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US reaction to Climategate

Most readers will know from Watts Up With That? that Chris Horner has obtained a substantial quantity of emails from NOAA. Of particular interest are the ones relating to the immediate aftermath of Climategate - they can be seen below.

Of particular interest is the role of the White House in coordinating the US reaction.

All communications on this issue are being coordinated with the White House. Therefore no communications with Hill or Press should go out without [Department of Commerce] coordinating with [White House].

The release also includes emails from Myles Allen and Emily Shuckburgh regarding the open letter from climate scientists that was widely publicised after Climategate.


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Reader Comments (40)

It's fun to see they really seem to believe in 'professional disinformers', no doubt part of the well-funded denial machine.. IF they believe that there is a well-funded climate denial machine, that gives me severe doubts about their collective ability to assess evidence and come to a firm conclusion. Just as the certainty of CAGW in their minds does. Or maybe they can't understand losing to a bunch of amateurs and laymen, as I percieve us to be (unless I'm the only one not on Exxon's payroll)

Aug 22, 2012 at 10:43 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

It's funny to see a publicly funded machine talking to itself. The group-think is astonishing. Because they receive huge funding, co-ordinate behind the scenes and plan in secret, they assume their opponents do. They can't conceive of anything different.

Nice to see their lack of faith in MAnn and Jones shining through as well.


Aug 22, 2012 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Myles Allen seems to think it is only about CRU's dataset!

He seems to have missed the FOI deletions, refusal to share data, the gaming of peer review and of course 'Hide the Decline' and the many, many other issues...

fascinating stuff.

Aug 22, 2012 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

BBD, and, so, and what? It's about time someone started pushing back against the $billions being poured into climate change alarmism by the likes of Soros, WWF, FOE, Gore, the bio-ethanol and ruinables industries, the EU and UN. In my experience the 'funded' sceptical groups like CFACT and AFP are doing a piss-poor job compared to unfunded sceptics like Anthony and our good host. I just wish we had some decent fossil fuel lobbyists in the UK. Instead we've got the likes of Shell, BP and Centrica promoting the scam so they can get their snouts in the green subsidy trough.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli


Please stop insulting us. One useful outcome of having had an effective scientific training is the ability to assess evidence for oneself, without the need to defer to 'professional disinformers', elected or otherwise.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:16 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

On this topic, independent minds might wonder what funds Globe International*, and to what end.

*insert shady multi-connected and influential greenie ngo of choice here.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad


I believe you know this, and your smiley face doesn't absolve you from being purposely mis-leading...

The grant (which I don't think ever full materialized) was for a tool to be used by the public to examine worldwide temperature data, not for the operation of his blog.

This was a service that, somehow, NOAA couldn't figure out how to provide with its allocation of >$200 million. Judging from the e-mail traffic, NOAA personnel may well have spent more than $90K just writing e-mails "strategizing" about CG.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

$90k pays a rats' annual salary to three people in the US.

I found this:

"Lubchenco has asked that we formulate a communications strategy and talking points ...we should use the USGCRP structure ... "

So, the idea was to use the US global climate research program infrastructure to beat the bad tidings of Climategate. Surely, the sceptics need to be beaten down with governmental back-channels.

Aug 23, 2012 at 2:22 AM | Registered Commentershub

Gift for smileysksBD

"I just ran this by Josh Willis at JPL and he says the ocean signal is hardly a no brainer"

Lots of respect for Revkin.

Aug 23, 2012 at 2:35 AM | Registered Commentershub

I read the emails post on WUWT. Looks like US academics and government agencies (NOAA and Obama administration) clearly had an agenda. Sad reflection for the US, US academics, and science.

Kevin Trenberth showed a sense of sanity in 2003.

Revkin gained some respect from my point of view.

BBD - You did a good job of steering the discussion Off Topic. Are you a Brit?

Aug 23, 2012 at 3:16 AM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

1 &1/2 cheers to the bravely anonymous soul who half-subsidized Watts transition from amateur scientist to semi-pro disinformation artiste.

It only remains for The American Tradition Foundation to expand the horizons of barratry by demanding his tax returns along with Mann's private papers.

