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Wahl-to-Wahl coverage

Filed under: — gavin @ 9 March 2011

Eugene Wahl asked us to post a statement related to some incorrect claims circulating in the blogosphere:

The Daily Caller blog yesterday contained an inaccurate story regarding a correspondence that was part of the emails hacked from East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009.

For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails. At the time of the email in May 2008, I was employed by Alfred University, New York. I became a NOAA employee in August 2008.

The emails I deleted while a university employee are the correspondence I had with Dr. Briffa of CRU regarding the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all of which have been in the public domain since the CRU hack in November 2009. This correspondence has been extensively examined and no misconduct found. As a NOAA employee, I follow agency record retention policies and associated guidance from information technology staff.

Dr. Eugene R. Wahl

March 9, 2011

Further questions can be addressed to Katy.G.Human -at- noaa.gov

Our comments

These claims are simply the latest attempt to try and manufacture scandals and smear scientists, particularly Mike Mann, based on the UEA emails. The story appears likely to have come from Senator Inhofe’s office who presumably had access to the transcripts taken by the NOAA Office of the Inspector General (whose investigation found no evidence of any wrongdoing by NOAA employees). The story was planted with Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts, and Chris Horner, and then linked to by Inhofe’s office to provide a little plausible denialability – a rather blatant media spin operation.

But the facts of the case do not support the narrative they are pushing at all. While Jones’ original email was certainly ill-advised (as we stated immediately it came to light in Nov. 2009). Eugene Wahl was not subject to FOIA at the time (since he was not a federal employee) and was not subject to UK FOI anyway since he was working for a US-based university. Nor was he aware of any ongoing FOI actions in any case. In the original emails released, Mann stated that he would notify Wahl of Jones’ email, and his only involvement was to forward the Jones email to Wahl which Wahl’s account confirms.

So what is the actual issue at the heart of this? A single line in the IPCC AR4 report (p466) which correctly stated that “Wahl and Ammann (2006) also show that the impact [of the McIntyre and McKitirck critique] on the amplitude of the final reconstruction [by MBH98] was small (~0.05C)”. This was (and remains) true. During the drafting Keith Briffa corresponded with Eugene Wahl and others to ensure that the final text was accurate (which it was). Claims from McIntyre that this was not allowed under IPCC rules are just bogus – IPCC authors can consult with anyone they like at any time. However, this single line, whose inclusion made no effective difference to the IPCC presentation, nonetheless has driven continuing harassment of everyone involved for no good purpose whatsoever. Wahl and Ammann did show that MM05 made no substantial difference to the MBH reconstruction, whether it got said in the IPCC report or not.

That this inconvenient fact has driven hundreds of blog posts, dozens of fevered accusations, a basket load of FOI requests, and stoked multiple fires of manufactured outrage is far more a testimony to personal obsession, rather than to its intrinsic importance. The science of paleo-reconstructions has moved well beyond this issue, as has the interest of the general public in such minutiae. We can however expect the usual suspects to continue banging this drum, long after everyone else has gone home.


119 Responses to “Wahl-to-Wahl coverage”

  1. 51
    Septic Matthew says:

    38, eric, in comment: And I was also ‘indirectly’ involved (or as one of our alert readers put it ‘hip deep in the CRU emails!!’) since in 1999 I received one or two emails that were also sent to Phil Jones (or, horror, may have been sent to Mike Mann too!), giving me directions to a building on campus somewhere.

    You lost me there.

  2. 52
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    Hank #49 I already had, but couldn’t find out whose job it was, so thank you for answering that too. The punishment being a lecture tour with Oliver North, presumably.

  3. 53
    Dan H. says:

    Thanks toto.

    Hank, did I do something to offend you?

    I tend to believe those who are open and honest in their debate, and put little stock in those who post negative character attacks. Sometimes, new readers need to sort out the wheat from the chaff on their own.

  4. 54
    David says:

    Gavin at 47

    It is a privilege to correspond with you again and I do not take your comments in the wrong way. I do have many more interesting and challenging things to be engaged with than writing FoIA requests, appeals and complaints – one is almost 3 and another will be 5 later this year. However, as one of our TV catch phrases goes “I’ve started so I will finish” and persistence makes up for what I lack in good looks.

