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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 11/24/2009

Climate scientist criticizes skeptics, press

By Andrew Freedman

* Thanksgiving weather? Full Forecast | See photo contest winners *

The climate science email scandal known to some as "climategate" continues to reverberate throughout the climate science and policy communities. Since the story broke late last week that the University of East Anglia's servers had been hacked into, spilling hundreds of personal emails between prominent climate scientists onto the Web, scientists and political leaders have been weighing in on the significance of the information contained in the emails.

Reporters and bloggers have been combing through the emails, which have motivated staunch climate skeptic Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to call for an investigation of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In one of the messages, Phil Jones, who heads up Britain's government-run Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, alluded to a "trick" that a colleague performed to analyze historical temperature data. For more background on the scandal, including that particular message, check out Saturday's story from the Washington Post.

In an effort to provide readers with a range of views on the significance of the email scandal, I've been conducting interviews with top experts in climate science and related fields. Yesterday I featured an interview with science historian Spencer Weart.

Today, I bring you an email interview with geochemist Thomas Crowley, a professor of geosciences and director of the Scottish Alliance for Geosciences and the Environment at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Crowley served as a chapter reviewer of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, and has published extensively on the Earth's climate history.


Thomas Crowley

Crowley's reconstructions of Earth's temperature history have independently corroborated those of Pennsylvania State University's Michael Mann and other scientists, who were the subjects of the email hack.

Note that the use of all caps are Dr. Crowley's original emphasis.

Andrew Freedman: What effects, if any, do you think, or perhaps fear, this will have on public perceptions of climate science and climate scientists?

Thomas Crowley: Most people will not change their mind, but I suspect a majority will seize onto this as an indication that scientists are dishonest - which in this particular case is not the case.

AF: What do you think this story reveals about the conduct of climate science?

TC: I have only read a few emails and then realized I shouldn't read any of it - it is, let us not forget, illegally obtained material from a personal email, and in my view has the same respect as would any personal letters that one may get in the mail.
That said, it really doesn't say anything. The "trick" referred to involves slang used often by scientists as to how to deal with some "tricky" problem - you know you have a problem but you are trying to address in a mathematically consistent way. I am sure that is what Jones was referring to - they figured out a way to deal with this "tricky" problem in a mathematically consistent way.
In that respect it just shows that people have to grapple with real-life data, (because of inherent problems in the data) and try to figure out the best way to treat it fairly.
To sum, it doesn't reflect badly at all - it reflects badly on the people who are so desperate to discredit global warming that they will unhesitatingly seize on a figure of speech, take it out of context, blow it all out of proportion (notice how quickly the WSJ [Wall Street Journal] got in on this?) and use it for their own predetermined purpose. Now that's real dishonesty!

AF: What should climate scientists such as yourself do to ensure the public has a better sense of their research techniques and results?

