The Guardian on “Climate Consensus Under Strain”

Thanks to Ron Cram’s link to a Guardian article: “Climate consensus under strain”.

You can read it in its entirety but I thought I’d post a few comments from various writers and open it up for discussion.

Here is the roundtable question:

We ask a range of experts: what damage has been done by recent criticisms of climate science credibility?

George Monbiot:

These scandals have done tremendous damage. This is not because they threaten the canon of climate science – that would require similar exposés of tens of thousands of scientific papers – but because they create an atmosphere of opacity and evasion. Rajendra Pachauri’s initial dismissal of questions over the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Himalayan glacier date suggests a failure to listen, which is inimical to scientific discourse. I am also amazed to learn that the IPCC doesn’t pay its chairman, obliging him to work elsewhere, which has caused the other scandal in which he’s embroiled. Anyone would think that running the organisation was a full-time job. This isn’t a task for amateurs.

He goes on to say:

All data, and the statistical tools used to analyse them, should be produced at the time of publication, and I hope that one of the outcomes of this scandal is that this becomes routine. Never again should people have to use FoI requests to find out what scientists have been up to, let alone have them refused.

On this I agree:

  1. The emails have not overturned the canons of climate science
  2. They do create an atmosphere of opacity and evasion
  3. This isn’t a task for amateurs
  4. All the data and methods necessary to replicate the science on which the IPCC is based should be released so that FOIs are not necessary.

Vicky Pope of the Met Office:

None of the mistakes call into question the fundamental science. The UEA temperature record is one of three independent records that all show clearly that global-average temperature has increased over the past century and that warming has been particularly rapid since the 1970s. Mistakes identified in the IPCC report have been investigated and publicly corrected if appropriate. These mistakes have all been about the impacts of climate change – perhaps one of the most difficult areas of research and one which is evolving rapidly.

The key finding that “warming is unequivocal and very likely due to man’s activities” remains robust. The basic physics tells us that increasing greenhouse gases cause global warming – and we are likely to pay a heavy price if we keep emitting them.

Again, no destruction of the science.  She reinforces the need for rigorous open science, and an “appropriate open access” to methods and data and for rational debate.

Agreed.

Mike Hulme of UEA:

The scientific process offers a wonderful method for probing, critical and fearless inquiry into the way the physical world works. But scientific knowledge can never determine policy. Policy emerges through political processes, where interpretations, judgments and compromises are made by individuals and groups of individuals as they weigh uncertain and changing scientific knowledge against normative criteria. It is foolish to state “the science demands” anything. It is people who demand things, not science. We need more honesty about what climate science can offer society – and what it can’t.

Science is science and policy is policy — yes. Fair enough and pretty self-evident. To that end, science must be held separate from the development of public policy because science has to appear to be objective and unbiased.

Public policy is of necessity a political endeavor — it is our societies deciding what we want to see happen via the political process.  Scientists provide us with evidence of what is going on in the environment. They can provide evidence on why it is happening. They provide scenarios based on modeling on what might happen if it continues. They can provide consequences of options we might choose to address the problem.  They cannot tell us what to do.

Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees, argues this of the CRU emails:

The picture they reveal is a revealing insight into the everyday business of professional science – the jockeying for status, the to-ing and fro-ing over obscure statistical methodologies, the sniping and the gossip, and the constant battle to get the latest work past the reviewers and into the various learned journals. But the UEA emails also reveal something else: this was a group of academics who felt under siege from, as Mike Mann (of “Hockey stick” fame) put it in June 2008, sceptics who were “not interested in the truth… [but] just looking for another way to try to undermine confidence in our science”.

This siege mentality led to corners being cut, and the development of a paranoid them-and-us mentality which worked to the detriment of good science. This was unfortunate – but perhaps unavoidable, given the bitter nature of the sceptics v science battle. Public confidence will need to be restored, but this will be very difficult in the context of an ongoing misinformation campaign by dedicated and highly politicised global warming denialists.

