How the Science Got Settled
by Mark Steyn
We've been commemorating the fifth anniversary of "Climategate" here at SteynOnline, and so I see is serial litigant Michael E Mann with a human hockey stick. It's all fun and games until someone stands up and accidentally recreates the Medieval Warm Period.
By the way, Anthony Watts, whose website came into its own with the Climategate exposure, is seeking a bit of assistance re the American Geophysical Union meeting. If you can help, do consider it.
Anyway, here's what I had to say about Climategate in my column for Maclean's (Canada's equivalent to Time magazine basically) on December 7th 2009. This piece is one of the "documents" Mann's lawyers requested in discovery. After I responded to his discovery, he then declined to go ahead with my discovery. So I may recoup the costs by publishing Michael E Mann's Discovery Requests as my next book. In the meantime, here's Climategate as it looked half a decade back:
"The gravest challenge that we face is climate change . . . Every one of our compatriots must feel concerned"- Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic;
"The climate crisis threatens our very survival" - Herman Van Rompuy, "President" of "Europe";
"We cannot compromise with the catastrophe of unchecked climate change" - Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom;
"Generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children . . . this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"- Barack Obama, President of the United States.
The science is so settled it's now perfectly routine for leaders of the developed world to go around sounding like apocalyptic madmen of the kind that used to wander the streets wearing sandwich boards and handing out homemade pamphlets. Governments that are incapable of - to pluck at random - enforcing their southern border, reducing wait times for routine operations to below two years, or doing something about the nightly ritual of car-torching "youths," are nevertheless taken seriously when they claim to be able to change the very heavens - if only they can tax and regulate us enough. As they will if they reach "consensus" at Copenhagen. And most probably even if they don't.
How did we reach this point? Ah, well. Like the proverbial sausage factory, you never want to look too closely at how the science gets settled. The other day, a whole bunch of electronic documents most probably leaked by a disaffected insider from the prestigious Climatic Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia were posted online. Given that the CRU has conceded their authenticity, they provide a fascinating glimpse at the science underpinning the calm measured statements of Sarkozy, Brown, Obama, and wossname, the Belgian bloke - as well as of Kyoto, Copenhagen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the "carbon credits" scam, the U.S. "cap and trade" monstrosity and every other major "climate change" boondoggle this century. They confirm what the soi-disant "skeptics" have long known:
1) The Settled Scientists have wholly corrupted the process of "peer review."
Phil Jones, director of the CRU, writing to Michael Mann, creator (le mot juste) of the now discredited "hockey stick" graph, about two academics who disagree with him:
Professor Mann on an academic journal foolish enough to publish dissenting views:
Professor Jones's reply:
And you'll be glad to hear they did!
2) The Settled Scientists have refused to comply with Freedom of Information requests by (illegally) deleting relevant documents.
Phil Jones to Michael Mann on Feb. 3, 2005:
And, indeed, the CRU subsequently announced that they had "inadvertently deleted" the requested data.
3) The Settled Scientists have attempted to (in the words of one email) "hide the decline" â€” that's to say, obscure the awkward fact that "global warming" stopped over a decade ago.
Phil Jones, July 5, 2005:
4) The Settled Scientists have tortured the data into compliance with political requirements.
From the computer code for one of the "Mann" models:
Yet perhaps the most important revelation is not the collusion, the bullying, the politicization and the evidence-planting, but the fact that, even if you wanted to do honest "climate research" at the Climatic Research Unit, the data and the models are now so diseased by the above that they're all but useless. Let Ian "Harry" Harris, who works in "climate scenario development and data manipulation" at the CRU, sum it up. Mr. Harris was attempting to duplicate previous resultsâ€”i.e., to duplicate all that science that's supposedly settled, and the questioning of which consigns you to the Climate Branch of the Flat Earth Society. How hard should it be to confirm settled science? After much cyber-gnashing of teeth, Harry throws in the towel:
Thus spake the Settled Scientist: "OH F**K THIS." And on the basis of "OH F**K THIS" the world's enlightened progressives will assemble at Copenhagen for the single greatest advance in punitive liberalism ever perpetrated on the developed world.
Back in the summer, I wrote in a column south of the border:
In response to that, the shrieking pansies of the eco-left had a fit. The general tenor of my mail was summed up by one correspondent: "How can you live with your lies, dumbÂf**k?" George Soros's stenographers at Media Matters confidently pronounced it a "false claim." Well, take it up with Phil Jones. He agrees with me. The only difference is he won't say so in public.
Which is a bit odd, don't you think?
Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole "climate change" racket. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times - and a tragedy. It's not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong. Science is never "settled," and certainly not on the basis of predictive models. And any scientist who says it is is no longer a scientist. And the dismissal of "skeptics" throughout the Jones/Mann correspondence is most revealing: a real scientist is always a skeptic.
It may well be that Warmergate has come along too late. I won't pretend to know the motivations of Jones, Mann and their colleagues, but judging from recent eco-advertising their work appears to have driven worshippers at the First Church of the Settled Scientist literally insane. A new commercial shows polar bears dropping from the skies onto city streets and crushing the cars below. To those of us who still quaintly recall 9/11, it evokes grotesquely those poor souls who chose to jump from the Twin Towers and die in one last gulp of air rather than perish in the fireball within. But who cares? Their plight is as nothing next to that of the polar bear. Why are they plummeting to their deaths from the heavens? As the ad explains, "An average European flight produces over 400 kg of greenhouse gases for every passenger. That's the weight of an adult polar bear."
Oooookay. It's A Warmerful Life: every time they call your flight, a poley bear loses its wings.
Some in the political class go along because it's too much effort to resist. A few are presumably true believers. But what a lot of the rest like about "global warming" is the "global" bit: you can't do anything about it at town or county or even national level. No, sir, we need a "global" response. Fortunately, as Herman Van Rompuy, "President" of "Europe," puts it: "2009 is the first year of global governance."
That's great news, isn't it? I would urge the delegates at Copenhagen to listen to the experts and issue a comprehensive statement fully reflecting the rigorous scientific evidence. Here's my draft:
OH F**K THIS.
~from Maclean's, December 7th 2009. If you'd like to support Mark's pushback against the litigious Michael E Mann, you can do so by stuffing your loved ones' stockings with SteynOnline gift certificates or our exclusive range of commemorative trial merchandise. And for that special someone in your life don't forget our limited-time Christmas offer: the Steyn vs the Stick Winter Warmer. It's all available direct from the Steyn store.
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