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This item was posted on November 25, 2009, and it was categorized as CRU email controversy, Climate Change, Global Warming, Global warming skeptics, climate change coverage.
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Update 11/26/09: See Roger Pielke, Jr.’s post about peer review. He provides an illuminating analysis of how peer review seems to have become politicized. He refers to this excellent NPR story quoting a number of scientists, including James Hansen who says peer review has even thwarted his work — because his opinion that the consensus view on global warming understates the risks is not popular.

The NPR story also quotes John Christy who believes his research about Southern Sierra snowfall has been blocked by peer review; Phillip Mote, who responds that 10 papers showing the same thing have already been published (so Christy’s work is “not news”); and Judith Curry, who recommends that peer review be open and public rather than a semi-secret process subject to undue influence by scientists with an agenda.

“You do need gates, but when you’ve spiked the gatekeepers to keep other people out and protect certain insiders, then the gate isn’t working,” NPR quotes Curry as saying.

Note to CEJournal readers: I just deleted a comment that called for journalists and scientists to be “tried and shot.” There are many blogs where that kind of commentary is acceptable. Not here. I am trying to maintain a civil discussion here. So please do keep it civil and constructive — as the vast majority of people have been doing. (And I thank you for it.)

With that, let me say that it is Thanksgiving here in the United States, and if I don’t get off the computer right now my family will disown me. So I will be taking a break for the rest of the day. If you have a question for me, or if your comment gets stuck in moderation, I will try to get to it tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Reconstructions of past climate changes based on “proxy” records like ice cores (this one is in storage at the National Ice Core Laboratory) are at the center of the hacked emails controversy. (Photo: Tom Yulsman)

George Monbiot’s post at the Guardian today is a must-read for anyone who covers climate change as a journalist — and for anyone who is concerned about our future in a warming world.

“I have seldom felt so alone,” Monbiot writes. “Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial.”

Denial of the impact of the hacked emails, and particularly this statement from Phil Jones, director of the U.K.’s Climatic Research Unit:

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

One of the papers in question was published in the journal Climate Research, and according to Monbiot it “turned out to be so badly flawed that the scandal resulted in the resignation of the editor-in-chief.” But even it we grant that the papers Jones railed against were garbage, there are bigger issues here. This looks like a deliberate attempt to suppress science rather than let it rise or fall on its own merits. And in the court of public opinion, it will matter not one whit whether the scientists felt under siege and were actually just blowing off steam.

“It gives the impression of confirming a potent meme circulated by those who campaign against taking action on climate change: that the IPCC process is biased,” Monbiot says. “However good the detailed explanations may be, most people aren’t going to follow or understand them. Jones’s statement, on the other hand, is stark and easy to grasp.”

But this is also about more than public perceptions. The email raises a legitimate question about the integrity of the peer review process, and also about scientific transparency. It would be one thing if we were dealing with the science of cosmic strings, which probably has no relevance to anyone other than geeks like me who get off on understanding the origin, evolution and structure of the universe. It’s a completely different thing when we are dealing with science that supports the case for transforming the economy of the entire world. People won’t be willing to go along if they have the impression that something’s fishy with the science, or that scientists aren’t being completely transparent.

I have little doubt that the science strongly supports the need for that transition. But it took me more than a decade of reporting on the evidence to become really convinced. The vast majority of people never will have the luxury I’ve had of delving deeply into the issues. And for some people, these emails may sow extreme doubt.

Monbiot argues that the only way to combat that doubt is for Jones to resign his position, and for a new attitude of transparency to prevail at the CRU. He writes that ”opaqueness and secrecy are the enemies of science. There is a word for the apparent repeated attempts to prevent disclosure revealed in these emails: unscientific.”

He also puts the issue in proper perspective. The so-called “experts” who have been hired by the fossil fuel industry “to lie, cheat and manipulate” are “scumbags.” (But even so, they have an “exemplary” media strategy.)

By comparison to his opponents, Phil Jones is pure as the driven snow . . . But the deniers’ campaign of lies, grotesque as it is, does not justify secrecy and suppression on the part of climate scientists. Far from it: it means that they must distinguish themselves from their opponents in every way. No one has been as badly let down by the revelations in these emails as those of us who have championed the science. We should be the first to demand that it is unimpeachable, not the last.

As someone who has written about the science for decades — and trusted the peer-review process to guide me toward trustworthy information —  I’m standing with George Monbiot on this. I believe the CRU should agree to an independent examination of what happened. Not a trial. Not an adversarial process. But one that is unbiased and focused on restoring public faith in the science that institution produces.

In the meantime, I’m certainly curious to know who leaked the emails. But answering that question is a sideshow compared to the main event. Journalists should do what they can to take a closer look both at the peer review process and what specifically went on in this case. We must be careful not to jump to conclusions. One instance of a possible problem with peer review does not indict the entire enterprise. But here is where the journalistic watchdog role can actually do a service by helping to preserve the overall integrity of the process — and prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again.

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This thing has 60 Comments

  1. Raven
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I am rather surprise to find that George Monbiot agrees with on how the peer review process has been corrupted.

    However, I do not have any faith that anything other than a public inquiry with witnesses testifying under oath will get to the bottom of what happened and how far the rot extends. I don’t think any of the guilty should go to jail unless they lie under oath but they should lose their jobs and compromised papers must be removed from the peer reviewed record. IOW, there must be serious consequences for this kind of behavoir in order to ensure that scientists in the future think twice about engaging in it.

    I also don’t think jounrnalists have much to contribute since they were the willing accomplices that enabled this stuff to happen by refusing to listen to scientists like Pielke Sr. and Roy Spencer who have been telling us this stuff was going on for years.

  2. googler
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I thought Monbiot prided himself on investigative journalism – it’s a shame he let his confirmation bias overcome his responsibility to his readers.

