The Chronology of ClimateGate


In the early 1970's, scientists scared the population with predictions of an impending new ice age. The media presented artist's renderings of glaciers covering North America and Europe and reported faithfully about the approaching doom.

After a short acid-rain intermezzo in the 1980's, the doomsday visions suddenly turned from a catastrophical ice age to a catastrophical rise in global temperatures. The media presented artist's renderings of dried-out, burnt lands and of flooded cities where only the tips of spires remained visible above the rising sea levels. And the media reported faithfully about the new type of approaching doom.

In 1999, physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson explained some of the events that led to the radical change of the predictions from ice to heat:

In the nineteen-sixties the fluid dynamicist Syukuro Manabe was running global climate models on the supercomputer at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton. Manabe began very early (before it became fashionable) to run models of climate with variable amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He ran models with carbon dioxide at two and four times the present abundance, and saw in the computer output the rise in average ground temperature that is now called Global Warming. He told everybody not to believe the numbers. But the politicians in Washington believed. They wanted numbers, he gave them numbers, so they naturally believed the numbers.

Meanwhile, weather stations were built, weather balloons were launched, satellites recorded temperature, and computers, ever more powerful, continued to predict catastrophical warming from atmospheric models that were more and more refined.

As it happens in science, dissenting voices turned up. Some scientists argued, for example, how climate models were adjusted. Computer models of the atmosphere contain a large number of empirical factors. Most commonly, those factors are determined by starting the model in the past and advancing the prediction to the present. Then, the factors (in Freeman Dyson's words, fudge factors) are adjusted so that the model output matches the present climate. With the fudge factors calibrated in this manner, the models are now allowed to continue the prediction into the future. However, many of these factors have no physical basis, and it is not known whether those factors are constant over time. Furthermore, climate models are nonlinear and therefore extremely sensitive towards changes of the initial conditions or of model parameters. This sensitivity has been reported [1,2], and disparities between model predictions and measured temperature were observed [3,4].

Normally, a healthy scientific discourse would emerge, and scientists would work on resolving discrepancies and contradictions. In the end, scientists striving to find the truth would have advanced human knowledge. Not so in the case of global warming. The doomsday scenario of man-made climate change morphed into a dogmatic belief system, and dissenters were hushed up or ridiculed. Meanwhile, a very strong alliance of special-interest groups had formed that benefited from global warming doomsday predictions:

  1. Politicians. Any crisis, including an environmental threat, allows politicians to gain power. If the populace is convinced that legislative action is needed, politicians find it easy to levy new taxes or introduce more regulation.
  2. Media. Bad news sell better than good news. Reports of environmental threats and of actual disasters sell well. Furthermore, many media corporations support the big-government agenda.
  3. Environmentalist groups. Their revenue and membership increases when people are convinced of an environmental threat.
  4. Scientists in climate research. Given the political interest in the global warming issue, they benefit through more research funds.
  5. Lawyers. Many high-profile environmental-political lawsuits turn out to be very profitable.
  6. Subsidized industries. Governmental support for alternative energies provides additional revenue sources at taxpayer's expense.
As a consequence, the need to suppress dissenting voices and to monopolize the scientific discourse in a way that does not allow the global warming hypothesis to be challenged, became a desperate goal of these interest groups.

The ranks of global warming dissenters swelled over the years, but this process went widely unnoticed by the general public because of biased reporting by the media. Dissenting scientists were branded "skeptics" and "deniers". Web sites like climateaudit.org and conferences such as the International Conference on Climate Change remain insufficiently publicized.

Now, something unheard of has happened. On November 20, the New Zealand Investigative Magazine's TGIF Edition [5] reported that hundreds of megabytes of internal files from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) have been leaked to the Internet. CRU director Phil Jones confirmed that the files are from his institute [5]. For the first time, e-mails, internal documents, and program code is available for public scrutiny.

