1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11161/apologist-responses-to-climategate-misconstrue-the-real-debate/

Apologist Responses to Climategate Misconstrue the Real Debate

December 4, 2009 by

At the blog MasterResource I explained why–contrary to some of the dismissive and sarcastic defenses of the CRU emails–”Climategate” really should reduce the confidence that non-experts place in the IPCC’s models and alarmist warnings. I gather that many readers of this blog will think my conclusion is obvious, but I felt compelled to write this post since so many smart people were saying “nothing to see here.”

Here’s an excerpt:

No, the true debate has been among practicing climatologists, with some arguing that the global climate’s sensitivity to a doubling of greenhouse gas concentrations may be well below the IPCC AR4′s reported range of 2C – 4.5C. If these “skeptics”-such as Richard Lindzen, Pat Michaels, and Roy Spencer-are right, then the case for large-scale government intervention to penalize carbon emissions is considerably weakened.

In this context, the evidence brought to light by “Climategate” may be very significant, because it reaffirms the chinks in the IPCC armor that the educated skeptics have been pointing out for years. It’s true, an email from Phil Jones by itself doesn’t make Richard Lindzen right or wrong, but when policymakers need to decide which scientific experts they can trust, then the CRU emails are very relevant.


fundamentalist December 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Murpy has done an excellent job reporting on climategate. Readers might also want to check out the article at American Spectator on the tree ring hoax at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/12/04/dead-ringer

Rob Waterson December 4, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Their propaganda campaign continues even in the face of the historic ClimateGate scandal. The Media Research Center reports today that the Big Three have not covered ClimateGate *at all* in their morning or evening new broadcasts. That is simply staggering bias, a complete circling of the wagons.

I wrote a piece at my blog that also delves into the computer model side of the issue, please give it a read:


Walt D. December 4, 2009 at 3:23 pm

EnvironMentalRetards are a core Democrat voting block that still needs to be pandered to.
Barbara Boxer and the Obama Administration can not afford to back down – they will alienate to many Democrat voters. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger is still out there peddling this nonsense. Al Gore at least has the sense to cancel his presentations to give himself time to regroup.

fundamentalist December 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Rob, thanks for the material on programming the models. Like most people, I had given them the benefit of the doubt and assumed they knew what they were doing. Apparently not.

BrianTinNY December 4, 2009 at 4:32 pm

A Harvard Professor, James McCarthy, sends a letter to Barbara Boxer, commenting how the emails have no bearing “what-so-ever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.”. Original here:

Anthony Watts “Watt’s up With That” site picks up on such an excellent take-down of the good Professor’s letter, from the comment section of the Globe’s article, that it gets it’s own Post here:

The commentor, using only the name (or pseudonym) “Sean”, says this:
“the computer code is transparently fraudulent.”
As a 29 year software developer, and having seen the relevant sections of said code, I agree completely. THIS, not the emails, is the smoking gun in the whole saga. See here:
for a line-by-line explanation of the program in question.

Mike D. December 4, 2009 at 4:41 pm

…meanwhile, it snowed in Houston!

Bastiat79 December 4, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Climategate is only scratching the surface. Whether the climate has more or less changed in the past is irrelevant. The climate is a chaotic system and can change without cause. Policy is about CO2, and CO2 is about climate sensitivity.

The real scandal is that there are several lines of thought that suggest a climate sensitivity of about 0.4K, and that these are under-investigated because underfunded for political reasons.

I wish skeptics could unite on that very simple statement.

jallen December 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Here is the crux of climategate (assuming the reader is familiar with the FOIA and the “lost” source data aspects):

Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and
Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age

ISBN: 978-0-309-13684-6 National Academy of Sciences.


Data Access and Sharing Principle: Research data, methods, and other information integral to publicly reported results should be publicly accessible.

