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Two-year old turkey

Filed under: — gavin @ 22 November 2011

The blogosphere is abuzz with the appearance of a second tranche of the emails stolen from CRU just before thanksgiving in 2009. Our original commentary is still available of course (CRU Hack, CRU Hack: Context, etc.), and very little appears to be new in this batch. Indeed, even the out-of-context quotes aren’t that exciting, and are even less so in-context.

A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance, and they didn’t bother to hack into the RealClimate server this time either. Hopefully they have left some trails that the police can trace a little more successfully than they’ve been able to thus far from the previous release.

But the timing of this release is strange. Presumably it is related to the upcoming Durban talks, but it really doesn’t look like there is anything worth derailing there at all. Indeed, this might even increase interest! A second release would have been far more effective a few weeks after the first – before the inquiries and while people still had genuine questions. Now, it just seems a little forced, and perhaps a symptom of the hacker’s frustration that nothing much has come of it all and that the media and conversation has moved on.

If anyone has any questions about anything they see that seems interesting, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can provide some context. We anticipate normal service will be resumed shortly.

666 Responses to “Two-year old turkey”

  1. 101
    Mike Lewis says:

    The problem with these emails is that they convey a sense of subterfuge coupled with some very insensitive remarks aimed at their peers. Regardless of the science, it gives the group the appearance of being unprofessional which lends credence to the claims that the science may have been done in an unprofessional manner as well. Proving or disproving the AGW hypothesis should not be a PR contest; it should be an open discussion as we all stand to lose much if it is true and the worst case scenarios are possible. Why “hide” anything? Share the data among the peer groups. Truth will out.

  2. 102
    Jeff Short says:

    Gavin I am an Ecologist with several decades of experience, I have been following the Climate Change debate for more than a decade. I have long since held the view that there are evolutionary traits in animals and plants throughout the world which demonstrate that there has been no increase in climate variability over the past 200 years, and one might strongly argue that the evolutionary traits of much of the Australian Fauna and Flora would suggest climate variability similar to that of the last 200 years has existed for several hundred thousand. When I have raised these issues I have been heavily berated by many peers who are in the Climate Change industry in an antagonistic fashion, however most of my peers in Science and Ecology tend to support my position.
    My question is that these emails clearly state that the debate is not settled even amongst yourselves. There are emails which are not taken out of context and bring into question the quality of the models. There are questions about the models not being supported by the evidence, limited as that is at the moment. Why do you seek to discredit scientists whose opinions differ from yours? Why is there not an effort to collaborate with those scientists? And why are the fundamentals of science disregarded in this debate. Question everything, no hypothesis can be proven true etc…
    It is clear that FOIA’s issue relating to this was that the amount of money going to be thrown at emissions reductions is incredible, it could feed the world, or from my perspective, it could permanently protect every rainforest on the planet. Surely the trillions of dollars going into this industry would be better used in multi-result activities such as conservation of rainforests and wetlands? I would not presume that you are profiteering from this industry, but at some point it would be nice to see what financial restitution you and your colleagues have received in the last 20 years from the public purse. I did note that one email identified the US Government as a primary funder and that this was a consideration in how you developed your reports and selected information to include or exclude, how is this possibly ethical? Please try to be civil in your response as I have noticed numerous responses above that were not.

    [Response: Neither evolutionary pressures of climate variability, nor the imagined ‘trillions’ of dollars going into the ‘industry’ (?) are mentioned in any of the emails I have read. These scientists work mainly on data set production, proxy reconstructions and a little on climate modeling, so I’m not quite getting the relevance. Research that the US Govt. (via NSF, NASA, NOAA, DOE etc.) pays for is all publicly described and is competitively awarded in dozens of calls per year. Perhaps if you were a little more specific about what you were concerned about I could help, but I don’t recognise any of your issues from the description in your comment. – gavin]

  3. 103
    J Bowers says:

    @ 98 Gavin Cawley

    I just read one of the emails that had one from Keenan seemingly trying to divide and conquer Jones and Wang, with the accusations of fabrication against Wang. How the scientists have put up with this crap for so long is testament to their character. It must feel like they have stalkers.

  4. 104
    Alec, aka Daffy Duck says:

    Gavin wrote : “We said back in 2009 that asking people to delete emails was ill-advised…”

    That raises the question: what about the email that were download to personal storage? I one of the newly leaked emails Keith Briffa writes “UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC task.” [ ]

    Shouldn’t Keith return those to UEA and provide copies of the records covered in the freedom of information request to all parties who were wrongfully denied access? That would be the right thing to do, wouldn’t it?

