Climategate: still an astonishing lack of coverage in the MSM, the only major UK exception being the Mail which, after years of agnosticism now seems to have decided to come down firmly in the climate sceptics’ camp – here, here and in this article today by the mighty Booker. (Nigel Lawson is able to slip in a mention, too, in today’s Times).
But is that because – as some of the commenters below my post are so eager to tell me – it’s a complete non-story which deserves to get me the sack for being such a rubbish journalist (with innumerable websites dedicated to telling the world just how crap I am, apparently)?
Or does it have legs? (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)
This interview with retired climatalogist Dr Tim Ball offers quite a useful perspective.
There’s no point in anyone from the AGW camp watching it: they’ve made up their minds and no quantity of contrary evidence, however devastating, is going to shake their considered position of “Nyah nyah nyah. Got my fingers in my ears. Not listening. The world IS warming and it’s man’s fault. Must tax carbon now….”
But the type of people I would dearly love to watch it are those like my friends Dan Hannan, Danny Finkelstein, Ed West and Michael Gove. This particular rogues’ gallery has long been a source of frustration and disappointment to me. They are intelligent and wise, eloquent and funny. They are on the side of wisdom and commonsense. They correctly anatomise so many of the ills of the modern world, from the perils of rampant Islamism to the evils of the EU. I like and admire them all hugely. Yet on perhaps the biggest and most important issue of our age – because it’s going to cost so much money and do so much harm to our landscape – they all have a curious blind spot.
What seems to have lulled these four – and many other clever people like them, I fear – into their dangerous complacency is the belief that given the majority of world scientific opinion is backing AGW theory, it would be irresponsible for us non-scientists to disagree.
What the Climategate scandal does is prove just how murky and unreliable this supposed scientific “consensus” really is.
Dr Ball is particularly trenchant on the phrase “peer-reviewed.” You’ll have heard it being brandished an awful lot over the last decade or so, invariably by scientists in the climate-fear-promotion lobby trying to show how all scientists who disagree with them are just ignorant cranks who need not be taken seriously. It’s a virus that has spread to non-scientists. Read George Monbiot; skim through the comments by AGW-believers below any blog on the subject of climate change. “Peer-reviewed”: it’s the magic phrase which – in their eyes – guarantees the reliability and credibility of their favoured scientists, and which completely pulls the rug from under that of the dissenters.
But what if that vaunted “peered-review” stamp of authenticity is about as valuable as a fake Rolex? It would mean, would it not, that the supposedly authoritative community of disinterested scientists who inform the IPCC’s reports are in fact to be trusted about as much as a frog would a scorpion it was ferrying on its back across a river…
This is the key point made by Dr Ball.
“It confirms suspicions that I’ve had working in my thirty years of climate science. I saw the hijacking of climate science particularly by computer modelers and then by a small group associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change….”
“What you’ve got here is confirmation of the small group of scientists who, by the way, Professor Wegman who was asked to arbitrate in the debate about the hockey stick, he identified 42 people who were publishing together and also peer-reviewing each other’s literature. So there’s a classic example of the kind of thing that bothered me. About twenty years ago, I started saying ‘Well why are they pushing the peer review?’..And now of course we realise it’s because they had control of their own process. That’s clearly exposed in these emails.”
“On a global scale it’s frightening because this group of people not only control the Hadley Centre, which controls the data on global temperature through the Hadley Climate Research Unit but they also control the IPCC and they’ve manipulated that. And of course the IPCC has become the basis in all governments for the Kyoto protocol, the Copenhagen accord and so on….”
Dr Ball describes the scandal as not just a “smoking gun” but “a battery of machine guns.” How much more evidence, I wonder, do the likes of Messrs Hannan, Gove, Finkelstein and West need, I wonder, before they feel as strongly about this issue as I do?