Open Mind

The Real Climate McCarthy

February 8, 2010 · 65 Comments

This is a verbatim reproduction of a post by the Rabett. I thought it was important enough to highlight, so with his kind permission it’s reproduced here.

A while ago, a pole of the Pielkesphere tried to defend peerless leader by attacking Joe Romm as the Climate McCarthy. Marky Mouse recently called our attention to the real Climate McCarthy and Eli thought you might enjoy this example of Climate McCarthyism

“February 03, 2010

Allison C. LernerInspector General
National Science Foundation
Office of Inspector General
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230

Dear Ms. Lerner:

This is a follow-up to my letter of December 2, 2009 and concerns today’s announcement by Penn State University that it has concluded its initial inquiry into possible research misconduct by one of the University’s researchers, Dr. Michael Mann. Penn State’s internal inquiry found further investigation is warranted to determine if Dr. Mann “engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.”

While I firmly agree that Penn State’s investigation is warranted and must commence without delay, there are federal laws and policies implicated in this matter, including your “Research Misconduct” regulations, Title 45 CFR Part 689, that go beyond the scope of Penn State’s inquiry. Therefore, in order to have a full and complete accounting of this matter, I request that you now begin a formal investigation of the allegations against Dr. Mann.

Among other laws and regulations, I ask that you investigate compliance with, or violations of, OMB administrative procedures, 2 CFR Part 215 (OMB Circular A-110), in particular 2 CFR §215.36; Freedom of Information Act 5 U.S.C. §552 (NSF Regulation, 45 CFR Part 612); NSF guidelines implementing OMB information quality guidelines (515 Guidelines); Federal False Claims Act, 18 U.S.C. §287, and 31 U.S.C. §§3729-33; and Federal False Statements Act, 18 U.S.C §1001. Finally, given that Dr. Mann was at the University of Virginia from 1999 until 2005, I also request that you inquire whether his activities at the University of Virginia are implicated in this matter and within your jurisdiction.


James M. Inhofe
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works”

If you still don’t get it, take a look at what Hank Roberts wrote to our friends


Are _any_ of Nordhaus, Shellenberger, Kloor, or Yulsman actually old enough to remember the McCarthy era from personal experience?

I find it hard to believe any of you could recall life in those times, and think some guy on a blog is remotely comparable.

You’re looking at the television or the words — not the reality of the power McCarthy had.

You can’t be old enough to remember the reality, and think these are comparable situations.

I was five years old, a college faculty brat, sitting in front of a tiny little 12? black and white television, having heard since I started to understand how hard it was for teachers simply to try to teach. My parents and their peers had fought a war, and come back, and started to live — and were afraid, though they didn’t want to show it. McCarthy was powerful and had done great damage.

I remember this — when it was first broadcast — and I remember the beginning of hope that it gave after people realized it had happened.

“Card carrying Communist” witch hunts? People losing their jobs on suspicion and anonymous accusation? The blacklists? The utter fear among academics of teaching something that would get them denounced?

You’re way off base.

Romm’s maybe a Jerry Rubin or an Abbie Hoffman — he’s theatrical, he’s dramatic, I can’t read him very long, any more than I can read a lot of public bloggers who are so heartfelt they have trouble keeping their heads screwed on straight — though he’s far better than most. Sometimes he’s a flamer, sometimes he’s a clown, often he’s an attention-getter, and, always, he’s got to be more careful of his facts and cite his claims better– like any public speaker on anything important.

And we’re in the midst of a great extinction, and he knows it.

And you guys don’t, apparently, or you’d care more and show more knowledge and you’d be scared to death and trying to spend your lives on this problem, and you might even get a little erratic yourself instead of arch and polished.

But, man, I remember Joe McCarthy
Joe Romm is no Joe McCarthy.
Not even close, not even comparable.

You look at that video, and look at the videos of some of the really slick, sophisticated, anti-environmental spokespeople. You’ll see a similarity, for sure.

Joe Romm’s not one of those. He’s maybe _trying_ to be that smooth and orgnaized, but he’s just never got the self control to be the kind of sleaze that McCarthy was, and he’s never had anything remotely like the power McCarthy had.

Get real, kids. You’re not repeating history here.

Categories: Global Warming

65 responses so far ↓

  • Daniel Bailey // February 9, 2010 at 12:11 am | Reply

    Nice example of Inhofe “pulling rank” to bluster and railroad a mid-level functionary into doing his bidding.