    [Response: I have no idea of what Keith has or has not done, what requests were or were not received. nor what requests were rightfully or wrongfully denied. As to what the ‘right’ thing to do would be depends on all of those details and the UK FOI legislation. You would need to raise that with the UK ICO. But assuming all of that in the absence of any relevant evidence is simply insinuation. – gavin]

  5. 105
    Ian Bradbury says:

    Re Jeff Short, 102

    I’m not clear how ‘evolutionary traits’ could have been expressed in responsse to climate variability changes if those changes have occurred only over the past 50 – 100 years, surely that’s a bit rapid?

    “I would not presume that you are profiteering from this industry, but at some point it would be nice to see what financial restitution you and your colleagues have received in the last 20 years from the public purse. ”

    Oh please, do you really believe non-clinical scientists in universities and government bodies are in this for the money? Really?

  6. 106

    Mike Lewis #101: there is enough public data to test everything. And this has been done repeatedly. Go to the data sources link at the top of this page if you want to do so yourself.

  7. 107
    Radge Havers says:

    Ray Ladbury @ 90

    “You know, the really sad thing about this whole episode from its inception in 2009 is that it has been a tremendous learning opportunity that has been largely wasted.”

    The deniers may be a largely a lost cause anyway, but for most of us there’s the media. Excluding those not consciously engaged in propaganda, there’s a big bunch who, while they go to great lengths to check their gabbling for grammar and spelling, nevertheless gasp and fall down exhausted when it comes to checking the group-think assumptions in their ‘work’ product.

    The sphere of consensus contains what “everyone knows,” assertions that do not have to be backed up or sourced. The sphere of legitimate controversy contains all those issues on which there are “sides” with differing perspectives, typically quoted in he-said she-said fashion. And the sphere of deviance contains all that nuttery that Serious People simply don’t discuss.

    When press critics talk about media “bias,” reporters think immediately about the sphere of legitimate controversy. They think, well, we don’t take sides in those disputes, so we’re objective. What they often have trouble seeing is that what gets included in what sphere is itself an intrinsically political question.

    When Broder states as fact that ozone rules are a net economic drain on business, he is engaged in a political act, though he probably doesn’t think of it that way. He is helping conservatives do something they’ve been trying to do for decades: drive the notion that government regulations are inherently economically harmful into the sphere of consensus, to make it something that everyone knows so no reporter has to support with evidence.

    And when Broder presents the public health damage of smog as something “environmentalists say,” he is helping conservatives keep that fact — which is overwhelmingly supported by scientific evidence — out of the sphere of consensus.

    The pattern has played out on a larger scale on climate change. The conservative campaign against climate science has never been about disproving it, it’s merely been about keeping it out of the sphere of consensus. That’s what “teach the controversy” is all about.”

    via Climate Progress

  8. 108
    guthrie says:

    Mike Lewis #101 – such data sharing has already taken place, and all efforts so far support the mainstream view.

  9. 109
    timg56 says:


    Where am I claiming the right to decide for anyone else. If you believe that it is imperative to replace coal generation plants with “renewable” forms of generation you are free to invest in those companies trying to develop them. I’m even willing to support certain tax incentives to spur development. You are free to donate your time and money to any non-profit organization that supports causes and actions you believe in. And I strongly support those donations being tax deductable for you. And if the utility company that provides you your gas and electricity is one of the many that offer Green Energy options – i.e. customers may select that option and pay at a slightly higher rate to help fund green programs by the utility – please do not let me stop you. (Interesting to note that a major utility in California just scrapped their Green option due to no one siging up to it. If not in California, then where?)

    As for what brains I retain between my ears, I manage to stumble along with what I have. Stumbled into 3 degrees, 2 of which were of the graduate science sort, along the way. But you are probably right. Afterall, they don’t call torpedomen knuckle dragging, mouth breathing grunts for nothing.

    And you are also correct in stating I won’t live to see 40 – 50 ft sea level rise. As for grandkids, (or great, great grand kids) maybe. But probably not. At least not according to any existing evidence.

    And since it is highly unlikely that I am “risking” either the next generation or the one after that, while many of the policies being pushed carry significant risk to generations currently alive today, I think I’ll choose the more tried and – so far – proven method of doing my best to help my kids become responsible, contributing members of society, which they will hopefully pass on to their kids, so that by the time we reach those “future” generations you refer to, they will find it isn’t the hellish doomsday you apparently believe it is going to be.

    [Response: Discussions are generally fostered by not building up strawman characterisations of the arguments made by the people you are discussing with. I have no idea what ‘hellish doomsday’ scenarios you are suggesting is the mainstream postion. Nothing resembling that can be found in the reports of the National Academies or the IPCC. Neither is there any prediction of 40-50 ft rises in sea level in the near future, even on the centennial scale. Since the reasons for concern that is expressed is not related to either of these issues, arguing that your disbelief in their existence means that you should have no reason for concern is illogical. Stick to the likely impacts of 3 or 4 or 5 deg C warming, and perhaps 1 m of sea level rise, and then argue (if you must) that no investment is worthwhile to avoid that. – gavin]

  10. 110
    SecularAnimist says:

    gavin responded to timg56: “I have no idea what ‘hellish doomsday’ scenarios you are suggesting is the mainstream postion.”


