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« The economics of biofuels | Main | Introducing 'The Scythe' - Josh 213 »

30 seconds

You turn your back for 30 seconds (well, a couple of days) and all hell breaks loose. I took some time off while we had guests over Easter and in my absence the volume of material appearing across the web has been astonishing, much of it focused on the Marcott paper.

It began when Marcott et al issue a thoroughly evasive FAQ about their "scythe" paper; McIntyre responded here. Pielke Jr took a pot shot at the integrity of the climate science field and called for the paper to be corrected, along with the press release and the newspaper reports. McKitrick published an op-ed on the subject in the mainstream media. And to round it off, McIntyre accused Tamino of plagiarising his insights into the workings of the Marcott paper (although we have seen just as bad from Tamino in the past - he clearly has issues).

Climate remains a field in which you cannot relax your concentration for a moment.




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Reader Comments (124)

McKitrick links to wrong place.

Apr 2, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterHyperthermania

Trouble is, outside the blogosphere none of this will register with the wider world. They key message of a new hockey stick has already been spread. That it is fraudulent bollocks will make no difference.

Apr 2, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Yes, Marcott et al was simply a drive-by aimed at bolstering AR5.

But I was interested by Pielke fils' contention during this matter that:

That said, virtually all of the climate science battles are teapot/tempest affairs -- climate politics and policy has moved on to issues involving economics and energy.

Apr 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

McIntyre's accusation of plagiarism is just plain silly.

Apr 2, 2013 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

David, care to expand on that?

Apr 2, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Hasn't Hansen decided to go into full time environmenatlism and given up the day job? Or is that 1st April thing?

Dave, I'd be interested as to why you believe Steve McIntyre's work wasn't plagiarised in the light of Tamino telling the world he'd originally referenced Steve in his article but decided to take it out.

Apr 2, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Re: David

According to wiki plagiarism is:

Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work.

According to Foster he had all the references to Steve's work in the post but decided to remove them before publication. By removing the references he is presenting the work as his own original work when, in reality, it is based upon Steve's work.

Apr 2, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Marcott et al seem to have thought Easter Sunday a good time to try to bury bad news.

Apr 2, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

David's accusation seems silly.



Apr 2, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

So let me see if I've got this right. Wegman is guilty of plagerism because he didn't provide the correct attributions in his report...regardless of the fact his report was accurate BUT he was still accused vegemantly of plagerism (therefore his report is evil!!).

On the other hand even though Foster stated in his own words he linked extensively to McIntyre and then removed all attributions out of spite somehow, according to the catastrophiliacs it is ok and it's McIntyre who is in the wrong.

Seems to me that if you are an honest person you cannot accuse the right hand of plagerism while turning a blind eye to what the left hand is doing. But that's the problem with the climate sciences, the left hand isn't honest.



Apr 2, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Dave, no doubt you've thought long and hard about your post and have the data to back it up. Timelines between CA's posts and Tamino's would be instructive. After you've published them here I'm sure we will view them with the utmost seriousness.

BTW: You're not David Appell are you? He who is making a thorough goose of himself over at Roger Pielke Jnr's.

Apr 2, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Let's not get too distracted by the relatively minor issue of whether one blogger plagiarised another.
The main issue is the fabrication of a hockey stick using methods much more blatant than previous work of Mann, Gergis etc.

Apr 2, 2013 at 10:14 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I have been holding back but I would also like to see Dave's rationale.

Apr 2, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

The pushers of a CO2 Crisis have some remarkably tawdry folks amongst their ranks as well as in leadership positions.

We are not being dragged into increases in starvation, in fuel poverty, in lost opportunities, and in depressingly negative views of past, present and future, by fine and outstanding people standing on a foundation of solid, honest work.

Odd that, isn't it?

Apr 2, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Agouts has it exactly right, confirmed in Pielke's comment quoted by Rick Bradford.

As usual, sceptics win virtually every battle. But the Hyperthermalists (and all their venal banker and politician cronies) keep right on winning the war.

Look at that creep Gleick. Admits to being a crook, still lauded by the alarmist establishment.

Climategate 1 - 3 certainly woke up a lot of people, but they are only 'little people' and the politicians are quite happy to ignore them and carry on stealing their money (the latest, Osborne's Carbon Floor Price, almost unremarked) and spending Billions on stuff that simply does not work.

Climate "Science". Too big to fail.

Until people sit shivering in the dark.

Apr 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

I kind-of agree with Dave, in that plagiarism is simply the wrong term to describe what Tamino did. Sure, he cribbed the idea's from Steve, but this was in a blog posting, not some reviewed paper. Journo's entire life consists of plagiarism if the definition is going to be this broad.

It really doesn't matter very much - as long as Tamino see the light, I wouldn't worry too much about who is holding the torch.

