UPDATE: University VC Rathjen reponds. Press will be investigated.
University Climate Researcher to be investigated for unprofessional conduct.
Professor Peter Rathjen, Vice Chancellor of the University of Tasmania (UTAS) has ordered an investigation into professional and academic misconduct by Dr Tony Press, the CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre based at the University of Tasmania.
Lord Monckton, who spoke to 150 scientists and members of the public at the UTAS last week, has complained, in an interview with the Sunday Tasmanian last week, Press had misrepresented both Climate Science and what Lord Monckton said in his talk.
The investigation comes under the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Professor Rathjen’s letter to Lord Monckton says, “…the processes will be followed rigorously!”
The Vice Chancellor added that the University strongly supported a culture of courteous, critical dialog on all matters of academic and public interest.
Christopher Monckton has written to Professor Peter Rathjen, Vice-Chancellor, University of Tasmania to point out that one Tony Press has committed “serious professional and academic misconduct and scientific fraud, contrary to Australian Standard AS 8001 as amended by the relevant policy adopted by your university.”
Monckton is calling upon the University of Tasmania to investigate, as it must when allegations of fraud are made.
Tony Press worked hard to misrepresent Monckton in an interview with the Sunday Tasmanian (full text available here). Press claimed Monckton was wrong to say there was no recent warming, but all the data sets and the IPCC agree with Monckton. Press said that Monckton was cherry-picking short time periods, yet Monckton also talks about 60 years, 155 years, 1300 years, and 420,000 years. Press claimed that the recent warming could only be explained by higher levels of CO2, and asserted that this was basic physics, but ignored the fact that most of the modeled effect was actually feedbacks and not CO2, that many papers and scientists agree with Monckton that the warming could be natural and that feedbacks could be net negative, and that it has never been proven that there isn’t something else behind the global warming of the last three centuries. Instead Press stuck to the usual superficial line that the CO2 is obviously a greenhouse gas and there is more of it about, so it must be that.
Press claimed to be frustrated at the suggestion that scientists were ‘ ….involved in some “massive delusional group thinking”.’ Yet Monckton made no such claim.
Personally I think the most self-evidently silly line is Press’s assertion that there could be no groupthink because scientists are rewarded more “… if they happen to upturn established wisdom.” Does Tony Press think that being mocked, ridiculed, subject to false allegations and called a denier is a “reward”? (If that’s a reward, what is a punishment?)
Read Monckton’s erudite eight page PDF is here, or my shorter excerpts below. Monckton does not give Tony Press any wiggle room at all. Press needs to provide evidence to support his claims (evidence we know the IPCC hasn’t found yet either — don’t you think or we’d have heard all about it by now if they had, over and over, and it would settle the argument?). Either he finds that mystery evidence that thousands of scientists have been looking for, or he is either fraudulent for claiming Monckton was wrong, or fraudulent for putting himself forward as an expert because he does not know his topic.
Monckton’s conclusion is at the end of his letter, but I think, so important, I’ve posted it first. This could apply to many academics who are falsely using the goodwill and good name of honorable scientific work even as they trash the scientific method, Aristotelian reasoning, and any semblance of good manners.
It is outrageous that any functionary of what is supposed to be an institution of learning should have either malevolently and wilfully lied or recklessly made assertions calculated to be unfair and profoundly damaging without having any idea whether they were true or not. Press’ fraudulent method is to perpetrate the logical fallacy of argument from appeal to his own authority – the argumentum ad verecundiam – by outright misrepresentations and falsehoods and by artful concealment of the considerable scientific doubt that is well reflected in the learned literature but is wholly absent from his allegations.
The founder of the scientific method described the scientist as a “seeker after truth”. Press should be asked whether his remarks published in the Sunday Tasmanian are the remarks of a “seeker after truth”, or whether they are the remarks of a liar and fraudster – a mere seeker after grants at working people’s expense.
For it is working families who are hurt first and worst by the increasingly punitive regime of energy taxation and regulation that the lies, deceptions and frauds of Press and his ilk have foisted upon them, which is why the Democratic Labor Party had invited me to give my presentation in Hobart.