This most succinctly states my own view. The emails reveal that many climate scientists felt under seige by denialists who sought to discredit their work and them personally. Anyone who has read the blogs knows how personal this has become — it is tantamount to vendetta on the part of some.

Climate science has significant implications for public policy, for the economy and for society as a whole. There are interest groups who may benefit from it or be harmed by it — some even both. Their interests can lead them to public action in order to influence the political process.

They should not be able to influence the scientific process.

Roger Pilke Sr.:

A human influence on the climate system is very real. Climate policy is important. So too is advice from experts to inform climate policy deliberations. Consequently it is of utmost importance that leading institutions of climate science – including of course impacts, adaptation and economics – have processes and procedures in place to sustain credibility and trust in their work. Regrettably, the IPCC has not met these high standards. The solution is obvious – to bring the archaic policies and procedures that govern the IPCC into the 21st century. To date the IPCC has been far too ad hoc and unaccountable.

I have stated my agreement that the IPCC should not use second-hand science when drawing conclusions about the science of global warming and its impacts. If little is known, then go with that. If something is known, use the best peer-reviewed science to support it. The public and policy makers must have confidence in the IPCC and its findings.

Roger Highfield, editor of New Scientist:

Good science thrives on scepticism and this consensus crystallised after much argument and deliberation by thousands of scientists. Alas the consensus view has given the public the false impression that the IPCC is a priesthood, handing down tablets of wisdom. The unfolding drama of email-gate suggests that researchers are secretive and that they used dodgy data, as reported this week in the Guardian by the New Scientist’s environment consultant. Nor did it help that an IPCC “fact” was based on a non-peer-reviewed source: a report in New Scientist. The IPCC needs a makeover.

A makeover sure, but not an execution and burial.

Bjorn Lomborg, who needs no introduction:

There have long been polarising and bitter clashes between climate change deniers and alarmists. The truth is that exaggeration in either direction is unhelpful in informing us how best to respond to climate change. We require level heads and honesty from climatologists and the IPCC.

I’m all for economic alarmists stopping their battlecry of “What about the children?” or “Jobs! Jobs! Armageddon! Jobs!”. I don’t see that the WG1 was alarmist, although I do agree that some of the statements in WG2 have been inadequately supported by good peer-reviewed science.

James Garvey on the psychology:

On one hand you have virtually the entire scientific community backing the IPCC’s report that there’s a 90% chance that human beings are driving climate change, and on the other questionable emails and a mistake about glaciers. Can anyone really believe that a dark plot orchestrated in East Anglia has hoodwinked the world’s scientific community? Is the glacier business actually on a par with a cover up like Watergate? If reasonable people base their beliefs on evidence, why do we latch on to a few news stories when the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is overwhelming?

Why? People do not want to believe that AGW is a threat because then they might have to change their behavior or pay more for things like gas and oil. They like conspiracy theories, which is why Area 51, Roswell, The Grassy Knoll and The Faked Moon Landing are so popular in the public psyche. People love The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.

Of course, they love Climate Tattlers that talk of scandalous behavior of climate scientists and talk of the greatest hoax of all time. The more scandalous the talk, the more the ol’ tip jar probably fills up…



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30 Responses to “The Guardian on “Climate Consensus Under Strain””

  1. The Hockey stick is defunct. The land measurements have plenty of uncertainties, whereas satellite data shows no warming.

    There is no reliable clear indication of warming attributable to man. Climate is well within historical cycles. Its much ado about nothing.

    Alarmists can spew out loads of data, but so what? Miles of IPCC reports all prove precisely nothing.

    Belief in warming is a faith. Its fine for folks to have a faith, but the AGW faith is not strongly indicated by science.

    Human history is full of odd religions. Its not nice that there are false prophets, but their is a rich tradition of them.

    • Wow – that’s really convincing.

      • You may not find his conclusions convincing, but you cannot disprove them (slightly modified) either. No one really knows how much of the 20th century warming was real. Of the real warming, no one knows how much was natural and how much was from man.

