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Climategate inquiry: the verdict is in
Posted: 30 March 2010 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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And of course, the science is vindicated!

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—”trick” and “hiding the decline”—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.

Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.

The Committee found no reason in this inquiry to challenge the scientific consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, that “global warming is happening [and] that it is induced by human activity”. But this was not an inquiry into the science produced by CRU and it will be for the Scientific Appraisal Panel, announced by the University on 22 March, to determine whether the work of CRU has been soundly built.

Now watch the denial movement spin that one smile

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Posted: 30 March 2010 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Great news. Score another one for science, along with its victory against intelligent design! I wish science would get taken to court more often >=)

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Posted: 30 March 2010 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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domokato - 30 March 2010 06:16 PM

Great news. Score another one for science, along with its victory against intelligent design! I wish science would get taken to court more often >=)

Indeed - I wonder, is climate sciences equivlent to the Dover trial?????

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Posted: 30 March 2010 10:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m late to this thread and new to this forum and site. As one who doesn’t accept many claims of the anthropogenic climate change/global warming crowd, I’m curious as to the position of people in CFI. For one thing, the term “deniers” strikes me as a smear and it tends to derail objective discourse. I’ve studied the science, and I’m qualified to do so. While there is apparently warming (assuming that the data are valid; it’s hard to measure the temperature of the whole world even today, let alone 160 years ago,) the evidence that it’s man-made is weak. This makes me a skeptic, not a denier. Perhaps it even makes me a scientist.

I am also curious as to the financial interests of the persons involved in the stories referenced above. Billions in research dollars can color interpretations on either side of a question. Politics, too, play a role. Money & power do not facilitate cool-headed reasoning. For the record, I have no monetary or political skin in the game for either position, other than a wish that liberties be protected.

[ Edited: 30 March 2010 10:29 PM by TucsonTom ]
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Posted: 31 March 2010 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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TucsonTom - 30 March 2010 10:17 PM

I’m late to this thread and new to this forum and site. As one who doesn’t accept many claims of the Copernican/Heliocentric crowd, I’m curious as to the position of people in CFI. For one thing, the term “flat earthers” strikes me as a smear and it tends to derail objective discourse. I’ve studied the science, and I’m qualified to do so. While ...apparently the earth is going around the sun (assuming that the data are valid; it’s hard to measure the age of the universe even today, let alone 160 years ago,) the evidence fo heliocentrism is weak. This makes me a skeptic, not a denier. Perhaps it even makes me a scientist.

Extrodinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I can make outrageous claims too.

The usual grab-bag of denialist claims with no evidence. Shall pass on engaging drive-by posters.

Anyhoo, for those interested in the science I recommend “Skeptical Science” and “AGW Observer” for a great overview of the science.

[Note: Since you modified his statement and tried to show the modifications in red, I went through made the color changes more accurate..]

[ Edited: 31 March 2010 04:56 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 31 March 2010 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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TucsonTom - 30 March 2010 10:17 PM

I’m late to this thread and new to this forum and site. As one who doesn’t accept many claims of the anthropogenic climate change/global warming crowd, I’m curious as to the position of people in CFI. For one thing, the term “deniers” strikes me as a smear and it tends to derail objective discourse. I’ve studied the science, and I’m qualified to do so. While there is apparently warming (assuming that the data are valid; it’s hard to measure the temperature of the whole world even today, let alone 160 years ago,) the evidence that it’s man-made is weak. This makes me a skeptic, not a denier. Perhaps it even makes me a scientist.

I am also curious as to the financial interests of the persons involved in the stories referenced above. Billions in research dollars can color interpretations on either side of a question. Politics, too, play a role. Money & power do not facilitate cool-headed reasoning. For the record, I have no monetary or political skin in the game for either position, other than a wish that liberties be protected.

Re. the position of CFI, I am not aware as to whether, as an institution, CFI has any position on this matter. That said, their flagship magazine Skeptical Inquirer has run plenty of articles from prominent scientists on the fact of anthropogenic global warming, as well as mild rebuttals from people like Bjorn Lomborg (who is not himself a climatologist). They had one two-part cover story on the issue a few years ago.

The people in the best position to determine the temperature of the world are those scientists in whose employ they study the earth’s climate. The climate is not the weather. Climatologists and their related fields (paleoclimatologists, who study the earth’s climate history, etc.) do this sort of work professionally. Anthropogenic global warming is consensus science in climatology and paleoclimatology. That is, it is accepted as factual by the vast majority of practitioners in those fields, just as evolution is accepted by the vast majority of biologists. Note that I did not say either of these were accepted by literally all of the scientists in those fields. There are fringe scientists in all fields.

