Monday, 30 November 2009

Obama's Foreign Policy Nailed

The US President's Glitter is Not Gold It Seems

Gabor Steingart in German magazine Der Spiegel nails Obama's foreign policy. The headline reads: Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage. It is interesting to see that opinion in Germany appears to be becoming disenchanted with Obama's Brave New World. Remember it was Germany in particular, and Europe in general that ardently celebrated the passing of President Neanderthal Bush and eagerly anticipated Obama's promise of change they could believe in.
Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage

By Gabor Steingart

When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.

There were only a few hours left before Air Force One was scheduled to depart for the flight home. US President Barack Obama trip through Asia had already seen him travel 24,000 kilometers, sit through a dozen state banquets, climb the Great Wall of China and shake hands with Korean children. It was high time to take stock of the trip.

Barack Obama looked tired on Thursday, as he stood in the Blue House in Seoul, the official residence of the South Korean president. He also seemed irritable and even slightly forlorn. The CNN cameras had already been set up. But then Obama decided not to play along, and not to answer the question he had already been asked several times on his trip: what did he plan to take home with him? Instead, he simply said "thank you, guys," and disappeared. David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, fielded the journalists' questions in the hallway of the Blue House instead, telling them that the public's expectations had been "too high."

The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.

Lost Some Stature

Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.

In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.

The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences.

Relatively Unsuccessful

A look back in time reveals the differences. When former President Bill Clinton went to China in June 1998, Beijing wanted to impress the Americans. A press conference in the Great Hall of the People, broadcast on television as a 70-minute live discussion, became a sensation the world over. Clinton mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when the government used tanks against protestors. But then President Jiang Zemin defended the tough approach taken by the Chinese Communists. At the end of the exchange, the Chinese president praised the debate and said: "I believe this is democracy!"

Obama visited a new China, an economic power that is now making its own demands. America should clean up its government finances, and the weak dollar is unacceptable, the head of the Chinese banking authority said, just as Obama's plane was about to land.

Obama's new foreign policy has also been relatively unsuccessful elsewhere, with even friends like Israel leaving him high and dry. For the government of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, peace is only conceivable under its terms. Netanyahu has rejected Obama's call for a complete moratorium on the construction of settlements. As a result, Obama has nothing to offer the Palestinians and the Syrians. "We thought we had some leverage," says Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel under the Clinton administration and now an advisor to Obama. "But that proved to be an illusion."

Even the president seems to have lost his faith in a genial foreign policy. The approach that was being used in Afghanistan this spring, with its strong emphasis on civilian reconstruction, is already being changed. "We're searching for an exit strategy," said a staff member with the National Security Council on the sidelines of the Asia trip.

'A Lot Like Jimmy Carter'

An end to diplomacy is also taking shape in Washington's policy toward Tehran. It is now up to Iran, Obama said, to convince the world that its nuclear power is peaceful. While in Asia, Obama mentioned "consequences" unless it followed his advice. This puts the president, in his tenth month in office, where Bush began -- with threats. "Time is running out," Obama said in Korea. It was the same phrase Bush used against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, shortly before he sent in the bombers.

There are many indications that the man in charge at the White House will take a tougher stance in the future. Obama's advisors fear a comparison with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, even more than with Bush. Prominent Republicans have already tried to liken Obama to the humanitarian from Georgia, who lost in his bid to win a second term, because voters felt that he was too soft. "Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead," Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, recently said. And then he added: "This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter."

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Meditation on the Text of the Week

God is Not Served by the Lies of Man

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Romans 1:25
Mendacity always attends Unbelief. When men deny what is evident about God they must determine to self-deceive, to lie, and to dissemble. The more Unbelief bangs on about the truth, the more frantically it is covering up its lies. The more it claims high moral purpose the more implacably destructive it becomes. Unbelief is truly awful, always covering its rotten core with garments of respectability and faux protestations of high motives. Its hypocrisy has no limits.

The more strident and powerful Unbelief becomes, the more it is given over to self-deception and lying. As the past weeks have unfolded, we have seen this writ large upon the world stage. The issue du jour is “global warming”. It now serves perfectly to illustrate the malodorous mendacity of Unbelief. Let us trace the lies.

Firstly, there is an assertion of Man as the controller and arbiter of the entire planet. The Lord declares:
Tremble before Him, all the earth;
Indeed the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
And let them say among the nations, 'The Lord reigns'
I Chronicles 16:30-31
but Unbelief says this is nonsense. The whole earth actually trembles before Man. Man is destroying the world. Only Man can save it. This is the first lie.

Secondly, there is the assertion that Man has the light and truth and certain knowledge to know how to save and deliver the world. Now, of course, in our modern world this light and truth comes from science—objective, cool, dispassionate, evidential, reasoned. It brings infallible knowledge whose truths are neither speculative nor open to dispute. This is the second lie.

Thirdly, Man has not only the knowledge, but the power to deliver the world. Man can coalesce all his ingenuity and wisdom into a focused and combined effort through global government, rules, regulations, treaties, agreements and taxation to heal a doomed planet. By the enunciation of words and promulgation of laws Man will effect global restoration. This is the third lie.

Fourthly, those who do not believe are cretins and blasphemers. These are the people who seek to oppose light, truth, and salvation itself. They hate life and mankind. “We are the righteous; those who disbelieve are evil,” they say. This is the fourth lie.

Fifthly, the cause is so righteous and the need so urgent that the end of saving the planet and all life justifies the means taken to get there. The end justifies forcing sacrifice; dissembling and manipulating data and information; crass simplifications and generalisations. This is the fifth lie.

Now, we do not doubt that the scientists who fabricated data to “prove” that the earth has warmed in the twentieth century believed thoroughly that they were justified in their “adjustments”. Unbelief always insists on infallibility, in the end. But as soon as those adjusted numbers spat off the printer, global warming became—to their minds—sure, certain, and irrefutable. Numbers do not lie. The more they found consorted with confabulators who who agreed, the more certain are sure they became. Is not every matter confirmed by two or three witness? Filled with dread at the threat of the end of Mankind, their cause quickly became a righteous crusade. Since they were speaking into a culture which had already accepted the Five Lies, it was very easy to gain traction.

God has given our culture up to lies. Unbelief is killing the world. For the lies of man, as they take hold and become institutionalised into law, policy, and administration end up wreaking a terrible price—and, as always, the price is paid by the most weak, the most vulnerable, and the most poor. The world is now starting to groan under the lies of Unbelief.

But it will not last. It cannot succeed. Like all the "isms" of the past, it will collapse in upon itself, for it is rotten at the core. For the earth and its fullness belongs not to Man, but to God. Indeed, the earth is firmly established; it will not be moved. God will not be served by the lies of Man. The idols and gods of Man are vanities. They are nothing. He will come in judgment and the trees will clap and rejoice, for the judgement of God upon the evils of Man will ease the curse and blight upon Nature.

Let the sea roar and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord;
For His is coming to judge the earth.
I Chronicles 16: 32-33

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Doug Wilson's Letter from America

Thanksgiving in the Evil Day

Doug Wilson's Meditation on the Festival of Thanksgiving.

I just recently finished peeling the potatoes for the feast later on, and I note in passing that the way my wife makes bashed potatoes is one of her innumerable glories. Having made my contribution to the process, which stretched and almost exceeded the limit of my culinary abilities, I have thought it necessary to sit down and register again how grateful I am. Gratitude is as sturdy and as good as the potatoes, and about the only thing I could think of to make the gratitude better would be some butter or gravy. But I shouldn't run ahead.

There are two kinds of thanksgiving. The first is the harvest home kind of thanksgiving, which even nonbelievers can have some share in (Acts 17:26-27). All of God's common grace is an invitation to grateful response, and once the gift is past, once the gift is actually given, it doesn't take the eye of faith to see its physical presence. The gift is given, and it only takes the ungrateful eye to deny it.

Because Christians are men, they share in the common duty to give thanks for what is already gathered in the barn, for the wages already earned, for the liberties already secured, for the family already gathered around.

The blessings I have received in this category are innumerable -- salvation in Christ, a place among God's people, a faithful congregation, parents who know God and who see the world rightly, a wife above rubies, children and grandchildren who all love and fear the Lord, spouses for my children who have brought additional blessings to a family already laden down with them, material plenty and, as a covenantal representative of all that, a table this afternoon groaning under the weight of the bestowed goodness, a table surrounded by laughter, which is just more bestowed goodness.

But there is also thanksgiving by faith, thanksgiving offered for what God will do in the future.
The hymn rightly says that we don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future and, given the days we are in, it is a great blessing to know by way of corollary who does not hold the future -- despite all pretensions otherwise. Obama does not, the UN does not, Congress does not, the bureaucrats at Health and Human Services do not, fraudulent global warming scientists do not, the Taliban does not, the KSM trial in New York does not, conspiracies do not, conspiracy theorists do not, crushing taxes do not, tax revolts do not, Dick Cheney does not, Noam Chomsky does not, and Ozymandias does not. Neither do things present or things to come, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation. None of them hold the future.

But the day remains an evil day, and these characters do have to be reckoned with. But the way we reckon with them is by walking as God's dearly loved children (Eph. 5:1). We are to walk in love (Eph. 5:2), and we are to avoid the moral grime that settles in the sludge pit baths of contemporary entertainment (Eph. 5:3-4). Instead of that loathsome warmth, we are to give ourselves over to what? The giving of thanks (Eph. 5:4). This is because the greedmeisters and the whorehounds do not have the inheritance that we do (Eph. 5:5). Let no emergent preacher smoothie-man deceive you with his pufferies about diversity and personal choice (Eph. 5:6). The wrath of God is coming straight at the children of disobedience, precisely because of their personal choices. So get this straight -- the children of light should be overflowing with thanksgiving because the wrath of God is coming.

So don't be standing too close to them (Eph. 5:7). Don't partake with them. Walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8). . . the kind of children who give thanks. Bear fruit in accordance with that truth -- the fruit being goodness, righteousness, and truth (Eph. 5:9). Show the world what God likes (Eph. 5:10). His wrath will show them what He hates soon enough. Those people who are groping each other in perverse ways in the darkness . . . don't do anything except expose their shame (Eph. 5:11-12). Light exposes these things, and light does not have to make a lot of noise to do so (Eph. 5:13-14).

So then, Christian, think about your walk. Keep your head up, and look around as you walk (Eph. 5:15). The time must not be wasted, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16). This thanksgiving that we offer is not because we are deluded about the state of the culture around us. Precisely the opposite. We know how bad it is, and we know that we are to understand what the will of God is concerning us (Eph. 5:17). What does God want from us in the evil day? What does God want from us when the culture is disintegrating around us? He doesn't want us to deaden the pain with anything like wine -- he doesn't want us coping with cocaine, Central American herbs, prescription pick-me-ups, or the soporific of an endless chain of stupid movies (Eph. 5:18). Neither Huxley's soma nor feelies will do for us.