        I am willing to accept mankind’s burning of fossil fuels is increasing atmospheric CO2. I am also willing to say it is reasonable to be concerned that increasing CO2 might cause dangerous warming and so it should be studied. Unfortunately, we do not have a reliable surface temp record.

        Even with the uncertainties of the surface temp record, it is clear that our planet has not warmed as much as expected. Why not? The climate appears not to be as sensitive to CO2 as we might have thought.

        • They’re opinions. There’s no evidence provided to back them up and so they are worth nothing more than any other opinions. Why would they be convincing?

          No one can disprove that aliens live among us either, but the evidence that does exist to support the opinion that my brother is from another planet is pretty thin, despite all the weirdness.

          As to the surface temperature record, we have a body of research and evidence that shows clear warming in the second half of the twentieth century. This body of evidence and research is supported by the bulk of scientists. As such, those making alternate claims bear the burden of proof to show that body of research and scientific theory is not reliable and must provide equally sound science to back that up.

          As to your opinion about how much warming is to be expected, please show me the basis of your opinion — who expected what when and based on what authority?

          As to your opinion on climate sensitivity, please provide the evidence to support that opinion.

          • The point of view he puts forward testable. Take each of the statements as the null hypothesis. Can it be disproved?

            You can do the same with the AGW viewpoint. Can it be disproved?

            If neither can be disproved, what is the correct course of action for policymakers?

            To answer your two questions at the bottom, I would point you to the most recent paper by Schwartz on why the planet has not warmed as much as expected.

            • So, let’s test them:
              1. The hockeystick has been reproduced in various formats by various groups. Not defunct.

              2. The land measurements indeed have some uncertainty, but those are *at least as likely* to introduce a cooling bias as a warming bias.

              3. The satellites *do* show warming. 0.13 per decade for UAH, 0.15 for RSS (and why would these be more reliable? They are an *indirect* measurement of temperature and require major modeling (gasp!) to extract the temperature in the troposphere)

              4 “There is no reliable clear indication of warming attributable to man” needs to be clarified. What is “reliable”? “Clear”?
              We have a) the known influence of CO2 on the temperature of the atmosphere (plain radiative physics) and b) the isotope signal of increasing CO2 pointing to fossil fuel burning, along with a concomitant decrease in O2, and c) a complete lack of increasing solar input. Where does the warming come from?

              5. “Climate is well within historical cycles” is correct, considering that the earth has been MUCH warmer and MUCH colder. That is, however, irrelevant to the attribution case. Moreover, the history of the earth’s climate should give you pause: many of the climate changes saw mass extinctions. And the change in temperature was generally MUCH slower.

              • 1. Not true. The hockeystick has not been confirmed by independent studies. Other studies make the same mistakes, like using BCP.

                2. Not true. While the subject does not lend itself to a one-liner, I can point you to the recent paper by Watts and D’Aleo as well as a number of papers by Pielke Sr on the uncertainty.

                3. This is the slight modification. UAH shows a slight warming but nothing catastrophic. Satellites are better than land measurements because they are open and less likely to be subject to mischief.

                4. The statement is clear. No one knows how much of the warming in the last half of 20th century was natural and how much was man-made.

                5. The rate of change in the last half of the 20th century was the same as the rate of change from 1910-1940. There is nothing exceptional about late 20th century warming.

                None of this means global warming might not be a problem in the future. But it does mean people need to be more responsible in their statements.

                • 1. Wahl and Amman tried loads of stuff. All the same answer.

                  2. Watts and D’Aleo are crackpots. Real and utter crackpots. Pielke Sr is, by extension, getting really close. Menne et al showed Watts’ surfacestations claims to be wrong (including showing a *cooling* bias, contrary to the warming bias Watts claimed). John NG also already deconstructed the nonsense of Watts and D’Aleo
                  http://tinyurl.com/ykfy8aa
                  http://tinyurl.com/yec3ads
                  What John does not discuss is that removing higher latitude data stations actually would introduce a cooling bias, since the warming is higher at high latitudes. Removing those stations means the anomalies are “in-filled” partly by lower latitude stations, which have a lesser warming trend.

