Abraham: Smarter This Time Around

November 23, 2011

Daily Climate:

When news broke earlier this week that another cache of emails had been released purporting to show that climate scientists had “cooked the books,” parties around the world looked carefully, this time with a doubtful eye. They had a right to doubt. Two years ago, almost to the day, similar emails had been released just before the United Nations’ climate change conference in Copenhagen – the last best hope to take meaningful action to halt the warming climate.

The original 2009 release caught the world by storm and created an uproar that successfully put climate science on the defensive for nearly two years. Whoever is behind the release of these stolen emails was clearly hoping the same play would work again.

It won’t.

A few things are different this time around. Most importantly, many journalists now realize they were played the fools. They were told that these emails showed scientists “hiding declines in temperature” and conspiring against others. These same media outlets had a lot of work cleaning egg off their face when it became clear that the correspondence said nothing of the sort. In a “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” manner, the media is largely ignoring these new emails, or they are reporting the real story: The emails are taken out of context, the science is robust and has been upheld by every investigation of the 2009 release, and that climate change is already underway.

9 Billion Dollar Drought 

That last point is the real story behind this new email leak: The science is so solid, the denier camp can no longer argue an alternate theory. In past years, that camp would promote their own “scientists” whose work, they said, called into question climate change. In the past few years, the evidence of climate change has become so apparent that denial is no longer valid. As Texas sits through a $9 billion drought and other parts of the United States suffer from either record droughts or flooding, even skeptical citizens are starting to realize that climate change is real, and it affects them and their pocketbook.

In addition, the dwindling number of “scientists” that have represented the denialist camp have seen their research crumble like a deck of cards. These scientists have no one to blame. They are one-man wrecking crews of their own reputations. They have regularly published work that reportedly shows climate change either isn’t happening or is inconsequential. And just as regularly, their work is shown to be seriously flawed and is roundly rebutted and criticized.

Unwitting Accomplice  

So the denialists are left with little but impugning the reputations of climate scientists. They need an accomplice, and last time an unwitting mainstream media lent a hand. This time around, the accomplice has learned its lesson and has wised up. This time, trumped-up charges against scientists will not stick.

Not only is this good news for scientists, it is good news for the rest of us. Maybe now the conversation can shift to how to handle this dilemma in a way that not only fixes the environmental problem, but also increases job growth and improves national security. Maybe now we can finally come together and work on solutions to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. Let’s have faith and confidence in ourselves and in our scientists and engineers to solve this problem. That faith and confidence is true patriotism. Personal and unfounded attacks against climate scientists?

That’s so 2009.

Dr. John Abraham is an associate professor of Thermal Sciences at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minn. He teaches and carries out research in the areas of thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and climate monitoring. He is co-founder of the Climate Rapid Response Team. 

35 Responses to “Abraham: Smarter This Time Around”

  1. hengistmcstone Says:

    Waddayamean “This time, trumped-up charges against scientists will not stick.” ?
    The trumped up charges didn’t stick last time.

  2. daveburton Says:

    Abraham is whistling in the dark. The emails are very damning. Sample:

    At 10:57 04/02/2005, Peter Thorne wrote to to Phil Jones & Kevin Trenberth:

    …Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.

    Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary either in Chicago or when I visit in March (has a date been decided yet?).

    • greenman3610 Says:

      Your selection here reveals much more about your willingness to be dishonest than anything else, and also that you haven’t even read my blog posts where this was addressed.
      For the record, Gavin Schmidt answered this early on – I have it in an email, but it’s covered in a post:

      “This involves early discussion of the First Order draft of Ch3 of IPCC
      AR4 WG1. Peter Thorne wasn’t happy with the first draft and suggested
      that the writers take more from the just completed CCSP report on
      reconciling satellite temperature trends. All his suggestions seem
      fine and Jones doesn’t disagree, suggesting he pass them along to
      Kevin and the other CLAs.