    You are of course right. Appendix A states “responsibility for the final text remains with the Lead Authors” so they may indeed write just what they wish in the IPCC Reports. But my question to EFS_junior was about what was written by the WGI TSU to Expert Reviewers. Again they can write what they wish, but if it is not true people can make their own judgements.

    If what the TSU said was true it should be easy for them, or you, to humble me by giving me the comment numbers for just a few of the “many” among the 11,000 plus that they said they had received from Expert Reviewers and which suggested that they should retrospectively change the “in press” deadline to allow the W&A results, that you mentioned, to be cited. Give me 10 and I will promise never to write another FoIA request as long as I live.

    [Response: Two things, first off, I'm not going to read 11,000 comments to find something that doesn't need justifying anyway. Second, conversations about IPCC authoring with IPCC authors happen all the time. I talked to one just the other day in fact. Your insistence that the only communication between an IPCC author and the outside world must be via an officially submitted comment and response is a fantasy - this rule only exists in your imagination. None of the authors are in purdah, none are sequestered and no restrictions have been placed on their ability to a) communicate their feelings about anything to the IPCC or coordinating lead authors, or b) communicate with other interested parties about the IPCC report. Your whole endeavour is in fact based on a fundamental misunderstanding. "Many" communications might consist of a chat over coffee, a Q&A at a seminar, a quick phone call, an email, a letter, discussion over dinner, telegraphs or semaphore. You are wasting your time (as well of that of dozens of others), and for what? Even if you find something your unresolved suspicions of conspiracy will continue to fester, but they will never reach closure because your imagined conspiracy just doesn't exist. - gavin]

  5. 55
    David says:

    Gavin at 47

    P.S Don’t bother giving me Rasmus at 11-7 – the LAs said “We disagree .. “, as they did to to one or two others who wanted their pet papers cited.

  6. 56
    G. Thomas Farmer says:

    The only thing these deniers will understand will be a lawsuit. They have no respect for the truth, science or scientists. I hope Dr. Mann and Penn State have great lawyers and will file against those making these barbaric assertions. As these people lie and distort often, eventually there will be consequences.

  7. 57

    I tend to believe those who are open and honest in their debate, and put little stock in those who post negative character attacks.

    Have you ever considered basing your beliefs on the scientific evidence?

    It works for me.

  8. 58
    MapleLeaf says:

    Re #56,

    Given that McIntyre et al have libeled one of their eminent and respected scholars (Mann), surely PSU can sue for damages? These lies stand to hurt their reputation, and may also translate into loss of funding.

    Yes, I know, proving that is an issue; but I do hope they are at least considering their options, and I do hope they can sue certain people in Canada who are at the core of these lies.

  9. 59
    David says:

    Gavin at 54

    So for the world’s public reading RC, paying you and spending trillions on your ideas, where does the IPCC rule that the basis of the IPCC assessment process is comprehensive open and transparent come in?

    I take it you are not going to tell me who just one of the Expert Reviewers was that suggested the deadline change. I say you cant. Well as Churchill said KBO.

    [Response: I have no idea who said what to who, and frankly I don't care. Your definition of 'open and transparent' is pathological - any conversation with anyone in any circumstance even vaguely related to the report must apparently be delivered to you to misconstrue. This is nuts. The process was/is comprehensive, and it is open and transparent - what other report has had as many open review stages, or as many publicly available comments and replies? And yet you still want more. It's not enough that the text in question is correct and unchallenged, nor that the best available science was brought to bear, nor that you have three intermediate drafts before the final version was released. You apparently want a full track changes of any edit made by anyone over the whole process - but this is simply absurd. No conceivable assessment could possibly match up to the rules that you have invented, and certainly not retroactively as you seem to want to insist. (PS. I wish someone was spending trillions on my ideas, but alas, like your 'IPCC rules' this too is only a figment of your imagination). - gavin]

  10. 60
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    David #59. “The world’s public”? You speak for yourself and precisely zero others. I am astonished at the tolerance you are being shown here.

  11. 61
    Rocco says:

    David: Do I understand it correctly that you are advocating for 24/7 surveillance of any taxpayer-funded scientist involved in research of public significance? Wow.

  12. 62
    David says:

    In June 2005, the TSU had issued a memorandum to all concerned clearly explaining the deadlines for papers to be cited and explaining why. The relevant paragraphs were:

    “When the second draft of the AR4 is written authors need to be sure that any cited paper that is not yet published will actually appear in the literature, is correctly referenced, and will not be subsequently modified (except perhaps for copy editing). In practice this means that by December 2005, papers cited need to be either published or “in press”.

