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Archive for November, 2009

Just scanned this very interesting article about Climategate in the journal of the American Enterprise Institute’s “Enterprise” blog by someone very bright called Jay Richards. The specific points he makes (extremely well) about the ongoing, forensic analysis and reconstruction of the leaked data, revealing some of the worst abuses of the scientific process imaginable, are by now quite familiar and can be found in the usual places, several of which are linked to on this blog. It’s not these legitimate observations so much, explosive as they are, as his conclusions about the significance and cultural impact of the blogosphere that really intrigued me. Here’s an extract:

Of course, most of the big broadcast media are still in full blackout mode on this story, choosing instead to report on breaking news about Pete the orphaned moose. They’re following the pattern of the Dan Rather Memogate controversy in 2004. With that history-making story, the legacy media mostly tried to ignore the story, and then, when it got too big, began to spin it. Rather and CBS issued increasingly bizarre denials. Even though the gig was up within a couple of days, they continued to defend the document in question, and the stories based on it, for two excruciating weeks. (Compare CRU’s Phil Jones offering similarly risible explanations.) Meanwhile, in the parallel universe called reality, unknown and often apolitical bloggers with specialized expertise in font styles, IBM Executive Series and Selectric typewriters, military protocol, and word-processing software dismantled the details for any curious person with an Internet connection. Other, politically oriented blogs consolidated, analyzed, and broadcast the findings.

MemoGate gave many of us our first taste of the swarm-intelligence of the blogosphere, and showed that it cab beat the legacy media for getting to the bottom of a story via a networked, open-source form of peer review, with a highly refined division of labor.

We may just now be seeing the potential for this new way of transferring and analyzing information. In Memogate, remember, we were talking about a single one-page Word document. With Climategate, we’re dealing with thousands of detailed, often technical documents. They may even have been compiled internally at the CRU in response to a Freedom of Information request and were then leaked instead. So the revenge of the nerds could be especially brutal and prolonged. Already, insights and analyses are proliferating on the climate blogosphere so quickly that it’s becoming impossible for even the best consolidators to keep up.

I hadn’t really grasped what Guido Fawkes meant when he talked about similar things regarding, if memory serves, the expenses scandal* . I do now. The blogosphere, with its “swarm intelligence,” is no longer potentially the most powerful communication medium in the world, Climategate has proved (at least to me) that it now is the most powerful communication medium in the world.

It therefore seems that it was no accident the Climategate documents weren’t first leaked to a newspaper, as with the expenses scandal (the last real scoop of the dead tree press?) but to a blog instead, albeit what turned out to be the virtual dead end of a BBC weatherman’s blog. I think it likely that given the technical complexity of the material, the whistleblower eventually appreciated that no MSM (what Jay Richards calls the “legacy media”) provider would even want to touch it, all compromised as they more or less all are, much less spend a lot of time and money unpacking its secrets. It needed some serious processing power to do that, and, as Mr Richards asserts, the only place that that could be found was in the blogosphere.

So, complete paradigm shifts all round, then – not just in terms of the AGW belief system, but in terms of how we produce, analyse and trust our news-information supply, too.

I for one am pretty proud to contribute my modest (some would say infinitesimal) intellectual resources to The Swarm Intelligence.

(*It could have been something else, though, I’d need to check. But he does bang on about that and the fall of the dead tree press fairly regularly, it seems to me.)

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Two fairly devastating Sunday Telegraph Climategate stories have just popped up on their website, one of which will appear in print in today’s newspaper. Both of them reveal in their different ways that the captured, self-censoring, dinosaur MSM in the UK is finally beginning to wake up to the scale of this scandal and that the pressure of the sheer fury being vented all over the world – at least on the internet – at the CRU and their cabal of intellectually incestuous, mutually peer-reviewing, manipulating, unethical, activist-scientists, is starting to bear fruit – already.

The first one:

Leading British scientists at the University of East Anglia, who were accused of manipulating climate change data – dubbed Climategate – have agreed to publish their figures in full.
The U-turn by the university follows a week of controversy after the emergence of hundreds of leaked emails, “stolen” by hackers and published online, triggered claims that the academics had massaged statistics.

