Apres le whitewash: Revkin aims for Climategaters’ good graces

New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin is moving to repair his relationship with alarmists after being stung by their expressed distrust.

In one of the notorious Climategate e-mails, hokey stick fabricator Michael Mann notes that Revkin is “not as predictable as we’d like.” Revkin moved to repair that breach of trust in his article today, co-authored with John Broder.

The article is below, annotated with our comments in bold.

December 7, 2009

In Face of Skeptics, Experts Affirm Climate Peril

[We can’t even get past the title. In Sunday’s whitewash of Revkin’s Climategate reporting, Revkin told the Times‘ public editor, “Our coverage, looked at in toto, has never bought the catastrophe conclusion and always aimed to examine the potential for both overstatement and understatement.” Yet the title of today’s article “affirms” that the climate is in “peril.”]

Just two years ago, a United Nations panel that synthesizes the work of hundreds of climatologists around the world called the evidence for global warming “unequivocal.”

[And thousands of e-mails from two weeks ago show that the same UN panel has been cooking the books, destroying data and conspiring to silence opponents.]

But as representatives of about 200 nations converge in Copenhagen on Monday to begin talks on a new international climate accord, they do so against a background of renewed attacks on the basic science of climate change.

[The attack has been constant and has only intensified.]

The debate, set off by the circulation of several thousand files and e-mail messages stolen from one of the world’s foremost climate research institutes, has led some who oppose limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and at least one influential country, Saudi Arabia, to question the scientific basis for the <a title=”More articles about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

[There is no evidence that the e-mails were stolen or hacked. Put together in response to a FOIA request, they were stored on a public server. No crime here.]

The uproar has threatened to complicate a multiyear diplomatic effort already ensnared in difficult political, technical and financial disputes that have caused leaders to abandon hopes of hammering out a binding international climate treaty this year.

In recent days, an array of scientists and policy makers have said that the correspondence and documents include references by prominent climate scientists to deleting potentially embarrassing e-mail messages, keeping papers by competing scientists from publication and making adjustments in research data undercuts decades of peer-reviewed science.

Yet the intensity of the response highlights that skepticism about global warming persists, even as many scientists thought the battle over the reality of human-driven climate change was finally behind them.

[There is no skepticism about “global warming.” There is skepticism that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases are having a discernible and negative effect.]

On dozens of Web sites and blogs, skeptics and foes of greenhouse gas restrictions at the scientific arguments for human-driven climate change. The stolen material was quickly seized upon for the questions it raised about the accessibility of raw data to outsiders and whether some data had been manipulated.

[Repeating that the e-mails were “stolen” does not make it so.]

An investigation into the stolen files is being conducted by the University of East Anglia, in England, where the computer breach occurred. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has also said he will look into the matter. At the same time, polls in the United States and Britain suggest that the number of people who doubt that global warming is dangerous or caused by humans has grown in recent years.

[Everyone who believes that the IPCC will conduct a bona fide investigation of itself, please stand on your head.]

Politics, ideology and economic interests interlace the debate, and the stakes on both sides are high. If scientific predictions about global warming’s effects are correct, inaction will lead at best to rising social, economic and environmental disruption, at worst to a calamity far more severe. If the forecasts are wrong, nations could divert hundreds of billions of dollars to curb greenhouse gas emissions at a time when they are struggling to recover from a global recession.

Yet the case for human-driven warming, many scientists say, is far clearer now than a decade ago, when the skeptics included many people who now are convinced that climate change is a real and serious threat.

[A decade of global cooling validates global warming?]

Even some who remain skeptical about the extent or pace of global warming say that the premise underlying the Copenhagen talks is solid: that warming is to some extent driven by greenhouse gases spewing into the atmosphere from human activities like the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Roger A. Pielke Sr., for example, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado who has been highly critical of the United Nations climate panel and who once branded many of the scientists now embroiled in the e-mail controversy part of a climate “oligarchy,” said that so many independent measures existed to show unusual warming taking place that there was no real dispute about it. Moreover, he said, “The role of added carbon dioxide as a major contributor in climate change has been firmly established.”

[Pielke actually says that the totality of human activities are important, not CO2 by itself.]

