of carbon from vegetation and soils, creating a carbon deficit that your envisioned plantations would probably take a decade or two to overcome, just to become locally carbon-neutral. Add this to the decades necessary to plan and construct the aqueduct and irrigation system (and oh yeah, negotiate with Canada). Guess what, you’ve run out of time.

    I stopped reading your posts some time ago and I’m not about to go back and look for details, but as best I can tell your aqueduct would begin in areas where elevation is measured in a few hundreds of feet and terminate in territory where elevations are measured in thousands of feet. How will you power the pumps and what’s the associated carbon cost?

    I’m done. If you hope to engage me in additional back and forth I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 14 Oct 2010 @ 12:54 AM

  309. Septic Matthew #302:

    No one should write in email something he or she would not want to be made public. Especially not using a computer or network owned by the state.

    You just abolished, in a practical sense, the practice of collaborative authorship. Try to imagine science without it.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Oct 2010 @ 1:28 AM

  310. 306, dreater

    That was a very good post, especially the bit about the granter being the University of Virginia, not the state of VA.

    I wouldn’t go along with the 50 lashings, which I take as metaphorical. I assume that you are serious about disbarment. Surely some interested party will start proceedings?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 14 Oct 2010 @ 2:03 AM

  311. While serious issues have surfaced regarding the Wegman report, I think this could potentially backfire, since it seems the kind of game that “skeptics” usually play. The main problem as I see it is the bias and misrepresentation in the Wegman report rather than the plagiarism per se. That seems to be getting lost in some outlets. And the pushback is already being organized:

    See also

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 14 Oct 2010 @ 4:29 AM

  312. SM 284: Nothing in the IPCC scenarios leads to an expectation that the entire world will be worse than those places in response to CO2.

    BPL: But something in my scenarios does. Namely that if harvests fail all over the world in any one year, we only have 40 days of food supplies worldwide. See the problem?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Oct 2010 @ 4:36 AM

  313. SM 302: No one should write in email something he or she would not want to be made public. Especially not using a computer or network owned by the state.

    BPL: Carelessness does not justify invasion of privacy.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Oct 2010 @ 4:41 AM

  314. L. Flack writes:

    “have people considered the possibility that the Russians might be behind the UAE hack?”

    As far as I know, I may have been the first person to suggest this possibility.
    I wrote about this on my blog about a week before the British media speculated about this possibility.

    I can’t prove it, but that’s what it looks like to me. This is what the Russians call “kompromat” and we call “swiftboarding”, I suppose.
    The Russians don’t just do this in Russia, and usually they use people in the target country. Look at the CIA’s report on the KGB AIDS propaganda. The KGB called that Operation Infektion.

    Here was my post back in November. I didn’t know anything about global warming then, but the whole think looked like a Russian kompromat operation to me. I have had many follow-ups about this possibility, but this was my first observation. A lot of people said what I wrote about a week later. Probably they just had the same idea since my blog is really obscure.

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Did Russian “Hacker Patriots” Embarrass Proponents of Global Warming at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia?

    Comment by Snapple — 14 Oct 2010 @ 4:58 AM

  315. I am a Republican, and I voted for Cuccinelli because a friend liked him; but Climategate made me notice some bad things. For one thing, Cuccinelli’s office won’t tell me who is giving them campaign money.

    I noticed that Cuccinelli’s dad was a marketing lobbyist for the American Gas Company. Since that job he has been an executive/owner at other marketing/advertising/consulting companies.

    The elder Cuccinelli’s experience in the natural gas industry is touted and the site says he has “European” clients.

    Details here:

    Cuccinelli wants information from everyone else, but his office won’t answer my many questions about the daddy’s clients.

    The elder Cuccinelli’s firm gave over 96,000 to Cuccinelli, so I want to know if those clients are gas companies–especially Russian gas companies.

    I am worried that foreign money formally disguised as “professional services” is buying the services of my Attorney General.

    The AG office won’t ever answer.

    Cuccinelli is always talking about a revolution against the federal government, too. He brings up the Revolution, which Virginians fought to rid ourselves of EUROPEAN tyrants.

    Cuccinelli calls Dr. Mann and climate scientists greedy people who are making a big plot to steal our money and freedom.
    These people are scholars, teachers.

    I think Cuccinelli is probably the greedy moneybags who is part of a big plot to steal our money and freedom.

    Also, Cuccinelli sounds exactly like President Medvedev in Tomsk last winter.

    “Last winter when Russia’s President Medvedev was in TOMSK, he claimed that global warming was ‘some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.’” Time (8-2-10)

    I think that global warming DENIALISM is “some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.”

    Cuccinelli is a radical. There is nothing “conservative” about what he is doing. He’s not conserving our civilization, the independence of science, or the integrity of our justice system.

    He talks about a revolution, and I am revolting (peacefully/legally) against him!

    Comment by Snapple — 14 Oct 2010 @ 5:40 AM

  316. dreater (#306) says:

    2) The materials requested by Mr. Cuccinelli (ten years worth of emails) bear no relationship to the subject grant.

    Direct hit! Case closed. But will that blatant fact satisfy the likes of Septic Matthew, who seems to be in permanent “I’m just asking questions” mode on this site? That’s about the 5th time in this thread alone it had to be explained to him why this is clearly a political witch hunt on Cuccinelli’s part.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 14 Oct 2010 @ 6:42 AM

  317. I am not suggesting that the Kremlin and Kremlin-finaced media promote denialism. I read the Russian press. It is a fact.

    Google Tomsk hackers

    Comment by Snapple — 14 Oct 2010 @ 7:38 AM

  318. Related topic.
    Climate change and the law.

    (this series has been informative ; I must be fair to the BBC when it does better)

    Comment by deconvoluter — 14 Oct 2010 @ 9:00 AM

  319. 309 Martin quoted SM “No one should write in email something he or she would not want to be made public. Especially not using a computer or network owned by the state.”

    and replied

    “You just abolished, in a practical sense, the practice of collaborative authorship. Try to imagine science without it.”

    I collaborate with people all the time. I never say anything in an e-mail that would embarrass me if it were made public. It simply isn’t an issue. I adopted that policy about 13 years ago after a few panic stricken moments during which I thought I’d accidentally sent an e-mail in which I’d said uncomplimentary things about PRofessor Z to Professor Z himself rather than to Professor X. It hasn’t been a burden at all.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 14 Oct 2010 @ 9:28 AM

  320. #305, 308–

    It pains me to be negative about anything resembling reforestation, but my intuition is with Rick on this one. Significantly rearranging the hydrology of North America won’t come easily, cheaply or quickly.

    Nor is it probable that it’s a good idea. Literally everyplace you’d put a “new forest” has an existing ecology, and many of them aren’t even all that degraded by human interference. Most of them will have their defenders–inhabitants, researchers, economic interests, recreational users–and they’ll be quite adept at deploying existing legal safeguards. Massive transformation of plains and grasslands to forest would certainly endanger a goodly number of species and trigger legal protections. Again, no easy, cheap or quick change will result.

    Which is not to say that reforestation is a bad idea. That’s why it’s a staple of existing carbon offset programs. I think it would be great to work on legal, administrative and technical measures to strengthen such programs, making them more efficient, effective and transparent, and thereby increasing their reach.

    But it won’t be a “silver bullet.” There aren’t any, for this crisis; multiple strategies are going to be needed. Luckily, some of them continue to make some headway even as the political process continues to flounder, globally and in the US at least.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Oct 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  321. “‘I think America is about to make a clear statement that the course we are on is not one that is sustainable or that they would like to continue,’ Cuccinelli said.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Oct 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  322. dreater, informative, rational well-done summary at -306. (You did fall off the wagon with the last sentence, but I suppose that’s allowed…)

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Oct 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  323. Further to the issue of water supplies, this just in:

    Not a rigorous statement, but I haven’t looked at the underlying work–yet, at least.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Oct 2010 @ 12:46 PM

  324. Hank, while you were extracting ironic quotes from the release, you missed this:

    “. . .Cuccinelli told supporters he expects Hurt to be part of a dynamic turnaround, with a new wave of Republicans working to undue policies. . .”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Oct 2010 @ 12:49 PM

  325. 320 Kevin McKinney,

    You say: It pains me to be negative about anything resembling reforestation, – – –
    I say: The pain must be not so serious as to restrain you from negative pronouncements based on intuition. But you seem encouraged that Rick thinks like you do.

    [Response: As would I be, because Rick knows what he’s talking about and his “intuition” is in fact based on a solid understanding of forest ecology principles, for which I can vouch.–Jim]

    Also, it might not be necessary to label the concept as ‘significantly rearranging the hydrology of North America’.But ok, I agree that there will be diffiiculty.

    [Response: No, that is exactly what it would take to afforest arid lands on a large scale, and the operational words would be “extreme difficulty” to “impossibility”, assuming we leave “insanity” out of the mix–Jim]

    Not only will the current interested parties be united agaianst change, there will be environmentalists swooping in to find species to defend. The test for environmentalists would be how they made the choice between global warming, which is said to be massively threatening to all manner of species, including mankind, and local species that might be endangered, but in most cases, these local species could be given reasonable care.

    [Response:What in the world are you talking about? Whatever it is, it’s WAY off topic. No more–Jim]

    Actually, I am hoping environmentalists will first join in making the important choice that this was an important thing to do, and second, to participate in carrying out the project in a way that is protective as much as is reasonably possible.

    You say: — Again, no easy, cheap or quick change will result.
    I say: There is nothing quick about perpetual storage of ‘carbon’, whether it is in the form of CO2 in caverns or in the form of wood hydrocarbons in standing forests. The choice at hand is whether to ‘capture’ CO2 as it comes out of smokestacks at capture cost up to $180 to $320 per ton of coal used, plus undisclosed but acknowledged costs of transporting and inserting that CO2 into caverns; or establish a new forestation system that would require building a massive scale aquaduct, where water would be used for growing forests and crops, the crops being an ancillary activity intended to make payback more near term.

    You say: Reforestation is not a bad idea.
    I say: Yup. Keep it coming. But don’t try to reframe this new forestation concept as something that is part of that. That would limit it in scale, which is exactly what is wrong with most supposed solutions to global warming. Sure, we should keep working on reforestation issues, so that we can all feel good about ‘doing a little’, though of course together we would be accomplishing very little. (see Prof. David MacKay as source for this line)

    You say: But it won’t be a “silver bullet.” There aren’t any, for this crisis; multiple strategies are going to be needed. Luckily, some of them continue to make some headway even as the political process continues to flounder, globally and in the US at least.

    I say: Apparently your pronounced verdict: ‘–nor is it probable that it is a good idea –‘ and ‘– it is not a silver bullet – -‘ is based on something more than you provided here as evidence.

    Somehow, it seems I have heard that ‘silver bullet’ thing before. It seems to come from purveyors of inadequate solutions that wish to garner support for their favored project in return for supporting all imaginable other projects.
    I would not presume to think that President Hu of China has it in mind that their efforts along this line are a ‘silver bullet’, but his stated plan seems to show that they appreciate the large scale implications of it.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 14 Oct 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  326. 308 Rick Brown,

    Indeed, I write here without hope.

    [Response: How about you go do that somewhere else then?–Jim]

    Still, for general understanding, I need to correct what you say we have ‘established’; this ‘established’ fact having been restated by you in a pejorative manner so as to indicate your general scorn.
    Your general scorn is still acknowledged.

