Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Environment, Politics — Rick Moran @ 11:41 am

It doesn’t help their case any when warming advocates deliberately (or ignorantly) refer to climate change skeptics as “deniers” of global warming.

The deniers fall into the Luddite camp; those who reject any notion that man made climate change is even possible and indeed, harbor delusions that there is a world-wide conspiracy of thousands of scientists across several disciplines who are manipulating data to garner more grant money and enslave them. They see Climategate as a vindication of this view and believe the entire science of global warming has been “debunked.”

The skeptics are, for the most part, willing to examine all relevant data while attempting to keep an open mind about the conclusions reached regarding global warming. Their criticisms are confined to specific aspects of the debate and do not generally tail off into conspiracy theories or conclusions that AGW is a complete fiction.

There are indeed some skeptics who have reached the scientific conclusion, buttressed by their own evidence, that the science of AGW is flawed and is not “settled” in any sense of the word. Are they deniers because their criticisms of warming evidence like “the hockey stick” or the even more problematic ice core temp studies seek to debunk what is now “established” AGW science? Or are they responsible scientists seeking the facts?

Warming advocates do not even try to separate the two which can lead to idiocy like this from the Guardian today:

Attempts have been made to break into the offices of one of Canada’s leading climate scientists, it was revealed yesterday. The victim was Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria scientist and a key contributor to the work of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In one incident, an old computer was stolen and papers were disturbed.

In addition, individuals have attempted to impersonate technicians in a bid to access data from his office, said Weaver. The attempted breaches, on top of the hacking of files from British climate researcher Phil Jones, have heightened fears that climate-change deniers are mounting a campaign to discredit the work of leading meteorologists before the start of the Copenhagen climate summit tomorrow.

“The key thing is to try to find anybody who’s involved in any aspect of the IPCC and find something that you can … take out of context,” said Weaver. The prospect of more break-ins and hacking has forced researchers to step up computer security.

Fears of further attacks by climate-change deniers have also put Copenhagen delegates under increased pressure to reach a comprehensive deal to limit carbon emissions, with Britain’s chief negotiator, energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband, warning last week that there was no certainty that a deal would be reached. “We need to have our foot on the gas all the time,” he said on Thursday. “We should not be complacent about getting a deal.” It was crucial that Britain, and Europe, showed ambition in setting an agenda for a tough, binding agreement and not let the efforts of climate sceptics derail negotiations, he added. “Our children will hold us in contempt if we fail now.”

The poor scientists are not familiar with a media feeding frenzy. Everyone and their brother is out to make a name for themselves by scooping the world and proving that warming advocates are cooking the books. Breaking and entering is a serious matter as is purloining personal papers and emails. This kind of nonsense should be punished. But stunts like impersonating workers are as old as newspapers and is hardly evidence that anyone is out to “smear” prominent climate scientists.

And talk about conspiracy nuts! To ascribe this competitive activity on the part of bloggers, writers, and press to get dirt on climate scientists as to “climate-change deniers” who “are mounting a campaign to discredit the work of leading meteorologists before the start of the Copenhagen climate summit tomorrow,” is balmy. If this is organized in any way I will eat my Bears hat. Positing a conspiracy to discredit Copenhagen is as loony as saying the entire AGW movement is one gigantic, organized conspiracy to force One World Government down our throats. It doesn’t track that way if you know anything about how the modern media works.

Nevertheless, Climategate deniers - those who are whistling past the graveyard believing that the scandal doesn’t change anything - have sought to lump both deniers and skeptics together in an effort to counter the growing perception that these are scientists with something to hide. It doesn’t help AGW science or their case against the CRU hack when so many of their colleagues are fighting tooth and nail against FOIA requests to reveal the underlying data that supports their theories.

On that subject, Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Conspiracy has a great post on the quest of Steve McIntyre to get the authors of the hockey stick graph to release their data so that their conclusions can be duplicated. What McIntyre found without that data was shocking, as Lindgren’s link to Bishop Hill’s post on the subject shows:

[In 2005, Steven] McIntyre discovered that an update to the Polar Urals series had been collected in 1999. Through a contact he was able to obtain a copy of the revised series. Remarkably, in the update the eleventh century appeared to be much warmer than in the original — in fact it was higher even than the twentieth century. This must have been a severe blow to paleoclimatologists, a supposition that is borne out by what happened next, or rather what didn’t: the update to the Polar Urals was not published, it was not archived and it was almost never seen again.

With Polar Urals now unusable, paleclimatologists had a pressing need for a hockey stick shaped replacement and a solution appeared in the nick of time in the shape of a series from the nearby location of Yamal.

The Yamal data had been collected by a pair of Russian scientists, Hantemirov and Shiyatov, and was published in 2002. In their version of the data, Yamal had little by way of a twentieth century trend. Strangely though, Briffa’s version, which had made it into print before even the Russians’, was somewhat different. While it was very similar to the Russians’ version for most of the length of the record, Briffa’s verison had a sharp uptick at the end of the twentieth century — another hockey stick, made almost to order to meet the requirements of the paleoclimate community. Certainly, after its first appearance in Briffa’s 2000 paper in Quaternary Science Reviews, this version of Yamal was seized upon by climatologists, appearing again and again in temperature reconstructions; it became virtually ubiquitous in the field: apart from Briffa 2000, it also contributed to the reconstructions in Mann and Jones 2003, Jones and Mann 2004, Moberg et al 2005, D’Arrigo et al 2006, Osborn and Briffa 2006 and Hegerl et al 2007, among others.