On any view, Press is not a fit and proper person to be employed in any capacity at the University of Tasmania. I hope that the University will investigate his misconduct and fraud and will dismiss him forthwith.
Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
To Professor Peter Rathjen, Vice-Chancellor, University of Tasmania
Mr. Tony Press, chief executive of your university’s Antarctic research centre, has committed serious professional and academic misconduct and scientific fraud, contrary to Australian Standard AS 8001 as amended by the relevant policy adopted by your university.
By that standard, fraud is defined as “dishonest activity causing actual or potential financial loss to any person or entity … an intentional or deliberate act to deprive … a person of something of value or gain an unfair benefit using deception, false suggestions, suppression of truth or other unfair means …”
I have consulted a senior Australian police officer specializing in the investigation of serious frauds and organized crime. His opinion is that this pattern of misconduct indeed constitutes fraud.
Reputation has long been considered at law to be “something of value” – even a value expressible in monetary terms. Press’ frauds were calculated to do great harm to my reputation, and to support public policies that have occasioned great financial loss and hardship to working families through substantial recent increases in utility prices, fuel bills and regulatory compliance costs.
I understand that investigation of allegations of fraud is mandatory under your institution’s policies.
The multiple falsehoods by Press published in an article in the Sunday Tasmanian on 24 February 2013 manifestly constitute frauds as defined in your policy
Press falsely stated: “The argument of ‘no recent warming’ is wrong and has been debunked time and again.”
Yet just days before Press uttered his false statement The Australian had reported that Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the science working group of the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC, had admitted that the U.K. Met Office and other scientific bodies were right to find that there had been no global warming for 17 years.
As I explained in my presentation, the UN’s climate panel, for which I am an expert reviewer, uses least-squares linear regression to establish temperature trends on the stochastic data. The linear trend of global mean surface temperatures on all major temperature datasets shows no global warming statistically distinguishable from zero for at least 16 years. The Hadley Centre/CRU dataset, which the IPCC regards as the gold standard, shows no warming for 18 years (version 4) or 19 years (version 3). The RSS satellite dataset, probably the most reliable of them all, shows no warming for almost a quarter of a century.
Either Press knew that Pachauri had admitted there had been no global warming for 17 years, and knew that the linear trends on the major temperature datasets showed no warming for at least 16 years, in which event Press knew his assertion that such statements had been “debunked” was neither endorsed by the IPCC nor supported by the data, in which event his allegation that I had been incorrect was a lie and a deception constituting serious professional misconduct and scientific fraud, or he did not know these things, in which event his presumption of knowledge that he did not in fact possess was also a lie and a deception constituting serious professional misconduct and scientific fraud.
Press went on to allege that I had “cherry-picked” the time period I had mentioned.
It is Press, not I, who is aprioristically peddling preconceptions. In my presentation I had reported data for the past 16, 18, 19 and 23 years (no warming); 60 years (equivalent warming rate 1.2 Cº/century); 100 years (0.74 Cº warming); 155 years (equivalent warming rate 0.4 Cº/century); 1300 years (today is cooler than the Middle Ages); and 420,000 years (fluctuations of just 3 Cº, or 1%, either side of the long-run average, with the present interglacial warm period being cooler than each of the previous four).
Press went on to allege that scientists working all over the world, independently and in many institutions, had concluded that the warming of the past 200 years could be explained only by higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: “You cannot explain it without having an increase in greenhouse gases.”
The wording of his statement was calculated to leave the reader with the impression that no credible scientist had concluded that the recovery of global temperatures after the Little Ice Age had been substantially attributable to natural causes.
Yet Professor Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has stated that natural variability is enough to explain all of the warming to date, though he – like me – considers that some fraction of it may be anthropogenic.
Furthermore – to take one of many instances in the reviewed literature – a recent paper has confirmed the findings of a long line of papers on the global brightening that has been evident in recent decades, concluding that the naturally-occurring decline in cloud cover in the last couple of decades of the last century has caused four and a half times as much warming as Man.
Another instance: solar physicists have published numerous papers attributing the warming over most of the past 300 years to the recovery of solar activity following the Maunder minimum, a 70-year solar Grand Minimum from 1645-1715 during which solar activity was less than during any similar period throughout the past 11,400 years since the end of the last Ice Age.
