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The anger of the climate community

Whenever I hear Thomas Stocker speak I am reminded of Tony Blair or David Cameron: too slick, too polished, too insincere. So when I see that he has been expounding his thoughts on the climate debate in the Irish Times I am not exactly inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

He has, however, something of a point:

Prof Stocker, who has avoided using social media, agreed that several colleagues such as Phil Jones and Michael Mann had been “vilified” on Twitter and other forums, and some of them had even received death threats for daring to speak out.

Phil Jones and Michael Mann have undoubtedly been vilified on social media, and death threats are always beyond the pale. The problem is that these two were undoubtedly miscreants whose behaviour - data torturing, hiding the decline, journal nobbling, that kind of thing - warranted a strong reaction and should have brought them ostracism from the climatologicial mainstream. The decision of that mainstream to stand by the two men and even to celebrate and honour them has undoubtedly angered many and has almost certainly made the response on social media stronger than it might have been. How different things might have been if climatology had "done the decent thing".

However, it seems that the climatological community reserves its anger for people who ask awkward questions or who involve themselves with people who do so. Ostracisation is for the Bengtssons of this world, not the Manns or the Joneses.

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Reader Comments (43)

Obviously, he meant to say that several of his colleagues, such as Michael Mann, have been villifying people on social media and threatening them for speaking out.

May 29, 2014 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Can we have that list of verified death threats again? I seem to have lost my copy.

(Yes, from either side, let's be fair.)

May 29, 2014 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

While I don't condone death threats let's remember that tens of thousands of pensioners are dying every year as a result of their shenanigans.

See Age Concerns report each year on 'Excess Winter Deaths', I believe it was around 30,000 last winter and around 25,000 the previous year.

No sympathy for them whatsoever.

May 29, 2014 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

the fight has moved on. Tol is being hounded as we speak, allegedly because of some errors discovered by Ward, but in fact for the unforgivable sin of having been mentioned by Ridley. Leo and Gavin are not the only ones retweeting with glee the latest anti-Tol rant at a website I shall not even mention.

Notably, Tol's paper was very clearly on the alarmist side, openly saying that no matter what the AGW projected costs, we need err on the side of caution (ie assume them very high). This is not enough anymore, to keep the dogs at bay.

Basically there is no way to trust what any climate scientist says, as the fear levels are enormous and now extend to be careful in not saying anything that could remotely be usable by any skeptic of any sort.

May 29, 2014 at 10:13 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

"IPCC co-chairman says scientists being intimidated by climate change deniers"
But we are not climate change deniers. We agree that the climate has been changing for millions of years and wonder why people are so worried that it is still doing so.

"Prof Stocker said: “It is perfectly legitimate to ask such questions. Normally, you would expect a debate in which arguments would be considered and then we’d come to a conclusion."

Is it intentionally ironic that comments are not allowed under his article?

How does he expect there to be a discussion when the BBC does not allow one side to put forward their case and the Alarmists refuse to respond to any inquiries or dismiss suspect claims, such as the kidnap of over 200 girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria?

"Instability in Nigeria, however, has been growing steadily over the last decade - and one reason is climate change."

"He [Prof Thomas Stocker], said claims that there had been no global warming for 15 years were “quite a clever way to divert the attention of policymakers from the broader perspective of climate change”."

Yes! Using data gathered from scientific experiments, instead of computer models, to highlight a point is clever, but not in a way that climate 'scientists' understand, even if they have reached the dizzy heights of being a Professor!

"“But unfortunately, sceptics have not followed that scientific approach.”"
When they are not allowed access to the data, it is difficult to do that, especially when any wavering from the party line is dealt with in a most unscientific way!

How can anyone, let alone a Scientist write such mis-information:
"He said scientists involved in the IPCC process had done all the work, showing that warming was being observed “in all parts of the world” and this was closely related to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, looked at over a longer timeframe than 15 years."

May 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

"He said natural variability could explain the current “hiatus”. Thus, IPCC scientists were looking at a longer “climatological period”."

The hiatus and people's memories of past climate and extreme events is what is really undermining the attempts by the IPCC to declare victory. They have to find someone to blame, and pick on the tiny handful of sceptic scientists and bloggers, but they do not drive public opinion (except for the Bish of course), but rather are a reflection of it.

May 29, 2014 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

rhoda, these are some of the ones collected by UEA: PDF Document

May 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

"He said natural variability could explain the current “hiatus”

And much else besides. Statements like that could get him Bengtssoned.