Financial corruption is a vast problem everywhere, and particularly in issues of junk science, where the general public is frankly illiterate and prone to be swayed by fallacious arguments by people providing slim facts. For historical facts, check out the Tobacco Institute. For a more recent example, check out for instance THIS article about how Koch industries has funded climate denying groups to the tune of nearly $25 million from 05-08. Exxon spent nearly $9 million in the same period to the same end. Other oil and gas companies spend similarly large amounts. Check out the fundings of the groups posting climate denial information—most of them are funded by oil companies.

You say that you have a wish for liberties to be protected. Does this include the liberty to despoil the environment? There is a well known problem in economics called the “tragedy of the commons”, where a free resource is open to exploitation by all. (In this case, it is the common grazing ground of a community of pastoral shepherds). If all are allowed the liberty to graze as many sheep as often as they want, the resulting exploitation will kill the grass and all will starve. If, on the other hand, a decision is made to regulate the resource, then it may be available to all in a limited fashion forever. The same happens with overfishing, causing species extinctions. Regulation of common resources is essential to preserve those resources for future generations. The environment, including the chemical makeup of our air, is one such resource.

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Posted: 31 March 2010 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Real Climate science web site has some good news links in their announcement.

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Posted: 31 March 2010 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 31 March 2010 07:34 AM

You say that you have a wish for liberties to be protected. Does this include the liberty to despoil the environment? There is a well known problem in economics called the “tragedy of the commons”, where a free resource is open to exploitation by all. (In this case, it is the common grazing ground of a community of pastoral shepherds). If all are allowed the liberty to graze as many sheep as often as they want, the resulting exploitation will kill the grass and all will starve. If, on the other hand, a decision is made to regulate the resource, then it may be available to all in a limited fashion forever. The same happens with overfishing, causing species extinctions. Regulation of common resources is essential to preserve those resources for future generations. The environment, including the chemical makeup of our air, is one such resource.

Just a note on this. I read that prior to the invention of private property in the Europe, farmers had no problem sharing the commons and in fact had many words used to describe common resources [I can’t find the source, sorry].

Unfortunately, a community of people and a community of corporations are two completely different things confused

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Posted: 31 March 2010 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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domokato - 31 March 2010 10:42 AM

Just a note on this. I read that prior to the invention of private property in the Europe, farmers had no problem sharing the commons and in fact had many words used to describe common resources [I can’t find the source, sorry].

Unfortunately, a community of people and a community of corporations are two completely different things confused

Well, but that’s to say that they regulated it by common consent. The question is what happens when one farmer decides to overuse the resource, in the name of personal liberty? For such a system to work, there would have to be punishments to deter this. There really isn’t a difference between communities of people or corporations in that sense.

The problem is that there are externalities to economic behavior: costs that are implicit in the exploitation of a resource or use of a product that are not captured in its market price. See, e.g., the wiki page on environmental economics.

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Posted: 31 March 2010 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The best review of the science of AGW that I’ve ran across to date is a paper entitled “The Global Warming Debate: A Review of the State of Science,” published in the peer reviewed journal Pure and Applied Geophysics, 162 (2005) 1-30. Here’s a link to it. The paper provides an excellent tutorial of the basic science before getting into the research findings. It summarizes evidence on both sides of the debate, and it also looks at extreme weather events. The authors’ conclude:

During the long geological history of the earth, there was no correlation between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels. Earth has been warming and cooling at highly irregular intervals and the amplitudes of temperature change were also irregular. The warming of about 0.3-degrees C in recent years has prompted suggestions about anthropogenic influence on the earth’s climate due to increasing human activity worldwide. However, a close examination of the earth’s temperature change suggests that the recent warming may be primarily due to urbanization and land-use change impact and not due to increased levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.


Besides land-use change, solar variability and the sun’s brightness appear to provide a more significant forcing on earth’s climate than previously believed. Recent studies suggest solar influence as a primary driver of the earth’s climate in geological times. Even on a shorter time scale, solar irradiance and its variability may have contributed to more than sixty percent of the total warming of the 20th century. The impact of solar activity like cosmic ray flux on the earth’s cloud cover has not been fully explored and may provide an additional forcing to the earth’s mean temperature change.


There appears to be no intimate link between global warming and worldwide extreme weather events to date. Increasing economic impact due to extreme weather events in the conterminous USA appears to be a result of societal change in wealth and population and not due to global warming. Outside of thus USA, very few studies have been reported thus far which make a meaningful analysis of economic impact of extreme weather events. There has been no accelerated sea-level rise anywhere during the 20th century.


Our review suggests that the present state of global warming science is at an important cross road. There is a definite need to reassess the science and examine various issues that have been discussed and analyzed here.