                  3. RSS gives the same warming trend as the land-based measurements. UAH gives a higher warming trend than HADCRU over the last decade. I guess Spcner and Christy are cooking the books…

                  4. Estimates range from 50-90% over the last 50 years.

                  5. We know that solar output increased in the first 50 years of the 20th century. No such luck during the biggest warming of the late 20th century (at least since 1970).

  2. I agree with:

    George Monbiot – “Throughout the hacked emails scandal, the University of East Anglia has failed to engage with public concerns or to offer convincing explanations. Its latest statement fails to address any of the major points made in the Guardian’s report. The attempts by Phil Jones to block or delete material subject to a freedom of information request are indefensible: if your data isn’t public and contestable, it’s not scientific… Never again should people have to use FoI requests to find out what scientists have been up to, let alone have them refused.”

    Richard Tol – “The IPCC bureau should resign as they have failed to remove Dr Pachauri before it was too late.”

    Byrony Worthington – “Mistakes have been made, changes should follow as a result. Any attempt to defend the indefensible will only make matters worse.”

    Fiona Fox – “We need an “amnesty on uncertainty” where scientists tell us what they do know, admit to what they don’t know and come clean on the areas of disagreement.”

    Ed Millibrand – “Two things should guide us as we consider the science of climate change: maximum openness and rigour in our approach and a focus on the overall picture that the science paints.”

    Bjorn Lomborg – “…these events accentuate the point that some of the more spectacular alarmism is not well-founded.”

    I can synthesize these comments briefly. Science has to be open or it is not science. Skeptics deserve to have access to data without having to resort to FoI requests. Without the input of skeptics, it is impossible to get an honest picture that the science paints. Mistakes were made by the IPCC. Any attempt to defend these mistakes or to minimize them will only make matters worse. Both the Pachauri and the IPCC bureau should resign or be replaced. Some of the more spectacular IPCC alarmism is not well-founded.

  3. My own favorite bit comes from Myles Allen, head of Climate Dynamics group at Oxford University, with an interesting thought experiment :

    Over 15 years ago, I co-authored a paper on global change detection with John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Back in 1994, John was firmly convinced that trends estimated from the satellite temperature record were accurate to well under a hundredth of a degree over the transition from one satellite to the next. This mattered, because if the satellite data were as accurate as John claimed, then both the surface record and the climate models had to be wrong.

    It turns out that John’s early confidence was mistaken: once various errors were corrected or accounted for in the analysis of the satellite data, the discrepancy disappeared, at least at the global level (there are still some niggling questions about the tropics). Am I now saying John should retract or resign? Of course not. This is not to say the satellite data was not a big deal. It was a huge deal: one of the key obstacles to our drawing stronger conclusions about human influence on climate in the IPCC Third Assessment in 2001. But it has been resolved, and science has moved on.

    Contrast this with the breathless revelations emerging from the UEA email affair. […]

    John Christy took a lot of heat over the satellite data, but nothing remotely like what is being turned on Phil Jones. It would have been romantic if John’s error had been uncovered by journalists combing through stolen emails, or members of the public issuing freedom of information requests.

    [My emphasis]

    Would it be too late to revisit that part of history of climate science?

    • Good point Willard — mistakes happen despite the best controls and due diligence and when one considers the task set for the IPCC, some mistakes, errors, and other problems will happen. Turning those into proof of fraud and hoax and imputing motive for them the way some contrarians and deniers have says more about them than it does about the IPCC and the scientists.

  4. Oops. Sorry, Ron — I accidentally hit “edit” instead of “reply” and didn’t even think about why your entire post was included in my reply. I’m so used to doing that when replying to emails…

    ETA: I found and restored your original comment.

    I can synthesize these comments briefly. Science has to be open or it is not science. Skeptics deserve to have access to data without having to resort to FoI requests. Without the input of skeptics, it is impossible to get an honest picture that the science paints.

    How open is “open” though? I know this is an impolitic question, but seriously — should anyone for any purpose be able to request the all the data and methods of any researcher anywhere in the world?