    [Response: My point was not to suggest that impacts of global warming are going to be benign – they are not. But even a severe drought and exceptional warmth is not a ‘hellish doomsday’. You don’t do your case any good by adopting such language. – gavin]

  11. 111
    patrioticduo says:

    Gavin, the RC welcome page specifically states “Thus we will not get involved in political or economic issues that arise when discussing climate change.”

    But here you are with an entire thread dedicated to discussing the release of emails where little if any actual science is discussed.

    So if I take your actions here and put them together with Michael Mann’s email that specifically refers to the idea that Real Climate is in fact waging a “PR battle”. I come to the conclusion that you are indeed discussing political issues and Real Climate is in fact exactly what Michael Mann says this website is.

    A PR machine for climate scientists. Which means that Real Climate is NOT about just the science at all – now is it?

    [Response: Would you like a pretzel with that logic? – gavin]

  12. 112
    timg56 says:


    You point about risk assessment and risk management is a good one. And I am strongly in favor applying these techniques to the issues related to climate change, or more accurately to the policies which climate change is apparently driving.

    I do question your statement that science currently says there is a non-negligible chance of 40 ft sea level rise (or any of the other doomsday predictions). As a life long fan of Science Fiction, I’ve read SF stories that have a firmer basis in science than many of the predictions I’ve seen about the consquences of a warmer planet. A rise of 1 meter in the next 100 years? That could be considered as a non-negligible risk, although not by any means a certainty. Should we look at mitigation factors for that? By all means. Should those include drastic reductions in coal burning? Only if you can directly show that it is the most effective means of mitigation or will even work to mitigate a rise in sea level.

    I am not saying we can afford to ignore the risk. I am saying we first have to more accurately quantify the risk, something that has not been done. And once we have quantified it, we have to assess whether the proposed solutions or risk mitigation proposals will a) actually reduce the risk and b) not create other risks that are as bad or worse. Otherwise we get things like Naiomi Klein’s opinion piece in The Nation, which among other things, calls for a de-carbonization of agriculture, with the added bonus of providing a decrease in unemployment. Or bio-fuels policy which diverts food stocks into fuel production stocks, causing food price increases and shortages in the poorer parts of the world.

    It isn’t that I have little or no regard to future generations as it is my having a regard to those generations alive today. And if you care about those people, then you will realize that perhaps the best means to improve their lives is by providing access to inexpensive energy. You also incorrectly attribute to me the believe that I think the risk is in fact high – as yet I don’t. So absent any risk, exactly what am I gambling?

    On the issue of my money – I happen to believe that I am best qualified to determine where it goes and how it is used. Just as I give you the benefit of doubt and assume you also are best qualified to determine what you do with yours.

    And to tie this back into the thread – the most potentially worrisome thing I see about the emails is that they give a – possible – indication that more than just the science of climate has been at play. As Dr Schmidt has indicated here, the “disagreement”, “doubts” and questions of how to “manage or portray” the data is much a part of what goes on in science. But when you start seeing stuff about “the cause”, at least then your ears should perk up and you should start paying more attention. I take it on faith that God exists. Most everything else requires at least some degree of proof and that is where I am with climate change. Show me some proof that doomsday awaits.

    [Response: “Show me some proof that doomsday awaits.” – this is of course impossible, thereby relieving you of the necessity of considering any risks at all. How clever. But isn’t this kind of rhetorical flourish a little beneath you? – gavin]

  13. 113
    dhogaza says:


    Gavin, the RC welcome page specifically states “Thus we will not get involved in political or economic issues that arise when discussing climate change.”

    But here you are with an entire thread dedicated to discussing the release of emails where little if any actual science is discussed.

    Hmmm … I’m missing the part where they said they wouldn’t defend themselves or their colleagues against accusations of scientific fraud …

  14. 114
    Rob Honeycutt says:

    timg56 said… “…they will find it isn’t the hellish doomsday you apparently believe it is going to be.”

    The “hellish doomsday” for future generations is more likely to be a function of where you happen to be born. In my reading of the science those born in wealthy nations are going to be much less impacted in the near term. Those born in poor nations, people whose situations are already fairly desperate, are very much likely to see something that would fit the description.

    It sounds as if you are fully capable of reading and comprehending the published literature. Read the IPCC AR4. Follow the published literature. See what it states. There actually is a high likelihood that there will be significant impacts, some significant impacts even within our own lifetime.

    It would be a mistake to assume that somehow the cure is worse than the disease for people today. The financial impacts of extreme weather events are not insignificant. As well the solutions are ones that actually generate positive domestic economic activity.