    Inhofe reminds Ms Lerner of his previous missive (he’s watching her to ensure she does her job to his satisfaction), “suggests” that a NSF review is mandated to ensure Penn State doesn’t “sweep this issue under the rug.” Inhofe then rattles off a litany of rules & reg’s that a person in Ms Lerner’s position is intimately familiar with, and then closes with the powerful reminder of his rank, connections & position.

    Nice. Washington politicking at its finest. Sigh.

    Coming soon to an IMAX near you, “The Tar & Feathering of Michael Mann, enemy of Mankind and Devil Incarnate”?

    Getting harder to be a glass-half-full person when things like this are happening,


  • Deep Climate // February 9, 2010 at 12:14 am | Reply

    This may be relevant to the discussion.

    Perhaps the most disturbing episode in the “hockey stick” controversy was the investigation of climate scientists by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee under Republican representatives Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield, and a subsequent report for that same committee by an “independent” panel led by George Mason University statistics professor Edward Wegman. In light of various renewed “skeptic” allegations of scientific misconduct against Michael Mann and Phil Jones, and my recent revelation of possible plagiarism and other questionable scholarship in the Wegman report, a complete review of the events of 2005-2006 would seem to be in order.

    In short, the Energy and Commerce Committee refused the offer of a proper scientific review from the National Academy of Sciences in favour of an investigative process that was ad hoc, biased and unscientific. And the report resulting from that process is tainted with highly questionable scholarship.

    In comments there, I am being accused of being “McCartyist” for exposing this travesty. I guess I’ll have to point those folks to Eli Rabett (he’s better at handling trolls).

    • Andrew Dodds // February 9, 2010 at 9:36 am | Reply

      One of the first rules of denialism is to always accuse your opponents of doing exactly what you are doing. You know full well that if the denialists got the power, then all the research departments that published the ‘wrong’ results would be de-funded, and journals heavily leaned on not to publish anything to do with global warming; so they accuse anyone explaining global warming of exactly the same thing up-front.

      You’ll also notice denialists thundering on about funding sources. Because they *know* that what they are saying is paid-for.

      The objective, of course, is to make it look to an uninformed observer, that both sides are ‘up to the same tricks’, or even that it’s the scientists who are guilts, because the denialists get their accusations in first.

  • Eli Rabett // February 9, 2010 at 12:47 am | Reply

    (You probably want to kill the last sentence). Also note Hank’s comment to the post

    “I’ll add that, since I first wrote that post Eli quoted, I’ve come to like Joe Romm’s postings more — probably because I have a better understanding of what he’s doing. He understood long before I got a clue that the people who don’t care about the science, and don’t listen to the science, can still be convinced that there’s something important going on — by heartfelt argumentative rhetoric.

    It gets their attention, and signifies sincerity–as they understand it, at least–for those honestly unaware of how science works who are still open to ideas.

    Now I’ve gone and lost the link to some of the recent academic work on what’s convincing–that’s what I’m talking about, it’s been in the news in the last few months:

    There’s good science showing that explaining good science to most people doesn’t sway them, while good rhetoric does get them to pay attention.”

  • Ray Ladbury // February 9, 2010 at 1:06 am | Reply

    Well, guys, what do you expect. It’s a war. It is science vs. anti-science, pure and simple. Inhofe knows he is invulnerable. Oklahomans would vote the the devil himself if he had an “R” after his name. It is time to start defending ourselves. The war starts when we start shooting back.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // February 9, 2010 at 1:28 am | Reply

    This is only the beginning. If the anti-AGW string-pullers ever begin to think they’re really likely to lose, I expect them to use everything up to and including kidnapping and assassination to shut up the messengers. We’re talking about the potential loss to an industry of a trillion dollars a year in revenue–and let us never forget the teens gunned down by their classmates over a pair of shoes. We already have Breitbart and Limbaugh calling for climate scientists to be executed. If, God forbid, there is not a massive recovery this year, and the GOP gets control of Congress again, and worse, Sarah Palin or someone like her is our next president, we may see the US become a pretty nasty dictatorship in the few decades remaining to it before the collapse.

  • David B. Benson // February 9, 2010 at 2:18 am | Reply

    A revelation of other nastiness?

    • Deep Climate // February 10, 2010 at 12:40 am | Reply

      That points to my post on the 2005-6 Barton-Whitfield investigation of Mann et al, using DesmogBlog’s summary. Besides Desmogblog and ClimateProgress, Chris Mooney covered it in his Discover Mag blog.