      The actual section in the final IPCC report is very well balanced
      (pages 267/268/269) and unproblematic AFAICT. The science review
      process in action it seems to me.”

      the “CCSP report” (Climate Change Science Program) was “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere” – the newly (then) compiled report which reconciled so-called disrepencies of satellite and tropospheric temp data. (remember, where Spencer and Christy kept a controversy going for 10 years over their sign error?)
      In fact, Christy signed off on the final product, here:

      Click to access sap1-1-final-execsum.pdf

      which says on the first page of the executive summary:
      “Previously reported discrepancies between the amount of warming near the surface and higher in the atmosphere have been used to challenge the reliability of climate models and the reality of human- induced global warming. Specifically, surface data showed substantial global-average warming, while early versions of satellite and radiosonde data showed little or no warming above the surface. This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected. New data sets have also been developed that do not show such discrepancies.”

      In other words, 2 years before the IPCC report was released, the principles were arguing over what should or should not be included in the first draft.

      The first draft. 2 years ahead of publication.

      Anybody that’s ever written anything complicated would understand this process. You, apparently, find it sinister. I guess if you’re used to being an obedient and robotic stenographer for Watts et al, this apparently sounds dangerously like the freewheeling and spirited exchange of ideas. Scary. Damning.

      Dave, let us know if you find any more “damning” stuff.
      Meanwhile, instead of responding to phony left-over turkies, I’ll be eating the real thing.

      • daveburton Says:

        Thorne again:

        I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

        • daveburton Says:

          BTW, these are not the sorts of things you’ll hear in conversations between real, ethical scientists, who are doing real, rigorous science instead of politics. They don’t argue about how to spin things politically, or how honest to be, or what the party line should be.

          • Nick Palmer Says:

            Sorry, I should have clarified. I did not mean the actual scientific work is being manipulated, AKA changed, by political forces – I meant the selective presentation of the conclusions of the science is definitely being “spun”, largely by those political forces who see serious climate change as a threat to their cherished beliefs and plans.

        • Nick Palmer Says:

          Yet more microscopic quote-mining. Why don’t you try to figure out WHO Throne is talking about who might be manipulating the science, instead of too eagerly jumping to conclusions?

          Of course the science and every other aspect of life is being constantly “manipulated” by political forces. Politicians always spin knowledge to favour their take on things – that is just about the whole essence of politics.

          No doubt you have forgotten that spin goes both ways and, in the case of climate science, the vast majority of the deceptive misinformation spin is in the sort of “beliefs” that the Republican and Tea Party types have, which are fed and watered by denialism.

  3. sailrick Says:

    Except if you’re not a conspiracy nut, and realize it just means that scientists are human, argue about the science, are self critical and skeptical by nature, and are not caught up in some kind of group think.

    Notice they are only talking about the ‘tropical’ troposphere? This was from 2005. There is general agreement that the tropics are warming the least of all the latitudes.

    To someone who is not a denialist conspiracy nut, the key line is this one.

    “We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.”

    Something that the fake skeptics have proven to be habitually incapable of doing themselves. So they project their own dishonesty onto others.

    • sailrick Says:

      And in case you think my last sentence is just talk, I could show you probably 100 examples and hundreds of articles describing them and debunking them.

  4. sailrick Says:

    I could have stated that last comment better, so I’ll let an expert explain.

    As a true skeptic, Mark Boslough, a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories and member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, said:

    “Denialists have attempted to call the science into question by writing articles that include fabricated data. They’ve improperly graphed data using tricks to hide evidence that contradicts their beliefs. They chronically misrepresent the careful published work of scientists, distorting all logic and meaning in an organized misinformation campaign. To an uncritical media and gullible non-scientists, this ongoing conflict has had the intended effect: it gives the appearance of a scientific controversy and seems to contradict climate researchers who have stated that the scientific debate over the reality of human-caused climate change is over (statements that have been distorted by denialists to imply the ridiculous claim that in all respects the science is settled).”

  5. Nick Palmer Says:

    I think the denialists/”sceptics” are going to find they have shot themselves badly in the foot with this attempt to launch Climategate 2.0.

