Climategate 2.0

It is depressing watching what is happening in climate change science and even more the media and government responses to anything that develops. Any pretence that it is about science is long gone now. It is now a mess of politics, pseudo-science and pseudo-religious beliefs, with genuine scientists on all sides finding their voices drowned out by the roar of the crowd. The sad thing is that there is a lot of good science being done on both sides of the climate change debate, but it has little impact because many people refuse to hear the truth in climate science unless it aligns with their prior allegiance.

Everyone agrees that climate is changing, but not about why. Everyone also agrees that CO2 is one of the contributors, but not on how great its contribution is. What is known is that warming has stopped for 13 years now, and even some warmists are now accepting that we may see a few decades of cooling now because they have finally accepted that climate change is dominated by natural cycles, though coverage of such matters depends on which paper you read. The same facts can be ignored, glossed over, or even turned upside down depending on the prejudice of the author.

The new Climategate release is a perfect example. (A searchable list of what has been released this time is at http://foia2011.org/) Some papers have focused on what the emails reveal about the determination to drive the warmist agenda of some researchers, and their tendencies to hide or ignore any data that goes against it. Others have ignored the content because it goes against what they want to hear, and have instead focused on how awful it is that they were stolen and how much some climate scientists have to put up with. You buy your paper and you choose which bits of the truth you get.

The field is highly politicised and increasingly polarised along party lines now, with left wingers mostly claiming belief that mainly humans are causing climate change and right wingers mostly claiming that it is mostly natural changes with only a small human component. It has been hijacked as a tool by those who want to redistribute wealth via carbon levies, or to obtain huge subsidies for people investing in wind and solar energy, even as carbon dioxide is frequently shown by new studies to be less important in climate change than was once believed.

In the face of changed science and greatly lowered estimates of likely warming, if any, it is still more important for some politicians and newspapers to save face than to save taxpayers trillions of dollars wasted investment. The emails show that researchers have been encouraged to beef up the dangers, and some had been in support of their own agendas anyway. A lot of evidence has been destroyed, and a lot of papers produced by ignoring data that runs against the predetermined message. More emails have been deliberately deleted to stop the full truth from becoming known. It is quite sickening, and all the more so because some papers and TV companies are still trying to gloss over the filth, corruption and lies.

The result isn’t just that we will have our countryside ruined unnecessarily by wind farms. As a direct result of all the money thrown down the drain on wasteful ‘green’ energy schemes, many people will die needlessly because of fuel poverty, many companies will go out of business, and many economies will suffer, with reduction in quality of life for billions. But the environment won’t benefit, because environmental polices are very poorly thought out. Peat bogs and forest will still be cleared, corruption will still increase, money will migrate towards the greedy and the corrupt, and people still murdered to make land available for biofuels or solar farms.

It is morally wrong. It is overdue for us to have a new start on environmental policy, looking at the science and throwing out that which has been tarnished and corrupted. We will otherwise cripple economies, ruin lives and kill many people, and the environment will be far worse off than if we pursued good policies based on real science.

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5 responses to “Climategate 2.0

  1. The environmental “movement” has always been a bit of an easy bedfellow. By the very nature of garnering support for this issue or later, has led to almost every environmental ideology or movement bedding down with some questionable organisations.

    It is the nature of the game, down to the lowest level, sadly. And I am sure that every environmentalist that has ever accepted support (over a long enough period of time) will probably agree. Environmentalism cannot escape from the rules of the systems in which it exists, but neither can any other discipline either. Religion, politics, commerce, education they all affect each other, sometimes in good ways and other times bad.

    Why should climate change be any different?

  2. I was wondering if you could refer me to key peer-reviewed papers on climate change? Being a scientist myself I realize that climate change is more complicated than any of the sides of the argument would like it to be and I’d like to form my own opinion. The problem is that my standard approach (i.e., google scholar it) does not work – there are just too many works and I am sure that many of them do not fulfill my requirements. I was hoping that you would know better. Once I have few key papers, I can work from there

    Thank you in advance.