This doesn’t strike me as the ravings of a group of political fanatics. In fact, it seems like the reasoned arguments of qualified scientists. Now it may well be that I’m wrong in accepting the conclusions of these authors and others who don’t believe that human activity is causing runaway global warming. But I don’t believe that it’s unreasonable to do so. I think that open-minded skeptics in on this site owe it to those of us who are not convinced to at least refrain from trying to silence us with name-calling, comparisons to flat-earthers, and other personal attacks. It’s unbecoming and it smacks of censorship and a desire to silence those with whom you disagree. Surely that’s not what CFI is all about.

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Posted: 31 March 2010 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Anyhoo, for those interested in the science I recommend “Skeptical Science” and “AGW Observer” for a great overview of the science.

I have a recommendation of my own, click here for a paper from a peer-reviewed journal.

Extrodinary [sic] claims require extraordinary evidence. I can make outrageous claims too. The usual grab-bag of denialist claims with no evidence. Shall pass on engaging drive-by posters.

As far as making extraordinary claims, the number of end-of-the-world scenarios predicted by the climate change crowd certainly strike me as extraordinary: mass extinctions, worldwide flooding of coastal areas, increased extreme weather events of all types, desertification of vast regions, famines, malarial plagues, even an imminent new ice-age. Etc., etc.. Compared to this, claiming that the science of climate is still unsettled hardly seems like an “extraordinary claim.”

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Posted: 31 March 2010 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Tom, this is called “cherry picking”. You pick one paper out of thousands that agrees with your initial point of view on the matter. If you do that, you will end up believing almost literally anything. There are papers in peer reviewed journals extolling ESP, homeopathy, chiropractic, prayer healing, the safety of tobacco, etc. They wouldn’t strike you as written by groups of political fanatics, either. What matters in these cases aren’t individual papers, but the general consensus.

The only important fact is illustrated on the wiki page about the scientific opinion on climate change, which I have cited on this forum many times: “An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system… There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion since the American Association of Petroleum Geologists adopted its current position in 2007.”

(One may also wonder why it was the petroleum geologists in particular who held out so long).

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Posted: 31 March 2010 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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dougsmith - 31 March 2010 07:34 AM
TucsonTom - 30 March 2010 10:17 PM

I’m late to this thread and new to this forum and site. As one who doesn’t accept many claims of the anthropogenic climate change/global warming crowd, I’m curious as to the position of people in CFI. For one thing, the term “deniers” strikes me as a smear and it tends to derail objective discourse. I’ve studied the science, and I’m qualified to do so. While there is apparently warming (assuming that the data are valid; it’s hard to measure the temperature of the whole world even today, let alone 160 years ago,) the evidence that it’s man-made is weak. This makes me a skeptic, not a denier. Perhaps it even makes me a scientist.

I am also curious as to the financial interests of the persons involved in the stories referenced above. Billions in research dollars can color interpretations on either side of a question. Politics, too, play a role. Money & power do not facilitate cool-headed reasoning. For the record, I have no monetary or political skin in the game for either position, other than a wish that liberties be protected.

The people in the best position to determine the temperature of the world are those scientists in whose employ they study the earth’s climate. The climate is not the weather. Climatologists and their related fields (paleoclimatologists, who study the earth’s climate history, etc.) do this sort of work professionally. Anthropogenic global warming is consensus science in climatology and paleoclimatology. That is, it is accepted as factual by the vast majority of practitioners in those fields, just as evolution is accepted by the vast majority of biologists. Note that I did not say either of these were accepted by literally all of the scientists in those fields. There are fringe scientists in all fields.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree that paleoclimatologists are probably the most qualified people to assess climate change. However, there is no consensus among these scientists regarding AGW. I find journal papers presenting data that can be interpreted either way. I am also good friends with an extremely bright 93 year-old retired (obviously) paleogeologist who keeps up on the science and who passionately believes that AGW is overblown, at best.

Financial corruption is a vast problem everywhere, and particularly in issues of junk science, where the general public is frankly illiterate and prone to be swayed by fallacious arguments by people providing slim facts. For historical facts, check out the Tobacco Institute. For a more recent example, check out for instance THIS article about how Koch industries has funded climate denying groups to the tune of nearly $25 million from 05-08. Exxon spent nearly $9 million in the same period to the same end. Other oil and gas companies spend similarly large amounts. Check out the fundings of the groups posting climate denial information—most of them are funded by oil companies.
You say that you have a wish for liberties to be protected. Does this include the liberty to despoil the environment? There is a well known problem in economics called the “tragedy of the commons”, where a free resource is open to exploitation by all. (In this case, it is the common grazing ground of a community of pastoral shepherds). If all are allowed the liberty to graze as many sheep as often as they want, the resulting exploitation will kill the grass and all will starve. If, on the other hand, a decision is made to regulate the resource, then it may be available to all in a limited fashion forever. The same happens with overfishing, causing species extinctions. Regulation of common resources is essential to preserve those resources for future generations. The environment, including the chemical makeup of our air, is one such resource.