In a statement welcomed by climate change sceptics, the university said it would make all the data accessible as soon as possible, once its Climatic Research Unit (CRU) had negotiated its release from a range of non-publication agreements.

The publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre. The full data, when disclosed, is certain to be scrutinised by both sides in the fierce debate.

A grandfather with a training in electrical engineering dating back more than 40 years emerged from the leaked emails as a leading climate sceptic trying to bring down the scientific establishment on global warming.

David Holland, who describes himself as a David taking on the Goliath that is the prevailing scientific consensus, is seeking prosecutions against some of Britain’s most eminent academics for allegedly holding back information in breach of disclosure laws.

Mr Holland, of Northampton, complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) last week after the leaked emails included several Freedom of Information requests he had submitted to the CRU, and scientists’ private responses to them.

Within hours, a senior complaints officer in the ICO wrote back by email: “I have started to examine the issues that you have raised in your letter and I am currently liaising with colleagues in our Enforcement and Data Protection teams as to what steps to take next.”

The official also promised to investigate other universities linked to the CRU, which is one of the world’s leading authorities on temperature levels and has helped to prove that man-made global warming not only exists but will have catastrophic consequences if not tackled urgently. Mr Holland is convinced the threat has been greatly exaggerated.

In one email dated May 28, 2008, one academic writes to a colleague having received Mr Holland’s request: “Oh MAN! Will this crap ever end??”

Mr Holland, who graduated with an external degree in electrical engineering from London University in 1966 before going on to run his own businesses, told The Sunday Telegraph: “It’s like David versus Goliath. Thanks to these leaked emails a lot of little people can begin to make some impact on this monolithic entity that is the climate change lobby.”

He added: “These guys called climate scientists have not done any more physics or chemistry than I did. A lifetime in engineering gives you a very good antenna. It also cures people of any self belief they cannot be wrong. You clear up a lot of messes during a lifetime in engineering. I could be wrong on global warming – I know that – but the guys on the other side don’t believe they can ever be wrong.”

Professor Trevor Davies, the university’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement, said yesterday: “CRU’s full data will be published in the interests of research transparency when we have the necessary agreements. It is worth reiterating that our conclusions correlate well to those of other scientists based on the separate data sets held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

“We are grateful for the necessary support of the Met Office in requesting the permissions for releasing the information but understand that responses may take several months and that some countries may refuse permission due to the economic value of the data.”

Among the leaked emails disclosed last week were an alleged note from Professor Phil Jones, 57, the director of the CRU and a leading target of climate change sceptics, to an American colleague describing the death of a sceptic as “cheering news”; and a suggestion from Prof Jones that a “trick” is used to “hide the decline” in temperature.

They even include threats of violence. One American academic wrote to Prof Jones: “Next time I see Pat Michaels [a climate sceptic] at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”

Dr Michaels, tracked down by this newspaper to the Cato Institute in Washington DC where he is a senior fellow in environmental studies, said last night: “There were a lot of people who thought I was exaggerating when I kept insisting terrible things are going on here.

“This is business as usual for them. The world might be surprised but I am not. These guys have an attitude.”

Prof Jones, who has refused to quit despite calls even from within the green movement, said last week in a statement issued through University of East Anglia, “My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues.”

He suggested the theft of emails and publication first on a Russian server was “a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks”.

He added: “Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.”

Message ends. But despite the typical hedging and the dogwhistle ad hominem against the ‘sceptic’, brave Dave Holland who’s been taking on these bozos (“Mr Holland, who graduated with an external degree in electrical engineering from London University in 1966 before going on to run his own businesses…” – and is therefore an amateur crank with an axe to grind, we are meant to infer, presumably), this report if nothing else serves to demonstrate that the CRU’s ‘Hockey Team’ of AGW fundamentalist, anti-science manipulators has finally been disciplined by their hitherto blind-eye-turning bosses. Well, it’s a start, I suppose – and I fully expect that sacreficial resignations will soon follow. Don’t be fooled by a stunt like that, though. The true scale, gravity and penetration of this scandal is still only emerging, and the second article serves to reinforce this view. Penned by Damian Thompson, the DT’s blogs editor and, some might say appropriately, is usually associated with religious matters, the implications for the (current management and future of the) BBC are simply enormous:

I think we need to take a closer look at this intriguing story in the Mail:

One of [the BBC’s] reporters has revealed he was sent some of the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia more than a month ago – but did nothing about them.