Recommendation 5: All researchers should make research data, methods, and other
information integral to their publicly reported results publicly accessible in a timely manner to allow verification of published findings and to enable other researchers to build on published results, except in unusual cases in which there are compelling reasons for not releasing data. In these cases, researchers should explain in a publicly accessible manner why the data are being withheld from release.

Data Stewardship Principle: Research data should be retained to serve future uses. Data that may have long-term value should be documented, referenced, and indexed so that others can find and use them accurately and appropriately. Curating data requires documenting, referencing, and indexing the data so that they can be used accurately and appropriately in the future.

Recommendation 9: Researchers should establish data management plans at the beginning of each research project that include appropriate provisions for the stewardship of research data.

David C December 4, 2009 at 10:49 pm

He says that he accepts that warming has happened since 1850. But their manipulation of the data appears to show that is not the case.

Brian Macker December 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

I humbly suggest that those who have been smeared as “denialist” in an attempt to portray them as some kind of holocaust enabler, should start to call the warmists by the name “climate change denier”.

They deny the enormous variablity in climate that has existed long before CO2 produciton. They deny and hide the actual temperature records, and the failure of certain proxies.

After all in our view there is nothing unusual about current temperatures, melting glaciers, etc. It’s all happened before and has in general been beneficial.

It is the Climate Change Denialists who make the false claim that climate, without man, is very stable, and it is they who fabricate hockey stick graphs. It is they who deny the basic principles and standards of science by rejecting skepticism. It is they who deny a naturalist view of the universe when they claim such magical forces as teleconnect.

Question December 5, 2009 at 11:43 am

I haven’t been around the LvMI comments section much recently. Has “TokyoTom” been around to offer his reaction to all of this?

Ribald December 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Here’s a letter criticizing the IPCC’s handling of data:


And, in case anyone is interested in some raw data and modeling code:


There’s really a lot of data and methodology that is public, though not all. Hopefully, the e-mail incident will encourage all scientists to be more open, especially when the data is complex. As always, those who make conclusions based on the data need to be rigorous, and those making conclusions based on only a scant understanding should at least make sure they have a hypothesis (X is causing the Earth to warm) and are not simply stating a conclusion (the Earth is warming naturally).

Sean A December 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Hahaha, the evil and arrogant Al Gore refuses to admit even the possibility that this debate is not settled. When politics is even remotely involved, and the elite’s claim a debate has reached a “consensus”, this should be an immediate red flag. Here’s Gore in an interview with the Times YESTERDAY:

“Even a final treaty will have to set the stage for other tougher reductions at a later date,” he said. “We have already overshot the safe levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.”
“”Are we doing enough? The answer is obviously no — 450 [PPM] is not the right target. But it is presently seen as beyond the capacity of governments around the world. We are stretching the capacity of governments even to hit a 450 target.”
“We are gambling with the future of human civilisation in accepting odds that by any definition make our present course reckless . . . But it’s still the most likely path to success.”
“I’m glad that [Obama] is putting reduction targets on the table. I wish that they were stronger but I recognise the difficulties he faces in the Senate.”
“The correct policy response will include both of these powerful tools. But the degree of political difficulty associated with a carbon tax is a degree of difficulty much higher than the cap and trade approach.”

He did have one comment with regards to the “skeptics”:

“[Scientific consensus around climate change] continues to grow from strength to strength…The naysayers are in a sunset phase with a spectacular climax just before they subside from view. This is a race between common sense and unreality.”

Here’s the article:

ehmoran December 5, 2009 at 11:30 pm

In the late 1800′s, Arrhenius built upon Fourier’s assessment of atmospheric properties by plotting CO2 and temperature data collected in industrialized England. Arrhenius’ plots and calculations showed a relation between CO2 and ambient temperatures. In 1930′s, Callendar extended the analysis using long term observations from 200 stations arguing that there was a link between CO2 and climate warming. Keeling began collecting atmospheric CO2 samples from the Mauna Loa Observatory Hawaii in the late 1950′s and is the most complete record.