May 29, 2014 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

I remember that the UEA stated that Prof Phil Jones had received death threats.

However none of these had been reported to the police. Quite strange as the police take death threats very seriously.

May 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Interesting to see Stocker joining Myles Allen in the childish name-calling department. ("deniers", "anti-science").

Stocker is a real hypocrite. He says "Normally, you would expect a debate in which arguments would be considered..." with regard to the warming pause. Yet when he himself presented the IPCC results, he hid the pause, truncating the graph from the IPCC report so that only the decadally averaged part was shown.

omnologos, I think the reason that the climate thugs are ganging up on Tol now is that he is speaking to a US hearing this afternoon.

May 29, 2014 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Martin A.

Following Climategate, Jones gave the following interview to the BBC's Roger Harrabin. If he received death threats, one suspects they didn't come from sceptics.

Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

May 29, 2014 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Simon, I withdraw my sarcastic tone. Ugh!

May 29, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda


There were the 'threats' in the pdf linked to above (May 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson). I did an analysus of the language used and the probable origin of the emails. I posted it on BH somewhere. Most seemed to be from American low life and followed some Climategate publicity in American redneck media. A few seemed to be from Australia. As I said above, the emails are unpleasant but do not seem to have been reported to the police as threats.

Later, a Telegraph report said that Prof Jones had said he was still receiving death threats. I FOI'd UEA for these new death threats. The UEA replied that there were none on record (words to that effect - I don't have time right now to look up their actual reply).


I take anything Phil Jones says about statistical significance (in either direction) as nonsense:

- His understanding of statistics seems to be about zero.

- Even if you understand statistics you can't say if warming rates are significant or otherwise without an underlying statistical model for the process. And nobody has such a model - other than what they have dreamed up from their imagination,

What he said would not have gone down well with The Team. But I'm doubtful he'd have received threats from warmists - he continued to be portrayed by them as the persecuted scientist.

May 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Death threats are absolutely wrong, but since the mildest of publicity attracts them, you can't draw any conclusion about why they are sent. If you can get death and rape threats for just calling for a bank note to have a famous woman on the front, then what might the underhanded behaviour of scientists affecting everyone expect? Vocal sceptics certainly don't want to see climate scientists get death threats because it gives their side ammo to claim victim status.

Thomas Stocker gives us a good show of why climate science is in the toilet. He lies by ommission, he lies by misdirection, he smears by association, he ignores real data in favour of computer models and more. I keep meaning to write a check list for warmist articles - use 'denier', check; oil or industry funding, check; brave but abused climate scientists, check, sceptics not peer reviewed, check...

But pleasingly the whole gist of the article is a big whinge asking 'why is nobody taking us seriously or loving our magnum opus, the IPCC report?' Heh, heh, heh.

May 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

There has never, ever, been a Left or a Green that has not received unsubstantiated and undocumented death threats and sent to the corner crying because folks are, well, just plain mean to them! Bless their hearts.

May 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Simon Hopkinson

Although this list is distasteful and should be condemed, it actually does not have death threats but rather they hope that someone kill him or they themselves commit suicide. That is not a death threa!

Furthermore, such comments are not restricted to climate sciences but are fairly common throughout the internet (unfortunately) including those who are sceptical of CAGW.

Also we do not have any idea whether this is the work of one derranged individual or a few. Since the wording is very similar I guess it is the work of a very few people. It would have been more useful if it included any police investigation!

It is telling that there has been no police prosicutions for any so called of these death threats!

May 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Yet more fury from alarmists.

What are the chances that 'climate science' and socially compulsory global warming orthodoxy is heading towards a similar new dawn of enlightenment that we are now seeing regarding 'racism', following Ukip's crushing Euro victory?

The clue is in climate advocates increasing anger, which is surely borne of frustration at their failure to secure meaningful climate progress or predict and explain the humiliatingly long Pause.

Everyone can see AGW theory is not working out. It just needs that final decisive push, again most likely to come from sheer weight of numbers of common people rather than 'elites', and the whole damn edifice of this blatant climate charade can come tumbling down.

May 29, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

I very much doubt there were any 'death threats' of a real sort. Claiming that there had been death threats is just what one would expect from the kind of hysterical obsessive who believes he is on a mission to 'save the world'.

May 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Any personal threats, from either side, are beyond the pale. They do no one credit. And if they are made they need to be brought to light. Most of them don't meet the 'show me' test.

The great thing about this is that the "evil denialists" are always portrayed as a marginal minority, barely significant in the scheme of things. Well I don't feel like a voice in the wilderness. Do you?

May 29, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterclovis marcus

Yes it's a great shame that the public don't like massaged graphs and unfounded speculations presented as facts. What a wonderful world it would be if they did. Did Stocker even read the climategate emails?

The truth is though that skeptics are rarely listened to. The only reason there are no real fossil fuel alternatives yet has not been for a lack of policy, it is because it is not easy to do without committing economic suicide. Neither is it skeptics who make them scramble for a myriad of excuses for the hiatus - it is mother nature telling them they are wrong.

The real deniers are those who deny that the these unvalidated models have been exposed as useless for policy. There is now no scientific way to separate out any manmade component from the background warming and hence no credible scenario for catastrophic warming. To argue against that is the real anti-science stance. Go on believing what you believe but don't tell us it is based on science when all available data disagrees with you!

May 29, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Chap Phil's death threats most likely came from the internal memo of the right brain gilt complex created by that naughty left brain warming analysis. The memo most likely said jump. There is no hard copy, digital or otherwise available. The only way to get to the real tally of number of threats and their nature would be to administer truth serum. We have Russell and Oxburgh to thank for avoiding Chap Phil's tragic ending.

May 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe

It is clear that the ideological catastrophists still have a strong foothold in major newspapers. The Irish Times, supposedly the paper of record in Ireland, is now a liberal rag which no longer tolerates opinion that is not 'liberal' (e.g. recent departure of John Waters after anonymous twitter campaign by one of his colleagues). Frank McDonald, the author of the piece, is often on radio alongside #villageidiot, John Gibbons (christened by Mark Steyn after penning a defense of Mann in 'Village' left wing magazine), preaching the warmist line.

May 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterUlick Stafford


"Statements like that could get him Bengtssoned."

Then at least he would know what vilification felt like, and from which side it emanated!

May 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

'some of them had even received death threats for daring to speak out.'

I take it as a scientist he understands the importance of evidence to support claims , so where his evidence for these ‘ death threats’ ?

That he total ignores the very same bad behaviour he calls out in sceptics , when its his ‘hero’s involved is a side, if rather massive hypocritical, point.

May 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

I reject Stocker's use of the term “scientific community" when referring solely to his IPCC crones and henchmen, especially when trying to play the victim card.

The worldwide scientific community, if it exists, is not and never will be represented by him. The worldwide scientific community, if it exists, has long extended his little "community" a silent benefit of the doubt yet received only contempt in return.

There only ever was a "climate community" in the sense of an "us" and "them." Them being people who didn't agree with the creed. This interpretation of community is similar to that of someone who thinks "leadership" means "You do what I say, and if you don't like it then STFU".

May 29, 2014 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart


I agree with your summary of the threats, most were not in fact threats some weren't hopes for an early demise but for eternal damnation in the afterlife. Not that I'd want to receive such mail. These emails all date from November 2009 (Climategate) to January 2010. This is slightly different, but not any more acceptable, from getting hate mail after speaking out. One imagines that MPs get similar stuff every time they are caught with their fingers in the expenses till.

Does anyone know if they continued after the Climategate hype died down?

May 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Swiss Bob @ 10.12 . Re: Age Concern and 30,000 "preventable deaths". The difference in mortality winter v summer ( currently about 5%) has always been there but has substantially reduced in recent decades - with improved medical and social care - including contributions from Age Concern! Obviously cold is a key factor but the variations more relate to incidence of influenza. To blame the total on AGW policies via fuel prices is a little hyperbolic and pointing fingers at named "alarmists" is using the same rhetoric as "300,000 deaths from global warming" and the millions of "climate refugees". The same discrepancies of mortality also occur in warm, well appointed, care homes providing state of the art care. To use the figures in this way is a cheapening of debate. You have simply bought into a political lobbying tactic.

May 29, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenese2

It's the playing the victim tactic.

@CharmingQuark is partially right I count the death threats only if they have been verified by a sucessful prosecution that you'd expect. When I checked extensively before, there was actually only one prosecution , thst was in America in 1995 for some loon.
- The issue of death threats is when does it become something other that childish namecalling that can just be just brushed off. For directors/staff of animal experiment centers it is above that level. But I am not aware of a climate scientist whose daily work has been disrupted.. So frankly it's a none issue.

May 29, 2014 at 2:20 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Paul Matthews, did Stocker actually use "denier"? There's no such quote in the article, but the headline uses it.

I wonder where that use of "denier" came from, was it an unreported quote from Stocker, or did the Irish Times add it for a better headline?

May 29, 2014 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterclimatebeagle

Climate Obsession Pushers KNOW their deceitful behavior makes people mad. It's the reaction they are ultimately seeking out of all of this. Bullies like to tease and mock to provoke.


May 29, 2014 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

The Bishop is too kind about the sort of person the man in the street regards, probably rightly, as the typical politician. Too polished, too insincere, he writes, and most would now say that politicians routinely unspeak so freely that it is impossible to believe what they say. Or believe that what they are up to can be deduced from what they actually do. "What does he ( or this) really mean?" must be the usual reaction. And the MSM routinely discusses what is actually meant by this or that tendentious remark or move by a politician, thereby persuading us that this sort of behaviour is routine and acceptable in the political world. What's the difference between this situation and admitting that politicians are held to a lower standard of truthfulness than the rest of us, including, one supposes, scientists and climate scientists, and are routinely expected and allowed to lie?

And Profs Jones and Mann (and others) strayed out of science into politics and made full use of their newly found politician's freedom to distort and lie. It therefore seems a bit rich that an apologist like Prof Stocker should now complain they have been vilified. They would all argue, of course, that they stuck to the science, but the sort of science they stuck to was applied science rather than the pure scientific research they claimed it was - and research applied to a ruinous political dogma. The vilification complained of therefore became doubly deserved. Firstly, of course, there is the sin of misrepresenting applied science as pure research, and then there is the fact that the political dogma they follow threatens to impoverish humanity.

In respect of both sins, their defence has been shrill, indignant and riddled with the half-truths that are typical of political argument, but maybe different in that it sought to convince both the speakers themselves and their audiences, and it is easy to see how easy it is for these poor committed souls to convince themselves they do a good honest job. But however much they delude themselves, with respect to misrepresentation of the nature of their science, what they actually do is gather enough evidence to prove the political point they endorse and ignore data that leads to contrary political policies, contrary to proper scientific practice. And that their aim to make us poor is actually merely a religious belief with no more justification in the real world than that it makes the believer feel quite smug and virtuous.

May 29, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

If you believe Dr Jones poor little emails were abducted by an alien power and the British security services have no idea who it was, please go to Maplins and buy a (double strength) virtual tin foil hat. Someone is interfering with your ability to think.

May 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

The AGW promoters are profiting off crazy stupid ideas. That they would attract a tiny number of kooks to threaten them is not surprising but is always unacceptable. That many of the claims about death threats or acts of violence are inflated if not outright fabricated is not surprising either. Inflating and fabricating threats is after all a hallmark of the AGW movement.

May 29, 2014 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I cannot for the life of me understand why, with the Tsunami of lies coming from the fraud denial community that people swallow unsubstantiated nonsense about death threats.

May 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

diogenese2, they do mention cold weather many times in this document.

 2012-13 has seen the largest excess all-cause mortality in England since 2008-09.

 Further analysis showed the excess was found predominantly in the elderly and in deaths
coded as resulting from respiratory causes.

 The magnitude of excess all-cause mortality varied considerably by region within

 Excess mortality in 2012-13 coincided with influenza, RSV and cold weather, with an
unusually prolonged influenza season and late cold period reported. "

May 29, 2014 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

If you pay some clever people to find anthropogenic causes for "climate change", they damn sure WILL find them. Heh.

May 29, 2014 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimbrock

More anger from the climate community can be seen at NTZ - enough to make your blood boil....

May 29, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Has a scientist you expect him to understand why when you make a claim you back it up with valid evidenced, has he for the ‘death threats’ ?

Meanwhile that he totally ignores the poor behaviour and more worryingly the scientific mal-practice when it comes to the actions of ‘the Team ‘ is about usual for AGW proponents as flees on a dog.

Bottom line his face down in AGW gravy trough , so will do anything he can to ensure its kept well filled.

May 29, 2014 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

You can find much more interesting background on Mr Stocker by searching for him on Climate Audit. Steve McIntyre has several postings from 2012 discussing his shenanigans and obfuscation around transparency and conflict of interest at the IPCC. Mr. Stocker is anything but an honest broker of scientific integrity.
You shouldn't expect his current public comments to be any different than his past record.