BBD: experiment shows that above ~10% RH, there is no change of emissivity as CO2 increases from zero:

These data, originally from Hoyt C. Hottell at MIT, have been available since the late 1940s. I have used them to design heat treatment processes; measured heat transfer kinetics accurately follow predictions. The IPCC has completely ignored this information. claiming you can calculate IR energy absorption as the sum of all the individual contributions thus ignoring intermolecular interactions.

As there can be no CO2-AGW except possibly for the driest of deserts, can we have less propaganda and more science?

Aug 23, 2012 at 7:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Who would want a Nobel prize, when one of its recipients was Al Gore?

Secondly, what chance of receiving a Nobel prize by actually establishing and telling the scientific truth - when the whole awards process of and in granting such prizes, has been usurped, is riven by political correctness and non-science.

Being right is the biggest prize.

Aug 23, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

So, according to Stafan Rahmstorf the IPCC chapters came into existence in a corrupt way, but fortunately for Overpeck and Rahmstorf there were no emails hacked from the CRU which would expose this corruption.

Aug 23, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Zed and follow-ups- removed.

Aug 23, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I have some sympathy with Joe Prospero's frustration. There is no doubt that part of the problem has been the scientists' inability (reluctance? naivete?) in getting their message out through critical — but broadly honest — media who given the facts in a form that the public can reasonably digest will usually do a reasonably good job.
This, as I have said before, has left the situation wide open for the eco-activists in the NGOs to fill the vacuum.
The IPCC, since it was a political construct from the start and with a remit which came pretty close to being "to find CAGW so that we can tax the hell out of people", was never an honest scientific organisation even though it liked to claim it was. To the extent that scientists were involved they were — with few exceptions — already activists or appear at least to have been comprehensively briefed by activist NGOs (WWF is only the most visible one) as to what was expected of them and why.
As I said a few days ago, the activists have got the politicians and the scientists dancing to their tune.

Aug 23, 2012 at 9:39 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Any resemblance between me, an engineer/physicist with a strong background in heat transfer involving GHGs, and 'climate science' is fallacious when it has invented its own version of physics bearing little relationship to reality. Thus, its most basic assumption, that the Earth's surface radiates as an isolated black body in a vacuum**, is impossible as any professional scientist should know.

That this junk science is endorsed by the Royal Society is proof positive, if any were needed, that the Enlightenment is rapidly being submerged and proponents of the IPCC 'consensus' practice an Orwellian scientific doublethink, replacing objectivity with the 'Party Line'. Who in their right mind would want to allow people who have been indoctrinated in such pseudo-science comment on real science?


Aug 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

This is just the first of seven files posted at WUWT.

In the second one we learn who was responsible for the ridiculous IPCC claim that predicting the climate 50 years ahead is 'much more easily solved' than weather forecasting (described by Pielke as an absurd, scientifically unsupported claim).

There's a before and after version of that text, the after version being hyped up by Susan Hassol in conjunction with Richard Somerville. Susan Hassol is a "climate change communicator". She mentions her role in the IPCC on her web page. But it was news to me that 'climate change communicators' were involved in writing the IPCC reports. There is no mention of this fact in the IPCC report itself.

Aug 23, 2012 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

A tragic aspect of climate science and the desperate attempts to justify the 'Party Line' shown by these e-mails is that the appalling mistake about the Earth's surface radiating as a black body in a vacuum is in response to another mistake in meteorology, and Trenberth trained in that subject.

They are taught 'Downwelling LW' is real energy and for 50 years have believed they can measure it by pointing 'pyrgeometers' to the sky. But any competent scientist knows such signals appear because thermal radiation from the other direction is shielded. Pyrgeometers may be calibrated in W/m^2 but it's a temperature measurement. If you check the Tables in the 'Energy Budget' [URL above] you will see this mistake creates an entirely false view of the real heat transfer, mostly convective.

Aug 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Yes Paul. It is indeed news that Susan Joy Hassol is involved in writing IPCC reports. Hassol is a freelance 'communicator' whose expertise is in telling scientists how to effectively get their ideas across to lay people and 'policymakers' - hardly a requirement for science, which requires description of things as they are, using the appropriate jargon where need be, since the exact parallels in everyday life and language have not yet been fully characterized or identified yet.

