Opinionista Ivo Vegter 1 December 2009

Climate fraud kills people

If you're not incandescent with rage at the criminal fraud committed by Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Keith Briffa and their cronies at East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, you haven't been paying attention.

It is understandable, perhaps, that many more people are not livid at the outright fraud perpetrated upon a trusting world by a few dozen scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Most of the media has been very reluctant to cover a story that exposes them as useful idiots, at best.

Other than a few publications which have been skeptical of anthropogenic climate change all along, most are playing down the story. Some offer deeply credulous whitewashes, as Scientific American does. I’d debunk it, but its misdirections, straw men and irrelevant slurs are so blatant that it’s not worth the trouble, especially for a magazine that has a record of threatening copyright lawsuits against anyone who dares to challenge its content.

Even Google has abdicated its neutrality, and is attempting to lead searchers away from the smoking gun. It has removed phrases like “cru”, “climategate”, “climate emails”, “climate hack” or “climate hoax” from the convenient search suggestions it offers while typing, despite the fact that there are 13.5 million matches for “climategate” alone. Contrast this with Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, which offers “climategate” as the first option when you type “climate”. (Who is evil now, Google?)

The journalistic establishment must be terribly embarrassed that it swallowed wholesale the alarmist twaddle of a handful of scientists. Under the sanctimonious pretence of “saving the planet”, these corrupt scientists merely carved out a profitable academic fiefdom for themselves. While profiteering at taxpayer expense, they accused those who dared to challenge them of “vested interests” and being funded by “big oil”. The irony couldn’t be more flagrant.

Worse than the CRU scientists’ misappropriation of public money and abuse of public trust, however, is the impact the fraud continues to have on the world’s poor.

Even this scandal is unlikely to stop the steamroller of government subsidies for green special interests, taxes on productive energy use, and regulation of an already overburdened economy.

This is tolerable, perhaps, if you’re rich. But most of the world cannot afford the luxury of expensive energy. Besides for the cost it adds to almost everything we produce, it has a direct impact on food security. The UN World Food Programme’s executive director, Josette Sheeran said last week: “…for about 80% of the developing world, people can afford one third as much food today as they could two or three years ago.”

Food price inflation is a modern phenomenon. For most of the post-war 20th century, the so-called Green Revolution combined modern fertilisers, pesticide and mechanised agriculture to bring food prices down. This allowed food production to keep pace with growing populations despite minimal increase in the acreage under cultivation. Now, however, much agricultural land is today being diverted into the production of biofuels, the justification for which – anthropogenic climate change – is turning out to be a swindle.

That people are starving as a direct result of the machinations of the elite of climate science is criminal. And charges, both criminal and civil, are what the CRU scientists and their co-conspirators around the world may face, not only for the overt attempts to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests, but also for outright scientific fraud, gross negligence, and embezzling billions in government research funding.

Think this is over the top? Never mind the embarrassment of the e-mails themselves, which has been well-documented. Go straight to the data that they’ve been so assiduously hiding. The data is where the theory stands or falls.

Even a non-expert, reading through the 15 000 lines of comments on the data and code used for the authoritative HadCRUT3 temperature reconstruction, will quickly recognise that it is a dreadful mess. Much of the data is simply missing, having been deliberately deleted once massaged numbers had been obtained to produce Michael Mann’s long-discredited “hockey stick”.

This is no exaggeration. The UK Times quotes: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.” Not that it has been honest about the data loss either. While the CRU claims storage space restrictions forced it to delete data back in the 1980s, there is evidence in the leaked emails that the data was used (and therefore must have existed) as late as 2008.

Besides for such outright lies, the code and comments reveal incompetence and negligence on a truly staggering scale. There is no version control, no consistency in file naming conventions, no data integrity, no documentation, evidence that missing or inconvenient data is simply invented, and evidence that data is fitted to pre-determined results rather than results being derive from the data. In the end, the poor sod who had to deal with this mess simply admits that it is “too late to fix it”, so “let’s have a go at producing CRU TS 3.0! since failing to do that will be thedefinitive failure of the entire project.”

So even if you ignore the initial CRU email disclosures, which showed reprehensible corruption of the peer review system to freeze out dissenters, conspiracy to evade the legal obligation to disclose publicly-funded data upon request, a dangerous bunker mentality, and even unseemly glee at the death of a bothersome critic, it is the data itself – the very foundation of the entire climate scare – that is an utter disaster. It is fit only for a first-year case study in how not to manage large data sets.

It is no surprise that the scientists were reluctant to release the data and code to others, who merely wanted to go about the normal scientific business of reviewing, reproducing or falsifying the results.

The defence of the CRU gang is that other temperature reconstructions concur with their own, so this corroborates their conclusions. They refer to two other authoritative reconstructions used in the IPCC reports, namely those of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). However, not only were many of the scientists connected with these organisations, including their respective heads, James Hansen and Thomas Karl, clearly in on the political machinations of the CRU crew, but both have a record of resisting attempts by other scientists to gain access to measurement sites, raw data and statistical adjustment procedures. The same secrecy that plagued CRU prevails at GISS and NCDC. They’ve been overtly obstructive to attempts by others to locate and verify surface temperature stations, for example. When an independent survey was launched to find and evaluate them, it found that even the most sophisticated surface station network on the planet, that of the US, is shockingly deficient.

In the absence of verifiable data, one can only suppose that the secrecy of GISS and NCDC is motivated by similar shortcomings to those found at the East Anglia CRU. This, in turn, leads one to conclude that their temperature reconstructions can only confirm CRU’s results because they likewise consist of corrupt or wholly invented data, force-fitted to match predetermined results in support of the political narrative of man-made global warming.

On the basis of this blatant fraud and rank incompetence, the tax-funded climate change worthies continue to pack for their first-class jaunt to Copenhagen next week, where they will play power politics with the lives and prosperity of the world.

So, what now?

Paleoclimatologist Eduardo Zorita wants Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf barred from the IPCC process. Writes Zorita: “I may confirm what has been written in other places: research in some areas of climate science has been and is full of machination, conspiracies, and collusion, as any reader can interpret from the CRU files.”

Mike Hulme, a climate scientist at the discredited CRU, goes further. He has distinguished himself by saying the IPCC “has run its course” and calling for greater openness in the conduct of climate science.

Famed programmer Eric S. Raymond has examined the CRU code himself, found the “hockey stick” trick hiding in broad daylight, and agrees that the results the code produces are a fraud in which facts are made to fit the theory. He has proposed that the research that underpins major public policy decisions be open-sourced.

Such measures may indeed rescue the tarnished reputation of public science. As damaging as the scandal is for climate science and the theory that humans are to blame for dangerous global warming, the implications will reverberate throughout the field of scientific endeavour.

Paranormalists, homeopaths, occultists, creationists, aura imagers, UFO abductees, alchemists, mesmerists, astrologers and assorted other cranks will leap on this incident to illustrate why science is not to be trusted. Demonstrating that they’re wrong requires that the scientific principles of transparency, replicability, proof and falsifiability return public science to a credible footing.

Phil Jones, Michael Mann and the rest of the corrupt gang of climate scientists should hang their heads in shame for what they’ve done to their profession.

As for the rest of us, it is time to shrug off the false guilt that these criminals have been trying to lay at our door, and get on with solving the world’s real problems.


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