    “When the second draft of the AR4 is sent to Governments and experts for the second round review, the TSU must hold final preprint copies of any unpublished papers that are cited in order that these can be made available to reviewers. This means that by late-February 2006 if LAs can not assure us that a paper is in press and provide a preprint we will ask them to remove any reference to it.”

    “The above constraints are necessary because the IPCC assessment process is under intense scrutiny and we have an obligation to ensure that the literature is reported accurately and in a balanced way that is fair to the science community, the review process, and our final policymaker audience.”

    But hey Gavin, as you say nothing is sacrosanct – except your hockey stick!

    [Response: (Love it when people give up trying to have a conversation and throw in some line they assume is some killer comeback. Good one!) Back in the real world, self-imposed deadlines often shift due to external circumstances - If you don't realise that I'll conclude that you have never worked on a big team project, and you have always met your publishing deadlines (well done!). Unfortunately, these things happen, but you are elevating guidelines to the level of holy writ. And for what? A line that is and was correct. I remain puzzled though, what do you think would have been different if W&A had not made the cutoff? Would more than a single line have been affected? The technical summary? The SPM? What are we even discussing here? - gavin]

  13. 63
    MapleLeaf says:

    Bizarre that some still maintain that there is some conspiracy going on regarding the IPCC. It seems lost of the conspiracy theorists and paranoid that representatives from over 100 governments sign-off on the reports. There is a hell of a lot of compromise and watering down of statements to appease everyone.

    There is also nothing wrong with changing dates to include up-to date science, that is after all the purpose of the reports.

    Still, I understand that some have to persist in fabricating doubt, controversy, debate and sadly even lies to protect their delusion.

  14. 64
    flxible says:

    As one of the “world’s public”, I entirely agree w/ One Anonymous Bloke that it’s astounding Davids ridiculous hand waving isn’t in the Bore Hole – “spending trillions on your ideas” indeed!! A great many of the public –even the American public– wish there was even a few billion spent on climate science.

  15. 65
    Isotopious says:

    Hank,

    Yes, I do need help finding some indo pacific millenium sst reconstructions.

    I have some intersting data for the holocene, which generally shows the warm pool cooling 1-2 deg C over the last 10kyrs. Some records also show plenty of variability of this time, with warming and cooling cycles over a few hundred years on the order of 1-2 deg C, the norm.

    Interesting because it’s possibly an analogy to todays sst record,
    e.g, warming of around ~1 deg C with plenty of up and down variability of about ~1 deg C

    So is our little temperature adventure just part of the grand scheme of it all, who knows…

    What is interesting is how all the proxy records differ, and putting them all on one graph is an ugly business (a bit like a spaghetti western).

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

  16. 66
    David says:

    OK Gavin, you get the last word – or I should say sentance. So if W&A did not matter give me that line you keep mentioning without W&A and I’ll see how it looks.

    Good night and thank you all.

  17. 67
    Bob Kutz says:

    [edit]

    As to the science; if these guys had simply published their data and methodology all along, none of this would be an issue.

    [Response: I call BS. The code and results from Wahl and Ammann had been online since 2005, there is more paleo-climate reconstruction software online than almost any other climate related calculation (with the possible exception of GCM code). This whole charade has nothing whatsoever to do with any desire to actually find out what is happening/what happened in the real world. Instead, it is personal harassment based on the theory that since every human being is imperfect, we can find an imperfection and therefore everything that this person has ever done can be discounted (but it only applies to scientists, not any of the nonsense propagated by the 'skeptics'). All of the code and data for GISTEMP are online and independently replicated, yet every week someone pops up and accuses GISS of faking the result. Do try and keep your stories straight! - gavin]

    In short; AGW is real. It’s magnitude, certainty and the seriousness of the consequence are very much open for debate. The political ramifications are very consequential. Once these scientists became political advocates their work became suspect. Their actions in light of serious inquiry are a problem. Let them deal with that, and let’s start producing real reproducible science based on open data and methodology and an honest debate.