But, these things simply go unrecognized. Who cares if the IPCC reports are ghost-written?

For those interested, there is an Eos article from her describing how scientists should go about writing their reports and articles.

Aug 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Registered Commentershub

Clearly state the settled scientific conclusions. Do not overdo “weasel words” and caveats. We know it is warming and we know it is due primarily to human activity. Say so.

- Susan Joy Hassol

And after such entities get their paws on the IPCC report, we get told by activist know-nothings that a strong consensus has 'emerged' (from the mouth of the Hassols no doubt) and is to be found in the IPCC report.

Saying so doesn't make it so, Ms Hassol.

Aug 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Registered Commentershub

It's as bad as we thought.

Aug 23, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosualdo

Paul: thanks for highlighting the drafting of the AR4 50-year claim, which Pielke Sr rightly said in 2007 was delivered free of any scientific support. Why was there nobody within the IPCC itself to ask what evidence existed for the predictability of climate over 50 years - indeed, why that precise number and not another? Even Susan Joy Hassol could have and should have asked for this, if she had any idea of what science is (and thus how to communicate it).

This unproven assumption in FAQ 1.2 sits atop some real scientific evidence in WG1 and one assumes derives any apparent authority from it. The IPCC needs to retrace its steps and make the distinction: this part - on the carbon cycle, say - was evidence-driven whereas this part on the predictability of climate 50 years out was unsupported conjecture.

Such candour would lead inexorably to far greater attention being given to the real-world evidence for climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 being well over 1degC. And that's where the IPCC must go.

Aug 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Check out Chapter 1. Susan Joy Hassol is not listed as a chapter author.

One of the main assumptions behind David Holland's and McIntyre's explanations for UEA's stonewalling of the IPCC-related FOI requests - if I am not mistaken - is that the releases might reveal unauthorized communication between IPCC authors and those outside the process?

If Hassol is not an official author, doesn't this constitute the same?

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Registered Commentershub

Hi Richard: if you assume recent warming has been from CO2-AGW you do get an apparent CO2 climate sensitivity >1 K. However, you can equally argue that the warming supposed to be from CO2-AGW has been from the reduction of cloud albedo from the effect of man-made aerosols.

The physics is simple so long as you understand high cloud albedo is a large droplet effect, as can be seen for any rain cloud [Sagan's aerosol physics ignores this, so is plain wrong]. Reduction of droplet coarsening kinetics by extra CCN means lower cloud albedo, therefore warming, probably the real AGW!

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Shub 11:33 - The circularity of the consensus. Point very well made.

Shub 12:11 - Hassol not listed as chapter author. Complete openness required next time.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

The proposal sheet says: The chapter team member(s) will always have the final word on any revisions to the FAQ proposed by Susan Hassol.

Compare the text provided by Hassol to the one in the IPCC report.

Guess whose word became the 'final word'. The whole thing is a joke.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Registered Commentershub

I am just looking at the word, phrase and sentence injections carried out by Hassol into FAQ 1.2. The whole thing is mind-blowing.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Registered Commentershub

Alec: I don't claim to know the right answer. What is ludicrous is for AR4 WG1 to have only a page or two on cloud and water vapour feedbacks when this, they admit, is at the heart of the matter. Steve Mc once suggested 300 pages on this, and 60 on the rest, for WG1. (His comments on WG2 last week make it interesting to speculate how many pages would be required there!) With as much real-world data as satellites and other sensors now give us being brought to the table - and the known unknowns being spelled out with total candour.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

A small example:

But when weather is averaged over space and time, the fact that the globe is warming emerges clearly from the data.

This sentence above is an addition by Hassol, has no connection to the question posed, and has no equivalent sentence or passage in the second order draft text it seeks to 'revise'.