    • Thanks for your interest. I have been studying the field now for several years and it is very hard indeed to work out which data is suspect. Clearly the IPCC is beyond repair – I have always been suspicious of it and events have reassured me that I was right. But even data from the likes of NASA is often edited before release, and therefore may sometimes favour the ideology of the researchers. I generally treat all of it with a degree of suspicion. Just try to look through the bias you will see to see any uncorrupted data underneath, but it isn’t easy.

      It is also a massive field. After a lot of effort I now partly understand a tiny bit of it, but a lot if still over my head – I was never the best thermodynamics student. If I have any advantage at all, it is that I don’t have any ideologocal bias in favour or against CO2. I have written on carbon reduction and other environmental issues, but work with organisations across the board from one extreme to the other and try to push the scientific approach rather than emotion, but don’t really care for the various embedded political causes.

      For what it’s worth, as a maths and physics grad, I prefer the blogs http://wattsupwiththat.com/ and http://climateaudit.org/ as they both seem to use raw data and do statistically rigorous analysis of it and generally link to the original papers. These are both on the sceptic side, but I personally find them more convincing than http://www.realclimate.org/ which, like climate depot, is more of a sensationalist advocacy site than a rigorous science site. Climateaudit often does analysis on the raw data from other institutes, but doesn’t take their publications at face value and sometimes picks up on poor statistical analyses.

      The work that has influenced me most was that of Steve Kirkby from CERN. It is easy to google videos of him explaining the sun ‘s influence very well, and the interim results of his CLOUD experiment are also online there. But following there, even the announcements of that got bogged down a bit in the politics. The whole of climate science now is an extremely politicised field and you will have to work very hard to try to stay open minded. Best of luck.

  3. You state categorically that “What is known is that warming has stopped for 13 years now”. Really??? Says who??!!

    The Met Office itself has specifically indicated that short-term observations of its data do not indicate that ‘warming has stopped’:

    Over the last ten years, global temperatures have warmed more slowly than the long-term trend. But this does not mean that global warming has slowed down or even stopped. It is entirely consistent with our understanding of natural fluctuations of the climate within a trend of continued long-term warming.

    Considering only 13 years of temperature is like analysing the temperature observations from 10-17 April to check whether it really gets warmer during spring.

    Because it relies on looking at temperature behaviour over only short periods of time, the argument that “global warming has stopped” is widely known to be statistically flawed. So why continue to use it?

    • That would be the same MET Office that consistently gets its predictions wrong I guess, but they are right that short term trends are of little consequence. (It is a great pity that they and many other alarmists are very quick to use even a few days weather as evidence in their favour, whereas others mustn’t do so, but that is another issue). 15 years though is a long period over which CO2 levels have risen a great deal, and if their theories were correct, we would have seen some warming. I am not aware of any studies that show a significant increase in temperature since 1997, unless they use highly dubious raw data from thermometers that have had heat sources placed nearby, or unless the researchers have altered the recent temperatures upwards and older ones downwards. The problem for you here is that if you ignore short term trends and also take out natural factors such as historically demonstrable effects of solar activity, ocean cycles, earth axes changes and a hundred other effects, and if you then also account for changes in levels of black carbon emissions, SO2, CFC level change etc, cloud formation changes and so on, then it turns out that CO2 has a smaller effect than claimed by the catastrophists. As I said in my last reply, the non-catastrophist serious science consensus is that we will likely see about 1 degree rise in temperature this century.

      I recommend you read http://wattsupwiththat.com/ which is the world’s most read climate change blog because Anthony Watts analyses the claims made by some of the institutes and has identified a great many areas where data has been distorted, or bad statistical approaches have been used. He and many of the rest of us are sceptical of the alarmism. None of us deny that CO2 is increasing, nor that it will have a measurable effect on climate, just that it isn’t likely to be a serious problem any time soon. It is the magnitude of the effect we are sceptical of, not the effect itself, and the level of scientific integrity or competence in some of the labs concerned is demonstrably lacking. Watts and co have much better blogs with all the details you could want. I don’t have the time to list every study here, nor the stats ability to ascertain their credibility.

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