    Another view on journalists responses here:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100017912/climategate-how-they-all-squirmed/

  3. Posted November 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Raven: It sounds like you’ve made up your mind before you’ve even heard all the evidence. So why bother with the public inquiry? Why not just have a public inquisition? And then we can follow Rush Limbaugh’s advice and have them drawn and quartered.

  4. Posted November 25, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Googler: I can’t believe you take Delingpole seriously — a man who calls the New York Times “Pravda,” and who never lets the facts get in the way of a good rant.

  5. Raven
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    There is no doubt that Mann and Jones acted unethically. There are simply no excuses for what is documented in those emails (I am thinking specifically of the refusal to comply with legitimate FOI requests and the attempts to manipulate the peer review process). The only real question is if there was anything that was actually illegal.
    Any process that accepts any excuses for those ethical lapses will be a whitewash that will undermine the credibility of science.

    I can understand that you wish to withhold judgement until the complete story is in but I do not believe we will get the complete story unless there is a public enquiry with witnesses testifying under oath. There are simply too many people who would like to sweep this under the rug. If you want to call it an inquisition then so be it. Because an inquisition is what we need to restore confidence in the scientific process and ultimately that I what I want. I can accept that AGW is real and requires action if I have confidence it the scientific process that came to those conclusions. I don’t have any confidence now.

    I also think it in naive to think that the process can be reformed without the guilty getting some real and meaningful punishments. I already said jail was not appropriate but job losses are definitely in order – a point that Monbiot agrees with me on.

  6. Michael Zimmerman
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    You are taking the appropriate stand here, in view of the self-admitted corruption of the peer review process on the part of those involved in Climategate, and in view of the rampant politicalization of science by the same people. The consequences will be dire not only for the public attitude toward the climate change issue, but also toward science in general. Imagine if climate-skeptical scientists sponsored by Big Oil were caught engaging in this kind of activity a few years ago. Surely there would have been an enormous outcry from those who believe that human activity is prime mover behind global warming. Alas, for everyone concerned about the integrity of science, the evidence is damning that things have gone very badly astray on the part of at least some major climate scientists. Everyone concerned about the future of environmentalism in general should be very troubled at this moment.

  7. LiamIAm
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Now the Kiwis, too?

    The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

    The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

    TBR.cc

  8. Tom Forrester-Paton
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Tom Yulsman wrote
    “But it took me more than a decade of reporting on the evidence to become really convinced”

    In view of “Fabrigate”, is it not time to review the evidence upon which you have relied, discarding any that has any association with these guys (including the “peer-review” process they have clearly corrupted. This includes all papers published in organs now known to have been influenced by this mob)?

    If you did, what would be left? And would it still convince you of AGW?

    And if you then considered all the papers you now know to have been unjustly denied publication, would you STILL be convinced?

    As you rightly say, the public cannot possibly be expected to understand the deep science, and have therefore to rely on “proxy” evidence – chiefly the opinions of scientists they can trust. These guys are behaving like latter-day druids, not scientists.

  9. bielie
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    “One instance of a possible problem with peer review does not indict the entire enterprise.”

    The problem is, this institution and these scientists form the FOUNDATION of the entire enterprise.

    I applaud your integrity, but unfortunately you do not follow your argument to its only logical conclusion.

  10. Never-a-dull-moment
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Tom like George Monbiot you have railed against skeptics on the basis on peer reviewed science and support the use of term “denier” which has been used to damage other scientists who have dissented over AGW and its catastrophic perdictions.

    You are no different from Phil Jones in that you are part of the problem, not the solution. If Phil Jones is to be shunted out of CRU then you should consider your own position as an environmental journalist.

    Cleaning the Augean stables of climate science should be left to those who have not disposed of their critical faculties.

  11. Ralph Tittley
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    The anthropogenic global warming ‘science’ that Tom Yulsman has taken ten years to digest has been supported, driven and informed by the very same people now shown to be behaving improperly and potentially fraudulently.

    It’s one great big circle of scientists, journalists, politicians and environmental activists all sitting on each others lap. Jones and the CRU have just been roughly pulled out of the ring. Others, like Monbiot and Yulsman, sensing an imminent collapse have stood up. The rest are falling one by one, still repeating their favourite mantras about peer-review and settled science as they lie sprawling on their arses.

    What always puzzled me about AGW is the fact that when you offer an alternate view that is actually good news (ie. we’re not going to be burned to a crisp in an apocalyptic thermageddon) you are treated as an apostate. All we ever wanted and all we ever will want is the truth, unadulterated, unbiased and unspun. And as long as we don’t get it we will keep asking the questions that journalists like Monbiot, Yulsman, Harrabin and Revkin should have been asking all along.

  12. Posted November 26, 2009 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Its becoming a domino effect. First the Hadley Climate Centre. Now the NZ climate agency NIWA is being caught out with artificial warming. NASA is now being sued for similiar. The Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO also look like coming under criticism!

  13. Orson
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    This scandal speaks to the isolation and cheer-leading of journalists. It is fine for Yulsman to recognize the danger of the growing credibility gap now. But a chance to address it was missed in 2006.

    When I approached Yulsman at a public forum in August 2007, he did not know that the summer 2006 NAS Report on the Hockey Stick was wildly mis-reported in places like CNN and the Boston Globe. So when the followup Wegman Report came out, it went virtually unreported and its unmistakable lessons went unlearned.

    But old-line environmentalist Lawrence Solomon (“The Deniers, 2008), reported the details in Canada:

    “Wegman accepted the [Congressional sub-] committee’s assignment, and agreed to assess the Mann controversy pro bono. He conducted his third-party review by assembling an expert panel of statisticians, who also agreed to work pro bono. Wegman also consulted outside statisticians, including the Board of the American Statistical Association. At its conclusion, the Wegman review entirely vindicated the Canadian critics [McIntyre and McItrick] and repudiated Mann’s work.