    I am constantly amazed when I read the fear and anger in the words of people like timg56. Where does this come from? You can’t pawn that off on the scientists. They’re only doing their jobs researching and publishing their findings. Tim, why are you so angry about attempting to solve what is clearly “very likely” to be a serious problem for humanity?

  15. 115
    cynicus says:

    @89, Number9,

    This is probably effort spent for nothing, but you are wrong. Dead wrong actually. You assume that risk translates automatically to NPV. It doesn’t. Think about it.

  16. 116
    Rob Honeycutt says:

    patrioticduo… Hm, so we constantly hear that climate scientists need to better communicate with the general public. But when they communicate with the public they are accused of waging a political battle?

    If you read through the responses to the out of context email in this thread I think you’ll find that Dr Schmidt is attempting to put each email into a proper scientific context. But you don’t even need to rely on Dr Schmidt.

    For those who claim they are “skeptics” surely the appropriate course of action for a true skeptic would be to download the full set of emails and read the full context of each email for themselves. It’s a big job but being truly skeptical is a very time consuming task. Just deciding you’re right and those you want to disagree with are wrong is a very easy task, but not very skeptical.

  17. 117
    Mac says:

    Thanks, Gavin, for your patient explanations and professional tone throughout all the nonsense flying around. It is educational on several levels. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  18. 118
    J Bowers says:

    104 Alec, aka Daffy Duck — “That raises the question: what about the email that were download to personal storage?”

    I believe Wegman downloaded all of his emails to his laptop and they were deleted from the GMU server. Perhaps that’s what’s hindering the GMU investigation into his alleged academic plagiarism and he should return them.

  19. 119
    timg56 says:

    Dr. Schmidt,

    I refer to UN predictions of 50 million climate refugees, to an editor of a British medical journal stating that climate change represents a risk greater to mankind than all of the world’s communicable and non-communicable diseases, to claims ranging from increased frequencies and intensities of storms to mass extinctions of species.

    You state above that you believe that the impacts from a warmer planet will not be beneign. I tend to think that some will, some will not and some may be net beneficial. But I don’t know this with any certainty. What I am willing to do because of that uncertainty is to consider courses of action to take, on the condition that the more drastic the course, the more evidence be provided as to the certainty of how non-beneign the impacts will be. In moving from the realm of science to the realm of policy, I expect the former to provide me with solid information on which I can base my decisions.

    FYI – this is meant just as a response back to you and doesn’t have to be posted, since it does not directly concern the issue of hacked emails.

    [Response: There is an excellent “Foresight” report that tackles the rather ill-defined concept of ‘climate refugees’ very sensibly – read that first. – gavin]

  20. 120
    John Fitzgerald says:

    Gavin –

    This is a tad off topic, still you seem like a reasonable chap.

    I’m so tired of taking some denial-ist comment with a full degree of respect, following there reasoning to the original source of information, examining the data to the best of my ability, then being left to conclude that they are just s incomprehensibly wrong that I must have discovered some deep connection to an alternative universe. (or, I have been just naive regarding the honest and good intent of most, or insanity is much more common than I have previously thought.)

    A recent comment presented this quote, supposedly from AR5 draft;

    “in the past few years the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has entered its negative phase, which will continue for the 2 to 3 decades…” This is combined with another quote, “Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change…”

    Would you be so kind to explain the meaning and general expected outcome of these quotes? You can choose any reading level between “electrical engineer that took four years of statistics” to “I love Dr. Seuss”. I lean towards, “I love Dr. Seuss” or “Executive Summary”.

    I am interested, but no longer willing to take time away from watching the grass grow on my front lawn to track down the context or fundamentals of denialist comments. Still, I would like to remain an informed and intelligent voter.

    I just would like to get a basic idea of what the expected value of mean global temperature and variance is with respect to these quotes. It might suggest, in the right context, a flattening of the previous and undeniable trend of “up”. It might mean something particularly dull or particularly interesting.

    Thanks much,

    [Response: I doubt the quotes come from the draft of AR5, though the second probably comes from the SREX report (via a leaked copy to Richard Black at the BBC). I don’t see anything particularly problematic with either though. Short time periods are not useful for determining trends even in the mean, let alone the distribution of extremes – the best we can hope for there is some amount of fractional attribution. As for the PDO, I’m not sure how the prediction is so definitive, but this is a small factor in global temperature trends, though regionally it is more important. What climate will actually do is of course a function both of the forced changes, but also the particular path taken by the internal variability. The former is more predictable than the latter. – gavin]

  21. 121
    John Cross says:

    Gavin: Great work at supplying some missing context to these e-mails. However I think that SecularAnimist (post at 12:42, number 110) was making a tongue in cheek comment. I have seen their posts for many years and they have acted many times to set the scientific record straight.


