WikiLeaks and climategate

By Ken Perrott 14/12/2010 32


It must be a headache pulling out information from all the cables released by Wikileaks. Even so, some of the cables do give an appreciation of what was going on behind the scenes at the Copenhagen conference last year.

Now we have some indication of the forces behind ’climategate,’ the theft and release of private emails held by the Climatic Research Unit at University of East Anglia.

This report from Plain Justice Today — French WikiLeaks Coverage Reports Cyberattacks on Climate Scientists:

’Leading French newspaper Le Monde has been delving into WikiLeaks in depth with a growing online section devoted to new revelations. An article posted Dec. 12, titled Pirates informatiques contre climatologues (Computer pirates against climatologists), reveals a few American diplomats’ fears that cyberattacks on climate scientists might increase in the days leading up to the 2009 Copenhagen meeting. One email reveals an unsuccessful attack against the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science (OES) that has received very little coverage (none that I can find) in domestic press.

’According to Le Monde, there was little discussion of ’Climategate’ via diplomatic cables, but June 19, 2009 traffic revealed by WikiLeaks discussed a failed attack against an agency of the U.S. government. During the summer of 2009, five OES employees received an email titled ’China and climate change’, disguised to look as if it originated with an economics journalist for the National Journal. The body of the message was also written specifically for the recipients, according to their professional roles. Attached to the message was a PDF document carrying malware designed to take silent control of the targeted computer. At least one of the targeted employees opened the attachment. Fortunately the State Department’s frequent computer security updates detected and disabled the attack.’

The actual office attacked was the Division of Ocean Affairs of the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change, within the U.S. State Department.

For one of the cables see US embassy cables: US climate change negotiators targeted by cyberattack.

So almost 6 months before the actual release of emails diplomats were aware that something was up. And a cyberattack had been detected and foiled. I guess it is reasonable to expect that similar attacks were taking place against scientists and scientific institutions involved in climate change research.

See also: Climategate an act of cyber-terrorism? US knew of attacks leading to ’Climategate’

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32 Responses to “WikiLeaks and climategate”

  • “Now we have some indication of the forces behind ‘climategate,’ the theft and release of private emails held by the Climatic Research Unit at University of East Anglia.”

    Dear Mr. Perrott,
    one might assume that the reference to “climategate,” is concerning a rather large file titled FOI2009.ZIP.

    Since there is no evidence that this file was acquired by theft (beyond one’s speculations) it seems unscientific to bestow certitude to an illegal nature of this release. After all, the e-mails were the subject of legal FOI requests submitted prior to their release.

    In addition… the file contains much more than incriminating e-mails. FOI2009.ZIP also supplies context to these professional (not private) and scientific communications via the HARRYREADME. computer codes and comments.

    “I guess it is reasonable to expect that similar attacks were taking place against scientists and scientific institutions involved in climate change research.”

    Yes, that would be a guess.

    Associating the ‘climategate’ file with attacks “taking place against scientists and scientific institutions” seems not just unscientific, but, without some evidence of motive, perpetrator, or conspiracy, is bordering on the irrational.

    What Wikileaks and climategate do have in common is the revelation of FACTS without conjecture or editorializing to the apparent disdain of some people.

    -ronnie

    • Ronnie, I am not clear where you have a problem. Clearly the “climategate” files were stolen, taken illegally. So far enquiries have not identified a culprit altouhh they do tend to rule out a whistle blower.

      It seems quite likely to me that some sort of cyber attack could have been used to access the server and get these files. The actual history of their movement after they were obtained and release also supports that.

      So these cables revealling attempted cyber attacks earlier last year do seem to fit in.

  • Hi Ken,

    It is possible that the climategate emails were leaked and not stolen. Either way this civil disobedience may end up saving the world from spending trillions of dollars on wasteful alternative energy projects.

    We can’t afford to spend trillions on alternative energy scams when most of the industrial world is about to be hit by a demographic time bomb known as the baby boomers retiring. Boomers retiring will mean an ongoing fiscal crises for the next 50 years or so. This is not the time to spend trillions on solving a problem that does not exist. We just can’t afford to continue the wasteful spending of the past.