TC: If one were to examine the results of the recent IPCC [report] they would have the answer. There were two separate draft documents that were open for review - the first by basically anyone in the world, the second by any government representative in the world (who then turned to scientists for additional input).
The IPCC strategy was then to have each chapter leader assign someone to respond to EVERY question or objection they obtained. In the case of the critical chapter 9 of working group 1 (the one that established confidence levels for statistically meaningful detection of warming trends) that involved about 3,000 questions that had to be responded to!
EVERY response is written down and on record for IPCC.
So if you multiply the number of chapters, etc, there clearly were TENS OF THOUSANDS OF COMMENTS FOR THE WHOLE DOCUMENT that were responded to and are on record as to how they were treated in subsequent revisions.
After the final draft has been vetted by the scientists and the Summary for Policy Makers synthesized for the ~150 governments that would VOTE as to whether to accept the report or not, the SPC [Summary for Policy Makers] went through an additional round of review among scientists and after those changes they were presented to policymakers.
When the ~150 government represntatives met in Paris two and a half years [later], the IPCC heads then went through the SPC, ONE SENTENCE AT A TIME, with government representatives voting on acceptance FOR EACH SENTENCE (discussion is allowed and sometimes scientists redraft the sentence until both they, and the government reps, are satisfied).
After spending 50-60 hours going through the SPC, the report is accepted only after the government representatives (NOT THE SCIENTISTS) vote on acceptance.
ONLY THEN is the report released to the groups who charged the IPCC to produce the report (jointly, UNEP [United Nations Environment Program] and the World Meteorological Organization).
I cannot recall ANY scientific document, of any nature, that has EVER received that kind of vetting.
That is why it is totally ludicrous to claim that some cabal is trying to put something over on the public - it is probably the most intensely scrutinized scientific document ever.
And furthermore, the government reps, not the scientists, vote on the final draft.
To put it shortly, THERE IS NO NEED TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT BY THE SCIENTISTS - THEY ARE DOING THEIR PART WITH INCREDIBLE CONSCIENTIOUSNESS AND THOROUGHNESS.
The only problem is that the press has not reported on this methodology (which is common knowledge, no one is hiding it - how could you?).
Or... that some groups will go to any length to discredit the document by throwing sand in people's face.
THIS INCIDENT IS NOT ABOUT SCIENCE IT IS ABOUT THE WAY SOME GROUPS WILL GO TO ANY UNETHICAL LEVEL (AND SOMETIMES ILLEGAL) POSSIBLE TO FURTHER THEIR OWN OBJECTIVES - WHICH ARE USUALLY FINANCIAL, POLITICAL, EMOTIONAL OR ALL THREE.

Additional interviews will follow as they are conducted.

For further background on the email scandal, this blog post from Antonio Regalado of Science Magazine explores the possibility that climate scientists violated British law by deleting correspondence they had with skeptic researchers. (Of course, the hacker(s) also broke laws by breaking into the University of East Anglia's server, downloading the emails and then distributing them on the Web).

Bud Ward, editor of the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, also posted an insightful analysis yesterday.

The views expressed here are the author's and interview subject's alone and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang.

By Andrew Freedman  | November 24, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman, Interview Series: Controversial Climate E-mails, News & Notes, Science  
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Comments

I want to make clear, in case it wasn't clear from the article, that there will be more interviews on this in coming days, including with someone who has a more skeptical take on the science. - AF

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | November 24, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the current interviewee is goign to be defensive since his work backs up the other stuff, but he's still right. I don't see much to this "scandal" other than the ugly side of the sausage making process that is coming to consensus and dealing with people wiht different agendas.

Posted by: EricS2 | November 24, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Andrew,

I know you read the comments, so I thought you should be aware Thomas Crowley isn't an independent person in this matter but rather is one of the subjects of the hack. I presume you were not aware that he was one of the "and others" you mentioned, so it reflects poorly on him for not providing this disclosure and instead him falsely playing himself off as some third party observer. If you read the emails, you'll see that he's been working in co-ordination with Mann and others for years and emails to and from him are part of the record.

Dave

Posted by: SpanishInquisition | November 24, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The correct answer is for scientists to forget about consensus building and go straight for true transparency:

When publishing results, also publish the source data and the source code to any models or programs that were necessary to produce the results (and charts and graphs), so that others may inspect them and independently reproduce the results.

When scientists keep source data and methods secret, they destroy their own credibility.

Posted by: washpost86 | November 24, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I find this commenter somewhat irrelevant for two reasons:

1) He did not read the e-mails
2) He was involved in the IPCC, which apparently was not involved in scientific research itself, but instead, was only there to compile the scientific research of others into an acceptable document.

I believe the conclusion of the 2007 IPCC was that there was a 90% certainty that man has caused global warming. However, this conclusion is based on some faulty data, if one believes the content of the leaked e-mails and documents. Clearly, a GIGO ("garbage in garbage out") argument could be made. Especially since the e-mails evidence that dissenting publications were being actively suppressed by the scientists in question.

I also object to the use of the "I should not read this" line of argument. The letters appear on their face appear to the subject to Freedom of Information Acts, and appear to have already been redacted for release. It would not surprise me in the slightest if the letters were ready to to be released under a FOIA request, but were then leaked so that they could be discredited as the dastardly deed of a hacker.

Regardless, in a court of law, a judge does not exclude improperly obtained evidence if that evidence would inevitably have been discovered. Not only would these e-mails be seemingly subject to discovery under FOIA, these e-mails surely would have been produced if the lab were party to a civil RICO or fraud suit.