  22. 122
    geronimo says:

    Does anyone seriously believe that the release of this tranche is anything to do with Durban? Remember Copenahagen and Cancun, they produced nothing. Kyoto produced an agreement that nobody achieved. I’m puzzled as to what the people on this site see as the end game to what they’re trying to achieve. I have always used the maxim that you should know what victory looks like before you enter the fray. So I am asking everyone who has a desire to change the world we live in what they see as the end game. What, practically do they see the new world they’re trying to create looking like? Gaving you have my email address I’d appreciate your views.


  23. 123
    Mal Adapted says:

    This really comes down to the belief that stupid people like me can’t possibly understand the intricacy of your scientific investigations. The emails are further evidence that you have to dumb it down for us, the unwashed masses, so that we can possibly understand. Further, you have to remove hints of discontinuity in opinion and present a united front so that we don’t get it in our heads that there are other possibilities. These emails are evidence that you think we are idiots.

    #99 Charlie Z. sounds like David Brin’s crazy uncle:

    8. I don’t care, I hate science:

    Yep, that is the fall-back refrain. Hatred of people who know stuff. Not just science, but also teachers, diplomats, journalists, lawyers, professors, medical doctors, civil servants, skilled union labor… you name a caste of knowledge and professional intellect — of knowing stuff – and it’s under attack…
    Again. Scientists aren’t being dissed in order to detract from the theory of climate change. Climate change denialism is being pushed in order to help know-nothing-ism win the War on Science.

    Charlie, people like you can understand the intricacies of climate science and the way it’s conducted by experts, if you’re willing to put the time and effort into becoming an expert yourself. Are you up for years of training, laboratory work, data analysis, and model development? Are you willing to submit your ideas to the criticisms (hoo boy) of peers who’ve already covered all that ground? It’s not enough to be smart — you actually have to know something about the subject. If you’re not willing to do the work yourself, you have no choice but to leave it to the scientists who have. Why is that so hard to accept?

  24. 124
    Jeff Short says:

    Ian Bradbury – I think you misinterpreted me, I will hope to cliarify. I was referring in particular to the physiology and instinctive behaviour of fauna of Australia, and example is the Kangaroo, their high efficiency and adaptability to arid conditions and to respond quickly in reproduction to rain events in particular, I would go in detail but no space etc. Anyhow this physiology is highly suggestive that the severe weather conditions in Australia, in particular severe droughts, that have been attributed to ACC have been occuring long before the last 200 years. As you say it takes more than a few hundred years to evolve that way, thus it is clear that these conditions have been occuring for an evolutionary time frame (Hundreds of thousands of years). For a flora example just look at any Eucalyptus species or Acacia species in Australa that are still healthy and green leaves in the “worst drought in history” resulting from ACC (see Tim Flannery). The flora and fauna of Australia have evolved to thrive in low moisture dry periods, why because they have been occuring for millenia. There are numerous similar examples of species in Canada, Europe and South America.

    [Response: Is this, in your mind, supposed as a novel insight of some type?–Jim]

    Gavin, FOIA clearly use the trillions of dollars as one of the reasons for releasing the information. I can at least sympathise with their position. It is clearly trillions of dolalrs around the world being thrown at ACC through various programs, the Australian Government through its carbon tax alone will have taxed and reallocated $1 Trillion on this issue by 2050 and that 210 Billion Euro have been spent on Carbon Credits in the last 5 years. This is just 2 of many programs. So there are Trillions being spent, it is undeniable. Surely this money is better allocated to protecting natural features on the planet which not only help battle climate change but also protect biodiversity? Why is this so hard to argue for?

    [Response: You are at liberty to argue for any allocation of resources you like. Personally, I don’t see biodiversity protection as antithetical to climate change mitigation (indeed, I’d argue they are strongly linked), but the idea that future funding for CC mitigation and adaptation is harming biodiversity now is odd. Why aren’t you arguing for those funds to come out of the (much larger) defense budgets? or from reductions in oil subsidies? or tax breaks for the wealthy? or welfare for the poor? Governments spend lots of money on many things. – gavin]

    In regards to my last light little dig, you would do yourself a great service to disclose what financial gains you have made from Climate Change, as I strongly suspect it is not insubstantial, and although you no doubt got into this for the passion, you’re surely making a good buck out of it now so it is of course always going to be in your interests to maintain “the cause”.

    [Response: Well if you want to go down that road, then how much do you think I make–or have made to date–from my involvement/interest in the climate change issue? Take a wild guess.–Jim]

    [Response: Oh please. If I wanted to make pots of money, I would have gone into the City as a ‘quant’ like many of my cohort. I have a civil servant job which is reasonably well paid, and which allows me to live in a one-bedroom apartment in an unfashionable neighbourhood of New York City. Woohoo! Please leave your lame imaginings at home. – gavin]

    Healthy Polite Scientific debate is rare, and I do have respect for the passion and effort you put in your research, I just think we get blinded to the possibilities some times…ultimately i agree we have a terrible environmental impact on this planet and efforts shhould be/are being made to curb that impact, but i do not agree entirely in our contribution to Climate Change.

