Saturday, December 5, 2009

Meet Steve McIntyre, Toronto retiree and Al Gore's worst nightmare

As the Climategate scandal gains some traction in the world press, it is important to keep the pressure on our elected representatives to get to the bottom of it.  The hard-earned money of taxpayers has been used to fund climate research for decades.  The Courier Mail (Australia) reported in June of 2007:

In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($60 billion) on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one.
That was back when billions still meant something. The truth is, these sunk costs will seem inconsequential when compared to the crippling economic costs of cap and trade.

If you really want to understand the global warming debate, I continue to recommend Ian Plimer's book, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science.  But I must warn you:  it is a heavy read and not intended for the casually interested.  But is is chock full of historical climate information and political context that should give pause to scientist and non-scientist alike.
For those of you that don't have time or motivation to read Plimer's book, let me suggest this short article by Richard Foot that appears today in the Star Phoenix (Canada).  It's entitled 'M and M' stick in craw of climate-change crew.  M and M are Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.  Here's an introductory excerpt:

Steve McIntyre, 62, is a Toronto retiree. He plays squash, dabbles with numbers and insists he never set out to stir up any trouble.

So why does his name appear again and again - in the most unflattering ways - in hundreds of e-mails written by the world's most influential climate change scientists, that were mysteriously taken from a computer in Britain last month and published on the Internet?

In these private messages, McIntyre is called everything from a "bozo" and a "moron" to a "playground bully."

"In my opinion," said one e-mail written by Benjamin Santer, a senior climatologist with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, "Stephen McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science."

The "climategate" e-mails have sparked a scandal - just ahead of next week's global warming summit in Copenhagen - for suggesting climatologists may have manipulated data to exaggerate the threat of global warming and conspired to keep contrary points of view out of the scientific journals.

But the e-mails are also conspicuous for their repeated, nasty references to two Canadians - McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick - who have become a serious thorn in the side of climatologists and others who say the planet is under serious threat from man-made global warming.

Although little-known in Canada, McIntyre and McKitrick - or M and M as they're called in climate change circles - have since 2003 put forward evidence of faulty calculations in some of the key scientific studies behind the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their work has drawn the attention of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Wall Street Journal, which last month called them "the climate change gang's most dangerous apostates."
If you want to see these emails for yourself, you can find them here.  The content is indexed and searchable and reveals interesting tidbits like this one from Penn State climate superstar, Michael Mann:

Yep, what was written below is all me, but it was purely on background, please don't quote anything I said or attribute to me w/out checking specifically--thanks.

Re, your point at the end--you've taken the words out of my mouth. Skepticism is essential
for the functioning of science. It yields an erratic path towards eventual truth. But
legitimate scientific skepticism is exercised through formal scientific circles, in
particular the peer review process. A necessary though not in general sufficient condition
for taking a scientific criticism seriously is that it has passed through the legitimate
scientific peer review process. those such as McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside
of this system are not to be trusted.
And this
if McIntyre had a legitimate point, he would submit a comment to the journal in
question. of course, the last time he tried that (w/ our '98 article in Nature), his
comment was rejected. For all of the noise and bluster about the Steig et al Antarctic
warming, its now nearing a year and nothing has been submitted. So more likely he won't
submit for peer-reviewed scrutiny, or if it does get his criticism "published" it will
be in the discredited contrarian home journal "Energy and Environment". I'm sure you
are aware that McIntyre and his ilk realize they no longer need to get their crap
published in legitimate journals. All they have to do is put it up on their blog, and
the contrarian noise machine kicks into gear, pretty soon Druge, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn
Beck and their ilk (in this case, The Telegraph were already on it this morning) are
parroting the claims. And based on what? some guy w/ no credentials, dubious connections
with the energy industry, and who hasn't submitted his claims to the scrutiny of peer

Fortunately, the prestige press doesn't fall for this sort of stuff, right?
Prestige press?  Like the one that has been protecting your rear end since these emails were leaked 16 days ago?  The content and tone of these emails reveal an arrogant, self-important cabal of elitists who pay cheap lip service to legitimate scientific skepticism, then do everything in their power to denigrate, delay and destroy anyone who approaches them wth dissent.

I would encourage you to browse through the emails and see what I mean. And while Barbara Boxer is crying foul about the illegal theft of these emails, and threatening to launch a criminal probe, remember this:  All this information was subject to Freedom of Information Act disclosure in the United States or the United Kingdom and had been requested (some of it for years) by multiple parties.  These "prestige" scientists did everything they could to frustrate and forestall anyone with the temerity to ask to see their raw data, up to and including destroying data and deleting incriminating emails.....that's data collected (or made up) with taxpayer money.

And speaking of Senator (Ma'am) Boxer, remember how quick she was to pounce on the "high crimes and misdemeanors" of the NSA wiretap program after it was illegally leaked to the New York Times in 2005 in a possible violation of the Espionage Act?  I guess the definition of what is or is not legal depends on the outcome you want.

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