    • Of course its “possible” Peter but one could have expected more progress in the police investigation if that were the case. The way the documents were moved around the internet after they were obtained suggests that something more sinister was at least participating in the affair.

      You toss trillions around very liberally, don’t you? Economists have looked ta the cost of steps required to deal with the problem of global warming. They indicate as relative small decrease if GDP – actually a lot smaller than the predicted decrease in GDP resulting from ignoring the problem.

      Sounds to me that you want to ignore the problem because you think it costly. But, as I have pointed out, the ignoring tactic actually creates a far great problem in terms of costs as well as human rights and life.

      It is silly to say a problem doesn’t exist if the analysis of the research shows this:

      1: Global warming is occurring – that is unequivocal.

      2: Human effects are most likely (>90% probability) responsible for current warming.

      And those conclusions are conservative.

  • Your right I am worried about the cost. The world currently consumes about 83 million barrels a day of oil that means that today the world has spend about 7.3 billion dollars just on oil. Replacing this fuel with something more expensive such as expensive electric cars powered by expensive wind or nuclear energy will add up very quickly to trillions of dollars, Money we will need to support our ageing populations.

    We know with 100% certainty that an older population uses more medical services. We know this will cost our government significant sums of money and yet we are ignoring this problem and instead borrowing to fund green energy projects and misguided bail outs. Most developed countries cannot even afford their current level of expenditures. This is why we are having economic crises all over the world. These crises will only get worse as populations get older. Now is not the time to throw our money at uncertain green initiatives.

  • Peter – you need to read Clive Hamilton’s book Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change. I have reviewed it in Why we deny climate change.

    This deals with some of the economic analyses which show the fallacy of the sorts of financial fears you are suggesting.

    You seem to worry more about possible financial aspects than what the science is telling us. The implication of this is that it is going to be far more financially disastrous to lapse into a denial and do nothing.

  • We have had ice ages and periods of global warming on this planet long before humans discovered how to harness fire. Climate change is a fact. What I don’t believe is that climate change is significantly effected by the releasing of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    We have had over 100 years of rapid industrialization and I still have to shovel snow off the side walk every winter. I am still scraping ice off my wind shield in the morning the same as I done since I got my drivers license 25 years ago. Last month the temperature in Calgary fell to around -40 C.

    I don’t expect to be able to grow oranges in my back yard any time soon.

    Nice talking to you Ken. You keep trying to save the world and I’ll keep trying to save the economy.

  • Ok Peter you font believe oh the effects of CO2 on global warming and climate change. But governments cannot base their decisions only on you belief. They must use the best science available which is telling them there is an effect and that it us something which needs addressing.

    There us a big difference between global climate change and regional weather. Governments are aware if that.

  • Hej Mr Parrott,

    When referring to a problem you state…
    “It is silly to say a problem doesn’t exist if the analysis of the research shows this:
    Sounds to me that you want to ignore the problem because you think it costly. But, as I have pointed out, the ignoring tactic actually creates a far great problem in terms of costs as well as human rights and life.
    1: Global warming is occurring – that is unequivocal.

    2: Human effects are most likely (>90% probability) responsible for current warming.

    And those conclusions are conservative.”

    First point… there appears to be little in the above fact that illustrates a “problem”.

    1: Yes GW is occurring and for a great many, that may be a good thing.

    2: Man being responsible for GW is conjecture… hence the inclusion of an approximated probability stated as a percentage.
    We all are aware of the terms employed in all such statements made by the ‘experts’ in the field. ‘Probable’, ‘likely’, ‘may’, ‘could’, etc. are not words of certitude. These qualifiers are used for a reason -they are opinions of renowned scientists who have, in some cases made a career looking for evidence to support their climate models.

    We may agree that:
    1) Climate Change is a fact.
    2) A Warming Earth is a fact when specific time frames are selected.
    3) Anthropogenic Global Warming is an untested hypothesis which not a single science academy on Earth would endorse as a fact.

    Second point…
    As far as CO2 is concerned… there have been thousands of studies and experiments that (to apply one’s earlier term) ‘CLEARLY’ demonstrates it’s beneficial effects.