No, the days are evil, so what must we do? We must be filled with the Spirit, and we must sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19) because our hearts are full of music. We must -- and we come to the point of this post on Thanksgiving Day -- render thanks to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. Further, we must give thanks for all things in the evil day. All things. For Obama, for Nancy Pelosi, for the lunatics in the Department of Education. All things. But is this the Pauline form of Winston coming to love Big Brother? As he would put it, me genoito, no way, God forbid. No, let's jump ahead. What else do we do in the evil day, just a few verses down?

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Eph. 6:10-18)

We fight in the evil day, and we fight against the evil. And we fight with a weapon that not one of the evil-doers has, and it is secure in our hand. For them to come into possession of that weapon -- which is gratitude to God -- is tantamount to their surrender. It is a request to be baptized. It is a confession that God is good, Jesus is Lord, the company is kind-hearted, and the potatoes are hot.

One of the central ways we fight with this weapon is by offering to share it with the enemy. Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Posted by Douglas Wilson in Blog and Mablog 26th November 2009

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Cap and Trade is Dead

Pity Someone Did Not Tell our Government

Kim Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal, argues that cap-and-trade is now dead in the US Congress. Its successful passage was always going to be tenuous at the best of times, but with the release of e-mails showing fraudulent and collusive behaviour on the part of prestige climate scientists, it has become the worst of times.

'Cap and Trade Is Dead'

The recently disclosed emails and documents from University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit compromise the integrity of the United Nations' global warming reports.


So declares Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, taking a few minutes away from a Thanksgiving retreat with his family. "Ninety-five percent of the nails were in the coffin prior to this week. Now they are all in."

If any politician might be qualified to offer last rites, it would be Mr. Inhofe. The top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee has spent the past decade in the thick of Washington's climate fight. He's seen the back of three cap-and-trade bills, rode herd on an overweening Environmental Protection Agency, and steadfastly insisted that global researchers were "cooking" the science behind man-made global warming.

This week he's looking prescient. The more than 3,000 emails and documents from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have found their way to the Internet have blown the lid off the "science" of manmade global warming. CRU is a nerve center for many of those researchers who have authored the United Nations' global warming reports and fueled the political movement to regulate carbon.

Their correspondence show a claque of scientists massaging data to make it fit their theories, squelching scientists who disagreed, punishing academic journals that didn't toe the apocalyptic line, and hiding their work from public view. "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," glumly wrote George Monbiot, a U.K. writer who has been among the fiercest warming alarmists. The documents "could scarcely be more damaging." And that's from a believer.

This scandal has real implications. Mr. Inhofe notes that international and U.S. efforts to regulate carbon were already on the ropes. The growing fear of Democrats and environmentalists is that the CRU uproar will prove a tipping point, and mark a permanent end to those ambitions.

Internationally, world leaders finally acknowledged that the recession has sapped them of their political power to impose devastating new carbon-restrictions. China and India are clear they won't join the West in an economic suicide pact. Next month's summit in Copenhagen is a bust. Instead of producing legally binding agreements, it will be dogged by queries about the legitimacy of the scientists who wrote the reports that form its basis.

The next opportunity to get international agreement is in Mexico City, 2010—a U.S. election year. Democrats were already publicly acknowledging there will be no domestic climate legislation in 2009 and privately acknowledging their great unease at passing a huge energy tax on Americans headed for a midterm vote.

Add to that the CRU scandal, which pivots the focus to potential fraud. Republicans are launching investigations, and the pressure is building on Democrats to hold hearings, since climate scientists were funded with U.S. taxpayer dollars. Mr. Inhofe's office this week sent letters to federal agencies and outside scientists warning them not to delete their own CRU-related emails and documents, which may also be subject to Freedom of Information requests.

Polls show a public already losing belief in the theory of man-made global warming, and skeptics are now on the offense. The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell argues this scandal gives added cover to Blue Dogs and other Democrats who were already reluctant to buck the public's will and vote for climate legislation. And with Republicans set to pick up seats, Mr. Ebell adds, "By 2011 there will hopefully be even fewer members who support this. We may be close to having it permanently stymied." Continued U.S. failure to act makes an international agreement to replace Kyoto (which expires in 2012) a harder sell.

There's still the EPA, which is preparing an "endangerment finding" that would allow it to regulate carbon on the grounds it is a danger to public health. It is here the emails might have the most direct effect. The agency has said repeatedly that it based its finding on the U.N. science—which is now at issue. The scandal puts new pressure on the EPA to accede to growing demands to make public the scientific basis of its actions.

Mr. Inhofe goes so far as to suggest that the agency might not now issue the finding. "The president knows how punitive this will be; he's never wanted to do it through [the EPA] because that's all on him." The EPA was already out on a legal limb with its finding, and Mr. Inhofe argues that if it does go ahead, the CRU disclosure guarantees court limbo. "The way the far left used to stop us is to file lawsuits and stall and stall. We'll do the same thing."

Still, if this Democratic Washington has demonstrated anything, it's that ideology often trumps common sense. Egged on by the left, dug in to their position, Democrats might plow ahead. They'd be better off acknowledging that the only "consensus" right now is that the world needs to start over on climate "science."

Write to

It Gets Worse

Saruman is Alive and Well

The blog network is now delving deeper into the Caverns of Isengard which lie beneath the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. It seems they have been breeding orcs down there. Except these orcs stand for "operating readjustments of climate statistics".

Thousands of lines of code have been trawled through by a whole virtual team of analysts for "operating readjustments". Bishop Hill provides a neat (English language) summary to date.
# AJStrata discovered a file with two runs of CRU land temp data which show no global warming per the data laid out by country, and another CRU file showing their sampling error to be +/- 1°C or worse for most of the globe. Both CRU files show there has been no significant warming post 1960 era

# A commenter notes the following comment in some of the code:"***** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********"

# Good layman's summary of some of the coding issues with a file called "Harry". This appears to be the records of some poor soul trying to make sense of how the code for producing the CRU temperature records works. (rude words though, if you're a sensitive type)

# Some of annotations of the Harry code are priceless - "OH **** THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I'm hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it's just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they're found."

# CRU's data collation methods also seem, ahem, amusing: "It's the same story for many other Russian stations, unfortunately - meaning that (probably) there was a full Russian update that did no data integrity checking at all. I just hope it's restricted to Russia!!"

# Borepatch discovers that CRU has lost its metadata. That's the bit that tells you where to put your temperature record on the map and so on.

# Mark in the comments notices a file called resid-fudge.dat, which he says contains, believe it or not, fudged residuals figures!

# Mark in the comments notes a program comment: "Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!! followed by the words `fudge factor' " See

# From the programming file, another comment, presumably referring to the famous Briffa truncation: "Remove missing data from start & end (end in 1960 due to decline)".

# From the file": "Now apply a completely artificial adjustment for the decline only where coefficient is positive!)"

# From the file "IMPORTANT NOTE: The data after 1960 should not be used. The tree-ring density' records tend to show a decline after 1960 relative to the summer temperature in many high-latitude locations. In this data set this "decline" has been artificially removed in an ad-hoc way, and this means that data after 1960 no longer represent tree-ring density variations, but have been modified to look more like the observed temperatures."

# From the Harry readme:"What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah - there is no )'supposed', I can make it up. So I have :-)...So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option - to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations (er, CLIMAT excepted). In other words, what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad, but I really don't think people care enough to fix 'em, and it's the main reason the project is nearly a year late. " (see Harry readme para 35.

# James in the comments says that in the file the code seems to be reducing temperatures in the 1930s and then adding a parabola to the 1990s. I don't think you need me to tell you what this means.
And that's a wrap so far. Orcs always were an attempt to twist and pervert the truth, both in Middle Earth, and now, it seems in the caverns under the CRU.

How Dare You Question Us!

New Zealand's Climate Scientists Under the Cosh

It has hit the headlines that NIWA--the taxpayer funded Institute which claims to have data which maintains the records of New Zealand's temperatures for a century and a half or so--has fudged the data. It has now been revealed by the Climate Science Coalition that NIWA "adjusted upwards" the later temperatures, or the earlier results downwards, in key temperature recording sites.

Without these adjustments the temperature in New Zealand for the past one hundred years shows no warming at all!
The shocking truth is that the oldest readings have been cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming, as documented below. There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.
Well, that allegation stung NIWA into action. The head of NIWA, Dr David Wratt, put out a press release to refute and rebut the scurrilous allegations of the Climate Science Coalition.

NIWA Media Release 26 November 2009

Warming over New Zealand through the past century is unequivocal.

NIWA's analysis of measured temperatures uses internationally accepted techniques, including making adjustments for changes such as movement of measurement sites. For example, in Wellington, early temperature measurements were made near sea level, but in 1928 the measurement site was moved from Thorndon (3 metres above sea level) to Kelburn (125 m above sea level). The Kelburn site is on average 0.8°C cooler than Thorndon, because of the extra height above sea level.
We wonder if the good doctor would specify what "internationally accepted techniques" he is referring to. Accepted by whom? we wonder. By the folk at the CRU in East Anglia that appear to have made a long career of making data up. By Michael Mann of the now-infamous Hockey Graph, who just happened to slip an algorithm into a regression routine which "adjusted out" the Medieval Warming Period of the early 1400's so that he could "prove" that temperatures have risen markedly in the twentieth century over previous centuries. Is this the kind of technique NIWA has employed? Precisely what are these techniques? Time to fess up, doc.

It is not unusual for scientists and researchers to adjust data. For example, economists use seasonally adjusted data all the time. But they always specify that the data has been adjusted and they can always specify precisely where and when the adjustments have been made. Peer review can then evaluate the data series, from the base data, and the adjustments. Time to get all this out, doc.

It seems reasonable to adjust the Wellington temperatures in some way if the measuring station was moved from sea level to 125m up Mt Victoria. But hold on, how does NIWA know that the average temperature up Mt Victoria is 0.8 degrees lower than at sea level? When did it work that out? If it was any time in the last hundred years, their data will likely be shonky and distorted. Why? Because as the Wellington metropolis grew and expanded temperatures closer in to the city would have likely got artificially higher due to the heat emitted by urban areas. It is critical that the adjustments made now be disclosed and peer reviewed.

Such site differences are significant and must be accounted for when analysing long-term changes in temperature. The Climate Science Coalition has not done this.

NIWA climate scientists have previously explained to members of the Coalition why such corrections must be made. NIWA's Chief Climate Scientist, Dr David Wratt, says he's very disappointed that the Coalition continue to ignore such advice and therefore to present misleading analyses.

