the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Climategate: The CRUtape Letters

Posted by Jeff Id on January 14, 2010

Michael Mann’s stimulus money nearly wrecked my whole night. This though makes it a bit better. Steve Mosher and Tom Fuller have completed the first book and most complete accounting of climategate emails to date. They put huge effort into it and delve into considerable detail as to the meaning and context of these emails.

This book has very little to do with the Air Vent and there is no compensation to me – in case you were wondering.

PREFACE
In late 2009, over 1,000 emails, attachments and files containing computer code were posted on
an anonymous internet site. A few weblogs that focused on global warming received comments
alerting them to the existence of these files. News of their existence quickly spread, and
thousands of people downloaded the documents. This is the story of this event.

The emails and documents were communications between a small team of elite climate scientists
and paleoclimatologists that had heavily influenced the IPCC’s view of climate change. They had
radically changed the IPCC’s views in fact, and had almost convinced the world that temperatures
had never been higher than they are today, and that they were climbing rapidly.

But the leaked files showed that The Team had done this by hiding how they presented data, and
ruthlessly suppressing dissent by insuring that contrary papers were never published and that
editors who didn’t follow their party line were forced out of their position. And when Freedom of
Information requests threatened to reveal their misbehavior, the emails showed them actively
conspiring to delete emails to frustrate legitimate requests for information. Worst of all, one
scientist threatened to actually delete climate data rather than turn it over—and that data is still
missing.

More at Tom Fuller’s Site, Available NOW


17 Responses to “Climategate: The CRUtape Letters”

  1. File under: “when one ‘crime’ reveals another”:

    The CRU emails are leaked. This prompts an ANTI-TERROR investigation against the thief. But the emails reveal a blatant attempt to circumvent FOIA laws.

    Therefore, the thief should be awarded a medal.

    At the ceremony, he says, “Well, they wouldn’t comply with FOIA, so I made public what they were supposed to make public themselves.”

  2. Peter of Sydney said

    Next the movie. The only thing is the movie won’t be fiction but fact. As they say fact is stranger than fiction.

  3. Gary said

    Two months from leak to publication. Quite an accomplishment.

  4. Jeff Id said

    #3 It really is. They did a good job on the book too, having very kindly provided an e-copy. There really are some new observations in it.

    Mosh has a good nose for this stuff.

  5. Tony Hansen said

    Yeah. Got me beat how they could read and collate all the stuff AND write a book on it in that time.
    All credit to Mosh and Tom

  6. Mark T said

    Secretaries!🙂

    Mark

  7. Peter of Sydney said

    Here’s evidence of fudging of the “official” global temperatures to give the false impression of accelerating land surface temperatures over the past couple of decades to agree with the discredited hockey stick graphs. This is fraud on a massive scale. I hope to see charges soon and those responsible charged and eventually jailed. This has gone too far to be considered as some kind of innocent mistake.

    http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/81559212.html

  8. Not visible anywhere at Amazon. I would like to know why not. I’ve had problems before, there, over climate stuff. Just noting.

  9. Tom Fuller said

    Hi Lucy

    It’s on CreateSpace, an Amazon subsidiary–Amazon has to cycle the database to get it on their site. Click on the link in the Examiner article, it’ll take you right there.

  10. P Gosselin said

    My birthday is coming up (again) and it’ll be on my wishlist.
    But I can’t find any sales outlets here in Europe yet.

  11. Thanks Tom.

    I seem to remember hammering on about cover-up in the poll you did shortly before Climategate blew. Did that prime you, I now wonder!

  12. Kondealer said

    Looks like those well versed in assesing “risk” are getting the message

    INSURANCE GROUP SAYS STOLEN E-MAILS SHOW RISK IN ACCEPTING CLIMATE SCIENCE

    The New York Times, 13 January 2010

    Eva Lehman, ClimateWire

    A major trade group for the insurance industry is warning that it is “exceedingly risky” for companies to blindly accept scientific conclusions around climate change, given the “serious questions” around the extent to which humans cause atmospheric warming.

    The assertion was made in a letter (pdf) to insurance regulators, who will administer the nation’s first mandatory climate requirements on corporations in May. Large insurers will have to answer about a dozen questions related to the preparations they are taking to safeguard themselves from climatic hazards.

    The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies believes that the new regulation leaves little room for companies to cast doubt on widely accepted assumptions about global warming. Insurers are hamstrung to provide answers that dovetail with the perception of key regulators who believe climate change threatens the industry’s financial strength, said Robert Detlefsen, the group’s vice president of policy.

