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back to article Climate scientist admits lying to obtain 'Denialgate' docs

A prominent climate scientist, well known for his outspoken condemnation of climate scepticism, has admitted that he was the individual who recently leaked internal documents from rightwing think tank the Heartland Institute. Peter Gleick said he obtained the documents by using "someone else's name" in "a serious lapse of my own …

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Unhappy

Balance?

I realise El Reg is a blog and isn't known for balance but I believe that there ought to be a writer on The register who balances Lewis's views.

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Happy

Why?

No other publication (print or electronic) seems to feel the need to aim for a perfect balance. I don't see the Grauniad hiring Jeremy Clarkson to balance the views of the Moonbat, to take a random example.

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IT Angle

Re: Balance?

It's not so much the lack of balance, it's using what is ostensibly a technology site to continuously push a completely unrelated agenda that bothers me. Perhaps Lewis should be encouraged to take his nonsense somewhere else.

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Re: Re: Balance?

Well there is a science section on the site. It's not all IT. This subject could be said to fall under science.

Also I disagree with the call for balance. Even though I disagree with many of these articles (not so much this one), I think this is the kind of thing you live with. I don't like the idea of "fixing" it just because I disagree with it.

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Re: Balance?

Oh, perhaps for balance we should treat this like the climate alarmists are known to do. Make up shit to smear those who don't agree with their way out extremist views ? Is that what you mean ? Perhaps a bit of wire fraud, identity theft, misrepresentation, plus a few outright lies. Hey, then make sure every alarmist blog around runs with the fake document, and then when the fraud is revealed, praise the fraudster as being "courageous" even while is faux apology attempts to repeat the malicious slanders that he deliberately pushed.

Yes, lets all lose our sense f morality and ethics, because, after all, the cause is right and just.

Just a question though, if the cause is so moral, why are so many of its advocates so dishonest, and their arguments so specious ? I mean, there's a whole consensus isn't there, why fake so much ?

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Meh

Re: Balance?

The correct title is 'Fakegate' not 'Denialgate'. The only denial going on is among the warmists: Denial of the global cooling since 1998 - and denial that the wheels are falling off their bogus $Trillion climate scaremongering CO2 taxing scam.

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Re: Re: Balance?

"Denial of the global cooling since 1998"

I can't believe that people are still coming out with that one. Well, I can actually, because all they read is the crap that appears on the Register and various other dubious sites.

Come on, Mr ChilliKwok, I am going to call your bluff. What evidence do you base this statement on?

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Anonymous Coward

@burb

Nigel Lawson said it on the Today program, so it must be true.

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Re: Re: Re: Balance?

""Denial of the global cooling since 1998"

I can't believe that people are still coming out with that one."

The University of East Anglia released a paper saying there had been no warming for 16 years. Either you believe they fake everything climate-gate style (so you need to throw out their warming conclusions from earlier as well) or you think they are right, and have to accept that there has been, at a minimum, a pause in warming while CO2 levels have continued to skyrocket.

Its true to say that 16 years isn't statistically significant proof of a cease in warming or a slight cooling - but it definitely ISN'T proof of warming.

At a minimum its proof that there is a lot more going on than is accounted for in the climate models.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

"The University of East Anglia released a paper saying there had been no warming for 16 years."

I've heard the one about how the University of East Anglia "admitted" that there had been no warming for 15 years (also false).

But I've never heard your upgraded version. 15 becomes 16 and it's now a "paper" they released.

I won't ask you to provide this imaginary paper, because it doesn't exist. But I am always interested in knowing where you guys get these rumors. Can you tell me?

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

Sorry I was off by 1 year:

"Q&A: Professor Phil Jones

B - Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods. "

Its on the BBC news website if you want to read the whole interview. I haven't bothered to read the full paper - the data is pretty self explanatory.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

"Its on the BBC news website if you want to read the whole interview. I haven't bothered to read the full paper - the data is pretty self explanatory."

Except that you are unable to understand it.

Professor Jones is being accurate in that the warming trend did not achieve a 95% significance level. Given the amount of natural variation in the data, the interval in question is a bit short to be able to extract a statistically significant signal (at the 95% level). However:

1. The signal was only just below that level and may well have reached it by now.

2. The trend, despite not hitting the 95% level, was still a warming one. Where is the cooling trend spoken of in the post above?

3. This was during a period when La Nina effects that tend to cool the atmosphere have been present.

4. The warming referred to is atmospheric warming. Oceans have warmed significantly during this period ; it's all part of global warming.

