the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Baby Steps

Posted by Jeff Id on November 21, 2009

There are several people who want to claim that these emails and data have no meaning, there are others who feel they spell complete doom for the global warming movement. We all have our own opinions on the matter and while this blog is not dedicated to moderate views, it is dedicated to real views. What the scientists need to understand is that their work affects everyone, and thus we have a right to know.

Gettin' Closer

Since there are many readers from the NYT which are visiting here. The Air Vent is described as dedicated to skeptical views. This is not accurate. The Air Vent is a site which accepts all views in a basically unmoderated form, however this blog started by me getting mad at Real Climate for a paper which from over a thousand proxies, throws away 60 percent of non hockey stick (inconvenient) data to make a hockey stick. – see the hockey stick posts link above. After that I got my official non-compliance label and was a ‘denialist’. At least the NYT has me in the middle somewhere. I don’t disagree with global warming but I do disagree that we know the magnitude of it. I also disagree that we know what temperatures were 1000 years or even 100 years ago in relation to today. These issues are not well addressed in the science as open minded technical people can see.

If you are new and have a technical background (of any sort) and you read the links (hockey stick posts) above you’ll be asking yourself why the insanity of this can get through peer review and why it’s not a front page story on the New York Times. In my opinion it makes the emails look like child’s play. What’s more is that the hockey stick creators make one method after another which provide similar distortions of the data and FALSE temperature curves. In my opinion, ANY, statistician would say the same thing. — Several have.

These new emails do not provide any huge revelation of collusion, we already knew about that. They don’t provide any smoking gun proving intentional corruption of data for a conclusion (although the Jones quote was good enough for me). They don’t have any proof of making a conclusion in exchange for money or proof of changing a conclusion for personal benefit. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t expect any of that. The mechanism of reward for certain results is exactly what some of us expected it to be.

What the emails show is that there is some good science going on. There are some quality open discussions in them for sure. What they also show however, is a pattern of elimination of dissenting views. They show an advocacy by some ‘scientists’ which belies scientific credibility. These few names are universally limited to the top people in the field — think about what that means. These are the ones who actively work to make sure that dissent is unpublished and are often the loudest in public to discredit others. Mann (creator of the bogus Al Gore hockey stick) seems to be the worst offender along these lines but he clearly has a circle of trusted friends. Finally, these files show a lot of money involved in the industry. Big dollars are in play with big travel budgets, prestige and a lot of power for those who follow the main player’s lead.

What is probably the number one legal issue is the FOIA obstruction and the conspiring with government officials to block legal and properly worded requests. Of that we have proof. Again, we outsiders (non team members) are not surprised. It’s been pretty obvious that something was happening but what we have is complicity of the government in blocking legal Freedom of Information Act requests.

For those who would sweep this under the rug — not so fast. There are serious issues brought to the foreront by the emails which need to be addressed. Global warming affects everyone. Whether it’s through massive taxation and regulation or more storms. We do have a right to know where the conclusions come from and how they are arrived at.

For instance:

  • I want to know what they mean when Mann says – “don’t think that the entire AGU hierarchy has yet been compromised!”
  • I want to know why it’s ok to ignore “certain” FOIA requests but not others.
  • I want to know why it’s ok to cover up alleged temperature data extracted from trees when the data doesn’t agree with temperature.
  • How did Saiers get removed from the GRL?

There are a thousand questions which remain unanswered. These emails have at least taken a step toward verifying a complaint by outsiders about why some papers which seem quite accurate don’t get published. Now we know.

Perhaps Energy and Environment isn’t the discredited journal after all.

The emails are a step forward in understanding of both positives and negatives in this highly politicized science.

Baby steps.