The Copenhagen conference itself reflects increasing acceptance of the scientific arguments: the negotiations leading to the talks were conducted by high-ranking officials of the world’s governments rather than the scientists and environment ministers who largely shaped the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Late last week,President Obama changed the date of his visit to Copenhagen to Dec. 18, the last day of the talks.

For many, a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a marker of a shift in the global warming debate. In it, the panel — a volunteer network of hundreds of scientists from many disciplines who meet periodically to review climate studies and translate the results into language useful to policy makers — concluded that no doubt remained that human-caused warming was under way and that, if unabated, it would pose rising risks.

[IPCC = Climategate]

Over the last several decades, other reviews, by the National Academy of Sciences and other institutions, have largely echoed the panel’s findings and said the remaining uncertainties should not be an excuse for inaction.

[Same “scientists,” different acronym.]

The panel’s report was built on two decades of intensive scientific study of climate patterns.

[“Study”? Or manipulation, fabrication, distortion, etc.?]

Greenhouse gases warm the planet by letting in sunlight and blocking the escape of some of the resulting heat. “The physics of the greenhouse effect is so basic that instead of asking whether it would happen, it makes more sense to ask what on earth could make it not happen,” said Spencer Weart, a physicist and historian. “So far, nobody has been able to come up with anything plausible in that line.”

[Is Revkin really trying to imply that skeptics are skeptical of the greenhouse effect?]

The atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases released by humans has risen rapidly in the last century, along with industrialization and electricity use. Carbon dioxide from burning of coal, oil and natural gas is the most potent of the greenhouse gases because it can persist in the atmosphere for a century or more.

Methane — from landfills, livestock and leaking pipes, tanks and wells — has recently been found to be a close second. And these gases not only have a heating effect, but also cause evaporation of water from sea and soil, producing water vapor, another powerful heat-trapping gas.

[The challenge for alarmists, however, is to show that human emissions drive or discernibly affect the climate, and that such change is necessarily for the worse. That has not been done.]

In reaching its conclusion, the climate panel relied only partly on temperature data like that collected by the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, whose circulated e-mail correspondence set off the current uproar. It also considered a wide range of data from other sources, including measurements showing the retreat of glaciers in mountain ranges around the world, changes in the length and character of the seasons, heating of the oceans and marked retreats of sea ice in the Arctic.

[LOL. The CRU data is extensively used and relied on by alarmists. The other climatic phenomena may or may not be occurring, but unless tied to human greenhouse gas emissions, the hypothesis of manmade climate change is a loser.]

Since 1979, satellites have provided another check on surface temperature measurements. Strong disagreements about how to interpret the satellite data were largely resolved after the Bush administration began a review in which competing research groups worked out some of their differences.

[Satellite data, which only shows very slight warming, does not validate that it was caused by man.]

Science is about probability, not certainty. And the persisting uncertainties in climate science leave room for argument. What is a realistic estimate of how much temperatures will rise? How severe will the effects be? Are there tipping points beyond which the changes are uncontrollable?

[Science is not about probability. It is a systematic process through which we learn about the natural world. Science is, in fact, about reaching certainty. No one went to the moon on a wing and a prayer.]

Even climate scientists disagree on many of these questions. But skeptics have been critical of the data assembled to show that warming is occurring and the analytic methods that climate scientists use, including mathematical models used to demonstrate a human cause for warming and project future trends.

[Skeptics are not critical of the fact of warming — only about to the degree, causes and effects.]

Both sides also have at times been criticized for overstatement in characterizing the scientific evidence. The contents of the stolen e-mail messages and documents have given fresh ammunition to the skeptics’ camp.

[Climategate equals vindication, not ammunition. Imagine if we could peek at all the alarmists’ e-mails.]

The Climatic Research Unit’s role as a central aggregator of temperature and other climate data has also made it a target.

[“Central aggregator” of data? Didn’t Revkin just say that the CRU wasn’t all that important?]

One widely discussed file extracted from the unit’s computers, presumed to be the log of a researcher named Ian Harris, recorded his years of frustration in trying to make sense of disparate data and described procedures — or “fudge factors,” as he called them — used by scientists to eliminate known sources of error.

The research in question concerned attempts to chart past temperature changes by studying tree rings and other indirect indicators, an area of research that has long been fraught with disputes. An influential study that drew in part on the British data was challenged in 2003. In 2006, a review by the National Academy of Sciences concluded, with some reservations, that “an array of evidence” supported the broad thrust of the research.