Apr 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

steveta_uk. I think the trigger was that Revkin called Tamino's post "illuminating" without knowing that it was essentially the same post Steve Mc had made a week earlier without even a h/t in his direction. So yes it is plagiarism even on a blog post if you use other people's work and don't acknowledge it. Bradley had a charge of plagiarism stick to Dr. Wegman when he, Bradley, was cited 31 times in the 90 page document.

Apr 2, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Geronimo: that's the context exactly. Revkin broke the story on 7th March and is, to his credit, now called a denialist at Tamino's - I couldn't resist having this highly ironic pop back. In fact the New York Times man is still listening far too much to the RC crowd, hence he didn't know where the illumination on the uptick really came from. But overall, I feel, a weekend of considerable damage being done to the warmist narrative and the confidence of its proponents.

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:03 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I seem to remember in journalist training that there was a rule (of thumb?) that it was acceptable to use a certain number of words (400 seems to stick in my mind but that seems to many) without attribution

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

Hyperthermia - the link to McKitrick's op-ed in the Financial Post is (discussed at Anthony's).

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

@Jiminy @TerryS @Mailman @GrantB @jones

Foster felt Steve McIntyre was being deliberately obtuse, hence the reason why he originally cited his analysis. In order to prove plagiarism, you must show that Foster is incapable of discerning the strengths and weakness of the Marcott paper without assistance. Again, foolish.

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Marcott et al will be an interesting test for AR5. Will it be used at all, used with the upstand truncated, or used as presented with the caveats obfuscated somwhere obscure? My bet is on the last, but I have been known to be wrong.

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Bish, I'm sure you can't have missed this: (basically, the growth of Antarctic Sea Ice is due to - you guessed it - Global Warming!)

I feel certain a fisk is being prepared ...although the posting datestamp (April 1st at 11:12 a.m.) gives cause for doubt, I have also seen it repeated elsewhere?

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterABloodyProgrammer

David: He could have said that McIntyre's presentation was obtuse as he cited it and went on to produce something much clearer. No problem at all. That would not have been plagiarism.

Or are you saying that you can learn from reading an earlier work and then refuse to cite it because you don't like its style? Is this a new defence against plagiarism? Because it sounds like one anybody could make it any situation. Cool. I have some thoughts on the cosmic background radiation that I'm sure somebody missed - or at least expressed rather badly. Let the Nobel committee know right away.

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

@Richard Betts, this is precisely why I consider material published by Grant Foster, which you referred to support your presentation (, as without merit.

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Apr 2, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Hector Pascal

Marcott et al will be an interesting test for AR5. Will it be used at all, used with the upstand truncated, or used as presented with the caveats obfuscated somwhere obscure? My bet is on the last, but I have been known to be wrong.

Hector, I agree! As I have mentioned elsewhere, I suspect the proof of this Filibustering After Questions™ will no doubt lie in whatever pudding the IPCC succeeds in cooking up.

One of his co-authors, Peter Clark, is a CLA for AR5 WG1 Ch.13. Clark may or may not be aware of IPCC's new, improved "rules" for citing non-peer reviewed material. Just about anything is permissible with the notable exceptions of material from "blogposts" and other social media..

The FAQ was published as a "blogpost" - so, under these new, improved rules, it can be ignored (well, unless RC gets a special dispensation!). And the paper stands, because it was "peer-reviewed" and published in a top tier journal!

Should the IPCC choose to follow such a path, it would not do much for their credibility. But then, again, how much lower could their credibility go, eh?!

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Obtuse : Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
Foster's claim: For your information, Davy boy, McIntyre’s contribution to this was limited to his every effort to discredit the entire reconstruction, to discredit Marcott and his collaborators, and of course his usual knee-jerk spasms at the sight of anything remotely resembling a hockey stick, sprinkled literally with thinly veiled sneering.
Nothing about being obtuse.
I liked Foster's reference to "thinly veiled sneering". Projection?

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

Eddy: nice thought but I don't think "thinly veiled" remotely fits the bill here. :)

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


We don't have to prove anything, Foster destroyed his own credibility with his own words.

Then again that is just par for the course when it comes to climate science. The crime McIntyre has committed is to question the religion that so many climate scientists have become addicted to.


Apr 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Re: David

> In order to prove plagiarism, you must show that Foster is incapable of discerning the strengths and weakness of the Marcott paper without assistance.

Whether or not Foster is capable is not germane as to whether or not he plagiarised Steve. Just because somebody is capable of coming up with a line of thought does mean that they independently did so.

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

The Science is Settled???????

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

Having carried out detailed research over the last few days I am pleased to summarise my findings regardng the paper prepared by Muckrot, Scheissen et al:

1 Prepared by incompetent fools.
2 Prepared by incompetent liars.
3 Prepared by incompetent scientists.
4 All of the above.