NIWA scientists are committed to providing robust information to help all New Zealanders make good decisions.

For more information, contact:

Dr David Wratt
Chief Scientist (Climate)
NIWA, Private Bag 14-901
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 386 xxxx
Cellphone + 64 021 xxxxxx
Great. Glad to see Dr Wratt that you are committed to providing robust information to help us make good decisions. Now, prove that your adjustments have been robust. You must participate in this if you are to retain credibility.

We are particularly curious as to whether you have adjusted any temperature stations for urban effects. As noted above this would have had the effect of artificially jacking up later temperatures simply due to their being caught up in urban sprawl. There are seven long term data series originating from Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington, Nelson, Hokitika, Masterton, and Christchurch. All of these locations would have been subject to increasing conurbation over one hundred years that would have effected temperature readings to some degree. Presumably your adjustments would have led to later temperatures, particularly in the major metropolitan areas, being adjusted downwards. We would also like to know the algorithms used to make the adjustments--just to check, you understand.

When questioned a bit more closely by Ian Wishart, Dr Wratt (public servant, committed to providing robust data to the NZ public--yes, that Dr Wratt) got a bit tetchy.
Look, we’re talking about scientific studies here. I’ve told you we’ll put out information about Wellington. Basically it’s not up to us to justify ourselves to a whole lot of people that come out with truly unfounded allegations. We work through the scientific process, we publish stuff through the literature, that’s the way that we deal with this stuff and I can’t have my staff running around in circles over something which is not a justified allegation. The fact that the Climate Science Coalition are making allegations about my staff who have the utmost integrity really really pisses me off.

“That’s all I’ve got to say to you now – [click]
A "whole lot of people" you are so dismissive of and to whom you don't think you need to justify yourselves would be the same NZ public you are committed to providing robust data to, right?

Well, at least it's good to know that you have published stuff through "the literature"--that's a relief. OK, so what articles, what published material--where will be find the base data and the adjustments and rationales etc that have surely been published somewhere, because you are all scientists, right, and scientists get published literature "peer reviewed" by competent, but independent scrutineers, who will have double checked all your data, assumptions, algorithms and regressions. Right? Yeah, right.

Since your staff have the utmost integrity, as you claim, and since you are peerless research scientists, you do not have a thing to worry about. It is all above board and verifiable, and already checked "in the literature", as you say. So, again, what publications, where, when? And who were the peer reviewers, so we can go ask them what they did, just to make sure, now, they did actually check over your adjustments to ensure that they were according to "internationally accepted" standards.

And since you are so kosher and above board, that's why you cut off the phone conversation with Ian Wishart. Right? You were just insulted that anyone would have the temerity to imply anything other than totally above-board activity on your part. This would all be laughable and a storm in a teacup if it were not the case that this data and "evidence" has been used by one Dr Nicholas Smith to justify the New Zealand Government imposing a huge new tax upon all of us. It is now deadly serious, Dr Wratt because we, our children, and our grandchildren all have serious skin in this particular little game.

You had better come clean, and quick. We smell a very big Wratt.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Contentless Education

"Government Education" has Become an Oxymoron

We have argued in previous posts on education at Contra Celsum that government education will continue to run down and standards will continue to slip, unless radical changes can be made. It is difficult to see those changes taking place. For the government system has been captured by teachers, teaching unions, and educational bureaucrats who do not believe in the objectivity of truth--which is to say they do not believe in a body of authoritative truth which is to be preserved and passed down from one generation to the next. There is no authorised body of knowledge to be transmitted to the next generation. Education, amongst the experts, has morphed into a trivial exercise of facilitation. Any information the child or student might "discover" as a result of being facilitated is implicitly valid.

Now we do not wish to demean all teachers in the government education system. We believe, however, that a great deal of those at the chalkface, dedicated though they may be, lack the philosophical sophistication to understand why the government education system continues to undercut, undermine, and ultimately work against their endeavours. They don't understand why the government education system is constantly and ceaseless and restlessly changing. They just know that the system is not working and that there is no one silver bullet to put it right.

Sociologist Frank Furedi wrote recently criticising contentless education as it is now pervasively practised in government education systems. He also explains why it is so destructive to the government education system itself.
Let’s give children the ‘store of human knowledge’

In flattering kids as ‘digital natives’ for whom the past is irrelevant, we degrade a vital adult mission: transmitting knowledge.

Frank Furedi

In virtually every Western society, education is in trouble. Unfortunately, however, policymakers tend to obsess only about the symptoms of the problem – unsatisfactory standards in core subjects, growth of a cohort of poorly schooled underachievers or erosion of classroom discipline – and not the cause.

Yet the main reason education often is not educating is because it finds it difficult to give meaning to human experience. Time and again, curriculum specialists inform us that because we live in a world of rapid change, the conventions and practices of the past have become outmoded, outdated or irrelevant. Present educational fads are based on the premise that because we live in a new, digitally driven society, the intellectual legacy of the past and the experience of grown-ups have little significance for the schooling of children.

The implicit assumption that adults have little to teach children is rarely made explicit. But there is a growing tendency to flatter children through suggesting that their values are more enlightened than those of their elders because they are more tuned in to the present. So children are often represented as digital natives who are way ahead of their text-bound and backward-looking parents.

Although education is celebrated as one of the most important institutions of society, there is a casual disrespect for the content of what children are taught. Curriculum engineers often display indifference, if not contempt, for abstract thought and the knowledge developed in the past. Both are criticised for being irrelevant or outdated; only new information that can be applied and acted on is seen as suitable for the training – and it is training and not teaching – of digital natives.

In policy deliberations about education, the acquisition of subject-based knowledge is often dismissed as old-fashioned. Typically, an emphasis on the intellectual content of classroom subjects is labelled an outdated form of scholasticism that has little significance in our era. Policymakers often represent change as an omnipotent force that renders prevailing forms of knowledge and schooling redundant. In such circumstances, education must transform itself to keep up with the times. From this perspective, educational policies can be justified only if they can adapt to change.

Since they are likely to be overtaken by events, classroom innovations by definition have a short-term and provisional status. The instability that afflicts the education system is turned into the normal state of an institution that needs to be responsive to the uncertain flow of events. Although fads come and go, the constant feature of today’s throwaway pedagogy is a deep-seated hostility to teaching academic subjects to young people, especially to those who come from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups. So-called modernisers regard the subject-based curriculum as far too rigid for a school system that must adapt to a constantly changing world. The dramatisation of change in Anglo-American education-speak renders the past irrelevant. If indeed we continually move from one new age to another, then the practices of the past have little relevance for today.

Sadly, the ceaseless repetition of the idea that the past is irrelevant desensitises people from understanding the influence of the legacy of human development on their lives. The constant talk of ceaseless change tends to naturalise it and turn it into an omnipotent autonomous force that subjects human beings to its will. This is a force that annihilates the past and demands that people learn to adapt and readapt to new experiences. From this standpoint, humans do not so much determine their future as adapt to forces beyond their control.

In the worldview of the educational establishment change has acquired a sacred character that determines what is taught. It creates new requirements and introduces new ideas about learning. And it encourages the mass production of a disposable pedagogy. Educationalists adopt the rhetoric of ‘breaks’ and ‘ruptures’ and maintain that nothing is as it was and that the present has been decoupled from the past. Their outlook is shaped by an imagination that is so overwhelmed by the displacement of the old by the new that it often overlooks historical experience that may continue to be relevant.

The discussion of the relationship between education and change is frequently overwhelmed by the fad of the moment and with the relatively superficial symptoms of new developments. It is often distracted from acknowledging the fact the fundamental educational needs of students do not alter every time a new technology influences people’s lives. And certainly the questions raised by Greek philosophy, Renaissance poetry, Enlightenment science or the novels of George Eliot continue to be relevant for students in our time and not just to the period that preceded the digital age.

Often change and social transformation are represented as if they are unique to our time. Innovation guru Bill Law makes this pronouncement: ‘We may not know precisely what shape the future will take but we do know that the futures of our current students will not much resemble those of our past ones.’ But when did we last think the future of our children would resemble our own? Not in 1969, or in 1939 or even 1909.

The idea that we live in a qualitatively different world serves as a premise for the claim that the knowledge and insights of the past have only minor historical significance. In education it is claimed that old ways of teaching are outdated precisely because they are old. Knowledge itself is called into question because in a world of constant flux it must be continually overtaken by events. Policy has become so focused on keeping up with change that it has become distracted from the task of giving meaning to education.

The fetishisation of change is symptomatic of a mood of intellectual malaise, where notions of truth, knowledge and meaning have acquired a provisional character. Perversely, the transformation of change into a metaphysical force haunting humanity actually desensitises society from distinguishing between a passing novelty and qualitative change. That is why lessons learned through the experience of the past are so important for helping society face the future. When change is objectified, it turns into spectacle that distracts society from valuing the truths and insights it has acquired throughout the best moments of human history. Yet these are truths that have emerged through attempts to find answers to the deepest and most durable questions facing us, and the more the world changes the more we need to draw on our cultural and intellectual inheritance.

If the legacy of past achievements has ceased to have relevance for the schooling of young people, what can education mean? Thinkers from across the left-right divide have always realised that education represents a transaction between the generations. Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist thinker, wrote ‘in reality each generation educates the new generation’. Writing from a conservative perspective, English philosopher Michael Oakeshott concluded ‘education in its most general significance may be recognised as a specific transaction which may go on between the generations of human beings in which newcomers to the scene are initiated into the world they inhabit’. Liberal political philosopher Hannah Arendt said education provided an opportunity for society to preserve and to renew its intellectual inheritance through an intergenerational conversation.

One of the key tasks of education is to teach children about the world as it is. Although society is subject to the forces of change, education needs to acquaint young people with the legacy of its past. The term ‘learning from the past’ is often used as a platitude. Yet it is impossible to engage with the future unless people do draw on the centuries of human experience. Individuals gain an understanding of themselves through familiarity with the unfolding of the human world.

The transition from one generation to another requires education to transmit an understanding of the lessons learned by humanity through the ages. Consequently, the main mission of education is to preserve the past so young people have the cultural and intellectual resources to deal with the challenges they face. This understanding of education as renewal stands in direct contrast to the present predilection to focus the curriculum on the future.

In Anglo-American societies, curriculum-planning is devoted to cultivating an ethos of flexibility towards the future. Of course, the capacity to adapt is a valuable asset. But the exercise of this capacity requires a grounding in an understanding of the world in which we live. The question of the balance that education should strike between orienting towards the past and towards a changing world should be a source of debate. However, today, when policymakers tend to be so fixated on the present that they attempt to distance education from the past, it is essential to reaffirm the importance of a traditional humanist education.