Despite the explosive nature of some of the messages – which revealed apparent attempts by the CRU’s head, Professor Phil Jones, to destroy global temperature data rather than give it to scientists with opposing views – Paul Hudson failed to report the story.

This has led to suspicions that the scandal was ignored because it ran counter to what critics say is the BBC’s unquestioning acceptance in many of its programmes that man-made climate change is destroying the planet.

But hang on – wasn’t Paul Hudson the “climate change correspondent” who, as I reported on October 11, filed a story reporting that global warming stopped in 1998? I wrote at the time:

Hudson’s piece must have been a nightmare to write: talk about an inconvenient truth. All the caveats are in place, distancing him from hardline sceptics and giving plenty of space to the climate change orthodoxy. But, in fact, his scrupulous approach only makes matters worse for BBC executives who have swung the might of the corporation behind that orthodoxy, often producing what amounts to propaganda.

Back to the Mail story:

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: ‘We need to know more about the BBC’s role in this affair. Was Mr Hudson told by the BBC not to use the story?’

It was only after the same emails were published on a blog called Air Vent that Look North climate correspondent Mr Hudson owned up in his own blog to the fact he had also had the material.

In a bizarre twist, he claimed the leak had been triggered by an article he had written that questioned global warming.

Mr Hudson, 38, last night declined to comment. A BBC spokesman said: ‘Paul has nothing to add to what he has already said in his blog.’

OK, so let’s have a look at that blog entry by Paul Hudson. I’ve marked a couple of sections in bold:

Like many of you I’ve been watching the story at the University of East Anglia develop with interest. I first became aware of the news late last week, but because of my weather and filming commitments couldn’t deal with it myself and so passed the news on to some of my colleagues in the BBC’s environment and science team, including our environment analyst Roger Harrabin who wrote about it on saturday morning, and Newsnight, who covered the story last night.

As you may know, some of the e-mails that were released last week directly involved me and one of my previous blogs, ‘Whatever happened to global warming ?’

These took the form of complaints about its content, and I was copied in to them at the time. Complaints and criticisms of output are an every day part of life, and as such were nothing out of the ordinary. However I felt that seeing there was an ongoing debate as to the authenticity of the hacked e-mails, I was duty bound to point out that as I had read the original e-mails, then at least these were authentic, although of course I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the others.

There are clearly some very serious issues that arise from the information that has been released. Some people are suggesting that spin has infiltrated science. Others worry that there are suggestions that the peer review process has been compromised and those with contrary views are being frozen out. There are issues regarding data; how has it been used? But those scientists that are convinced that man is responsible for global warming are troubled that all this takes attention away from the real issue here: that action is needed to be taken from the world’s biggest polluters to cut carbon dioxide emissions. This was certainly the message that came across this morning, in this story on our science website.

How will this all be resolved? Momentum does seem to be growing, from people on both sides of the argument, behind calls for a full independent enquiry that can once and for all get to the bottom of the many issues that have been raised. A recent survey showed that climate scepticism in this country is growing, and this episode may increase it further. Some would say that an enquiry is the only way to bring clarity to the science of global warming and climate change that has enormous implications for all of us.

Reading Hudson’s blog entry, I can’t help wondering whether he was instructed to “pass the news on” to the likes of Roger Harrabin, upholder of the AGW orthodoxy, who conspiciously failed to examine the content of the emails properly. Then notice the clever language in which Hudson’s blog entry is phrased: he hasn’t retreated from his position that there’s a question mark over global warming, and he wants an independent inquiry “to bring clarity to the science of global warming and climate change”.

No wonder he was encouraged to “pass on” his story to BBC experts who believe that the science of global warming is quite clear enough already, thank you, and don’t want to see the public confused by those pesky emails.

It seems that Christopher Booker might finally be exerting some long-overdue influence on the Telegraph’s hitherto schizoid editorial policy which allowed him to write seriously damning articles, week after week, about the climate change fraud, and then placed them in a comments section often right next to some dumb, ovine, AGW, goodthink editorial about the end of the world.