[As before, NAS = IPCC scientists under a different acronym.]

To skeptics, the purloined files suggest a conspiracy to foist an expensive policy agenda on the nations of the world and to keep inconsistent data from the public.

“If we were arguing about archaeology then people could hoard their data,” said Stephen McIntyre, a bloggerand retired Canadian mining consultant who since 2003 has investigated climate data, sometimes finding errors. “But I don’t think the public has any time for that” in the climate debate.

Many scientists, however, deny that any important data was held back and say that the e-mail messages and documents will in the end prove merely another manufactured controversy.

[Will the real “deniers” please stand up?]

“There will remain after the dust settles in this controversy a very strong scientific consensus on key characteristics of the problem,” John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, told a Congressional hearing last week. “Global climate is changing in highly unusual ways compared to long experienced and expected natural variations.”

[The concept of “consensus” has no role in science. In any event, how does the actual consensus of 32,000 skeptics compare to the alleged consensus of IPCC-Climategaters?]

Whichever view prevails, the questions will undoubtedly linger well after the negotiators who are trying to work out the complex issues that still stand in the way of an international climate treaty leave Copenhagen.

[I thought the “experts affirmed” that the climate was in “peril”? What questions can there still be, Andy?]

Andrew C. Revkin reported from New York, and John M. Broder from Washington.

[One of the few accuracies in this article.]

So Andrew the Apologist has atoned to the alarmists. Maybe Michael Mann will now welcome him back into the alarmist fold and give him back his 100%-alarmist rating.

BTW, global warming is Mann-made.

18 thoughts on “Apres le whitewash: Revkin aims for Climategaters’ good graces”

  1. I’m sure that a few well placed threats can do wonders about changing someones mind I am sure also that that is what changed Revkins mind. The EPA has thrown down their gauntlet today and have classed Co2 as a danger to our health and can impose restrictions and fines against users of carbon. It just seems they have every avenue covered to get climate control (people control) on us and shake us down for money and loss of liberty. I have written to my congress and senate so many times I get sort of used to sending them a letter about every other day . The replies I get are not good, Sherrod Brown is bent on getting the cap and tax bill passed but is looks like we will subject to it if it passes or not . the EPA needs to be disbanded or at least have its power clipped . Senator Voinovich is against it but for the wrong reason he thinks it will kill jobs and stop employment when we are in a recession,he is half right it will kill jobs , it needs to be dumped where the sun does not shine . Gore needs to be arrested .

  2. Revkin says in the article that, “At the same time, polls in the United States and Britain suggest that the number of people who doubt that global warming is dangerous or caused by humans has grown in recent years.

    Here’s one of them, reported in Newsmax.

    Belief in Global Warming at All-Time Low — BEFORE Climategate

    A new poll reveals that the percentage of Americans who believe carbon dioxide emissions will cause global warming has dropped dramatically in recent years.

    And that poll by Harris Interactive was conducted between Nov. 2 and 11 — before the so-called “climategate” controversy erupted, calling into question the validity of some of the science supporting manmade global warming.

    The poll found that the percentage of American who believe in global warming has dropped from 75 percent in 2001 and 71 percent in 2007 to just 51 percent.

    At the same time, the percentage of those who do not believe in global warming has risen from 19 percent in 2001 and 23 percent in 2007 to 29 percent today, and the percentage who are unsure has climbed from 6 percent to 21 percent since 2001.

    “The 51 percent who believe emissions will cause climate change is by far the lowest number recorded in any Harris Poll since we started asking this question 12 years ago,” Harris Interactive disclosed.

    Opinions differed sharply along party lines — 73 percent of Democrats believe in manmade global warming, compared to 28 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Independents.

    As for the upcoming international conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, only 28 percent of those polled knew that the main topic to be discussed is global warming and climate change. Nearly 10 percent said the economic crisis would be the topic, while smaller numbers cited nuclear weapons, health and epidemics, terrorism, international trade, or drugs.

    Six days after the poll closed, on Nov. 17, someone hacked a server used by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and disseminated more than a thousand e-mails and other documents.

    Climate change skeptics charge that the e-mails show collusion by climate scientists to skew scientific information in favor of manmade global warming.

    The leaked documents “show that prominent scientists were so wedded to theories of manmade global warming that they ridiculed dissenters who asked for copies of their data, plotted how to keep researchers who reached different conclusions from publishing, and concealed apparently buggy computer code from being disclosed under the Freedom of Information law,” CBS News reported.

    One climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research was quoted as saying: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

  3. Now that the EPA is classifying CO2 as a pollutant, they say they can charge those who pollute. Just as I feared government has found a way to tax breathing, farts and burps.

  4. The following seems appropriate for Obama, his EPA, the IPCC, Gore and the rest of the liars.
    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule it.” – H.L. Mencken.

  5. Make no mistake, the Dem’s will pay big time for this in 2010 and 2012. Concerning Andy, I can understand him doing what he did, he’s been beating the AGW drum for a long time now and to suddenly get a pearl of wisdom and start writing about the truth would likely cost him his job.

  6. Dubya went into Iraq because of bad intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. For his part, Obama is wading into the Global Warming imbroglio based on fraudulent intelligence cooked up by Peace Prizer Al, Jimmy Hansen, and Michael Mann.

    Hansen wants the CEOs of energy companies to be tried as criminals. (That sounds so sane.)

    What could be more awful than the imminent meltdown of the earth owing not to nuclear weapons, but CO2, a life-giving gas essential to photo-synthesis and emitted in our every breath?

    Copenhagen will be the last chance to save the planet. Snore. This is not going to turn out well for Leftists.

  7. This assumes there will BE elections in 2010 and 2012.

    After all, all this restlessness by the natives can easily be cured by another false flag “terror” incident.

    God knows what the “NWO” types will then try to gin up out of that. In that case, the only way I can see of saving the USA and hence the world, is for The Oathkeepers to take over and clean the mess up.

    After that, we need to restate The Constitution, so that the Federal Governments powers are so chained down, they can never again lead us into the mess started when we were led purposefully down the wrong path, started by the moronic Woodrow Wilson in 1913.

  8. Revkin has written a couple of books. He is one of the many who have profited from the Warming Fraud. He has been one of its greatest enablers. If he had any integrity, he would admit he has fed balderdash to his readers and resign.

  9. There are a host of blogs that rip into Global Warming. Many are well done, in different ways.
    Marc Morano’s Climate Depot is taking things to a new plateau. Its incredible. The web site brings together information in a comprehensive, efficient way, linking with other blogs into a powerful network.
    The effect is extra-ordinary. I only looked at this site for the first time yesterday. Wow.
    Climate Depot is mopping the floor with the liars and elitist nitwits, who think their views constitute a monopoly on human understanding. How convenient for them and how foolish they are revealed to look.

    Part of their problem has been explained by Steve McIntyre. In univerisities, fearmongers do not have to make genuine sense or do anything practical that will establish whether they know what they are talking about. They can levy their claims, but many will kow-tow because they are bringing in the grant dollars, or students fawn at them. They become genuinely convinced of their own brilliance. Politicians tell them they are brilliant, for more positive feedback. The science is over, proclaims Gore.

    The field of eco-science contains within it little rigorous self-criticism. From the infamous Climategate emails, it is apparent that many thought Mann’s data-analyses were weak-minded, but it was unpatriotic to the cause of Catastrophic Global Warming owing to CO2 to challenge Mann’s dopey work.

    Within the minds of the ClimateGaters, they have been brainwashed to think all criticism has to come from Exxon. As a result, there is not enough healthy internal self-criticism. No one can criticize the belief system, with an aim toward making it more rigorous and in the long run more credible.

    This presents skeptics with an amazingly tempting target, if enough skeptics have the courage to step forward and guffaw at the utter nonsense. The guys with courage are like Lindzen and Dyson, fellows who are surrounded by Global Warming lemmings and who accept the prevailing social climates within their ivory towers of MIT and Princeton. McIntyre is already experienced at sniffing out fraud, with Bre-Ex or whatever it was called.

    In the long run, it may turn out that Obama was clever to select Browner, Holdren, and van Jones for his Administration. If the bubble pops and more of the public begins to appreciate that Big Al is wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes and is more crooked then Bernie Madoff and the con artist Mr. Stanford, then Obama can blame the fiasco on Gore, Browner, and Holdren, and send them packing.

    In any event, we shall see what unfolds. The good and healthy thing, for the US and for other nations, is that Marc Marano, in conjunction with all the other bloggers, is ripping into the sheltered elitist fantasy of Catastrophic Global Warming owing to CO2. This provides empowerment for critical thinkers, who have been muzzled by the unhealthy and unskeptical climate within the academic field of climate science. Since Al Gore has been practiciing politics and intimidating real debate, other political forces need to fire back, so as to provide balance and enable real and credible scientific discussion.

  10. I have never looked at Climate Audit until today.

    Mr. McIntyre’s commentaries on the emails seem keen and on point. The emails are damning of Mann, Jones, Briffa, Gavin Schmidt, probably plenty of others. The cover-up was aided and abetted by the editors of the journal Nature.

    The inner cabal of the perpetrators of climate malfeasance may have been less than 50 desparately like-minded “scientists.”

    There should be a thorough investigation and public airing of deliberate attempts to misinform the public and political leaders. While this fiasco does not surprise me, since humans are imperfect, at the same time its sad and deeply despicable. Anyone who defends these scientists is either uninformed about their misconducts or a charlatan.

    While Mr. Gore deserves a great dishonor for his part in this absurd fiasco, it does not seem known yet that he personally ordered data to be misinterpreted or tricked to hide the decline. This was done by climate scientists and they should take their fair share of blame. Mr. Gore is himself no scientist. This can be his defense.

  11. A root problem in the Climategate fiasco is insufficient knowledge of responsible data practices, by newspapers or journals.

    McIntyre has an educational background in mathematical methods. The Dane, Bjorn Lonborg, is said to be a statistician. Steve Milloy is said to have a masters in biostatistics from Johns Hopkins. There is a fellow Briggs who has a PhD in statistics from Cornell, who has a skeptical blog. When people with this sort of educational background dig into Global Warming, they can have a field day in uncovering mediocre thinking. Milloy is having a great time, writing books and columns.

    One structural problem for society is seemingly not enough data-transparency and accountability, being required of authors by journals.

    Its hard to know what sort of excuses there are for the New York Times. I can look at Climate Audit and pretty quickly see McIntryre knows exactly what he is talking about.
    Thus, how come the New York Times has no one on staff or expert consultant, who can read Climate Audit for an hour and not realize the IPCC’s GW claims have problems? How come the Omsbudsman does a review and exonerates the IPCC and Revkin’s misleading reporting?

    Mann’s Nature Trick of Hiding the Decline should be illustrated graphically on the cover of news magazines. It should be front and center on Fox TV and Drudge Report. And this graphic will render public service about the whole hoax.

    Its not just the emails that are damaging to the alarmists, as their apologists like Revkin say. Its the bad data and junk claims. The universe of scientists involved is not large and now the facts are out of the bag.

    If James Hansen believes the Hockey Stick, then his extremist views are understandable. This graphic makes it look like the end of the world is nigh. However, its just junk data.

    What a fiasco. NASA blew up a space shuttle by not knowing that rubber O-rings would contract due to cold. If a disaster like that can be investigated, so too should this IPCC one.

  12. Page 1 of the Wall Street Journal should display how the Hockey Stick graphic was concocted and run stories on brave whistle-blowers like Lindzen, McIntrye, Freeman Dyson. Maybe the USPS could feature them on stamps, a series on great whistleblowers.

    This seems like a big time news story. A call to massively re-order the world economy, based on little data and some that has been fraudulently put forward. The science outsourced to an undisciplined UN process involving people who reported what they wanted, not what facts indicated. It could only end this way, in a fiasco.

    ClimateGate may turn into a public relations problem for the President, but Mr. Obama did not feature himself in An Inconveient Truth. What truth? Sigh.

  13. It is so quiet here at Green Hell Blog, I wonder if it can indeed be true?

    Are Americans so utterly bored now with Global Warming, since the nonsense and chicanery has been revealed, naked as jaybirds, that all is now quiet?

    Have we emphatically triumphed like Senator Inhofe says? Have we vanquished the clueless Gore?

    Or will those intrepid Junkers dust themselves off and get off the mat and start spinning new eco-lies?

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