The impulse to free education from the past is influenced by a prejudice that regards ideas that are not of the moment as old-fashioned and irrelevant. Yet the project of preserving the past through education does not mean an uncritical acceptance of the world as it; it means the assumption of adult responsibility for the world into which the young are integrated. The aim of this act is to acquaint the young with the world as it is so that they have the intellectual resources necessary for renewing it. Through education, all the important old questions are re-raised with the young, leading to a dialogue that moves humanity’s conversation forward.

Education needs to conserve the past. As Arendt argued, conservatism, in the sense of conservation, is of the essence of education. Her objective was not to conserve for the sake of nostalgia, but because she recognised that the conservation of the old provided the foundation for renewal and innovation. The characterisation of conservation as the essence of education can be easily misunderstood as a call inspired by a backward or reactionary political agenda. However, the argument for conservation is based on the understanding that, in a generational transaction, adults must assume responsibility for the world as it is and pass on its cultural and intellectual legacy to young people.

An attitude of conservation is called for specifically in the context of intergenerational transmission of this legacy. Until recently, leading thinkers from across the ideological divide understood the significance of transmitting the knowledge of the past to young people. Conservative thinker Matthew Arnold’s formulation of passing on ‘the best that has been thought and said in the world’ is virtually identical to Lenin’s insistence that education needs to transmit the ‘store of human knowledge’.

A liberal humanist education is underpinned by the assumption that children are rightful heirs to the legacy of the past. It takes responsibility for ensuring this inheritance is handed over to the young. It is because education gives meaning to human experience that it needs to be valued in its own right. One of the key characteristics of education is its lack of interest in an ulterior purpose. That does not mean it is uninterested in developments affecting children and society; it means that it regards the transmission of cultural and intellectual achievements of humanity to children as its defining mission.

Once society is able to affirm an education system that values itself and the acquisition of knowledge, policymakers and the public can begin to envisage the steps required to deal with the practical challenges facing the classroom.

Frank Furedi’s latest book, Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating, is published by Continuum Press. (Buy this book from Amazon(UK).) Visit Furedi’s website here. This article was first published in the Australian and is an abridged version of his opening lecture at the Battle of Ideas conference, which took place at the Royal College of Art in London on 31 October/1 November.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

And Yet More Reaction to the Great Climate Fraud

The Whole Thing is Now Exposed As A Sham

The leading climate change protagonists are, wait for it, in denial! How delicious. Gavin Schmidt practically runs the blogsite RealClimate. He is a co-conspirator with Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, Jim Salinger and others who are now identified as part of the cabal which have foisted one of the biggest frauds ever in human history. Schmidt has used RealClimate as a propaganda organ, defaming opponents, claiming scientific superiority, blocking critical posts, exercising highly partial and self-serving censorship, etc.

Since the CRU e-mail scandal he has tried to minimize the whole affair. "It's just a group of highly motivated scientists using a few infelicitous expressions" he suggests. But underneath it all, the global warming consensus remains as strong as ever. Either Schmidt knows, and is deliberately obfuscating the case, or he is willingly suspending disbelief. For what has emerged is that the whole data set "proving" that global warming is taking place is at best unreliable, at worst, corrupted.

Now this is such a basic issue, few people are bold enough to ask about it. Everyone just assumes that if scientists assert that the earth is warming there must be good evidence upon which the assertion rests. But the most embarrassing question is, How do we know the earth's temperature is rising? Reliable satellite temperature data has only been in existence for a very short period of time. Surface temperature data goes back farther. Where does the most "authoritative" global surface temperature record reside? Yes, you guessed it: at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, Hadley, UK--the very institution from which the e-mails have been released.

Further study of the leaked material shows that the entire data series purporting to show that the earth's temperatures are rising is nothing more than a cheap parlour trick. Even the mainstream media are now picking this up--obviously analysts and reporters have been put to work. (In other words the shock and horror is spilling out into those media organs who until this time have been stentorian cheerleaders for the messianic cause of preventing humanities destruction.) Here is the latest from CBS.
In addition to e-mail messages, the roughly 3,600 leaked documents posted on sites including and include computer code and a description of how an unfortunate programmer named "Harry" -- possibly the CRU's Ian "Harry" Harris -- was tasked with resuscitating and updating a key temperature database that proved to be problematic. Some excerpts from what appear to be his notes, emphasis added:

"I am seriously worried that our flagship gridded data product is produced by Delaunay triangulation - apparently linear as well. As far as I can see, this renders the station counts totally meaningless. It also means that we cannot say exactly how the gridded data is arrived at from a statistical perspective - since we're using an off-the-shelf product that isn't documented sufficiently to say that. Why this wasn't coded up in Fortran I don't know - time pressures perhaps? Was too much effort expended on homogenisation, that there wasn't enough time to write a gridding procedure? Of course, it's too late for me to fix it too. Meh.

"I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations, one with no WMO and one with, usually overlapping and with the same station name and very similar coordinates. I know it could be old and new stations, but why such large overlaps if that's the case? Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight... So, we can have a proper result, but only by including a load of garbage!

"One thing that's unsettling is that many of the assigned WMo codes for Canadian stations do not return any hits with a web search. Usually the country's met office, or at least the Weather Underground, show up – but for these stations, nothing at all. Makes me wonder if these are long-discontinued, or were even invented somewhere other than Canada!

"Knowing how long it takes to debug this suite - the experiment endeth here. The option (like all the anomdtb options) is totally undocumented so we'll never know what we lost. 22. Right, time to stop pussyfooting around the niceties of Tim's labyrinthine software suites - let's have a go at producing CRU TS 3.0! since failing to do that will be the definitive failure of the entire project.

"Ulp! I am seriously close to giving up, again. The history of this is so complex that I can't get far enough into it before by head hurts and I have to stop. Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and semi-automated interventions that I simply cannot just go back to early versions and run the update prog. I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections - to lat/lons, to WMOs (yes!), and more. So what the hell can I do about all these duplicate stations?..."

As the leaked messages, and especially the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, found their way around technical circles, two things happened: first, programmers unaffiliated with East Anglia started taking a close look at the quality of the CRU's code, and second, they began to feel sympathetic for anyone who had to spend three years (including working weekends) trying to make sense of code that appeared to be undocumented and buggy, while representing the core of CRU's climate model.

One programmer highlighted the error of relying on computer code that, if it generates an error message, continues as if nothing untoward ever occurred. Another debugged the code by pointing out why the output of a calculation that should always generate a positive number was incorrectly generating a negative one. A third concluded: "I feel for this guy. He's obviously spent years trying to get data from undocumented and completely messy sources."

Programmer-written comments inserted into CRU's Fortran code have drawn fire as well. The file says: "Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!" and "APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION." Another,, says: "Low pass filtering at century and longer time scales never gets rid of the trend - so eventually I start to scale down the 120-yr low pass time series to mimic the effect of removing/adding longer time scales!"
We repeat: the whole case ultimately rests on the world temperature data series which the e-mails reveal to be corrupted and unreliable. Upon this festering pile of contaminated garbage the UN and member governments (including New Zealand, by means far more foul than fair) are trying to build a destructive edifice of regulation and tax and vast extensions of powers of government.

Now we know, of course, why Dr Phil Jones, head of the CRU, together with his cabal have worked strenuously to resist making their base temperature data available. They must have known all along what skeletons were in the closet--or at least suspected, but probably preferred to turn a blind eye. This is where the warmists Achilles' Heel lies exposed.

At the end of this post, for those who wish to take the time, we have copied over a guest post which has appeared on Anthony Watts's site. It is an extensive record of an attempt to get access to the temperature data of CRU upon which the whole case for global warming rests. The requests and e-mail exchange is interspersed with the (then) behind-the-scenes conspiring not to comply. This conspiracy and orchestrated litany of obfuscation to hide data, strikes at the very root of scientific credibility.

In the meantime, here is a summary of some of the most fundamental issues which are emerging from the e-mails and their fallout from Andrew Bolt:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 11:05am

THREE weeks ago Prime Minister Kevin Rudd named me as part of an international conspiracy to spread lies about global warming.

How I laughed. But I’m not laughing now. Emails leaked at the weekend show there is indeed a conspiracy to deceive the world - and Rudd has fallen for it.

This conspiracy comprises a group of warming scientists who have been central in spreading the false claim that the world has never been hotter and man’s gases are to blame.

It’s come to light after nearly 4000 emails and documents were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and dumped on the internet by what is almost certainly a whistleblower.

What they reveal is perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time - a conspiracy by warmist scientists to fudge statistics, sack sceptical scientists, block the release of data to prevent checking, illegally destroy data, deceive reporters, censor sceptical papers, and hide errors in their work.

Most extraordinary are the emails in which these scientists admit to each other what they’ve never confessed to the world - that the world is not warming as their theories predicted.

In fact, it’s been cooling since 2001.

Cried one, IPCC co-author Kevin Trenberth, in an email to other members of this conspiracy: “The fact is that we cannot account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.”

These are not some obscure scientists. Rather, they include co-authors of the reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - which Rudd cites as his proof that warming is “happening and it’s caused by human activity”.

They include Phil Jones, head of the CRU unit from which the emails were taken - a unit that Britain’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, said “set the agenda for the major research effort” in climate science.

They include Pennsylvania State University’s Michael Mann and CRU deputy director Keith Briffa, both IPCC co-authors, who also produced the two studies that most convinced journalists of the false claim that it’s now hotter than the Medieval Warm Period just 800 years ago.

They also include scientists responsible for the HadCRU data - one of the four main measurements of the world’s temperature today.

All this may sound too James Bond-like to be true. Yet only three years ago we were warned that many of these same people had indeed created a network that was distorting science.

In 2006 the United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee commissioned eminent statisticians to check Mann’s famous “hockey stick” - a graph used by the IPCC to claim today’s temperatures were the highest for thousands of years.

Their report not only found that Mann’s work was too flawed to be relied upon, just as a retired petroleum engineer, Steve McIntyre, had first said, but that there was now a “clique” of 43 climate scientists stifling true debate, with Mann, Jones and Briffa all named.

Few heeded the warning. And so that clique morphed into a conspiracy that has helped to panic the world - including Rudd - into spending billions on a scare that may not in fact exist.

That’s the background. Now here are just some of the emails.

FIDDLING DATA: “Hide the decline”

Phil Jones tells Michael Mann and others how he made his data show warming:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Mick Kelly, Professor of Climate Change at Jones’ university, on hiding recent cooling:

Anyway, I’ll maybe cut the last few points off the filtered curve before I give the talk again as that’s trending down as a result of the end effects and the recent cold-ish years.

A CRU programming code for dealing with tree-ring data:

Uses corrected MXD but shouldn’t usually plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to the real temperatures.

