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« Journos come running | Main | A letter to DECC's chief scientist »


Some of you may remember Deutche Bank's amusing attempt to address "major sceptic arguments". I posted something on this back at the start of September.

Ross McKitrick has now posted up a back and forth between himself and the authors, Mary-Elena Carr, Kate Brash, and Robert Anderson. These three were joined by a fourth author, Madeleine Rubenstein, for the subsequent responses to McKitrick. McKitrick uses the shorthand "CABR" to refer to the four, and I've adopted the same style here.

There's quite a bit of reading, but it's certainly worth investing the time. The work of the CABR team is, quite frankly, extraordinary. It is so bad I'm going to refrain from further comment.

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Reader Comments (63)

The Columbia University team's work is appalling. It is almost a case study in a lack of critical thinking. That Deutsche Bank is funding it, is equally appalling. What makes it totally emabarrassing is the stridency of the accompanying blog - one would think one had made a mistake and landed on Joe Romm's Climate Progress site.

Nov 9, 2010 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

BH says:

'The work of the CABR team is, quite frankly, extraordinary. It is so bad I'm going to refrain from further comment.'

Which is understandable. He went to the trouble of writing a lengthy book that carefully explains all of this for the benefit of interested readers. Repeating oneself is always tiresome.

Prof. McKitrick has already been forced to repeat himself on many occasions, and demonstrates huge and admirable patience.

It's tempting to try and reduce a possible reply to its most basic level. Perhaps something like this:


Nov 9, 2010 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I suggest that what happens in such cases is essentially the same: those who have been assigned the task of writing a report (or news article, etc) on that subject are simply baffled by the technical discussions and the differences made by the Team and M&M. They then take the easy path (like Andy Revkin, as per the e-mails) of asking supposed experts for guidance - which of course tell them that what the Team says is correct.

Nov 9, 2010 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

Dr McKitrick

You quote Chris Folland's email

Keith’s series… differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably concensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series.

A careful reading and analysis of this passage can establish that the Folland and the rest of the members were concerned that skeptics might sieze on the fact that, in the 0th order draft version of the graph, the green graph - Briffa's - showed temperature variations in the opposite direction of the other proxies - in the 19th century, and not in the late 20th century. In other words, they were worried that skeptics might 'sieze on this fact' to point out that the proxies do not agree with each other.

This is not to say Osborn and Briffa were not concerned about the late 20th century decline - they had already rationalized that out of the realms of concern, by simply deciding not to include the adverse data - as you rightly point out as well.

The 19th century mismatch, remains, despite further modifications by Osborn when he recalculated their version for the TAR, and can be seen in the diagram that appears in your document too.

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

This seems to be a common theme (meme?) among the climategate deniers:

CABR write, "Secondly, the overarching conclusion of the NAS report is that while the methodology used by MBH may have been flawed, the fundamental conclusion from the MBH studies (that warming in the late 20th century was “unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years”) is still valid..."

The method is wrong but the conclusion is right! Who'da thunk?

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGregP

Doesn't it sound the sort of thing you;d choke on if you said it aloud? "We see they screwed up the process, but they got the right result so it's of no matter or concern." Almost comical.

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

"We see they screwed up the process, but they got the right result so it's of no matter or concern." Almost comical.

That was the Muir Russell defence of the breaking of the IPCC rules, yes they broke them but it was for the right reason (really?) so it was ok.

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnH

"The IPCC statement itself is poorly written, and bizarrely referenced, but basically correct."

-Simon Lewis

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

The CABR report published by Deutsche Bank is about as biased as they come. Ross McKitrick has again shown that he is a very patient man by systematically deconstructing and refuting this piece of garbage (as he and Steve McIntyre did very effectively to another piece of garbage a few years ago).


Nov 9, 2010 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermanacker

Small O/T
The Telegraph's new format main page is missing any sections that reference to Earth or Environment. Previously it was there. It is now under News then Earth then Climate Change.

Could be nothing... then again...

These format decisions for the "entry" page are usually based on hits and unique page views.

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

My favourite part is on pages 9-11 of Ross McKitrick's subsequent response, where he points out that the IPCC graph, which CABR describe in their response as "properly labeled", um, isn't. Not nearly. No way.

