Booker on Climategate....
Christopher Booker is one of the best reports on 'global warming'....
The most widely quoted of the Climategate emails was that from the CRU’s director, Philip Jones, saying that he had used “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline”. If there was anything in the CRU’s record which a proper inquiry should have addressed it was the story behind this email, because what it highlighted was the device used by the CRU to get round the fact that its tree-ring data hopelessly failed to show the result the warmist establishment wanted. When their Siberian tree rings showed temperatures in the late 20th century sharply dropping rather than rising, the “trick” used by Prof Jones and his colleague Dr Keith Briffa, copied from Mike Mann’s own “hockey stick”, was simply to delete the downward curve shown by the tree rings, replacing them with late 20th-century temperature data to show the dramatic warming they wanted.
The significance of this sleight of hand can scarcely be exaggerated. Why, in using this misleading graph, did the IPCC not explain the trick that had been played by its leading scientists? If tree rings were so inadequate in reflecting 20th-century temperatures, why should they be relied on to reflect temperatures in earlier centuries? Why, when fresh Siberian tree ring data came to light, making a nonsense of the CRU’s earlier temperature reconstructions, did the CRU simply ignore the new data?
Anyone who has followed the meticulous analysis of this curious story by Steve McIntyre on his Climate Audit website might well conclude that we are looking here at a complete travesty of proper scientific procedure, matched only by the bizarre methods used by Mann himself to construct his original hockey stick. Yet these are the men, Mann, Jones and Briffa, who acted as the “lead authors” of the key chapters of the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 reports.
They quite shamelessly promoted the rewriting of history produced by themselves and a small group of colleagues – the so-called Hockey Team – which the IPCC in turn used as its main evidence to convince the politicians that the world faces unprecedented warming.
Yet scarcely a hint of this hugely important story is contained in the Oxburgh report, which simply glosses it over, hoping to appease critics by throwing in a few vaguely critical comments about how Jones and his team were a trifle “disorganised” in archiving their data. It ignores the utterly damning critiques of the CRU’s methodology produced by McIntyre and McKitrick. It does not even begin to question the way the CRU has compiled its global temperature record, relied on by the IPCC as the most authoritative of all the official data sources for surface temperatures.
Yet this in turn has given rise to all sorts of controversies, not least when Prof Jones last year admitted that much of his data had been “lost” (following his repeated refusals of applications to see it by McIntyre and others). More damaging still was the charge by senior Russian scientists that, in compiling its global record, CRU had cherry-picked the data supplied from Russia, suppressing that from most of the country while retaining the data from the vicinity of cities which, thanks to the “urban heat island” effect, showed a warming trend. So even the accuracy of CRU’s temperature record has been called seriously in doubt, although one would never have guessed it from Oxburgh.
As is reflected in so many political tragedies, from Macbeth to Watergate, it is often not the original dark act itself which leads to nemesis but the later attempts to “trammel up the consequence”. Nothing will do more to reinforce suspicion of the CRU’s conduct than the failure, first by those MPs, and now by the team led by Lord Oxburgh, to address properly the way in which it appears to have abused the principles of true science – a scandal which should be of concern not just to us here in Britain, who paid for it, but across the world.