How much context is in the Climategate emails? (updated)

Given the release of a second batch of hacked emails yesterday, S&R decided to pull this analysis from 2010 back to the front. The conclusions reached in this analysis are as applicable to the emails published in 2011 just as much as they are to the original emails from 2009.

It is impossible to draw firm conclusions from the hacked documents and emails. They do not represent the complete record, and they are not a random selection from the complete record.
– Dr. Timothy Osborn, Climatic Research Unit (source)

After several hundred hours of studying the emails and looking at their references, I have no hesitation in stating that, to my satisfaction, the system is rotten to the core and has been from the start.
– Geoff Sherrington, former corporate geologist, (source)

According to Osborn, there is not sufficient context to understand the “true” story behind the published Climatic Research Unit emails and documents. However, according to Sherrington, the emails and references contained therein provide all the context needed in order to conclude that climate change research is complete hogwash. Reality lies somewhere on a continuum between these two extremes – the question is where.

S&R set out to determine whether the published CRU emails provided enough context for the public to condemn or vindicate the scientists involved. After investigating three primary options and reading a key study, S&R has concluded that the emails do not themselves contain sufficient context to understand what really happened in climate science over the last 13 years. Continue reading

Zombie climate emails rise again (updated)

See update at the end

If you follow climate news, you’re probably already aware that someone has illegally published another 5000 climate emails, probably from the original “Climategate” hack from two years ago. S&R is following the story and will publish a more in-depth analysis as we learn more. However, we feel it’s important to point out the following key facts about the original emails and their subsequent investigations:

Continue reading

Milloy proves he's either incompetent or a liar in latest op-ed

In his Washington Times op-ed titled 2012 GOP guide to the climate debate,” commentator Steve Milloy made a large number of claims that are demonstrably wrong – 18 at last count. But one of his claims relating to the illegal hack and release of climate scientists’ emails dubbed “Climategate” casts a shadow over all the others. Milloy wrote that “[n]o input from skeptics, even those mentioned in the emails, was included” in the “Climategate” investigations. However, Milloy’s own prior writings on the topic demonstrate that his statement in the Washington Times op-ed is false.

On July 14, 2010, Milloy wrote a commentary for The Daily Caller titled “Penn State’s integrity crisis.” In the commentary, Milloy wrote that “[o]f the five additional interviews conducted, four were of Mann’s fellow alarmists. The lone climate skeptic interviewed was MIT professor Richard Lindzen.” Continue reading

Final CRU email review considers, overwhelmingly rejects critics’ accusations of misconduct

As a result of the unauthorized publication of nearly 1100 private emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in November, 2009, five separate inquiries were empaneled to look into whether or not the CRU researchers had committed research misconduct, broke Freedom of Information laws, or inappropriately biased the results of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) published in 2007. All four of the other reviews, two by Pennsylvania State University, one by the UK Parliament House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and one by Lord Oxburgh of the Royal Society, concluded that the CRU scientists had not engaged in either scientific misconduct or the manipulation of the peer review process, although one inquiry found that the scientists hadn’t been as open with their data and methodologies as they should have been.

The last of the five reviews, the Independent Climate Change Email Review (ICCER), published its findings on July 7, 2010. In general terms, the ICCER found that the CRU scientists’ “rigor and honesty” were not in doubt and that there was no “evidence of behavior that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.” However, the ICCER found that there was a “consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness” with respect to sharing data. These broad conclusions largely agree with the conclusions of all four of the other inquiries. Continue reading

Three of four misconduct allegations against Michael Mann found to be without merit (updated)

Update: I’ve added a few more examples of spin and accusations of bias against PSU as well as some good reporting examples that were not posted as of last night.

After the CRU emails were released in November, 2009, there was widespread accusations of misconduct against most of the scientists mentioned in the emails. Today, the Penn State University (PSU) inquiry committee investigating accusations made against Dr. Michael Mann publicly released its findings. The committee found that, with respect to the most serious three accusations out of four, “there exists no credible evidence” that Mann had committed research misconduct. The inquiry committee empaneled an investigation committee to look into the last accusation – that Mann had “seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community” – because they could make a determination about this and because

Only with such a review will the academic community and other interested parties likely feel that Penn State has discharged its responsibility on this matter.

Continue reading

It's Climategate 2.0! (…not)

In December, the Goddard Institute for Space Sciences (GISS) published over 200 pages of internal emails as required by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The emails involved how the GISS handled responding to a number of requests for information, data, and code from Steve McIntyre, founder of the climate disruption-denier website ClimateAudit.org. Clearly there was no metaphorical “smoking gun” in the emails, because the CEI didn’t crow about a likely Climategate 2.0 following the emails’ release.

However, today it appeared that Judicial Watch and number of large climate denier blogs didn’t get the memo. Continue reading

Sensenbrenner's hypocrisy and a SwiftHack science update

Allow me to present you with two quotes from Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), one from March 2007 and one from December 2009:

[T]he Administration is allegedly curbing Federal scientists from presenting scientific findings that are at odds with its policies. Before we start screaming “McCarthyism,” we should examine how little merit these accusations actually have. (Source)

and

These e-mails betray the true thoughts and motives of many leading climate scientists. It shows a pattern that’s closer to scientific fascism than the scientific method.(Source)

The first was Sensenbrenner defending the Bush Administration from accusations (later proven) that scientists were being pressured and their work interfered with for political reasons. The second refers to the Swiftboating of CRU scientists (aka Swifthack – see here for the best roundup of links on this subject I’ve found on the Web).

Care to explain your apparent hypocrisy, Rep Sensenbrenner?

Also, two different journal publishers have publicly said that the contents of the emails are not sufficient justification to open an investigation into scientific misconduct. Continue reading