From green entrepreneur Adam Markham to the CRU, ordering better propaganda:

(WWW Australia) are worried that this may present a slightly more conservative approach to the risks than they are hearing from CSIRO. In particular, they would like to see the section on variability and extreme events beefed up if possible.

FAITH, NOT SCIENCE: “This is all gut feeling”

Phil Jones shows his faith:

I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences. This isn’t being political, it is being selfish.

Phil Jones to his CRU staff:

I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020. I’d rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office press release with Doug’s paper that said something like - half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on record, 1998!

From Phil Jones to Adelaide-born Tom Wigley, now of the US University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, saying he cannot believe the Medieval Warm Period really was warmer:

Bottom line - there is no way the MWP (whenever it was) was as warm globally as the last 20 years ... this is all gut feeling, no science, but years of experience of dealing with global scales and variability.

From Phil Jones to Michael Mann, on the death of Australian sceptic John Daly:

In an odd way this is cheering news!

COVERING UP: “Destroy the emails”

Phil Jones warns Michael Mann that Steve McIntyre and Prof Ross McKittrick, two sceptics who first debunked Mann’s “hockey stick”, are now wanting to check CRU data:

If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone ... We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.

From Phil Jones to Michael Mann and others:

PS I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!

Phil Jones to American climatologist and IPCC lead author Benjamin Santer:

I did get an email from the FoI person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn’t be deleting emails - unless this was normal deleting to keep emails manageable!

Phil Jones to Michael Mann, just three weeks after an FOI request from sceptic David Holland:

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise ... Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same?

SILENCING SCEPTICS: “Beat the crap out of him”

Ben Santer on a sceptical climatologist :

Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him.

Phil Jones on cheating on deadlines to sneak warmist material into the IPCC:

Ammann/Wahl - try and change the Received date! Don’t give those sceptic something to amuse themselves with.

Tom Wigley on ousting the editor of Geophysical Research Letters (achieved):

If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse sceptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted.

Phil Jones to Michael Mann on keeping two sceptics’ papers from the IPCC:

I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. K and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!

Michael Mann on removing the editor of Climate Science (achieved):

How to deal with this is unclear, since there are a number of individuals with bona fide scientific credentials who could be used by an unscrupulous editor to ensure that anti-greenhouse science can get through the peer review process (Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Baliunas, Soon, and so on).

Michael Mann to the CRU’s Tim Osborn and Keith Briffa, on blocking sceptics’ comments on his RealClimate website:

We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not ...

OUR THEORY ISN’T WORKING! “Where the heck is global warming?”

IPCC lead author Kevin Trenberth privately tells Mann, Santer, Wigley, Jones and leading alarmists such as Stephen H. Schneider and James Hansen that the data doesn’t show what their climate models predicted:

… where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. ... The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.


It doesn’t mean all global warming science is bogus. But it does mean the process used to produce it is corrupted.

It means “peer review” is too often “mates’ review”. It means sceptical scientists have not had the hearing they deserve, and leading warmist scientists have not been honest or frank.

It means the “consensus” of scientists we hear of may not actually exist and the IPCC reports cannot be trusted to be balanced.

It means that claims we’ve never been hotter are false or unproven, and much research now needs to be rechecked.

And at heart it means global warming theory is too weak to accept, being contradicted by a decade of climate.

And now, the blow-by-blow account of actual obfuscation and deception on the part of CRU as it faces legitimate Freedom of Information Act requests--information which should have been disclosed years ago--and, we believe, would have been if the data had been genuine in the first place. It is only those who fear the truth who try to hide it.

People seem to be missing the real issue in the CRU emails. Gavin over at realclimate keeps distracting people by saying the issue is the scientists being nasty to each other, and what Trenberth said, and the Nature “trick”, and the like. Those are side trails. To me, the main issue is the frontal attack on the heart of science, which is transparency.

Science works by one person making a claim, and backing it up with the data and methods that they used to make the claim. Other scientists then attack the claim by (among other things) trying to replicate the first scientist’s work. If they can’t replicate it, it doesn’t stand. So blocking the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act]allowed Phil Jones to claim that his temperature record (HadCRUT3) was valid science.

This is not just trivial gamesmanship, this is central to the very idea of scientific inquiry. This is an attack on the heart of science, by keeping people who disagree with you from ever checking your work and seeing if your math is correct.

As far as I know, I am the person who made the original Freedom Of Information Act to CRU that started getting all this stirred up. I was trying to get access to the taxpayer funded raw data out of which they built the global temperature record. I was not representing anybody, or trying to prove a point. I am not funded by Mobil, I’m an amateur scientist with a lifelong interest in the weather and climate. I’m not “directed” by anyone, I’m not a member of a right-wing conspiracy. I’m just a guy trying to move science forwards.

The recent release of the hacked emails from CRU has provided me with an amazing insight into the attempt by myself, Steve McIntyre, and others from CA [ClimateAudit] and elsewhere to obtain the raw station data from Phil Jones at the CRU. We wanted the data that was used to make the global temperature record that is relied on to claim “unprecedented” global warming. I want to give a chronological account of the interactions. While we don’t know if all of these emails are valid, the researchers involved such as Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann that clearly indicate that they think they are authentic They certainly fit with my experience. I have only included the relevant parts of emails, and indicated where I have snipped by an ellipsis (…).

The story actually starts with Warwick Hughes, a climate researcher who had previously been in cordial contact with Phil Jones, the lead researcher of the CRU. I find only one email in the archive (0969308954) where Phil emails Warwick, from 2000. This is in response to some inconsistencies that Warwick had found in Phil’s work:

Warwick Hughes to Phil Jones, September ‘04:

Dear Phillip and Chris Folland (with your IPCC hat on),
Some days ago Chris I emailed to Tom Karl and you replied re the grid cells in north Siberia with no stations, yet carrying red circle grid point anomalies in the TAR Fig 2.9 global maps. I even sent a gif file map showing the grid cells barren of stations greyed out. You said this was due to interpolation and referred me to Phillip and procedures described in a submitted paper. In the last couple of days I have put up a page detailing shortcomings in your TAR Fig 2.9 maps in the north Siberian region, everything is specified there with diagrams and numbered grid points.

[1] One issue is that two of the interpolated grid cells have larger anomalies than the parent cells !!!!?????
This must be explained.

[2] Another serious issue is that obvious non-homogenous warming in Olenek and Verhojansk is being interpolated through to adjoining grid cells with no stations, like cancer.

[3] The third serious issue is that the urbanization affected trend from the Irkutsk grid cell neare Lake Baikal, looks to be interpolated into its western neighbour.

I am sure there are many other cases of this, 2 and 3 happening.
Best regards,
Warwick Hughes (I have sent this to CKF)

Phil to Warwick, same email:

I did not think I would get a chance today to look at the web page. I see what boxes you are referring to. The interpolation procedure cannot produce larger anomalies than neighbours (larger values in a single month). If you have found any of these I will investigate. If you are talking about larger trends then that is a different matter. Trends say in Fig 2.9 for the 1976-99 period require 16 years to have data and at least 10 months in each year. It is conceivable that at there are 24 years in this period that missing values in some boxes influence trend calculation. I would expect this to be random across the globe.

Been away. Just checked my program and the interpolation shouldn’t produce larger anomalies than the neighbouring cells. So can you send me the cells, months and year of the two cells you’ve found ? If I have this I can check to see what has happened and answer (1). As for (2) and (3) we compared all stations with neighbours and these two stations did not have problems when the work was done (around 1985/6). I am not around much for the next 3 weeks but will be here most of this week and will try to answer (1) if I get more details. If you have the names of stations that you’ve compared Olenek and Verhojansk with I would appreciate that.


OK, so far we have a couple of scientists discussing issues in a scientific work, no problem. But as he found more inconsistencies, in order to understand what was going on, in 2005 Warwick asked Phil for the dataset that was used to create the CRU temperature record. Phil Jones famously replied:

Subject: Re: WMO non respondo
… Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. …
Cheers Phil

Hmmm … not good. Or as they say in “1984″, double-plus ungood. Science can only progress if there is a free exchange of scientific data The scientific model works like this:

* A scientist makes claims, and reveals the data and methods he used to come to his conclusions.

* Other scientists who don’t agree attack the claim by (inter alia) seeing if they can replicate the result, using the first scientist’s data and methods.

* If the claims cannot be replicated, the claim is adjudged to be false.

Obviously, if the data or the methods are kept secret, the claims cannot be verified. Attacking other scientist’s claims is what what scientists do. This adversarial system is the heart of science. Refusing scientific data because someone will attack it is an oxymoron, of course they will attack it. That’s what scientists do.

When I found out about this, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, a scientist can’t do that, can they? This is science, not hide and seek. So I wrote to the University of East Anglia (of which the CRU is a Department) on September 8, 2006, saying:

I would like to obtain a list of the meteorological stations used in the preparation of the HadCRUT3 global temperature average, and the raw data for those stations. I cannot find it anywhere on the web. The lead author for the temperature average is Dr. Phil Jones of the Climate Research Unit.

Many thanks, Willis Eschenbach

I got no response from Phil Jones or anyone at CRU or UEA. So I filed a Freedom of Information act request for the data.

Now at this point, let me diverge to what was happening at CRU during this time. The first reference to Freedom of Information in their emails is from 2005, before they had received a single request. Immediately, they start to plan how to evade requests should some come in:

Tom Wigley, Former Director CRU, to Phil Jones, 21/01/2005


I got a brochure on the FOI Act from UEA. Does this mean that, if someone asks for a computer program we have to give it out?? Can you check this for me (and Sarah). …

Phil replies to Tom:


On the FOI Act there is a little leaflet we have all been sent. It doesn’t really clarify what we might have to do re programs or data. Like all things in Britain we will only find out when the first person or organization asks. I wouldn’t tell anybody about the FOI Act in Britain. I don’t think UEA really knows what’s involved.

As you’re no longer an employee I would use this argument if anything comes along. I think it is supposed to mainly apply to issues of personal information – references for jobs etc.


So the coverup starts immediately, even before the first request. “I wouldn’t tell anyone about the FOI act in Britain”.

Tom to Phil


Thanks for the quick reply. The leaflet appeared so general, but it was prepared by UEA so they may have simplified things. From their wording, computer code would be covered by the FOIA. My concern was if Sarah is/was still employed by UEA. I guess she could claim that she had only written one tenth of the code and release every tenth line.


You can see how they plan to observe the spirit of the FOI Act. Claim a temporary employee isn’t really and employee so they are not covered.

Phil to Tom


As for FOIA Sarah isn’t technically employed by UEA and she will likely be paid by Manchester Metropolitan University. I wouldn’t worry about the code. If FOIA does ever get used by anyone, there is also IPR to consider as well. Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them. I’ll be passing any requests onto the person at UEA who has been given a post to deal with them.