  • Jim Bouldin // February 9, 2010 at 3:38 am | Reply

    The first casuality of war…

    …is the truth.

    Our job is to not let it be.

  • Slioch // February 9, 2010 at 8:51 am | Reply


    Shortly after receiving an email alert about this posting and downloading it my internet connection was terminated. That’s unusual for me – generally I have stable system and no problems. I received the error message that my username and/or password were incorrect when trying to reconnect. It has taken a registry scan and a couple of reboots to get back online.

    I’m not given to conspiracy theories or paranoia and I expect it is just a coincidence: but I thought I’d mention it just in case others have had similar experiences.

  • Ray Ladbury // February 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Reply

    I’ve been giving a lot of though as to why this debate has become so nasty, and while the fires of hate are certainly fueled by oil, I don’t think that is all there is to it. It seems that all debates of science vs. anti-science wind up getting personal–whether the subject is climate or evolution or vaccines, or cell phones causing cancer.

    I think that what it comes down to is that one side is bound by evidence while the other side refuses even to acknowledge the evidence. After yelling past each other awhile, the anti-science side realizes it cannot produce evidence to support its position and must rationalize why. And from this spring all the wild conspiracy theories and vitriol. And scientists are human. They are bound to respond in kind. And even if they did not…even if they remained cool and dispassionate, it would avail them nothing. Gavin Schmidt has been a paragon of patience and still gets lumped in with the conspiracy. Where this all ends, I do not know. I’m pretty sure it won’t be good. We have a substantial portion of the electorate here that has rejected even the concept of al reality that exists independently of their wishes–and that never ends well.

    A lot will depend on how large the hard-core anti-science contingent is. Eventually, the effects of climate change will become undeniable, and the public will panic. Ironically, it will then be the scientists arguing for measured rather than draconian measures. And then we will be criticized by all sides. I suspect it will not be easy to be a scientist in the US in a decade or so.

    • cynicus // February 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Reply

      No offense, but could you’ve over-thought this?

      A lot of the comments on blogs are about the possible costs and the loss of personal wealth if measures for countering AGW would be taken.

      Libertarian groups are also heavily involved in the anti-AGW propaganda. While it might not be that simple or even true, when I think of libertarians, selfishness and shortsighted comes to mind.

      Then there is ofcourse big-industry who have to think about their shareholders and are often eager to fuel the debate with controversy.

      So, isn’t it possible that it’s just one of nature’s primal emotions is at work here: selfishness?

      • Ray Ladbury // February 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm

        If the only anti-science issue we confronted were the folks claiming climate change is a hoax, I might buy that. However, we are also facing a strong backlash against evolution–and just try to get funds to do research on whether children who come from households with gay parents are well adjusted.

        In a recent poll 77% of Republicans favored teaching the Biblical account of creation in the classroom. We are at risk of epidemics of mumps and measles because parents are not getting their children vaccinated. In New Jersey 14% of Republicans think Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ. Want me to go on?

        There are a whole lot of people out there who really resent the imposition of reality on their beliefs–and they’ve got Faux News and Rush reinforcing those tendencies. I don’t think that’s a good thing in a democracy where their vote counts the same as mine.

  • Kevin McKinney // February 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Reply

    A typically painstaking job of work from DC. Kudos.

    On another topic, I’d like to solicit some research pointers from knowledgeable readers here. I’m prepping another Hubpages article, this time on Guy Callendar. I’m well set on the biography, thanks to the wonders of interlibrary loans, but a scientific question has come into sharp focus:

    What is the attribution of the 50s-60s cooling trend? My understanding is that aerosols are the main cause cited, but how firm is that attribution? And what is the research establishing it? Are other factors important as well?

    Thanks in advance for any pointers–especially since I’ve done less of my own homework on this than I’d prefer (time constraints.)

    Oh, and any who’d like to check out the previous articles (and haven’t already done so) can access them via this profile page:

  • george // February 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Reply

    According to Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus (from the Climate McCarthy piece)

    “These days especially, journalists are an easy mark. Journalists are perhaps the most insecure professionals in America. Reporters fear for their future, and with good reason. Bureaus are closing, journalists and editors are getting laid off, and whole newspapers and magazines are going under. Reporters who are insecure for their futures are easy prey for bullies…”

    The irony is that many mainstream “journalists” today do not do their job as a (real) journalist because they are afraid of losing their job as a (fau/ox) journalist.