It also seems pretty clear that Climategate has just graduated to the “major story” division, at least in one part of the MSM. One thing is certain, the heat – and the pressure – are building. And the biggest scientific myth of all time has just come one step closer to being exploded. How big a threat the warmists regard this will be measurable by the viciousness of their propaganda backlash, something which has already begun.

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With characteristic clarity of style, Christopher Booker has summarised the Climategate scandal and its implications in an article for the Sunday Telegraph that I’ve been looking forward to since the story first broke. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s powerful, thought-provoking and simply cannot be ignored, (can it?).

Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation

Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with the Climategate whitewash, says Christopher Booker

A week after my colleague James Delingpole, on his Telegraph blog, coined the term “Climategate” to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

The reason why even the Guardian‘s George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Philip Jones, the CRU’s director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC’s key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history.

Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement.

Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the “hockey stick” were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann’s supporters, calling themselves “the Hockey Team”, and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.

The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC’s scientific elite, including not just the “Hockey Team”, such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC’s 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore’s ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.

There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre’s blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt’s blog Watts Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones’s refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got “lost”. Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to “adjust” recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU.

What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics’ work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports.

Back in 2006, when the eminent US statistician Professor Edward Wegman produced an expert report for the US Congress vindicating Steve McIntyre’s demolition of the “hockey stick”, he excoriated the way in which this same “tightly knit group” of academics seemed only too keen to collaborate with each other and to “peer review” each other’s papers in order to dominate the findings of those IPCC reports on which much of the future of the US and world economy may hang. In light of the latest revelations, it now seems even more evident that these men have been failing to uphold those principles which lie at the heart of genuine scientific enquiry and debate. Already one respected US climate scientist, Dr Eduardo Zorita, has called for Dr Mann and Dr Jones to be barred from any further participation in the IPCC. Even our own George Monbiot, horrified at finding how he has been betrayed by the supposed experts he has been revering and citing for so long, has called for Dr Jones to step down as head of the CRU.

The former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, last week launching his new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, rightly called for a proper independent inquiry into the maze of skulduggery revealed by the CRU leaks. But the inquiry mooted on Friday, possibly to be chaired by Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society – itself long a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause – is far from being what Lord Lawson had in mind. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.

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Just got back from a spell of Christmas shopping. I know, a bit early for a bloke, but I thought I would miss the rush and I knew what I wanted, so I thought it would only take an hour or so. Fat chance – it was hell out there! Then driving home I wondered to myself, is this a sign of economic recovery? Could be. Could be.

But…

…and it’s a big “but” which is followed by the now all-too familiar name of the one-eyed Scottish incompetent, Gordon Brown. David Blackburn has proved that while he is many things, all bad, he’s also something more, incredibly: he’s politically naive. This king of bust, who presided over (as unelected Prime Minister) and largely was to blame for (as useless Chancellor who borrowed into a property bubble that his deregulation of the banks directly caused) the biggest peacetime crash since 1929 and the worst recession in post-war history, is now jeopardising the recovery as well with his stupidity and tribalism before it’s even had a chance to start. Read it and weep:

The Times’ Ian King writes that Dubai’s predicament presents an opportunity for the City to attract new business. There is no reason why, with attractive incentives, London shouldn’t capitalise on Sheik Mohammed’s momentary lapse of reason. However, the appointment of Michel Barnier, an evangelical protectionist who makes Joseph Chamberlain look like the father of Free Trade, as EU regulating supremo is a disaster for Britain.

The appointment raises further questions about Gordon Brown’s acceptance of Baroness Ashton as the EU’s foreign minister. Michael Fallon is no doubt:

“Brown has been completely outwitted. We now have none of the three key economic jobs in Brussels. This has all happened at an incredibly dangerous moment when there are firm proposals which will govern regulations on banking, insurance, private equity and hedge funds.”

Despite its insistence to the contrary, Downing Street has failed to protect financial regulation from falling into foreign hands. The outmanoeuvred Prime Minister has left the City at the mercy of a politician who believes there is “too much free market liberalism”. No wonder the French are so keen on Gordon Brown. Recovery has been jeopardised by political naivety.