    Should my Great Uncle Bert be able to request the entire surface temp data and code, and then pepper the scientists with questions about how to replicate the surface temperature even though he has no classes in science since he only went to grade 8 and needs help with computers, windows, databases, math, stats, etc?

    This is a serious question about what constitutes science, what is a scientist and what is legitimate research? Should any TDH be able to set themselves up as scientific researchers or “auditors” and be able to demand data and methods and then demand assistance when they can’t figure out how to do science because they’ve never done it and don’t know the first thing about it?

    Mistakes were made by the IPCC. Any attempt to defend these mistakes or to minimize them will only make matters worse. Both the Pachauri and the IPCC bureau should resign or be replaced. Some of the more spectacular IPCC alarmism is not well-founded.

    I think a full review should be done in a manner that is official and transparent, complete with findings and recommendations by qualified scientists and science administrators. Summarily dismissing Pachauri and/or the IPCC bureau based on internet and media rumors, reports and opinions is not sound process.

    • How open is open? Completely open. Why shouldn’t Bert get the entire code? Who are you to determine that he should not have access? Are you afraid he is going to blow the planet up because he has come into possession of some lines of code? It is ridiculous. Science is open. Open is open. There are no limits to open or it isn’t open. Pretty simple concept really.

      Summarily dismissing Pachauri and the IPCC bureau is a reasonable decision based on the available evidence and the loss of credibility the IPCC has suffered. Trying to rehabilitate the reputations of these people will do prolonged damage to the IPCC. The next chairman must be willing to incorporate the views of the skeptics or publish a minority report of the science.

      • Open is open. There are no limits to open or it isn’t open. Pretty simple concept really.

        Let’s do a bit of a mind game to test your thinking: Currently, state governments have the right to execute citizens. So, if the state government has the right to execute citizens, it has the right to execute all citizens at all times for whatever reason it chooses?

        Come on Ron — you are being disingenuous.

        Should any citizen be able to go to any scientist’s lab and watch them do their science, peer over their shoulder while they are reviewing results, and watch as they do calculations? If not, why not? I mean, open is open.

        The reason why science should be open is so that other scientists can replicate the results, thus either supporting or not supporting scientific findings. What “open” means and how it is operationalized is up for debate. It would be perfectly legitimate for me to claim that “open” means providing data and describing all methods necessary for replication of results by other legitimate scientists.

        Scientists should make data and methods available, but then they should be able to do science, not spend their time explaining every step of their process to yokels those who are trying to discredit them through public smear campaigns to protect economic or political interests.

        • Susann, I’d even go as far as to suggest to *not* transfer data as much as possible. A scientific result is not really strengthened by someone being able to repeat the same analysis with the same data. That merely confirms that the first scientist has done the analysis right. Getting the data is usually the hard part where most ‘mistakes’ are made. Note that ‘mistakes’ here also refers to problems with instrument accuracy and precision. It also shows robustness. Sometimes seemingly trivial handling procedures can have major effects (I’ve experienced that a few times myself).

        • Susann,
          Geez. The example you provide is nowhere near apt.

          My point is open is open. To call for a limited openness means some people are left out. On what basis? Who chooses? Is it not possible Uncle Bert might find an error no one else is looking for? Of course it is.

          Science is not partially open. Never has been and never will be. If you wish to publish a science paper in a journal, the paper has to be good enough. That’s all. They do not ask to see your diploma. They do not ask who your mentor is or what university you studied at. You could be a home-schooled 6th grader. If you do good work, your paper will be published.

          Science is open. Open is open. Simple concept.

          • Ron, the fact is that it takes expertise and knowledge to get a paper published in a reputable science journal. E&E is a whole other matter. That kind of expertise is not found amongst sixth grade home schooled children, no matter how much coaching their father gives them. Doing good work is not enough. It has to rise above good. It has to be beyond good.

