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BBC World Service on Fakegate

The BBC World Service covered Fakegate this morning, interviewing Bob Ward and Mike McPhadden, the president of the AGU.

Considering the post-Jones-report choice of guests, the coverage was not too bad. We could have done with some challenge of the dark mutterings about "disturbing revelations" from the documents though. I was interested in McPhadden's description of the tumult at the AGU and their desire for public trust. It seems to me that while they allow Chris Mooney to use their organisation in the way they do, they are going to be seen as a political organisation rather than a scientific one. Mooney to me looks like another AGU accident waiting to happen. That being the case, it will interesting to see how the AGU responds to the Gleick affair.

The audio is attached below.


Science in Action on Fakegate

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Reader Comments (53)

Bob Ward:

"Phoned up" (did Gleick actually phone HI?)

"Disturbing information" (a reference to the fake document - "Fake But True" meme)

"Uncertaintities" (Ward parrots Gleick almost word for word about sceptics pushing uncertainty).

The AGU guy:

"Severe breach" (more like severe embarrassment)

"Lone Wolf" (very telling description of Gleick, I spy a defence)

"Maintain trust" ("trust me I am scientist" meme)

Conclusion: They know they are in trouble, we know they are in trouble. Fakegate is much more than a PR disaster.

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

"It seems to me that while they allow Chris Mooney to use their organisation in the way they do"

Mooney? who he? what he do?

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Mooney is a young chap who specialises in "Republicans are wrong in the head" journalism. He has been appointed to the board of the AGU on the back of this work.

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

AGU man hit exactly the right note I thought. Stuck to science/integrity/trust.

As for Ward, he was fine too. I was interested in some early comments by Lucia's on her Blackboard about the educational materials - she was aghast at UK-based comments that such a proposal was undemocratic, apparently free argument over what should be taught, and indeed competition over it, is completely normal in the USA. So what HI are proposing is quite above board over there, which might seems strange to us, we'd be used to curricula and teaching materials being decided by government not private think-tanks or Greenpeace.

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

I must say, all this couldn't happen to a nicer chap (Gleick) - ROFLMCO (my c*ck off)

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Already sent an email to the program saying: "whilst it was not perfect, it was so far from the utter trash of Richard Black that I have to thank you".

And yes, I was impressed by the AGU guy. If all climate scientists spoke like that (in public and private) then there would be no need for us sceptics.

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler


I think it's fair to say that educational materials in this country have a very very large green element to them.

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The really interesting thing was the way they had the "faster than light" neutrios "scandal??" first.

The point, is that the faster than light neutrinos was exactly the way science should work. The theory of what should happen did not prevent the release of contrary data. Although obviously (and unlike climate science) it was thoroughly checked first.

Now, having redone their measurements, they have found some possible errors. And (unlike climate science) they don't suddenly say it proves the theory, or that everything is OK. Instead, they say they have more work to do, but they are just keeping people informed of the latest state of affairs.

Climate-science is almost the anti-thesis of good science found at CERN.

The big question, is whether the high standards at CERN will eventually find their way into climate science, or whether, all science will be wrecked as the wretched poison & non-science overtakes all science like a spreading rot.

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Again they mention the k-12 funding as if it's some "well funded " nefarious scheme to brainwash kids. The HI docs mention 200k funding for science aimed at the k-12 level.

Anyone heard of "The Earth Policy Institute"?

It says it's an environmental organization based in Washington DC. It was founded by Lester R. Brown in 2001, a former multi-millionaire farmer who gave up farming to start a lobby group "worldwatch" with $500 million from Rockefeller before founding EPI.

EPI has one spreadsheet on their site earmarking funding, it identifies funds required for "Plan B Budget: Additional Annual Funding Needed to Reach Basic Social Goals" where it states funds for "Universal primary education" is... get this.... $10 Billion!

I wonder if Lester R. Brown is completely bald, with a habit of holding his little finger to the corner of his mouth :)

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty


I think it's fair to say that educational materials in this country have a very very large green element to them

Don't they all now stand in assembly and sing: "GOD SAVE OUR GRACIOUS GREEN".