5. For all the claims of CRU fiddling the data they tend to underestimate compared to other climate research centres which have shown significant warming trends over this period.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

1) The climate is generally warming (it has been for 400 years)

2) The warming has "paused" temporarily, despite continued increases in CO2 output.

These positions are not mutually exclusive, despite what you climate terrorists would have us believe.

There is no evidence that CO2 production is directly linked to the warming phenomena and the above facts could indeed imply that there is indeed *none*

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

On a scientific basis CO2 emissions have risen markedly in the last 15 years - agreed?

On a scientific basis the planet hasn't warmed in the past 15 years - agreed?

Remember, if your DNA was 'almost 95%' right you'd be a dolphin.

Discuss those facts instead of nitpicking around the periphery.

I'm not a denialist, but at the very least someone with an open mind has to admit that there is a lot more going on with the planet than the modelling takes into account, and that policy based on imperfect modelling is bad policy.

PS - if you discount this period because of La Nina, then you have to discount the late 90's warming because of El Nino - you can't cherry pick.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Balance?

Other journalistic organs at least pretend to segregate news from opinion. Maybe Reg articles could have a coding for the balance between factual content and bombastic bloviation. It would be no surprise if Lewis's factometer swung consistently to the latter.

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FAIL

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

I assume you don't understand how dishonest the question was in the first place.

The question was devised by Lubos Motl, a string theorist who also happens to be a pretty vocal climate denier. It was a very specific question, asking about warming from a particular date, and also asking about statistical significance. The fact was that, at the time the question was asked, 1995 was the furthest you could go back and have the warming not be statistically significant. If the start date was 1994, it was. If the question was asked a year later, the warming was also statistically significant.

In short, it was a trick question. Motl already knew the answer, and deliberately crafted the question to get that answer. The whole point was either to catch Phil Jones out as a dishonest scientist (and to Jones's credit, he answered the question completely honestly), or to make a statement that would be read by gullible deniers as some kind of confirmation that global warming wasn't happening.

It's just another example of the typical sleazy and underhand behaviour that climate deniers get up to.

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Re: Re: Balance?

I find Lewis' articles usually miss the point, showing how he does not understand the science and how incredibly stupid the deniers argument is. Probably as he picks up the stories from denialist websites anyway and paraphrases what he thinks they mean.

As for the 1998 date, why do deniers latch onto that date? Abnormally warm el nino year, so making a great point as a baseline to support their views, totally ignoring the fact climate change is a gradual process and any moving averages measured.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

Sigh.

1. The natural factors that determine climate have been going in the opposite direction.

2. Paused? 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have been in the last 10 years. The trend is actually higher now than it was ten years ago.

There's no other way to explain the current warming other than CO2. CO2 is both necessary, ie, you can't explain it without it, and sufficient, ie, CO2 all by itself explains the warming.

If you want to explain the current warming without CO2, then you need to do two things. First, find an explanation which actually works - no one has done that yet. Secondly, your explanation needs to be so strong that it overwhelms the known impact of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. That hasn't happened either.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

"On a scientific basis the planet hasn't warmed in the past 15 years - agreed?"

No not agreed at all. There has been an atmospheric warming trend, the significance of which varies according to the start and end dates considered and which data set is used. However, the warming that has taken place in the ocean is much more significant over this period. Do you dispute that?

"PS - if you discount this period because of La Nina, then you have to discount the late 90's warming because of El Nino - you can't cherry pick."

I am not talking about discounting any period. There will always be natural fluctuations, which is why it is necessary to take rolling averages over long enough time periods. It is the denialists who tend to cherry pick and use 1998 as a starting point because that year was anomalously hot because of El Nino.

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Pint

@FatsBrannigan: That's one of the things I like about El Reg,

there's never any "pretending" to positions they don't hold, it's more like a bottle of cold American piss water (aka "beer") thrown in your face.

Speaking of which, here's a British pint for Lewis.

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@daveje, Re: 9 of the 10 warmest years...

I see YOU haven't been keeping up on YOUR facts. It turns out that in point of fact only 5 of the warmest years are in the last 100 years, with the other 5 being in the 100 before that. Your little factoid was a result of serious mistakes in the "corrections" made to the raw data by, yep that's right, the same maroons who think "denialists" are too stupid to understand the math.

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Holmes

Re: Re: Balance?

> Other journalistic organs at least pretend to segregate news from opinion

Got a chuckle outta that one ... here in America, only Fox News still tries to do that. And so, of course, they are universally reviled.

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Re: @daveje, Re: 9 of the 10 warmest years...

Got a source for that?

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Holmes

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

So, if you used a long enough time period there would be no warming or cooling?

