A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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“Mike’s trick” to hide the decline — still shocking

Jean S revisited “Black Tuesday” with a post on Climate Audit. Even though I’ve seen these graphs before. It is still so arresting:

(Click to enlarge) Graphs from a Richard Muller presentation

People can debate the finer details of “splicing” but ultimately the second graph is deceptive. Do tree rings work, or don’t they?

When it comes to “tricks”, this is not like a trick to get the photocopier to work. It’s a trick to hide something (see that famous quote below). We don’t need a committee report to tell us whether it’s OK. It’s not science.

Climate Audit has well written a minute by minute breakdown of the emails at the time. (It was Barry Woods suggestion to add the graphs but they finish up at the end of the post.)


THAT famous email explained and the first Volunteer Global Warming Skeptic

Years before Climategate, THAT email, from Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes told us everything we needed to know about the scientific standards at the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia. THAT email was the tip of the iceberg, and below is what lay underneath the surface — the things that were said behind the scenes at the time. Geoff Sherrington has pieced together a sequence of climategate emails, his own emails, and parts of Warwick Hughes work to recreate the sequence.

And for the true skeptic-aficionados, here’s a new layer of history to the skeptical chronology. Where did this volunteer audit movement begin?

Who would have guessed that at least one skeptic, Hughes, was asking for the data Phil Jones worked with, as long ago as 1991? (That was way back in the days where people worked with hard copy print outs, and drew graphs by hand!) Does Hughes rank as volunteer Skeptic Number 1?

UPDATE: I asked Warwick, and he thinks the first unpaid skeptic was Fred Wood in 1988*.  — Jo


Guest post by: Geoffrey H Sherrington, Scientist.

This is the longer story behind one of [...]

More emails: Phil Jones paid £13.7 million in grants but “not a public servant”

Up to £13.7 million in grants have been paid to Professor Phil Jones, from a number of funding bodies including the European Union, NATO, and the US Department of Energy. But the intellectual and philosophical climate is so weak that Jones doesn’t even consider himself to be paid to serve the citizens of those countries. No wonder he feels that people asking for “his” data are nuisances and pests.

Usually in Science-World, scientists don’t have to deal with pesky FOI’s — because they make their data and methods available for free upon request. It should never come down to legal action for citizens to get what is rightfully theirs.

Phil Jones is Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. He’s one of the key climate scientists behind the IPCC reports (he and James Hansen of GISS in NASA are the two leading alarmist climate scientists).

Emails released in ClimateGate II that show he deletes emails, rationalizes that he is a not really a public servant, and discusses ways to hide from FOI requests, even as he admits the models are all wrong.

Prof Phil [...]

The slow road to… getting things right

I watched part of the UK Parliamentary Committee Panel investigations with Phil Jones, and my main thought was ferrgoodnesssake! The nation of the Magna Carta, Newton, and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution: Can’t the UK empire just fly Steven McIntyre in, and sit these two men down in the same room at the same time? You know, ask questions of one then the other, drilling down with no tea-and-cakes breaks, till they sort out each item on a prearranged list?

Billions of lives depend on figuring out whether CO2 matters, and trillions of dollars rest on the scientific output of East Anglia CRU.  If it’s so important, why don’t the UK Government get serious? Or for that matter, why doesn’t the IPCC volunteer to arrange this, all televised and restore its credibility; show they are take “unscientific behaviour” seriously?) Note that I’m not suggesting that the panel members aren’t serious, only that they have a long learning curve in this incredibly detailed saga, and McIntyre could save everyone some time.

Steven McIntyre has written an excellent submission (worth reading). That will have to do…

I did like that the dialogue was so civilized (that’s such a rare thing), but [...]

Shock: Phil Jones says the obvious. BBC asks real questions.

Here’s the short version of that BBC interview. (Wow? Was it really the BBC?) This major re-framing of the story and admission of facts are part of the ClimateGate Virus epidemic. Journalists are starting to ask better questions, and researchers are starting to give better answers. OK, it’s not exactly a grilling, but neither is Roger Harrabin allowing the UN to promote its scare campaign without a few seriously-pointed questions. This represents almost as big a turnaround for Harrabin as for Jones (which I’ll expand on below). Only two years ago, he claimed skeptics were funded to spread uncertainty, and likened them to tobacco industry lobbyists. How must he feel to suddenly discover they actually had a case worth considering?

Cutting to the chase: paraphrasing Phil Jones

Stripped of the extras, Jones’ answers boil down to the following (I’ve added a few things he didn’t say [in square brackets], and skipped some questions ):

A) This recent warming trend was no different from others we have measured. The world warmed at the same rate in 1860-1880, 1919-1940, and 1975-1998. [Kinda cyclical really, every 55-60 years or so, we start another round.]

Hadley Global Temperature Graph with Phil Jones trends annotated [...]