    [Response: Healthy polite scientific debate is not helped by your insinuations that the scientists are corrupt. How difficult is that to work out? – gavin]

  25. 125
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    patrioticduo @ 111, if you want a site that discusses the political and economic issues that arise when discussing climate change, go here:

    Meanwhile this site explains planetary physics and sometimes chemistry to the public. To do this it is sometimes necessary to explain disinformation that is spread by others.

    Both sites are quite valuable yet the difference between them is hard to miss.

  26. 126
    Number9 says:

    This is probably effort spent for nothing, but you are wrong. Dead wrong actually. You assume that risk translates automatically to NPV. It doesn’t. Think about it.

    Comment by cynicus

    I take it then you don’t have a quantifiable measure and are left with just emotion.

    Not that I’m surprised.

  27. 127
    Hank Roberts says:

    > political and economic issues
    See the right sidebar for more.
    I recommend EcoEquity

  28. 128
    Bernard King says:

    Please provide some context for the following emails:


    We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has written[…] We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff.


    Also there is much published evidence for Europe (and France in particular) of increasing net primary productivity in natural and managed woodlands that may be associated either with nitrogen or increasing CO2 or both. Contrast this with the still controversial question of large-scale acid-rain-related forest decline? To what extent is this issue now generally considered urgent, or even real?


    From these emails, it seems like the “optimistic stuff” is not “bullshit.” In fact, the positive consequences seem to be supported by empirical evidence, and should not be left out of the policy discussions.

    Overall, that emails reveal nothing horribly scandalous. However, they do quite clearly demonstrate an organized effort to “market” climate change as a disaster that must be avoided at all costs. Again, there’s nothing wrong with making this argument, but that is not science, and it makes the proponents look more like lobbyists, then scientists. The result, at least from my perspective and probably many others, is a further reason to question the credibility of global warming proponents as scientists.

    [Response: On the first, see above. On the second, these questions are posed at the end of an assessment of a research proposal, presumably as issues to be addressed. Briffa proposed that the proposal be rejected because there wasn’t enough appreciation of how hard attribution of forest stresses to various impacts (CO2, nitrates, acid rain etc.) would be. I’m not sure how damning that is supposed to be. – gavin]

  29. 129
    John Fitzgerald says:

    geronimo says:” So I am asking everyone who has a desire to change the world we live in what they see as the end game. What, practically do they see the new world they’re trying to create looking like? ”

    I don’t need an end game to vote, just an understanding of the difference between right and wrong.

    I can take this one as it it more a philosophical attitude kind of question. If I understand your perspective correctly, it’s actually a telling difference between individual philosophies. Do I pick fights that I can win, or fights worth fighting?

    It does make sense to approach things from a “pick your fight” perspective, after all, spending life chasing lost causes can be very tiring. On the other hand, there are some things that are just important enough that the end game doesn’t matter. Like, oh….I don’t know….”reality”, the difference between what is real and isn’t real?

    Perhaps I’m an idealist. My dog is a realist. He couldn’t care less about climate change. His end game is when will he get fed again and will there be food when that time comes. If I go out for the day, he saves it, just in case I don’t come back. I give him one of those dog treats in the shape of a bone. He just sits with it for hours, until I get back. Then he decides he can eat it. Smart dog.

    He wonders why I bother posting replies to some guy who says, “Hey, the climate has been cooling since 1998”.

    My dog asks me, “Why do you bother? The guy isn’t gonna believe you. And, it’s not gonna get you more food.” (He doesn’t really ask, he’s not that smart. But I like to imagine his perspective. After all, he’s at least pragmatic.)

    And I tell him that he is right, this guy isn’t gonna get it. I tell him that he shouldn’t worry too much, it’s not like I’m gonna argue with my boss about it.

    “At work, I’ll agree with my boss all day long,” I say, “That way, I can always buy you more dog treats.” He is glad to hear this.

    “But, I’m not hungry right now. And you’re not hungry right now. And humans are a bit different than dogs,” I explain.

    “You can just stare out the window and be happy. People need to do something, however minimal it may be, that might make a difference. I may not convince this denialist guy. But someone else is gonna read it.”

    He seems to like it better when I talk with contractions. He gets a little upset when I “talk down to him.”

    “And, lacking any other information, they may believe it. At the least, I can give them an honest and truthful perspective. Maybe I’m just dreaming. Or maybe I am just one little cell in a larger body, one little neuron in a bigger brain called humanity. I’m not a millionaire. I’m not holding a political position.”