30 Responses to “Baby Steps”

  1. Ryan O said

    Of most immediate concern to me is how UEA handles my latest FOI request – which is first to confirm that the emails indicating collusion to destroy information or collusion to avoid releasing data that should be in the public domain and second to supply ALL emails having gone through the UEA’s mail server that have anything to do with FOI requests.
    While I don’t agree that anyone at UEA should be in jail (as some have suggested), I do believe that a somewhat harsh lesson about what FOI means is in order.
    We’ll see.
    Jeff, I’m also thinking of utilizing the US FOIA to request emails from Santer, Mann, et al., that relate to US FOIA avoidance. I could care less about the petty infighting that a lot of people seem to latch onto . . . I’m much more concerned with trying to establish a precedent that data and code damn well need to be in the public domain. As the methods to arrive at results become increasingly more sophisticated, replication becomes more and more difficult without the original code – and impossible without the original data. The resistance to this concept within climate science is truly dumbfounding. And as they’ve shown an inability to police themselves, perhaps FOIA is the appropriate way to enforce that policing from the outside.
    Trillions of dollars depend on what these guys are writing – and far too many of the key papers are entirely unauditable.

  2. hpx83 said

    Fighting the good fight, man. I’ve started going through the alleged mails looking for things out of the ordinary (downloaded last night). It seems to me that anyone with a brain who wants the good name of science to survive this debacle should start reading through these things, and maybe in the end there can be a catalogue compiled of all the instances in which these guys have destroyed climate science.

    Mainstream media will be slow to catch on, there are however a few good “quasi-msm” outlets I’m going to try to shove this through (sites that feed blog-links to msm newspapers etc.) This thing needs to get out in the open as much as possible, even if Copenhagen is already dead.

    Let me know if there is anything that can be done to help – I’m so tired of this destruction of real science that I’m willing actually to spend my free time going through a decade of email-conversations and crossreferences…


  3. Brian B said

    –They don’t provide any smoking gun proving intentional corruption of data for a conclusion (although the Jones quote was good enough for me).–

    Narrowly defined, I think you are correct. There is no smoking gun that the data themselves have been intentionally corrupted.
    There do seem to be, however, several smoking guns regarding how inconvenient data are intentionally massaged to give answers contrary to their real signal or are simply hidden from prying eyes.
    There may be a legal difference, but I’m hard pressed to detect a significant practical difference, or for that matter a moral one, between, on the one hand, massaging data to the conclusion they want and then refusing to release it or alternately just hiding uncooperative data and on the other hand actually faking the data themselves.

  4. crosspatch said

    “you’ll be asking yourself why the insanity of this can get through peer review”

    That is a simple matter if you regulate the pool of “peers”. If you have (and this is true of practically every field of scientific research) the “top” half-dozen scientists in the field actively discrediting, blocking, ridiculing, etc. anyone with a dissenting viewpoint and reviewing each others papers, then you can create any reality you like.

    I really hate words like “cabal” and the people who use that word sometimes cause me to cringe but in this case, judging from the behind the scenes correspondence and coordination of actions, that is exactly what appears to have been at work here.

  5. crosspatch said

    “I’ve started going through the alleged mails”

    Don’t limit your searching to only the emails. Have a look at the word documents and the pdf files to put the entire thing in perspective.

  6. Slayer said

    I’ve been looking over some of the global warming-friendly blogs and Leftwing American news sites. The worst part about this whole thing is:

    Many of the commentators state (correctly) that dubious and possibly illegal means were used obtain all this data and then dump it on the internet – in order to influence the result of the upcoming Copenhagen conference.

    Therefore, no one should take seriously the fact that numerous scientists/academics have been employing dubious means to alter climate change date in order to influence the result of the Copenhagen conference.

    Many of the Leftwing sites say that the email where the word ‘trick’ was used to describe the information is merely a figure of speech. Since that one example may be up in the air as to what was meant, all remaining emails and documents are to be ignored.

    I bet that at this moment there are a lot of feverish phone calls going back and forth between the UN, Big Lefty Media outlets, and a lot of politicians and scientists.