May 29, 2014 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

When scientists continue to push alarmist claims based on computer models that show no agreement with observations in order to achieve political aims or significant funding, is this considered to be bad science? Fraud? It certainly would be for most branches of science.

As everyone here is aware, this has been the case for about 17 years in climate science, yet the establishment still considers the science to be robust and those who question the science to be deniers. Why is this?

I can only imagine that they cling to the hope that warming will resume, which they will claim to be irrefutable evidence that the models are correct, regardless of the true reason for future warming.

At what point does the discrepancy between model output and observation tip the balance from robust science to unsupported alarmism? Should we not be establishing such criteria?

May 29, 2014 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Chesirered suggested: “Everyone can see AGW theory is not working out. It just needs that final decisive push, again most likely to come from sheer weight of numbers of common people rather than 'elites', and the whole damn edifice of this blatant climate charade can come tumbling down.”

Thanks to a physics journal, highly amplified and thus alarming Anthropogenic Global Warming is now falsified, since a physicist finally checked the real radiation effect with satellite data in the simple manner climate “scientists” neglected to do:

“Tiny warming of residual anthropogenic CO2”

“The residual fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions which has not been captured by carbon sinks and remains in the atmosphere, is estimated by two independent experimental methods which support each other: the 13C/12C ratio and the temperature-independent fraction of d(CO2)/dt on a yearly scale after subtraction of annual fluctuations the amplitude ratio of which reaches a factor as large as 7. The anthropogenic fraction is then used to evaluate the additional warming by analysis of its spectral contribution to the outgoing long-wavelength radiation (OLR) measured by infrared spectrometers embarked in satellites looking down. The anthropogenic CO2 additional warming extrapolated in 2100 is found lower than 0.1°C in the absence of feedbacks. The global temperature data are fitted with an oscillation of period 60 years added to a linear contribution. The data which support the 60-year cycle are summarized, in particular sea surface temperatures and sea level rise measured either by tide gauge or by satellite altimetry. The tiny anthropogenic warming appears consistent with the absence of any detectable change of slope of the 130-year-long linear contribution to the temperature data before and after the onset of large CO2 emissions.”

May 29, 2014 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

I think these are the sort of death threats they (have) sent to themselves to draw sympathy.
It is not unusual several on the liberal left have already been caught for it.

Also , there is a difference between being threatened and someone who is having a rant at you.
Trust me , I have been at the receiving side of the former.

I cannot imagine who plausibly would want to threaten a warmish climate pundit to death?
First of all the damage they cause is spread over millions no billions of people, not to some individual that goes over the top. I presume there are some hot heads "out there" but let's face it: how many death threats have there been ? How many climate scinetists have been killed?? what is the proportion betwee threats and action , in society, usually???
I mean take a politician or other public figure who gets death threat, there must be some stats on this.

Last not least there is the fact that someone who really wants to kill you , if that was the threat being talked about, probably just kills you instead of compromising herself by sending out letters? It would be a stupid killer who first sends letters about what she is going to do ..

Anyway, something for "what lysenko spawned" to study on ..

May 29, 2014 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Bish writes:

However, it seems that the climatological community reserves its anger for people who ask awkward questions or who involve themselves with people who do so.

Quite so. And it is a very sad statement on their lack of integrity, is it not? I've often wondered whom they think they might be impressing ... besides themselves and others of their oh-so-dedicated ilk. But perhaps more tellingly, as our gracious host also wrote:

Ostracisation is for the Bengtssons of this world, not the Manns or the Joneses.

Or the Allens, or the Gleicks and others of their disreputable ilk.

As for the quasi-literate emails - not to mention Mann's alleged receipt of white powder ... to be honest, I don't put much stock in any of them. Certainly not without any header details (or in the case of Mann, a police report and lab analysis).

It is with some measure of irony that I note that such attempts to gain sympathy (and/or cast aspersions on those of us on the skeptic side of the fence) with such tall tales are far from original.

One of the earliest of the real deniers to try this little ... uh ... "trick", was Robert Faurisson, See for details.

David <I see you, I sue you> Irving has also been known to make such unsubstantiated claims, as has Ernst Zundel ... and others among the lesser lights of real denierdom.

May 30, 2014 at 9:11 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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