    “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported,” Wegman stated, adding that “The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.” When Wegman corrected Mann’s statistical mistakes, the hockey stick disappeared.
    - – –
    “[T]he problem [of disciplinary isolation such as MBH evinced] applied more generally, to the broader climate-change and meteorological community, which also relied on statistical techniques in their studies. “[I]f statistical methods are being used, then statisticians ought to be funded partners engaged in the research to insure as best we possibly can that the best quality science is being done,” Wegman recommended, noting that “there are a host of fundamental statistical questions that beg answers in understanding climate dynamics.”

    “In other words, Wegman believes that much of the climate science that has been done should be taken with a grain of salt — although the studies may have been peer reviewed, the reviewers were often unqualified in statistics. Past studies, he believes, should be reassessed by competent statisticians and in future, the climate science world should do better at incorporating statistical know-how.

    “While Wegman’s advice — to use trained statisticians in studies reliant on statistics — may seem too obvious to need stating, the “science is settled” camp resists it. ”
    SOURCE
    http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=22003a0d-37cc-4399-8bcc-39cd20bed2f6&k=0

    “Past studies, he believes, should be reassessed….” Nothing was done to achieve reform then. Now several more general problems within climate science are apparent. Will CRUs studies be re-assessed now?

    An important missed opportunity occurred in the past because the media was too biased to ‘get the message.’ The old credibility gap growes larger, and I anticipate no ability for instritutions, reesources, or people to ‘get it’ now. No wonder MITs Richard Lindzren – no declared to be a proud ‘Denier’ – proclaims climate science field to bee corrupt. He too was prescient – and ignored.

  14. Posted November 26, 2009 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Never-a-dull moment: I have avoided using the term denier because I don’t like the implied comparison to Holocaust denial. I grew up in a neighborhood with quite a few Holocaust survivors.

  15. Nik
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    It is convenient to rationalise that skeptics are all in the pay of big oil.

    However, where I live, ALL alternative energy projects are either directly owned or indirectly linked to big oil corporations. The big oil accusation could go either way.

  16. Posted November 26, 2009 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Criticism of “environmental journalism” for the previous failure to provide coverage of both sides of the scientific controversy is, in my opinion, well justified. Authorities like Lindzen, Pielke, and Spencer should have been given a fair hearing. They weren’t.

    But the really damning criticism of “environmental journalism” is that, a week after the revelation broke, the despicable Seth Borenstein is still putting out propaganda about the necessity of saving the planet at Copenhagen. The Denver Post (my hometown fishwrap) has said not a word about about CRUgate or its implications, has published no letters from us skeptics on the matter, and continues to tout Obama’s plans to reduce CO2 by some impossible amount.

    I have a Ph.D. in meteorology; I can assess the science for myself. Most citizens expect journalists to at least give them a “heads up” that a controversy exists. If you don’t like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, why do you allow them to be the only source of information? In the past (and probably in the future), I’ve bought advertisements for my website to try to make fellow citizens aware.

    No thanks to you all. I’ve often wondered if environmental journalists are liars or just stupid. Not a flattering choice. Sorry ’bout that.

  17. OlePeep
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Politicians, bureaucrats and journalists have for many years, as the debate over climate change has grown, held up the IPCC as the gold standard for providing the evidence for AGW. While I understand the desire of those in the AGW camp to hand wave this episode as one involving “a few” climate scientists who, if they’re guilty of wrongdoing, still don’t undermine the larger body of “science”, it’s akin to saying that Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are “a few” NBA players. It seems to me any responsible environmental journo would feel obligated to investigate and report upon the influence the scientists at the center of this scandal wielded in the compilation and preparation of the IPCC reports. If that influence was significant, I think any intellectually honest person would have to concede that the IPCC reports are compromised, of dubious scientific rigor, and cannot be relied upon as justification for global climate change treaties and legislation.

  18. anon
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    What if they were preventing disclosure because the materials in question would have indeed thrown the science into doubt?

    There is a strong chance that you really don’t want to know what it is the files requested by the Freedom of Information Act.

  19. Tom
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t understand the persistent use of the hockey stick controversy to assault AGW (Orson). The debate is thoroughly documented but, typically, comes to no real conclusions. However, in my view, the discussion is irrelevant since industrialisation did not start until the 18th century, so examination of the millennium is pointless in the context of AGW. Orson also talks of the need for “climatologists” to employ “statisticians” to do their statistical analyses. What does he think a “climatologist” is, or, for that matter, a “statistician”? They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Having said that, I’ve known, and worked with, climatologists who were rotten statisticians, and statisticians who were no sort of climatologists. I’ve even worked with statisticians employing (very good) people I’d trained whilst working as a climatologist! Well done, Orson, two red herrings!

    Speaking of which, as a direct consequence of the theft of the Jones emails, the people claiming the pseudo-intellectual tag “sceptics”, are now using the copy email addresses harvested to harass people whose only connection with this business is that they were, at some time, on Phil Jones’ email list. Such despicable abuse of netiquette, combined with the theft itself, clearly illustrates the paucity of their claims to the moral high ground.

  20. googler
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Tom above (presume that is not Tom Y?) – please can you explain this?:

    “However, in my view, the discussion is irrelevant since industrialisation did not start until the 18th century, so examination of the millennium is pointless in the context of AGW.”

  21. Posted November 26, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey Yulsman… The NYT had no problem revealing the names of CIA personnel and giving out classified information, but they can’t publish what was in the emails because the emails were not meant for public viewing? Then you with supercilious disdain look down your probably long nose and make mention of his calling the NYT “Pravda” like it were some kind of crime. MOST AMERICANS VIEW THE NYT AS PRAVDA. This is why they are having a hard time staying afloat.