Regarding the Tragedy of the Commons concept. I am well aware that it is a common justification for supporting the Leviathan approach to government, which you appear to favor. However, I find that the Tragedy of the Commons also applies to public funding issues: dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. Certainly this applies to funding of global warming research. Researchers and their institutions receive billions in funding to study what politicians believe to be a serious problem, while the costs are dispersed among millions of taxpayers. The researchers have a strong incentive to keep the issue at the forefront, while the taxpayer has little incentive to look into the benefits (or validity) of the research. Perhaps the basis of the so-called scientific consensus (I have little patience for the consensus argument on scientific matters,) is simply the desire of people receiving public funds to keep their jobs. The funding by corporations is minuscule by comparison.

I am certainly not advocating that we ignore economic externalities. However, when CO2 is ruled to be a pollutant by the EPA I have to think things are going too far. After all, we exhale CO2 with every breath, and CO2 is known to be excellent plant food. I believe a return to reason is probably the answer to most of our problems. The political aspects of the AGW debate does not strike me as reasonable.

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Posted: 31 March 2010 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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TucsonTom - 31 March 2010 12:28 PM

Regarding the Tragedy of the Commons concept. I am well aware that it is a common justification for supporting the Leviathan approach to government, which you appear to favor. However, I find that the Tragedy of the Commons also applies to public funding issues: dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. Certainly this applies to funding of global warming research. Researchers and their institutions receive billions in funding to study what politicians believe to be a serious problem, while the costs are dispersed among millions of taxpayers. The researchers have a strong incentive to keep the issue at the forefront, while the taxpayer has little incentive to look into the benefits (or validity) of the research. Perhaps the basis of the so-called scientific consensus (I have little patience for the consensus argument on scientific matters,) is simply the desire of people receiving public funds to keep their jobs. The funding by corporations is minuscule by comparison.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but this is nonsense, Tom. Climatologists would receive funding for climate study whether or not there was a finding of AGW.

On the other hand, the many groups putting out anti-AGW propaganda would likely be out of their jobs if it weren’t for the money they receive for that end from people like Koch Industries and the oil companies.

What you are suggesting is that climatologists are falsifying their data in order to get funding. Stolen emails notwithstanding, there has been no evidence of this. Certainly there has been no evidence to support such complete corruption of all the global scientific organizations I referred to in my prior post. So that claim is false on its face.

Further, if you have no patience for looking into the scientific consensus, then you cannot be a true skeptic in the scientific sense of the word, or indeed a scientifically literate person. Being scientifically literate is, at the very least, having some knowledge of the scientific consensus, without which there is nothing to science at all.

The problem is that you appear to be approaching this as a political issue primarily. You have libertarian political leanings, and it makes you angry to be told what to do by the government. So you decide that the objective AGW facts coming out of science must be wrong. This is the wrong way to approach any scientific issue, since at base it is an example of wishful thinking.

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Posted: 31 March 2010 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Cancer researchers get funding from government. Do they make up cancer?

The LHC costs USD $6bn dollars to build. Did physicists make up atoms and sub-atomic particles to get their hands on that money? If climate scientists really wanted the money, they’d throw down their climate models, go to CERN and get some of that hot physics money.

The CDC has a budget of millions. Do they need to make up infectious diseases to get funding?

Shall we go on?

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Posted: 03 April 2010 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Here are some highlights from the “House of Commons Science
and Technology Committee

“The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research
Unit at the University of East Anglia

“Eighth Report of Session 2009–10”

It looks like many of the most serious accusations from the
CC-deniers have been addressed and refuted.  (such as items 7.
and 8. of the conclusion).  Although, the court seems to want
to pursue the alleged Freedom of Information Act 2000 breech
(see item 11. of the conclusion).  The court recommends that
the University of E. Anglia change their practices about
publishing raw science data for greater transparency, they want
to see publishing on the WWW (see item 20 of the conclusion).
They say that professor Jones’ and the CRU reputation remains
strong and intact, they see no basis for the accusation that
Jones’ tried to “hide the decline”, nor a basis to challenge
the scientific consensus that global warning is anthropogenic
(see item 23 of the conclusion).

(The link to that UK Parliamentary report is in the announcement
from Real Climate that I mentioned earlier.)

I hope that everyone can get on-board with this serious
anthropogenic CC crisis, now.  Someone tell me that that
isn’t just a pipe dream!

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