    (Regarding Jim Bullis 305)
    You say: Okay, we’ve established that “at no cost” doesn’t really mean no cost, just some unspecified cost that your intuition tells you is achievable. My intuition says otherwise and I think there are doubtless much more effective ways to spend the very, very substantial sums involved. Your references to times when California and the United States had money to spare are . . . interesting.

    I say: Nope. My words, ‘at no cost’ mean ‘at no net cost to the public over the long term’. But additionally, I thought I clarified that I really expected that this would be a broadly productive enterprise that would actually end in a sizable return on investment. And while it might be that intuition is your basis for pronouncing judgment, I offered comparisons with the California Central Valley where immense profitability did indeed come to pass. I also referred to President Hu’s statement where I hoped to garner some general credibility, in what I consider to be more than just intuition.

    But being short of public money seems to bother you in this instance; would you have been bothered by eager funding in $10 Billion for just starters for a high speed train that has no prospects for recovery of the money, and models pretending to show that have not even been offered.

    You say: You haven’t mentioned the time it would take to achieve your pipe dream, but implicitly it seems to be “in no time.” My doubts here are comparable.

    I say: I believe the term ‘permanent’ might suggest the time contemplated. But as to a pipe dream, my pipe is not as well filled as that of Pres. Hu of China. We might note that he has the wherewithall to back up his plan with the Yangtze River dam. China also just secured natural gas supplies in North America, and some of us realize that this resource is important as the feedstock for production of urea, that being a powerful fertilizer that would also be important to their project.

    You say: Others previously pointed out the difficulties involved in sustainably irrigating in the desert. And don’t forget the fertilizer (and pesticides) that will need to be added.

    I say: The California Central Valley agriculture somehow managed to handle the sustainability issue. First to be noted is that the ‘salts’ that accumulate are not sea ‘salt’; rather they are substantially like the ‘salts’ brought in by fresh water, and such salts are for example CaCl which is related to limestone. Yes, the existence of ‘hardpan’ meant that drainage into the earth was limited, so as evaporation took place, water left behind these ‘salts’ and because there was no mechanism that carried them downward. Machines exist for breaking up ‘hardpan’ but I can not say if these were used in the still continuing agriculture there.
    We might ask Norman Borlaug about fertilizer and pesticides, as well as how to handle the water. (I am not sure he is still alive, but his legacy is at least; but you get the idea.)

    You say: Clearing and tilling the land where you would plant trees (not forests) would not only destroy ecosystems, it would release substantial amounts of carbon from vegetation and soils, creating a carbon deficit that your envisioned plantations would probably take a decade or two to overcome, just to become locally carbon-neutral. Add this to the decades necessary to plan and construct the aqueduct and irrigation system (and oh yeah, negotiate with Canada). Guess what, you’ve run out of time.

    I say: Are you saying reforestation is bad? Intuition is a dangerous thing when it provides negative ammunition without limit. Oh, and where did the time limit come from?

    You say: I stopped reading your posts some time ago and I’m not about to go back and look for details, but as best I can tell your aqueduct would begin in areas where elevation is measured in a few hundreds of feet and terminate in territory where elevations are measured in thousands of feet. How will you power the pumps and what’s the associated carbon cost?

    I say: Your disdain has been noted and so has your declaration of no further thought. But then you heap on negativity by throwing in impediments that were overcome, as can be seen in a drive from Sacramento to Los Angeles on Interstate 5.

    You say: I’m done. If you hope to engage me in additional back and forth I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

    I say: Rejection is indeed unpleasant, but somehow it is not surprising. Thus, I have been prepared for this disappointment. After I crawl away in shame, I will try to gather my strength and return for more discussion with others.

    [Response: Don’t bother, unless you decide you want to stay strictly on topic, with defensible references to the literature. I’m tired of this shit.–Jim]

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 14 Oct 2010 @ 3:17 PM

  327. #325–Jim, I appreciate that you are willing to think big. I do think that there is considerable devil in the details that I mentioned–much more so than you evidently do.

    So, in order to avoid needless opining in the absence of information (even projected information), do you have, say, a map of where you’d put the forest? Routes for water transport? Cost estimates for its construction? Environmental assessments for the ecosystems you’d destroy?

    And just how would this be paid for, anyway? With carbon capture–skeptical as I am about that–you’d at least have the “polluter pays” principle pointing toward some funding sources. Would this be straight out of tax revenues, a vast public work?

    Because I think this would be far, far beyond any water supply project ever attempted, or possibly even designed. Others here will be better able than I to calculate the amounts of water involved, but I’m pretty sure they’d be truly, truly massive. And worse, they’d be very diffuse–remember, you’ve got to get the water to every last tree.

    Again, I don’t want to be unduly negative, particularly given how slowly mitigation is developing and how unappetizing other geo-engineering schemes are, but if you want me to take this idea seriously, you need to address these objections, not just hand-wave them away. ‘Cause right now, that “intuition” you mention is sensing a lot of problems.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Oct 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  328. Arguably on-topic here:

    I have another writing project in hand–or at least in contemplation–and think that some content illustrating harassment of climate scientists would be valuable. I’m thinking of legal harassment, such as Cuccinelli is perpetrating, and McIntyre fomented against the CRU, but also extra-legal harassment–threats, “pranks,” insults and so forth.

    Pointers to published or otherwise public material would be welcome. So would first-person experiences if anyone cares to share them. (Contact can be made off RC via my website.)

    Finally, I’m aware that I, personally, am not at threat now–AFAIK. So I don’t want to worsen the situation for someone else by anything that I may write. I do think in general that openness is best, that problems are better addressed openly than left in silence. But I have to acknowledge that there are nuts out there–and there are nuts who are also copycats. So any thoughts on relevant ethical, legal and practical/strategic considerations around writing about this would also be more than welcome. In short, what is the responsible course of action? Are there parameters for what is best said, or best left unsaid?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Oct 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  329. 327 Kevin McKinney

    [edit-OT. You’ve been warned enough.]

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 14 Oct 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  330. [edit-OT]

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 14 Oct 2010 @ 5:09 PM

  331. [edit–ditto. Discuss the topic of the post please.]

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 14 Oct 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  332. #300–Jim Eager: What if the Middle East is an uninhabitable desert? You apparently mean before that point is reached, but while I’m not certain about this, I think it strains credulity to interpret the document I mentioned earlier in that way. The substance and tenor of that document seems incompatible with the ultimate consequences of global warming, consequences which are far more likely to ensue if enough people remain in denial. And that’s why I made the point about something that would seem to have nothing to do with climate science but may in fact turn out to have a great deal to do with global warming, and with finding a political solution. Scientists would be making a mistake to ignore this possibility. The multitude of ordinary folks who make up the ranks of the “weak” denialists (among whom I used to count myself) can’t be explained in terms of free-market utopianism, and certainly not in terms of financial self-interest. The “strong” denialists–the “conservative” writers and lobbyists who heap misdirected and often dishonest scorn on climate scientists–will get nowhere without the weak denialists, whose ignorance and uncertainty they manipulate.

    Comment by Ken Zaretzke — 14 Oct 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  333. >>No one should write in email something he or she would not want to be made public. Especially not using a computer or network owned by the state.

    Yes, and no one should fart in public or complain about their boss while at work. But we are human. You are saying it is okay for the state to engage in a witch hunt to exploit those understandable weaknesses for political ends. And please, spare me the bit about the computer being owned by the state; that’s just an excuse to harass your political opponents, as was done in the Soviet Union, a practice you seem to condone. I note you are the only poster to actually try to defend Cuccinelli; even long time denier who have never posted chimed in to express dismay. So congratulations.

    >>In academics it is never so clear that the public will ever express its judgment on the work that it has paid for.

    What exactly is this bizarre statement supposed to mean? Most of the academic work is never judged by the public because they don’t understand it and wouldn’t care anyway. Should we stop funding universities?

    Comment by Paul Tremblay — 14 Oct 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  334. Ken, actually, the geographic local I had in mind was much further to the east and involves not the document you refer to but two real world states that possess nuclear weapons and that have already gone to war several times over the most precious resource in the region.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 14 Oct 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  335. OK, this may be off-topic for the post, but could I put in yet anothr request for an Open Thread where commenters could post off-topic comments and to which moderators could divert off-topic comments, thereby perhaps making it possible to have other threads that were actually more or less on topic?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Oct 2010 @ 7:05 PM

  336. Septic Matthew — “No one should write in email something he or she would not want to be made public. Especially not using a computer or network owned by the state.”

    They weren’t plotting to rob a bank. They were discussing and gossiping about the job, and only the most disingenuous would holler about that as if it were a crime. As it so happens…

    Comment by J Bowers — 14 Oct 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  337. Home vs public office; personal computer vs publicly supplied computer; [edit. that’s enough on this.]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 14 Oct 2010 @ 11:37 PM

  338. While this might seem bad, in the long run it might prove highly beneficial…the argument right now is science v politics….yes lets see it in front of a court, we all know how weak the deniers counter-claims are in terms of science, maths and logic….when they fill their blogs with such rubbish its hard to counter…in a court of law they can only tell the truth….I cant see how they can win, so they will lose and better yet look like idiots.


    Comment by Steven — 15 Oct 2010 @ 3:52 AM

  339. Steven says, “While this might seem bad, in the long run it might prove highly beneficial…the argument right now is science v politics….yes lets see it in front of a court,…”

    If you think the goal is to get this into a courtroom, you are deluded. No the goal is to get the emails and then express “SHOCK, SHOCK” when somehow they are leaked to anti-reality operatives to be quote-mined for all eternity. Ken the Cooch will follow the precedent of his namesake, Ken Starr, even to the point of taking a sinecure as dean of a conservative law school.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Oct 2010 @ 7:39 AM

  340. Septic Matthew, It is difficult for me to believe that you remain so bloody naive even after the selective release of emails from UEA. Ken the Cooch knows there’s no case he can pursue. He is merely looking for more emails his buddies can quote mine. Are you as out of touch with reality as he is?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Oct 2010 @ 7:48 AM

  341. “in a court of law they can only tell the truth”

    I hate to tell you this, but they can bald-faced lie in a courtroom as well. All they have to do is tap-dance fast enough that the layman judge and jury don’t catch on.

    Now, hooking them up to a lie-detector might be entertaining, though…

    Comment by Witgren — 15 Oct 2010 @ 8:16 AM

  342. 1) People can lie anywhere and lie detectors don’t work very well at best, but especially when people absolutely believe what they are saying.

    2) But if one lies in court, and is caught, it’s perjury.
    If one does that under oath to Congress, and gets caught, it is not only perjury, and may even be a felony.

    Comment by John Mashey — 15 Oct 2010 @ 9:16 AM

  343. If one does that under oath to Congress, and gets caught, it is not only perjury, and may even be a felony.

    Except when you are a member of congress. They appear to be exempt from the law, particularly when it comes to perjury. The only recourse is censure, and that can only be performed by their peers, who are similarly exempt.

    Case in point : Joe Barton.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 15 Oct 2010 @ 9:31 AM

  344. Steven (338), if you think you have a slam dunk if only you could get everything in a courtroom, you should better review courts.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Oct 2010 @ 9:43 AM

  345. r: #343
    Ahh, but 18USC1001 may well apply. Hopefully, maybe some day it will actually get tested, or maybe you know a Congressional exemption from this one?