"The fact that CABR failed to realize that this had been done in the IPCC graph as well as in the WMO graph only proves that the lines were not labeled 'appropriately' and readers were not, in fact, notified of the change."

That's some trick!

Not only did the original trick fool the public and politicians, but it fooled a panel of experts who had been told that there was a trick, and had seen it explained in detail, with pictures.

Where do I write in to nominate Jones and Mann for membership of the Magic Circle?

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterjim

CABR tell us:

"Secondly, the overarching conclusion of the NAS report is that while the methodology used by MBH may have been flawed, the fundamental conclusion from the MBH studies (that warming in the late 20th century was “unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years”) is still valid..."

Wait a minute folks. Let’s go back to the actual record.

There is the embarrassing testimony before the U.S. House Committee of the panel led by Carl Wegman.

In addition to supporting the McIntyre and McKitrick study, which pointed out errors in the statistical approach used by Mann et al., the Wegman report concluded:

Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.

At a subsequent hearing before the House Committee, Gerald North, the chairman of the NAS panel and panel member Peter Bloomfield were asked whether or not they agreed with Wegman’s criticisms, they replied as follows:

CHAIRMAN BARTON. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.

DR. BLOOMFIELD. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his co-workers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman before the U.S. House committee.


When it was suggested to Carl Wegman that the MBH conclusions were correct even if the method was not (as CABR suggest) he replied (bold type by me):

"I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn't matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science."


Nov 9, 2010 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermanacker

Since this calumny of a report has been sponsored by Deutsche Bank, perhaps someone shoul write to the Board of the Bank asking if this is a good example of the due diligence that the Bank pursues in other areas

Nov 9, 2010 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

This is one of those stories that will pass by many people. I would recommend it to newcomers as worth digging into as a salutary lesson on how plain old boring financial organisation are willing to stoop to rather pathetic shoddy propaganda. Obfuscation piled upon weasel words piled upon plain old omission.
I guess they can't be doing it just for the green prestige, it has to be for the expected benefit of boosting the credibility and market value from catastrophe risk management and carbon trading.

Ross McKitrick demolishes their every point, and anyone who has followed this history can see the clear shoddiness and plain simple minded bias operating in the DB work.

Nov 9, 2010 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

I had not really paid any attention to this previously. Looking at it now it does seem strange for a corporation to hire academics to write what is essentially a hit piece on sceptics views.

Looking at Deutche Bank's annual reports and also this 2007 report

it looks like Mark Fulton has been heavily reliant on the likes of the Stern report and has been promoting carbon markets, biofuels, wind power and solar power on behalf of his corporation all of which are starting to look shaky.

I suspect that both Deutche Bank and Mark Fulton are hurting as a result of what has been developing politically this year.

Nov 9, 2010 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

At least here in the colonies, it's become quite the thing for financial institutions to get involved in things they don't understand. In the recent past this involvement was concentrated in some very novel debt instruments. The advantage of those debt instruments, the ones that they couldn't understand, was that they could be comfortable that no-one else could either.

That comfort isn't available here. SURPRISE Deutsche Bank.

Nov 9, 2010 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Now why exactly would a major bank or department of a bank dealing in investments in Carbon Trading and Green schemes sponsor a desperate piece of propaganda like this?

It couldn't possibly be that that they have large investors talked into going along with it all by glossy brochures and talk of huge profits, who are getting cold feet, wanting out and having serious chats with senior people in the bank about the business methods employed to sucker them in? I don't suppose that the possible closure of the department responsible and the leading actors having it explained to them that it is time to further develop their careers - outside DB, has any bearing on it either.

Nov 9, 2010 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

"But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangman and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls " Friedrich Nietsche.

Ahh Fred, you seem to have the measure of these people.

Nov 9, 2010 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

The fact that this exchange has taken place will (should) have the compliance people at Deutsche Bank twitching. Just a hint that an investment organisation is responsible for supplying or even implying what could be construed as dubious market information is their nightmare scenario.

Letters from client’s lawyers with comments such as: - “We sunk millions in on the basis of your report”.

In the whole scheme of the AGW machinations this could be a very important incident.

Nov 9, 2010 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

It's interesting to note that both Lord Oxburgh and Dr Pachauri are on the Board of the Deutsche Bank - at least they were in 2009. So, no need to waste your time complaining to the Board.