    “I’m not personally going to change the world. But, maybe one person will read my comment and not repeat the bs. I wouldn’t know what the world should look like if I had the power to change it, but I know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and bs.”

    “For all I know, that we can effect global temperature has kept us from plunging into another ice age.”

    “What I am pretty sure of is that, what ever the world should eventually look like, it’s not going to look better because people spread dis-information. And knowing the truth, isn’t going to make it worse.”

    That’s what I tell my dog, anyways.

  30. 130
    Mike Lewis says:

    #106 and #108 – No, the data and methods have NOT been shared. Raw data has been obfuscated with “corrections” and is an indecipherable hodgepodge of meaningless numbers. The models fail to account for all known factors and their predictive value have been shown to be lacking. Results cannot be duplicated because the methods haven’t been shared. There is NOT a consensus as is vehemently claimed and the science is far from settled. Unfortunately this has become a political battle as much as a scientific one. When falsehoods are portrayed as reality, it’s time for pause.

    [Response: Indeed, when falsehoods are portrayed as reality, it is time for a pause. So why are you continuing to make things up? Result *have been* duplicated, and all the raw data anyone could possibly have needed to figure out whether there was any problem have always been available. All the claims of raw data being ‘obfuscated’ have been proven false, as was completely obvious from the beginning.–eric]

  31. 131
    CM says:

    Re: the Bradley quote about the Mann paper that should never have been published (back at #11; sorry, I’m a little behind.)

    Oh boy! The Team’s dirty laundry’s out in the open! Bradley thinks Mann has published a paper that should not have passed peer review! Without the hackers, we would never have known!

    Never, that is, unless we read Bradley’s book, where he says as much: Global Warming and Political Intimidation, p. 75.

    Boy, these are some “dynamite” revelations… yawn.

  32. 132
    Robert Murphy says:

    Bernard @128:

    Here’s a better quote from Jones (email 3062);

    “This didn’t matter, but a month ago we got sent a couple of pages (attached) on marine low-res proxies (from Michael Schulz who was at Wengen). In the next few days, can you write a couple of pages on terrestrial low-res proxies – varves mainly. We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has written that sounds as though it could have been written by a coral person 25 years ago. We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff. What we want is good honest stuff, warts and all, dubious dating, interpretation marginally better etc.”

    When he said he didn’t want the *optimistic stuff*, he wasn’t talking possible benign or positive effects of warming; he was talking about studies that were over optimistic about the uncertainties involved. That’s why he wanted “good honest stuff, warts and all, dubious dating, interpretation marginally better etc.”.

  33. 133
    chek says:

    Gavin and Co. – Firstly, I’ll thank you for your responses so far. Your ‘insider’ insights and comments are always appreciated by the rational community.

    Secondly, I’d advise not to bother doing another marathon weekend as happened two years ago, impressive and welcome as it was at the time. The current river of effluent that is being dredged up on the flimsiest of interpretations is not worth giving up another well-earned weekend off for, judging by the quality so far.

    Your efforts make little impact on those participating in what is a concerted partisan campaign and can be equally well addressed come Monday. For the rest of us, it’s like being compelled to watch re-run after re-run of a show where the already predictable ending is already known.

  34. 134

    What some would like to know is this.
    After you take into account the water covered areas, then the cold ice covered areas, then the desert areas, then the farmed areas, then the high mountain areas,,
    just how much of the planet has trees. The percentage must be rather small. Would this enter into the calucations and by how much and how?


  35. 135
    guthrie says:

    Mike Lewis #129 – thank you for showing us your true side in this.
    Meanwhile the earth warms further and the scientists doing the work continue to pile up evidence against your opinion.

  36. 136
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mike Lewis@130
    Bullshit. You have 5 independent temperature series, a couple of dozen peleoclimate reconstructions, several GCMs, multiple ice core reconstructions, boreholes and on and on.

    You have Svante Arrhenius predicting warming 115 years ago and 50 years before that of CO2 being known as a greenhouse gas.

    You are either astoundingly ignorant or disingenuous. I’ll let you pick which you consider the lesser charge.

  37. 137
    GSW says:

    The new email release is a bit ‘patchy’ (no pun intended), there’s a lot that could be misinterpreted without the proper context. For example (2577), email from Phil Jones to John Mitchell at the Met Office;


    I’ve called Jo to say I’m happy with their response. I’ll also delete this email after I’ve sent it. We’ve had a request for all our internal UEA emails that have any bearing on the subject, so apologies for brevity.

    See you in November!

    It does sound rather conspiratorial. Didn’t Acton, on Jones behalf, assure the Muir Russell that no emails had been deleted? why does Jones keep going on about deleting stuff under FOI(?)? It would be nice to get to the bottom of this once and for all.

  38. 138
    turboblocke says:

    Geronimo at 122 said Kyoto produced an agreement that nobody achieved.
    There’s more to the world than the USA: some countries have achieved their targets.