    But the reason for that has far more to do with not rocking the power structure — keeping their employer’s corporate owner and clients happy and maintaining access to the White House press corps — than it has to do with bloggers like Romm.

    I’m not sure what these folks have been smoking, but if they actually believe bloggers like Romm wield such incredible power over the media and politicians, it must be some really good stuff.

    • Ray Ladbury // February 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Reply

      Yeah, it really ought to tell us something that when the closest we can get to “hard-hitting journalism” is found on Comedy Central. Personally, I think the decline of the press has a lot of causes. Perhaps the biggest is that people are no longer willing to listen what they need to hear because there are so many places that will tell them what they want to hear. Newspapers are irreparably damaged, and television–the source of news for most people is dumbed down to the point where headlines reduce either to sensation or tautology.

      Perhaps most distrubing, as fewer and fewer outlets compete for more and more eyeballs, the journalist has ceased to be an investigator and become a pundit. It is rather difficult for a journalist to muster the courage to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable when he is among the comfortable. But, hey, everybody wins… well, everybody except democracy.

      • Jim Bouldin // February 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm

        What’s truly ridiculous and frustrating is the way so many people get their climate science info from such ridiculous sources. Have these people no idea of the existence of truly reputable info sources (IPCC, NOAA, NASA, NCDC etc, not to mention many university and lab websites, and science-oriented blogs). WTF is wrong with people?

  • Hank Roberts // February 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Reply

    > Slioch … Shortly after receiving an email alert

    Do you normally get email alerts? I know it’s an option in WordPress, one I don’t use, figuring I don’t want any additional email to look at wondering if it’s real or phishing.

    Stuff happens. Check the headers?

    • Slioch // February 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Reply

      Hi Hank – Yes – I’m on the list to receive Open Mind and Realclimate notifications. I find it useful to know when a new post comes out and it has worked without a problem in the past.

      It rather looks as if no-one else is having problems – unless, of course, those that are can’t get back on at all! – so I conclude it was just a coincidence.

  • Scott A. Mandia // February 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Reply

    The more I read blogs that are anti-AGW, the more I am convinced that if addressing AGW were essentially “cost-free” then more people would be willing to accept the reality – just as they did with ozone depletion after a relatively cheap fix was found.

    We need to hammer home the point that doing nothing about global warming costs much more than doing something. Money is a powerful motivator.

    I tried to do that here.

    • Kevin McKinney // February 10, 2010 at 2:42 am | Reply

      I like that idea.

      I also think that it’s getting time to directly attack denialist positions, as DeepClimate has done here, as the DeSmogBlog crew do, and as Skeptical Science does so well. Surely to goodness the “it’s cooling” meme has been “falsified” by now!

    • Andrew Dodds // February 10, 2010 at 9:37 am | Reply

      I would have to disagree.

      It is possible to outline a decarbonised economy that could be achieved in the 20-30 year timescale, which would in the medium and long term cost less than business as usual, even assuming zero costs from AGW. It is true that such an economy would rely heavily on nuclear power, but most denialists don’t have issues with that.

      Yet what you find is a complete lack of interest.

      Those who fund anti-AGW propaganda, especially the coal companies, are threatened by *any* solution. Oil and Gas companies can conceivably adapt over a couple of decades to the synthetic fuels business – if they were bothered, but coal mining has to be shut down in any realistic emissions reduction scenario. And it’s the easiest target; the swap out of coal for nuclear electric generation should be a no-brainer.

      Plus, those who are ideologically opposed to government intervention would still be opposed to any scheme that requires government intervention, EVEN IF IT SAVED THEM MONEY. Don’t believe me? Look at the US healthcare debate.. for these people, AGW ’skepticism’ is just an argument of convienience.

  • guthrie // February 9, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Reply

    I think that firstly, we’re going to see a concerted attempt to neuter the IPCC by whoever thinks it is possible to try.

    On the hitting back front, we’ve been stuck on the defensive in part because of trying to educate people about the science because thats often the first thing people question. And the topic of exact impacts and ways out of the problems is still a little confusing. But we need more on how little it costs to deal with and how much we stand to lose.