Which at this time, the latter does not seem all that unlikely.

Richard Ward

Posted by: WestEndVoter | November 24, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Sure a lot of fuss over some e-mails.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | November 24, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"it reflects badly on the people who are so desperate to discredit global warming that they will unhesitatingly seize on a figure of speech, take it out of context, blow it all out of proportion"

This pretty much sums up the situation.

It's sad that while the scientific community is so coherent and united on what the situation is, certain elements of our society - through a combination of sincere but misguided skepticism by some and a loud disingenuous ulterior-motived "skepticism" by others - is doing its best to do mankind in here.

People, please. It's time to get real here. Turn off the talk radio *one day a week* and visit your public library. There are journals and lay people's scientific magazines there. You can understand this stuff if you put some time into it. You don't *have* to fill your heads with angry know-nothing rantings from people who have zero scientific training. You are better than that. Really, you are.

Posted by: B2O2 | November 24, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Richard: It's not clear that any of the leaked emails were the subject of FOIA requests, but there were requests for data that were discussed in the emails.

It surprises me that you find Dr. Crowley's views to be "irrelevant." The IPCC is being criticized because of this email hack, yet you would rather just not hear from someone involved with the IPCC's work? By that logic, if someone were to accuse you of a crime, reporters such as myself would be sure not to seek comment from you or your representative, but rather only from 3rd parties. I don't think you'd find that to be fair.

Also, it's not news that the IPCC does not conduct scientific research of its own, but rather sifts through the voluminous body of knowledge about climate change to produce their assessment reports. All you'd have to do to realize that is surf their web site at http://www.ipcc.ch.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | November 24, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

B2O2,

My point--as made earlier in yesterday's story in this blog--is that we should not be concentrating on CO2 if that is not the problem. What if we spend trillions on CO2 reductions, when the real problem is black carbon, SO2 and ozone? Not only do we not stop the warming, but we waste trillions which could be used on other social issues.

Since you know that I have scientific training (Master of Chemical Engineering, plus PhD research at Johns Hopkins), your comment about "zero scientific training" appears to be intentionally deceptive.

Ian, if you are wondering about the legal fuss, see the following.

http://theblogprof.blogspot.com/2009/11/leaked-cru-computer-program-proves.html (discusses "hiding the decline")

http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/willis-vs-the-cru-a-history-of-foi-evasion/ (discusses FOIA evasion)

I have seen all of this before in a 2006 Alexandria environmental case. These scientists must have been reading from the same playbook.

RWW, JD, M.ChmEng

Posted by: WestEndVoter | November 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Freedman: What effects, if any, do you think, or perhaps fear, this will have on public perceptions of climate science and climate scientists?

Thomas Crowley: Most people will not change their mind, but I suspect a majority will seize onto this as an indication that scientists are dishonest

'Minority', surely?

Posted by: VinnyBurgoo | November 24, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Andrew,

I have seen four Post stories on the e-mails. Two written by a journalist with a well-known conflict of interest (see the Ombudsman column of November 1). Two written by you, who thankfully is taking a more neutral position. My initial comment to you yesterday was that the Post should discuss and investigate the e-mails, and should not rely on scientists who have an interest in maintaining the integrity of the AGW theory. I have a call into the Ombudsman about this matter.

I do not criticize the IPCC, as to my knowledge, they had no way to know that the data was being manipulated. However, I found the IPCC's views about the emails to be irrelevant, as they (though Thomas Crowley) refuse to review the content of the emails. How can one weigh in on the "significance of the email scandal" if they refuse to read the emails?

I do see your point that the interview is relevant to the integrity of the IPCC; however, it was my impression that your series of columns was actually going to discuss the leaked emails and data.

Thank you for your comments. I look forward to your later column which will include "someone who has a more skeptical take on the science."

Richard W. Ward, JD, M.ChmEng

Posted by: WestEndVoter | November 24, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Thomas Crowley is a descendant of Aleister Crowley?