    They claim to be trying to keep climate science real but if that was their true motivation they would have originally released all the emails at once rather than this transparently phased drip-feeding approach timed to create the maximum amount of media FUD ahead of climate conferences.

    Climategate 2.0 is smoking gun evidence that the forces behind denialism are rooted in politics and special interests indulging in propaganda, and not in an honest search for the truth.


  6. Even the denialist funded studies are going against their rhetoric. So this is just another cheap shot to sow confusion and doubt among those who make no effort to read beyond the headlines.

    Unfortunately, this includes a lot of percentage of the public, which is why commentaries like this one are so important.

  7. daveburton Says:

    The encrypted trove of another 200,000 emails is an interesting wrinkle this time. Why do you suppose the whistleblower did that?

    My guess: life insurance. He’s afraid that The Team will have him killed if they discover his identity. So he’s taken steps to ensure that if something happens to him the passkey will be released, and the other 200,000 emails will become public. By this means he’s given people who probably want him dead strong incentive to keep him safe.

    I don’t blame him. When Phil Jones cheered the death of John Daly, he revealed something of the twisted thinking of these climate fanatics, something frightening. I think the anonymous whistleblower has good reason to be afraid.

    Sadly, I think it also means we’ll probably not see the rest of those emails, unless the climate fanatics are clever enough to track down the whistleblower and foolish enough to have him killed.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      “The Team will have him killed”

      paranoid self dramatization is a hallmark of climate denialists.
      That’s why they hate it so much when I make fun of them.

      • daveburton Says:

        There are billions of dollars and many people’s careers at stake, and a demonstrated willingness by the most prominent leaders of the Climate Movement to violate the law. I doubt that Friday Mukamperezid will be the last person to die as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the Climate Movement.

        • Nick Palmer Says:

          daveburton wrote:

          “a demonstrated willingness… to violate the law”

          You’re suggesting that the mentality that shows a reluctance to comply with vexatious deliberately time wasting FOI demands is comparable to that of someone who orders an assassination? That doing the one implies a capacity to do the other. That’s like being convinced that parking offenders are capable of armed robbery. Are you completely out of your mind? If I was you, I’d just go away and keep quiet before you embarrass your “cause” even more.

          And who on Earth is Friday Mukamperezid? Google’s never heard of them.

          • daveburton Says:

            If they’ll prostitute science for politics and money, if they’ll destroy evidence in defiance of the law, if they’ll push the world’s poorest people over the edge from poverty to starvation, then it would not surprise me a bit if some of them would be willing to kill one more person to prevent more incriminating emails from being made public.

            (Friday Mukamperezida, sorry for the typo.)

          • greenman3610 Says:

            yuck.Now I have to wipe he spittle off my screen.

          • Nick Palmer Says:

            “If they’ll prostitute science for politics and money, if they’ll destroy evidence in defiance of the law, if they’ll push the world’s poorest people over the edge from poverty to starvation”

            Way to many “they’s” all conflated together. Do you go all the way and include the Illuminati?!

            I won’t expand on that climate science is not prostituting anything or the implied (and non-existent) evil of “destroying evidence but I’m not letting you get away with the foul slur:

            if they’ll push the world’s poorest people over the edge from poverty to starvation…

            This is just ludicrous and flies in the face of reality. Even though the “they” you appear to be referring to is a very specific militaristic intervention in a notoriously fair and reasonable and equitable African nation (BTW, that last bit was heavy irony – as you and just about all of the amateur email dissectors usually seem to miss such linguistic subleties).

            Now contrast that very small number of people against the potential billions whose food supply chains will be put at risk by increasing drought, flash floods, long term rainfall patterns and seasonal changes etc.

            You just don’t ever seem to see the wood for the trees.

          • daveburton Says:

            The whistleblower gets it, even if you don’t, Nick:

            “Over 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day.”

            “Every day nearly 16.000 children die from hunger and related causes.”

            “One dollar can save a life” — the opposite must also be true.

            “Poverty is a death sentence.”

            “Nations must invest $37 trillion in energy technologies by 2030 to stabilize
            greenhouse gas emissions at sustainable levels.”