    [Response: More BS. No scientist is allowed to conclude anything, since that is inconvenient, so only scientists that don't tell us anything are worth listening to. How convenient for you. - gavin]

    This whole episode is hurting real science. Not the dunderheads who doubt every bit of the science, not ‘Big Oil’, not the serious scientific skeptics, not anyone but the ‘scientists’ who became actively involved in political debate while hiding behind FOI, proprietary data, etc. THAT IS NOT SCIENCE! This problem will go away, but probably not while these guys are involved in the debate. Their objectivity is highly questionable. [edit]

    Also; don’t paint everyone who questions the alarm as ‘science-deniers’ and use straw man arguments that characterize everyone who questions the establishment as denying that there is global warming or that man has played a part in that. Not everyone who isn’t an alarmist is a fool or in the pocket of big oil. Any true scientist will see the flaw in the notion that the ‘science is settled’ or that ‘we are now certain’ about the consequences, either in physics or in the geo-political ramifications. We may project, we may model, but we cannot be certain, even to a statistically significant degree. (Global surface temp is now more than 2 STD below every single models projections for 2011. There is no certainty).

    Warmest Regards,
    Bob

    [Response: Glad to see that you think I'm a 'true scientist'. But you are correct, there is no need for big oil to pay people off when people like you will dissemble for free. Singer must be upset that you are undercutting him.... (and you're wrong about the temperatures too). - gavin]

  18. 68
    Hank Roberts says:

    > iso
    >> Where are the sea/ ocean cores or other potential proxies
    >> from the same region where the tree rings were sampled
    > I do need help finding some indo pacific millenium sst reconstructions.

    Did you just move your goalpost? It’s easy to find plenty for both by just pasting your words above into Google and Scholar.

    Whatever — I suggest asking in the open thread, say where you’ve looked and the search strings you tried, what you found. Seeing what you’ve tried, folks may suggest better sources. Doing that avoids digression here.

  19. 69
    MapleLeaf says:

    Oh this is funny! :) Good on ya Senator Markey:

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/03/10/markey-flat-earthers/

  20. 70
    Mike says:

    I respect Dr. Mann and his work. While he did not break any formal rules it would have been better if he had said to Jones and Wahl that he did not think deleting the e-mails was appropriate.

  21. 71
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    Mike #70 Rubbish! How would a difference in Prof Mann’s behaviour, or anyone else’s for that matter, prevented ridiculous conspiracy fantasists from concocting ridiculous fantasies?

  22. 72
    John McManus says:

    Iso:
    Do trees grow on ( or in ) the ocean?

  23. 73
    Isotopious says:

    Woow all the data are right here , gavin you ol’ sea dog!

    right here under “data sources”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    we find:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/#Reconstructions

    then we go:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/recons.html

    and here is one:

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/newton2006/newton2006.xls

    Warming since 202 YBP. Now this is interesting. Care to comment Gavin?

    Can you predict where I’m going with this?

    [Response: Since it is very unlikely to be a credible reconstruction of anything, then no. - gavin]

  24. 74
    David B. Benson says:

    I had thought that boring comments went into The Bore Hole.

    Several today desrved that fate, rather than wasting RC moderator’s timee bothering with a reply. [Such patience; I could not muster it.]

  25. 75
    jakerman says:

    Mosher fabricates this false statement in March 2011:
    “Sources confirm that a federal inspector has questioned Eugene Wahl and Wahl has confirmed that Mann asked him to delete emails.”

    To go with Mosher’s past fabricated statements such as:
    “Overpeck the review editor of Chapter 6 or AR4 informed Briffa that he should have no contact with other scientists outside of the IPCC process”

    http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2010/06/08/climate-scientists-still-besieged/

    Mosher appears to be slinging mud to try and support the verdict he has delivered: http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/6603/30006774.png

  26. 76
    Ron Taylor says:

    Gavin, your patience with David and Bob is amazing! They are clearly not interested in whether the science was correct (i.e., the dish was delicious), but rather whether the recipe was followed exactly. according to their reading. God help us if such people really gain the upper hand!

    I have a feeling that they will be recognized one day as proponents of the Great Extermination. I will leave it to others to decide what that means. I, for my part, think this century will be, before it is finished, bleak indeed.

  27. 77
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Mosher fabricates … “Sources”

    That’s one for a propagation study. At the moment, “About 230 results” for that first quoted string in 75. I didn’t check to see if it had gone all the way around the world.

  28. 78
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    David #66. Do you have any manners? The word you are so woefully bereft of is “please”, but that ignores the fact that you have every opportunity to do your own reconstruction using any data set you care to.