    Comment by John Mashey — 15 Oct 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  346. Help! DotEarth again, column inches for Hal Lewis. Not much I could see on Mann’s stalwart credibility, but reams for contrarians. And please, people, don’t pile it on too heavily on Andy Revkin, who is just trying to do his job in difficult circumstances. Driving him further into the arms of the welcoming contrarians is not helpful. Just the facts, please!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 15 Oct 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  347. re #325

    Moderator Jim says: [Response: As would I be, because Rick knows what he’s talking about and his “intuition” is in fact based on a solid understanding of forest ecology principles, for which I can vouch.–Jim]

    Protections for the panthers in Florida is what this link about forest ecology is discussing. That validates expertise in forest ecology? We clealy are not on the same wavelength.

    [Response: Botched link. Correct one is here–Jim.]

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 15 Oct 2010 @ 1:05 PM

  348. Susan,

    Hmm, I would have though Andy Revkin’s job description might have had someting to do with the truth. Silly me. It would appear that the 4th estate is too busy attracting eyeballs by selling the controversy to care about mundane things like the truth.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Oct 2010 @ 6:21 PM

  349. Re 347 moderator etc.

    Thanks for the useful link, which indeed shows Rick’s knowledge of forest ecology, and it disagrees not at all with what I am saying about establishing ‘new standing forests’. Intuition should not prevent thinking out of the box, and if that were something that could be done, that intuition might be very useful.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 15 Oct 2010 @ 8:23 PM

  350. 340, Ray Bradbury: Are you as out of touch with reality as he is?

    I don’t know. I also don’t know whether I am naive.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Oct 2010 @ 10:24 PM

  351. I don’t disagree about DotEarth propensity to give air time to too many zealous middlers. I just think it unwise to pile on for a number of reasons. Reaction to overzealous attacks could include more palling around with some people I wish were not so good at lending plausibility to the fake middle.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 15 Oct 2010 @ 11:23 PM

  352. Thanks for the useful link, which indeed shows Rick’s knowledge of forest ecology, and it disagrees not at all with what I am saying about establishing ‘new standing forests’. Intuition should not prevent thinking out of the box, and if that were something that could be done, that intuition might be very useful.

    Yeah, but Rick – who I’ve known for years – disagrees with your assessment of the impact of his expertise on his evaluation of your ideas.

    So who to believe, the expert (Rick), who disagrees with you … or you, who claims that your own reading of Rick’s expert knowledge supports your opinion, rather than his?

    The answer is simple …

    Application to evaluation of anti-GW arguments left to the reader …

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Oct 2010 @ 11:25 PM

  353. Hmm, I would have though Andy Revkin’s job description might have had someting to do with the truth. Silly me. It would appear that the 4th estate is too busy attracting eyeballs by selling the controversy to care about mundane things like the truth.

    Well, Ray, Revkin ends by essentially parroting what might be a description of the danger of emeritus status.

    So I wouldn’t be *too* hard on him in this case.

    Though he deserves it in many cases …

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Oct 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  354. Jim Bullis needs to explain just where the trillions of dollars to build his cross continent aquaducts to water his ‘new standing forests’ will come from, considering the increasingly urgent need for multi-billion dollar repairs of existing aging potable water infrastructure can’t be met.

    Comment by flxible — 16 Oct 2010 @ 1:17 AM

  355. There is some really big news because Ohio has indicted the criminal known as “Bobby Thompson” who gave money to Cuccinelli’s campaign. I haven’t read it all because it just came out yesterday.

    Here is the story in the Washington Post:

    The WP story will be based on this Florida story:

    All the background is here at

    U.S. Navy Veterans Association: Under the radar:

    This criminal tried to buy influence with an Ohio politician who had been an Attorney General and then went into a law firm with people associated with cossumer affairs law. Bobby Thompson gave that firm hundreds of thousands in “legal fees.”

    It’s all very complicated. This criminal seems to have lived in a shabby duplex even though he reportedly had millions.

    You should bookmark Under the Radar so you can keep up on what is happening. It’s very involved.

    Comment by Snapple — 16 Oct 2010 @ 4:54 AM

  356. Snapple,
    Alleged criminal, please.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  357. There is something poignant in Jim Bullis’s proposal to (as I understand it) grow “standing forests” (which sound like they would in fact be more like vast monoculture tree plantations, not “forests”) in semi-arid regions of North America, watered by a mammoth new system of cross-continent aqueducts … given that existing standing forests are being rapidly decimated, and given that North American water supplies are already being rapidly depleted, and given that our existing water supply infrastructures are deteriorating and in need of many billions of dollars in repairs.

    Having said that, I think it is self-evident that the current anthropogenic excess of CO2 is already at a dangerous level (as demonstrated by the observable, rapid and extreme warming and effects thereof), and therefore we urgently need to not only end anthropogenic GHG emissions but to draw down the anthropogenic excess of GHGs.

    And I do think that stopping deforestation, plus aggressive reforestation efforts at all possible scales, plus a rapid transition to sustainable organic agriculture, all of which can potentially sequester large amounts of carbon in the biosphere, are vitally important methods for doing that.

    But Jim Bullis’s idea doesn’t seem like a very realistic approach.

    [Response: That is about as well stated as is possible, IMO, and reflects my position almost exactly. And with that, discussion on this off topic is over. There will be a forest-related post in the near future that people can engage in, but here let’s get back on track.–Jim]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Oct 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  358. Is this a re-emergence of the old geoengineering trope: “yes, we can fix it, but we have to build X and it will cost Y trillion dollars”, all with the intent of making people think that action isn’t possible?

    As a strategy, it fails on so many levels, since rational people can see that there isn’t one solution, but many – and the first order of business must be reducing emissions, not sci-fi grand designs. The financial aspect, also, is less of a bogeyman. After the bank bailouts, we aren’t scared by large numbers any longer. If we can spend so much on defence, and keeping a stable economy, then a little to solve global warming sounds positively reasonable.

    Afforestation is just one tool in our toolkit.

    And, having gone back to read Jim Bullis’s posts, I see that he’s simply unaware of the practical details of what he proposes. I think I spot a trend, here.

    Comment by Didactylos — 16 Oct 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  359. Ray Ladbury, you might enjoy reading this debate on the “precautionary principle” as applied to global warming:

    She early on says that a CO2 concentration of 1370 by 2100 can not be ruled out. I imagine that Barton Paul Levenson’s vision of a simultaneous world-wide crop failure can not be ruled out.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Oct 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  360. If there is anything special about the forest concept, as expressed by Pres. Hu of China for their country, as adapted to North America by me, it is that this is an opportunity to make common cause between labor, business, environmental, water users, and electricity users. The main global warming objective could be accomplished with this, yes, ‘silver bullet’, along with maybe a couple other silver bullets.

    None of this ‘every little thing helps’ stuff for me.

    [Response: And that’s the absolute last word on this off topic. For the umpteenth time, discuss the post’s topic. This goes for EVERYONE.–Jim]

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 16 Oct 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  361. “CRIMINAL investigators from the IRS, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrived at the home at 2062 Balfour Circle on Friday morning [7-30-10) and seized boxes of documents — some already shredded — and loaded them into an unmarked van….

    Kim Pennington, an IRS spokeswoman, confirmed that agents for the IRS, the VA and Florida Consumer Services obtained a warrant to search the home but said she could not comment on the investigation.

    In May, following news reports of phantom officers and millions in donations that could not be accounted for, Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia asked the IRS and the VA to investigate the Navy Veterans, a charity founded in Tampa in 2002 that has since reported receiving $99.6 million in tax-exempt income.”

    Comment by Snapple — 16 Oct 2010 @ 3:09 PM

  362. Snapple, he’s accused of a crime, but hasn’t been found guilty of one. Don’t go down the plastic-sceptical path ;)

    Comment by J Bowers — 16 Oct 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  363. “We were practicing the principle of presumed innocence with Bobby Thompson.”—Ken Cuccinelli

    Comment by Snapple — 16 Oct 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  364. J. Bowers,

    Is that what you were trying to say?

    Comment by Snapple — 16 Oct 2010 @ 5:17 PM

  365. I’ve been reading \Physics and National Socialiism\ on google books. I especially found telling Einstein’s rebuttal to the \motley group\, \The Syndicate of German Scientists\ who attacked him and relativity theory in 1920. He wrote \to my knowledge hardly any scientists today who have made any substantial contribution to theoretical physics do not concede that the entire theory of relativity is logically and consistently structured and that it agrees with the verified experimental data now available.\ … \My Weyland who does not seem to be a specialiist at all (is he a doctor? engineer? politician? I could not find this out) presented nothing of pertinence. He broke out in coarse abuse and base accusations. The second speaker, Mr. Gehrke partly made directly inaccurate statements and partly attempted to create a false impression for uninformed laymen through a biased data selection and through distortion of the facts.\

    This all sounds very familiar. of all I observe&f=false

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 16 Oct 2010 @ 6:11 PM

  366. Septic Matthew, Judith Curry has demonstrated that her hold on the facts of climate change is so tenuous, that I have no desire to read what she has to say, despite the fact that her conclusion are not dissimilar from crude calculations I have made myself.

    I find it is best to read the best arguments a side can put forward. I’d read the denialist arguments, but I haven’t found any yet that were not utter crap.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  367. Sorry to keep harping on about DotEarth, but now we have Lubos Motl, string theorist, citing minority (Inhofe) Senate environment site (top comment as to votes). I’ve posted about this but lack expertise. Don’t know if it’s worth pursuing, but this tendency to regard aging physicists pronouncing outside their field as authoritative is tiring to put it mildly. I believe Motl is not aged, but string theory is so highfalutin’ and uncheckable (if entertaining and possibly true in its weird way that it is sad that success there allows someone to be a champion of denial.

    Has anyone else noticed that many (in)famous deniers are unable to abandon their tobacco habits?

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 16 Oct 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  368. Susan, Ask Motl what mechanism he proposes to explain simultaneous tropospheric warming AND stratospheric cooling. Motl’s grasp of physics in less than 10 dimensions is underwhelming.

    The Rabbet is good for such takedowns

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  369. “In keeping with our role as a site that tries to deal with the science of climate change rather than the politics,”

    Please keep us informed of this Cuccinelli kind of stuff. We do need to know it if only to encourage us to move to some other country/planet. It seems that we are the missing link, Homo Sapiens being quite some distance in the future. I see more and more need for abnormal psychology courses for dealing with the people around me.


    “half-of-americans-flunk-climate-101” or climate 0.101. And I wonder what kind of mental state they are in. Your “Cuccinelli goes fishing again” is exactly the right article to get our heads out of the clouds. We have to deal with this kind of problem. It is part of dealing with GW.