This article focuses primarily on the evolution of events after the leak. With this chronology, the reaction of scientsts, politicians, media, and the public can be studied. The question that we are asking as we are assembling the chronology of events (today, 11-30-2009) is whether the powerful special-interest groups will be able to hush up the ClimateGate scandal, or whether scientific integrity will prevail through a thorough investigation of the allegiations, followed, if the outcome of the investigation so requires, by a correction of policies. The long-term direction that this scandal will take is - at present - not forseeable.


11-17-2009:

An unknown hacker uploaded a file FOIA.zip to the server of Realclimate.org and provided a link to the file from a blog post. The file was copied from the Realclimate server four times before Realclimate was able to shut it down and delete the file. The letters FOIA were likely an acronym for Freedom Of Information Act. More details about the early events here. Rumors exist that a second file, FOIB.zip, may also have been leaked and contains more data and files.

The IP address of the originating server indicates a proxy server that facilitates anonymous access. It appears very difficult to trace the identity of the hacker.

11-19-2009:

The file, now FOI2009.zip file appears on a Russian server http://ftp.tomcity.ru/incoming/free/FOI2009.zip (meanwhile removed) and is rapidly copied to other sites. It appears that the Air Vent Blog is the first to report the existence of such a file to the broad audience.

A few links to the file FOI2009.zip are:

11-20-2009:

It seems to be pure irony that the leaked file was posted on Realclimate.org, the arguably most dogmatic pro-warming alarmist site ("Climate science from climate scientists" - I guess the other climate scientists, those who qualify as "deniers", aren't?).

Realclimate reacts quickly with a blog post that is continually updated over the next few days. This blog clearly aims at painting a "business as usual" picture where any of the criticisms are mere exaggerations or misunderstandings. Particularly obvious is the strategy by Realclimate.org to paint those who analyze the data as right-wing conspiracy nutcases:

More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to "get rid of the MWP", no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no "marching orders" from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.

Many readers will recognize this as the "straw man fallacy" where the basic idea is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. The other agruments in the blogs are not much more convincing. Take, for example,

Since emails are normally intended to be private, people writing them are, shall we say, somewhat freer in expressing themselves than they would in a public statement. For instance, we are sure it comes as no shock to know that many scientists do not hold Steve McIntyre in high regard. Nor that a large group of them thought that the Soon and Baliunas (2003), Douglass et al (2008) or McClean et al (2009) papers were not very good (to say the least) and should not have been published. These sentiments have been made abundantly clear in the literature (though possibly less bluntly).

Yes, e-mails are intended to be private, so they are often more revealing than the cleaned-up information that gets published. In fact, this attribute of e-mail traffic makes the leaked documents so damning. And the admission that "many scientists do not hold Steve McIntyre in high regard" is most unfortunate, because science is about a debate of the facts, not about who holds whom in what regard, or who "believes" what. Only facts count. And the Douglass, Soon, and McClean papers "are not very good"? Says who? The climate dogmaticists? "Should not have been published"? Is this not exactly in line with the accusations of the so-called skeptics that the peer-review process has been rigged?

Clearly, any post by Realclimate.org needs to be carefully examined for scientific bias (so should posts from the dissenting side).

11-21-2009:

American Thinker is among the first New Media to pick up the story and publish it to a broad audience. The same day, the New York Times is quick to publish an article about the data theft. Consistent with New York Times' political leanings, however, a major part of the article is devoted to playing down the significance of some of the leaked e-mails, with many arguments possibly taken from Realclimate.org.

James Delingpole of the UK Telegraph has compiled a more comprehensive overview of the early media reaction in various newspapers. One of the key findings at this point in time, discovered by a reader, is actually a passage in the file FOIA/documents/HARRY_READ_ME.txt that deals with Harry's work on the CRU TS2.1/3.0 datasets, 2006-2009 (emphasis added):

Here, the expected 1990-2003 period is MISSING - so the correlations aren't so hot! Yet the WMO codes and station names /locations are identical (or close). What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah - there is no 'supposed', I can make it up. So I have :-)

Can make it up? Here: If an update station matches a 'master' station by WMO code, but the data is unpalatably inconsistent, the operator is given the choice of giving an existing station a false code, and making the update the new WMO station. (NB. A WMO station code is a five digit numerical code for World Meteorological Organization weather stations). There are more gems in this file. Just browse through it!