Phil Jones has just gotten the news that FOI will apply, and immediately he starts to plan how he is going to hide from an FOI request. Cite technicalities, claim IPR rights, those are good hiding places.

The next email (1109021312) is later in 2005:

At 09:41 AM 2/2/2005, Phil Jones wrote to Michael Mann :


Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it.

We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who’ll say we must adhere to it !



So now we have two more ways for Phil to hide from the FOI Act … along with a threat to delete the data rather than release it. Astounding. And this is before they’ve even received a single FOI request.

Mann replies to Jones:

Thanks Phil,

Yes, we’ve learned out lesson about FTP. We’re going to be very careful in the future what gets put there. Scott really screwed up big time when he established that directory so that Tim could access the data.

Yeah, there is a freedom of information act in the U.S., and the contrarians are going to try to use it for all its worth. But there are also intellectual property rights issues, so it isn’t clear how these sorts of things will play out ultimately in the U.S….

Next, from February 05. Jones to Mann, cc to Hughes and Bradley (co-authors of the “hockeystick” study)

From: Phil Jones:

To: mann
Date: Mon Feb 21 16:28:32 2005
Cc: “raymond s. bradley”, “Malcolm Hughes”

Mike, Ray and Malcolm,

Leave it to you to delete as appropriate !
PS I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act !

The first rule of the Freedom of Information act … nobody talks about the Freedom of Information Act.

With that as a prologue, let me return to my FOI request. On February 10, 2007, I received my reply from Mr. Dave Palmer of CRU:

Dear Mr. Eschenbach


Your request for information received on 28 September now been considered and I can report that the information requested is available on non-UEA websites as detailed below.

The Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN-Monthly) page within US National Climate Data Centre website provides one of the two US versions of the global dataset and includes raw station data. This site is at: http://www.ncdc. oa/climate/ ghcn-monthly/ index.php

This page is where you can get one of the two US versions of the global dataset, and it appears that the raw station data can be obtained from this site.

Datasets named ds564.0 and ds570.0 can be found at The Climate & Global Dynamics Division (CGD) page of the Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory (ESSL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) site at: http://www.cgd. cas/tn404/

Between them, these two datasets have the data which the UEA Climate Research Unit (CRU) uses to derive the HadCRUT3 analysis. The latter, NCAR site holds the raw station data (including temperature, but other variables as well). The GHCN would give their set of station data (with adjustments for all the numerous problems).

They both have a lot more data than the CRU have (in simple station number counts), but the extra are almost entirely within the USA. We have sent all our data to GHCN, so they do, in fact, possess all our data.

In accordance with S. 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as a Refusal Notice, and the reasons for exemption are as stated below

Exemption Reason
s. 21, Information accessible to applicant via other means Some information is publicly available on external websites

I was outraged. So the next day, I made a second request:

Dear Mr. Palmer:

Thank you for your reply (attached below). However, I fear that it is totally unresponsive. I had asked for a list of the sites actually used. While it may (or may not) be true that “it appears that the raw station data can be obtained from [GHCN]“, this is meaningless without an actual list of the sites that Dr. Jones and his team used.

The debate about changes in the climate is quite important. Dr. Jones’ work is one of the most frequently cited statistics in the field. Dr. Jones has refused to provide a list of the sites used for his work, and as such, it cannot be replicated. Replication is central to science. I find Dr. Jones attitude quite difficult to understand, and I find your refusal to provide the data requested quite baffling.

You are making the rather curious claim that because the data “appears” to be out on the web somewhere, there is no need for Dr. Jones to reveal which stations were actually used. The claim is even more baffling since you say that the original data used by CRU is available at the GHCN web site, and then follow that with the statement that some of the GHCN data originally came from CRU. Which is the case? Did CRU get the data from GHCN, or did GHCN get the data from CRU?

Rather than immediately appealing this ruling (with the consequent negative publicity that would inevitably accrue to CRU from such an action), I am again requesting that you provide:

1) A list of the actual sites used by Dr. Jones in the preparation of the HadCRUT3 dataset, and

2) A clear indication of where the data for each site is available. This is quite important, as there are significant differences between the versions of each site’s data at e.g. GHCN and NCAR.

I find it somewhat disquieting that an FOI request is necessary to force a scientist to reveal the data used in his publicly funded research … is this truly the standard that the CRU is promulgating?

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Willis Eschenbach

Hey, I was trying to be a nice guy, not make a public scene. On April 12, 2007, I got my second reply:

In regards the “gridded network” stations, I have been informed that the Climate Research Unit’s (CRU) monthly mean surface temperature dataset has been constructed principally from data available on the two websites identified in my letter of 12 March 2007. Our estimate is that more than 98% of the CRU data are on these sites.

The remaining 2% of data that is not in the websites consists of data CRU has collected from National Met Services (NMSs) in many countries of the world. In gaining access to these NMS data, we have signed agreements with many NMSs not to pass on the raw station data, but the NMSs concerned are happy for us to use the data in our gridding, and these station data are included in our gridded products, which are available from the CRU web site. These NMS-supplied data may only form a very small percentage of the database, but we have to respect their wishes and therefore this information would be exempt from disclosure under FOIA pursuant to s.41. The World Meteorological Organization has a list of all NMSs.

That didn’t help one bit. Without knowing which data was used, it was meaningless. They’ve tried s.21, they’ve tried s.41, neither exemption applies. So the next day, I replied:

While it is good to know that the data is available at those two web sites, that information is useless without a list of stations used by Jones et al. to prepare the HadCRUT3 dataset. As I said in my request, I am asking for:

1) A list of the actual sites used by Dr. Jones in the preparation of the HadCRUT3 dataset, and

2) A clear indication of where the data for each site is available. This is quite important, as there are significant differences between the versions of each site’s data at e.g. GHCN and NCAR.

Without knowing the name and WMO number of each site and the location of the source data (NCAR, GHCN, or National Met Service), it is not possible to access the information. Thus, Exemption 21 does not apply – I still cannot access the data.

I don’t understand why this is so hard. All I am asking for is a simple list of the sites and where each site’s data is located. Pointing at two huge piles of data and saying, in effect, “The data is in there somewhere” does not help at all.

To clarify what I am requesting, I am only asking for a list of the stations used in HadCRUT3, a list that would look like this:

WMO# Name Source
58457 HangZhou NCAR
58659 WenZhou NCAR
59316 ShanTou GHCN
57516 ChongQing NMS

etc. for all of the stations used to prepare the HadCRUT3 temperature data.

That is the information requested, and it is not available “on non-UEA websites”, or anywhere else that I have been able to find.

I appreciate all of your assistance in this matter, and I trust we can get it resolved satisfactorily.

Best regards,

I received another letter, saying that they could not identify the locations of the requested information. I wrote back again, saying:

Dear Mr. Palmer:

It appears we have gone full circle here, and ended up back where we started.

I had originally asked for the raw station data used to produce the HadCRUT3 dataset to be posted up on the UEA website, or made available in some other form.

You refused, saying that the information was available elsewhere on non-UEA websites, which is a valid reason for FOI refusals.

I can report that the information requested is not available on non-UEA websites as detailed below.

Your most recent letter (Further _information_ letter_final_ 070418_rev01. doc), however, says that you are unable to identify the locations of the requested information. Thus, the original reason for refusing to provide station data for HadCRUT3 was invalid.

Therefore, since the information requested is not available on non-UEA websites, I wish to re-instate my original request, that the information itself be made available on your website or in some other form. I understand that a small amount of this data (about 2%, according to your letter) is not available due to privacy requests from the countries involved. In that case, a listing of which stations this applies to will suffice.

The HadCRUT3 dataset is one of the fundamental datasets in the current climate discussion. As such, it is vitally important that it can be peer reviewed and examined to verify its accuracy. The only way this can be done is for the data to be made available to other researchers in the field.

Once again, thank you for your assistance in all of this. It is truly not a difficult request, and is fully in line with both standard scientific practice and your “CODE OF PRACTICE FOR RESPONDING TO REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000″. I am sure that we can bring this to a satisfactory resolution without involving appeals or unfavorable publicity.

My best regards to you,


Here is the response from 27 April:


Further to your email of 14 April 2007 in which you re-stated your request to see

“a list of stations used by Jones et al. to prepare the HadCRUT3 dataset” I am asking for: 1) A list of the actual sites used by Dr. Jones in the preparation of the HadCRUT3 dataset, and 2) A clear indication of where the data for each site is available. This is quite important, as there are significant differences between the versions of each site’s data at e.g. GHCN and NCAR.”

In your note you also requested “the name and WMO number of each site and the location of the source data (NCAR, GHCN, or National Met Service)”,

I have contacted Dr. Jones and can update you on our efforts to resolve this matter.

We cannot produce a simple list with this format and with the information you described in your note of 14 April. Firstly, we do not have a list consisting solely of the sites we currently use. Our list is larger, as it includes data not used due to incomplete reference periods, for example. Additionally, even if we were able to create such a list we would not be able to link the sites with sources of data. The station database has evolved over time and the Climate Research Unit was not able to keep multiple versions of it as stations were added, amended and deleted. This was a consequence of a lack of data storage in the 1980s and early 1990s compared to what we have at our disposal currently. It is also likely that quite a few stations consist of a mixture of sources.

I have also been informed that, as the GHCN and NCAR are merely databases, the ultimate source of all data is the respective NMS in the country where the station is located. Even GHCN and NCAR can’t say with precision where they got their data from as the data comes not only from each NMS, but also comes from scientists in each reporting country.

In short, we simply don’t have what you are requesting. The only true source would be the NMS for each reporting country. We can, however, send a list of all stations used, but without sources. This would include locations, names and lengths of record, although the latter are no guide as to the completeness of the series.

This is, in effect, our final attempt to resolve this matter informally. If this response is not to your satisfaction, I will initiate the second stage of our internal complaint process and will advise you of progress and outcome as appropriate. For your information, the complaint process is within our Code of Practice and can be found at: http://www1. polopoly_ fs/1.2750! uea_manual_ draft_04b. pdf

Yours sincerely David Palmer Information Policy Officer University of East Anglia

I loved the story line in this one “we do not have a list consisting solely of the sites we currently use”. Say what? How do they produce updates that change the temperature all the way back to 1870 if they don’t have the data or a list of the sites? But I digress …

So I advised him that I was appealing. His letter was passed to a Ms. Kitty Inglis, who replied

May 21, 2007, Decision of Information Commissoners’ Office

Dear Mr Eschenbach

Following David Palmer’s letter of 27th April 2007 to you regarding your dissatisfaction with our response to your FOI request of 25th January 2007, I have undertaken a thorough review of the contents of our file and have spoken with both Mr. Palmer and Professor Jones.