The USGS reports that all volcanic activity produces nearly 200-million tons CO2 annually; much less than that produced by human activity. Mauna Loa, near the Observatory and the world’s most active volcano erupting 39 times since 1832, had major eruptions in 1950, 1975, and 1984. Atmospheric CO2 levels measured at volcanoes indicate the degree of activity and estimates of heat flow from one volcano have been reported at140-mW/m2. Correlating CO2 and temperatures from data collected near an active volcano should be significant but not show a cause and effect relation; however, correlating world-wide data significantly shows CO2 lagging temperature by approximately two years. The data analyzed by Arrhenius and Callendar similarly could be significantly biased owing to the urban heat-island effect and extensive coal burning at the time, as CO2 is an abundant byproduct of burning.

Apparently, no laboratory control experiment to date, such as in a biodome, has shown CO2 levels influencing ambient temperatures. Tyndall (1861) measured the absorptive characteristics of CO2 followed by more precise measurements by Burch (1970). Absorbance is a measure of the quantity of light (energy) absorbed by a sample (CO2 molecule) and the amount of absorbed energy can be represented as specific heat of a substance. Specific heat of CO2 ranges from 0.791-kJ/kgK at 0-degrees F to 0.871-kJ/kgK at 125-degrees F and average atmospheric concentrations are 0.0306-percent. As revealed, the specific heat of CO2 increases as ambient temperatures increase showing CO2 likely is an ambient temperature buffer.

The atmosphere generally contains 4-percent water vapor in the troposphere to 40-percent near the surface. The specific heat of water vapor is relatively constant at 1.996-kJ/kgK. Water absorbs energy (heat) and evaporates to water vapor. During condensation (precipitation), latent heat is released to the atmosphere thus increasing ambient temperatures. Water vapor holds the majority of atmospheric heat and regulates climate and temperature more than any compound. Historically, however, the characteristics of water vapor related to climate were much less appreciated but investigations into the significance that water vapor plays in global climate-dynamics are just beginning.

The amount of energy not stored in the atmosphere is released into space through radiation. Re-radiation is the emission of previously absorbed radiation by molecules. The specific heat of water vapor and CO2 molecules shows that water vapor reradiates significantly more energy back to the surface and the atmospheric quantities for each compound further justify this case. Thus, this and other publications suggest that the minute variability in atmospheric CO2 concentrations likely results in an insignificant affect on climate change; whereas water vapor is the significant factor.

Walt D. December 6, 2009 at 12:11 am

In the wake of Climategate, I guess they had to do something to get people to show up in Copenhagen!

Stephan Kinsella December 6, 2009 at 9:36 am

Macker, “I humbly suggest that those who have been smeared as “denialist” in an attempt to portray them as some kind of holocaust enabler, should start to call the warmists by the name “climate change denier”.”

Do we have to drop a nickel in the Macker-box every time we do this? (See Galambosian IP Recursion) :)

Brian Macker December 6, 2009 at 12:27 pm



I’m perfectly happy with completely scraping patents and you are trying to imply I want to allow people to copyright individual words? My position is very close to Murray Rothbard’s and no where near Galambos.

It’s as if I said I had no problem with pierced ears and then you post a link to hard core body modification.

You can’t just lump all this stuff together to discredit it. It doesn’t work. You should be sensitive to this because not every anarchist is a bomb throwing nut or hyper socialist. Be a little more nuanced.

Even though patents and copyright are both claimed to be based on some kind of platonic ownership of ideals it is only true of patents. That is not a proper justification, and is why patents are invalid.

This is not some concession on my part. From the very first time I was told about patents I thought they were absurd. My reaction, “You mean if I invent something independently someone else can prevent me from using it? That’s ridiculous”.

Brian Macker December 6, 2009 at 1:12 pm


The problem wasn’t that there was absolutely no data available. The problem was that there were supposedly peer reviewed articles that were 100% opposite to what was common knowledge in climate science being produced [by Mann] based on undisclosed data and code.