11-22-2009:

A Wikipedia ClimateGate article has been generated. The article evolves over the next few days, and evolves to give a conspicuously large amount of space to the alarmist views and conspicuously stresses that global warming alarmism is the "consensus view".

11-23-2009:

The Wall Street Journal prints a carefully worded report about the leaked data with vague indications that some cover-up may have had occurred. Concurrently, Realclimate.org continues its apologetic stream of blog posts.

Economic consequences of global
warming Independent from this development, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article by Richard Tol titled "The Costs of Climate Change". In this article, a very critical analysis of the economic costs for fighting an alleged climate change is given, and Richard Tol asserts that reputable studies do not paint doomsday scenarios, and that EU climate policies are over-ambitious. Furthermore, in the short run, world economy may even benefit from higher temperatures (see figure). This assertion is in agreement with analyses by Bjorn Lomborg. The same day, the decidedly pro-alarmist Science Magazine published a Science Insider blog entry where serious concerns about the climatologists's responses to FOI requests were voiced. Science Insider is continually updating their blog.

11-24-2009:

An op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal is possibly the first article in print media to touch the hot issue: We see "emails that reveal an effort to hide the truth about climate science". Unethical conduct of some climate scientists is asserted and details of the leaked information analyzed. In Germany, the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung prints its first report about the leaked data. The report exudes hesitation, and large part of the article is dedicated to toning down the significance of the leak. The German broadcast media report Mr. Obama's planned attendance of Copenhagen, but completely fail to report about the leak.

The University of East Anglia publishes on its web site lengthy statements from Prof Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Prof Phil Jones, and from CRU. These statements contain complete denial of any wrongdoing by the CRU and its affiliates.

11-25-2009:

American Thinker, as usual ahead of the curve, presents a first analysis of the software source code that was leaked with the CRU files. We get a first glimpse at the "trick" that was used by Michael Mann in the tree ring data dilemma. Realclimate.org explained it away as "Scientists often use the term 'trick' to refer to 'a good way to deal with a problem'". Often, but not always. In this case, the "trick" was to combine tree-ring-derived temperatures with thermometer temperatures after 1960. The trick is necessary because of the moving-average window for data smoothing. One commonly-used way to deal with moving averages is to pad the data. However, Mann et al padded the tree-ring data (which inconveniently showed a downward trend) with thermometer data. The downside is that data were padded with measurements from a totally different source. The upside - in the padded data, the downward trend of the tree-ring data had disappeared. How convenient!

Fittingly, a satirical video clip is made public where Michael Mann is parodied singing the song "Hide the Decline":

11-26-2009:

Completely oblivious to the emerging reinvigorated climate debate, Mr. Obama announces that he will attend the Copenhagen conference, according to the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the entire Copenhagen group of politicians shows no indication to consider a reevaluation of the economic consequences of any carbon emission treaty in the light of the emerging indications that the emission negotiations may be built on fraudulent data. On the same day, the Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel published an op-ed titled Cap and Trade Is Dead. Whether this is true or not, the US Senate begins to consider a reexamination of the climate issue. Still, Kimberly Strassel mentions the potentially damaging role of a rogue EPA.

The same day, as reported by The New York Times' Dot Earth Blog, IPCC head Rajendra K. Pachauri issued a statement of IPCC's position on ClimateGate. Dr. Pachauri vehemently denies that scientific fraud or foul play may have happened and reasserts that immediate action is needed to prevent catastrophic atmospheric heating.