    CO2 and H2O are Green house gases.
    CO2 is the first link in the food chain.
    H2O is water.
    A 300% increase in food and water would most likely, probably, may be a good thing.

    -ronnie

  • 3) Anthropogenic Global Warming is an untested hypothesis which not a single science academy on Earth would endorse as a fact.

    Ronnie, I think you are just playing with semantics here. No one is 100% sure, but nearly evey qualified climate scientist is more than 50% sure. Have you ever flown in an aeroplane? Can the airline give you a 100% certain assurance the plane will not crash during the flight? No it can’t. Some things are simply not capable of being known 100%. You can’t be certain you won’t be run over next time you cross the road. We make decisions in our life based on probabilities.

    A 300% increase in food and water would most likely, probably, may be a good thing.

    Ronnie, your problem here is not so much semantics as a lack of understanding of physics. With no CO2 in the atmosphere, the surface temperature on earth would be below zero. The greenhouse effect of the amount of CO2 we have now in the atmosphere raises the surface temperature of the earth to what it is now (remembering that about 13 of the last 15 years have been the hottest on record). More CO2 will simply make the temperature even hotter. And we know it is man-made CO2 that is increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere because the ratios of Carbon isotopes in the atmosphere are consistent with the burning of oil and coal and natural gas, which contain less C14 than carbon from plants. More H2O in the atmospehere will give us more rain, more snow, more floods.

  • Yes, Ronnie, you are showing classic symptoms of denial. The use of probability terms is a way if describing the degree of certainty – not an excuse to deny reality.

    You probably buy house insurance even though the probability of ever making use if it is very low. Yet you are arguing to not take steps (insurance) to deal with a phenomenon for which the probabilty is so high.

    You cast aspersions on honest scientists as another way of avoiding facing up to reality. Governments don’t have that luxury and are not so foolish.

    Far from human induced climate change being an untested hypothesis it is being tested all the time. The fact is that the increases in global temperatures over the last 50 years just can’t be explained by natural effects. Yet when human caused effects are included the data fits well.

    Reference to fertilizer effects of CO2 is rather desperate. You are just going to ignore the well known greenhouse effects becuase of increasing yields in some cases. Then why not increase CO2 levels to 100%. Can’t have too much of a good thing can we?

    Yeah, right.

    Reality us never that simple.

  • “3) Anthropogenic Global Warming is an untested hypothesis which not a single science academy on Earth would endorse as a fact.
    Ronnie, I think you are just playing with semantics here.”

    I agree that this is just semantic wordplay. Virtually every science academy on Earth HAS issued statements indicating that AGW is highly likely to be occurring and highly likely to pose significant challenges to humankind.

    The argument that more carbon dioxide is beneficial is simple misdirection. And I’m not sure where this 300% increase in food comes from?? As for a 300% increase in water I think you will find that clean usable water is becoming less available not more available.
    The increase in carbon dioxide levels is not significant enough to increase food crops significantly, however, the change in temperature has the potential to change the areas where we can grow food, which is a significant problem. And possum has already explained that the problem with carbon dioxide is how it affects the trapping of heat, not as a food source for plants.
    Ken and Possum also describe how probability and science go hand in hand while you might not find terminology such as “highly likely” from a scientific perspective it is very significant.
    For example, if you were about to board a plane and the pilot announced it was highly likely not to make it to its destination, who you still get aboard. If not, how is this different from ignoring scientists when they claim that it is highly likely that AGW is occurring and it will have significant, negative consequences for humankind?

  • Hej guys,
    Possum, you wrote… “Ronnie, I think you are just playing with semantics here. No one is 100% sure”/
    the point of my post: (Anthropogenic Global Warming is an untested hypothesis which not a single science academy on Earth would endorse as a fact.)
    was to illustrate how proponents of AGW are ‘playing’ with semantics. [The meaning or the interpretation of a word or sentence]. Words such as ‘may’ magically transform to ‘will’. That is playing with semantics, IMO.

    Mr. Perrott, you wrote: “Yes, Ronnie, you are showing classic symptoms of denial.”/

    Sir, my purpose is not to be a ‘denier’ [One that denies; a denier of harsh realities]. My issue is with the opinions by authorities of climate change. Thus “denier” is less than accurate or scientific… after all, how can one deny an opinion? .