            Today’s decisions should be based on all the information we can get, not on
            hiding the decline.

            Lies kill. Friday Mukamperezid, Francisco Lotero & Miriam Coletti may not be people you knew or cared about, they they are nevertheless victims of the Climate Movement’s lies. So are all the people who are made destitute because “climate friendly” and “renewable energy” policies have turned their homes and gardens into monoculture tree plantations. So are the people whose food is priced beyond their means to pay, because ever-increasing portions of the world’s grain and edible oils are being burned as fuel, to meet renewable energy goals.

    • Nick Palmer Says:

      Dave Burton wrote:
      “My guess: life insurance. He’s afraid that The Team will have him killed if they discover his identity”

      You really think climate scientists would assassinate somebody because they released a lot of their emails? LOL. Emails that only look suspicious to those of a paranoid bent or are misrepresented as such by those who deliberately want to sabotage the reputation of climate science – because the urgent actions it mandates threaten their narrow commercial or political interests? This is tinfoil hat stuff.

      No doubt you are spinning your highly implausible story inspired by the actions of Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who kept stuff back as “insurance”.

      His actions were reasonable as it was conceivable that government forces may have wanted to shut him up, but what he had to show was devastating. What the emails from “the Team” show is just a bunch of people made grumpy by mad incorrigible idiots hassling them constantly.


  8. […] going to the original to take a look.  This is the evolving template for how the mainstream media is approaching the new climate science emails posted on an obscure […]

  9. daveburton Says:

    Phil Jones showed what a sweetheart he is when he cheered the death of skeptic John Daly. But his buddy, Michael Mann, is quite the charmer, too. Listen to how he talks to his always-courteous colleague, Curt Covey, in an email which he sent to basically the whole alarmist Team:

    date: Mon, 05 Feb 2007 20:13:54 -0500
    from: Michael E. Mann
    subject: [Fwd: IPCC and sea level rise, hi-res paleodata, etc.]
    to: Stefan Rahmstorf, Gavin Schmidt, Caspar Ammann, Ben Santer, Raymond S. Bradley, Malcolm Hughes, Phil Jones, James Hansen

    Curt, I can’t believe the nonsense you are spouting, and I furthermore cannot imagine why you would be so presumptuous as to entrain me into an exchange with these charlatans. What ib earth are you thinking? …I find it terribly irresponsible for you to be sending messages like this…and you must further know how your statements are going to be used…simply blurting all of this nonsense out in an email to these sorts charlatans you’ve done some irreversible damage. shame on you for such irresponsible behavior! Mike Mann

    Michael E. Mann Associate Professor
    Director, Earth System Science Center (ESSC)
    Department of Meteorology

    These guys could learn manners from a wolverine.

    • Nick Palmer Says:

      These guys could learn manners from a wolverine

      You think that is bad manners? You are weird (maybe Pete Sinclair will ban me for that but it’s what I now think about the mindboggling B.S. you come out with). It’s just more of your assymetric approach to perceiving reality. It appears as if Curt tried to do a Judith Curry by consorting with the deceivers and sharks out in the denialosphere because he had a naive idea that they were reasonable, well-motivated, people instead of the collection of (long set of unflattering descriptions of the various types redacted by me).

    • greenman3610 Says:

      has anyone noticed Dburton is getting shriller, more frantic, and more compulsive on his posting?
      Since I see all the threads, it’s pretty interesting.
      Dave-take a breath, wipe the spittle off your keyboard..
      The climatehack 2 ploy didn’t go anywhere. You can’t keep it alive. It never was alive.
      Post away, of course, – I like the traffic – just keep it clean, ok?

      • daveburton Says:

        That’s outrage you’re reading, Peter. We just got more confirmation of corruption, lying, bullying & lawbreaking by the leading lights of the Climate Movement, and most of the folks here aren’t even bothered by it. The alarmists’ collective response is, “Move alone, nothing to see here, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” It’s a rotten shame.

        How about answering this question, which I asked sailrick:

        2. Do you think that Phil Jones’ response to Willis Eschenbach’s FoIA request, which was to delete everything he could find that was relevant to the FoIA request, reflected good ethical standards and respect for the law?