Press should be asked whether he is aware that to attribute a phenomenon whose cause is in fact uncertain to a single stated cause is to perpetrate the logical fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam, argument from ignorance. He should be asked why he considered it unnecessary to mention any of the papers indicating that the recovery of solar activity and consequently of global temperatures following the Grand Minimum may have been to some considerable extent natural. He should be asked why he considered this suppression of truth justifiable.
Press said: “Our knowledge of physics, even at its most basic, suggests that the release of CO2 into the atmosphere from the burning of all fossil reserves over a short time period will lead to catastrophic increases in global temperature and affect global climate.”
Yet the IPCC spells out the basic physics indicating that the direct warming from a doubling of CO2 concentration, which would take approximately 125 years on current trends, would be little more than 1 Cº, which the IPCC does not consider catastrophic. The models on which the IPCC relies spin up this non-problem into a potential problem by multiplying this direct warming by 3, on the ground that any warming of the atmosphere will engender strongly net-positive “temperature feedbacks” that amplify the direct warming caused by any forcing such as adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
As my presentation had pointed out, the very small fluctuations of just 1% in absolute global temperature either side of the long-run mean over the past 420,000 years, notwithstanding substantial astronomical forcings, are inconsistent with the notion that strongly net-positive (i.e. temperature-amplifying) feedbacks are in operation.
Also, the mathematics of feedbacks is taken from electronic circuitry, but there are powerful mathematical and physical reasons why the feedback-amplification equation developed for use by process engineers designing electronic circuits either to be stable or to oscillate may not be appropriate when applied to the climate object, which has proven formidably temperature-stable and does not oscillate in the fashion prescribed by the feedback-amplification equation.
Press should be asked whether he is aware (and, if he is aware, why he considered it appropriate not to mention) that not one of the temperature feedbacks without which two-thirds of predicted anthropogenic warming cannot occur can be directly measured; nor can they be distinguished empirically either from one another or even from the forcings that caused the warming that triggered them; nor can their values be determined reliably by any theoretical method. He should be asked why he made no mention of the scientific literature indicating that feedbacks may be net-negative, and why he considered this suppression of truth justifiable.
Press went on to say my assertion that the ocean had become “slightly” less alkaline was a marked understatement, and that increasing ocean acidity was retarding the development of krill and reducing the ability of some marine organisms to create calcium carbonate shells.
Yet Press did not provide any evidence to refute my presentation’s contention that there is no global data series of sufficient duration, spatial extent or resolution to establish the rate at which deakalinization of the ocean is occurring. This point is important. In the absence of proper measurement, there is no scientific basis for Press’ conclusion: yet he dares to accuse me of being unscientific.
Nor did Press mention the numerous papers in the reviewed literature that indicate that calcifying organisms are not adversely affected by a greater partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Press said he was frustrated by the suggestion that scientists around the world were involved in some “massive delusional group thinking”.
Yet in my presentation I had made no such suggestion. Per contra, I had repeatedly stated that the great majority of climate scientists were honest and were doing interesting and valuable work. I drew specific attention to the ingenious detective methods they used to reconstruct events long in the past. I had not at any point suggested that scientists around the world were involved in some “massive delusional group thinking”.
Press carefully avoided any mention of the fact that I had presented not only scientific but also economic considerations during my talk at the University of Tasmania. I had demonstrated that, even if – which now seems most unlikely – the IPCC is correct in predicting 3 Cº warming this century, and even if – as also seems implausible – the Stern Report (followed by Garnaut) is correct in assuming that the cost of letting that warming occur is as high as 1.5% of this century’s GDP, it would be 1-2 orders of magnitude more cost-effective to adapt the day after tomorrow than to mitigate today.
Press should be asked why he not only mischaracterized my scientific argument but ignored my economic argument, leaving readers with the false impression that there was nothing of any value or merit in my presentation; why he did not ensure that either he or the journalist through whom he circulated his deceptions did not put them to me for the sake of fairness; and precisely how it came about that the article attacking me in so unscientific and fraudulent a fashion had appeared at all.
Monckton’s full letter is twice this length, so to absorb all his cutting reasoning Read the full PDF here.