11-27-2009:

In a fairly to-the-point op-ed, "Rigging a Climate 'Consensus'", the Wall Street Journal addresses the issue of scientific consensus - the repeatedly issued claim that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree with the warming alarmist position. This op-ed presents compelling evidence how the peer-review process has been rigged in favor of the warming alarmist position, and how the alarmists influence the media:

This September, Mr. Mann told a New York Times reporter in one of the leaked emails that: "Those such as [Stephen] McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside of this system are not to be trusted." Mr. McIntyre is a retired Canadian businessman who checks the findings of climate scientists and often publishes the mistakes he finds on his Web site, Climateaudit.org. He holds the rare distinction of having forced Mr. Mann to publish a correction to one of his more famous papers.

Furthermore, even the New York Times now admits in an article Hacked E-Mail Data Prompts Calls for Changes in Climate Research that an investigation of the events is needed. In this article, three main issues are named: the issue of withheld raw data, the issue of questionable data treatment, and the issue of preventing publication of dissenting views. Unfortunately, the NYT then returns to its true self and tries to conjure up the imperssion of an overreaction by the skeptics:

  Dr. Curry and others said that if nothing else, the e-mail correspondence suggested that climate scientists needed to show more temperance in dealing with their critics.   "We won the war, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, and climate and energy legislation is near the top of the U.S. agenda," Dr. Curry said. "Why keep fighting all these silly battles and putting ourselves in this position?"

Possibly one of the most important events, Realclimate.org posts a link to raw and processed climate data, and software (partially with source code). Provided that the raw data are really raw and not pre-embellished with some "trick", this step is a giant leap towards more transparency in climate research.

11-28-2009:

UK's Daily Mail reports that the BBC came in possession of leaked CRU e-mails even before the ClimateGate scandal erupted. It appears that BBC failed to report the story.

11-29-2009:

The issue of withheld raw data, brought up by the New York Times on 11-27 (see above), was almost instantly answered in an article in Times online. Quoted from the article:

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years. The UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

Interestingly, some of the leaked e-mails deal with circumventing Freedom of Information legislation. From a science perspective, deletion of raw data in a disputed field of research is highly unethical.

11-30-2009:

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, American Thinker may be among the first to cover the most fundamental problem of climate predictions: the chaotic (i.e., non-predictable) nature of nonlinear iterative systems. AT author Peter Landesman makes it clear that computer models for climate prediction must inevitably fail.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal digs deeper into questions of climate science. Bret Stephens analyzes the role of grants and gifts in the scandal. Richard S. Lindzen emphasizes that a real consensus does not exist. He concludes,

Yet articles from major modeling centers acknowledged that the failure of these models to anticipate the absence of warming for the past dozen years was due to the failure of these models to account for this natural internal variability. Thus even the basis for the weak IPCC argument for anthropogenic climate change was shown to be false.

In the same issue, L. Gordon Crovitz summarizes in his article The Web Discloses Inconvenient Climate Truths how the Internet played a role in revealing the climate scandal. He writes,

For anyone who doubts the power of the Internet to shine light on darkness, the news of the month is how digital technology helped uncover a secretive group of scientists who suppressed data, froze others out of the debate, and flouted freedom-of-information laws. Their behavior was brought to light when more than 1,000 emails,and some 3,500 additional files were published online, many of which boasted about how they suppressed hard questions about their data.
(...)
The [IPCC], which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, now faces the inconvenient truth that it relied on scientists who violated scientific process. In one email, the Climate Research Unit's director, Phil Jones, wrote Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, promising to spike studies that cast doubt on the relationship between human activity and global warming. "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report," he said. He pledged to "keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

12-01-2009:

Phil Jones, head of the CRU, temporarily steps down from his post for the duration of the investigations, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The same article also reports that Michael Mann is under investigation by Penn State University.

The Australian Senate narrowly votes down ETS, the Emission Trade Laws bill. It is suspected that ClimateGate may have played a role when two liberal senators broke ranks with their party.

