Three Things You Absolutely Must Know About Climategate

If you are saying on the one hand that you will not take notice of someone until they have been published while on the other you are working behind the scenes to stop any such publication, I would venture to suggest that you are not operating with any degree of bona fides either towards the media or the legitimate scientific process.

Finally, the scientists worked to circumvent the Freedom of Information process of the United Kingdom. Nowhere is this better evidenced than in the email reproduced in full below (minus Dr. Jones' contact details):

From: Phil Jones <[email protected]>

To: "Michael E. Mann" <[email protected]>

Subject: IPCC & FOI

Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008

Mike,

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise. He's not in at the moment - minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don't

have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!

Cheers

Phil

The context in the subject header is clearly the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI), while AR4 refers to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What is most important to know here is that, according to the Taxpayers' Alliance in the UK, "at least one FOI request on exactly this correspondence had apparently been submitted by a David Holland on May 5th 2008."

The Freedom of Information Act, however, explicitly forbids deletion of any material subject to a FOI request. The penalty for such a criminal act is a fine of up to £5,000. Presumably being found guilty of such an act, or even suggesting it, would also bring about significant disciplinary procedures at any reputable university. A complaint has been made to the British information commissioner.

This is, however, just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attitudes toward FOI. Numerous other references are made about ways to avoid divulging information (the following summaries are by the blogger Bishop Hill):

Tom Wigley discusses how to deal with the advent of FoI law in UK. Jones says use IPR argument to hold onto code. Says data is covered by agreements with outsiders and that CRU will be "hiding behind them."(1106338806)

Jones says that UK climate organisations are coordinating themselves to resist FoI. They got advice from the Information Commissioner [!](1219239172)

Jones tells Mann that he is sending station data. Says that if McIntyre requests it under FoI he will delete it rather than hand it over. Says he will hide behind data protection laws. Says Rutherford screwed up big time by creating an FTP directory for Osborn. Says Wigley worried he will have to release his model code. (1107454306)

There appears to be a prima facie case that there was a conspiracy to prevent the release of information subject to FOI.

There are many other disturbing revelations in the CRU Papers, including a particularly disturbing assessment by a computer programmer of the state of CRU data. These have yet to be fully analyzed.

So what does this all mean? It does not mean that there is no warming trend or that mankind has not been responsible for at least some of the warming. To claim that as result of these documents is clearly a step too far. However, it is clear that at least one branch of climate science -- paleoclimatology -- has become hopelessly politicized to the point of engaging in unethical and possibly illegal behavior.

To the extent that paleoclimatology is an important part of the scientific case for action regarding global warming, urgent reassessments need to be made. In the meantime, all those responsible for political action on global warming should stop the process pending the results of inquiries, investigations, and any criminal proceedings. What cannot happen is the process carrying on as if nothing has happened.

This could prove to be climate science's Vietnam.