    Also, why don’t you take a look at the code? It will be really difficult for you “Climate Journalists” to explain away both the code and the emails. Also, keep in mind, this is just the beginning. A FOI lawsuit has been filed against NASA/GISS and as someone else mentioned, a big turmoil in New Zealand. Australia just had five MPs walk out of the Parliament because of the proposed cap and trade bill.
    This is all news and the only major print media that has covered Climategate fairly has been the Wall Street Journal. Fox News has been the only cable news that has covered it. Let me define “covered it”: Reporting about the contents of the emails and how the code was manipulated to reflect incorrect data. Not about how these poor souls
    were victimized by a hacker.
    One last item. Rush Limbaugh has never said “have them drawn and quartered”. He has been instead decrying his vindication. He has been saying for twenty years that AGW was a fraud. Of course you know, Rush has been proven to be right 95.5% of the time!

    LOL

  22. Posted November 26, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Tom Roberts: Please explain your reference to “looking down your probably long nose.” What are you implying?

  23. Charles Higley
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    “The so-called “experts” who have been hired by the fossil fuel industry “to lie, cheat and manipulate” are “scumbags.”

    Such specious statements make the warmist scientists look stupid. The IPCC related budget is in the tens of billions and the oil industry has invested mere millions. With that kind of an unbalanced playing field, they complain of having an opponent at all! By the way, most, almost all of the skeptics have nothing to do with the oil industry – that is misdirection, trying to discredit the skeptics. Even if they were financed by the skeptics, it would not make their science wrong, if it was right.

    We complain about the IPCC graphs, conclusions, etc because they do not make sense or fit the real world facts and the available honest data. It does not take a climate scientist to understand the science of atmospherics, oceanography, thermodynamics, gas solubility, and physics. Science is not an exclusive club and, as it is based on real science and logic, when a presentation defies logic, it should be questioned relentlessly until the logic is clear.

    With the present climate email leaks, it is clear that the skeptics who have been speculating that data has been cherry-picked and massaged are rather vindicated. When warmists complain about hearing about their cherry-picking data, they hear it because that is what they do and others have every right to point it out. Skeptical or real scientists with morals do not cherry-pick. Their complaints are like a crook complaining of being caught because there is a police and justice system. They are right – no one would be caught if there were no police.

    The logic of complaining about being caught cheating, either by a leak or a hack, fails to gain any sympathy, just as Acorn complained about being caught facilitating funding for brothels by undercover journalists. Regardless of how a crime is revealed, it is still a crime.

    The crime here is that we have three major temperature record generating groups, each led by a man who has a huge bias for proving or creating global warming in the temperature records. How can we let such critical data not be public domain and it processing be totally public. The idea that temperature data would be proprietary simply screams that there is something to hide. Since huge and sweeping world-changing policy decisions are to be based on this data, misrepresenting the data is a crime at the highest level.

    Cap and trade will kill people. Connect the dots. Misrepresented data, climate change legislation, people die – the economic impacts around the world, just as the biofuels initiative drove up the price of corn and killed people, will indeed kill.

  24. BILL WEST--NZ
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    The most effective way to get to the bottom of this fraud–get tax auditors checking private Bank accounts.Then we can establish whether the cronism is just confined to their peer reveiwed .Why else would they compromise their training &

  25. Never-a-dull-moment
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Tom as I said you ‘support’ the use of the word ‘denier’ to damage the credibility of dissenting scientists.

    You have never gone out of your way to argue that other enviro-journalists should desist from using the word ‘denier’, yet you clearly understand the emotive use and destructive power of its use. You did nothing.

    Climategate has revealed that you and your peers are part of the problem, not the solution.

  26. Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    The comparison of the New York Times to Pravda is an insult to Pravda.
    The NYT is a Socialist Rag. The Pravda is quite the opposite. A lot has changed since the Cold War.

  27. Posted November 27, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Never-a-dull-moment: How can you know from reading a handful of posts that I ‘support’ the use of the word ‘denier’? I have very vociferously opposed it on environmental journalism listserves, and I have written about my opposition to it here at CEJournal. If you’re actually interested in what I really believe and what I really have said quite publicly, as opposed to making up stories so that you can vent your anger, you can find the post here: http://www.cejournal.net/?p=877 It’s titled “Nazis, global warming skeptics, and Godwin’s Law.” If you do read it, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  28. Thom
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Okay, I get it. I think. We have papers and ideas that are marginal and outside the mainstream getting rejected. Which is the very definition of peer-review. But because peer-review reject papers and ideas that are marginal or outside the mainstream, then peer-review has been corrupted. Amazing bit of logic.

    Yulsman, great job laying out some more skeptic bait. And, of course, you’ve drawn them in.

  29. Jimmy D
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    The tipping point has been passed. If I was a newspaper publisher faced with the need for staff cuts I reckon the climate journalists would be first in line.

  30. googler
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    “Amazing bit of logic” – Thom – according to your model how would new ideas or contradictory views see the light of day?

  31. Posted November 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Thom: If you want to criticize me for supporting transparency, accountability and dialogue, then I guess that shows just what you value.

    Have you sent any of your characteristically snarky comments to Judith Curry? Like me, Curry is not afraid of engaging people she disagrees with in discussion. And she’s taken quite a bit of heat for it.

    Here’s a snippet of an open letter she wrote to young climate scientists, posted to DotEarth today:

    “Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include posting at skeptical blogs, such as climateaudit, and inviting prominent skeptics to give seminars at Georgia Tech.”

    Post at skeptical blogs? OMG!!

    Fraternize and actually listen to skeptics? THE HORROR!!

    Curry also has issued a clarion call for greater transparency and engagement with serious-minded skeptics:

    “If climate science is to uphold core research values and be credible to public, we need to respond to any critique of data or methodology that emerges from analysis by other scientists. Ignoring skeptics coming from outside the field is inappropriate; Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office.”

    She also urges her colleagues to “make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available. Doing this will minimize the time spent responding to skeptics; try it! If anyone identifies an actual error in your data or methodology, acknowledge it and fix the problem. Doing this would keep molehills from growing into mountains that involve congressional hearings, lawyers, etc.”

    Acknowledging errors and fixing them? OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!

    Thom, I guess you’d better add Curry to your enemies list. I’ll feel like I’m in exemplary company.