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Bish, I have no idea about that but I'm sure it's true, and I was lucky enough to have had an education seemingly based around learning how to question authority critically. What's important is the teaching profession, not so much the curriculum. Imho.

My point was (as I'm sure you got) that the 'poisoning our childrens' minds with propaganda funded by Big Oil' meme doesn't really fly in the US.

On the teaching profession, I really enjoyed this article by Will Hutton in the Observer.

Don't be distracted by the ritualistic (but valid) attack on % of Oxbridge from private schools etc, after that he really gets going. There are even some unlikely parallels with Gleick-gate. :)

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

hmmm, my last comment has been caught by some anti-troll machinery, probably because I linked to The Guardian!

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

FBI called in over climate change mole

The Chicago-based free market Heartland Institute has called in the FBI and threatened other legal action against a global warming proponent who has admitted stealing emails from the institute in a bid to embarrass and discredit the group’s questioning of climate change.

Heartland officials tell Washington Secrets that they have been in talks with the FBI over the case against prominent global warming proponent Peter Gleick, co-founder of the respected Pacific Institute. Heartland is getting ready to reveal their probe of the affair, which they hope the FBI will act on.


Feb 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Bob Ward was fairly measured, but of course he couldn't resist trying to pass Gleick off as a "water scientist" at PacInst, rather than its co-founder, clearly keen to downplay Gleick's prominence in the world of climate alarmism (AGU, NCSE, testimony to Congress, etc)

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Although in the UK we have a state set curriculum, it is the choice of the school or the teacher as to the specific material that is used. There is a large amount of commercially produced learning material, as well as the very large amount of material offered by interests of one sort or another. For example:

The idea that Phil Clarke in the comments at Lucia's was trying to put over that only government approved, non controversial material is used is total bunkum.

The fact that Al Gore's film is more or less mandated by the curriculum is a good indicator of the slant of the curriculum. The freedom of the teachers is shown however in that in one of our local secondaries it is normal practice to show the Al Gore film one week, and the Great Global Warming Swindle the next.

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

@Roddy - are you sure about the education materials ? My child has gone through 2 sets of "Green" education and is currently looking at the stuff from this lot :

I try and keep my views away from my child's education - it is up to them to make their own mind up however somewhat scarily the workbook from this lot includes questions on "your parents' views" - why is that relevant ?

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Cumbrian Lad - that I greatly approve of. Well argued polemics from both sides on an issue, getting people to begin to think for themselves.

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

Chris - I have no idea about UK curriculums at all.

I clicked through that site - they seem to have a terrific time. I went to the 'how to save the environment' blog area, the only post was about how cats kill a lot of birds, and should wear a bell on their collar. Excellent environmental advice!

Callum seems a little obsessed though ....Hey everyone! It's Callum here! For homework we have been given a quiz on Climate Change, Carbon Footprints, Global Warming, and Scottish Woodlands.

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

Not to quibble, but on a point of clarification, I have seen several references recently to Susan Joy Hasool, in particular to her having replaced Mr. Mooney on the AGU board. This would seem to make the points above a little moot, albeit very true of the original setup?

e.g. see here (U13c) -

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

Curious to know how mooney can be 'using the AGU'?

Especially since he resigned from the board months ago.

Listen to David Appels podcast with mcPhaden.

Do try to keep up.

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

[snip - venting]

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Roddy Campbell "So what HI are proposing is quite above board over there, which might seems strange to us, we'd be used to curricula and teaching materials being decided by government not private think-tanks or Greenpeace."

Decided? Surely East of the Ponders are free to advocate elements of curricula? That is all that is happening here; advocacy. It does appear that Gleick also confused advocacy with capacity.

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

FBI called in

The suspence is killing me. It's been over an hour since my last post on the FBI being called in was posted on WUWT and there's been no response, no update.

Most strange is that the article was only listed just over an hour ago by google, but it is 14 hours old.

Feb 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Bishop and Roddy Campbell

My son recently took home from school with him a book called (if I remember correctly) "It's Getting Warm In Here", which I personally found to be a bit one sided. In one of the corridoors at his school there is also Trenberths and Kiels earths energy budget diagram that has been simplified for children.

We had a chat about adaption and some elements of the science not being proven. He is only 8 years old. Although he now wants me to buy a Honda Clarity.