    “It’s fairly obvious that certain regulators have made up their minds about what the answers to those questions are, and are just proceeding on the assumption that their answers, or the ones that they subscribe to, are correct and unimpeachable,” Detlefsen said in an interview. “There really is no room, as I see it, for any sort of legitimate, in their minds at least, for legitimate dissent.”

    The group consists of 1,400 insurance companies that underwrite about 40 percent of the nation’s property and casualty premiums, according to its Web site. Only a fraction of its membership, however, would be required to answer the climate survey when the new regulation goes into effect this spring. The rule covers large companies that collect at least $500 million in annual premiums.

    State insurance regulators adopted a white paper in 2008 that states “global warming is occurring.” That preceded the new regulated survey, which flustered many insurance officials during its drafting. But most of the opposition was rooted in concerns around revealing secrets to competitors and making companies vulnerable to lawsuits, not around doubts about climate science.

    Now, four months before insurers have to submit their climate answers, Detlefsen is raising perhaps his strongest concerns around the state of scientific integrity, regulators’ belief in those findings, and the way that the companies’ answers could be exploited by environmentalists.

    “We fear … that the wording of the survey questions, together with the public pronouncements of some regulators, will inhibit the expression of what might be viewed as unwelcome ‘contrarian’ responses,” Detlefsen wrote in the letter earlier this week.

    E-mails said to show some climate scientists ‘at war’ with others

    His concern was based primarily on the release of stolen e-mails late last year from scientists working at the premier Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. Supportive scientists and politicians have largely dismissed the controversy, saying it does not undercut years of research on rising temperatures, expanding seas and precipitation changes.

    But Detlefsen’s letter says the “e-mails show that a close-knit group of the world’s most influential climate scientists actively colluded to subvert the peer-review process … manufactured pre-determined conclusions through the use of contrived analytic techniques; and discussed destroying data to avoid government freedom-of-information requests.”

    “Viewed collectively, the CRU e-mails reveal a scientific community in which a group of scientists promoting what has become, through their efforts, the dominant climate-change paradigm are at war with other scientists derisively labeled as ‘skeptics,’ ‘deniers,’ and ‘contrarians,'” he added.

    Full Story

  13. dearieme said

    “other scientists derisively labeled as ’skeptics,’ ‘deniers,’ and ‘contrarians,’”: bah, I’m proud to be a refutenik.

  14. Peter of Sydney said

    It depends on one’s point of view. My point of view is that the AGW thesis is a hoax and a fraud. So that makes AGW believers skeptics, deniers and contrarians. Meaningless name calling. get to the point – where is the evidence that man is causing or is going to cause a catastrophic global warming event? I’m still waiting.

  15. For the past four or five years, I’ve made a climate change debate part of the honors section I teach as a supplement to introductory biology. To the extent that I can, I arrange for pro-AGW students (most of them going into the exercise) to argue against AGW and skeptics to argue in favor. Sometimes, the kids wind up presenting evidence contra the point they’re trying to make, but overall they learn a lot, which is the object of the exercise.

    In year’s past, the presumption has been that the climate has warmed — what gets debated has been the anthropogenic part. This year, we’re going to have to change that. Climategate (sensu lato) makes the consideration of error / fraud unavoidable.

    Another thing that’s going to have to change is my injunction that the students restrict themselves to the peer-reviewed literature. I haven’t decided just how to handle this, but the CRU emails indicate quite clearly that, at least in the field of climatology, peer review has been abused to the point that it is no longer guarantees accuracy. Additionally, the efforts of bloggers such as Jeff, Steve McIntyre, etc., are changing the way science gets done — the internet having had an effect on learned discourse comparable to that of the invention of the printing press. What are witnessing is reversal (partial, at least) of the professionalization of science that got going in the 19th century, and which has allowed for the establishment of a secular priest class of unrivaled power and influence.

    So keep up the good work and best wishes.

  16. Layman Lurker said

    #15

    It is gratifying to see academics come to blogs like this and comment on how they are encouraging discussion of these issues in the classroom – even to the point of questioning whether classroom resources should be limited to peer reviewed literature.

    One of the most debated (yet easily understood once you work through) issues in the blogsphere I have seen is the impact of proxy selection bias on dendro reconstructions. Jeff’s many posts on flawed hockey stick math sheds light on these matters and I think could be easily replicated in a classroom project.

  17. PhilJourdan said

    Jon Rappoport – It makes you question the “theft” part of the emails when 2 months later, no one has claimed responsibility (I dont mean the actual person, but some Internet Avatar). And the timing (before Copenhagan) just seems too coincidental.

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