    Perhaps ‘heratic’ is a better word to describe my views on AGW… [a person who present ideas which are contrary to popular opinion, belief, and/or the status quo of any practice or branch of knowledge].

    Climate changes.
    So, which is more benevolent, Cooler or Warmer?
    The status quo says cooler. The heretic says warmer.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

    Mr. Perrott wrote: “Far from human induced climate change being an untested hypothesis it is being tested all the time. “/

    Citation please, I would be very interested in reading about tests of the AGW hypothesis… heck it would be nice to just read the Formal Hypothesis… can’t seem to find it anywhere.

    Michael, you wrote,
    “The argument that more carbon dioxide is beneficial is simple misdirection.”/

    How so?

    “And I’m not sure where this 300% increase in food comes from??”/

    Nor do I.

    “As for a 300% increase in water I think you will find that clean usable water is becoming less available not more available./
    The H2O reference was to the GHG water vapor in the atmosphere… not potable water on the Earth’s surface,

    “The increase in carbon dioxide levels is not significant enough to increase food crops significant,…”/

    There is at least one science study that disagrees…http://www.springerlink.com/content/32370807846477k5/
    CO2 appears to have a segnificant (115%) positive impact on cotton developemrnt.

    “For example, if you were about to board a plane and the pilot announced it was highly likely not to make it to its destination, who you still get aboard. If not, how is this different from ignoring scientists when they claim that it is highly likely that AGW is occurring and it will have significant, negative consequences for humankind?”/

    Well, as I see it, the difference is that the pilot is in control of the airplane.
    -ronnie

  • Ronnie I referred to the fact that global temperature changes over the last 50 years are only explained when human inputs are included. Natural inputs cannot explain the changes. Plots of this are in the IPCC report WG1. I can’t give you page numbers at the moment.

    Obviously the physical chemistry of the greenhouse gas effect on global climate is well understood and verified. Check out any relevant text book for the IR absorption properties of the gases.

    My reference to you showing symptoms of denial was meant as a psychological description. You are attempting to deny well established evidence and using the tactic of belittling that serious research and researchers rather than pointing to any deficiencies. And you grab onto a one-sided property of CO2 (fertilization which is rather speculative) while turning a blind eye to the well established greenhouse effect.

    You are not a heretic but a denier – you are in denial. But denying a real problem doesn’t make it go away.

  • correction:
    “A 300% increase in food and water would most likely, probably, may be a good thing.”
    should read…

    A 300% increase in atmospheric CO2 would most likely, probably, may be a good thing.

  • I have attempted to resolve the problems of this post deleting comments and duplicating itself. In the process I know some comments have disappeared. I apologise for that but at least there is only one post and the comments are open.

  • correction:
    “A 300% increase in food and water would most likely, probably, may be a good thing.”
    should read…

    A 300% increase in atmospheric CO2 would most likely, probably, may be a good thing.

    Its still wrong as far as climate change is concerned.

    There is a very strong relationship between high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and higher average temperatures and higher sea levels. (see http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/last-time-carbon-dioxide-levels-111074.aspx , and http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/greenhouse.htm ).

    In any event, separate from climate change, higher CO2 in the atmospehere would result in higher dissolved CO2 in the oceans. This will have varied effects, and may be OK as long as you aren’t fond of oysters ( see http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=52990 ).

  • @ronnie

    “Michael, you wrote,
    “The argument that more carbon dioxide is beneficial is simple misdirection.”/”

    Umm – try reading the paragraph I wrote after the sentence above.
    You are suggesting that more carbon dioxide is good because plants will grow faster/better therefore there will be more food.
    What possum, Ken and I have pointed out several times is that the concern over carbon dioxide levels is not how plants use it but how it will change the climate across the world – causing areas which we currently use to grow large amounts of the worlds food to become unviable for crop growing. There is no point plants having more carbon dioxide with which to grow if the climate becomes inhospitable for them to grow in! And it is unlikely that as these areas become barren other suitable areas will become viable for food production.