  • billy t // February 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Reply

    I would add another point to the comments on the perceived “cost” of climate action (both to individuals and FF corporations) being a factor in the opposition. The proposed “solution” – cap and trade – has been a real political disaster because it so easily feeds paranoia about wall street traders / big business / UN / world government etc. The irony is that cap and trade is nothing to do with the science itself but is an attempt to impose ‘free trading’ dogma as the only solution.

    Perhaps more scientists need to follow Hansen’s lead and publicly disassociate themselves from cap and trade. “Fee and dividend” or “Tax and tariff” are much easier to understand as being directly relevant to reducing a country’s carbon emissions. Politically, they can be packaged as patriotic mechanisms that directly benefit the country and the efforts of individuals.

  • Ray Ladbury // February 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Reply

    Billy T,
    OK, let me get this straight. They trust the politicians–who are a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of big business and traders–to get the taxes right more than they trust the businesses and traders themselves.

    Scientists–in their roles as scientists–have no business taking a position on any policy. What matters is keeping carbon atoms out of the atmosphere. If the denialists don’t like cap and trade, how about they propose some effective solutions themselves?

  • MapleLeaf // February 10, 2010 at 4:00 am | Reply

    M&M got at least one person affiliated with GOP to make a bogus request. Does the name Sarah Ferguson (and no I am not referring to the royal). She goes by SarahF at CA, do a search. How many more are/were there?

    Also, this is definitely worth a read:

    Rush Limbaugh calling for “every scientist at every university in this country that’s been involved in this be named and fired, drawn and quartered.” I had no idea until reading her post what he meant by that.

    So he can incite people to torture and/or murder climate scientists someone with no consequences?! Come on, people have been sent to prison for less.

    If we get through this without losing a climate scientist at the hands of a madman we’ll be very lucky, and going by Limbaugh’s call to violence I do not think that is an exaggeration.

    I’m shocked and disgusted.

  • Deech56 // February 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Reply

    MapleLeaf, this is called “eliminationist” rhetoric and is a US phenomenon documented by David Neiwert.

  • Sekerob // February 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Reply

    Moral Turpitude sprung to mind… many years ago being confronted with that term when coming to America, on a business visit.

    Good Night, and Good Luck

  • Ray Ladbury // February 11, 2010 at 12:54 am | Reply

    Hey, I think I’ve come up with a new metric for assessing how much of a crank a given scientist is:

    Take the sum of the number of FOI requests filed and the number of lawsuits filed. Now divide the sum by the total number of peer-reviewed publications. A low number means the person is at least has the potential to be a serious scientist. A high number indicates a crank who does not play well with others. Perhaps we could award extra points if they can’t fill in the forms properly or do so in purple crayon. I’m thinking of calling it the McIndex.

  • george // February 11, 2010 at 3:49 am | Reply

    There seems to be an expectation by many journalists these days that they can say whatever the hell they please (no matter how inaccurate or even libelous) and not get called on it.

    Calling someone on their BS as Joe Romm has done here is a far cry from McCarthyism.

    But some journalists seem to nonetheless be under the impression that if they simply quote “both sides” on an issue (regardless of whether the information is accurate), they are “doing their job” — and even sometimes perceive efforts to pick apart their own pieces (or those of their colleagues) as illegitimate “attacks on the messenger”.

    All I can say is if someone can not take criticism of their work without getting their “feelings hurt”, they should not be journalists (and certainly not scientists!)

    And if these folks are not going to make the minimal effort required to check the accuracy of the claims made by individuals (eg, Christopher Monckton) before quoting them in print (or on the radio or TV) they should also not be in the journalism business.

    The latter should be obvious to anyone who calls him or her-self a journalist, but apparently, journalism schools are no longer teaching such basic stuff.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // February 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Reply


    Have you seen John Baez’s “Crank Index?” Here’s a copy:

    • Ray Ladbury // February 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Reply

      Barton, Seen it? Hell, I’ve got it bookmarked! ;-)
      Back when I used to work for the International House of Pompous Physicists, I was the guy who got sent down to talk down the guys who showed up smelling of urine and carrying a dog-eared manuscript written in purple crayon purporting to have overturned Einstein. Funny how it was always Einstein.

      This really is a form of mental illness, and it has been understudied. I’ve been trying to get a research psychologist friend of mine interested, but so far to no avail.

  • george // February 11, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Reply

    RE “McIndex”

    I’m not sure if the label “crank” applies.

    Crank is defined as “an eccentric or odd person, esp someone who stubbornly maintains unusual views”

    I think a “Con Index” or even “Lie Index” (“Lindex?”) would be more apt for the likes of McIntyre, Monckton and some others.