As a result of this investigation, I am satisfied that we have done all we can to fulfil [sic] your request and to provide you with the information you require where it is possible for us to do so.

I confirm that we are able to make available on the Climatic Research Unit website a list of stations, including name, latitude, longitude, elevation and WMO number (where available).

We are unable to provide a simple list of sources for these stations as we do not hold this information. Nor do we hold the raw (i.e. unadjusted) station data, as you describe it, at UEA. As stated in prior letters to you, raw station data are available on the NCAR and GHCN websites and gridded data are available on the Climatic Research Unit website. If these data are insufficient for your requirements, you will need to contact the NMS for the country in which the station is located to obtain the information you require.

I hope you are able to accept this response. We have contacted the Information Commissioner’s Office in relation to this matter and their advice is that if you are still dissatisfied with this response, you can, at this time, exercise your right of appeal to the
Information Commissioner by contacting them at:
Information Commissioner’ s Office
Wycliffe House

At that point, I let it go. I had a small victory, we got a list of the stations. Of course, it took me a couple more letters to actually get them to post the list. But I got nothing else of what I had requested, and the list was full of all kinds of errors.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes at CRU, I now find out that they were circling the wagons … what follows are their internal discussions about a series of FOI requests from myself, Steve McIntyre, Doug Keenan and others to CRU for various data. Phil Jones to Tom Keenan and Wei-Chyung Wang, 6/19/2007:

Wei-Chyung and Tom,

1. Think I’ve managed to persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit.
2. Had an email from David Jones of BMRC, Melbourne. [EMAIL NOT FOUND IN CRU EMAILS – Willis] He said they are ignoring anybody who has dealings with CA, as there are threads on it about Australian sites.
3. CA is in dispute with IPCC (Susan Solomon and Martin Manning) about the availability of the responses to reviewer’s at the various stages of the AR4 drafts. They are most interested here re Ch 6 on paleo.

Well, that explains a few things … they’ve managed to “persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit.” I hadn’t noticed that exemption in the FOI documentation I’d seen. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s in FOI Exemptions, I doubt if it’s legal, and it definitely isn’t ethical. I note that they are circling the wagons in Australia as well … this is followed by:

Phil Jones to Thomas Peterson of NOAA, 6/20/2007 AM (1182342470) :

Tom P.

Just for interest. Don’t pass on.

Might be a precedent for your paper to J. Climate when it comes out. There are a few interesting comments on the CA web site. One says it is up to me to prove the paper from 1990 was correct, not for Keenan to prove we’re wrong. Interesting logic.

Wei-Chyung, Tom,
I won’t be replying to either of the emails below [FROM STEVE MCINTYRE AND DOUG KEENAN], nor to any
of the accusations on the Climate Audit website. I’ve sent them on to someone here at UEA to see if we
should be discussing anything with our legal staff. The second letter seems an attempt to be nice to me,
and somehow split up the original author team. I do now wish I’d never sent them the data after their FOIA


He obviously views sending data in response to an FOIA request as optional.

Thomas Peterson to Jones, same email:

Fascinating. Thanks for keeping me in the loop, Phil. I won’t pass it on but I will keep it in the back of my mind when/if Russ asks about appropriate responses to CA requests. Russ’ view is that you can never satisfy them so why bother to try?

Again, responding to an FOIA request is viewed as optional.

Phil Jones :

PS to Gavin – been following (sporadically) the CA stuff about the GISS data and release of the code etc by Jim. May take some of the pressure off you soon, by releasing a list of the stations we use – just a list, no code and no data. Have agreed to under the FOIA here in the UK.

Oh Happy days!

So I see … that’s why I only got the station list and not the data, just to ” take some of the pressure off “. Thanks, Phil.

Jones to Bradley and Amman, 5/9/08 (1210341221):

Mike, Ray, Caspar,

A couple of things – don’t pass on either.

2. You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but this is the person [DAVID HOLLAND – Willis] who is putting in FOI requests for all emails Keith and Tim have written and received re Ch 6 of AR4. We think we’ve found a way around this.

Finding ways around FOI requests seems to be a popular sport at CRU. This is in reference to Steve trying to get the review comments to Chapter 6 of the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

Next, here’s the brilliant way that they had found around the FOIA, a bombshell of an idea, Jones to Michael Mann, 29 May 2008 (1212063122):


Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.


Again, call me crazy, but deleting evidence in the face of an FOI request must be illegal. Gene is Eugene Wahl. Of course, what these guys don’t realize is that there are multiple copies of most emails floating around. In some ways, I hope they deleted them, so that it can be proven. The story continues …

Tim Osborne to Jones, Briffa, and Mann, 23 Jun 2008 (1214229243) :

Subject: Re: CA

Hi Phil, Keith and “Confidential Agent Ammann”,
At 17:00 21/06/2008, P.Jones wrote:

This is a confidential email

So is this.

Have a look at Climate Audit. Holland has put all the responses and letters up. There are three threads – two beginning with Fortress and a third later one. Worth saving the comments on a Jim Edwards – can you do this Tim?

I’ve saved all three threads as they now stand. No time to read all the comments, but I did note in “Fortress Met Office” that someone has provided a link to a website that helps you to submit FOI requests to UK public institutions, and subsequently someone has made a further FOI request to Met Office and someone else made one to DEFRA. If it turns into an organised campaign designed more to inconvenience us than to obtain useful information, then we may be able to decline all related requests without spending ages on considering
them. Worth looking out for evidence of such an organised campaign.


Another thing to hide behind, a false claim of an “organised campaign”. I loved the “Confidential Agent Amman” …

Phil Jones:

To: Gavin Schmidt
Subject: Re: Revised version the Wengen paper
Date: Wed Aug 20 09:32:52 2008
Cc: Michael Mann


Keith/Tim still getting FOI requests as well as MOHC and Reading. All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond – advice they got from the Information Commissioner. As an aside and just between us, it seems that Brian Hoskins has withdrawn himself from the WG1 Lead nominations. It seems he doesn’t want to have to deal with this hassle.

The FOI line we’re all using is this. IPCC is exempt from any countries FOI – the skeptics have been told this. Even though we (MOHC, CRU/UEA) possibly hold relevant info the IPCC is not part our remit (mission statement, aims etc) therefore we don’t have an obligation to pass it on.


So now the Information Commissioner is in on the deal, s/he’s advising them to use the same exceptions not to respond. No need to think about it, all of the wheels have been greased.

Next, Ben Santer chimes in:

Ben Santer to Thomas Karl, Karen Owen, Sharon Leduc , “Thorne, Peter”, Leopold Haimberger , Karl Taylor, Tom Wigley, John Lanzante, Susan Solomon, Melissa Free, peter gleckler , “‘Philip D. Jones’”, Thomas R Karl, Steve Klein, carl mears, Doug Nychka, Gavin Schmidt, Steven Sherwood, Frank Wentz, “David C. Bader”, Professor Glenn McGregor, “Bamzai, Anjuli”

Dear Tom,

My personal opinion is that both FOI requests (1) and (2) are intrusive and unreasonable. Steven McIntyre provides absolutely no scientific justification or explanation for such requests. I believe that McIntyre is pursuing a calculated strategy to divert my attention and focus away from research. As the recent experiences of Mike Mann and Phil Jones have shown, this request is the thin edge of wedge. It will be followed by further requests for computer programs, additional material and explanations, etc., etc.

Quite frankly, Tom, having spent nearly 10 months of my life addressing the serious scientific flaws in the Douglass et al. IJoC paper, I am unwilling to waste more of my time fulfilling the intrusive and frivolous requests of Steven McIntyre. The supreme irony is that Mr. McIntyre has focused his attention on our IJoC paper rather than the Douglass et al. IJoC paper which we criticized. As you know, Douglass et al. relied on a seriously flawed statistical test, and reached incorrect conclusions on the basis of that flawed test.

I believe that our community should no longer tolerate the behavior of Mr. McIntyre and his cronies. McIntyre has no interest in improving our scientific understanding of the nature and causes of climate change. He has no interest in rational scientific discourse. He deals in the currency of threats and intimidation. We should be able to conduct our scientific research without constant fear of an “audit” by Steven McIntyre; without having to weigh every word we write in every email we send to our scientific colleagues.

In my opinion, Steven McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science. I am unwilling to submit to this McCarthy-style investigation of my scientific research. As you know, I have refused to send McIntyre the “derived” model data he requests, since all of the primary model data necessary to replicate our results are freely available to him. I will continue to refuse such data requests in the future. Nor will I provide McIntyre with computer programs, email correspondence, etc. I feel very strongly about these issues. We should not be coerced by the scientific equivalent of a playground bully.

I will be consulting LLNL’s Legal Affairs Office in order to determine how the DOE and LLNL should respond to any FOI requests that we receive from McIntyre. I assume that such requests will be forthcoming.

I am copying this email to all co-authors of our 2008 IJoC paper, to my immediate superior at PCMDI (Dave Bader), to Anjuli Bamzai at DOE headquarters, and to Professor Glenn McGregor (the editor who was in
charge of our paper at IJoC).

I’d be very happy to discuss these issues with you tomorrow. I’m sorry that the tone of this letter is so formal, Tom. Unfortunately, after today’s events, I must assume that any email I write to you may be subject to FOI requests, and could ultimately appear on McIntyre’s “ClimateAudit” website.

With best personal wishes,


Well, he got the last paragraph right, at least. He also thinks that an FOIA request must serve some “scientific justification”, with the justification determined by … well … by the person receiving the request, of course. Another previously unknown part of the FOI Exemptions comes to light.

Ben Santer to Tom Wigly, 12 Dec 07 (1228330629):

At 01:17 03/12/2008, Ben Santer wrote:

Dear Tom,

One of the problems is that I’m caught in a real Catch-22 situation. At present, I’m damned and publicly vilified because I refused to provide McIntyre with the data he requested. But had I acceded to McIntyre’s initial request for climate model data, I’m convinced (based on the past experiences of Mike Mann, Phil, and Gavin) that I would have spent years of my scientific career dealing with demands for further explanations, additional data, Fortran code, etc. (Phil has been complying with FOIA requests from McIntyre and his cronies for over two years). And if I ever denied a single request for further information, McIntyre would have rubbed his hands gleefully and written: “You see – he’s guilty as charged!” on his website.

You and I have spent over a decade of our scientific careers on the MSU issue, Tom. During much of that time, we’ve had to do science in “reactive mode”, responding to the latest outrageous claims and inept science by John Christy, David Douglass, or S. Fred Singer. For the remainder of my scientific career, I’d like to dictate my own research agenda. I don’t want that agenda driven by the constant need to respond to Christy, Douglass, and Singer. And I certainly don’t want to spend years of my life interacting with the likes of Steven McIntyre.