  32. Harpo
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t ever trust Monbiot.

    I criminal law there is a well known strategy called “Confess & Avoid”
    Confess to a lesser crime in order to avoid being punished for a greater crime.

    “Yes I hit her but then she ran and tripped down the stairs. She must have broken her neck”….. Battery instead of Murder.

    So according to Monbiot… “I was fooled” – confession, “Phil Jones must resign” – confession etc.

    “But that doesn’t mean that AGW is a fraud”- avoid. It works because of the emotional way that humans process information.

    He is a part of the machine. It’s not a conspiracy, it is a machine, and the thing that drives the machine is basic human self interest.

  33. Posted November 28, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Although Michael Mann has made mistakes in his publications, his explanation of what he meant in the hacked emails, (see his response on todays Joe Romm blog):

    http://climateprogress.org/

    is completely credible.

    What is particularly striking, is his disavowal of compliance with Phil Jones’ ‘request’ for colleagues to delete emails with Keith Briffa re AR4. This reflects rather poorly on Jones.

    This all should be examined carefully with focus on 3 questions that should be separately assessed with respect to the hacked emails:

    1) The most important is: does the behavior of the scientists involved significantly weaken the collective AGW position that warming is real, that it will probably continue with business as usual, and that such warming will probably subject humanity (and ecosystems) to severe risks? The answer to this one should be a resounding, NO.

    2) Has the behavior of a few of these scientist revealed poor judgment about scientific and legal protocol? YES.

    3) Does this episode reveal (again) that the scientific peer review process is imperfect, and can stand improvement? YES.

    Academics and journalists must weigh their responsibilities to the public carefully, so that the weight that they give to discussion of questions like 2 and 3 will not easily be perceived as changing the answer to questions like 1.

  34. Posted November 28, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Leonard: Regarding question 1, I would be interested to hear your opinion of this earlier post, just as the email controversy was building: http://www.cejournal.net/?p=2315

  35. TomD
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Tom Says: I really don’t understand the persistent use of the hockey stick controversy to assault AGW (Orson).

    TomD Says: If the hockey stick was so inconsequential, why was it used to make the AGW case?

    Tom Says: However, in my view, the discussion is irrelevant since industrialisation did not start until the 18th century, so examination of the millennium is pointless in the context of AGW.

    TomD says: The reason it is relevant is if it can be shown that our climate was cyclical with warming and cooling trends before industrialization, then it is important to understand the components that contribute to the cycles. That’s why it was important to hide or minimize the Medieval Warming Period as well as other instances where there is cooling in spite of increased CO2 levels. Here are the questions that I have. Of course, I realize that without a PhD my small mind won’t be able to comprehend the answers the big brains provide, but I’ll take my shot:
    1. Were there warming and cooling cycles before our current warming trend?
    2. If so, what caused the cycles?
    3. Assuming that there were warming and cooling cycles within the interglacial period, are our current global temperatures within normal cyclical variations?
    4. Are atmospheric CO2 levels cyclical
    5. Is there an anomaly between atmospheric CO2 readings and ground CO2 readings? (ie is one growing while the other remains flat?)
    6. If an ocean is warming, will it tend to be a CO2 pump or sink?
    7. Is the fact that CO2 levels are rising at Mauna Loa indicate anthropogenic CO2 or can it indicate another source? If another source, what is the likely candidate?
    8. Is global warming bad for Humans? What is the evidence to support the position?
    9. Did anyone entertain the idea that the cause of the current (nominal) warming trend might actually have been the cooling trend that preceded it? (think along the lines of coyote/rabbit population cycles)
    10. And finally, if the case for AGW was so strong, why was it necessary to “hide the decline” or put pressure on peer review journals or destroy data?

    Tom Says: Such despicable abuse of netiquette,
    TomD Says: Yes, it was very impolite.

    Tom Says: combined with the theft itself,
    TomD Says: But never mind the millions of dollars that has already been wasted because of this and the potential trillions of dollars that this fraud was going to cost the world through legislation and treaties based on this “peer reviewed science”.

    Again, for the climatocologist out there, please use small words since I don’t have a PhD.

  36. TomD
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Leonard Ornstein Says: 1) The most important is: does the behavior of the scientists involved significantly weaken the collective AGW position that warming is real, that it will probably continue with business as usual, and that such warming will probably subject humanity (and ecosystems) to severe risks? The answer to this one should be a resounding, NO.

    TomD Says: This sounds like more “the science is in” and “there is a consensus”. But in fact the answer is YES! To be a little redundant here, “if the answer to this one is a resounding, NO”, why is it necessary to fudge data, withhold information and manipulate the peer review process.

    The most important thing that the AGW society needs to prove is that global warming is bad for humans, animals and plants. That’s going to be a tough one, cuz it just ain’t the case.

    Next the AGW crew must prove that there is global warming that is above and beyond normal cyclical variations for an interglacial period.

    Next the AGWers have to prove that humans are the cause of the global warming.

    When the AGWers can show that the current climate conditions are an anomaly to past interglacial periods, it will give them some credibility. Until then….Ho Hum.

  37. Eric Steig
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    Since I showed you around the National Ice Core Lab many years ago, and since that photo you posted is of me (I think!), I feel I should weigh in a bit here.

    I disagree completely with you regarding the implications of all this for peer review. Even granted that nefarious things were going on (and I don’t grant that), it still doesn’t justify extrapolating the way Richard Harris did, and the way you are now doing. I mean, think about it. The NPR interview by Richard Harris that the peer review system is “so distorted” that both Jim Hansen and John Christy have trouble getting their papers published. Say what?!? These two scientists hold views at opposite — and most would say extreme — ends of the spectrum. Doesn’t this show the peer review system is doing its job very well. Science is a conservative enterprise, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It sounds to me like neither has come up with such evidence for their claims.

