We're marking the fifth anniversary of Climategate here at SteynOnline, in part because the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century is in some ways a bit of unfinished business arising from the East Anglia leaks. These days Mann's once iconic "hockey stick" looks pretty flaccid once you add in tree rings post-1980, and, aside from addle-brained activists like Ed Begley Jr and a handful of sycophantic eco-bloggers, few people wish to be associated with it. But the damage it did to climate science more broadly cannot be underestimated. Hucksters overselling Big Climate alarmism are a major part of the reason "climate change" came dead last in a global survey by the UN ranking the issues people around the world care most about.
It wasn't always such a busted flush. Were it not for the East Anglian emails, the big Copenhagen confab of 2009 might have gotten away with plans to impose a global climate regime across the western world. Here's what I had to say about that in Maclean's five years ago, in December 2009:
For a small country, Denmark sure attracts a lot of attention. A Chicago Muslim, David Headley, was recently arrested at O'Hare International Airport en route to Copenhagen to kill the commissioning editor and artists of the Danish Muhammad cartoons. Alas, a far bigger group flying in to Copenhagen for a massive suicide bombing were permitted to board their flights: these were the jet-setting bigwigs of the climate-change circuit en route to Denmark to blow up the global economy and individual liberty in order to get back to paradise and enjoy their reward of 72 virgin-growth forests.
Both the radical Islam of David Headley and the Church of Settled Science of David Suzuki seem almost parodic responses to the hollowness of the modern multicultural West and the search for alternative, globalized identities. Indeed, it is hard to say which is wackier. Take Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Prince of Wales. One's a millenarian apocalyptic loon, and the other's president of Iran. On balance, widening the streets of Tehran for the imminent return of the Twelfth Imam seems marginally less deranged than insisting the planet is doomed in 96 months unless humanity abandons the evils of capitalism and "the age of convenience." (This from a man who has never drawn his own curtains.)
Ah, well. When I compare the eco-cultists to the humourless fanatics of the jihad, I get barraged by stern emails denouncing me as a "denier." Apostate! And Mr. Suzuki wants deniers jailed. Call the Inquisition!
Shortly after the leaked documents from Britain's Climatic Research Unit hit the Internet, there appeared in the European press the news that Danish prostitutes had sportingly offered their services for free to the warm-mongers at the Copenhagen conference. I resisted comment for a weekâ€”in part because, while a generous gift, it seemed unlikely to be taken up. For one thing, it's far harder to "hide the decline" when you're in a Danish bordello than at the Climatic Research Unit. For another, you have to pay extra if you want a second girl to come in and "peer-review" your submission.
Alas, when Andrew Revkin, the Senior Climate Alarmist of the New York Times, made one brief, bland, passing mention of the free-sex offer, eschewing the leaden Steyn jests above, professor Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois fired off an email angrily denouncing his "gutter reportage" and threatening this most co-operative of eco-stooges with "the Big Cutoff" from "those of us who believe we can no longer trust you." I assume the "Big Cutoff" alludes to access and not anything likely to spoil one's evening at an environmentally aware whorehouse. Incidentally, in his intemperate missive, professor Schlesinger used the phrase "climate prostitutes," and it took me a while to figure out that was a reference to the Danish hookers rather than the scientists. Still, given the recent publicity about the Settled Science Syndicate's bullying of dissenters, this hardly seems the time to threaten a chap with excommunication not for questioning the "science" but for making a joke. Actually, not even a joke, but merely a lighthearted acknowledgement. "There are no jokes in Islam," declared the Ayatollah Khomeini. And that goes double for us, says professor Schlesinger.
Nor are we allowed to make jokes about Rajendra Pachauri. I always love those experts who go on TV and say you can't pronounce on this subject unless you're a bona fide climatologist. Dr. Pachauri, the head honcho of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a graduate of the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. He's not a climatologist but a railroad engineer. So, if he ever avails himself of a free half-hour with a Copenhagen hooker, I'm sure, like the Bombay to Cochin express, he'll pull out on time. But it's hard to see why he should be presiding over a multi-trillion-dollar shakedown of the global economy. For one thing, Dr. Pachauri has one of the largest carbon footprints on the planet. He's in favour of "hefty aviation taxes" to "deter people from flying," but fortunately once you're part of the transnational jet set nothing can deter you. He flew 443,243 miles on "IPCC business" in the year-and-a-half run-up to Copenhagen. I'm not sure whether that includes his two weekend round trips from New York to Delhi, once for a cricket practice, once for a match.