    I know that anecdotal evidence is unscientific, but it works on a lot of people. Things like: “The Mississippi used to freeze over at St. Louis so you could drive a wagon and 4 horses across the river there.” Is there an archive of that kind of stuff just for GW?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 16 Oct 2010 @ 11:24 PM

  370. Edward, sure, keeping to the topic, Cuccinelli could have had a clue if he’d bothered to use Google, for example.

    If Cuccinelli had known how to use Google, here’s here’s the sort of thing he could have found just by typing your question into the Google search:

    Online Climate Data Sources
    Jan 20, 2000 … United States Historical Climate Network (For selected Virginia stations, period of available recording often back to 19th century)

    Or, as I pointed out earlier, he could have talked to any of the Virginia fishing operators (the ones who do real fishing with boats, not legal fishing with documents). They also have historical climate info.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Oct 2010 @ 8:43 AM

  371. Susan-

    Czech politicians across the political spectrum are being “cultivated” by the Russian petrostate.

    I have seen Motl’s site. He’s the Czech Marc Morano. The Czechs have been subverted by Russian gas/oil companies.

    They probably can’t get a climate scientist to say those things.

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus published a denialist book titled “Blue Planet in Green Shackles.” The book is an anti-global-warming manifesto that characterizes Al Gore as an “apostle of arrogance” and climate change as a “myth.”

    The Russian LUKoil paid for the book to be translated. There is some proof for people.

    Like Monckton, Klaus has campaigned against the European Union. The Russians want to deal with small countries, not the EU. It’s one of their main foreign policy goals: Divide et impera.

    When Monckton appeared on the Kremlin-financed Russia Today satellite channel right before Copenhagen, he mocked the science of global warming and said that Russia was a democracy because they had a Duma (lower house of their Parliament) while the UK was ruled by commissars of the EU. Monckton’s political party is against the EU.

    The ruling United Russia party is led by Putin. President Medvedev is the former CEO of Gazprom. This is not a democracy.
    They just wack their enemies now. Investigative reporters who questions get killed.

    I have a post about the subversion of the Czech Republic that links to an excellent article by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

    Scientists who study global warming are not just dealing with Western fossil-fuel companies. They are dealing with Russia/Gazprom. This means they are targeting our most valuable scientists who should be protected. The Russians use our legal system to advance their interests. There is a book about this called “The KGB Lawsuits.”

    Read Wikipedia on “active measures.”

    Gazprom is part of the Russian government and a lot of former KGB work for them.
    Yesterday a big Gazprom official was found in his car shot in the head.

    He was on his way to the train station to pick up a relative when he suddenly took a notion to blow his brains out, according to RIA Novosti.

    Check out pages 15-16 in Cuccinelli’s brief (W. Russell again) against the EPA. It’s hysterical.

    Cuccinelli is citing the Russian economist Andrei Illarionov’s Russian Institute for Economic Analysis–the IEA. W. Russell is basically telling the EPA to take advice from the Kremlin:

    “On December 15, 2009—the very day that EPA announced the Endangerment Finding—the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis (“IEA”) reported that CRU probably tampered with Russian climate data and that the Russian meteorological station data do not support human-caused global warming……” yada yada yada…

    The IEA probably acted on the “very day” that the EPA announced the Endangerment Finding because the IEA is really part of the Russian government’s propaganda apparatus and they are smack in the middle of an important operation to protect their gas industry from renewables. It would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous and stupid.

    Illarionov is an adviser to the Libertarian Cato Institute and a “former adviser” to Putin and to Chernomyrdin, the former head of the Soviet Gas Ministry–now Gazprom. Supposedly, Illarionov had a “falling out” with Putin. Illarionov talks trash about the KGB and praises capitalism, but this may just be eyewash to give himself credibility. Most people who have a “falling out” with Putin don’t make such graceful landings.

    Cuccinelli’s brief cites Illarionov in RIA Novosti, which is the official government news service (footnote 12).

    You look at RIA Novosti to find out the Kremlin line, not the truth.

    Sometimes the line changes. This summer, while NASA was helping the Russians pinpoint their fires, English RIA Novosti cited Medvedev saying there is global warming. This may have been because the total moron Dr. Areshev accused US scientists of causing global warming with secret climate weapons while NASA was helping them. Areshev was just a little off-message and embarrassed the Kremlin.

    After that, Medvedev said there was global warming and RIA Novosti quoted NASA for a few weeks. The new line very cool, but the Kremlin may just have been sucking up to NASA during the fires.

    The Russians are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    Comment by Snapple — 17 Oct 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  372. Re 359 (Septic Matthew) and 366 (Ray Ladbury) –

    To what extent are current estimates of extractable fossil fuel reserves compatible with a rise of CO2 to 1370 ppm by 2100? As an example of some rough calculations, estimated recoverable coal reserves are about 900 gigatons, which if composed entirely of combustible carbon and burned completely to CO2 would add about 3300 gigatons to the atmosphere. Historically since the Industrial Revolution, we have probably added more than 1000 gigatons of CO2 to arrive at the current increase of about 38% over pre-Industrial values. Oil reserves are substantially lower than coal reserves.

    If these estimates are far too low, I would think 1370 might be plausible, but isn’t it more likely we would exhaust commercially profitable reserves before approaching that figure? This is not to say that even much lower CO2 levels are acceptable – they’re not – but projecting future CO2 levels can’t ignore limitations on the availability of combustible fossil fuels in arriving at estimates.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 17 Oct 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  373. Cuccinelli,

    You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

    Comment by Mike Donald — 17 Oct 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  374. Fred Moolten, My own back of the envelope calculations suggest that coal could get us into the 700-800 ppmv range. Tar sands,oil shale, etc. could put us well over 1000 ppmv. I’d say 1370 is not beyond the pale.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Oct 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  375. One of the more amusing things I read amongst Cuccinelli’s criminal involvement (that snapple linked to) was where he said he would give away the $50K that he received from a fraudulent aid to veteran’s organization which was instead donating large amounts of money to right-wing political organizations. The fraudulent organization gave Cuccinelli $50K which making them Cuccinelli’s second largest campaign donor. Cuccinelli said that he would give the $50K to charity if evidence of a crime came to light. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Consider the charges he’s filed against Mann. What constitutes “evidence” in the mind of a Cuccinelli??? I think I know. Whatever is convenient.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 17 Oct 2010 @ 3:26 PM

  376. What I find interesting is that the ALLEGED Florida criminal Bobby Thompson (who vanished without a trace after the St. Petersburg Times started sniffing around and is the subject of a multi-state manhunt) may have been trying to get state laws changed so he would not have to register his charity since it was a veterans’ charity. This would be under consumer affairs. Cuccinelli tried to get consumer affairs put under his office.

    In Ohio, Thompson’s lawyer was a former Ohio Attorney General who had people in her law firm associated with consumer affairs. Thompson gave that lady hundreds of thousands in “legal fees.”

    Sometimes “professional services” are really bribes, but it is hard to know.
    The authorities have captured a woman who worked with Thompson and she is charged with money laundering:

    “The indictments made public Friday accuse Thompson and Tampa associate Blanca Contreras of “engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity,” money laundering and the theft of more than $1 million from Ohio residents through the Navy Veterans charity.”

    The money laundering wasn’t described. A neighbor claimed on TV that the FBI was involved, but I have not read that. I read the IRS was involved and the Veterans’ Affairs. The authorities seized papers and computers, and they are not going to tell their investigative leads.

    It may lead to politicians who took money in exchange for favors.

    Here is a bit about the FBI’s public corruption site.

    “Public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life…The FBI is singularly situated to combat this corruption, with the skills and capabilities to run complex undercover operations and surveillance.”—FBI Public Corruption site

    Strangely, Thompson seems to have lived in a shabby duplex, but reportedly stole millions from people who thought they were giving to veterans. Supposedly this was done via telemarketing.

    He didn’t give much to veterans, and he didn’t give fantastic amounts to politicians. So where is the money?

    He gave Cuccinelli 5,000 and then 50,000. I wonder why he did that. Maybe he had some agreement to put consumer affairs under the Attorney General’s office.

    Thompson had a lot of P.O. boxes in different states—not real offices–and in Washington D. C. I wonder who emptied these? Maybe the mail was all forwarded.

    Keep checking here for new stories.

    Comment by Snapple — 17 Oct 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  377. 372, Fred Moolton: If these estimates are far too low, I would think 1370 might be plausible, but isn’t it more likely we would exhaust commercially profitable reserves before approaching that figure?

    Dr Curry said that 1370 could not be ruled out, not that it was a reasonable expectation. From a “risk manaagement” standpoint, it is worthwhile to have something like a “likely upper bound” or “maximum loss”. The commenters to the blog present some calculations and data, similar to Ray Ladbury’s above, and other links.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Oct 2010 @ 9:59 PM

  378. 370 Hank Roberts: Yes. That’s what I mean. If we can show Mr. Cuccinelli a photograph of the Chesapeake Bay frozen over, it would at least be difficult for him. Thanks.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 17 Oct 2010 @ 10:11 PM

  379. Who do you think is next on their list? You perhaps?

    Comment by Paul Rampart — 17 Oct 2010 @ 11:23 PM

  380. Edward Greisch:

    Not a list, but an interesting factoid:
    (found here, comments closed:

    Pip, London, 10/18, 11:06 am
    I’m writing this from an area of London protected from flooding by the Thames Barrier.

    In the 1980s there were four closures of the Thames Barrier, 35 closures in the 1990s, and 75 closures in the first decade of this century.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    I didn’t have the nerve to advance the pawn of the cogent information about Czech-Russian connections but am glad to know where to find it.

    Likewise the campaign shenanigans.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 18 Oct 2010 @ 3:54 PM

  381. I mentioned above that Lord Monckton said on the Kremlin’s Russia Today satellite channel that Russia was a democracy because it had a Duma (lower house of their Parliament) while the UK was ruled by commisars of the EU.

    Here is a passage from RFE/RL that shows how ridiculous Monckton’s ignorant observation is:


    Last May, Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, became better known for a new practice caught on video and broadcast on Russian television news: staffers of the majority United Russia party running from desk to desk in an almost empty chamber, pushing voting buttons. [Video is hysterical!]

    The bill — which forbade drivers from consuming any alcohol — passed overwhelmingly by 449 out of 450 votes despite the fact that only 88 deputies, fewer than a quarter of legislators, were present.

    The Duma has since adopted new regulations requiring deputies to attend sessions. But many deputies believe that will make no difference to a legislature so dominated by the Kremlin. The current speaker, Boris Gryzlov, once became a laughingstock for chiding another deputy by saying parliament was “not a place for discussion.”

    Communist Victor Ilyukhin, a member of the only opposition party in parliament, says the Duma no longer functions as an independent branch of power. “Legislation is not made in the Duma, but by the Kremlin and the government,” he says. “All decisions about whether or not to pass bills are made there.


    Monckton’s observations about climate change are probably just as ridiculous.

    Comment by Snapple — 18 Oct 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  382. 358 Didactylos

    You said, “And, having gone back to read Jim Bullis’s posts, I see that he’s simply unaware of the practical details of what he proposes. I think I spot a trend, here.”

    I would be pleased to hear about practical details that you find insurmountable, or apparently so.

    But first, please explain what the trend is that you spot.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 19 Oct 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  383. 351 Susan Anderson

    I do not understand your comment, except it seems from your last phrase, ” – some people I wish were not so good at lending plausibility to the fake middle,” you take offense at efforts to find common purpose.

    Cuccinelli succeeds if he stimulates reactions that turn us into two warring factions, where the possibility of constructive action evaporates.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 19 Oct 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  384. 354 flxible

    The concern with water is certainly no more than a local issue in North America.