This is even worse than Madrid. And it is in their precious WG1.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Registered Commentershub

Yep, I think Paul may have pointed us to the mother lode of activist overriding of science in the heart of WG1. With no evidence that the scientists put up any resistance at all.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard; it's worse than that. Because the incorrect Sagan physics is integrated into satellite sensing, much of those derived data are wrong. I'm not alone in realising the IPCC has got this very wrong. US cloud physicist G L Stephens has quantified the effect: [Page 5]

He points out that the climate models use double real low level cloud optical depth to offset the exaggerated warming. Another report is here:

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM


Scientists have determined that human activities can be agents of climate change

Change by Hassol:

While many factors continue to influence climate, scientists have determined that human activities have become a dominant force, and are responsible for most of the warming observed over the past 50 years.

Aug 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Registered Commentershub

Also note the timing of the Hassol adjustments - after the SOD (second order draft). That means that Hassol's hyped up version is not subjected to any scrutiny by the IPCC reviewers. It's clear from the bullet points outlining the procedure that the hyped up version just goes straight into the final report.

Aug 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Despite all the mist there still is the inconvenient fact that Briffa had a laptop-plus-VPN like Jones, Osborn, and Melvin. After March 2009 he 'lost' this laptop. At the end of his sick leave he had to use Melvin's laptop-plus-VPN. Because Melvin had no privileged account, Briffa could only work in Melvins virtual office, making that Melvin had to copy Briffa's Eudora mailbox to that laptop. All this can be found in de climategate emails. It is unbelievable that a Deputy Director had to do this. A missing laptop-plus-VPN once owned by a Director, is that a smoking gun or not?

Aug 23, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commentermindert eiting

A couple more before and afters-
"Projecting changes in climate .. 50 years from now is a very different and more tractable problem"
is changed to "much more easily solved problem"

"forced variations ... can be more predictable"
"long term variations are much more predictable. "

I think Shub at 12:57 has spotted the worst one though.

Aug 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

There is a powerpoint presentation by the WG3 given to the authors before their drafting of the SRREN renewables report (will try to find and post link). It has a funny slide by Edenhofer standing like a presiding deity guarding the writing process.

One of the slides makes the same observation you make. The IPCC scientist brass know that their process has this problem - hijacking of the text by activist elements.

Aug 23, 2012 at 1:37 PM | Registered Commentershub

Alec: best I think not to distract further from the changes made to SOD by Hassol (as the man that set the sensitivity rabbit running). Assumptions of satellite measurement would be discussed in an expanded section of WG1 dealing with all aspects of climate sensitivity, I hope we'd agree.

Paul: indeed, when I said there's no evidence of resistance from scientists that means two quite different things:

1. The complicity of Richard Somerville and any other lead authors still around who could have influenced proceedings

2. No scientist involved in WG1 that I know of objected after the report was published to these changes made after SOD.

It's the first category of scientist that is much the more culpable. With high-level IPCC kudos comes significant responsibility. Now FoI has shed a light on how little those at that level cared about either the science or the scientists who had been involved in the guts of the report.

Aug 23, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Here's Pat Frank's summary on WUWT of the email thread from Nov 2008, kicked off by Gus Speth of Yale, entitled Suggested Meeting with the President-Elect, also included in the NOAA release

So there we have it: a whole slew of scientists including Susan Solomon, high-mucky-muck of the IPCC, secretly allying themselves with green partisans, climate alarmists, and income-conflicted consultants to exploit their channels to power, so as to influence the president-elect. Betsy Taylor probably stood to gain plenty of business, given the success of the venture. And their success must have been beyond their dreams, because two of their number (Lubchenco and Holdren) were appointed to President Obama’s inner science circle and a third (Van Jones) almost made it into a position to cripple the economy.

What could illustrate the politicisation of the higher echelons of 'independent' climate scientists more starkly - Santer, Hansen, Holdren, Lubchenco, Lonnie Thompson, Mann, Schneider, Solomon - than their inclusion from the start. Quite some "fodder for sceptics" (to take a phrase from CG1) in an election year.

Aug 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake,

Excellent post. Thanks much. Pat Frank's full post should be read by everyone.

Let us not forget that Van Jones lost his position as "green jobs Czar" because of highly embarrassing but uncontested video evidence that he promoted an ideology that struck most as his own brand of communism.

Aug 23, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

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