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Chet's gone quiet

I asked Chet about the ocean warming and he seems to have disappeared.

What about those of you giving the thumbs down - what do you have to say?

Or is going to be Groundhog Day in a month when yet again someone posts that there hasn't been any warming since 1998.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

You're still wrong. If you kept up with the actual science rather than reading denial echo chamber blogs you'd have read recent news that the statistical confidence level was reached a few months ago:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13719510

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Balance?

Scientists don't cherry pick. The overall temperature of the planet has never decreased and only increased in the periods measured. In fact you can only get pauses in warming if you view a cherrypicked subset of data, like land temps only, or northern hemisphere temps only. The correlation of global datasets including oceans show a clear and uninterrupted warming trend.

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Warmist

Is this the best term?

After the article on the BEST report everyone seemed to be in agreement that warming was happening - all the skeptics said that only idiots ever denied it.

So is there a derogatory term that only covers the wrong sort of warmists now that everyone seems to agree on that bit?

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Anonymous Coward

"Human Warmist"....

...perhaps?

In the same league as the Punctuated Equilibrist (google Stephen J Gould), or the Applied Physicist...

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Re: "Human Warmist"....

More accurate but enough stupid sounding that it won't catch on.

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Re: Warmist

I think Climate Alarmist covers it pretty well.

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EWI

Re: Warmist

Oooo, he's got you there, Lewis. So, which is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: "Human Warmist"....

It *has* to, to catch on...

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Re: Re: Warmist

This alarmism isn't new. I've been hearing the same tune from different groups for well over 30 years at least, and it's been going on since long before then.

The problem is the constant cries of "Wolf!" The endless Chicken Littles screaming in a blind panic that the sky is falling, despite all evidence to the contrary. For the wolf never comes! The sky does not fall! Not for the "Population Bomb" criers who were ringing the media's alarm bells in the 1960s and '70s—we were all supposed to be wearing gas masks and living in permanent smog by the 1980s!

Nor have we seen thousands of people killed by those evil nuclear reactors. And then there was "acid rain", deforestation of rainforests, impending asteroids of doom, Bird Flu, and so on.

Not a single cry of "Wolf!" has proved correct. And that is the biggest problem of all: the population of this planet is getting tired of these tricks and, before long, we'll just ignore these cries.

To all the alarmists and Chicken Littles out there, know this: when the Big Bad Wolf finally does make an appearance, it'll be entirely your fault that nobody believes you any more.

Call them Chicken Littles. Call them "Boys who cry 'Wolf!'" (though that doesn't exactly trip off the tongue). But don't get sidetracked by their alleged allegiances: it's not about the "warmists" or "denialists", but about the alarmism. The incessant fear-mongering. The deliberate attempts to spread of terror in the population in order to further their "cause".

We already have names for such people: extremists, fanatics... terrorists*.

* (Contrary to popular belief, an aptitude for throwing bombs or hijacking planes is not a requirement. All that is required is that you use fear and terror to achieve your aims. Look it up in a dictionary if you don't believe me.)

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Re: Warmist

"everyone seemed to be in agreement that warming was happening"

Before Copernicus everyone was in agreement that the sun orbited the earth.

Not arguing either way, just that consensus isn't proof of correctness when it comes to science.

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Stop

Re: Re: Warmist

@Chet Mannly:

Like most FUD-merchants you repeatedly pedantically pick over the words of some one commenting on an issue rather than addressing the actual issue itself - because you have no *evidence of merit* to challenge the actual issue.

Picking apart the words of Prof. Phil Jones from a BBC interview or Audrey S. Thackeray here does not alter the fact that the BEST study (the most comprehensive and rigorous review of recent temperature data) showed that the planet continues to warm.

Add to this the recent NASA studies that demonstrate that it is non-condensing greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane, etc.) that are the major root cause of warming, in contrast to the amplifying effect of water vapour, and your alleged "open mind" is exposed for what it really is: denial by FUD.

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Trollface

Re: Re: Warmist

True for Copernicus, but don't forget that, on the climate front, "the science is settled"

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@Sean Timarco Baggaley

As far as crying wolf goes, it's clearly a Bad Thing but I am not sure all the examples you list are the same - Bird Flu was media driven, it was hardly the same people who are pushing for action on climate change.

"The Population Bomb" was wrong but it was the work of one obsessed individual - there was no consensus at any time that Erlich's conclusions were correct. The book was popular because it was alarmist but it was always a fringe view of the science.

Acid rain was (and is) just real, no particular scaremongering, just that the people who were affected by it got cheesed off and made the people causing the problem do something about it - so we scrub sulphur emissions and it helps.