    I believe Dr. Wahl is mistaken if he thinks any number of statements by him or anyone else will prevent these lies being told. They are being told to waste his and your (RC crew) time, to sow doubt, and if you do succeed in shutting them down (perhaps with a libel suit) they will be replaced with new lies forthwith. The lies about the science are probably worth engaging with. The lies about you personally, I’d put them on a T-shirt and wear them with pride.

  29. 79
    Sou says:

    Don’t you just love it when posters sign their false attacks on the integrity of scientists with ‘warm regards’. Deliberate play on words?

  30. 80
    dhogaza says:

    As to the science; if these guys had simply published their data and methodology all along, none of this would be an issue.

    I assume you’re talking about Spencer’s and Christy’s not having published their code and methodology, right?

  31. 81
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Mike #70, nonsense. On the contrary: provided data retention policy allows it, deleting older IPCC-related emails would be appropriate and prudent, as these are legitimately confidential (being, as Gavin calls it, ‘pre-decisional deliberations’ the exposure of which would undermine / already undermines the candour required for successful collaborative authoring work), and mail servers cannot be reliably secured against determined and well-resourced attackers.

    This whole idea of entitlement to any and all IPCC-related emails is just post-facto situational ‘ethics’ by folks that wouldn’t dream of making their own emails available for scrutiny.

  32. 82
    Didactylos says:

    I quite see why Isotopious doesn’t always get dumped in the bore hole: he’s such good comedy value!

    But frankly, he’s getting a bit boring now. I mean, what’s interesting about ignoring dozens of climate reconstructions and picking a single, regional study? A study, moreover, which has 110 YBP as its latest data point.

    This is just tedious.

    “Can you predict where I’m going with this?”

    Why yes – yes I can. Round and round the denier talking-points. Dull, dull, dull.

  33. 83
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Ultimately, debates between science and anti-science always get nasty. They pretty much have to, because the scientists have ALL the evidence. Even if the anti-science side were to find any evidence, then the science side would merely incorporate it. Science of necessity must consider ALL the evidence.
    So that leaves the anti-science idiots with no viable strategy but to try and discredit as much evidence as they can. Now think about that in the context of climate science or evolution, where there are literal and figurative mountain ranges they would have to address. Addressing each piece of evidence would be daunting–especially given that most anti-science types have no understanding of science at all.

    That means the only viable strategy for the anti-science types is ad hominem attack. They think that if they can just paint the scientists as the pulsing heart of evil, they don’t have to consider anything the scientists say.

    Of course the scientists know the ad hominem strategy is a fallacy–one must consider the evidence on its supplier barbecues babies on the weekend. But hey, we already knew the denialists don’t understand the ad hominem fallacy. And the wonderful thing about following a strategy that is a logical fallacy is that one need not be rigorous. Any lie or misinterpretation will suffice, since the goal is not to arrive at truth but to avoid it.

    So that leaves the scientists following the scientific method and the anti-science side playing Calvinball. Given that situation, how can the scientists win? By continuing to demonstrate that science works: Not by lawsuits or laws or Gish-gallop-filled public debates, but by verifying predictions again and again and again until the denialists are simply laughed off the public stage. Scientists can only win by doing science.

  34. 84
    Steve Metzler says:

    Very well said, Mr. Ladbury. Just to build on what you said, the other big two besides ad hom in the anti-science arsenal:

    1. Cherry picking of data
    2. Quote mining, so the supposed quotes are missing important parts of their original context

  35. 85
    Steve Metzler says:

    Question for David, the self-appointed IPCC process arbiter extraordinaire:

    Why is it that there is no issue with the way scientists involved in disciplines that (eventually) bring us the likes of computers, modern air travel, and communications technology conduct their research; whereas, scientists involved in the likes of climatology and evolution are continually subjected to attacks on their findings and integrity?

    Oh, wait. I think I can answer that: maybe it’s simply because their findings conflict with someone’s religion/ideology, or their business interests?

    It’s been the same with tobacco, acid rain, the ozone layer, et. al. In every case, there has been a handful of scientists willing to be shills for industry, working against the collective good for either ideological or monetary reasons. In some cases, the *same* contrarian scientists have pitched in on the side of the polluters for multiple causes. You really should read Merchants of Doubt.