12-05-2009:

For several days, no significant development has occurred. The broadcast media show exhaustive coverage of the preparations for the Copenhagen conference, while politicians prepare for that conference as if nothing had happened. In fact, radio and TV unabashedly continue to tout global warming in interviews and discussions. The observer gets the impression that the media are trying to obscure any link between the alleged cataclysmic global warming and some remote science scandal.

Meanwhile, the New Media try to keep the discussion alive. Some noteworthy articles appeared in American Thinker (location of CO2 measuring stations, comparison between climate alarmists and the Luddites), and the UK Telegraph, where author Delingpole writes,

(...) the BBC is slowly, grudgingly acknowledging that Climategate might be more than just a little local difficulty at some obscure redbrick university department. On this morning's BBC Radio 4 Today programme, it gave it a full 12 minutes. Needless to say, it stacked the odds heavily against the one man - climatologist Professor Philip Stott - brave enough to stick up for scientific integrity and rationalism and against Climate Change Hysteria. Not only was the debate sandwiched between reports by two of the BBC's in-house greens Roger Harrabin and Richard Black trying to play the story down (the Climategate emails offer not a smoking gun but a "confused and half-baked picture" claimed Black), but we then had to put up with presenter John Humphrys ganging up with badger-bottomed climate-fear-promoter the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt against Stott.

Perhaps there is still some evolution, but the ClimateGate scandal is losing momentum. Yet, an unbiased discussion of climate science is never as urgent as now where the ramifications of fraudulent science reach far beyond the ivory tower. A few articles in the Wall Street Journal highlight these implications:

12-07-2009:

The Copenhagen Conference starts as scheduled - as if the ClimateGate scandal never happened, and as if the famous Hockey Stick Curve was still assumed to be scientifically valid.

U.N. Panel to Probe Claims on Manipulating Climate Data - "Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the BBC the allegations were serious". We may ask, though, how serious this probe will be. Consider: What happens to Rajendra Pachauri and his climate polito-scientists when the probe finds that the climate data had been faked and there is no global warming? Unemployment? Moreover, Wall Street Journal's Bret Stepens argues compellingly that belief in global warming has more the characteristics of an intolerant and dogmatic religous faith than fact-based science.

L. Gordon Crovitz publishes an important article, Climate of Uncertainty Heats Up - Bloggers peer review a scientific 'consensus'. The facts about climate data fudging became widely known only because of the Internet. In fact, it is the new power of the Internet that allows a true peer-review process of the revealed documents, whereas the academic peer- review process was crushed by the interest groups. One example - "crowdsourcing". Meteorologist Anthony Watts got help from 600 volunteers to examine the reliability of the 1200 US weather stations. The results are devastating. Almost all of those stations violate the government's standards by being too close to heating vents, A/C units, or being surrounded by asphalt.

12-08-2009:

The EPA offocially declares "greenhouse gases" a danger. This "endangerment finding" opens the door to new emission regulations. Regulations by an agency that is not answerable to the voters or to those why pay the price for the new regulations. Business Fumes Over Carbon Dioxide Rule. And: Carbon rule riles industries - Airlines, Utilities, Others Say New Rules Would Undercut U.S. Firms; Some Want Congress to Act.

Two noteworthy op-ed pieces, The Copenhagen Concoction: The U.N.'s climate confab runs into the reality of costs and science and An Inconvenient Democracy - The EPA aims to bully Congress and business with its carbon ruling. Moreover, Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel explains the potential political and economic fallout of the EPA ruling.

12-10-2009:

In a hilarous twist of events, 1700 scientists sign a statement defending the "professional integrity" of global warming research. But: "many of the signatories do not work on climate change" - isn't that what alarmists accuse the "deniers" of? What is more,

One scientist told The Times he felt under pressure to sign. "The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming," he said.

