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Hacked emails from Climate Research Unit

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by stopcrazypp, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    #1 stopcrazypp, Nov 21, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
    The Climate Change skeptics are having a field day right now with this news story:

    Google News

    I don't know how much is quote mining, how much is accurate (the sample of email and data was "random" but likely cherry picked and it is currently unknown which is real and which might be faked or made up) and for context a lot of these were personal emails.

    In specific regards to the messages, a few points skeptics are drawing: evidence of CRU members talking about keeping skeptics out of peer review journals, manipulation of evidence, deleting data and not releasing it, violating Freedom of information, etc.

    Any of you following closely with the global warming and climate change care to chime in?

    This is kind of in over my head since admittedly I haven't personally been following the climate change scene closely, and it seems a lot of the skeptics are pretty well backed up (there are lots of them and they seem to all have some seemingly fairly solid arguments, at least in regards to comments on this particular incident).

    CRU response:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/
     
  2. Brent

    Brent Member

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    #2 Brent, Nov 21, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
    Joe Romm has also taken up the defense of the scientists. If anything, the emails seem to show that scientists are reaching their conclusions with eyes wide open and after a vigorous and thorough debate. The idea that that the climate community blackballs you if your data shows no warming is just wrong. Everything is considered.
     
  3. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    The link doesn't seem to work anymore. However I think the CRU response above addresses the points sufficiently. Apparently that "decline" is not a real decline of the kind one is lead to think by reading it out of context, and that email is about a way to deal with sort-of-invalid data which is misleading in a scientific sense. And apparently this had already also been discussed in published papers.
     
  4. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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  5. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    This week's Question Time had Daily Mail journalist Melanie Phillips on the panel. To say she was a climate change sceptic was a bit of an understatement, but unfortunately one of her comments was an object lesson in how to take half the facts and present them to the audience as authoritative. You may be able to watch it on the link above.

    I'm not surprised to hear such views to be coming form Daily Mail staff. While checking their site to see if I could find any of her articles, I came across the following:

    Scientist in climate change 'cover-up' storm told to quit | Mail Online

    STEPHEN GLOVER: I might not know the truth about climate change, but I recognise trickery and slippery excuses when I see them | Mail Online


    The op-ed piece and accompanying poll result shows just how certain elements of the media are prepared to latch onto any tentative "fact" they can and hammer it home in the minds of the public.
     
  6. bobw

    bobw Tesla Reader

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    #6 bobw, Nov 30, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
    I am not a GW skeptic. I am an AGW skeptic. If that is a surprise to anyone, I apologize. It means I have not expressed myself clearly.

    It may be quote mining, but I am aghast that anyone writes about evading FOI requests. The essence of science is reproduceability. If others cannot reproduce your work, you have nothing. You must share everything with anyone who asks for it, to the extent your resources permit.

    I can see no resource limit to sharing databases, algorithms, and source code. They have no excuses. To be credible they must share with anyone who asks, let the chips fall where they may. They don't get to pick and choose.

    The BBC article quotes "Professor Judith Curry, a mainstream climate scientist from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US." as saying in a blog posting:

    It's too late. The time to be completely open was at the very beginning.
     
  7. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    #7 Palpatine, Nov 30, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
    I will say upfront that I lean firmly towards the side that the climate is warming and our CO2 and methane emmissions are a leading cause. I am not an expert on these topics. I am just a person that reads a lot and the theory and evidence so far makes sense to me.

    I also believe that it is probably too late to do anything about it and we lack the willpower to make the changes that need to be made. Countries are not willing to sacrafice near term economic growth for this long term issue.

    That having been clarified, I think these scientists have permanently damaged their credibility by what was written in these emails.

    If these guys were the leading authors of the studies backing global warming, then it will take 5-10 years to recover credibility for the theory. The "scientists" in question will likely always have their past and future work suspect. I don't know if some of them will ever be able to recover after some of those emails.

    To get real credibility it will require untainted scientists doing new studies that are properly open to review by others. Studies that come to a different conclusion cannot be blackballed. This needs to be an honest process for something this big.
     