What we did to deserve this imbecile is anyone’s guess. Oh, that’s right, about nine and a half million idiots voted him in in 2005. Hang on…

Ah well, at least we’ll get to vote the moron out some time next spring. I just hope that by then it’s not too late.

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A succinct deconstruction of the CRU modelling tricks that underpin what increasingly appears to be the fallacy – possibly even the fraud – that is AGW. Scary stuff.

Hat tip: Subrosa

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I was quite mean to Rod Liddle in a comment on his blog a while ago, though some might say justifiably so given that his remarks about Climategate appeared to be painfully unresearched and his conclusions, consequently and predictably, feeble. I wasn’t the only one to think so.

To his eternal credit, however, he does not censor any of these comments, however scathing. Thus open, healthy, even robust, debate with him is enabled and encouraged. It’s in this spirit that he hit back this morning, in quite a thought-provoking piece, not only at, I presume, people like me (at least indirectly) who he deems to have been pushed by AGW arrogance, certitude and flawed thinking “towards an ever more antithetical position” and that that is “a flawed, human, response – very similar to the flaws exhibited by those climate change monkeys sending dodgy emails to one another,” (oh, my bad then, Rod) but directly at the AGW lobby itself. I’m afraid that if I and people like me, who, thanks to our own, (according to Rod) understandable weaknesses have been “pushed” to some sort of extreme anti-AGW position by, in particular, the Climategate scandal, have attracted merely his sympathy and counsel, the warmists have attracted nothing less than his scorn – albeit a reasonably equable scorn, in true Liddle-the-peacemaker style. But his post also contains an interesting warning for the AGW lobby at large, though delivered at a warmist commenter who left some pretty scathing remarks of his own, but from the other direction, that’s worth quoting.

I find it genuinely difficult to debate with people who deny my right to debate; this is the case with the climate change lobby. The danger, if you don’t watch out, is that the arrogance and certitude of the AGW lobby pushes one towards an ever more antithetical position. This is a flawed, human, response – very similar to the flaws exhibited by those climate change monkeys sending dodgy emails to one another. If you work for, and are paid by, an institution which accepts climate change as a fact, then you will be disinclined to accept scientific evidence to the contrary. You hold climate change as an article of faith, and also a conduit for remuneration. This is how science becomes poisoned; but it happens in almost every scientific endeavour, and always has done. Scientists become trapped by their own paradigms; they are reluctant to let go of ideas. This is why it usually takes a generation before paradigms change. But change they always do. Remember that a generation ago we were worried by global cooling and the coming of the next ice age.

I have no expertise whatsoever in meteorology, but I do have a bit of knowledge about stats, and randomness and chance – and it is this that leads me to a broadly sceptical point of view regarding AGW. Jim Ryan kindly responded to my blog about the UEA debacle with a lengthy and pretty rational argument, to which he appended a list of many organisations which sign up to AGW. What he didn’t say, however, was that these organisations often heavily qualify their belief in man-made climate change, suggesting that it is “probable” or “heavily probable” or “likely”. Fine. And there are many more which will not go even this far.

But it is another part of Jim’s response that interested me, because it involves statistics and displayed the almost universal misunderstanding of statistics and chance. He wrote:

“Rod, you visit a 100 tumour specialists and 97 tell you you require an operation to treat the condition. The other 3 say it is benign and does not require any treatment “

The implication being that of course the 97 are right, and that any rational person would not question this supposed fact. A 97% certainty is pretty much a certainty, full stop, isn’t it?

Well, no. Suppose the tumour which the doctors believe afflicts me is a fairly rare type of tumour, one which affects only, say, one in 5000 people. If that is the case then the likelihood that I do not have that tumour, and that those 97% of surgeons have made a wrong diagnosis, and that I therefore do not need an operation, is far, far higher than the likelihood that I do have a tumour and do need it operated upon. Jim’s analogy utilizes that difficult thing to supposedly prove his point, the false positive.

Well, OK. I think that is a fair point about false positives – and it should actually count as a serious warning to all sides of this debate: check your facts and don’t be too certain about your stats. However, he still fails, like all the other UK MSM professional journos, bar one or two, to give us the benefit of his wisdom about what have emerged as nothing more or less than faked statistics. But he simply chooses to ignore the reprehensible actions (the manipulation of data to produce misleading results, the dirty tricks, the stifling of opposition and the endless, alarmist propaganda campaign and so on), some of which constitute actual fraud given that vast sums of taxpayer funding is involved, and yet he satisfies his own prejudices by dismissing the perpetrators of these deceptions as “climate change monkeys”.

