“What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably.”
This private musing between two climate scientist colleagues first surfaced along with a whole raft of embarrassing material in 2011, when the anonymous Climategate leaker who calls himself “Mr. FOIA” leaked his second set of emails from Britain’s disgraced Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Now, Mr. FOIA has emerged for a third time, sharing with the world not only his entire batch of 220,000 encrypted emails and documents but also, for the first time, his thoughts.
Mr. FOIA had previously released two batches of 5,000 files each in 2009 and 2011. This enormous third batch went to a network of friends for decoding, sorting and publication.
The first and second email batches contained conversations among “scientists” who appear to have dishonored a once respectable discipline, documenting that their claims of a “man-made global warming crisis” look exactly like deliberate contrivances for academic career gain, research funding and positions of political power in “the cause.”
Some big-name players are playing games with people’s lives and livelihoods.
Biggest Player. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the scientific panel whose reports contain the work of Glimategate figures – and are highly politicized and publicized to increase fear of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW): “imminent catastrophic man-made climate change.” Many horrendously expensive and needless local, state, federal and international policies have flowed from IPCC’s flawed reports.
Most Powerful Symbol. Professor Michael Mann’s “Hockey Stick Graph” was featured prominently in the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report. It alleged that global temperatures were flat for a thousand years before 1900, but then radically increased because of AGW. The chart looks like a hockey stick, a long straight line that bends sharply upward at the end. With recent IPCC admissions that temperatures have not increased for at least the past 16 years, the curve has now plunged downward to become as flat as the rest of the hockey stick, which is where public trust in climate science is headed.
The Game. “The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it,” says an astounding, horrifying UK government-funded booklet leaked by Mr. FOIA titled, “The Rules of the Game: Evidence base for the Climate Change Communications Strategy.” Written by the UK public relations firm Futerra for six UK agencies – including The Carbon Trust – for use by ethics and public relations tone-deaf scientists, “The Rules” teaches sophisticated behavior change tactics, including: “Climate change must be ‘front of mind’ before persuasion works” … “Link climate change mitigation to positive desires/aspirations” … “Beware the impacts of cognitive dissonance” and “Use emotions and visuals” (e.g., scare people with the Hockey Stick Graph). It treats the public like gullible idiots who can be frightened and manipulated by seemingly trustworthy scientists to believe in AGW. For a long time, it worked.
The Team. Phil Jones, head of the CRU; Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office (the national weather service, originally the Meteorological Office) was joined by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis section head of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Tom Wigley, also of NCAR; and the litigious Penn State University Hockey Stick originator, Michael Mann.
James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute, sums their actions up this way. The team consciously distorted and actively suppressed critical knowledge, then furiously tried to hide their actions by conducting a vicious smear campaign to discredit critics.
Consciously distorted: NCAR’s Wigley once complained to Mann, “Mike, the Figure you sent is very deceptive … there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC.…”
Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office warned Phil Jones, head of the CRU: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere, unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary.… I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”
Suppressed Critical Knowledge. Phil Jones wrote, “I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working on the IPCC 5th Assessment Report would be to delete all e-mails at the end of the process. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder [the U.S. Department of Energy] in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.” The U.S. government was colluding with the hiders, who received tens of millions of dollars over the years. Jones wrote to Mann, “Mike, can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith Briffa re AR4 [the IPCC 4th Assessment Report]? Keith will do likewise. … We will be getting Caspar Ammann to do likewise.”
Tom Crowley, a key member of Mann’s global warming hockey team, showed crass disregard for the lying and hiding: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching, if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” It’s more important to keep the career back-scratching team happy.
The distortion, spin, suppression and smear campaign went on for years. In fact, the revelations sparked a furious “hide the lies” denial campaign that ironically calls skeptics “deniers.” What the skeptics actually deny is that there has been much honest science involved in the IPCC process; that there is any evidence to support claims that we face an imminent climate crisis; and that humans are primarily responsible for weather and climate variations that have always been controlled by hundreds of complex, inter-related natural forces and processes.