    They claim to be “auditing” the science, but it’s especially clear from their recent shift to 24/7 laser-like focus on (and distortion of) the climate email issue ( including shameless plugs for Piltdown Mosher’s book) that this has simply been a ruse all along (and not a very good one)

  • Ray Ladbury // February 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Reply

    Friends, humans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

    Isn’t it funny how more and more, the threads of “climategate” keep leading back to Steve McI. Not only was he the ultimate driver of all the spurious FOI requests that spammed UEA and drove Phil Jones to distraction, he was also the first outsider to know about the hack and one of the first websites where links to the emails were posted.

    Now, I’m sure all of these vectors pointing toward him are coincidental. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    I mean, after all, the only charges based on anything other than utter lies and distortion all have to do with those FOI requests. Steve is after all the ultimate source of those requests, having written the form latter that spammed UAE and forced Phil Jones to choose between compliance and actually doing his job (i.e. climate science). I’m sure Steve never intended to slow down the progress of climate science. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    And I’m sure that Steve had critical need for temperature records in all those countries and that as his FOI request said that he intended it for academic work. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    And I’m sure that Steve McI never intended that so many FOI requests would be sent that it threatened the important work being done at CRU. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    And I’m sure that if Steve McI had realized the burden that his minions were causing with the FOI requests, he would have stopped them. Indeed, had he realized, I’m sure he would have come out in defense of Phil Jones given the undue burden he had no doubt inadvertently imposed. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    And I’m sure that if Steve McI had had any reason to suspect that his buddy inside UEA/CRU were the source of the hacked emails, he would have made his concerns about this illegal activity known to the proper authorities. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    Still given that he does seem to lie at the center of this web of intrigue, one has to wonder whether Steve McI’s email correspondence or his hard drive might give some clues to how all of this took place. I am sure he is as eager to find out as the rest of us. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    And I’m sure that to ensure that any crucial evidence in his emails and hard drive is preserved, I’m sure that Steve McI is eager to turn it over to the authorities investigating these matters (after getting a full backup of the original so that he can continue his impotent work). After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    And I’m sure that if any data were lost, it was inadvertent, for Steve McI is an honorable man.

    And I’m sure that now that he realizes the hardship he caused Phil Jones, that he will now speak out in his support. After all, Steve McI is an honorable man.

    “The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;”

    With apologies to William Shakespeare.

    • MapleLeaf // February 12, 2010 at 5:52 am | Reply

      Ray thanks for this. It brightened my day in a weird way :)

      Yes, the vectors seem to be pointing to CA….I’m not going to speculate here who I think did it, let us just hope that they can figure out who was at the centre of this.

      Do know that he took data form the CRU server last year, data to which he was not entitled. He was then less than honest in covering it up and revealing to his readers what happened.

      Fred Pearce’s recent piece in the Guardian on the CRU hack was quite revealing as to the actions of McI. He has been shown to have not acted in good faith or honorably.

      It also shows how incestuous their team is. Mosher lives with Charles Rotter, moderator over at WUWT. McI and McK seem to be attached at the hip. And on it goes.

      Sadly, Pearce’s fascination and fawning over the ’skeptics’ is obvious in the article.

      • Ray Ladbury // February 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm

        MapleLeaf and Phil,
        Glad some folks enjoyed it. I clearly had fun with it. Weird has always been my specialty.

        The ultimate problem is that we are pushing the stone uphill. People will nearly always take a comforting lie over an unpleasant truth. The issue is not whether we’ll win or not. Eventually, the effects of climate change will be so incontrovertible that even the most blinkered denialist will have to acknowledge that it is happening. The real issue is whether we will address the issue in time to avoid the worst of the effects and also to forestall irresponsible calls for draconian measures. Part of the reason it is critical to act sooner rather than later is so that panic does not drive policy. Because, when the caca hits the fan, it will be the same people clambering for violence against climate scientists today who will be screaming most loudly for extreme measures to save their sorry asses.

    • Gavin's Pussycat // February 12, 2010 at 11:52 am | Reply

      Hmmm, there’s a touch of poet in you, Ray.

      I don’t actually believe that McI has anything directly to do with the cracking — I don’t think he has the skill. Lifting files from a server left accidentally open, sure. But the RealClimate crack was in a different league.

      That said, I don’t doubt that elements close to him were involved.