  36. 86
    Lars Karlsson says:

    Ray #83 and Steve #84.

    To complete the arsenal of the contrarians, there is:

    4) Accuse the supporters of science of doing all the things that you do.

  37. 87
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “… debates between science and anti-science always get nasty … Scientists can only win by doing science.”

    For the deniers, the issue is not whether they or scientists “win” a “debate”.

    The issue is how long can business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels — and the one billion dollars per day in profit that it generates for the fossil fuel corporations — be perpetuated through deceit, denial, obstruction and delay?

    The fact is that the scientists have already “won” the “debate”. The deniers could not care less.

    The deniers are not out to “win” a “debate”. They are out to keep those billions of dollars in profits flowing into their coffers for as long as possible. Every single day that we keep burning fossil fuels is a “win” for them.

    And so far, they have been “winning” every single day for a generation.

  38. 88
    Rattus Norvegicus says:

    I posted this to CA and it got put in moderation, probably because it was a direct reply to him. Let’s see if it gets through:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Steve,

    This case had to do with out and out fraud. And Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted in 2002 this decision was handed down in 2006. Furthermore in the case of Wahl’s actions Sarbanes-Oxley is a red herring. It does not apply to privately held entities (which BTW, are not subject to US FOIA law, much less UK FOIA law).

    So quit with the crappy arguments. You’ve been arguing for a long time that standards applied to business (you used to cite Bre-X all the time) or engineering (which seems rather odd, since engineering is applied science and actual science is at the cutting edge and therefore might be wrong) should apply to science as an enterprise. Do you really want to see fraud cases brought against scientists who make mistakes or push the results of knowledge and point to new directions for research?

    As far as I can tell, especially given recent revelations about the financial crisis, the standards of business ethics are considerably lower than those of science. Check out what is going on with the foreclosure crisis in the US, especially what banks are doing in the name of MERS or the robo signing stuff. This is stuff that the largest publicly traded corporations in the US are trying to pull off yet nobody is going to jail for this crap. Are these really the business ethics you want to apply?

    I encourage people to go over there and have fun! He used to have some relevance to the debate (a little) but now? Nada.

  39. 89
    Mike says:

    @81 Martn, Whether to delete or save emails is a tricky issue. I delete some old emails from students to protect their privacy. A colleague’s computer was hacked and he had kept garde info and SSNs from many past classes. It was a mess to deal with the aftermath!

    But scientific correspondence may be of interest to future historians of science. There is also the occasional priority and patient disputes to deal with.

    But there does need to be greater clarity as to what FOIA requests can cover. We had someone make an FOIA request for all records pertaining to why each textbook was chosen. Every department chair had to list every textbook used and explain why it was chosen! It was a ridiculous waste.

    I imagine some scientists now use off campus email accounts to avoid dealing with this sort of thing. This would also make it harder for future historians do to their work. Maybe email records should be protected from most FIOA requests for a fixed period of time, say ten years – of they would still be subject to subpoena.

    But there is no clear cut answer here. I am glad Dr. Mann decided not delete his emails and he probably is too.

  40. 90
    Martin Vermeer says:

    > But scientific correspondence may be of interest to future historians of science.

    Mike, that is very true… that’s why, as you say, this FOI / hacking nonsense is a threat also to history writing…

  41. 91
    flxible says:

    (…) this FOI / hacking nonsense is a threat also to history writing…

    The obstructionists are obviously trying to write the political history — with some “cherry picking”. Unfortunately the future history of the planet is being written as they handwave over the politics. The future history of science looks likely to be recorded by word of mouth myths. :(

  42. 92
    John Mashey says:

    Historically, I’d suggest that the emails of some other folks would be far more educational. For example, of folks in the public eye, who’ve testified for Congress, Edward Wegman, Pat Michaels, Will Happer come to mind. The rare such that have come to light have been interesting, far more so than the usual arguments of scientists. I don’t know if Cuccinelli & Russell use email, but theirs would be especially fascinating.

  43. 93
    Steve Metzler says:

    You know what, this whole FOI thing has long ago descended into farce. It was originally ‘designed’ to bring to the fore the bureaucratic to-and-fro that was hidden away on paper 50-odd years ago. In the modern age, and even way back then, a helluva lotta business was transacted via the phone, or over a cup of coffee, or a nice, cosy dinner. That applies to government employees and the private sector alike.