So, the upshot of this is that we are none the wiser as to where, precisely, Liddle stands on any part of these issues. Is he saying that the monkeys are basically correct but they’ve been naughty monkeys for being so certain in their belief that they seemed to imagine all established scientific norms and moral/social (even legal) codes could be suspended, such was the size of the crisis they’d revealed? Is he arguing that this was wrong (bad monkeys) and that all it has served to do is create more monkeys (who are probably right wing monkeys, to boot)? Is he merely pretending that he is the only sane, high-brow human (therefore not a monkey) left on this crazy old planet of ours, blowing hot and cold as she endlessly does?

With the first two, from this particular post we are, indeed, left none the wiser. But I do think that my last question might have an answer – and it’s most definitely a “yes”. Liddle’s contribution, more or less, has been to massage his own ego by placing himself firmly in the middle but raised above the scrap, sort of in the position of Umpire of the Great Global Warming Tennis Slanging Match. I can just imagine him sitting on that high chair, complete with booming tannoy, calling out the scores and overruling the line judges. “False positive: Let”; “Sceptic Monkeys’ Fault: Game, Warmists.” He must be loving every minute of it!

But he cannot be serious.

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Steve McIntyre, the climate scientist behind climateaudit.org has pieced together the code that reveals the data deleted by the CRU to “hide the decline” (as Prof Phil Jones now famously said in a leaked email) in post-1960 global temperatures. It provides further damning evidence of a cover-up the likes and scale of which the scientific world really has never seen before. It is devastating.

For the very first time, the Climategate Letters “archived” the deleted portion of the Briffa MXD reconstruction of “Hide the Decline” fame – see here. Gavin Schmidt claimed that the decline had been “hidden in plain sight” (see here. ). This isn’t true.

The post-1960 data was deleted from the archived version of this reconstruction at NOAA here and not shown in the corresponding figure in Briffa et al 2001. Nor was the decline shown in the IPCC 2001 graph, one that Mann, Jones, Briffa, Folland and Karl were working in the two weeks prior to the “trick” email (or for that matter in the IPCC 2007 graph, an issue that I’ll return to.)

A retrieval script follows.

For now, here is a graphic showing the deleted data in red.
Figure 1. Two versions of Briffa MXD reconstruction, showing archived and climategate versions. The relevant IPCC 2001 graph, shown below, clearly does not show the decline in the Briffa MXD reconstruction.

Contrary to Gavin Schmidt’s claim that the decline is “hidden in plain sight”, the inconvenient data has simply been deleted.

The reason, as explained on Sep 22, 1999 by Michael Mann to coauthors in 938018124.txt, was to avoid giving “fodder to the skeptics”. Reasonable people might well disagree with Gavin Schmidt as to whether this is a “a good way to deal with a problem” or simply a trick.

Meanwhile, as the UK MSM and government go on pretending that nothing has happened, merrily misinterpreting a Chinese promise notionally to cut pollution and confusing bad weather in Cumbria (in late November, no less) with “climate change,” the rest of the world is beginning to wake up to the implications of this scandal. Australia’s main opposition Liberal party, for instance, has gone bananas with five of its front bench members resigning over their leader’s plans to support a carbon cap. Climategate really could be starting to make a difference, but not, sadly, in the UK where journalists and comedians continue to deny the scandal is anything more than a diversion.

But Barack Obama is going to Copenhagen, so that’s alright then. I wonder if he’s seen Steve McIntyre’s report. I wonder if he cares.

==Update==
The Wrinkled Weasel has a bit of a blogscoop (for me, at least – I didn’t see the Mail article that carried the story) that gives you some idea about just why the UK is not yet experiencing much fallout from climategate. The BBC knew about the emails over a month ago and even had a copy of the file. But, predictably, it spiked the story. Impartiality? Not on your life. But don’t worry, you and I just pay for it all: CRU, BBC, government AGW propaganda – the lot. Tidy.

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