There isn't a single, organised group of wolf criers with a common set of goals through these even if the same people do oppose them each time and lump them together to discredit the lot of them.

I don't think a constant cry of "No Wolf!" is any more helpful than repeated alarmism.

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Re: @Sean Timarco Baggaley

You mean like this?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/climate-fail-files/over-4-5-billion-people-could-die-from-global-warming-related-causes-by-2012/

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Re: @Sean Timarco Baggaley (@Audrey S. Thackeray)

My point isn't the science, but the media's reporting of the science.

That "Population Bomb" theory was all over the media like a rash for ages. I remember it. (I even have an SF novel based on the theory—"Population Doomsday" by Don Pendleton, and ironically, it has two full-page, full-colour ads for cigarettes inserted into the middle of it.)

Bird Flu and the Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK were instantly pounced upon by the media and cranked right up to 11 too, with parades of "experts" asked leading questions about it all, while MPs were browbeaten into massively idiotic knee-jerk reactions by said media.

"I don't think a constant cry of "No Wolf!" is any more helpful than repeated alarmism."

The opposite of "Stop crying 'Wolf!'" is silence UNTIL you have actual, incontrovertible and rock-solid proof of said wolf. Only THEN should you start ringing the alarm bells.

That's kind of the point of alarms: you only trigger them when there's an actual alarm state. You don't trigger alarms repeatedly when you think there might, possibly, be an undefined emergency at some undetermined time in the future. Maybe.

If you keep setting alarms off every ten minutes, people will simply learn to tune them out.

And that is what I'm trying to get at here. It's not about the Climate Change, or whatever fashionable clothing the Big Bad Wolf happens to be dressed in this time around. It's about the incessant overuse of alarmism and FUD to get people to react. It's the blatant psychological manipulation. I hate that.

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Re: Re: Re: Warmist

I notice you conveniently left the "year 2000 bug" government conspiracy that never came to fruition off your list. Every other denial supporting site includes it in their ranty list of government terrorism designed to keep us fearfully paying taxes etc. I expect you realise your audience here consists mostly of people who were paid large amounts and spent bucketloads of time and effort making sure 2000 problems never happened, and you'd trigger even more derision than you have with this conspiracy theory hocus pocus.

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Mushroom

Pah!

I don't like that they've conflated the views on teaching evolution in science and not creationism with the "fact" of anthropogenic climate change.

One is a scientific theory versus a religious viewpoint, the other is an ongoing debate with much data still to be collected and analysed. Stifling the other side of the climate change discussion is not scientific and doing it in this way only helps rationalise certain people's view that the teaching evolution debate is somehow equally spun for an agenda.

(I'm not stating my stance on ACC/AGW, I'm just discussing National Center for Science Education)

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Re: Pah!

Yes, I share that concern; they say

"Scientists overwhelmingly accept that the Earth is warming, that climate change is occurring, and that human activities have made a major contribution to these planetary changes."

Is that really true? There certainly seems to be less of a consensus than there is on evolution.

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Re: Re: Pah!

The only question is the last one of the three. It all hinges on what "a major contribution" is.

The last IPCC report summarized along the lines of human activity being likely responsible for most of the warming since 1950 (where most is >50% I believe). I think that most scientists do indeed agree with that and that kind of figure does support a "major contribution" by human activities.

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Unhappy

Re: Pah!

I read that too, and went "oh 'Eck!". Because when organisations like "National Center for Science Education" get run out of town for their Warmist agenda, they will lose the ability to promote the really important things, like evolution, and even the basics of Rational education. Places like America (and indeed the UK) are already teetering on the edge of a descent into ignorance and superstition - we need scientific lobby groups to keep the woo-peddlers away from education!

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Anonymous Coward

The IPCC is corrupt to its core

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/22/omitted-variable-fraud-vast-evidence-for-solar-climate-driver-rates-one-oblique-sentence-in-ar5/#more-57212

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Re: Re: Pah!

Yes it's really true. Read: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.full

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Re: Re: Re: Pah!

The "most" figure is 97% http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.full

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Re: Pah!

"One is a scientific theory versus a religious viewpoint, the other is an ongoing debate with much data still to be collected and analysed." <- no it is NOT an ongoing debate. This is the bit people keep missing. The outcomes, the models etc will keep changing as new data is collected and analysed and new theories develop about where AGW will lead, but the fact of AGW is not in any doubt. 97% of climate scientists agree AGW is here and happening. http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.full

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Go

Identity theft

This scientist who admits that he stole someone else's identity will not face any problems. Now if the shoe was on the other foot the story would be much different.

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