One cannot peer review if you do not have this data. Thus the peer review process was obviously not merely broken but impossible.

The hockey stick was completely new and overthrew everything that was known about temperature data regarding the MWP and past climate. It showed temperatures as being nearly flat for millennial and only currently going up. Which would count as solid evidence that current warming was almost completely due to artificial human influences.

The IPPC was then using Mann’s hockey stick to push for a complete restructuring of how humans survive economically, with a giant new layer of world wide taxation, redistribution, price controls, and quotas.

So it was very important that the actual data, and computer code used to generate this be made public. One could argue that the proposed taxes and quotas were in effect a kind of punishment or reparations one would get after being found guilty in a trial. Surely the defendants in such a trial deserve to see the evidence against them before sanctions are applied. That would be their right.

There were other scientists and mathematicians that wanted to see the data an programs but they were stonewalled. Then one of the accusing climatologists made the mistake of leaving data and code on a shared FTP site where it could be downloaded. That is how the skeptics made their first inroads, and not because of any honest adherence to scientific procedure by the climatologists regarding data disclosure.

Do you know how absolutely hard it is to try to duplicate the exact methods being used when they are not disclosed. It’s a hell of a lot of work and there is no reason to cause that kind of effort unless you are trying to hide something. Scientists are supposed to be eager for others to find their errors and correct them.

In fact it was so hard that none of the original peer reviewers even bothered to check the methods for accuracy. Every single one of them checked off on this and yet there was a glaring mistake that only the skeptics found. McIntyre found that the algorithms used would ALWAYS CREATE A HOCKEY STICK even with random data input. It was garbage and should have failed the peer review process.

This was put before a team of renowned statisticians led by Edward Wegman, chair of the National Academy of Sciences. They found that McIntyre was correct in 7 out of 10 of his criticisms and insufficient info on the others.

Now remember this has been show with certainty to be wrong and that all the peer reviewers are fools. Can’t have that. So the climatologist decided to ignore the facts and press on as if this wasn’t the case. They figured if they produced even more “peer reviewed” garbage papers they could use that as evidence to support a clearly flawed paper, call into question the skeptics, and the statisticians.

They thought if they could continue stonewalling on most of the data they would be in the clear. They were using the classical FUD strategy of Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. Plus they were undermining the peer review process while at the same time using it as a rhetorical hammer to pound down opponents.

So these colluding climatologists went back and produced several other flawed papers to support the hockey stick. These too depended on undisclosed information, and undisclosed code. Not only that but publications were backdated so that they could appear in important political documents [which were called scientific ones] produced by the IPPC a political body.

Again, after stonewalling mistakes were made, data was inadvertently disclosed, McIntyre did the hard reverse engineering, and he discovered the new papers were also completely flawed. One depended on upside down data, and another rested a large proportion of the steepness of the warming graph on a single tree somewhere in Siberia.

It’s nearly eight years later of stonewalling, nasty denigration of accomplished statisticians, and secret collusion to actively avoid Freedom of Information Act requests.

From the start the attitude was as one of them said “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

Your apologist sentence, “There’s really a lot of data and methodology that is public, though not all. Hopefully, the e-mail incident will encourage all scientists to be more open, especially when the data is complex.” smacks of an attempt to distort the truth about the extremely bad and corrupt behavior of these climatologists.

This is such extreme behavior that it calls into question all their prior scientific conclusions. At this point I think it clear that they themselves cannot be trusted anymore to produce honest scientific work.

Stephan Kinsella December 6, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Macker, you were upset at me the other day b/c I called Galambos a crank, so I assumed you were yet another Galambosian nutcase.

newson December 6, 2009 at 8:43 pm

to walt d:
now i understand where the hockey-stick fixation comes from.

Walt D. December 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

To newson:
Well I guess they had to do something. After all, the argument for made made global warming appears to have gone limp.

newson December 6, 2009 at 10:08 pm

the prostitutes welcome the prostitutes. at least one of the parties delivers a real service!