Posted by: stanlippmann | November 24, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Getting Congress involved is just a waste of time. One thing we don't need is more hot air out of Washington by a bunch of lawyers. They need 2 cont. with what they do best, making a mess of this country.

Posted by: VaTechBob | November 24, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Richard: The vast majority of the mainstream press, including the Post, have covered this story by examining the emails and seeking out expert voices to help readers understand the significance of this scandal and its potential implications. It's a standard journalistic practice to get on the phone or email, call experts, and ask what they think of x, y or z. Just because we're not reading every single email that was leaked doesn't mean that we're abdicating our responsibility to readers. Although Dr. Crowley had not combed through the emails, he was/is in an excellent position to put this issue into a broader context, considering his area of research and his knowledge and experience of the IPCC process.

Perhaps the ombud will feel differently, though.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | November 24, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The yellow one is the sun.

Posted by: zapataguy | November 24, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Andrew- I appreciate you bringing in third parties into these discussions. I know in the end this will improve the field of climate research.


Interesting post here about the lack of scientific method in the climate field. Although lots has been written regarding the trick,ect., the main story here is the cover-up. The lack of sharing data and reporting on results that conflict with their political mission. This is messy stuff.


http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/willis-vs-the-cru-a-history-of-foi-evasion/

Posted by: Tom8 | November 24, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

These are not private emails. CRU is funded by the British government as well as special interest groups including companies that compete with fossil fuels. The public deserves to have access to these documents for the same reason they deserved access to the Pentagon Papers.

The old Washington Post would have assigned multiple reporters to examine this large treasure trove. What will today's Post do?

Posted by: reasonmclucus | November 24, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Senator Inhofe is correct. The whole U.N. IPCC, and its practices, needs a through investigation from top to bottom.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | November 24, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I do not criticize the IPCC, as to my knowledge, they had no way to know that the data was being manipulated.

===
WEV-
First things first: Data was not manipulated. Until you accept that fact, there is no point in addressing the rest of your concerns.

Posted by: mason08 | November 24, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again Andrew for these interviews.

I think Crowley's response to the third question is illuminating. In no way did he answer the question whatsoever. He didn't even maneuver the question into an area he wanted to talk about. Instead, he simply started talking about the IPCC process, which is entirely separate from this matter. As others have already stated, the IPCC relies on the data from others. The concern in this whole matter is that the data was tweaked or falsified to obtain a desired result.

From the last interview and from this interview, it seems the response from some in the scientific community is to simply pretend that the entire situation never happened. When there is a response, it is defensive and emotional.

If the climatologist community wishes to preserve its integrity, it will need to own up to any mistakes made and launch an independent investigation. Then declare safeguards that will be taken in the future. Also, all should move to comply with any FOI request asap. Failure to do this and continuing the current course of action will damage an already fragile public perception.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | November 25, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

mason08 wrote (in a reply to WestEndVoter), "First things first: Data was not manipulated. Until you accept that fact, there is no point in addressing the rest of your concerns."

--begin quoting Bishop Hill--
Funkhouser says he’s pulled every trick up his sleeve to milk his Kyrgistan series. Doesn’t think it’s productive to juggle the chronology statistics any more than he has. (0843161829)

Wigley discusses fixing an issue with sea surface temperatures in the context of making the results look both warmer but still plausible. (1254108338)
[This is a great example of agenda driven science. If you read the email, it is obvious that he has a desired outcome and he is simply trying to figure out how to achieve his desired outcome. I believe this is the same approach most of them have taken. This is not proper or honest science.]

--end quoting Bishop Hill--

Those aren't the only examples either. I would post more if it weren't for the limit on the number of links I am allowed to post.

mason08, if you wish to speak from a more informed perspective, you could go here and read Bishop Hill's analysis/synopsis.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | November 25, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Andrew: the name of the released massive file was FOIA referring to Freedom of Information Act requests. Why else would some of emails discuss deleting other emails and data? From what I've read, there were references (actually complaints) about FOIA requests. I'm not sure how you can say that "it's not clear" regarding FOIA? Can you think of another reason why these climate scientists were asking each other to delete emails? To defend against what just happened?