Nov 9, 2010 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrançois GM

Thanks for that; a very interesting read. By the way Andrew, if you're reading this (or anyone else) - is there a critique of Tamino's critique of your book anywhere? I've seen snippets on CA and here, but is there something more comprehensive? Tamino seems persuasive (but as SM often points out, you have to watch the pea under the thimble).

[BH adds: I think that between my immediate response to Tamino and Steve's later piece we have rebutted everything in his article. Maybe I should put together a comprehensive summary].

Nov 9, 2010 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson


One reason a bank would sponsor a piece of work like this is if banks and cash-strapped recipients of emissions credits were using the forward emissions market as a way to extend credit from banks to emissions certificate holders without appearing to do so.

The way it would work is that the borrower knows they have a bunch of carbon credits coming to them in respect of the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. But they needn't give them up to meet their abatement target yet - not until 2017 in fact. So, they sell the whole lot to a bank at the 2012 price, and simultaneously agree to buy them back at the current price for 2017, which is higher.

In this way, they get money now and have to pay back more money in 2017. The difference is in effect a cost of credit. The bank gets a surefire profit in the shape of the price difference between the 2012 and 2017 values of a credit, which is sort of synthetic loan interest.

What they'd really like is for the market structure to flip so that 2012 credits become worth more than 2017 ones. Then, they could sell their long 2012 position at a profit and buy back their 2017 position, and make pots of money.

If, however, the reverse happened and the carbon emissions market collapsed, they'd be screwed. Their collateral for their synthetic loan is the emissions certificates. What if those became worthless?

So that's one reason a bank might like to stoke up a bit of CAGW frenzy - to talk up their book.

Wearyingly familiar.

Nov 10, 2010 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustuce4Rinka

He couldn't call them the CARBon team?

Nov 10, 2010 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN


"If, however, the reverse happened and the carbon emissions market collapsed, they'd be screwed. Their collateral for their synthetic loan is the emissions certificates. What if those became worthless?"

I suspect it's got more to do with them having had that queasy feeling that the carbon emission market is about to collapse, than a cunning plan to make money on futures. Recent events in the US confirming that they were right to have that queasy feeling.

Nov 10, 2010 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Why do warmies refuse to admit, that splicing in instrument records to proxies and thus hiding the decline, is wrong?

One wonders if Deutsch Bank splices in profit figures from other banks if their own don’t give the picture they wish to portray to the public. And should they do such a trick, would labelling a graph, to indicate the splice, make the resulting graph an accurate reflection of the bank’s success? Would a deluded investor be justified in their objections to this sleight of hand, even if it was well known amongst other banking institutions?

Nov 10, 2010 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Just(i)ce4Rinka - thanks, makes sense on first reading. I had wondered about why a carbon futures market had been established at such an early juncture but your hypothesis makes it sound a lot more attractive than charging a simple cut on transactions between emitters. It'd be interesting to hear from anyone "in the know". I'd also like to note that AFAIK the initial credits were given to existing emitters FOC which makes me think this could in effect be a sort of "quantitative easing" mechanism which won't appear on the public balance sheet?...

Nov 10, 2010 at 12:44 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

extraordinary that ernst & young claim to have " 700 professionals in the area of climate change and sustainability across the firm’s core services of Assurance, Advisory, Tax, and Transaction Advisory Services..."

including former minister in the rightwing Aznar govt in Spain:

4 Nov: Ernst & Young: Juan Costa Climent appointed Ernst & Young Global Leader for Climate Change and Sustainability Services
Former Spanish Government Minister and Ernst & Young Tax Leader in Spain rejoins the organization and enhances global sustainability competencies
Juan will lead a global team of more than 700 professionals in the area of climate change and sustainability across the firm’s core services of Assurance, Advisory, Tax, and Transaction Advisory Services...
From 1996 to 2004 he held senior positions in the Spanish Government, including Minister for Science, Technology, and Industry, Secretary of State for Finance, and Secretary of State for International Trade and Economic Cooperation. .
Juan has dedicated a great part of his professional career to working on sustainability and climate change issues and has recently published a book called “An Unstoppable Revolution” that looks at the benefits for the world economy of protecting the environment. He has also worked for the International Monetary Fund as an adviser.
Commenting on his new role, Juan says: “Every twenty-five years the global economy doubles in size. This rate of growth places great strain on the planet’s climate and significant obligations for the business community, governments, and the general public to support sustainability initiatives...
Jim Turley, Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO, said: “We are delighted that Juan is rejoining Ernst & Young. His experience of our business and of international public policy ensures he is well-placed to help our clients respond to new global requirements and expectations on sustainability reporting and other challenges associated with climate change. We believe there are demonstrable economic benefits if the right approach is taken”.