Walt D. December 6, 2009 at 10:13 pm

The latest hypocricy.

Where do these people have their heads stuck? Fundamentalist could make a fortune equiping these people with windows/port holes! Even Al Gore is smart enough not to show up to speaking engagements in a limo.

newson December 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm

al gore probably didn’t relish the idea of shaking hands with those who ponied up the $1200 to hear him talk. there might have been questions posed. there’s more to the cancelled visit than just aversion to the limo shot.

anyway, he buys carbon credits to offset the pasha’s lifestyle.

Ribald December 7, 2009 at 3:27 am


I don’t exactly follow your thought process. Some big pieces of raw data and methodology are available, as I pointed out. You counter that by saying that there’s little or no raw data or methodology publicly available, and that what is available clearly shows that global warming (namely, the hockey-stick graph) is a fabrication, then blast me for saying that some data is available and scientists should be more open about their research. I’m not sure who or what you’re actually responding to, but you’ve certainly made your opinions on climate science known.

One should never stop asking questions. In other words, one should never let himself believe that he has all of the answers. Because we so often believe that we are truth-seekers just to feel good, a test is in order:

What would disprove the hypothesis that climatologists colluded to falsify the science?

If you think “nothing–it’s true!”, ask yourself what it means that you can’t think of any conceivable evidence that could falsify your idea. If you do manage to think of something, you might want to try to find out of it’s true. (Was the hockey-stick graph supported by independent measurements?)

Answer December 7, 2009 at 4:19 am

Dear Mr. “Question”:

“Has “TokyoTom” been around to offer his reaction to all of this?”

Looks like TT has published something “public, humble and honest” here:


TokyoTom December 7, 2009 at 4:41 am

On the “smoking gun”, I note the following:


Further, here was an interesting remark on the Watt`s Up thread:
B B (07:37:49) :

Sorry, but to me this analysis looks out of context and ridiculous. I don’t think it’s possible to conclude anything based on that code. (I’m a computer programmer myself and I have some training in physics and math, and have done modeling in the past.)
I am a “climate skeptic” and a long time reader of WUWT and CA. Unfortunately, the quality of “climategate” discussions is starting to deteriorate and approach that of AGW propaganda at an alarming pace. If this trend contiunues then I’m afraid I’ll have to switch camps.
Still I’d like to thank Anthony for his hard work and for publishing quality materials.

TokyoTom December 7, 2009 at 5:42 am

Bob, interesting title –

“Apologist Responses to Climategate Misconstrue the Real Debate (Quantitative, not Qualitative)”

Have you failed to notice that practically every commenter on threads here, as well as at “MasterResource” misunderstands and misconstrues precisely what you have spelled out?

Interesting place to post it, as well. MasterResource? Isn`t that Rob Bradley`s so-called “free market” energy blog that bans libertarian commenters who dare to note:

- the blog`s failure to ever actually argue for freer energy markets or to criticize the dirty favors given under the status quo to coal, or

- the blog`s close affiliations with naked rent-seeking groups like IER (which Exxon expressly de-funded due to its no-longer “productive” stance on climate change)(and which pays you for your climate work) and American Energy Alliance?

See: http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=bradley

It`s curious that you focus on climate “apologists”, while ignoring how you yourself so adroitly act as one for the reflexive “skeptics”:

- “It’s true, an email from Phil Jones by itself doesn’t make Richard Lindzen right or wrong, but when policymakers need to decide which scientific experts they can trust, then the CRU emails are very relevant.”

Um, wouldn`t a “real” skeptic say you both appealing to authority, and by referring to trust, dismissing some on an “ad hom” basis, without addressing their arguments?

- You slip by the obvious nonsense deliberately spouted by Limbaugh, Fox and others, by pretending they`re actually being reasonable:

“Of course, what Limbaugh and the Fox interviewer meant was, “The theory that says governments around the world need to heavily intervene in their energy sectors right away, or else our grandchildren will face climate catastrophes, cannot be justified by careful scientific research.”