    Your suggestion that reference http://www.springerlink.com/content/32370807846477k5/
    supports your contention that an moderate increase in carbon dioxide levels would significantly boost food crops is flawed on several levels:
    1) the research involves cotton, which is not a food crop.
    2) To obtain the 115% increase you mention requires an increase in carbon dioxide levels to 1000 ppm! Scientists are currently concerned that as we approach 400 ppm we are risking our planet. Hence suggesting that 1000 ppm of carbon dioxide would be beneficial seems a little ridiculous.

  • That is a common perception among many people.
    Others understand that:

    1)Cottonseed oil has been a part of the American diet for well over a century. Until the 1940’s, it was the major vegetable oil produced in the United States. Now, with annual production averaging more than 1 billion pounds, Cottonseed oil ranks third in volume behind soybean and corn oil representing about 5-6% of the total domestic fat and oil supply.

    2)1000ppm of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere did not appear to be a risk to the planet in the past… nor did 2000ppm, for that matter.

  • 2)1000ppm of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere did not appear to be a risk to the planet in the past… nor did 2000ppm, for that matter.

    ronnie, are you worried about the people living on the planet, or the planet? I’m worried about the people.

  • Dear possum,
    many supporters of the AGW model have asserted that all life on Earth and the planet itself, is at risk of being destroyed by an increase of atmospheric CO2.
    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

    …and from the posted link four days ago…
    http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/greenhouse.htm

    ” The average global temperature since the little ice age has risen by one degree Fahrenheit! Shouldn’t it be expected that after that ice age was over that the temperature on Earth would rise at least one degree?
    The bottom line is that it may seem that only human actions are causing global warming, but it is very possible that global warming is nothing to worry about (emphasis added) and is just part of the global temperature cycle. Both theories are credible, but neither has yet been proven.”

    A reasonable interpretation of the evidence is that it seems logical to conclude that current CC may be a good thing. Yes, that opinion is at odds with the current views of some/many in the scientific community, but as noted from the above ‘Greenhouse Gases and Society’ site, either conclusion could be seen as the view of a heretic.
    -ronnie

    Post Script:
    So, in the immortal words of A.E. Newman… ‘What? Me worry?’

  • Hi Ronnie. I posted that link for you. In a spirit of even-handedness, this paper’s summary of scientific evidence is accompanied by alternative views in some places and at the end by a section termed “opinion”. Your quote comes from that opinion section, which states an alternative view, but for which no scientific evidence was presented.

    What that article could have made clearer is that if global climate change does occur, the consequences will be unimaginable human suffering. Given the possibility of this irreversible damage, it makes sense (as stated in the Stern report) to take precautions to mitigate the impact of man-made climate change (if it is occuring) until we have more evidence sufficient to convince more people that action is needed, or not.

  • HI all,

    I’ve just come upon this blog, so forgive me addressing some earlier issues.

    The exposure of dubious practices that occurred from the release of the emails from the University of East Anglia, should be considered on the merits of the actions exposed. How the information was obtained is another matter, and in no way should deflect from an analysis of the (mal)practices so exposed.

    [ The process by which they were exposed is, of course, a concern, but history is full of such events, both in peacetime and war. We now live in an era of the “whistleblower”, and no public official is immune. ]

    What is important is that it exposed a level of immorailty in the practice of science. Science is a pure process by which we strive for knowledge and truth, and anyone who perverts that process is not only immoral, but unscientific. Even if done for the best of motives.

    As a member of the public who supports positive environmental issues, I rely upon those empowered by their knowledge and training, to advise us, based on objective thought and logical deduction. To read that the scientists at East Anglia were actively pursuing an agenda, rather than analysing the data and then drawing logical conclusions was most worrying.

    In the last couple of decades I have watched with concern as science has become politicised, as the various bodies responsible for producing scientific output come under budgetry control of the current governments. This has happened worldwide, and unfortunately means that pure scientific endeavour is a rare commodity.

    We all share a concern for the health of our planet, and what is important is to ensure that we are able to access the facts about what is happening, both past and present, and have this presented in a manner that is understandable and relevant.

    What is worrying to me is that emotional arguments, pro and con, have become the norm in this debate, and side issues often dominate. Political considerations are mixed in, lowering the debate to one worthy of the petty point scoring seen in our parliamentary chambers, rather than a true scientific endeavour based on real (and not manufactured) data.