I hope LLNL management will provide me with their full support. If they do not, I’m fully prepared to seek employment elsewhere.

With best regards,

Dr. Santer, here’s a novel idea. Put enough information out when you publish the work so that your work can be replicated. Put on the web whatever is necessary in the way of code, data, and methods to allow your work to be checked by someone else. If you do that, not only will you not be bothered, but you will be following the scientific method. None of us at ClimateAudit are doing this to harass anyone, as you claim. We’re doing this because we cannot replicate your work, and thus your work is purely anecdotal rather than scientific.

Phil responds (same email):

Cc: mann , Gavin Schmidt, Karl Taylor, peter gleckler

When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince them otherwise showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals. The VC is also aware of what is going on – at least for one of the requests, but probably doesn’t know the number we’re dealing with. We are in double figures.

One issue is that these requests aren’t that widely known within the School. So I don’t know who else at UEA may be getting them. CRU is moving up the ladder of requests at UEA though – we’re way behind computing though. We’re away [aware?]of requests going to others in the UK – MOHC, Reading, DEFRA and Imperial College.

So spelling out all the detail to the LLNL management should be the first thing you do. I hope that Dave is being supportive at PCMDI. The inadvertent email I sent last month has led to a Data Protection Act request sent by a certain Canadian, saying that the email maligned his scientific credibility with his peers!

If he pays 10 pounds (which he hasn’t yet) I am supposed to go through my emails and he can get anything I’ve written about him. About 2 months ago I deleted loads of emails, so have very little – if anything at all. This legislation is different from the FOI – it is supposed to be used to find put why you might have a poor credit rating !

In response to FOI and EIR requests, we’ve put up some data – mainly paleo data. Each request generally leads to more – to explain what we’ve put up. Every time, so far, that hasn’t led to anything being added – instead just statements saying read what is in the papers and what is on the web site! Tim Osborn sent one such response (via the FOI person) earlier this week. We’ve never sent programs, any codes and manuals.

In the UK, the Research Assessment Exercise results will be out in 2 weeks time. These are expensive to produce and take too much time, so from next year we’ll be moving onto a metric based system. The metrics will be # and amounts of grants, papers and citations etc. I did flippantly suggest that the # of FOI requests you get should be another.

When you look at CA, they only look papers from a handful of people. They will start on another coming out in The Holocene early next year. Gavin and Mike are on this with loads of others. I’ve told both exactly what will appear on CA once they get access to it!


Well, that explains why David Palmer and Ms. Kitty Inglis, the Chief Librarian, were so unsupportive. Took a couple of half hour sessions, but at the end of that, rather than being a representative of the FOI process, they were functioning as the personal representatives of Phil Jones. We have a new reason I hadn’t noticed in the FOI law for refusing a request, because the requester posts at CA.

And since they have the FOI person, and the FOI Appeals person, and the Information Commissioner in there pockets, and they have the standard terms of refusal figured out … just how difficult can it be to deny an FOI Request?

Jones to Ben Santer again, 10 Dec 2008:


Haven’t got a reply from the FOI person here at UEA. So I’m not entirely confident the numbers are correct. One way of checking would be to look on CA, but I’m not doing that. I did get an email from the FOI person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn’t be deleting emails – unless this was ‘normal’ deleting to keep emails manageable! McIntyre hasn’t paid his £10, so nothing looks likely to happen re his Data Protection Act email.

Anyway requests have been of three types – observational data, paleo data and who made IPCC changes and why. Keith has got all the latter – and there have been at least 4. We made Susan aware of these – all came from David Holland. According to the FOI Commissioner’ s Office, IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI. Even if UEA holds anything about IPCC, we are not obliged to pass it on, unless it has anything to do with our core business – and it doesn’t! I’m sounding like Sir Humphrey here! McIntyre often gets others to do the requesting, but requests and responses all get posted up on CA regardless of who sends them.

On observational data, there have been at least 5 including a couple from McIntyre. Others here came from Eschenbach and also Douglas Keenan. The latter relate to Wei-Chyung Wang, and despite his being exonerated by SUNY, Keenan has not changed his web site since being told the result by SUNY!

The paleo data requests have all been to Keith, and here Tim and Keith reply. The recent couple have come from McIntyre but there have been at least two others from Holland. So since Feb 2007, CRU is in double figures. We never get any thanks for putting things up – only abuse and threats. The latest lot is up in the last 3-4 threads on CA.

I got this email over the weekend – see end of this email. This relates to what Tim sent back late last week. There was another one as well – a chatty one saying why didn’t I respond to keep these people on CA quiet. I’ve ignored both. Finally, I know that DEFRA receive Parliamentary Questions from MPs to answer. One of these 2 months ago was from a Tory MP asking how much money DEFRA has given to CRU over the last 5 years. DEFRA replied that they don’t give money – they award grants based on open competition. DEFRA’s system also told them there were no awards to CRU, as when we do get something it is down as UEA!

I’ve occasionally checked DEFRA responses to FOI requests – all from Holland.


Since he and Mann and the others have already deleted their emails, looks like David Palmer (the “FOI person”) was a bit too late with his excellent advice … however, I did get a “Mentioned In Dispatches” from Phil, at least …

I also like the sly way he tells Ben how to illegally delete emails, just do it as part of ‘normal’ deleting to keep emails manageable! Yeah, right, that’s the ticket.

Phil Jones to Raymond Pierrehumbert, 16 Jan 09 (1200493432):

Cc: Michael Mann , Gavin Schmidt


I have had a couple of exchanges with Courtillot. This is the last of them from March 26, 2007. I sent him a number of papers to read. He seems incapable of grasping the concept of spatial degrees of freedom, and how this number can change according to timescale. I also told him where he can get station data at NCDC and GISS (as I took a decision ages ago not to release our station data, mainly because of McIntyre). I told him all this as well when we met at a meeting of the French Academy in early March.

Cheers, Phil

This is a very clear statement of what he has done. He has refused to release the data, not because there is any logical reason to do so, but “because of McIntyre”. This is shameful, and the fact that the FOI people, Dave Peters and Kitty Inglis and the Information Commissioner, went along with this is dereliction of duty.

Finally, Steven Schneider chimes in to write Ben from Stanford University, 6 Jan 09 (1231257056):

Cc: “David C. Bader”, Bill Goldstein, Pat Berge, Cherry Murray, George Miller, Anjuli Bamzai, Tomas Diaz De La Rubia, Doug Rotman, Peter Thorne, Leopold Haimberger, Karl Taylor, Tom Wigley John Lanzante, Susan Solomon, Melissa Free, peter gleckler, “Philip D. Jones”, Thomas R Karl, Steve Klein, carl mears, Doug Nychka, Gavin Schmidt, Steven Sherwood, Frank Wentz

“Thanks” Ben for this, hi all and happy new year. I had a similar experience– but not FOIA since we at Climatic Change are a private institution- -with Stephen McIntyre demanding that I have the Mann et al cohort publish all their computer codes for papers published in Climatic Change I put the question to the editorial board who debated it for weeks. The vast majority opinion was that scientists should give enough information on their data sources and methods so others who are scientifically capable can do their own brand of replication work, but that this does not extend to personal computer codes with all their undocumented sub routines etc. It would be odious requirement to have scientists document every line of code so outsiders could then just apply them instantly. Not only is this an intellectual property issue, but it would dramatically reduce our productivity since we are not in the business of producing software products for general consumption and have no resources to do so. The NSF, which funded the studies I published, concurred–so that ended that issue with Climatic Change at the time a few years ago.

This continuing pattern of harassment, as Ben rightly puts it in my opinion, in the name of due diligence is in my view an attempt to create a fishing expedition to find minor glitches or unexplained bits of code–which exist in nearly all our kinds of complex work–and then assert that the entire result is thus suspect. Our best way to deal with this issue of replication is to have multiple independent author teams, with their own codes and data sets, publishing independent work on the same topics–like has been done on the “hockey stick”. That is how credible scientific replication should proceed.

Let the lawyers figure this out, but be sure that, like Ben is doing now, you disclose the maximum reasonable amount of information so competent scientists can do replication work, but short of publishing undocumented personalized codes etc. The end of the email Ben attached shows their intent–to discredit papers so they have no “evidentiary value in public policy”–what you resort to when you can’t win the intellectual battle scientifically at IPCC or NAS.

Good luck with this, and expect more of it as we get closer to international climate policy actions, We are witnessing the “contrarian battle of the bulge” now, and expect that all weapons will be used.

Cheers, Steve

PS Please do not copy or forward this email.

Now, why would Dr. Schneider not want his email copied or forwarded … perhaps because he is saying don’t follow the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, don’t release the code that shows the math and reveals how you got your results? He foolishly thinks that studies can be “replicated” by using different data and different codes … but that says absolutely nothing about the original study and whether it contains any mistakes. The only way to determine whether a study like a historical temperature reconstruction contains errors is to examine the scientists actual work You can’t just pick another different bunch of proxies, analyze them, and say “I’ve found mathematical errors in your reconstruction”. You can only find those errors if you examine the actual math the researcher used, and to do that you need access to “their” codes.

I put “their” codes, in quotes because, under the policies of the University of East Anglia (and many other Universities), the codes do not belong to Phil Jones. They were developed as a part of his employment, and as such they belong to the University, and not to Phil.

The researchers complain in various places that they do not want to reveal their “primary data” because it is available on the web. While this is often true, as I saw in my FOIA requests to CRU, it is not sufficient Just saying “I got the information from Website X” as CRU did is often totally inadequate to locate the data in question. Santer makes this charge, that anyone could go the CMIP website and get the data themselves … but unless he says exactly which data from which run of which model, the website address is meaningless.

The main impression that I get from the emails is that the various scientists think that I and other requesters are simply doing this to harass them. Nothing could be further from the truth. I respect actual scientists, I’m short of time myself so I understand time pressures, so I have no desire to put any scientist to any extra effort beyond providing what science requires – a full accounting of the data, the methods, and in some cases the computer code used to do the research. Anything more is harassment … but anything less is scientific obstruction. And if they would provide those things when they publish their results, they’d never hear from me. And if Nature Magazine and Science Magazine and the National Science Foundation and all of the journals and funders would just enforce their own existing rules on archiving and transparency, the problem would be solved. But noooo, for the select friends of Phil these bothersome transparency regulations are ignored and overlooked.

As I said, the issue is not Trenberth or the Nature “trick” or scientists talking smack about each other. It is the illegal evasion of legitimate scientific requests for data needed to replicate a scientific study. Without replication, science cannot move forwards. And when you only give data to friends of yours, and not to people who actually might take a critical look at it, care to guess what you might end up with?

A “consensus” …

My best to everyone,