Respectfully, hogwash. Why the effort to put lipstick on pigs?

While I find a fair bit of your post to be useful, other parts are misleading:

- “the issue isn’t, “Is ‘climate’ a useful theory to explain thermometer readings?” No, the real debate concerns very specific and quantitative disagreements.”

This really misses the gist: the real scientific dispute about ONE aspect of climate science is about climate “sensitivity” – the long-term, multi-decadal average temperature response of the Earth`s surface temperature to a doubling of CO2 is a specific disagreement over quantities that can only be GUESSED at in advance and are very difficult to estimate even in retrospect.

You – like “skeptics” like Lindzen – totally ignore ocean acidification.

- “The reason QED (quantum electrodynamics) is powerful is that it allowed physicists to make very precise predictions that were experimentally verified.”

It`s funny that you mention this, as if it implies we should ignore/discount climate science – until it can be “experimentally verified.” Well, we`re running the experiment right now, except we have no “control”, no re-runs, and little or no control over the very experiment itself. Excuse me for not finding cnfort in this, or in your lack of willingness to address it.

- “If the climate scientists cannot tell if a particular remedy is working, it means that they aren’t exactly sure how the climate would have evolved in the absence of such a remedy. In other words, Trenberth at least is admitting that he is not at all confident in the precise, quantitative predictions that the alarmists are citing as proof of the need for immediate government intervention.”

Bob, scientists all recognize that there is a great deal of unpredictibility/”noise” in the climate system; there simply are are NO “precise, quantitative predictions” that any scientist is making. I`m surprised you find anything surprising here.

- “`All the rest is economics.` Since that is Schmidt’s view, it’s not surprising that he thinks Climategate is much ado about nothing.”

I read this differently; Schmidt indicates, that from a scientists`s view, we ought to immediately stop forcing the climate, but acknowledges that the decision is not his to make, and involves cost-benefit money/political decisions that belong to others.

- “Those of us who are not experts on climate models now have proof that the official line that “the science is settled” was a bluff.”

It`s not clear what you actually mean here, Bob, but in any case you have absolutely no such thing. The “official line” has always been a political argument about that society should respond to growing scientific knowledge; these emails do NOT alter the underlying knowledge.

- “but the confidence we should right now place in their modeling is much lower than what their biggest enthusiasts have been assuring us for years.”

On what basis do you offer this opinion, and the implicit comfort that coal producers/utilities/their investors want to give us that burning all the rest of the world`s fossil fuels will leave the climate/oceans hunky-dory (ignoring all the dangerous gunk included it)?


Brian Macker December 7, 2009 at 8:31 am

Here’s a good news article, The Most Influential Tree in the World for summarizing what the climate scientists at the heart of the emails has pulled off.

Tokyo Rose Tom the ocean acidification has not been ignored by skeptics. What has happened is that the climate alarmists have blamed every possible change that occurs in the world on global warming that they can. For example, they blamed coral die offs all over the world on acidification, when in fact it was due to other factors such as disease, the have abated and the coral grew back. The grow back is never published as evidence against global warming only the initial natural die off.

Climatologists are exploiting peoples ignorance of nature and how nature changes to exploit them. For example, all bears are cannibals and this is being reported now for polar bears as if it is driven by global warming, which is NOT true. News reporters are colluding in propagating these and other myths about what global warming causes.

Ocean acidification should cause organisms in the coldest waters to be effected first and that isn’t happening.

Can’t respond any further because I have to leave for work.

Walt D. December 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Since 30 ft of water has the same mass as the entire atmosphere, even if the entire CO2 in the atmosphere was absorbed in 3000 ft of ocean, the concentration of CO2 would be about 6 ppm. (Assuming that the concentration of CO2, by mass, is about 600ppm). The ocean acidification by human produced CO2 does not pass the stink test. This is just something someone made up because they knew that the Green Movement is largely composed of morons.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: