Taranto On Climate Fraud Perpetrated By “Scientists”

By JAMES TARANTO
 

The massive University of East Anglia global-warmist archives are now searchable at this site, and one particular email demonstrates the nexus between the scientific shenanigans and the popular press, on which most people rely for their information on global warming. This email, dated Sept. 29, 2009, is from Michael Mann of the University of Pennsylvania to New York Times warm correspondent Andrew Revkin. The crucial exchange begins with this question from Revkin (quoting verbatim):

I'm going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre et al attacks.

peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?

And here is Mann's response:

Re, your point at the end–you've taken the words out of my mouth. Skepticism is essential for the functioning of science. It yields an erratic path towards eventual truth. But legitimate scientific skepticism is exercised through formal scientific circles, in particular the peer review process. A necessary though not in general sufficient condition for taking a scientific criticism seriously is that it has passed through the legitimate scientific peer review process. those such as McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside of this system are not to be trusted.

In principle, Revkin and Mann are quite right. But as we noted Monday, one of the most damning findings in the archives concerns the corruption of the peer-review process.

In one email, under the subject line "HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL," Phil Jones of East Anglia writes to Mann: "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!"

In another, Mann–discussing a journal that has published a paper by skeptical scientists, puts forward a plan for such a redefinition:

This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the "peer-reviewed literature". Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering "Climate Research" as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…

The scare quotes around "peer-reviewed literature" are Mann's. And it hardly needs to be said that peer review is a sham if papers that present alternative hypotheses are not even allowed into the process.

So how does Revkin, who two months ago took the words out of Mann's mouth, deal with this problem? Barely at all. In a Sunday amendment to a Friday blog post, he mentions it and quickly changes the subject:

[UPDATE, 11/22: Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post explores some email exchanges criticizing certain peer-reviewed papers and journals and focused on excluding the papers from inclusion in the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change report. I'm running down tips and assertions related to the theft and hackings. It remains interesting that before they were placed on an ftp site and dispersed across the Internet, someone tried to plant them on Realclimate.org and publish a mock post linking to them. Needless to say, if anyone has information or ideas, feel free to email dotearth AT nytimes.com.]

Yesterday, he had another post, titled "Report Aims to Clarify Climate Risk for Diplomats." Here's how it begins:

A team of climate scientists, seeking to remind the negotiators who will hammer out a new climate treaty of what is at stake, has produced The Copenhagen Diagnosis, a summary of the latest peer-reviewed science on the anticipated impacts of human-driven global warming.

Revkin reports that the "latest peer-reviewed science" shows that "the case for climate change as a serious risk to human affairs" is "clear, despite recent firestorms over some data sets and scientists' actions."

What we now know about the "peer review" process in this field indicates that this is a predetermined conclusion. Revkin misleads his readers by describing it as if it were a real finding.

The Litigation Begins
Yesterday "the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies' refusal–for nearly three years–to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act," CEI fellow Christopher Horner announces at Pajamas Media:

The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding "Climategate" scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries' freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer code, and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK's East Anglia University.

All of that material, and that sought for years by CEI, goes to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, "cap-and-trade" legislation, and the EPA's threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door.

A lawyer writes us that "'the purloined 'global warming emails' suggest several lines of legal inquiry":

Tortious interference. For researchers and academicians, publication in peer-reviewed journals is important to advancement, raises, grant funding, etc. Wrongful interference with the ability to publish has monetary and reputational damages. If that interference is based not on editorial judgment of worthiness for publication, but rather on protecting reputations, scientific positions, political goals or "places in history" (as mentioned in one email), then it could give rise to liability in tort for the individual scientist and possibly for the university or organization for which he works.

Breach of faculty ethics standards or contracts. Most universities and research organizations have ethics clauses in their faculty/employee manuals and in their contracts with faculty/researchers. If (as suggested by the purloined emails) these individuals cooked data or manipulated assumptions to achieve preferred outcomes, or denied others access to data essential for replication of result that is essential to the scientific method, they could have violated university or organizational ethics standards.

State-chartered universities. Some of these individuals appear to work for state-chartered and state-funded institutions, and might well be classified as state employees (and thereby eligible for generous state benefits). The conduct suggested by the purloined emails might violate state ethics or funding policies. State governments and legislatures therefore might have a basis for inquiry and oversight.

Federal grants. Federal grants typically have ethics/integrity clauses to assure that the research funded by the grant is credible and reliable (and to assure that the agency can avoid accountability if it isn't). As noted, the purloined emails suggest that data might have been cooked and assumptions might have been manipulated to generate a predetermined outcome. If true, and if the work in question was funded by federal grant, the researchers in question might well have violated their federal grant contracts–for which there are legal consequences. Inspectors general of the grant agencies should be in position to make inquiry if the data/assumptions in question could be linked in time and topic to a contemporaneous federal grant to the researchers in question.

This promises be a boon for comedians as well as lawyers. Here's our first effort:

Q: How many climate scientists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. There's a consensus that it's going to change, so they've decided to keep us in the dark

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About tedwest

A longtime veteran of comedy and political forums, I decided that I needed a more restful venue because... well... I finally hate everybody. Except my wife that is... and my ex-wife.. and... no, that's about it. I lead about as simple a life as one can, preferring activities that include anything that doesn't involve going out and seeing YOU! And I particularly enjoy what I call "Get the Bitch" movies on Lifetime. You know the ones where the intended victim finally does something so incredibly stupid that she forfeits her right to live, and from that moment on you're rooting for the stalker. Of course, it rarely works out the way you want, but when it does, the feeling you get is... well, there's nothing else like it, other than, maybe, eating chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I'm proudly anti-wildlife, both foreign and domestic, and anti-environment - especially foreign environments. I think Howard Stern put it best when he said, "If fifty percent of the population died tomorrow, I can live with that." And I feel the same about the other fifty percent, so together, we've pretty much got it all covered.
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2 Responses to Taranto On Climate Fraud Perpetrated By “Scientists”

  1. Lexann says:

    Q: How many climate scientists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: None. There's a consensus that it's going to change, so they've decided to keep us in the dark.
    Ha! Ha! Good one!

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