    As an individual without a “degree”, but one who does possess a brain and a good sense of when I’m being hoodwinked, or blindsided, I have watched with disdain as the likes of Al Gore attempt to push their politics, using manipulated and erroneous data. I cannot comment on his true motives, as only he would know, but I cannot help but feel that if this is the best that the “scientific” community can do, then my fear for the future of the planet is not just man’s effect on climate change, but man’s stupidity instead.

    As a positive input, I’d like to see all the “raw” climate data opened up ( open sourced if you like ), and a global “competition” open to anyone, to analyse and come up with the best set of 10 interpretations. I say multiple interpretations, as focus on just one tends to create a “cause related” mindset, which is divisive and counter-productive. Think “brainstorming” here. Include the effects of the sun, comets, volcanoes, earth’s core etc, politicians hot air etc, as blinkers may be holding us from the real truth. To quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle “… when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.

    To date there has been little effort to “eliminate the impossible”, and until that is done, we will not have anything close to the truth.

  • tmardel – I get the impression you find the climate denier presentation of “Climategate” convincing and haven’t put that episode into context. At the minimum you should consider the several investigations into this issue which all find your version wrong. You seem to ignore the fact that scientists are just as humans other humans and any pettiness revealed by the private emails is hardly unexpected.

    Of course the increased availability of climate data will be a useful outcome (this process was underway before the scandal). But you should also take on board the absolute rubbish that local climate deniers have derived from publicly available data. All the data in the world doesn’t change the fact that there are people with ideological and political motives involved in this campaign. And they will lie and distort data to pursue their ends.

    It is rather disingenuous to be upset about Al Gore without even noticing these local deniers and their lies, or people like Mad Monckton and his lies.

  • @tmardell
    “Science is a pure process by which we strive for knowledge and truth, and anyone who perverts that process is not only immoral, but unscientific.”

    While I think this is a worthy ideal, don’t forget that scientists are human too. If you were pestered by people who accused you of lying, being unscientific and then demanding to see your data, wouldn’t you be inclined to make a few impolite comments about them via email? And to delay releasing your data knowing very well they will manipulate them?
    I agree with you that opening the raw climate data to everyone is probably a good idea – but it will then also be open to various manipulations.
    I too watched Al Gore’s performances with some distain as well, however, if you would like an even better example of manipulative performances perhaps you should also comment on Christopher Monckton?
    The amount of emotive arguments on both sides of the debate are very frustrating, I agree, but as someone with a brain, good common sense and 25 years training in science, I think that once you penetrate the stupid arguments there is very clear evidence that AGW is highly likely to be occurring and highly likely to reduce the viability of sustaining (human) life on this planet.
    I’m not sure what your sources of information are but from what I have read the effects of volcanoes, natural fluctuations of the sun, orbits etc have been accounted for.
    ps while some of the ideas put forward by Arthur Conan Doyle are amusing, they don’t really equate to science. Unfortunately even if one does eliminate the impossible it is highly unlikely to leave just ONE improbable option. Indeed this is one of the issues with (climate change) research – there are a number of different explanations of varying degrees of “probability” with different experts debating the probabilities (not to mention various non-experts putting their oars in, and clouding the issues).
    Many hypotheses have been proposed in regards to climate change, a number of which have been dismissed so I would have to disagree with your last statement.

  • HI all,

    “I too watched Al Gore’s performances with some distain as well, however, if you would like an even better example of manipulative performances perhaps you should also comment on Christopher Monckton? ”

    Anyone who manipulates data is included. But let not Monkton absolve Gore.

    “I’m not sure what your sources of information are but from what I have read the effects of volcanoes, natural fluctuations of the sun, orbits etc have been accounted for.”

    Volcanoes etc were just examples. If you don’t look for something you will never find it, and getting stuck on one track is unfortunately a trait often found in history. And to date the presentations of AGW advocates seems too mired in murk for me to feel comfortable. And that applies the other way too. If Gore stood up and admitted the failings of his film, but then focused on what he got right, I’d feel more inclined to accept his views. But he doesn’t, and that makes him and all his views suspicious. And I guess that applies to the East Anglia guys as well.