Needless to say, opening the Carbonhagen shakindownen inaugural session, he dismissed the "Climategate" revelations as a "theft." Not so. They were a leak by a concerned insiderâ€”the sort of chap we usually hail as a "whistle-blower." In this case, he can blow the whistle as loud as he likes but, like a deaf Central Railways conductor waiting to pull out for Wadala Road from the Victoria Terminus, Dr. Pachauri can't hear him. All the science has been "peer-reviewed," he says, so what could possibly go wrong?
I wrote a couple of weeks back about the corruption of "peer review" revealed by the CRU leaks. But, once it's got the peer-reviewed label, it's hard to dislodge. The famous hockey stick graph created by Dr. Michael Mann played a critical role in persuading millions of people we're all gonna fry. In the National Post of April 2, 2001, after the UN had adopted this graph as the official proof of global warming, I pointed out that the first nine centuries of the millennium were measured by using tree-ring cycles, and the modern era was represented by temperatures. Now I'm not a climatologist. I'm not even a railroad engineer. But, if you show me a graph that looks like a long bungalow with the Empire State Building tacked on the end, I'll go, "Whoa! That looks pretty serious. We better head for the hills." If it then emerges in the fine print that the bungalow was created with one unit of measurement and the skyscraper another, I'll postpone my departure and go, "Er, hang on, what's the deal with that? If we've got tree rings for the first nine centuries, why can't we stick with the tree rings through the 20th?"
Answer: because after 1960 the tree rings show no express elevator up the thermometer, but in fact a decline. That's the "decline" that Dr. Phil Jones, in his leaked email, is trying to "hide." Because, if you don't hide it, a basic truth emergesâ€”that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today, and the planet managed to survive and indeed prosper during it. It took two dogged Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, to demolish the hockey-stick fraud, and the enraged priests of the Settled Science cult have spent the years since 2006 trying to stick it back together. Dr. Keith Briffa had a crack in 2007 for the IPCC report. As usual, the CRU refused, in defiance of basic scientific etiquette, to reveal its raw data, but eventually the Royal Society ordered them to. And, when they did, it emerged that Dr. Briffa had cherry-picked a few trees from the Yamal peninsula in Siberia to obtain the desired result.
Question: can you measure any tree-ring cycles for the last millennium and get a genuine hockey stick?
Answer: yes. Tree Number YAD061. That's it. One tree. The temperature records show no warming in Siberia over the last half-century. But you can't see the forest for the tree, singular. Mr. McIntyre calls it "the most influential tree in the world," which hardly does justice to what's being contemplated in its name. YAD061 is the Tree of Life, at least in the sense that millions of lives across the world will, in its name, be transformed by ever greater taxation and regulation. And, as Dr. Pachauri rebukes us, YAD061 can never be questioned because it's peer-reviewed. Every December the CRU Tabernacle Choir should place (non-incandescent) lights on its snow-laden boughs and sing:
How lovely are thy cycles!
At last, a match for Michael's!
It's the speed that impresses. In 2008, carbon trading worldwide reached $128 billion. That's why Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are hot for emissions schemes. According to the writer Jo Nova, carbon is on course to become the largest traded commodityâ€”bigger than oil or gas. As she says, it's the subprime mortgage of the commodities market. Like Al Gore, the world's first carbon billionaire, it's testament mainly to a kind of globalized gullibility. In the blink of an eye, the "settled science" of a small number of ideologues was propelled upwards into a "peer-reviewed" "consensus" and then an international fait accompli.
Had he been around this week, Hans Christian Andersen, that great son of Copenhagen, might have given us a sequel to one of his famous talesâ€”"The Emperor's New Carbon Credits," perhaps. But an age in which the hookers are free but the British Parliament is proposing issuing each citizen with a "carbon allowance" is beyond satire.
~from Maclean's, December 28th 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.