  7. hpx83 said

    #5 Crosspatch : There’s a lot to go through. I am trying to skip the minor stuff like name-calling, dubious comments that cannot be put into context, etc. – but there’s still a LOT of things wrong with the communications between the IPCC people. I’m through the latest 200 mails or so – only about 850 to go. Making a compendium of the more interesting pieces available at (my blog, which is usually about completely different topics – but I can’t leave this alone because of the socio-economic impact of this question. Maybe I would have cared less if the debate was in regards to the scientific validity of some alleged sexual habits among smaller ants)

  8. hpx83 said

    And the word “trick” isn’t the worst thing I’ve found – conspiring to get someones Ph.D title questioned because they publish criticism is pretty heavy, as is discussing how to remove “blips” of data to make things more suiting to your theories.

  9. crosspatch said

    This like this are indicative of the mindset here:

    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 !


    So basically, by hook or by crook we will manipulate the literature even if we have to redefine the process to do it.

  10. Phil said

    Hpx83: Oh, the number of times I’ve had credulous idiots using arguments of authority against me as in “Well, the Royal Society believes in AGW so are you saying you know more about science than them?” [which is, of course, beautifully ironic as the Royal Society’s motto is, roughly translated (their translation) “Take nobody’s word for it”!].

    And now we see “I’m glad I’m in the UK. The Royal Society knows who [presumably he meant ‘how’] and why it appoints its Fellows.” i.e. only if they’re “on message”.

    If AGW self-rightousness was a greenhouse gas, truly we would be doomed…

  11. 40 Shades of Green said

    I suspect a few new Gmail and Yahoo accounts were created pronto too.

  12. DaveJR said

    hpx83 said – “as is discussing how to remove “blips” of data to make things more suiting to your theories.”

    While I agree this mail is very suggestive, the reply sounds a lot more above board.

  13. Slayer said

    Wow, never been to this site till today. Great site – really informative and great job exposing the emails – I haven’t seen half of these yet on the other sites.

  14. Slayer said

    One question, one point.

    How long has this been going on and who else knows about this stuff – as in people we don’t see listed in these emails?

    Point – I personally am going to be looking up the employer of each one of these guys and sending an email along asking EXACTLY what is being done regarding this kind of behavior. It may be pissing in the wind, but there’s always the chance these guys have bosses with a shred of integrity.

  15. […] jeff id — Fabius Maximus @ 12:01 am The best summary of this to date IMO is this: “Baby Steps“, Jeff Id, The Air Vent, 21 November 2009.  Due to the importance and fast-moving nature of […]

  16. American Power tracked-back with (polar bears falling from skyscrapers), “The ‘Hockey Stick’ Scandal”.

  17. Morgan said

    If anyone has read this far down the comments without clicking on the “hockey stick posts” link, I strongly recommend that you make that click. The first post listed there (another click required) provides what I assure you is an accurate description (stripped of some irrelevant and distracting complexity) of some of the methods used by climate scientists in their attempts to combine “messy” data to develop a clearer picture of global temperature stretching back thousands of years.

    The upshot – it is the methods for combining proxies that produce a massive rise in “temperature”, not the data itself.

  18. encs said

    I strongly recommend that you make that click.

    No offense, I’m sure you were the brightest guy in the room more than once, but I’ll wait for the article instead.

  19. Morgan said


    No offense taken, but I have to ask – what’s the difference between an “article” and the post I’ve suggested you click through to? And what would it cost you, really, to take a look?

  20. Jeff Id said

    #18 as the guy who wrote the posts linked, read it and then tell Morgan he’s missing something. You may find the regulars here are able to keep up with your questions.

  21. Morgan said


    Jeff Id, my plan was to stick around and answer any questions to the best of my ability. Hey, it’s Saturday night. What else would I do?

  22. Tony Hansen said

    While these CRU mails etc are of some interest, I would happily swap them all – for the CRU stuff of the last few days.

  23. […] interno al gruppo, sebbene esternamente questo non si sia mai percepito. D’altro canto emerge2 un sistema consolidato per bloccare (usando la terminologia trovata nelle mail, sarebbe più […]

  24. J. Peden said

    I took Morgan’good advice, and just to explain where I am on the experience scale re: these proxy reconstructions, it’s paltry. I took one course in statistics 40 yrs. ago, but did have two strong years in math before that. I also practiced ER Medicine for 30 yrs, which probably keeps me near the ball park.

    But that step 1 in CPS is absolutely bonkers. I’d conclude just the opposite as to using the small numbers of “magic” trees in the reconstruction, which could reduce to one tree, and did in the Yamal case, something which I’d already deduced as possible just from seeing what Briffa, enc., had done – by reading CA and WUWT.

    I would have thrown out all of the freaking larch tree cores Briffa must have been considering, because, iirc, it looked more like that population was more proven to not correlate with temps. in the calibration period; so that the trees which did correlate with temps were just as unreliable as the whole population was, which is something one would be trying to evaluate in the first place by doing statistical tests on the population, right?

    I know that’s not the whole story involved in Mannian CPS, as your hockey stick posts explain, but it’s bad enough right off the bat for my unrefined tastes.

    Jeff Id, thanks for your important work concerning what is called Climate Science, because it sure ain’t the Science I know.

  25. Paul said

    The commentary about not getting exited about certain illegalities of the the Team evidence in the emails, shouldn’t be dismissed so lightly. While the techno-geeks can go after the science (I get that, I’m one too), my day job is as a federal law enforcement officer for a western government, and my daytime spidey senses are tingling all over. I’m seeing indicators of possible fraudulent tampering of the production of information in and for the public record by civil servants, in the guise of “science”, something which is a huge no-no in most western criminal codes. While agencies frequently look the other way when its “science”, the direct link between this “science” and public policy is clear. How far this goes depends on how willing the relevant authorities are to clean house. I’m not optimistic, but then, if the pressure gets high enough, something will happen, even if only for appearances. So far, the least criminal indication, is that of the individual who let loose the file. As has been pointed out elsewhere, unless the files are tagged with security codes, they have violated a code of conduct only; the worst that will happen is that he/she gets fired. Whistleblower legislation, faulty as most of it is, was designed for exactly this kind of situation, except that the release is supposed to be to senior management, not to the great unwashed… 🙂

  26. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    #25, Paul:

    I agree that the whistle-blower will probably never be prosecuted; even if found, he/she will probably just be fired.

    However, I think the prosecution of Jones for conspiracy to block legitimate FIO requests will be a purely political rather than legal decision. With the current government in the UK, this seems to have zero probability. Had it been under Thatcher’s government, Jones might have had to worry!

    It is possible that a Tory government could choose to wade into this (assuming they win next year’s elections), but more likely they will choose to do nothing, or at most say to Jones, “You should seriously consider retiring, or we may be forced to look into this further.”

  27. Jeff C. said

    The quote below is a good example of the devastating impact of these emails. This is from Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News and the Cruncy Con blog. Rod is one of those “reasonable moderates” in the David Brooks mold who considers the front page of the New Yok Times straight news and wants nothing to do with the conspiracy-theorist, knuckle-dragging troglodytes (in other words, us).

    “I’m not saying that I no longer believe that climate change is occurring, and that mankind has a lot to do with this. I find it hard to believe that so much data have been faked. Still, I am saying that I’m not sure what to believe, because my faith in the integrity and the honesty of climate scientists has been shaken by this.”

    The emails will have no impact on the true believers; the mushy middle is a different story. Folks like Dreher have never seriously studied the science, but assume it must be true as the idea of a scientific conspiracy was beyond their level of comprehension. The emails have changed that.

  28. […] Likewise […]

  29. UNRR said

    This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 11/23/2009, at The Unreligious Right

  30. noteSedato said

    See you tomorrow

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