So, 1700 signatures. Here is my counter offer: The Petition Project with presently 31,486 signatures, including 9,029 from scientists with PhD degrees, signing there is no convincing evidence of man-made global warming:

Petitionproject.org

Click on the image to add your signature! If you stil think that man-made global warming is real, please read this review article that summarizes state-of-the-art peer-reviewed climate research.

12-12-2009:

In the introduction, we mentioned the six interest groups that benefit from the global warming scam. Now, snippets of information emerge how the groups may be linked together and how industry is involved. World Net Daily reports:

U.N. climate chief cashes in on carbon, Tied to conglomerate that stands to make hundreds of millions in emissions scheme
   A Mumbai-based Indian multinational conglomerate with business ties to Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman since 2002 of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, stands to make several hundred million dollars in European Union carbon credits simply by closing a steel production facility in Britain with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
    The Tata Group headquartered in Mumbai anticipates receiving windfall profits of up to nearly $2 billion from closing the Corus Redcar steelmaking plant in Britain, with about half of the savings expected to result from cashing in on carbon credits granted the steelmaker by the European Union under the EU's emissions trading scheme, or ETS.

Carbon trading is good... for a few individuals. In light of this discovery, it is amusing to read the parallel chronology of the pro-alarmist side at The Wonk Room of the Center for American Progress, which attempts a smear campaign to paint warming skeptics as puppets of a big-industry-controlled "right-wing noise machine". Nice try, CAP wonks. Better luck next time. And before I forget - I guess I must consider myself part of the right-wing noise machine, too. So here are some of my finest noise samples for your enjoyment:

The brown noise sample is particularly interesting as it is brown as oil. And where is my weekly check from T. Boone Pickens? Please excuse my sarcasm.

12-16-2009:

The Copenhagen conference moves along. By watching the events and discussions, one cannot avoid the impression that this conference is not about climate, environment, or CO2 emissions, but about money. More precisely, about wealth redistribution. The climate alarmist community and their political backers show their true face.

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal follows the same line of thought:

    The G-77 scoffed at a European offer of €7.2 billion ($10 billion) over three years. Instead, the Sudanese chairman of the group, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, suggested in an interview with Mother Jones magazine that something on the order of a trillion dollars, or more, would be appropriate.
    "The world's scientists and policy decision makers have publicly stated that this is the greatest risk humanity has ever faced," says Mr. Di-Aping. "Now if that's the case, it's very strange that $10 billion is considered adequate financing." Mr. Di-Aping deserves credit for taking the climate alarmists on their own terms and drawing consistent conclusions.

12-17-2009:

It becomes ever clearer that Copenhagen is not about CO2. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Richard Muller explains how little the US and European countries can do to reduce CO2. The figure to the right demonstrates that major carbon emissions are caused by the emerging economies. Pay trillions for something we cannot influence?

Meanwhile, the CRU leak and new developments around the ClimateGate scandal have received little attention. In one article, "How to manufacture a consensus", Patrick Michaels explains in detail the depth of manipulation that biased the peer review process. Patrick Michaels is the scientist of whom Mr. Santer wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Jones (the file is FOIA/mail/1255100876.txt):

I'm really sorry that you have to go through all this stuff, Phil. Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I'll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.

And Patrick Michaels clearly considers himself a non-skeptic. Talking about rigid dogmaticism...

12-18-2009:

Without much front-page news, the Copenhagen conference has ended. It was hard to notice, because no tangible results were achieved. Who would know why? Perhaps too many constituents realized that Copenhagen was about money, not about the environment. Perhaps politicians were afraid to face those constituents after they returned with a deal that increased government spending by trillions. Perhaps ClimateGate had a damping effect too. Good for the economy - and no harm done to the environment.

The Copenhagen Shakedown takes a look at the economic costs. To quote from the article,

Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of the Malthusian 1972 classic "The Limits to Growth," also served up some climate honesty in a recent interview with Der Spiegel. "I lived long enough in a country like Afghanistan to know that I don't want us to have to live like that in the future. But we have to learn to live a life that allows for fulfillment and development, with the CO2 emissions of Afghanistan."