    A look at water resources in Canada show that there is enough fresh water to fully meet continental needs. Of course, this is a geopolitical issue, and of course, negotiations to share this water must be handled with due respect for National sovereignty, mutually.

    But for massive agricultural use, including forestation on a scale that would capture CO2 from all power generation, Canada and the USA both should be willing to revisit this issue.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 19 Oct 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  385. 357 Secular Animist

    You supplied the description, “monoculture tree plantations,” which is entirely without basis in anything I have mentioned.

    The elements of the project describe are, trees, water, and cropland, with the cropland being an extra feature for the purpose of making the project sustainable as soon as possible. Forest management must grow and maintain trees in standing forests. There would be a political component that I would call a National Forest Authority. This authority would fit in the current economic situation by offering large scale employment.

    To call a standing forest a ‘tree plantation’ seems to be an effort to put a label on a concept that adds a negative connotation, whereby one might rally opposition.

    I would have no preconceived notion about what kind of trees would be used for the various climate conditions involved.

    I agree that is poignant, even more than poignant, that deforestation is continuing. One might contemplate acquisition of existing forests and holding them in a permanent public domain. Where this is economically possible, that would be constructive. This sort of thing has gone for much of history. And efforts to preserve standing forests have mostly been stymied. Forests once existed in Israel, Greece, and much of Eastern North America that are now completely gone.

    But I do suggest a approach that could be a way around the stymied status quo.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 19 Oct 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  386. Jim Bullis, you keep sucking on your pipe dream while showing us none of the substance you’re smoking.
    Canada does not have “enough fresh water to fully meet continental needs”, in fact it may not have enough to meet it’s own needs very far into the future, especially if we’re to fully exploit Albertas tar sands in order to power American fantasies. See also: here and here. I happen to live on the west coast of Canada, an area commonly known as the “wet coast”, and I can tell you that this glacier fed valley is rapidly running into water supply problems due to population growth, waste, and the climate change you plan to fix by spending trillions on transporting glacial water that is rapidly diminishing everywhere in the north.

    As for “standing forests”, come on up and have a look at planted, managed “forests”, or as Secular Animist rightly labels them “monoculture tree plantations”, which if you knew anything about silviculture you would understand. Where do you suggest we’ll get the millions of seedlings to plant your forest? Particularly a diverse array of varieties adapted to desert conditions. Not to mention the “sustainability” of that “extra feature cropland”, which I think is just about what has destroyed the hydrology of southern California already. Enough of your UNpreconceived notions, supply some links to support any of your fantasies.

    Comment by flxible — 19 Oct 2010 @ 9:43 PM

  387. Jim B., you wrote “A look at water resources in Canada show that there is enough fresh water to fully meet continental needs.”

    Dubious in the first instance (since you can’t export the water in really massive quantities without utterly remaking the landscape and ecology), and politically problematic in the second (to say the least.)

    But mainly, this is where I get the idea that you’re proposing a “restructuring of the hydrology of North America”–because if you’re redirecting significant proportions of Canadian water to supply US (and Mexican?) needs, then you are significantly changing watershed structure pretty much by definition.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Oct 2010 @ 9:43 PM

  388. 386 flxible

    You assert that Canada does not have water —etc. , and from your perspective as you describe it, that is understandable. Moving east though, there are some different situations. I do not see much relevance of the tar sands as far as taking up water, though this activity is a great producer of CO2 which seems like something Canada would like to see compensated for by some practical means.

    But skipping on to the region around Hudson’s Bay, it looks like there is a vast amount of water that mostly flows into Hudson’s Bay, and I would certainly be interested in hearing why keeping a flow into that Bay has to be the way all this water is used. Surely I am not needed to guide you to Google Earth or Maps, where this vast swamp can be readily seen. And judging by the very sparse identifying settlements, etc, it looks like the human interests could be properly taken into consideration.

    But curiously, you are anticipating climate change which is the very thing I am suggesting we put an end to, but you hold that up as a reason why we can not put an end to it. One needs not smoke much to see this is flawed thinking.

    Seedlings come from seeds that are planted in nurseries.

    Again the ‘trillions’ word comes from you. However, I do not wish to underestimate the cost of building aquaducts; but what I do see is a viable mechanism for paying back the investment, whatever it might be. And by comparison with the California Aquaduct story, this seems like a reasonable first cut way to think about it.

    I don’t know where you got the idea that Southern California ever had a hydrology to speak of. But Southern California cropland has been enormously productive based on water from a variety of sources; and those from which the sources originate are no end of annoyed about it. But it does not destroy hydrologies to take water destined for the open ocean and use it productively, indeed, to create the very hydrologies of which we speak.

    This is not something that one person does. Even a preliminary study requires expertise from many. So all I am hoping for now is for some people to say, ‘Hm, if it worked it would be a seriously practical approach to capturing CO2, naturally, and of the order of magnitude needed, so maybe it is something we should look at seriously.”

    Thanks for the challenges.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 1:19 AM

  389. US annual coal generated electricity is ~2e9 MWh[1]. Each MWh produces about 1 metric ton of CO2[2], or 5.5e8 tons of carbon total. Southern pine forests sequester about 1 ton of CO2 per acre[3], or 2.5 tons per hectare per year. The total area of the Mojave, Sonoran, Great Basin, and Chihuahuan deserts is ~1.4e8 hectares[4]; if forested this could sequester about 3.5e8 tons of carbon per year – close, but no cigar. Some fraction of the total area is too steep, or too rocky, or too salty, or too infertile to support trees, regardless of the water available.

    Supporting the growth of trees requires 30-60 inches of rain, or ~75 cm of irrigation per year[5]. Over 1.4e8 hectares, this is about 1e15 liters. US per capita consumption of water is ~600 liters per day, or 6.8e13 liters per annum total for the US population of 308 million people.

    Sucking up just the carbon from electricity generation from coal by irrigating deserts would require 1.6 times the available land and 15 times our current water consumption.

    [4] (Sonoran, Great Basin, and Chihuahuan from links on this page)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 20 Oct 2010 @ 1:24 AM

  390. 387 Kevin McKinney

    What we call things, ‘by definition’ does not an impediment make.

    Again I point to vast amounts of fresh water supporting virtually nothing on it drainage path to the ocean, these being in the large belt through land Southerly of Hudson’s Bay. But I am not set on any single source. The MacKenzie River going Northerly to the ocean is also a possibility.

    Once more, the most recent California Aquaduct did little to remake the landscape or the ecology of California, or even the Sacramento River Delta, where the main impact occurs. This is not to say there has not been a lot of squawking about some endangered species, smelt I think. Here is where priorities of environmentalists have to be questioned, since there are impacts far greater that seem to get insufficient consideration under the law, as it is now being interpreted. I need to know more about this, but as it seems at this point in time, this is a miscarriage of environmental interests.

    It seems that much of the reaction is that we would be stepping on Canada’s toes in this, but I would put this as something we would do jointly with Canada to serve our common interests. After all, they have been more diligent about facing climate problems than we have been. Trees in the USA will do a lot for Canada as well as for us in the USA.

    But again, the climate worry is often portrayed as something that will impact watershed structure. Why not think about careful use of such watershed structure to protect it better in the long run?

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 1:41 AM

  391. 386 flxible

    As to the ‘links’ request, I have none beyond the obvious ones.

    All the comments and links floating about seem to point to things that have been done already.

    When something that is completely unprecedented comes up, we are sort of stuck having to actually think about it, without recourse to previous experience.

    Thus we are required to flounder around on a search as contrasted to doing research.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 1:48 AM

  392. Jim, I won’t be responding to this concept any longer. Your fantasy is utterly unrealistic, and you are plainly not facing up to the challenges it would pose honestly (to yourself.)

    Sorry, but I’m moving on.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Oct 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  393. Jim Bullis wrote: But skipping on to the region around Hudson’s Bay, it looks like there is a vast amount of water that mostly flows into Hudson’s Bay, and I would certainly be interested in hearing why keeping a flow into that Bay has to be the way all this water is used. Surely I am not needed to guide you to Google Earth or Maps, where this vast swamp can be readily seen. And judging by the very sparse identifying settlements, etc, it looks like the human interests could be properly taken into consideration.

    Google Earth tells you nothing about the topography. You might want to look into the elevation of the Hudson Bay coastal plain compared to the height of land between it and the Great Lakes water shed several hundred kilometers to the south, which consists of pre-Cambrian shield. You might also look into the massive costs and disruption of natural ecosystems and aboriginal peoples lives resulting from the alterations to the Hudson Bay water shed undertaken by Hydro Quebec on a scale that would be miniscule compared to your grandiose pipe dream. You might also want to consider what altering the hydrology of the Hudson Bay coastal plain would do to the existing boreal forest and peat bogs that cover it, an ecosystem that already absorbs a significant portion of anthropogenic CO2.

    In short, your cavalier assumptions are based on near-total ignorance.

    Gord save us from such ignorant visionaries.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 20 Oct 2010 @ 8:07 AM

  394. Thus we are required to flounder around on a search as contrasted to doing research.

    Glad to see you finally understand your behaviour.
    Can we return to the climate research needed to help understand how humanity can sustainably fit in to reality?

    Comment by flxible — 20 Oct 2010 @ 8:40 AM

  395. 389 Brian Dodge

    So we need to capture “5.5e8 tons of carbon total” to handle all CO2 from the coal fired electric power. And “if forested — this could sequester about 3.5e8 tons of carbon–“. That is close enough to get a bunch of cigars. As to the water requirement for growing trees, you base irrigation requirements on rainfall requirements, which are probably different by a factor of 10 to 100. But it still is a lot of water.

    But Lake Superior alone has all we need; (wow, I bet that shakes up the environmentalist passions) but seriously, compare the impact of global warming on indigeneous peoples, eco systems, boreal forests, and so on, and maybe a spark will ignite some real thinking. And I really do not intend to drain Lake Superior with this plan, though it is not off limits for use in an overall continental water system though.

    Thanks for some rational thinking and numbers as well, even though it seems like there is an underlying intent to reject the concept. I wonder how the numbers would come out if there was a desire to make the concept work.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  396. 394 flxible

    I am glad to hear you are oriented to reality. Tell me about reality of ‘carbon’ capture that is expected by the EPA to cost ‘up to $95 per ton of CO2’, not carbon.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  397. 392 Kevin McKinney

    Facing up to challenges is yet to come. I hope you are around sometime down the line when it is possible to get into more details.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  398. Jim Eager wrote: “Gord save us from such ignorant visionaries.”

    And as I understand it, Jim Bullis’s “vision” of building a mammoth system of aqueducts to redistribute water from the Great Lakes all over North America in order to plant vast tree plantations, is intended to “handle all CO2 from the coal fired electric power”.

    In other words, the purpose of this scheme is to enable us to keep burning coal to produce most of our electricity, instead of rapidly phasing out coal — which we could do at far lower cost, and far more quickly, by rapidly scaling up the deployment of existing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

    Not to mention that coal has other hideous environmental problems, from the devastation of mountaintop removal coal mining to mercury emissions.

    If anything, his scheme simply illustrates the fantastical measures that some people are apparently willing to embrace in order to continue business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels.

    Go figure.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 20 Oct 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  399. 398 SecularAnimist,

    That is about right, though it is your words that say ‘vast tree plantations’ where my words are ‘vast standing forests’.