            All that science has to do is provide data and description of methods and that should be enough. It should be to reputable scientists who have a hope of actually understanding the data and doing something valuable with it. Remember, many of these scientists have done a lot of work gathering the data and analyzing it. Why should they give it to any TDH? Seriously — I can understand them giving the data to other scientists but not small-time minerals executives with an obvious conflict of interest.

            • Susann,
              You obviously do not much the storied history of amateur scientists. The history of science is a fascinating subject. Did you know Albert Einstein was a clerk in a patent office in 1905, the most prolific year of his career? Its true. He was not a famous academic. Yet he published four papers that year that revolutionized physics.

              You might be interested to read about Dr. Shawn Carlson, who wrote a column for several years for Scientific American called “Amateur Scientist.” It was a regular feature of the magazine from 1928 until 2000. Carlson runs an organization called Society of Amateur Scientists. See http://www.sas.org/

              You might also find this article interesting. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/23/science/23CONV.html?pagewanted=1

              Amateurs have made many contributions to astronomy. See http://www.sciencecentric.com/news/article.php?q=07100404

              Perhaps most interesting is this article in Popular Mechanics about some of the recent contributions by amateur scientists. See http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/4321192.html

              Too bad they didn’t mention Steve McIntyre who has published in GRL but never got a degree in climatology.

              • Einstein got his doctorate in 1905. He was far from being an amateur scientist. He was trained in everything he did.

                • Marco,
                  Like that negates everything I wrote. He published his first paper in 1902. He was a complete unknown in 1905, certainly not an “academic,” which was one of the bogus requirements put forward by CRU before they were busted. I cannot believe you are still trying to defend this anti-science and elitist attitude used to defend what everyone knows is wrong.

                  • You are comparing the end of the 19th century/early 20th century science with current day science. Major fail, Ron. However, one thing *is* similar: whereas Einstein *published* his ideas, the vast majority of ‘skeptics’ do “blog science” and almost invariably are shown to be wrong. Another quite interesting difference is that he didn’t go around screaming about a conspiracy, that all those other scientists were wrong, demanding data from others. Nothing of the sorts.

                • Actually, some historians of science have recently discovered that Einstein, when working as a patent clerk, was holding a private journal accounting for all Newton’s failings, theorical and otherwise. The title of the journal was Newtons Qualitäts-Audit.

                  Disclosure: this discovery has been made possible by a generous donation from the Onion Improbable Research Group.

                  • willard,
                    Thanks! Made me laugh! Also made me think how pissed off Newton would be to think of someone finding fault with his work.

                    Of course, Einstein did not have the business background to think in terms of an audit. His great genius was in his imagination. And he was right.

      • “open” is irrelevant. Ever since GISTEMP is open source, nothing has changed. It is *still* attacked on baseless grounds. When NIWA points to open code (freely translated “it’s in the articles, stupid!”), it is still attacked on baseless grounds.

        Regarding ‘skeptics’, would Ron Cram expect creationists to be invited everytime a review of the theory of evolution is written? Would Ron expect Matthias Rath, Peter Duesberg and the Perth group to be invited whenever the WHO writes a (policy) document about HIV and AIDS? (as an aside, the Perth group and Duesberg would fight each other out of the building). When NASA intends to send a satellite into orbit, should we invite flat-earthers (they really do exist) to make the plans?

        I could go on with examples. C’mon, Ron, please tell us whether you think all of these people should be invited, so we are ‘open’. If not, please explain the difference between the examples above and climate science.

        • Marco,
          GISS is more open than CRU but not open enough. The recent release of emails under FOI came only after the threat of a lawsuit.

          And, of course, GISS can still be criticized after releasing data and code. But now they are criticized because of what is in the code. It has to be open to be science but being open does not mean it is good science.

          I have no idea who Matthis Rath or the other mentioned people are so I cannot comment.

          Being open has to do with releasing the data, metadata, methods and code which support a paper so others can examine it and see if they can find errors or not. By finding errors they are improving the science. This really is not a difficult concept. Now that everyone else is on board, why are you dragging your feet?