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

A fan suggests that I should point out a new competition I've begun on Climate Audit, to give proper credit to the way Marcott et al has bolstered the Mann hockey stick. It may of course be zambonied but we can always continue here.

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Bishop Hill: "Climate remains a field in which you cannot relax your concentration for a moment."

If I can play Devil's Advocate here - I'm afraid I disagree. The reality is that there are repeated examples of shonky science and practice which are exposed in the blogosphere and then repeated by one or two engaged commentators in the MSM.

However the overall impact on the status quo is nil. Nothing changes - like a soap opera, one can be away from the plot for months or years but the overall dynamic does not change. Despite all the problems the message remains relentlessly impervious to them. Andy Revkin could be publicly bogwashed by the RC crowd and he'd still proclaim them great blokes.

As the Economist editorial conclusion shows "putting a price on carbon and ensuring that, slowly but surely, it gets ratcheted up for decades to come"- regardless of the science, remains a certainty beyond debate.

I agree with Martin Brumby that "Climate Science" is now too big to fail and those responsible for writing the accompanying policy will not revisit it - and most certainly not over the course of a bank holiday weekend!!

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Tamino analyzes time series for a living so it is certainly possible that he could have independently come up with the issues that Steve McIntyre first brought to light. But since Tamino indicated that he had seen Steve's analysis then his lack of attribution in his own pieces is plagiarism or scummy or both. His claim to novelty is also weird in that the uptick he argues still exist in Marcott et al is dependent upon only a couple of proxies - Briffa redux?

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

For the avoidance of doubt - I also post as David - but I am not the same David who has posted on here. Bish - we have a problem - guidance please..!

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

McKitrick's summary of events to date is first class: Succinct, lucid and devastating to Marcott et al.

Apr 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

David - put an initial after your name? That's what I did for years at WUWT (until someone came along with the same first name and initial). Then I started using lapogus.

Apr 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Tamino admits now that he did plagiarize, but justified it by pointing out how mean McIntyre is.
It seems that AGW fanatics sustain their fanaticism at the expense of their integrity and ethics.
Peter Gleick must be proud.

Apr 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

"Should the IPCC choose to follow such a path, it would not do much for their credibility. But then, again, how much lower could their credibility go, eh?!"
Apr 2, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

The IPCC will continue the Climate Science (TM) credibility limbo dance until they reach the carbon trading prize. The limbo hurdle has been getting lower and lower since our esteemed host set the bar with "Casper & the Jesus paper", the team set the bar lower and lower in stages picked up by the skeptic blogosphere umpires, the hockey stick lowered the bar, CG1 lower still, CG2 getting near the floor, Marcott is setting the bar so low RC is desperately digging a hole under the credibility bar so the IPCC can still limo under it.

If only I had Josh type skills ;)

Apr 2, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

I've overcome the problem by using the moniker I use on Chris Booker and Dellers' blogs...

(signed: The star previously known as David)

Apr 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

The arguments still return to “yeah but if you stick the thermometer record on the end, you still get a hockey stick”. The ignorant will do it nay way. Have any of the statistical societies (I presume there are some) been asked to comment on the validity of splicing?

Apr 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

So which one were you?

Apr 2, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Martin A: A vital question and a searing one, reminding me of a joke that tickled me in childhood:

Q: What's the difference between a chicken?

A: One of its legs is both the same.

Simplicity itself compared to the philosophical challenges before us every day on the Interweb

Apr 2, 2013 at 1:58 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Re names:

Think how difficult it must be for poor b****rds who were innocently named 'Michael Mann' or 'Philip Jones' by their parents.

Apr 2, 2013 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Richard Drake's anecdote reminds me of the punchline of another old joke

'You think we know f..k nothing about climate....but actually we know f..k all!

Can anyone remind me of the rest?

Apr 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Please accept my apologies the paper I was referring to earlier was Muchrot and Scheissen et al and that is all you really need to know :-)

Apr 2, 2013 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

McI's post seems like sour grapes. He's just jealous that his post wasn't referenced by Revkin. There's a good reason for that: Tamino wrote a better article! Y'all might not have dared to venture over to Tamino's site, but his post on the tick makes the statistics clear in a way that McI with his tables and obsession with individual cores never could. T shows that processing differences instead of actual values can compensate for proxy drop-out and that a similar, if smaller tick is visible. If a reader actually wants to understand what is what, Tamino wins hands-down.

To suggest that two highly experienced statisticians cannot independently come to the same conclusions about a paper is foolish.

Apr 2, 2013 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Tamino merely proves once again that in the name of 'the cause ' all things are justifiable.
Now remind me again what such a view has to do with sceicnce and not relgion or polatics?

Apr 2, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Apr 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM Latimer Alder

I think it was a Spaniard involved in some argument who retorted "You think I know damn nothing. I tell you, I know damn all!".

Apr 2, 2013 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

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