Posted by: MattRogers | November 25, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Matt - Are you seriously citing the name of the Hacker to back up your claim that there was a FOI violation here? Really? Do I need to remind you that posting those private emails was itself a violation of the law?

My point was that it certainly appears that the scientists were discussing deleting emails that were or may have come under information requests. That, however, is different from actually deleting emails. If emails and other info were in fact deleted, that would be a violation of the law. However, simply talking about doing something in this case may not be. That's why I said "it's not clear" there was a violation in this case.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | November 25, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Andrew, the correct statement you made was "It's not clear that any of the leaked emails were the subject of FOIA requests, but there were requests for data that were discussed in the emails."

You did not say anything about "not clear there was a violation". You said it wasn't even part of the subject. I understand why you would want to avoid this angle of the story.

Posted by: MattRogers | November 25, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Matt - I'm not sure what you're implying by saying "I understand why you would want to avoid this angle of the story." If you are implying that I am trying to avoid discussing this, then you're off base here.

I am trying to be careful to distinguish between scientists discussing deleting emails, and scientists actually deleting them, and between what was asked for in the FOIA requests and what the emails contained.

I think Judith Curry had some very pertinent things to say when she called for more scientific openness, less "circling of the wagons," and no more attempts to hide data when it should be provided. The possibility that these scientists deleted information that was requested via FOIA raises serious questions that need to be investigated by the appropriate authorities, but that doesn't mean reporters should jump to the conclusion that they did in fact break any laws.

So far, the only definitively illegal act was the hacking and leaking itself.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | November 25, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

--begin quoting Bishop Hill--
Jones tells Mann that he is sending station data. Says that if McIntyre requests it under FoI he will delete it rather than hand it over. Says he will hide behind data protection laws. Says Rutherford screwed up big time by creating an FTP directory for Osborn. Says Wigley worried he will have to release his model code. Also discuss AR4 draft. Mann says paleoclimate chapter will be contentious but that the author team has the right personalities to deal with sceptics.(1107454306)
--end quoting Bishop Hill--

Jones sent that email to Mann on February 2, 2005. So he had the data then.

You should read the littany of excuses they have given for not releasing the data -
1. It is widely available elsewhere.
then
2. We have confidentiality agreements which prevent us.
then finally
3. We don't have the raw data.

I find it odd that they can tell you that they intend to delete it if hit with a FOI request, and then they say that the raw data is no longer available (lack of hard disk space - wink, wink), and you refuse to accept that they did precisely what they said they were going to do.

I am reminded of Eric Hoffer's definition of a "true believer".

If their data and science were sound, they wouldn't be hiding it. They would run to the press and show it all to the entire world.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | November 25, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Concerning deleting emails, McIntyre has an interesting post up.

Posted by: spgass1 | November 25, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Andrew, let me circle back to my original point I was trying to convey. Quite simply, your statement "Richard: It's not clear that any of the leaked emails were the subject of FOIA requests, but there were requests for data that were discussed in the emails." is not true.

It is very clear that they were the subject as FOIA were even referenced in the emails themselves!

Your latest interview talks a lot of about scientific ethics in big all-caps, but was this person a hacker or really a whistle-blower here???

Posted by: MattRogers | November 25, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Most Intelligent people would at least glance thru the files before commenting on an issue like this, but some of you may want to read them now anyway.
The damning emails are the least of their worries. In my cursory look so far, I have found comments that appear to discuss manipulating code for their computer modeling, internal critical reports on their papers and peer review methods and last but surely not least memos, letters and strategies on how to procure funding. As left and right both know when all else fails, follow the money. Check out the: "IPCC Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report-Expert and Government Review Comments on the Second-Order Draft".This appears to be an internal peer review on a paper about to be published. It makes for interesting reading although much is science jargon, the plain english critiques by multiple "in-house" scientists are very interesting. I wont reveal the comments, everyone should read them for themselves and decide. I will gladly send these files, but I must assume you have no interest or you already would have, and not tried your feeble attempts at misdirection.

Posted by: russo320 | November 25, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Eric Steven Raymond, also known as ESR, is well known and highly regarded in the Linux community. He wrote the book "The Art of Unix Programming".