    The dispute is whether ‘rapidly scaling up deployment of existing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies’ would compete with forests. That is the question, though I would throw on the need to also power a future of electric vehicle on coal, or whatever we might manage, at a cost that also be even more CO2.

    The EPA and DOE seem convinced that the only viable answer has to include ‘carbon’ capture and sequestration (CCS) of the usual sort, involving caverns underground, and this is at an acknowledged cost of ‘up to $95 per ton of CO2’. Of course, they are of the ‘no silver bullet’ camp, so it would not be fair to exclude your ‘efficiency and renewable energy technologies’.

    My argument rests on the key feature of standing forests, which is that they will eventually become sustainable and even offer payback of initial investment. And I include profit from agricultural products that would be an ancillary activity based on the water system that would enable the standing forests.

    As far as capturing all CO2 from coal fired power plants, it looks like we are in the ballpark. I point out, however, the CO2 capture process depends on continued forest growth, and storage requires permanence of wood mass, and these things require forest management of considerable sophistication.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  400. 398 SecularAnimist

    Nobody in the world should work in underground mines in my book. However, much of the coal used in power plants today comes from the open pit coal mines of the Powder River Basin, where massive machines greatly reduce labor costs and dangers. Thess operation are capable of being expanding from the Gillette field to more of Wyoming and into Montana, and even Canada, I think.

    Mountain tops seem not to be much involved there, and the coal is said to be ‘low sulfur’.

    As to mercury, I have not specific knowledge of this particular coal regarding that element. I did live for many years at the foot of mountains that were heavily laden with mercury oxide, so much so that this was once the largest mercury mine in the world. (New Almaden) Though the stream bordering on my backyard carried both natural ore and (probably) tailings of the mine, no health authorities were concerned. This does not prove there is no problem, but it makes me suspect there is a little extra hype on this subject. The knowledgeable people have long been saying that mercury only becomes a problem in organic products of mercury through the process of photosynthesis, and the warnings always relate to the food chain whereby such organic compounds get to people.

    Yes, I absolutely appreciate our developed world advantages, which means that I am reluctant to completely abandon the ‘business as usual’ that brought us to this point. I also make a connection to our economic problems, where concerns about regulations such as the EPA is discussing, have to have a chilling effect on the kinds of industrial expansion that we desperately need.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company — 20 Oct 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  401. JB 400: The knowledgeable people have long been saying that mercury only becomes a problem in organic products of mercury through the process of photosynthesis, and the warnings always relate to the food chain whereby such organic compounds get to people.

    BPL: Super! Why don’t you break some old thermometers and publicly swallow the mercury, just to show how harmless it is? Strain out the broken glass first, of course.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Oct 2010 @ 4:13 AM

  402. October Leading Edge report features Cuccinelli’s ‘Witch Hunt” regarding his attempt to undermine publicly funded science by attacking Michael Mann

    Well, this won’t be my last word on this subject. That probably goes for many others as well.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Oct 2010 @ 6:18 AM

  403. From the Richmond Times Dispatch:
    “U.Va. asks for stay on Cuccinelli subpeonas
    By Staff Reports

    The University of Virginia is seeking a stay on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s latest demand for information on climate research while the case is under appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

    “The motion is intended to avoid the waste of the parties’ and the Circuit Court’s resources in litigating the next round before the Supreme Court has an opportunity to weigh in on the prior ruling and to decide whether to hear it or not,” U.Va. spokeswoman Carol Wood said by e-mail.

    In separate filings Wednesday, the university also asked Albemarle County Circuit Court to set aside a revised civil investigative demand seeking information about the climate research of former U.Va. professor Michael Mann.

    The motion cites primarily the same arguments that led Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. in August to set aside Cuccinnelli’s earlier subpeonas.

    Cuccinnelli revised one of the civil investigative demands in September after Peatross ruled that the attorney general had not sufficiently articulated “the nature of conduct” by Mann to support its inquiry alleging that he defrauded state taxpayers to obtain the grants.”

    Comment by Dan — 21 Oct 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  404. #397–I’ll listen when and if the time comes.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Oct 2010 @ 3:36 PM

  405. Regarding Mercury.
    All forms of mercury are hazardous. Organic forms, such as methyl mercury, are more commonly encountered due to ingesting of fish and other substances which have concentrated mercury. Liquid mercury, and gaseous mercury are just as hazardous, and people who have worked directly with mercury have suffered dire consequences (most famouusly Isaac Newton).

    Mercury occurs naturally, and is constantly being emitted by volcanoes, hot springs, the land, and the oceans. On a global basis, nature far exceeds man with regards to emissions. However on the local level, such as the New Almaden mine listed above, mankind far exceeds nature, which can lead to mercury posioning.

    Comment by Dan H. — 26 Oct 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  406. Re: European corporations sponsoring US politicians and movements

    This may be a bit off-topic, but related to my concern about the sources of Cuccinelli’s money from his father’s business. The elder Cuccinelli is a gas lobbyist.

    I have been trying to find out if the elder Cuccinelli’s clients are European or even Russian gas interests. The Russian GAZPROM heats a lot of Europe these days, and they use economic leverage to advance their political agendas. There is no way that Gazprom is not doing what other gas companies are doing. They are full of former KGB political operatives. Often, it is not obvious that a company is Russian. GAZPROM also owns a LOT of media, Internet, etc. It is bad that US companies are sponsoring denialism, but if GAZPROM is involved, this is a whole different ball game. The Russian government and GAZPROM are pretty much on the same page, and GAZPROM is more than half owned by the Russian government.

    Since the fires, Medvedev has officially confirmed that there is global warming. He is the former CEO of GAZPROM, so that is a new development. It is a sensitive subject, because they want to make money and GAZPROM makes it for them. The Kremlin can’t totally boss GAZPROM. Here Medvedev is sort of talking around the subject of global warming, but the fires freaked them out.

    There is a good article at the Guardian and a link that shows how European companies are contributing to the campaigns of Senators.

    Here is the report the article is based on:

    I guess I thought that foreign money was not allowed in elections. I thought I read this on the FBI site about public corruption.

    Our denialist politicians talk about states’ rights and claim that President Obama is like King George. They almost incite people to violent revolution.

    But look who the Tea Party politicians are taking money from–foreigners. Possibly Russia, but I can’t prove it because of all the fronts.

    Here is what I found out myself about Cuccinelli, but I think experts could (and should) find out more.

    Comment by Snapple — 28 Oct 2010 @ 6:27 AM


    17 CTG says:
    October 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm
    Doug, here in New Zealand we have a local group of deniers who are trying to sue the NZ temperature record. They don’t like the fact that NZ has been warming, so they trying to get the courts to rule that any temperature record that shows warming is “invalid”.

    I wish I was joking…

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Oct 2010 @ 10:45 PM

  408. Edward@407,
    In some ways, it is comforting to know that the US doesn’t have a monopoly on Stupid. This is especially so as the election approaches and candidates try to outdo eachother in pioneering efforts in stupid.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Oct 2010 @ 3:58 AM

  409. A further elaboration on the riff, from the land were corporations are considered persons and money somehow = free speech:
    Climate Change Denial Pervades U.S. Elections

    “Most of these bodies call themselves “free-market thinktanks”, but their trick – as (Astro)Turf Wars points out – is to conflate crony capitalism with free enterprise, and free enterprise with personal liberty.”

    Comment by Radge Havers — 29 Oct 2010 @ 10:20 AM

  410. Radge, Matthew Berger of your reference is making mountains out of anthills. While admittedly I would guess (but don’t know for sure) many of the candidates are on the skeptic side of the equation, climate change is mentioned seldom if at all in the campaigns, Berger’s crocodile tears not withstanding. True, many talk against “cap and trade” but that overtly is because it’s a rotten bill for many reasons not directly tied to climate change. Many if not most AGW proponents think it’s a bad bill.

    $240,000 of foreign corporate contributions (a highly doubtful description but I’ll take it at face value for discussion) is “hijacking” the $3,700,000,000 2010 election???? Wow! The man seethes with hyperbole.

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Oct 2010 @ 3:50 PM

  411. “True, many talk against “cap and trade” but that overtly is because it’s a rotten bill for many reasons not directly tied to climate change. Many if not most AGW proponents think it’s a bad bill.”

    All bills are bad; some are useful (?) – but seriously, who do you see proposing better alternatives, vs worse or none?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Oct 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  412. Usually I identify in some way who I’m quoting; my last comment was re Rod B’s 410

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Oct 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  413. Patrick 027 (411), I trust/hope you are not saying that the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill must be passed since it’s the only current one — and we have to pass something even if it is bad???!!? — albeit useful ??? (to whom???)

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Oct 2010 @ 8:48 PM

  414. Rod @ 410


    He was quoting CANE, so while the reporting is certainly incomplete (sadly no surprise there) your characterization of it is also somewhat hyperbolic given that the article is about more than just the foreign funding streams; US corporate money going to California, for example. Of the totality, including no doubt what can’t be tracked, what Berger actually says is this: “The effect of all this spending is still unclear.

    As for CANE, any effect would depend upon which particular elections were targeted, not the amounts relative to the total pool across the board. What they say (in the report linked by Snapple in 406 above ) is “The European companies are funding almost exclusively Senate candidates who have been outspoken in their opposition to comprehensive climate policy in the U.S., and candidates who actively deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by people.”

    You can read more of it from the link and make of the arguments and amounts what you will. Whatever. You can be sure that donors give strategically and at least attempt to get some bang for the buck–donations being one leg of a strategy that would probably also include activities under the heading of lobbying. Perhaps more to the point regarding CANE was the part of the article’s quote that you left out — the part concerning contributors’ “hypocrisy in that these companies often tout their green credentials.”

    In fact the article wraps up thusly:

    Citing the still poor economy and hostile political environment, Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, sees the outcome of the elections as “likely to make advancing climate policy an even tougher fight than we experienced over the last two years”.

    “I think I speak for most of those working on this issue in Washington when I say the chances of passing a major climate bill in the next two years are nearly zero,” Claussen told an energy and business convention in Tel Aviv last week.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 29 Oct 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  415. Rod, if you’d cite sources for your assertions, it would be harder to make stuff up. Oh, wait …. well, you could read the Berger piece you appear to be talking about, which cites to opensecrets, and that would … oops. Nope, you’re going to have to look harder for credible sources for the stuff you claim. Berger’s sources disagree with what you’re saying.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Oct 2010 @ 10:20 PM

  416. According to Czech intelligence officials, many European gas companies are really owned by Russians through a lot of shell companies. The Russians are “cultivating” Czech politicians, too. That’s my nice word, but you can call it infiltration and subversion if you want.

    RFE/RL has an excellent article about this, and peopel should read it a few times.

    This subversion has already happened in America in once famous case. Republican Congressman Curt Weldon’s daughter was given 500,000 dollars by the Russian gas company Itera formally for “cunsulting services.” Really she got the money because her father was a political shill for Itera.

    Itera was created by stripping some assets from Gazprom. They have a headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida and some sketchy places (possibly some money-laundry island in the Caribbean and maybe Cyprus).

    It’s so hypocritical that these Republicans talk about “states’ rights” when they are taking European (and probably Russian) money and using our states to subvert our federal government.