Feb 24, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Only now do I discover that it's Gleick like "lick", and not Gleick like, er, "like."

Feb 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

Re FBI called in

I've been wondering why WUWT didn't have this as one of their "updates" on Gleick, so I wondered if the comments gave any clue. Apparently two other comments mention it.

Is this because now it is a legal case, involving WUWT, that Anthony feels he cannot comment?

If so, what does this say for the future of this story?

Truly interesting times.

Feb 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Susan Joy Hassol does a damn good Gleick impersonation, Here is what she said in Jan 2008.

Some people in the oil and coal industries are masters at planting seeds of doubt through a well-financed campaign. The only people who are challenging whether global warming is real and caused by humans are “contrarian scientists” bought and paid for by companies like Exxon Mobil.The industry parades their work to confuse the public.

So AGU still have people who fervently believe in Big-Oil conspiracy theories.

Adding to that is AGU President, Michael McPhaden's Gleick-like response toa WSJ editorial a few weeks back.:

"There is wide-spread consensus on this point (cAGW), with 97 percent of the climate science community agreeing"

Now we know that is not actually factual, but we can call it a Gleick-fact.

We are dealing with Gleick-minded delusions at AGU.

Feb 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac


It may also be because Anthony has not had time to update (it being about 8 or 9.30 in the morning out there)...

Feb 24, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterWatchman

Jit -
Thanks for the tip on pronunciation. I also thought that the vowel sound was a long i.

Although it would have been more fun if it contained a long e ("gleek") to improve observations such as "Gleick tragedy" and "beware of Gleick's baring gifts".

I wonder what one can make of the short i sound.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW


That was news to me recently too - more denialism from the catastrophists - glad Benny Peiser knows about his diphthongs :-)

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSayNoToFearmongers


I didn't realise that Buzz Lightyear had been put in charge of Ofsted...

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Watchman: It may also be because Anthony has not had time to update (it being about 8 or 9.30 in the morning out there)...

Watchman, I would have expected a lot of outlets to carry "prominent climate scientist being investigated for fraud", if indeed that is the case. Instead there is one article in the Washington Examiner.

This is very unusual. Also the number of stories dropped suddenly. Up till now I've interpreting this as "the press lost interest" or "nothing new to add". But again this is indicative of something going on.

I can only guess, but is it not at least possible that someone has taken out an injunction preventing any press coverage. We are used to those in the UK ... indeed, we have super injunctions which mean the press can't publish that they even have an injunction.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler


"97 percent of the climate science community agreeing"

Funny how they never say "97 percent of a very small self-selected sample of the climate science community.."

It's an '8 out of 10 cats' statistic.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Yep, when I look at the internet, no one (serious) has mentioned the FBI being called in for the last 14 or so hours. Unless this is a mistake (and if so I would have expected the original article to have been removed) then it beggars belief that no one has mentioned it.

However, this is all speculation. Even so ... everyhone deserves a fair trial ... so I'm off to do something else.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler


Prick, Dick?

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

HuhneToTheSlammer: that's sick.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake

I bow to superior wit. BTW, I looked up pronunciation, and found the German was as in "like", and what sounded like Australian as in "sick"

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

I think US usage is to pronounce it Gleek rather than the German usage of Glike ?

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

Sorry - reverse that !

It's as in like. But I was quite pleased with "beware Gleeks bearing gifts". Or how about "Gleek bankrupting himself by telling porkies about finances, just like the Greeks have

Here is a San Diego TV report including the self-confessed Dr himself :

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

We appear to have a Fakegate Gang

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

The World Service provides a useful indicator of where the middle-of-the-road is on the Heartland-Gleick affair. As usual that bears no relation to the extremes of the blogosphere but it's not too discouraging either.

Ward is more measured than I remember hearing him. He uses the term climate change denial of Heartland - but almost gently, having used scepticism first, which has the effect for me of strongly qualifying the hated d-word. He speaks throughout as a man who knows his own house is not in order and, moreover, knows that others of greater importance know his house is not in order. That tone - whether you call it humility or justified caution - I haven't heard from Ward before.