    Just because a (perhaps naive, but only in retrospect) scientist chose to communicate their candid thoughts to colleagues via e-mail, rather than through some other channel… does that mean that 20 years after the fact, all the armchair scientists in the world get to pick through the transactions to mine for quotes?

    Sorry, but the world cannot possibly work that way. 1984 indeed. If the science is well-founded and supported by the data, the science can stand on its own. And it does.

  44. 94
    Snapple says:

    John Mashey @92 writes:

    “I don’t know if Cuccinelli & Russell use email, but theirs would be especially fascinating.”

    I have written W. Russell many times to ask questions about Cuccineli’s financial sponsors and to criticise their persecution of Dr. Mann and climate science, but W. Russell never deigns to answer.

    I especially ask why Cucccinelli’s EPA suit used an article from RIA Novosti that attacked British climate scientists. The original article on which the Novosti report was based was originally printed in Alisher Usmanov’s “Kommersant.” Usmanov is a Gazprom operative. The Kommersant article cited the economist Andrei Illarionov–a former adviser to Putin and Chernomyrdin, the former head of the Soviet Gas Ministry and its post-Soviet reincarnation Gazpoom.

    Illarionov also is the global warming adviser for the Libertarian Cato Institute.
    I think the Cato gets money from the Koch brothers, whose father built the Soviet oil refineries.

    I voted for Cuccinelli, but he really doesn’t care about serving the people who voted for him; he answers to the people–like his father the gas lobbyist—who give a lot of money to his campaign.

    I wonder if that “whistleblowing” ex-CIA guy Kent Clizbe might be a political operative for denialist politicians such as Cuccinelli.

    I don’t know if that is happening or not, but that is pretty much what political police do—try to get people in trouble for nothing by planting compromising articles in newspapers and making it appear that these innocent people have broken the law.

    It’s disturbing that Kent Clizbe was in the CIA but doesn’t understand our political values at all. I don’t think he is typical of CIA officers. Usually CIA people have a lot of respect for the expertise of scholars. For example, the CIA gives climate scientists security clearances so they can study the satellite pictures and other types of reconnissance data.

    Kent Clizbe brags about his CIA past and tells people the Justice Department will give them millions to denounce Dr. Mann, but really the CIA is studying the national security implications of climate change and the federal government doesn’t have any issues with Dr. Mann.

    Not one scientist who worked with Dr. Mann has denounced him because they know Clizbe’s campaign is totally bogus. It’s disgusting.

    I was always Republican, but I think that these fossil fuel companies are practically taking over the government. They are buying elected officials who persecute scientists under the color of law. I didn’t pay taxes so Cuccinelli could persecute scientists for the fossil fuel companies.

    These denialist politicians are radicals, not conservatives. They are constantly dumping a slurry of filthy lies into our political debate. These are the tactics of a police state, not a democracy.

  45. 95
    Jiri Moudry says:

    Dr. Goebbels used to say, “A lie repeated thousand times becomes a truth”. The Internet is an ideal medium for this approach. To truth. To science.

  46. 96
    Jiri Moudry says:

    I never know if my comment got submitted. I deliberately misspelled my captcha, and I got an error message. A professional approach would be to confirm a correct submission as well.

  47. 97
    J Bowers says:

    gavin — “If the IPCC reports were written under US government auspices, all official communications made in the drafting of the reports would be ‘pre-decisional deliberations’ which are exempt from release under FOIA.”

    This is worth repeating.

  48. 98
    Marion Delgado says:

    Hank Roberts:

    Wouldn’t it be more helpful to the truth-seeker to provide a link to where the data is hidden?

    http://tinyurl.com/4vdavvk

  49. 99
    Conor1 says:

    I’d like to see more links to scientific explanation, data, etc. As someone who chanced across several denier webpages before finding this one, I have to say this doesn’t help me understand the broader scientific issue of “hide the decline”. You state that “The science of paleo-reconstructions has moved well beyond this issue.” Could you provide a link? In general, would you mind providing more info so that I can make my own decision, rather than trying to convince me by pointing out that it should be obvious? Thanks.

  50. 100
    flxible says:

    Conort@99 – Please feel free to click the “Start Here” or “Index” links at the top of the page where you can find more than enough information to “make your own decision”, don’t ask busy scientists to spoon feed you one tidbit at a time.


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