Nov 10, 2010 at 1:18 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Would you buy a used "green" car from this outfit?

The "Disclaimer" at the end of the publication is interesting: "Neither Deutsche Bank AG nor any of its affiliates, gives any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this document."

Perhaps someone should inform their investment team that the Chicago Climate Exchange recently went defunct.

Nov 10, 2010 at 1:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrCrinum

Time to short Deutsche Bank?

Nov 10, 2010 at 1:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterNorthMan

Just started reading the DB report but stopped on the first page when I saw the name and picture of one of the lead principals. This individual used to work in the southern hemisphere where in a professional capacity he predicted everything that didnt happen.

what answer do you want again ?

Nov 10, 2010 at 2:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMawson

Its interesting, Real Climate/GISS offices are at 2880 Broadway in Manhattan and the Earth Institute at Columibia (the authors of this work) are at 2910 Broadway in Manhattan. Goggle Maps lists the distance apart as 407 feet and the travel duration as 11 seconds. I'm sure its just coincidence.

Nov 10, 2010 at 2:10 AM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

Well, it is all coming unraveled anyhow. The CCX is now history.

CCX Crash and Burns

Nov 10, 2010 at 3:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Kenya to set up carbon credits trading forum

Treasury officials said the formation of the exchange was being fast-tracked because of the high number of inquiries the country has received from foreign banks wanting to partner in trading in carbon credits. “We have been flooded with inquiries from financial institutions like HSBC Bank and JPMorgan, but we cannot engage them now until we have set rules and regulations,” said Geoffrey Mwau, the Economic Secretary

Nov 10, 2010 at 5:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterbrent

For me, the central issue has always been "to hide the decline", which can only be interpreted as a conscious effort to keep salient facts from the public and policymakers. Deutsche Bank, having believed the global warming story, now finds itself in an exposed position and needs to reassure investors, hence it puts out a paper written by sympathetic experts. From DB's point of view, this is an act of commercial necessity, for it has no wish to fall victim to dodgy financial instruments. Scientific truth is secondary when big money is at stake.

Nov 10, 2010 at 6:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterOxonpool

To some degree many are missing the point with DB and Ernst and Young type organisations.

I used to work for Ernst and Young (and Deloittes) and also for a company with large software contracts with DB.

An analogy?... Companies using their services....

... think they are hiring a call-girl

... in fact all they are hiring is a street hooker with too many well-dressed pimps taking their cut.

At the Executive/Partner level of these organisations, high intellect is not a requirement and is sparse, and I have sat around many a table with them (the asshole coefficient is very high.)

They are just following the money, like any bangle seller in front of Montmartre...

The normal expensive bull-shit they is more than enough to meet their clients needs. The more you pay for it, the more weight it is has, content is immaterial.

Nov 10, 2010 at 7:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

"At a certain point it becomes disconcerting that Deutsch Bank, which is among other things one of a few international banks qualified to act as a Primary Dealer for the New York Federal Reserve, and is thereby subject to particularly stringent requirements about the accuracy of commentary it publishes on economic and policy issues, is going to such efforts to excuse publication of misleading information."

Climate scientists and inquiries appear to be disconnected from any sort of responsibility. However,
if Deutsche Bank continues to mislead though having been supplied with contradicting information. they may have to pay a considerable price.

Nov 10, 2010 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Hey All, what do you think about his idea?:

On a crowdfunding site (say like, start a crowdfunding drive to raise USD1,000,000 in prize money. This prize money will be awarded to the first person or team that can provide conclusive empirical proof showing manmade CO2 is responsible for global warming. This competition will run for 2 years. All submissions will be checked and verified by statistical experts.

Once and for all, let’s settle this global warming argument. At the end of the competition, we will get a conclusive answer one way or the other.

If one million people contribute $1 each or 100,000 people contribute $10 each, we will have the needed prize money.

