Climategate: The charges

This is the second in a planned series of articles on what has been dubbed “Climategate”, i.e. the leaking of data from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, including both emails and program code, which many are claiming cast doubt on the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

There are various claims being made about the CRU, based on the leaked emails and the code. The Devil’s Kitchen, writing about the significance of the CRU emails, sets out many of the charges as follows:

The scientific parts of the IPCC’s reports have been based heavily on the research and reconstructions produced by The Club—particularly on the temperature reconstructions of Michael Mann and Keith Briffa. These reconstructions (usually involving a hockey stick graph) have been constantly attacked—and usually destroyed—by sceptics such as Steve McIntyre.

What these emails show is that members of The Club have presented, as fact, data which privately they have acknowledged to be, at best, flawed.

Further, many members of The Club are editors of the reports submitted to the IPCC, and the emails show that they have deliberately cherry-picked those that agree with their position—and conspired to discredit or reject those that do not agree with their political position.

The Club has also conspired to suborne journals, and to oust editors of other journals who are perceived as being unsympathetic to their cause. And they have been successful.

The emails show that, whilst claiming that sceptics’ papers are not peer-reviewed, The Club have actively and deliberately used blackmail and smears to prevent such peer-review or, when review is unavoidable, to have conspired to skew the review process to discredit their opponents.

All of these actions render the scientific reports produced by the IPCC extremely suspect. At best.

And they most certainly destroy the concept of the “scientific consensus”.

If what Devil’s Kitchen (DK) says is true, then it casts doubt on the reliability of the IPCC scientific assessment and suggests that “The Club” has been quite dishonest and unscientific in their behaviour, and that the IPCC’s consensus, on which much public policy is based, is extremely suspect.

Note that DK is claiming that these charges are all evident in the leaked emails, and indeed that the leaked data forms an indictment not merely of the researchers whose correspondence has been leaked, but of the IPCC’s scientific assessment of the data regarding climate change.

Whilst DK does state that “None of these emails disprove anthropogenic climate change: “, if his assessment of the emails is correct, they remove the rationale for acting to curb CO2 emissions since the rationale was that the scientific consensus, as evidenced by the IPCC’s assessment, was that AGW is occurring.  DK acknowledges this. The quotation continues:

“but they do shatter the idea that there is no dissent and, crucially, they absolutely annihilate the idea that scientists are impartial and uncorrupt.

And these emails most certainly explode the proposition that we should reorder the world economy because of an impending climate disaster.”

The question then is do these charges stand? I shall examine them over my forthcoming articles on this issue.

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