        “I wasted a part of a day deleting numerous emails and exchanges with almost all the skeptics. So I have virtually nothing. I even deleted the email that I inadvertently sent. There might be some bits of pieces of paper, but I’m not wasting my time going through these.”
        -Phil Jones (Wed Dec 3 13:31:06 2008) brazenly describing his crimes

  10. Nick Palmer Says:

    You don’t even understand economics either and neither does “the whistleblower”. Your biggest problem with comprehension is your asymmetrical approach – you believe uncritically and quote any old garbage, no matter how ridiculous that supports your preconceptions yet apply microscopic analysis to individual words from climate science mostly completely taken out of context. As Simon and Garfunkel said in ‘The Boxer’ – “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest“.

    “Nations must invest $37 trillion in energy technologies by 2030 to stabilize…”

    This is not an either/or situation. It’s not either the money goes toward feeding the hungry or stabilising emissions. It’s a measure of the sheer mendacity or stupidity of the “whistleblower” that they attempt to fool the viewers like this (what makes you assume it’s an individual and not a concerted black propaganda campaign?)

    The ethanol boondoggle was a bad thing but who was responsible for the bad consequences? It was the commercially/politically motivated forces, chiefly US heartland right wingers, who chose what type of biofuel to grow and the methods they would use to grow it, not the people who said that biofuel could play a part in reducing emissions

    Re Francisco Lotero & Miriam Coletti

    People kill themselves, all the time, for myriad reasons. Isolating one bad thing that a couple of mentally ill people did and using it as some sort of evidence to back up your cause is just crackers.

    No doubt there will be suicides in Greece because of the austerity measures taken to (maybe) prevent a complete and catastrophic breakdown in the banking system. Using your tunnel-vision logic, you would find one of these incidents and would proclaim the forces seeking to stabilise the economy to prevent several orders of magnitude worse consequences were killers. Sheesh!

    • greenman3610 Says:

      the “37 trillion” nonsense only makes sense if you are innumerate.
      I may post on this some time soon.

    • daveburton Says:

      Francisco Lotero & Miriam Coletti killed themselves (and tried to kill their baby) because the believed the lies about catastrophic global warming. Blame their gullibility, if you will, but it is a stretch to call that mental illness.

      You folks have been telling everyone who’ll listen that the planet is in a death spiral, thanks to global warming (excuse me, climate change), and now there are two fewer people who believe you.

      I’m glad to hear you admit that the ethanol boondoggle is bad policy, now please also admit that it is killing people, and please also admit that it is the fault of the Climate Movement and the Obama EPA pushing ethanol to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” as part of “the President’s effort to combat climate change.” Of course the corn growers like it, too, but that’s not why the federal government is paying out billion$ in ethanol subsidies and mandating ethanol content in motor fuel.

    • daveburton Says:

      A bit of googling finds the source of the $37 trillion figure: this 2009 “greenwire” article in Scientific American. However, the SA article also says that over 70% of that amount is needed “to meet growing energy demand, if the world continues on its current energy-use trajectory and remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels,” so the whistleblower wasn’t really being accurate accurate.

      Still even $10.5 trillion to stabilize GHG emissions (mainly CO2) is a mammoth sum. It is no wonder that the whistleblower is being so careful to protect his identity, with that much money at stake.

      OTOH, if CO2 emissions are curbed, so that we don’t reach 550-600 ppm by 2100, then agriculture will suffer. How much is a 21% reduction in agricultural productivity worth, anyhow? Well, the world’s economy is about $60 trillion, of which about 4% or $2.4 trillion is agriculture. 21% of that is half a trillion dollars per year, so the cost to agricultural productivity of curbing CO2 emissions could very plausibly exceed $37 trillion by 2100.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        oh, so it’s not “accurate accurate”.

        but accurate enough for the Fox News crowd to get their outrage on.

        In fact, the logic used here is typical of all your rants.
        Full of bluster – but not really “accurate accurate”.


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