    They say Obama is like King George and that the states should revolt against our federal government, but really they are just trying to use the states to attack the EPA and the scientific agencies.

    The Republicans want a revolution, so I am going to give them one–I am voting Democrat and I am going to keep asking my questions about Cuccinelli’s dad’s money. I am very furious that I was tricked by them, but once I really started to pay attention to them as if they were Russian politicians, it was all very clear.

    Cuccinelli wants Dr. Mann’s emails, but he won’t be transparent about who his dad’s clients are, and the father’s company gives to his campaign. Gazprom moves its money through a maze of many different companies. It is a huge company that owns TV, Internet, banks, etc.

    I bet Cuccinelli’s secrets are a lot more damning that a few indiscrete remarks in those scientists’ emails.

    The elder Cuccinelli is a career gas lobbyist with “European” clients. Why don’t big newspapers investigate this? Don’t they know who sells gas in Europe?

    It is my suspicion that the father gets formally paid for some legitimate professional services he provides; but the real services he provides his clients may be the services of his son—our meretricious Attorney General Cuccinelli, who also got money from that alleged criminal in Florida Bobby Thompson. People don’t give you 55,000 dollars for nothing.

    Cuccinelli didn’t investigate a real criminal when the evidence was screamingly obvious, but he cooks up ridiculous fabrications against Dr. Mann.

    Cuccinelli tried to put consumer affairs under the authority of the AG office. That would have protected bogus charities/money laundries like Thompson’s from oversight.

    This is like the police protecting the drug dealers, something which the FBI just stopped in Puerto Rico.

    That’s what some Russian police do–they protect the criminals. That’s what the KGB does–they protect the criminals.

    Thompson also gave money in Ohio to a former AG whose law firm included experts on consumer affairs. He gave that firm 100s of thousands in “legal fees.”

    The indictment came down in Cleveland. Cuccinelli’s dad has an office in Cleveland, but that may be a coincidence.

    If I have to speculate, that is Cuccinelli’s fault for his lack of transparency about his dad’s “European” clients.

    The alleged Florida criminal Thompson vanished successfully, but they got a woman who worked for him and the computers.

    I am a Republican, and I think the leaders of my party are nothing but a bunch of thieves who are trying to trick us by appealing to traditional values.

    Comment by Snapple — 30 Oct 2010 @ 9:09 AM

  417. Here is another RFE/RL article about the Russian petrostate’s political subversion. Read the whole thing. This is a good quote:

    \In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries.\


    Since Vladimir Putin took power a decade ago, Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, has been extending an ever-tighter grip over Europe’s energy market by vying for control over the pipeline networks, storage facilities, and utilities that deliver Russian oil and natural gas to European consumers. It has been doing that partly by rebuilding the influence it lost after the Cold War in former Soviet bloc countries that are now members of the European Union and NATO. \Russian energy companies are using their old, communist-era contacts,\ former Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursik says.

    The contacts include lobbyist Miroslav Slouf, a former communist youth leader whose Slavia Consulting company brokered a deal by Russia’s LUKoil to supply 20 percent of the jet fuel used at Prague’s international airport last year. No other companies bid for the deal, despite a promise by then-Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to diversify energy supplies. LUKoil’s main promoter in the Czech Republic, Slouf also happens to be the right-hand man of popular former Prime Minister Milos Zeman, a social democrat who many believe to be eyeing the presidency…

    To conceal its designs, the Kremlin relies on a dizzying web of shell companies nominally owned and operated by Europeans but in reality controlled by Moscow to attack by stealth. Among them, a gas-trading company named Vemex has taken 12 percent of the Czech domestic market since its establishment in 2001 to sell Russian natural gas. Although there’s nothing on Vemex’s website to indicate it, the company is Czech in name only. It’s actually controlled by Gazprom through a series of companies based in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, including Centrex Europe Energy and Gas, which has helped spearhead the Russian drive to buy energy assets across Europe.

    Centrex is registered in Austria and, according to Gazprom’s website, founded by its own Gazprombank. But the company’s real ownership is impossible to trace. According to the European Commission, Centrex is owned by Centrex Group Holding Ltd., registered in Cyprus, a company controlled by Gazprom’s German subsidiary, and RN Privatstiftung, a Vienna foundation whose stockholders are unknown.

    Why go to the trouble of hiding the real owners of companies either already known or believed to be controlled by Gazprom? Vemex is just one of a large number of enterprises Gazprom has set up in countries across Central and Eastern Europe to jockey for stakes in European energy utilities. By disguising the real owners, Gazprom makes its actions more palatable to Europeans wary of expanding Russian influence.

    Investigative journalist Jaroslav Plesl points the finger at his own countrymen for enabling Moscow. Czechs are \willing to sell anything,\ he says of the staggering corruption in his country, something Russian companies have been able to exploit by taking advantage of nontransparent tenders. They also lobby to prevent the development of regulations that would prohibit those kinds of activities, with the effect of exporting the kind of corruption that dominates Russia.

    Former foreign-intelligence chief Karel Randak fears there’s little that can be done to counter those activities. \If the Russians want to gain control over some strategic assets in the Czech Republic,\ he says, \they will do it via companies in Switzerland or Western Europe, and no one’s able to say the Russians are behind this or that firm.\

    In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries. [Read the whole article.]

    Comment by Snapple — 30 Oct 2010 @ 9:35 AM

  418. Let me explain this quote.

    “In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries.”

    “Lucrative arrangement” means the Russians pay thier partners more than the deal is worth because the Russians want their business partners to do double duty as lobbyists.

    In Soviet Studies this is called being an agent of influence.

    Attorney General Cuccinelli’s father is a career gas lobbyist with “European” clients.

    This is why I keep asking who the dad’s clients are and what services Cuccinelli provides them. Maybe the elder Cuccinelli has a “lucritive arrangement,” too. Maybe he gets paid extra to be a de facto lobbyist for the Kremlin.

    Cuccinelli could clear up my suspicions if I am wrong.

    Why doesn’t Cuccinelli answer my questions? I voted for him. I guess I didn’t buy him, however.

    Comment by Snapple — 30 Oct 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  419. Hank, I have little idea what you’re talking about in 415. I was simply commenting on the referenced provided from the reference provided. As Radge responded I might have misattributed some of the information (Berger instead of CANE) and possibly missed some of the nuances. But then Berger certainly did not go out of his way to explain the more tempered nuances — he clearly had no interest in readers picking up on them as opposed to accepting his (implied) hyperbole.

    Not too important; I just don’t think it helps your-all’s case by citing egregiously exaggerated (even if implied) stuff. A couple of unexaggerated examples — like this thread — ought to do.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Oct 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  420. A lot of these Internet blogs that promote political causes have a Paypal. Perhaps people who have a popular and influential denialist blog that gets a lot of hits can get money on their paypal from God knows who.

    I used to post on a blog where the owner claimed he worked for NASA but didn’t believe in global warming. This confused me until I looked at NASA’s site. After that, I thought that his claim that he worked for NASA was very improbable.

    Here is this pretty influential blogger.

    The blogger defended Congressman Curt Weldon who promoted the Russian gas company ITERA and spread a conspiracy theory about the 9-11 hijackers called “Able Danger.” That conspiracy seemed funky to me, too.

    Weldon was all mixed up with the Russians, but he was trying to cast aspersions on a really smart, high-level CIA official. Not a politic move for someone with dubious associations with Russians, IMO.

    When I don’t know about a subject, I always check out what each side says about themselves. I don’t just read what their opponents claim they said. I know I can be fooled by effective propaganda.

    I try to notice if the different sides mischaracterize their opponent’s positions. The denialists do mischaracterize their opposition’s arguments. Denialists don’t argue honestly with the scientists. I noticed that when denialists took advantage of a BBC interview with Dr. Phil Jones that didn’t make the term “statistically significant” clear. I think I explained this with an analogy any ordinary person could understand.

    I have a very sincere Republican friend who swallows the Cuccinelli denialist line. She reads all those “conservative” news sites instead of major media and real scientific sites. She is always saying that there is so much misinformation on the Internet, but she doesn’t mean the blogs SHE reads.

    I think ordinary conservatives don’t really understand how they are being tricked by these political operatives–these radicals who call themselves “conservatives.”

    My friend was very confused to learn that the Pope says there is global warming. Cuccinelli says the scientists are basically greedy liars, so I asked her if the Pope was also a greedy liar.

    I have a background in Soviet Studies. You really have to understand that people really are really blinded by propaganda that cynically panders to their political orientation, religious, and national values.

    Cuccinelli gets a lot of good press with Catholics for his opposition to abortion, but global warming is also a “choose life” issue. Catholics often don’t know the Vatican’s position on global warming.

    If would be good if scientists would stress that the Vatican accepts global warming because the denialists try to turn denialism into a Christian position and pit conservative Christians against “atheist” scientists.

    The scientists are trying to show us how to conserve our planet and our civilizations. That’s really conservative, I think. Taking money from foreign companies and perhaps even the Russians is very radical and subversive. Those Europeans should butt out of our elections.

    Here is what the Vatican says:

    “The scientific evidence for global warming and for humanity’s role in the increase of greenhouse gasses becomes ever more unimpeachable, as the IPCC findings are going to suggest; and such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well. The consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but in the entire socio-economic system and, as seen in the findings of numerous reports already available, they will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk…Many of the most vulnerable societies, already facing energy problems, rely upon agriculture, the very sector most likely to suffer from climatic shifts.”—Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, H.E. MSGR. Celestino Migliore (5-10-07)

    I think this is what the great scientists are telling us, too.

    Comment by Snapple — 30 Oct 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  421. Has anyone noticed this little bit of fabricated citation in Cuccinelli’s brief against the EPA? The brief to the EPA mischaracterizes/fabricates/changes what their “cited” Russian source actually wrote.

    Cuccinelli’s brief against the EPA (penned by his credulous Deputy W. Russell) “cites” the economist Andrei Illarionov’s Institute for Economic Analysis (IEA) from the official Russian press agency RIA Novosti as evidence that the CRU is faking evidence because they failed to count all the Russian weather stations (See pages 14-15 and footnote 12).

    Let us overlook the fact that Illarionov may not be an independent or reliable source since he worked for Putin and Chernomyrdin, the former head of the Soviet Gas Ministry. Illarionov also works for the Koch-funded Cato Institute since he supposedly had a “falling out” with Putin (but still is quoted in Russia’s official press agency).

    Here is the document. Now try and follow this even tho’ I don’t have red and blue hilighters like Mashey.

    Cuccinelli’s joint motion mischaracterizes the Russian article about Climategate it “cited” which actually attacks the “Hadley Center” for ignoring Russian weather stations while the Cuccinelli brief identifies the culprits as the “CRU.”

    How authoritative can Cuccinelli’s brief be if his Russian source on Climategate blames the Hadley Center for ignoring weather stations and Cuccinelli blames the CRU for ignoring weather stations?

    The Russian article does not blame the CRU for allegedly ignoring weather stations.

    Compare Cuccinelli’s joint motion (p. 14-15 and FN #12) with what the “cited” Russian article actually says:

    “On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

    The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory.

    Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports.

    Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

    The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

    The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.”

    The RIA Novosti article had this disclaimer at the end:

    “RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.”

    I think lawyers call this “Caveat Emptor,” which is pig Latin for “don’t buy a pig in a poke.”