Read the whole post on McIntyre’s tireless efforts to get to the bottom of the mystery. It wasn’t until years later when the Royal Society published a paper using Yarmal data and was he able to hold the Society to their longstanding policy of requiring authors to archive the underlying data to make it publicly available. Finally, nearly 10 years after his first request, McIntyre got a hold of Briffa’s data and was able to destroy the hockey stick graph.

The lesson? The snoops who are digging for a smoking gun at the Canadian climate facility are misguided for engaging in illegal activity. But they wouldn’t be tempted if there was more transparency in the AGW community. The same holds true for any lab in the world and one would expect that the same standards these scientists would hold skeptics to would be honored.

That said, lumping “skeptics” in with “deniers” is a transparent smear and should be abandoned.


  1. “That said, lumping “skeptics” in with “deniers” is a transparent smear and should be abandoned.”

    The case provided here is the very same for people who oppose the Obama Adminitration policies being called “Racists”.

    Comment by SShiell — 12/6/2009 @ 1:15 pm

  2. Of course there are two sides to every story, Briffa’s side is a lot more convincing than the one you tell here.


    Comment by Thers — 12/6/2009 @ 1:40 pm

  3. Right or wrong, the claims of AGW scientists have been polluted by political agendas. Scientists seeking the truth don’t cherry pick or hide information. Politicians, snakeoil salesmen, and lawyers do that.

    Factual debate is a healthy process for establishing the truth when controversy abounds. The scientific AGW establishment therefore needs to:

    1. Publish all its fundamental data.
    2. Publish its source code for analyzing the data.
    3. Let skeptics and believers alike question, analyze, correct, and improve the conclusions.
    4. Distance itself from politicians and political agendas.

    Comment by Doug King — 12/6/2009 @ 3:50 pm

  4. I just tonight called McIntyre’s Climate Audit the “Blog of the Decade”
    on the basis of his dogged ability to correct multiple errors and audit the work of the climate science community:
    ClimateGate has vindicated McIntyre, as all the behaviors he claimed were happening, data hiding, data massaging, were indeed going on behind the scenes.

    And #2, internal CRU emails tell a more honest assessment of how much McIntyre exposed them and forced them to correct their work:

    Comment by Travis Monitor — 12/7/2009 @ 12:01 am

  5. Moran, you draw a false distinction. There are no climate change “deniers” on the skeptical side of things re climate change or more accurately global warming. This is a disingenous slur used by global warming hysterics against AGW skeptics, and you have bought into it. All AGW skeptics (at least all knowledgeable ones) are simply AGW skeptics, not climate change deniers since they are always insisting on the reality of climate change, that the climate is always changing naturally, that climate change is intrinsic to climate itself. Therefore there is no reason to assume that climate change is man-made all of a sudden after billions (yes billions) of years.

    It’s the skeptics on AGW who always insist on bringing up climate change from the earth’s past including the ice ages, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age during the Renaissance etc since this undermines the notion of present-day climate change being man-made. As if we are no longer subject to natural fluctuations in climate when we always have been in the past, and will continue to be in the future since climate change is intrinsic to climate. It’s that simple. As long as the earth is spinning round the sun, there is climate and climate change, the two are inseperable. The AGW hysterics should speak of their climate change affirmer opponents, not deniers - they are simply being both dishonest and obtuse otherwise. The climate change deniers here are the AGW hysterics since they deny natural climate change, or deny it’s existence all of a sudden after billions of years of natural climate change, yet in the modern industrial age all of a sudden natural climate change ceases. It’s all of sudden man-made. Who’s in denial? Talk about projection.

    Incidentally Moran read that article you wrote on Palin and the mainstreaming of the Birthers at Pajamas Media, as I commented there (under the same moniker - the second Larry not the first), good article, and I agree with you 100% - but look at all the moronic responses you got from the zombie Birthers, so many of them, the majority of the responses to your article were pro-Birther garbage. It’s why there is no hope for conservatism in America, like liberalism which is likewise bankrupt in everyway. Birtherism has taken hold of the Right like a mind plague, gotta say that it doesn’t surprise me though.

    Comment by Larry — 12/7/2009 @ 2:11 am

  6. This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 12/7/2009, at The Unreligious Right

    Comment by UNRR — 12/7/2009 @ 5:24 am

  7. Scientists are the ultimate skeptics. The East Anglia emails reveal many if not most AGW advocates who also happen to be scientists dropped their requisite skepticism.

    The smallest problem AGW advocates have is their conflating skepticism with denial. No, their largest problem is they not only cannot make their case while they demand intrusive, outrageous economic disruptions, they have undercut that case themselves.

    Stick a fork in this turkey. The tragedy will be if AGW turned out to be correct and over-reaching killed it. I have started to doubt that scenario as my AGW agnosticism is moving rapidly toward atheism.

    Some left-wingers conducted the ultimate war on science here. Since I love the fruits science produces, I fear for how badly it has been tarnished by these fanatics.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 12/7/2009 @ 9:43 am

  8. #4, no, they don’t. They show, in fact, an appropriate amount of “skepticism.” Also they have nothing substantive to do with what I linked to.

    Comment by Thers — 12/7/2009 @ 1:03 pm

  9. There seems to be a default assumption that the bias is 100% “political” and a total lack of attention paid to the idea that scientists are often biased in favor of their careers.

    When a guy earns his money studying Global Warming he is going to be biased in favor of the theory that AGW is a serious problem.

    Then again, the people who make their money peddling conspiracy theories are biased in favor of interpreting things as … politically motivated conspiracies instead of just self-interested careerism.

    Comment by angullimala — 12/7/2009 @ 5:26 pm

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