The solution? Meadows thinks one or two billion people is all the planet can sustain. And how will this solution be achieved?

12-21-2009:

Here is a side note. A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported "Tensions increase as poor nations stage a protest". Most revealing is the accompanying figure. We are almost getting used to having the USA painted as the "bad guy" with the highest emissions. Per capita emissions are gleefully touted, because the U.S. tops the list. Naturally, this is the preferred statistic of those who want to receive money. However, it can be argued that CO2 is not only produced, but also absorbed. It gets absorbed by plants and converted into oxygen. More surface area means more plants and therefore more CO2-absorbing capability. So how would the ranking of CO2 emissions per square kilometer of the country's land mass look like?

CO2 emissions per surface area unit

A completely different picture. We submit that countries like Japan, UK, and Germany should pay the U.S.A. carbon credits - payable in gold bullion - for absorbing their CO2.

12-24-2009:

Today, I have the opportunity to chat with my sister (Ph.D., natural sciences), an avid environmentalist. I explain to her in brief to what extent climate data has been fraudulently manipulated. The ClimateGate fraud is news to her, which is not surprising. The real susprise is her reaction. The gist of what she tells me: There is nothing bad about the fraud, because it gave new emphasis to political topics she feels passionate about, such as sustainable living. In her opinion, the perpetrators did good - even if their data are falsified - because they raised awareness of environmental issues. Yet, she complains about being hampered by political correctness (meaning: her own goals hampered by diverging political interests).

Where do you draw the line, sis? Is scientific fraud allowed when the end justifies the means? If this is the case, where do you actually stop? Is minor fudging and data embellishment still allowed? Is major data falsification allowed if it serves a noble goal? Who defines what ends justify the means? Will it be you who places a priority on sustainable living, or the subsidized bio-ethanol farmers who place a priority on using corn to burn in car's tanks?

Open message to my sister and all who think like her: Your attitude must be rejected. There is no justification for fraud. After the first step towards corruption, the second follows much easier. Down this path, you - the scientist - will be dominated by the whims of politicians or by short-sighted ideology. Science must remain impartial and advance human knowledge rather than advance a political agenda. Once science becomes corrupt, public support will wane. Once public trust in science has taken a severe blow, where will you be?

01-24-2010:

The Climategate bomb seems to have fizzled, but the world pays more attention now. In its 2007 report, the IPCC claimed that the Himalayan glaciers are very likely to nearly disappear by the year 2035. Now, news emerge that the predicted rapid disappearance of the Himalaya glaciers was based on an unverified estimate from an Indian scientist. As the Wall Street Journal reported,

it turns out that this widely publicized prediction was taken from a 2005 report from the World Wildlife Fund, which based it on a comment by Indian glacier expert Syed Hasnain from 1999. Mr. Hasnian now says he was "misquoted." Even more interesting is that the IPCC was warned in 2006 by leading glaciologist Georg Kaser that the 2035 forecast was baseless. "This number is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude," Mr. Kaser told the Agence France-Presse. "It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing."

Indeed, the WWF has issued a correction to its 2005 report (local copy). The Global Warming Policy Foundation (local copyexamined the review process that the 2007 IPCC report was undergoing and found that reviewers (and therefore the authors) wre aware of the inconsistencies. Reviewer Hayley Fowler (Newcastle University) wrote:

I am not sure that this is true for the very large Karakoram glaciers in the western Himalaya. Hewitt (2005) suggests from measurements that these are expanding - and this would certainly be explained by climatic change in preciptiation and temperature trends seen in the Karakoram region (Fowler and Archer, J Climate in press; Archer and Fowler, 2004) You need to quote Barnett et al.'s 2005 Nature paper here - this seems very similar to what they said.

The authors of the 2007 IPCC report assured that they would include the references but in the end failed to do so. Research ethics at the IPCC.