  38. Posted November 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Eric: Good to hear from you again! But no, it’s not you in the photo. It’s Todd Hinkley, NICL’s former technical director, now retired. (I didn’t name him in the caption because I didn’t want to associate him with the specifics of my post, since he has absolutely nothing to do with it.)

    About your comments, I think you are reading a lot in to what I said. I haven’t extrapolated a single thing. Here is what I wrote:

    “Journalists should do what they can to take a closer look both at the peer review process and what specifically went on in this case. We must be careful not to jump to conclusions. One instance of a possible problem with peer review does not indict the entire enterprise. But here is where the journalistic watchdog role can actually do a service by helping to preserve the overall integrity of the process — and prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again.”

    I thought I was being clear in the way I worded that statement that I do not know from the emails exactly what happened in this specific instance, and that as journalists we need to be careful not to jump to conclusions. We need to do careful reporting to find out what happened, and what the implications are. Goodness knows, everyone else is jumping to conclusions. I’m saying let’s find out what happened and shine a sterilizing light on things that may have contaminated the process.

    But I also know that where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. Perhaps in this case it is confined to a handful of people. Or maybe not. Unlike dozens of people who have commented here, I simply do not know yet. All I’m saying — and what Judith Curry is saying, in so many words — is that hoping that all of this controversy will subside and things will go back to the way they were is hopelessly naive — and probably destructive. For the sake of science, and effective action on climate change, you guys, climate scientists, need to take a look at what happened and do everything possible to reinforce the independence of peer review, to be as transparent as possible, and just as important, to communicate better.

    Regarding the CRU, I also think an independent review is necessary to get to the bottom of things.

  39. googler
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Solid piece here in The Times:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6936289.ece

  40. Eric Steig
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    I don’t disagree with you on the need for an investigation. For one thing, it will help restore credibility, if (as I suspect) nothing is found.

    But you misunderstand my complaint about what you wrote. You said “journalists shouldn’t jump to conclusions”. But you are jumping to conclusions. Saying “But I also know that where there’s smoke there’s usually fire” and “I don’t know yet” is not neutral. It’s alarmist.

    Let me reiterate. The fact that both Hansen and Christy are complaining is pretty good evidence that there is not a problem with the peer review system. Furthermore, if it is so hard to get stuff published that goes against the mainstream consensus, then why are there so many papers out there that we at RC find worth criticizing? You can’t have it both ways!

    The idea that the alternative views — when well argued — are prevented from getting into the literature is simply not supported by these basic observations.

  41. Steve Bloom
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Tom, would you propose that garbage papers be published as a matter of right, and that they be referenced in literature reviews indefinitely? Please explain, as those seem like unavoidable extrapolations of your views. If they really are garbage, why not shuffle them off the scientific stage ASAP?

    IMHO Richard Harris strained way too hard trying to establish equivalence between Hansen and Christy. Here’s what Hansen wrote:

    On 10/30/08: “‘Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?’ will appear in 3-4 days in The Open Atmospheric Sciences Journal. Thanks for suggestions, which improved the clarity. This journal is one of the new ones with free worldwide access [we submitted the paper there after Science would not accept it because it had already been published on blogs and discussed in the media.]”

    And then on 11/14/08: “The final version of ‘Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?’ in The Open Atmospheric Science Journal is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874282300802010217. You can click on the main paper and supporting material individually. The two are combined in one pdf on the GISS web site at http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2008/Hansen_etal.html. BTW, I think that the Supporting Material contains some interesting stuff. NASA decided not to make a press release for the paper, but Yale did one http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/yu-rts110708.php. The draft press release that I wrote and ‘Q&A’ about the paper are at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20081030_Target.pdf.

    “It is difficult to generate the attention that the topic deserves because the basic conclusions were already presented in my talk at the December 2007 AGU meeting. Also the first draft of the paper (available in arXiv, as is the final version) appeared on several blogs and was discussed in several newspapers, which discourages media attention to the final improved version.

    “The long delay between first draft and final paper was my fault. The principal demand of the journal referees, addition of a ‘caveats and uncertainties’ section (section 4.5 in the main paper and section 18 in the Supplementary Material), could have been completed in a week or two, but it took me ~two months because of other obligations. I caused another delay by not checking typesetting in the proofs carefully enough, requiring an extra iteration of proofs. Bottom line: I think that the ‘Open’ publication method, which includes full peer review but results in a paper freely available throughout the world, is promising and I intend to pursue it further.”

    I don’t know how this process is described in the book, but it doesn’t sound real onerous. Disagreeing with Eric, I would also note that the 350 ppm concept has spread around awfully damned fast for being so extreme (although it wasn’t included in the Copenhagen Consensus report, I suspect because the alternative tonnage limit approach will appear a little less stringent to policy makers).

    Christy is a different story. Not only is he infamous for a string of errors relating to the satellite temperature record and for cozying up to the likes of the George Marshall Institute, but his one prior foray into California climate studies pretty much blew up in his face (and on the front page of Eos, no less). Lack of novelty was sufficient grounds to deny publication of the new paper, but if there are also “deeper motivations” at play Christy has only himself to blame.

  42. Eric Steig
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    And another thing:

    It is easy for Judy Curry to say that she “recommends that peer review be open and public rather than a semi-secret process subject to undue influence by scientists with an agenda.” Well, who can disagree with that?

    The problem is that the statement itself implies that the process as it exists is “subject to undue influence by scientists with an agenda.” Yet she fails to explain how this is possible. I’ve no doubt that some scientists write non-neutral reviews. But for it to be the case that these scientists have “undue influence” would require that the editors of journals are too stupid, or too weak, to do anything about it. My own experience as both editor on a major journal (Quaternary Research) for many years, and as an author and reviewer, don’t support that, and I’m confident that the vast majority of scientists would agree with me. The reason editors always request several reviews is so that they can look at the balance of opinion. Most of the top scientists who have had papers published in journals like Nature and Sciences have had even more papers rejected than accepted.

    All of this is the gist of what the head of the IPCC, Pachauri, has said.