    If that W. Russell wrote that brief all by his lonesome, how did he ever manage to write CRU instead of Hadley Center?

    Comment by Snapple — 30 Oct 2010 @ 6:52 PM

  422. Re 413 Rod B – I tend not to pay as much attention to criticisms when it comes from people who really aren’t interested in making something better. What specifically is so bad about Waxman-Markey, and how would you fix it?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Oct 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  423. RIA Novosti article Cuccinelli “cited” in his EPA brief never said this. Cuccinelli or a collaborator made this up. The author may be his Deputy W. Russell:

    “On December 15, 2009—the very day that EPA announced the Endangerment Finding—the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis (“IEA”) reported that CRU probably tampered with Russian climate data and that the Russian meteorological station data do not support human-caused global warming. It was well established that CRU had dropped many Russian stations in the colder regions of the country supposedly because these stations were no longer maintained. The IEA stated that, on the contrary, the stations still report temperatures but that CRU ignores the results.

    The Novosti article actually alleged that the Hadley Centre tampered with climate data from meteorological stations. However, this is strange because the Hadley is responsible for sea-surface temperatures. CRU is responsible for temperatures taken from meteorological stations on the land.

    Perhaps the authors mischaracterized what the RIA Novosti said because RIA Novosti got those basic facts wrong.

    I made a post about this fabrication. Attorney Generals shouldn’t be mischaracterizing their sources.

    Comment by Snapple — 31 Oct 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  424. Rod claims the article says outside money is $240,000 and tells us it’s not significant in election spending.

    Compare Rod’s number to the numbers cited by the article’s source:

    Fact-check Rod. It’s boring, tedious, and annoying.
    But he’s consistently making stuff up and handwaving and then arguing about definitions when challenged to cite sources for his claims.


    ReCaptcha offers: also evilli

    Well, that’s another opinion.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Oct 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  425. See:,0,6040861.story
    If the Republicans win the House, Joe McCarthy is back.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 Nov 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  426. Edward Greisch @ 425

    What the article says:

    “But the primary focus will be on the EPA’s determination last year that carbon dioxide and other emissions endanger public welfare by contributing to climate change. Armed with this finding, the EPA has moved to reduce greenhouse gases by mandating emissions reductions in vehicles and will soon move to regulate stationary sources like power plants and factories.”

    How it will be read:

    “…EPA…and other…s … endanger public welfare… .
    Armed with … gases… .”

    And then there’s:

    ” Several independent panels abroad and in the U.S. that reviewed the emails cleared the scientists of wrongdoing and found their research to be reliable.”

    Pinko seething, no doubt.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 1 Nov 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  427. If the Republicans win the House, Joe McCarthy is back.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 1 Nov 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  428. Patrick 027, my opinion is the bill is too costly and ineffective. But that wasn’t my point which was that the reference was using much candidate fussing about Waxman-Markey — which they do — to get people to believe that the candidates are beating a firestorm against AGW — which they aren’t.

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Nov 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  429. Hank, why are you taking me to task for what someone else claimed and someone else again referenced as insightful? My only claim was that $240,000 out of $3.7B (the author’s figures) didn’t seem, er, quite enough to “hijack” (the author’s word) the election. Are you implying the referenced author misquoted his own sources and somehow I’m obligated to verify that???!!?

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Nov 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  430. 428 Rod B – “too costly and ineffective” – I’ll let somebody else challenge that…

    How would you rate a CO2eq net emissions tax, based on public cost (externality), with a proportional tariff/subsidy on imports/exports based on the differing policies among trade partners,

    with in the near term (due to present economic difficulties), much tax money going to a combination of temporary cuts to other taxes, paying for the deficit, and various economic aid, particularly to communities that would bear more of the tax burden, in the form of retraining (for coal miners, gas/oil drillers and ‘frackers’, etc) and projects (build wind farms and related business/industry to employ former coal-mining communities, for example),

    as well as R&D and government spending on clean energy, efficiency, sequestration, and land-use issues pertaining to climate change (based on good criteria) (some of these categories can overlap),

    with the longer term spending focused more on the later (until the various new climate-friendly industries have grown to the point of mass-market size and strength)

    in addition to funds to pay for the necesary climate adaptation costs, including doing right by other countries (in particular, countries without the history of similar or larger emissions per capita, hit by adverse effects, and the hosts of climate-change refugees), and including proactive investments in infrastructure (and land-use) and related R&D


    Public lo-ans with low interest rates reflecting the low risk of some renewable energy alternatives, where private lo-ans with such appropriate characteristics are not available


    in the near term, various targeted incentives (also a destination for tax revenue),

    Updates to building and power plant, infrastructure, land-use, and consumer goods, etc, codes/regulations, – not a one-size fits all code that would have expensive solar panels installed underneath trees, but rather, codes that are structured to direct actions based on relevant conditions, including economics and product availability/cost – and also, changes in existing policies to break through barriers to clean alternatives that only exist out of habit/inertia or otherwise not due to actual costs and benifits

    Proactive review of siting issues for possible clean energy projects, to provide a roadmap so that industries can know where they can and can’t site power plants, etc.

    Phase out subsidies for polluting activities; also not directly related to climate change: regulate coal mines, etc, force the industries to respect private property rights, stop mountaintop removal mining and fracking, other stuff…

    (this was thrown together quickly; I’ve done longer more carefully arranged versions before)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 1 Nov 2010 @ 5:41 PM

  431. Patrick 027, this is neither the time nor place to develop cap and trade or tax ideas. I can imagine being supportive of some carbon tax, but nowhere near what you imply and the boatload of goodies you have the carbon tax covering. The devil is in the details. Plus a tax has an endemic downside as the feds never see a tax that Congress and the Executive can’t get a ton of their own windfall benefits from once they get their mitts on it. Something like the temporary excise tax on telephone service to help finance WWI…… Plus no tax should be applied to any region or group that does not have a readily available alternative, even if somewhat more costly.

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Nov 2010 @ 7:50 PM

  432. >
    Rod cherrypicked the smallest number he could calculate based on the text.
    That’s why people have to look carefully at the source, not rely on the spin.
    No, Rod, I’m not surprised. Just observing how you do it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Nov 2010 @ 9:36 PM

  433. PS, yes, it took a few minutes to find the full text, and yes, I do blame the journalists who write stories without providing links to sources. People deserve all the help they and we can give them to look at where the info comes from.

    So with hat tips
    to Google, who found mention of it in this article

    here it is:
    the full Climate Action Network report

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Nov 2010 @ 9:43 PM

  434. Plus a tax has an endemic downside as the feds never see a tax that Congress and the Executive can’t get a ton of their own windfall benefits from once they get their mitts on it. Something like the temporary excise tax on telephone service to help finance WWI……

    So you’re saying that this ton of windfall benefits makes telephone service some sort of incredible burden on the populace and that poor people can’t afford telephones because of it? Or they can’t afford spam and have to eat rats because of it?

    What’s the point here? That government doesn’t need funding, and everyone doing work for government should be an unpaid volunteer, and government should never buy anything tangible? (like, say, a notebook).

    You tax haters astound me.

    If you don’t want any government at all, hide your address, dude …

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Nov 2010 @ 10:39 PM

  435. This is how you spot a bad lawyer. Clearly he’s rushed to judgement, is sloppy with his evidence and is perhaps too captured by Fox news. Really with Ken, its about his ego and this mantle of crusader he’s given himself. I’m sure the next lawsuit will be aimed at NASA for having evidence the earth doesn’t orbit Ken Cuccinelli’s big head.

    Comment by matt — 1 Nov 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  436. Rod B, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

    First, taxes are essential if we are to have a government at all. Second, taxes can serve to capture costs that would be difficult to capture otherwise–e.g. degradation of the environment. Shouldn’t it bother you that it is cheaper to buy perishable tropical fruits than locally produced apples and pears, Rod? What kind of chance do you think it gives US manufacturing when goods can be transported very cheaply around the world by countries that effectively use slave labor to produce them.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Nov 2010 @ 4:09 AM

  437. Hank, it’s hard to comprehend why you keep beating my chops for something someone else said. Probably a total waste of time but since you clearly didn’t read it I will post direct quotes from the referenced article.

    “The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), which tracks these figures on its website, predicts the current election’s campaigns will end up costing 3.7 billion dollars or more…..”

    “Nearly 80 percent of the $306,100 contributed by European corporations….. [and BTW 80% of $306,000 is $244,800]… has gone to those who oppose U.S. action on climate change, CANE says, amounting to what it calls a hijacking of U.S. elections….”

    The claim that $240K can hijack a $3.7B election seems atrocious to me. If you choose to buy into it, that’s O.K. by me.

    What other cherries are there in the article that I am passing up to pick this cherry (watermelon?)?

    I still have no idea why if A presents a referenced article by B to make a point, and that I point out some errors and exaggerations in B, I have to go verify A’s reference, B.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Nov 2010 @ 3:41 PM

  438. Great! So, a 74% national sales tax, a flat 63% income tax, and a $10,000/ton carbon tax would be just dandy with you all — since taxes are just hunky-dory and our government boys are all altruistic. How long have y’all been living up there in those clouds?

    Retorts that y’all are clearly not that silly are not allowed until you retract the criticism that I am against all taxes, which you got from your rear, not from me.

    Some taxation is necessary or helpful, and good. Some taxation is burdensome, confiscatory, economy killing, and bad. It all depends. (I’m not going to fast here, am I?) My example of the telephone excise tax was not that it was terribly burdensome (though was quite noticeable in WWI times) but that it was a temporary tax that the pols soon figured out they could keep in (for another 80+ years now), get away with it without a lot of fuss, and dole out some vote-getting goodies from it after its original use was done. If you think a large bunch of that carbon tax will not be doled out for the benefit of Congresspeople and White House people, you need to get out more often.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Nov 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  439. Rod, the “claim that $240K can hijack a $3.7B election” is your strawman.
    Well, one of them, along with your tax rates. Go with it, you’re on a roll.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Nov 2010 @ 5:47 PM

  440. Here, Rod, you can use this if you spin it the right way.
    The EPA has a most-wanted list.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Nov 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  441. But, hey, what about something topical?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Nov 2010 @ 6:00 PM

  442. Rod, wipe the spittle from the corners of your mouth. It’s unbecoming.

    OK, Rod, my boy, perhaps you can tell us how YOU would bring petroleum, coal and other fossil fuels to reflect their true cost, including environmental degradation. Or is you libertarian borrow-and-spend philosophy of government so weak that you feel more comfortable challenging established science than proposing solutions to real problems?

    Your turn!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Nov 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  443. It doesn’t matter if we tax or not tax. The reality is we need to beat oil and coal on the raw economics and practicality. Which is possible.

    If electricity markets are further deregulated and we get another “california power crisis” type fake emergency/heist. There would be a large market for people wanting to get off the grid.

    Comment by matt camp — 2 Nov 2010 @ 11:06 PM

  444. Ray, as I said, I think a carbon tax might be a potential help or partial help. It just has to be done very carefully and be acceptable to more than rabid AGWers. I haven’t thought those details through anywhere near as required.

    Libertarians have a borrow-and-spend philosophy of government?? Really?? I would not have guessed Obama is a libertarian!

    Comment by Rod B — 3 Nov 2010 @ 5:10 PM

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