Meanwhile, the above-cited Wall Street Journal article provides a summary of some of debunked global warming alarms:

Among them: that 1998 was the warmest year on record in the United States (it was 1934); that sea levels could soon rise by up to 20 feet and put Florida underwater (an 18-inch rise by the year 2100 is the more authoritative estimate); that polar bears are critically endangered by global warming (most polar bear populations appear to be stable or increasing); that -- well, we could go on without even mentioning the climategate emails.

Let us keep in mind that there is no evidence of a sea level change as large as 1.8 inch per year. The TOPEX/POSEIDON project at the Center for Space Research, UT Austin, found a 3.1mm/year (0.12 inch/year) rise, not statistically significant.

April 2010:

It might be time to wrap up this chronology. Phil Jones of East Anglia's CRU has stepped down and has been replaced by a fresh face: Peter Liss, who immediately announced that the so-called climate skeptics are "playing Russian roulette with planet". Same old, same old.

Two investigations are underway, the investigation of East Anglia's CRU and the investigation of the IPCC. Whereas the IPCC investigation is pending and we have not yet heard anything of it, the investigation of the CRU came up negative. According to the Wall Street Journal, the panel concluded that the CRU scientists did not commit any deliberate scientific malpractice:

The review found the scientists were "dedicated if slightly disorganized." It did question their statistical methods, saying it was "very surprising" they hadn't worked more closely with professional statisticians.
  The inquiry panel, headed by Ron Oxburgh, the former chair of the House of Lords science and technology committee, was set up by the University of East Anglia to look at the research produced by scientists at its Climatic Research Unit over more than two decades.

There it is - the inquiry panel "was set up by the University of East Anglia" -- no surprise they didn't find any fault. This is why the panel should have been independent rather than set up by East Anglia.

Meanwhile, dissent continues. The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens sees credibility of the global warming scare crumble and proposes a reader's contest to "invent the next panic". Quote:

So global warming is dead, nailed into its coffin one devastating disclosure, defection and re-evaluation at a time. Which means that pretty soon we're going to need another apocalyptic scare to take its place.

And Professor Richard Lindzen, meteorologist at MIT writes in the Wall Street Journal article Climate Science in Denial on the occasion of Earth Day 2010:

The general approach of the official scientific community (at least in the United States and the United Kingdom) has been to see whether people will bother to look at the [climategate] files in detail (for the most part they have not), and to wait until time diffuses the initial impressions in order to reassert the original message of a climate catastrophe that must be fought with a huge measure of carbon control.
  This reassertion, however, continues to be suffused by illogic, nastiness and outright dishonesty.

Richard Lindzen concludes:

But it is unwise to assume that those who have carved out agendas to exploit the issue will simply let go without a battle. One can only hope that the climate alarmists will lose so that we can go back to dealing with real science and real environmental problems such as assuring clean air and water. The latter should be an appropriate goal for Earth Day.

We predict that global warming alarmism will vanish - eventually - and be swept onto the trash heap of history, together with the ice age scare of th 1970s, acid rain, the ozone hole, the dying forests, and that large number of scares that we had to endure since the 1960s for varying periods of time.


REFERENCES

[1] Hansen JE, Sato M, Lacis A, et al. Climate forcings in the Industrial era. PNAS 1998; 95: 12753-12758.
[2] Roe GH, Baker MB. Why Is Climate Sensitivity So Unpredictable? Science 2007; 318: 629-632.
[3] Douglass DH, Pearson BD, Singer F, et al. Disparity of tropospheric and surface temperature trends: New evidence. Geophys Res Lett 2004; 31: L13207.
[4] Douglass DH, Pearson BD, Singer F. Altitude dependence of atmospheric temperature trends: Climate models versus observation. Geophys Res Lett 2004; 31: L13208.
[5] Wishart I. Climate Centre hacked. TGIF edition (PDF).


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