He has started examining some of the leaked code.

mason08 will be very interested in what he found.

--begin quote--
;
; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
;

[actual code snipped by Mr. Q.]

;

This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.
--end quote--

source of the above quote and a highly instructive graph.

Enjoy! Happy reading! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | November 25, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

"What if we spend trillions on CO2 reductions, when the real problem is black carbon, SO2 and ozone?"

And you have training is chemistry? Good God Man get a refresher course stat! Can you find your way to NASA? Or is that too "tricky" for you?

http://climate.nasa.gov/

Posted by: mark_y1 | November 26, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Dear Andrew,
Give us a break, talk about denial, this a major scandal that goes to the heart of the fraud. The IPCC report is a political document not a scientific one. Manipulating data, blocking peer review for dissenters, my God this is fraud, fraud, fraud. Other credible scientists need to purge these hacks from their ranks or go down with them.

Posted by: carpenter1 | November 26, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Matt: No, my statement was accurate. The emails discussed other correspondence that were subjected to information act requests. The leaked emails themselves were not necessarily requested, from my reading of them anyway.

However, I think you and I are in agreement about how disturbing it is that information requested in a legal proceeding may have been deleted. CRU has hired an outside investigator to clear this up.

Two links for people to check out today. 1 - CRU released lengthy statements on this matter, including from Phil Jones: http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/homepagenews/CRUupdate. 2 - NYT Dot Earth has posted an email from IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri - http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/pachauri-discusses-the-climate-files/. Both of these responses are worth reading.

Matt - the CRU statement makes clear that this was a hack, not an insider blowing the whistle on something, although I suppose that is not ruled out.

In my view, Pachauri never discusses the possibility that if scientists interfere with the peer review process, as the CRU hacked emails show, this could in turn bias the IPCC reports.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | November 26, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, you can stick your head in the sand and pretend you don't see any of the emails where they discuss manipulating the data, but pardon us if the rest of us don't.

They have taken tax payers dollars and used it to commit fraud. That alone warrants jail time. But their fraud was even more malevolent. They took tax payer dollars and used them to fund an even larger fraud/scam (Copenhagen, cap & trade, etc...) which would have cost the taxpayers TRILLIONS!

They took our money and invested it in an even bigger fraud.

THEY NEED TO GO TO JAIL FOR THEIR FRAUD!

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | November 27, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

For those of us old enough or interested enough in history, it is easy to draw comparisons between the hackers and Daniel Ellsberg. In both cases, information illegally obtained was important to the public debate.

Just as with Ellsberg, no matter what the investigative outcome, neither extremist camp will be swayed and it is the fight for the hearts and minds of moderates, independents and centrists that really matters.
And like Ellsberg, one side will undoubtedly regret the theft.
Best to wait and see which one.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | November 27, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Andrew, your coverage of the "cllmategate" is pretty lousy. Thomas Crawley's description of the IPCC process is sophemoric. I have been there and as other participants have already described the process in real life the process is nothing like what Crawley describes. There is so much fiction being paddled to reassure us. You are supposed to be a journalist, but you are just not digging. You are covering the story as someone who is stalling and waiting for it to go away. The essential problem is that some senior, leading climate scientists appear to have behaved in a very non-ethical way, violating their responsibilities as scientists. You should be asking for a through look, an investigation to find out what is really going on. We just had a new "document" issued by 26 scientists to update the IPCC's latest report. One of them is M. Mann, the same person who has in the e-mails clearly violated some fundamental principles of ethics of science. A couple of the principles of realclimate.org which is an advocacy group and implicated in the hacked e-mail as coauthors. So please explain why we should have these 26 scientists, many of government payrols be trusted to provide accurate and truthful review of the state of the science? It is amazing to me that you don't see the conflict if interest all over this stuff. Are you an impartial reporter of the facts, or are you an advocate as well?

Posted by: 123andy | November 27, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

mark_y1,

The "causes" of global warming/climate change are shifting seemingly on a daily basis. There is no consensus.

Black carbon is often recognized as the number two cause of AGW, and the primary cause in areas like India (forcing melting of Himalayan glaciers).