    My nose ( I know really unscientific, but I’m then again, I’m not a scientist ) tells me the tighter blend of science and politics that we see now a days is very dangerous.

    I guess what irks me most, and just makes me plain suspicious, is that AGW has become an emotive Cause … ” we need to prove this..” rather than a cool, objective “let’s work out what’s happening”.

    I give all support to efforts to stop de-forestation etc … get rid of polluting technologies, but I’d like to see a focus on that, rather than what appears to me now as just another bunch of zealots trying to prove that they’re right.

    There’s an old saying that when you have a problem with darkness, switch on a light, don’t chase the darkness. It seems that we have lost focus on innovation and inventiveness. Imagine what the trillions spent on saving the US Banks would have done if applied to a technology development fund.

  • tmardell – I can agree with this “the tighter blend of science and politics that we see now a days is very dangerous. “

    The thing about genuine science is that ideas and theories are tested against reality. This helps reduce subjective, ideological, political influences.

    But if you want to see integration of “science” politics and ideology – have a look at the local climate denier groups, the ACT party and their tame think tank.

    This will help you understand why they have told such lies about the science.

    Perhaps after checking gt these people out you should then read something like the IPCC reports and just see who is promoting an emotive cause. And who is balanced, rational and conservative.

  • “tells me the tighter blend of science and politics that we see now a days is very dangerous.”

    Can’t argue with that. But if you look around the world at the way science is funded, many governments are pushing scientists to get funding from industry which increases the risk of politics interfering with science.
    If the public expects science to remain separate from politics then the public needs to support scientists who stand up to politicians and tell them that they are wrong – which incidentially is what a number of scientists have done in drawing the worlds attention to AGW.

    “presentations of AGW advocates seems too mired in murk for me to feel comfortable.”

    Perhaps this is because the science is very difficult to explain to those outside the field? The expectation that scientists should be able to explain everything they do so that anyone can understand it seems flawed to me. Without a background in climate change science it is unlikely that the science can be fully explained to the general public without oversimplifying it. However, the moment this occurs those who are looking to criticize those simplifications.
    I can’t say I fully understand all of the climate change science but the methodology, the explanation of probabilities, the underlying chemistry and physics all seems consistent with the theory of AGW.

    ” we need to prove this..” rather than a cool, objective “let’s work out what’s happening”.
    I think I understand what you mean, but let us not forget that most of the projections suggest that this planet will become less hospitable for human beings. It’s a bit difficult to be completely objective in the face of such dire predictions. Scientists who tried to draw the publics attention to AGW by being objective found themselves ignored so more emotive approaches were used. It is a bit of a catch 22 situation. If scientists are completely objective the general public does not understand the potential urgency of the situation, and furthermore their opponents have the advantage in that emotive arguments are more persuasive. In fact one only has to look at the early debates around AGW to see this is why scientists have so much work to do. However, the moment anything vaguely emotive is used they are described as alarmist.
    But you have pointed out a good compromise position that is probably more important to focus on. Whether or not one agrees that AGW is occurring a greater focus on sustainable, non-polluting technologies and more energy efficient technologies have got to be a good thing.

  • Dear possum,
    Really?
    “… other ‘religious’ topics beside creationism, such as CLIMATE CHANGE (ed. caps added) …”

    Yes. We have a meeting of the minds.

    Indeed, many folks bestow complete faith in the oracles of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

    Yes, many folks take umbrage to those who fail to embrace their belief system.

    Interestingly, AGW, as with all religions, forecasts the end of Mankind unless we repent and pay dispensation.

    Placing AGW into a category with “other” religions appears to be quite appropriate.

    -ronnie

    Post Script:

    192 days ago:
    “I would be very interested in reading about tests of the AGW hypothesis… heck it would be nice to just read the Formal Hypothesis… can’t seem to find it anywhere.”

    It has been 192 days since my request for scientific literature which outlines a formal AGW hypothesis.

    Ideally, a formal hypothesis from Dr. James Hansen complete with Predictions, Tests, Experiments, and the Results.

    I am beginning to wonder if such an hypothesis exists.

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