          • Why should people release e-mails?!?!? Is that open science? Then DEMAND that Steve McIntyre release all his e-mails, or you are showing to be a hypocrite. Please give us the link to your comment requesting all his e-mails on Climateaudit!

            They are *not* criticised because of what is in the code! That’s the whole point I made. What Watts, Smith and D’Aleo are doing is failing to understand the code/deliberately misrepresenting the code. Choose the desired option, neither looks good on them.

            And don’t try to wriggle your way out of my questions. You know very well what creationists are. You know very well that there are HIV=AIDS ‘skeptics’. You know very well what flat-earthers are. I could add anti-vaccination groups, too. Be a man, Ron, and tell us why we should, or should not, include these groups of ‘skeptics’.

            Regarding your last comment, see my reply to Susann.

            • Emails were not the first things requested in the FOIs. First, they requested data from CRU without FOI process and were refused. Then they used the FOI process and were told they could not provide the data because of certain confidentiality agreements with different countries. Then it came out they provided data to other researchers so they FOI’d the same data given to those people and were told they could not provide the data to non-academics. So an academic, Ross McKitrick, asked for the data and was refused because of the confidentiality agreements mentioned before. So then they FOI’d the confidentiality agreements and Phil Jones posted a few agreements on the website and said others were lost (the old my dog ate my homework excuse). The agreements posted on the website said nothing about not providing the data to non-academics (or to anyone else if I remember correctly). Then someone inside of CRU who knew they were breaking the law by not complying with the FOIs evidently released information he thought was pertinent to the FOI requests. This included emails. Once this all broke in the press, their defense was they were beseiged by FOI requests and they just wanted to focus on their work. It is a bogus excuse because the FOI requests never would have happened if they had just provided the data the first time they were asked.

              Finally, because of the value of the information learned in the CRU emails, CEI FOI’d emails from GISS. And these emails also shed some important light on the issue.

              So the answer is yes. Releasing emails is sometimes required because it sheds light on the process. Process can be important in science, especially when that process is shrouded in secrecy.

              A request that someone release all emails is known as a “fishing expedition.” No one would support that. If you think you might learn something about a particular subject, you might ask him to release all emails about that subject. But I am not interested in Steve’s emails. He has been quite open and upholds the standards of science. He releases all of his code. He doesn’t appear to be hiding anything.

              • Ron, you are trying to shift focus again, after being caught. We were discussing GISS, not CRU. And CEI had been FOI’ing GISS *well before* (three years) the CRU mails were thrown on the internet.

                And Steve McIntyre being open means learning years after that he had the data all along (“but..but..but..I wasn’t sure it was the same”), claiming that a mole sent him data (“okay, I lied, I found it on a non-protected ftp-server”), and removed important parts from an e-mail which did not support his claims about Briffa supposedly being pressured. Add to that his vexatious FOI requests (deliberately inundating UEA with FOI requests is vexatious), his claim to being just an auditor but *only* attacking any and all papers that are pro-AGW, while leaving the often highly flawed papers of ‘skeptics’ free to make false claims (e.g. Soon&Baliunas, Douglass et al (he only tried to attack Santer et al, which rebuts Douglass et al)).

                For a supposed objective auditor he sure is, well, not objective…

              • Oh, and please stop making the ridiculous claims that someone at CRU ‘released’ the e-mails. Where’s that whistleblower? Why did he hack into realclimate?

                And also please making the bogus claim that there were so few confidentiality agreements. I have a challenge to you: write to ten meteorological societies and ask data from stations not in the GHCN. Tell us how many sent you the data, and how many demanded you pay for the data and then demanded you do not give it to others. Perhaps you could try in particular with some of the organisations listed here:
                http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/availability/agreements.pdf
                Note the “only for NERC approved research”, and “do not supply to third parties” comments.

              • Finally, please answer my simple question:
                You know very well what creationists are. You know very well that there are HIV=AIDS ’skeptics’. You know very well what flat-earthers are. I could add anti-vaccination groups, too. Be a man, Ron, and tell us why we should, or should not, include these groups of ’skeptics’?

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