  • george // February 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Reply

    I know Steve McIntyre is no Joe McCarthy, but “Climate McIntyrtheism” is an important phenomenon in its own right — and needs a proper definition.

    Perhaps people can make suggestions.

    I’ll kick it off:

    Climate McIntyrtheism:

    Any internet-based activity with the primary purpose of mann-baiting.

  • Slioch // February 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury

    “the Geobbels school of journalism.”??

    Read the article Ray.

    It is a clear account of how John Houghton has been misquoted by Piers Akerman, Monckton, Christopher Booker, Benny Peiser and fellow sceptics.

    It is not Goebbels journalism at all.

    • Ray Ladbury // February 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Reply

      Sorry for the misunderstanding, I was referring to the making up of a quote out of whole cloth by Booker or Akerman as being worthy of Geobbels.

  • Phil. // February 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Reply

    Nice job Ray!

  • Deep Climate // February 11, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Reply

    Some background on McIntyre (and McKitrick) that you probably haven’t seen in the MSM is here:

    But McIntyre’s thin publication record suggests that his prominence has less to do with any compelling scientific analysis, and much more to do with astute promotion. And, indeed, the McIntyre-McKitrick saga turns out to have the usual supporting cast of anti-science propaganda: two notorious right-wing think tanks (the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the George Marshall Institute) and a deft fossil-fuel company funded PR veteran operating behind the scenes (none other than Tom Harris of APCO Worldwide).

  • David B. Benson // February 11, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Reply

    Seems Inhofe had an igloo made.

    NOt exactly as a joke…

  • Kevin McKinney // February 12, 2010 at 4:47 am | Reply

    “Inhofe had an igloo made.”

    Who’d he get to do it, now that Morano has moved on? M used to engineer everything for him.

  • J Bowers // February 12, 2010 at 11:46 am | Reply

    What is lacking is a Franklin D Roosevelt, and a Hugh Hammond Bennett.

    The Dust Bowl (the “Dirty Thrities”) and the mindset of the farmers, the media, and the US Senate and Congress then, is a striking mirror to what’s happening today. Farmers resorting to Native American magic was a sign of how desperate they had become, yet unwilling to accept that their own practices contributed largely to the predicament they were up to their necks in.

    However, the lack of a strong lobby (isn’t it now four lobbyists for every Member of Congress?), the internet, and libertarian think tanks helped Bennett get the message across both politically (he knew how to play the game), and scientifically, wlthough it was still a long game. Introducing great documentary photographers into the mix through the Farm Security Administration was a stroke of genius. People could see it, and it was documented in a way that made it undeniable. Even though Big Hugh’s science was undeniably sound, it was too difficult for most of the American public to grasp, too abstract. That included Congress and the Senate. When Black Sunday happened, if it hadn’t been photographed and published worldwide I personally doubt its “Biblical” proportions would have been believed.

    Then Bennett played his ‘piece de resistance’: He manipulated and stalled a Senate hearing to make sure that, even when some were so bored they fell asleep, the dust storm that he knew was approaching Washington would hit, and when it did he was able to pronounce, “This, gentlemen, is what I am talking about.”

    Unfortunately, what we have is, a contrarian stroke of genius. It allowed so many from the public to participate in what they believed was the ’science’. “Look! That air con unit is OBVIOUSLY corrupting the temperature readings! Common sense says so! Nothing to worry about, the scientists got it wrong.” and gave visual “proof” that the science is unreliable.

    The public just doesn’t want to believe that disaster could be around the corner, and their partying hard with the liberating and enriching goodness of fossil fuels is causing it. Of course they turn to those who reassure them that there’s nothing to worry about, regardless of whether they’re being fed a Big Lie. They swallow it hungrily. It’s human nature.

    Where’s Hugh Hammond Bennett when we need him?

    We may have had one in James Hansen, but that opportunity has probably passed. If the same lobbyists and think tanks had been around in the “Dirty Thirties” they’d have called for Bennett to be “hung, drawn and quartered” for daring to mix the science with the politics and pulling a stunt on the Senate, and they’d have used every tactic, even intercept his mail, to discredit his science….. and Americans would have gone to war with lungs filled with dust.

  • J Bowers // February 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Reply

    P.S., sorry for the typos. It was a bit hastily written.