    Please explain to me why he is wrong.

  43. Eric Steig
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Tom.

    Sorry but I have to add one more comment after re-reading what you wrote.

    You refer to Roger Pielke’s “illuminating” post. In this post he simply repeats the statements made by Harris, in which he juxtaposes a quote from Gavin Schmidt:

    “In any other field (a bad paper) would just be ignored,” says Gavin Schmidt at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. “The problem is in the climate field has become extremely politicized, and every time some nonsense paper gets into a proper journal, it gets blown out of all proportion.”

    with the statement that “Schmidt defended this very backwards view of peer review.”

    THis juxtoposition is not really Pielke’s fault, but he has simply repeated this it as if it represents what was actually said. I can’t speak for Schmidt, but I doubt very much that he was defending “bad peer review”. It was probably a response to what RealClimate is about. That is, I suspect he was explaining why some papers get so much complaint from him and other scientists *after* they are published.

    How about a little investigation into what Gavin Schmidt *actually* said, instead of your third-hand reporting (first Harris’ interview, which made no sense for the reasons I gave above, then Pielke’s comments, then your comments on Pielke’s comments).

    Tom, I have always respected your work very much. I still do. But in this case I’m appalled. You can do better.

  44. Tom Forrester-Paton
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    I am not a religious person, having never “seen the light”, although I sometimes envy those who have. With this in mind, I offer G.K. Chesterton’s wisdom: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything”

    Ironically, Chesterton was one of the few prominent intellectuals who repudiated eugenics, which was all the rage among progressive thinkers about a century ago, and which closely resembles AGW in that:
    1) It claimed, with some justification, to be rooted in the work of Darwin, and therefore to have impeccable scientific credentials.
    2) It enjoyed the vocal support of a group of “correct-thinking”, “progressive” celebrity intellectuals, many of whom were right about a lot of other things (Teddy Roosevelt, Maynard Keynes, Winston Churchill, GB Shaw, the Webbs, Marie Stopes, etc).
    3) It claimed that unless its prescriptions, (which included forced sterilisation of individuals deemed “degenerate” under its arcane, idiosyncratic, ever-evolving and scientifically non-replicable biometric “code”) were followed the human race faced ruin – in its case through “runaway” degeneracy”
    4) All was going swimmingly for the eugenics enthusiasts until Hitler came along and showed the world what could be done if you really took a bit of cod science to heart. We don’t hear a lot about it these days.

    When I was taught (high school) science in the 60′s there were meteorologists and there were climatologists. Now we have “climate scientists”. Isn’t “Climate Science” just a field invented by and for AGW believers who either choose not to call themselves meteor-/climatologists, because that’s not where the grant money is, or who in addition may not do so because they are in fact neither? If so it should neither surprise nor impress us if they “overwhelmingly” endorse AGW.

  45. Leonard_K
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    To Tom Forrester-Paton … me too; about religious belief I mean. Unlike St. Paul I heard the voices but saw no light. Or is it the other way around?

    There are logical, reasonable and scientific reasons to support Eugenics as Darwin himself argued in the “Descent of Man”. Chesterton would answer that there are many ideas but truth is the idea corresponding to facts including moral truths about man’s dignity standing outside nature. Though not really a believer, I respect that.

    There is a sinister and immoral reason (a truth) that Jones, Mann et al. sought to control access to their raw data and suppress challenges to their scientific conclusions. The ease with which they were able to pull it off is our failure to separate belief from truth. They are not the same thing and Chesterton, a deep thinker; an intellectual but believer understood that.

  46. Posted November 29, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Re: Forrester-Paton’s comments about Hitler and eugenics: Godwin’s Law has now been invoked. It was only a matter of time…

  47. googler
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Eric Steig – please can you comment on your Antarctic paper and the peer review process? I have seen that you issued a Corrigendum to the paper – do you think peer review should have played a larger part in ensuring a correct paper was published?

  48. Posted November 29, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Tom:

    My reference to “Academics and Journalists” was meant to be generic; I was not targeting you; otherwise I would have begun with, “Tom:”. I agree that your linked post was balanced.

    My post was meant to try to help contributors and readers of this thread to keep things in perspective.

  49. Posted November 29, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Leonard Ornstein: I did not think you were targeting me, and I took no offense!

  50. Steve Bloom
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Tom, please check your mod queue for one from me at 7:25 PM yesterday.

  51. Steve Bloom
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Leonard, I think you leapt to some unsupported conclusions regarding Jones. Note in particular that the UEA FOI compliance officer had been consulted already and made it clear that confidential communications are exempt from the FOI law. Now, should Jones be criticized for advocating for the deletion of material that the law makes clear can be legally deleted? Maybe there’s a case to be made for that, but I haven’t seen it made.

  52. googler
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Steve – please do you have a reference for this?:

    “Note in particular that the UEA FOI compliance officer had been consulted already and made it clear that confidential communications are exempt from the FOI law.”

    The Environmental Information Regulations specifically do not exempt material on these grounds and state that the public interest should outweigh any third party consideration.

    My reading of the FoI Guidance says the same:

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/detailed_specialist_guides/confidentialinformation_v4.pdf

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/home/what_we_cover/freedom_of_information/guidance.aspx#exeguidance

  53. Steve Bloom
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    googler, the emails aren’t “environmental information” within the meaning of the EIR. They would be covered by the FOI law, except that section II.42 provides an “absolute” exemption for confidential communications (and read section I for context). I’m no expert on British legal terminology, but I suspect “absolute” means that there’s a non-rebuttable presumption.

    If you think you see something saying otherwise in the documents you linked, point to the specifics and I’ll have a look.