As for Mike McPhadden, one can't disagree with "severe breach of scientific integrity" though it's tempting to read between the lines as "how come the fool got caught." But McPhadden's key statement is in response to the interviewer quoting Jo Bast on how low the consensus makers are willing to stoop to advance their agenda.

Let's put that in perspective. Peter Gleick acted as a lone wolf, on his own. He does not represent the vast majority of practising [hesitation] ... scientists in general and climate scientists in particular. So we can't really generalise about the whole community based on the actions of one individual.

I highlight the hesitation - McPhadden seemed to be reading from a script and/or was unhappy about what he was saying. For he knows that Gleick has only just been honoured to be chosen as one of the Wall Street Journal 38, on 1st February, writing to counter the 16 sceptics five days before, and there purporting to speak precisely about and on behalf of the community of climate scientists:

You published "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. ...

Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused.

But now we learn that one of the 38 chosen to deliver this vital message is himself a "lone wolf, on his own." What are to make of the credibility of the others who said so recently he was one of their own or of the figure of 97%, who even Bob Ward admitted would pretty much all condemn Gleick's actions?

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

John Anderson:

On the report it seems Bast calls Gleick "Glike" and the reporter calls him "Gleck". The world service earlier said "Glick."

I guess the important point is what does Gleick call himself?

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

Well it looks like a lot of new fake Heartland documents have turned up blaming the institute for being behind all manner of conspiracies from the 'Kennedy shooting' to 'Freddi Starr Ate My Hamster'.

What a despicable bunch.

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Later a longish comment of mine will appear, in which I highlight a hesitation of McPhadden's. The qiuestion is why he hesitates - why is there a gulp factor? Having pointed it out in writing I think I see why - because at this point he talks about scientists in general and climate scientists in particular and then says "we can't generalise". Taking the words at face value that means the AGU's scientists in general have to distance themselves from the lamentable ethics and integrity of a significant proportion of senior climate scientists and he knows it. The gulp factor is because these guys that really need to be expelled or at least strongly disciplined and downgraded within AGU have a LOT of political clout. McPhadden strikes me as uncomfortable with the implications of his own words - because he hasn't made that brave a decision many times before in his life. But I would love to be proved wrong on the last point.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

I came across this typo - "Bleick’s" and it made me think of the man from the BBC - especially if you imagine a South African style of pronunciation. Seem quite apt since Gleick and Bleick are on the same team really?

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Thomson

John Anderson -
In the present circumstances, "baring gifts" (not bearing) is apt considering that Gleick revealed donors to Heartland.
I checked AGU's news archive. They show an announcement for Mooney's addition to the board (15 Nov 2010), but nothing for his departure and Hassol's joining.
From Google, I ran across the following "Brief Report" by Hassol (pre-Board) which might be of interest, with a pointer to this Forum piece by Akasofu as an apparent counterpoint. Also, another paper by Hassol and her associate.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

we'd be used to curricula and teaching materials being decided by government not private think-tanks or Greenpeace.

Neither private think-tanks nor Greenpeace decide on curricula or teaching materials. But anyone including me, you or my cat can write teaching materials and present them to school boards, teachers or -- in states where these exist-- a education board in a state that might decide on teaching materials. One is just as free to write educational materials as one is free to make a movie or write a novel. The mere act of writing them does not force anyone to use the teaching materials; similarly, no one is required to watch a movie simply because it has been made.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterlucia

Lucia, despite what Phil Clarke claims on your comment threads, that is precisely the case also in the UK.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Cumbria Lad

Yes, anyone can produce teaching materials but schools seem to be under pressure to toe the local authority/government line, with initiatives such as Eco-Schools, where schools appear to get brownie points from their local authority for gaining Green Flags, awarded for doing things like holding eco-days (kids wear green to school and make fashion outfits out of plastic bags and newspapers - I kid you not!).

Feb 24, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterhebe

HaroldW on Feb 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM

"I checked AGU's news archive. They show an announcement for Mooney's addition to the board (15 Nov 2010), but nothing for his departure and Hassol's joining."

It's here:

Council Meeting, San Francisco, CA
4 December 2011, on page 3 of 4:

I accepted the resignation of Board Member Chris Mooney and began process of seeking a replacement who I expect to have on board by the April 2012 Board meeting

Feb 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

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