  • Igor Samoylenko // February 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Reply

    Referring to the fabrication of a quote attributed to John Houghton which has been widely used by the denialists in an attempt to discredit climate science and IPCC, Ray said: “Ah, the Geobbels school of journalism.”

    Yeap, straight from his principles of propaganda:

    14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.
    a. They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses
    b. They must be capable of being easily learned
    c. They must be utilized again and again [...]

    A few others are also frequently employed:

    6. To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.

    11. Black rather than white propaganda may be employed when the latter is less credible or produces undesirable effects.

    13. Propaganda must be carefully timed.

    b. A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment
    c. A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness

    And finally:

    7. Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.

    I do think AGW denialists replaced “credibility” with “plausibility” here.

    Note the common reaction in the comments in that Guardian’s article. Not a single admission by the “sceptics” that it was wrong to fabricate or use the fabricated quote.

    On McIndex: Ray, I think you should add extra points for misrepresenting own research in public statements, for “publishing” research in the blogs instead of peer-reviewed journals and a special bonus for publishing in E&E.

  • Kevin McKinney // February 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Reply

    Never mind the typos–it was an enlightening bit of history.

  • David B. Benson // February 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Reply

    By all means a bonus for E&E.

  • Neven // February 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Reply

    Nice, J Bowers! Well said.

  • Hank Roberts // February 14, 2010 at 5:36 am | Reply

    So, where’s the current “grand solar minimum new ice age” denialbot discussion happening these days? All the regulars seem to have gone away.

  • J Bowers // February 14, 2010 at 11:35 am | Reply

    @Neven and Kevin: Thanks.

    I see WUWT have an article (‘Are Scientists Always Smart?’) on how Wegener’s hypothesis on plate techtonics was ridiculed before being accepted (possibly massaging the audience for a Galileo Gambit fallacy given Lindzen’s upcoming rebuttal to the rebuttals?).

    Another example would be Milanković, whose insolation theory was an important part of Wegener and Koppen’s ‘Climates of the Geological Past’, even though Milancovic’s insolation theory was still criticised.

    On Wegener and plate tectonics, from the comments on the WUWT article:

    ” Tom G(ologist) (20:28:19) :

    Even worse – the 1928 annual meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologist included an entire symposium on disproving, debunking, defaming, reidculing, and trying to put to rest the well-articulated ideas of one man, who was almost 100% correct.

    Wegener not only concluded that some of the continents were together, he concluded that there had been one supercontinent (Pangaea), that it had split first along an east-west line into a northern (Laurasia) and southern (Gondwana) continent, and then later into east and west sub-sections (Correct), and that before Pangaea, there had been a precursor super continent (correct again).

    The important thing was that it was all supported by evidence which his critics chose to ignore. THAT is the real similarity to our current situation.”

    Another striking piece of history from the 1950’s repeating itself is how it was meteorologists who had the greatest objections to another of Milancovic’s theories, which we now know as his…. you guessed it… theory of ice ages.

    You just couldn’t make it up if you wanted to.

  • Ray Ladbury // February 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Reply

    J. Bowers, The other aspect Tom G and micro-Watts utterly ignore is this: Wegener was in fact wrong. His posited mechanism of centrifugal force driving continents toward the equator was nonsense. He got somewhat closer in 1929, with Holmes positing convection of the mantle. as the driver of plate motion. Even so, a full blown theory had to wait until the ’60s and a better understanding of the behavior of rock under pressure.

    The thing is that even if Wegener’s theories had been accepted in 1912, they would have led nowhere.

    The contrast to climate science, where theory has been astoundingly successful for over 150 years and where there is no strong evidence contradicting the theory could not be greater. Another case of the asylum at Watts-up-’is-Arse, being as ignorant of history as they are of science.

  • Didactylos // February 14, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Reply

    Hank: the wonderful thing about red herrings is there are so many of them, and deniers can just move on to the next when one gets too difficult to argue.


    I actually hoped that we were entering an extended minimum. Not only would it give us a tiny respite in terms of the timescale for responding to global warming, it would also shoot holes in dozens of denier canards. No matter – even if the sun is wakening again, it’s still going to be on low for the next couple of years, and there’s a near certainty we will see a new global temperature record in that time.

    1998 and 2005 weren’t at solar maximum, either – so once again, deniers just can’t let reality affect their opinions.

    As for forecasting solar cycles: I think this sums it up.

  • J Bowers // February 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Reply

    @Ray Ladbury: Thanks very much for the extra info, it’s appreciated.

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