  54. Tom Forrester-Paton
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    Tom Yulsman,
    Your reference to Godwin’s Law is rich, considering that barely a day goes by without AGW sceptics being branded “deniers”, clearly implying their moral equivalence to the perpetrators of the Holocaust. My reference to Eugenics does not deserve such a flippant response (have you learnt nothing at all from the last few days?), in that the comparison I am making is between two equally perverse extensions of good science. I took the trouble to enumerate some of the points of similarity, none of which rested on the moral worth of those who believed them. Any inference as to the moral standings of the two groups of enthusiasts is for others to infer. For a “scientist”, you seem disturbingly incapable of forensic thought!

  55. MrPete
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    The argument about who is granted or denied access to the journals–based on the extremity of the views–is itself evidence of how politicized the system has become. The scientific enterprise should be blind to such issues.

    Clearly a few spoke and/or acted without integrity. Clearly others have been influenced by a few. A truly independent “let the chips fall where they may” investigation may help clear things up. Please recognize however that the public will not (should not) be satisfied with an insider group looking around and simply saying “hey, there’s no fire here, nothing to worry about.” As you’ve said, Tom, where there’s smoke there’s usually some kind of fire. We need more sunshine.

    I believe the community needs to take a step back and consider what would help avoid not only the reality but also the appearance of bias and abuse.

    Some suggestions include policies favoring
    * Reproducible Research (google it if you don’t know what that is; Stanford U and others are making this a standard practice)
    * Truly independent peer review
    * Requiring full disclosure of the extent to which analysis has been biased by cherry-picking which data to use (i.e. metadata is fine for data filtering; attributes of the data itself should not be a factor.)

  56. Posted November 30, 2009 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Tom Forester-Paton: I am not a scientist. If you had bothered to actually read this blog, you would have learned that.

    Also, I have made it quite clear here, as well as in the Godwin’s Law post I referenced, and in comments I have made numerous times on listserves, that I am opposed to the use of the word “denier” in reference to climate change skeptics. So please direct your sanctimony somewhere else.

    As for your main point, saying that AGW is a “perverse extension of good science” equivalent to extending Darwinian evolution to eugenics is simply absurd on its face. More important, it serves to shut off conversation, not encourage it. Feel free to do that somewhere else, but that’s not what I’m trying to accomplish here.

    Whatever your supposed intent in mentioning Hitler and the Nazis, you were the one who did it, not me or anyone else who commented here. Also, most of the people who agree with you on this issue will not see any supposed “forensic” subtlety you intended. They will interpret what you said to mean that people such as myself who are convinced humans are changing the climate are the equivalent of Nazi supporters.

    I’ve already had one commenter here say that I should be put before a firing squad, and another make a veiled anti-semitic comment. So excuse me for dismissing intellectually bankrupt comments like yours — comments that only encourage yet more misbehavior from your nasty compatriots.

    You pretend to engage in rational analysis. But your intent is as clear as can be: to tar your opponents, not to engage in conversation. That’s fine. I didn’t delete your comments. But please spare me the pretension that you’re trying to engage in some sort of high-level discourse.

  57. googler
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Steve – my reference was wrt the raw temp. data requested from CRU. Although to my mind this is now covered by EIR the original requests were made under FOA.

    From the first document I linked – first bullet point item b) on page 3:

    “The information need not be highly sensitive, nor can it be trivial. The preservation of confidences is recognised by the courts to be an important matter and one in which there is a strong public interest. This notion is undermined if it is argued that even trivial matters are covered. However, otherwise trivial information may not be considered trivial if it relates to personal matters and the confider considers it important.”

    I am not sure how one could argue against disclosure of historical temperature records. However even if the argument were made I think this provision from the same doc. page 3 section C) 3rd bullet point:

    “Disclosures where there is an overriding public interest. It is important to note that this is not the public interest test required in the qualified exemptions of the FOIA; it is a consideration required by the development of the common law. There are no hard and fast rules, but the important thing to note is that the courts have taken the view that the grounds for breaching confidentiality must be valid and very strong. A duty of confidence should not be overridden lightly. Public authorities should weigh up the public interest in disclosure against both the wider public interest in preserving the principle of confidentiality and the impact that disclosure would have on the interests of the confider. Much will depend on the circumstances of each case, but particular weight should be attached to the privacy rights of individuals. The weight of the wider public interest in confidentiality will also depend to some extent on the context. In a medical context, for example, confidentiality is important because is reinforces the bond of trust between patients and doctors, without which people may be reluctant to seek medical advice. In a banking context, confidences are respected in order to maintain trust in the banking system as a whole. Examples of cases where the courts have required disclosure in the public interest include those where the information concerns misconduct, illegality or gross immorality.”

    would find in favour of disclosure. Lets face it these are temperature records, nothing more.

    The situation with the emails is different – I haven’t followed that.

  58. Steve Bloom
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    googler, Leonard was talking about emails. Data is a different story. As you know, UEA has decided to deal with the situation by obtaining permission to release the data. I assume they’re providing the extra resources needed for that task. It looks as if the material you’re citing would only come into play if one of the national met services refuses permission.

    That said, as someone with a fair amount of expertise in interpreting legislation I don’t see anything in the passage you quoted that would lean in favor of disclosure over the objections of a met service, bearing in mind also that the data in question is for sale.

  59. googler
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    No problem Steve – I just see it very differently to you. Global policy decisions and public information campaigns being run on questionable data sources is not IMO a recipe for good outcomes. One can always seek refuge in nuanced discussion of wording and legal points etc. but the simple fact is there is a lack of transparency in a key area of research with claimed unprecedented implcations for life on the planet. IMO the defences/reasons put up by CRU are pathetic. I’ll not expand – the issues have been covered in depth and detail on other blogs.

    btw – there are two Leonards on this thread. Leaonard_K said:

    “There is a sinister and immoral reason (a truth) that Jones, Mann et al. sought to control access to their raw data and suppress challenges to their scientific conclusions.”

  60. Posted December 2, 2009 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    It’s a waste of time pointing fingers.
    It is more fruitful to educate the public in climate change and their roles in reducing greenhouse gases. The best is to produce a simple list of dos and donts and let everyone follow.

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