Nov 10, 2010 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter P.

@Peter P.

So you have some proof then? ;)

And anyway it is only the Big Oil Funded Deniers like us who do things for filthy lucre...

Nov 10, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Hi Jiminy, the idea is to get to the truth of the matter. If scientists like Michael Mann and Phil Jones have conclusive proof, then they should submit their proof to win the $1,000,000, instead of making political statements in the press.

If no one wins the prize after 2 years, that should tell us--THE PEOPLE--something.

We don't need to wait for the Noble Prize Committee, with crowdfunding we can create our own THE PEOPLE'S PRIZE FOR TRUTH.

Nov 10, 2010 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter P.

It seems to me this "Earth Institute" isn't a proper academic department of Columbia University at all.

Most of the directorate seem to be the usual greenie mix of sociologists/political scientists/green activists etc.

Including those renowned seekers of truth and impartiality - Patchy, George Soros & Bono!

Just another nest of green activist vipers.

Nov 10, 2010 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

@Peter P.

I was not implying any cynicism on my part, just trying to impart some humour... something not always easy to achieve :)

My personal view, if you can manage to that "truth" equals "uncertainty", you may be successful. But that definition is at the core of the whole debate, and remains unresolved.

"truth" equals "uncertainty" is a contradiction to many,

Nov 10, 2010 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Peter P

Love the idea, but the problem is that the money is nowhere near enough. The CAGW crowd deal in billions, which they can already get easily enough from gullible idiots like the UN, US, UK, EU etc.

Put the million towards a prize for conclusive proof it ISN'T happening. That's where the funds are needed.

Nov 10, 2010 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Bankers, one and all.

Nov 10, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Further proof that the basis of the financial system is not built on fact but on speculation. The housing bubble went bang with devasting effect next will be the climate bubble and guess who will be expected to pick up the pieces again. The only reason that the financial sector push into these area's is that they know that money will be forthcoming whether by 'investment' or by bailout.

Nov 10, 2010 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

"I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn't matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science."

I'll put it in terms that DB can understand, if i rob someone then place that money into a bank account at DB the method maybe wrong but the result is correct? (I understand this is a limited view but trying to explain things technically seems to confuse them).

Nov 10, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

5 steps to making money in the 21st century.

1.) Find a device that is proportionately linked to.wealth
2.) Create a theoretical problem with that device
3.) Formulate a log term solution for that problem that invloves cost
4.) Generate a means of offsetting cost by trading
5.) Enforce participation by legislation

Once past step three the financial elites already have the methodology in place, any relevant idea will suffice to enable greed to take over. The theoretical problem in step two becomes immaterial if the time span is of sufficient lenght to obtain step 5 before the solution is applied.

Nov 10, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

I see that Schmidt and Hansen are listed in the Directory of Faculty and Staff. Interesting caution on Schmidt's entry "Please note that email sent to a government email address may be subject to disclosure under FOIA and that you should have no expectation of privacy. Please use my Columbia email for all personal or non-NASA related communications". Several more GISS staff in the list.

Nov 10, 2010 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete

Put the million towards a prize for conclusive proof it ISN'T happening. That's where the funds are needed.

I'll pay $1,000 if you can prove that there is no God. You can't, and no one can prove that there is no AGW. Good debaters, like lawyers, are careful not to let themselves fall into no win situations like that. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of trying to prove that there is no AGW. Stick with positives that can be proved, the earth is getting colder, CO2's effect as a GHG is logarithmic, tree cores make poor temperature proxies, regression analysis of recorded temperature data is no better than random.

Nov 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

François GM

Thanks for that snippet of information - it explains a lot. Staggering !

Nov 10, 2010 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMasius

they are getting cheeky ze germans.

their finance minister (schauble) seems a nutter who does not know how to behave in public with his staff. when angela gets questioned whyso mentioned nutter does strange things with private weapons and cash, she just says "i keep him becus I trust him".That's the only thing she seems to want to convey to the general public after repeated questions? some transparency. they wouldn't have condoned it from bush , the Germans. Barry also got a shellacking from the nutter ("they don't know what they are doing" - "haben keine Ahnung")

Methinks they are gettting forgetful about as to whom might hv won the war.

Nov 10, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterphinniethewoo

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