  8. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I agree there isn't much excuse to evade FOI requests; probably the people talking about it will be investigated. Officially they say that it is because some sources won't allow them to do so, but the quotes given (I haven't read the emails in full and, as far as I know, the sample of leaked emails were not complete either) seem to suggest the main reason they didn't want to provide it is from knowing those requesting it are skeptics.

    But the other side of the argument is that there is similar data available from sources in the US that can also be used to disprove AGW if that was the goal. It seems the goal of the skeptics are just to pick apart CRU specifically because of its influence on the IPCC.

    I'm not into research, but isn't that how peer review works? Peer review will mean many papers will be rejected and sometimes there will be collaboration amongst reviewers to reject a paper. You also need a panel of qualified experts to do the reviewing. As far as I know, the articles it was talking about rejecting all had good reasons to be rejected.

    A science publication is different from a normal publication. In a normal publication you try to give arguments from both sides to be "fair". But in a science publication this may give the wrong impression that both sides have equal scientific standing. Therefore for the most part, one side will be almost be completely rejected unless it has built a strong case or both sides really have equal standing.

    From this incident, I don't see anything fundamentally overthrowing the conclusions reached by the IPCC. And even if the authors who wrote the papers that established these conclusions did some bad behavior (dodging FOI requests or bad mouthing skeptics), if the paper is a solid paper, this shouldn't affect the conclusions. The only exception is if there was data that was completely made up, in which case it would be fraud. But I don't see it here, it seems mostly discussion over how to present data.

    But I can understand how to damaging this can be in terms of changing public opinion. Certainly those with a political reason to reject climate change are loving the release of these emails. And as a whole the response of CRU and the university to the media really isn't adequate. It shows scientists/university definitely suck more at PR than politicians, pundits, bloggers, etc. I guess it reflects the whole issue of how scientists should deal with scientific issues that generate a lot of public controversy.

    Some more details and clarification on the major arguments raised against the emails:
    RealClimate: The CRU hack: Context
    Data sources:
    RealClimate: Where’s the data?
     
  9. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    The issue appears to be open to scientific debate. As I understand it, there are studies that are having trouble explaining the lack of warming since 2001. These scientific papers, that raise some questions about the overall conclusions, are being supressed.

    The emails appear to have these scientists trying to spike any research science on topics that don't conform with their POV. Even though their own emails are raising these same issues.

    This appears to be that the global warming scientists are stacking the deck in determining what is permitted to be published as legitimate science.

    Remember, I believe that the global warming is actually real and happening.
    But if there are issues with the current science, they would all have more credibility by not stacking the deck.

    Look where the credibility of Jones is now. There are potential criminal charges and many are calling for him to resign or be fired. This guy will be tainted forever by his emails.
     
  10. bobw

    bobw Tesla Reader

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    That's just it. The skeptics must be the first to get all the data.

    That's what makes their data so important. It directly led to recommendations for worldwide measures costing trillions of dollarr. It is most particularly important to vet that data thoroughly.

    That system breaks down if the anonymous reviewers are from the same group that produces the research. It's intellectual incest.

    It's not a discussion over how to present the data. It's a discussion over whether the data is valid or not. Given the new "The dog ate my homework" excuse (They threw away the tapes and other records of the raw data when they moved to a new facility.) it's a discussion over whether the data existed at all.

    Once the data is produced the discussion turns to whether the sample(s) are adequate in time, scope, and accuracy.

    If the data is valid the discussion then turns to how it was processed.

    It's not a PR question. it's basic scientific integrity.

    The "Where's the data" link is particularly bad. If you cannot provide all your raw source data plus descriptions of how you obtained and processed it, the data and the metadata, you have nothing.

    Furthermore, it is not the responsibility of worldwide governments to pressure the data sources to release it. It is the researchers' responsibility. If private negotiations fail then the next step is a public list of holdouts and the data needed from them.

    It's not a question of trust, it's the basic question of reproducibility. If others cannot reproduce your results you have nothing. This is basic science.

    At the very least these people are slobs. We learned that when it turned out that their analysis would have produced a hockey stick graph from random noise.
     
  11. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    This all seems very reminiscent of big oil at the turn of the century discrediting the EV1. Maybe not the same group but the same tactic.
     

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