Ozone/SO2 theories are starting to take hold. One only needs to look at our orange air during the summer to recognize that color in the air can absorb heat. SO2 also contributes to acidification of oceans, and lessens the ability of our oceans to serve as a sink for greenhouse gases (GHG).

I did not list other potential causes like methane, land use, HFCs, etc, in my "what if" phrase (which you took out of context) but have in earlier posts.

CO2 as a GHG has limitations because it only absorbs certain wavelengths of light. As CO2 increases in concentration, the amount of available energy to be captured by CO2 decreases, thus limiting the potential impact of increased levels of the gas.

Albedo effect (light reflectivity) causes of AGW, like land use, black carbon, and arguably SO2/ozone (owing to color impacts) would not have such wavelength limitations.

My point was that it looks as if the books have been cooked a bit regarding the relation of historical temperature studies to CO2 concentrations. Maybe warming from causes other than CO2 should be examined more closely after the revelations of the "Climategate" emails?

RWW

Posted by: WestEndVoter | November 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

To: BO2, oh, yes, by all means, lets all turn off cable t.v. and talk radio, so we can all go back to good old days of only being able to get our info from abc, cbs, etc., Please. It's killing everyone that someone; namely, Fox, has reported this scandal, and it is a scandal, considering the billions being extracted from this country in the name of global warming. If one did not watch Fox or listen to talk radio, we wouldn't even know this had occurred. I don't need to go the library to be informed. I read the e-mails. They explicitly described how to hide the fact that the earth is cooling, not warming.

Posted by: smkisler | November 28, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Was there ever an historical period in which "scientists" really were scientists, unalloyed, and not part-time political hacks, in large measure in it for the moolah and the clout?

Or were scientists always--or for the most part--just paying lip service to 'the scientific method' while clandestinely manipulating the notion of objective fact in order to seek power and profit?

Posted by: wardstevenson | November 28, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

The emails reveal an elitist group who are dedicated to finding a way to make the "data" fit their conclusions. As a former high voltage engineer , I know how easy it is to fudge test results to make them come out in a way that would make the marketing people happy. Who will every know they argued. Perhaps, the wife of the lineman who was burned to death when when a voltage surge flashed over the under designed insulator he was working on! We can all be burned by the fire of "global governance" fueled by phone tree data.

Posted by: rickaware | November 29, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't this issue of global scientific corruption on the front page of both the print and electronic editions of the Washington Post?

Why are the editors allowing your publication to become further marginalized due to spiking news the same way these scientists spiked dats?

"TC: I have only read a few emails and then realized I shouldn't read any of it - it is, let us not forget, illegally obtained material from a personal email, and in my view has the same respect as would any personal letters that one may get in the mail."

Why are you interviewing someone who wants to keep his head in the sand?

Posted by: GEAH | November 29, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

That is the interview? 3 questions ? Man, you really pressed him on the question of fake data - why the manipulations were done, and what we should believe.


The Washington Post should not accept the "stolen emails" line -


Remember the Pentagon Papers - the Washington Post never cared that they were stolen - they just wanted to publish them as soon as possible.

Scientific proof is a great deal different than getting people in a room to agree based on fake data.

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Posted by: 37thand0street | November 30, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

This guy "independently" verified the hockey stick?


OH YEA ???


How did he do that?

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Posted by: 37thand0street | November 30, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Was Thomas Crowley in any of the emails? Was he any of those persons who were called upon to "peer-review" articles of other scientists, the process which has been called into question???

I just do not trust this guy.


If a person had truly verified global warming theories - and the hockey stick chart - the first thing I would expect them to say is that Global Warming has been verified and it's all legit.


Instead, Crowley goes off on some rant about the IPCC process - which is not science at all.


How did Crowley independently verify the Earth's temperature history - if he was so sure of himself, he would be telling us about that - not about some meetings of the IPCC and the 3,000 questions to which they had to think up answers.

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Posted by: 37thand0street | November 30, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

So Andrew, now that the CRU has admitted to throwing away their raw data on temperatures, do you care to revise your stance that this incident is not a scandal? For your reading pleasure here is a link to this story.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6936328.ece

Posted by: octopi213 | November 30, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

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