“Hide the lies” generated lawsuits between climate science “believers” (what kind of real science requires belief?) and skeptics of “dangerous man-made planetary warming” – along with ridiculous conspiracy theories such as “Big Oil hired evil hackers in a plot to discredit angelic climate scientists.”
Mr. FOIA denies these absurd allegations in his 3.0 message. “I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again,” he said. “That’s right; no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil. The Republicans didn’t plot this. USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the U.K. There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere.”
“The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to garner my trust in the state of climate science – on the contrary,” Mr. FOIA continued. “I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact.” Reveal what he had discovered, or keep it to himself and let the lies continue?
Didn’t he fear discovery? “When I had to balance the interests of my own safety, the privacy and career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades … millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc. … the first two weren’t the decisive concern.”
Why did he do it? His answer was both angry and anguished: “Climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material ‘might’ …. The price of ‘climate protection’ with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations,” he wrote. “We can’t pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it’s not [taking] away from something and someone else.”
That’s the most important statement so far in the decades-old climate debate: You’re forcing us backward into poverty and ignorance – for nothing, except to further your careers, funding and power.
Less than a week later, London’s Mail on Sunday newspaper ran an outraged feature based on the British Meteorological Office’s recent admission that global surface temperatures haven’t risen in more than 15 years. Citing a chart of predicted and actual temperatures, the Mail noted: “Official predictions of global climate warming have been catastrophically flawed. The graph on this page blows apart the ‘scientific basis’ for Britain reshaping its entire economy and spending billions in taxes and subsidies in order to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The chart shows in incontrovertible detail how the speed of global warming has been massively overestimated. Yet those forecasts have had a ruinous impact on the bills we pay, from heating to car fuel to huge sums paid by councils to reduce carbon emissions. The eco-debate was, in effect, hijacked by false data.”
Is it improper to label the people responsible for this costly, miserable catastrophe as “eco-thugs”? And should we worry that the latest no-real-energy “energy security” proposal from the White House is telling us that President Obama has become America’s “Eco-thug in Chief,” who will continue to peddle fraudulent science and nearly worthless renewable energy to further his agenda? It’s worth pondering.
A set of pro forma “investigations” claim to have exonerated PSU’s Mann. The internal PSU inquiry – with no impartial truth-seekers involved – was not going to harm their grant-getting cash cow Mann; instead, it whitewashed the evidence to ensure the preferred conclusion. Professional science groups that relied upon public funding for their financial survival fell in line behind a huge Tom Sawyer campaign of “exoneration.” There was no exoneration.
Summaries presented in court filings for the case of American Tradition Institute v. University of Virginia and Michael Mann – which demands release of Michael Mann’s emails – say, “Mann has never been exonerated…. Exoneration requires investigation; investigation requires pursuit aimed at discovering material facts. Mann’s employer since 2005, Penn State University, has conducted no such thing. Neither has the University of Virginia.”
The same conclusion applies to the UK’s Muir Russell and Oxburgh inquiries, which didn’t even mention Mann, because they were “investigating” only employees of the CRU.
I asked Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and attorney in the ATI v. UVa/Mann lawsuit for his take on the leaker’s message. He told me, “Whatever prompted ‘Mr. FOIA,’ I take it as a statement that, so far, the courts have failed us, as have our political institutions – and he has concluded that those in the public who have resisted the climate industry agenda should now have a chance to review these taxpayer-financed records, which are the subject of a remarkable campaign to subvert transparency laws.”
We ourselves can’t avoid blame for the science disaster uncovered by Mr. FOIA. As Peter Foster of London’s Financial Times noted, we didn’t heed President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning. “Most people are aware of Ike’s warning in 1961 about the military-industrial complex,” Foster wrote. Our fatal error was to ignore what he said next: “In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” [emphasis added]
It’s time to demote our climate masters to our humble servants. Experts testify. Free people evaluate and decide.
Examiner columnist Ron Arnold is Executive Vice President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. Portions of this article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner and are used by permission.