  39. 139
    adelady says:

    I’d like to echo Chek’s comment @133.

    You’re all entitled to your usual breaks. There is no reason, absolutely nil, zilch, zero, no reason at all to sacrifice anything to deal with this trivial guff.

    Thanks to you all for what you’ve dealt with so far.

  40. 140
    J Bowers says:

    130 Mike Lewis — “Raw data has been obfuscated with “corrections””

    I wish someone had sent McI that paperwork, which would have probably been taller than Niagara Falls.

  41. 141
    Toby says:

    Lot of hot air at Pielke’s blog on the Landsea affair (2005), when (it is alleged) Trenberth and Jones ensured a Roger Pielke Jnr paper was not seen by the IPCC. Pielke is doing a sort of triumphal strut, claiming to be justified by a couple of emails. Any comment? If it has already been addressed, just refer to the response above.

    [Response: Whining about how a paper of yours should have been cited in AR4 merely because you wrote something you consider relevant is a little petty. A couple of points though: first, it was not any kind of quantitative analysis – there is no new data in there, no new modelling, no new comparisons. It is predominantly an assessment of the evidence (though Anthes et al make good points that it was a partial assessment). I think Trenberth’s opinion that it wasn’t worth citing in Ch 3 (which was all about the data) is correct. I note that it was cited in Chapter 9 (as a reference for trends in TC activity), but it isn’t obvious why it is there either – I would have expected a link to the primary publications on the trends. It was also cited in WGII which seems more appropriate since the had some focus on impacts. Overall, there isn’t a huge discrepancy between what IPCC concluded and what RP Jr et al concluded, so I don’t see this as some huge issue. Indeed, RP Jr even stated that the IPCC AR4 report ‘got it right’ and ‘kudos to the scientists involved’ (I guess he forgot to include an exception for Trenberth!). Tempest in a tropical teacup. – gavin]

  42. 142
    DrTskoul says:

    130 Mike Lewis

    Suuppp!! Arrogance & idiocy. These are the scientific qualities that the deniers employ to frame an argument in scientific debates and discussions. If the mentioned raw data are faulty go ahead ML and produce your own correct data. Go ahead and publish, if you have ever experienced peer-review. Until then, sleep with your gun under your pillow and dream of conspiracies.

  43. 143
    Occupied Territory says:

    Turbolocke–yeah, I think France (a signatory) achieved the highest CO2 reductions. The US (a non-signatory) achieved the second highest reductions. Kinda tells you all you need to know about Kyoto’s effectiveness, doesn’t it?

    [Response: Cite? I think that Russia, Germany and the UK have had the biggest reductions over 1990 levels, but I can’t find an up-to-date reference for this, anyone? – gavin]

  44. 144
    Maya says:


    It is NOT your right to steal from future generations.

  45. 145
  46. 146
    calyptorhynchus says:

    Fortunately this second release of stolen material seems to have flopped completely.

  47. 147
    chek says:

    GSW said: “It does sound rather conspiratorial”.

    Does it really? Perhaps that’s because conspiracies are your hobby?

    GSW said: “Didn’t Acton, on Jones behalf, assure the Muir Russell that no emails had been deleted”?

    Including regular spam? I find that hard to believe at face value. Perhaps you have the actual quote you’re thinking of so that we can all see.

    GSW said: “why does Jones keep going on about deleting stuff under FOI(?)”?

    In your own quote, Jone’s qualifier ‘that have any bearing on’ may be a clue for you.

  48. 148
    dhogaza says:

    Mike Lewis:

    The models fail to account for all known factors and their predictive value have been shown to be lacking. Results cannot be duplicated because the methods haven’t been shared.

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here’s a link to the source code to NASA GISS Model E, turkey.

  49. 149
    skywatcher says:

    Mike Lewis I call bullshit on your unsupported opinion unless you provide evidence. If you don’t understand the raw data you’ve been pointed towards, or the corrections that get made to it, you’re hardly in a position to claim that the scientists are nefariously manipulating the data.

    If you know the first thing about science, you’ll realise that the independent replications of the key results demolishes your position.

    To the guys at RC, thankyou for your patience and all your excellent hard work, and Happy Thanksgiving (it’s Thursday here)!

    [Response: Thanks! Andy happy Thanksgiving to you. –eric]

  50. 150
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jeff Short, If you are an ecologist, then my ass chews gum. Dude, do you really think you are going to see significant genetic changes over a period of 200 years in anything more complicated than a fruit fly?

    As to your other allegations. I’m sure Gavin would love to collaborate with any scientist who sincerely wanted to lend a hand–but first those scientists would have to be able to contribute rather than requiring babysitting. There is a reason why a scientist studies his or her metier for a decade or so before even assuming a postdoc position–as you would know were you actually a scientist.