Another “climategate” whopper from McIntyre

By Deep Climate

There’s been quite a stir about NCAR Senior Scientist Kevin Trenberth and his upcoming presentation at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting. Some of that spilled over here in a spirited discussion of Trenberth’s failure to blockquote a cited paper by Hasselmann (there has since been a new version which appears to be a sincere if hasty fix). The original controversy, though, largely centered on Trenberth’s withering attack on the climate science contrarians and his characterization of them as “deniers” and “charlatans”, which, needless to say, has caused howls of outrage throughout the contrarian blogosphere.

No one has been more outraged by Trenberth’s broadside than Steve McIntyre, who decided to bring what Judith Curry called a “historical perspective” and revisited a “climategate” controversy about “keeping papers out” of IPCC AR4. McIntyre dismissed Trenberth’s defence of Phil Jones as a “first time IPCC writing team member” as “readily demonstrated to be untrue”. McIntyre’s ironclad proof? Despite Trenberth’s claim of being an IPCC “veteran”, both Trenberth and Jones had exactly the same IPCC resume as Chapter 2 contributing authors for the Second and the Third Assessment Reports, before becoming lead authors together in AR4.

I’m sure regular Deep Climate readers will be shocked – just shocked – to find out that a closer look behind McIntyre’s selective facts tells a completely different story. Trenberth was clearly referring to experience as a lead author (contributing authors are not on the “writing team”). And both Jones and Trenberth may have been Chapter 2 contributing authors on previous IPCC reports, but Trenberth was also both a Chapter and Technical Summary Lead Author  in both 1995 and 2001. So, once again, the latest “climategate” scandal proves to be yet another outright falsehood from McIntyre.

As a reminder, here’s how Kevin Trenberth described the infamous Jones email that kicked off the whole controversy (the passage discussed below is in the AMS preprint and in a previous note on his website):

In a hacked email from Phil Jones (not cc’d to me), he wrote: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Now, here’s how McIntyre introduces his account, picking up right afterward.

Trenberth also purports to justify Jones’ successful effort to keep McKitrick Michaels 2004 out of the two AR4 drafts sent to reviewers on the basis (this incident has been discussed at length on other occasions) that:

AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment.

while noting that Trenberth himself, as a “veteran”, was aware of the obligations:

As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.

McIntyre then purports to show that this is false, by comparing the pair’s previous experience.

Trenberth’s very claim that AR4 was the first time that Jones had been on a writing team is itself another example of an untrue statement that can be “readily” demonstrated to be untrue (although his “colleagues” have thus far not called him on it.)

Both Jones and Trenberth are listed as contributing authors of AR3. (Indeed, Jones’ correspondence about the Briffa reconstruction in the wake of the 1999 Lead Authors meeting in Arusha, Tanzania was important in the setting of the notorious “hide the decline” memo.) See the list of AR3 chapter 2 authors below, where both Trenberth and Jones are listed as Contributing Authors.

Likewise with AR2 – both Trenberth and Jones had precisely the same standing as AR2 Contributing Authors. [Emphasis added]

Looks bad, doesn’t it? But not so fast. First, let’s take a look at the whole passage from Trenberth again, with special attention to a key  sentence omitted by McIntyre.

AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment. The comment was naïve and sent before he understood the process and before any lead author meetings were held. It was not sanctioned by me. Both of the papers referred to were in fact cited and discussed in the IPCC. As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out. [Emphasis added]

So in the very next sentence after the one selectively ridiculed by McIntyre, Trenberth makes it crystal clear that he means that Jones was a “first time” lead author. After all, contributing authors do not even attend the lead author meetings, as even McIntyre must be aware.

But what of Trenberth’s own experience? Didn’t McIntyre just show that it was no different from Jones’s? Once again a cursory review of Ternbreth’s c.v. reveals the  truth of the matter.

Lead Author and contributor (multiple chapters and volumes), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Scientific Assessment of Climate Change, WMO/UNEP, 1990, 1992, 1995 (Convening Lead Author Chapter 1, Lead Author Technical Summary); 2001 (Lead Author Chapter 7, Lead Author Technical Summary, and Lead Author Policy Makers Summary); 2001 Synthesis Report (Lead Author); 2007 (Coordinating Lead Author Chapter 3). [Emphasis added to highlight 1995 and 2001  Lead author roles]

To put it mildly, Trenberth had every right to call himself a “veteran”.

So chalk up another “climategate” falsehood to go with McIntyre’s repeated “hide the decline” nonsense (see here, here and here), not to mention the spurious “fudge factor” accusation. And don’t get me started on Yamal.

The last time I checked ClimateAudit, McIntyre was blathering about lack of “acknowledgment”, in his best whining Rodney I-can’t-get-no-respect Dangerfield fashion. But it’s high time for McIntyre himself to acknowledge the sad truth about his long and disturbing record of innuendo, half-truths and outright falsehoods.

And for everyone else to acknowledge that McIntyre has nothing worthwhile to say about climate scientists. Or climate science for that matter.

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108 responses to “Another “climategate” whopper from McIntyre

  1. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

  2. Moving the goalposts is not a wise tactic regard changing the status of IPCC authors in order to further the arguement.

  3. DC, SMcI –

    These latest posts (DC, SMcI) are written in such a way as to serve as the foundation of another round of acrimonious preaching-to-the-choir. Your respective cheer squads are sure to rise to the occasion.

    The audience can stipulate that you, um, dislike one another and, er, disagree with one another’s interpretations.

    How about putting that aside. On the varied matters of fact, can you identify you opponent’s strongest arguments? Which have merit? Are there any bases for that old trope, “reasonable people can disagree?”

    Other sciences do much, much better in airing and exploring disputes, in my opinion.

    Submitted 20 Jan 2011 @ 1522 UMT (10:22 am EST)

    • I’m trying to think of what McI’s strongest “argument” might be, but I can’t think of any useful contributions he’s made. A couple trivial corrections of little to no significance, perhaps. The rest? Just lies, distortions, and innuendo.

    • AMac, are you saying that we shouldn’t try to debunk obvious bulls**t, because doing so may upset some people? Yeah right. Boo-hoo.

      frank

    • “Other sciences do much, much better in airing and exploring disputes, in my opinion.”

      This “dispute” has very little to do with science. McI will undoubtedly continue in repeating the usual memes (e.g. the 1960 BS) and never admit quote mining. I see no point in engaging further.

      Also, in Jones’ defense, Mr. “no such thing as a Global Temperature.” McKitrick’s work is about the last thing a sane person would want to include in the IPCC.

    • Other sciences mostly have disagreements about the science, and science has a way of handling those.

      I’m scientifically qualified in another field (chemistry) and I’ve been following the ‘debates’ online closely for about four years now. The thing that strikes me about climate science is that the ‘sceptics’ rarely address the science – in fact people like McIntyre prefer to ‘audit’ the scientists for alleged wrongdoing, however trivial, and tend to avoid the science as much as possible.

      It’s clear the foundations of AGW are firm – the only genuine scientific debate starts to come in when the magnitude of the climate sensitivity comes into it and that’s significant in almost everyone’s view.

    • AMac,
      Fair enough. My impatience with McIntyre’s constant stream of insult and invective against scientists led me to use a tone that went further than usual, although nowhere near McIntyre’s rhetoric (for example, remember Yamal and “crack cocaine”?)

      Now let’s look at the particular set of facts in this case, and see if we can agree on them:

      Fact 1: Trenberth stated that “AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment.”

      Fact 2: McIntyre stated that Trenberth’s statement was “another example of an untrue statement that can be ‘readily’ demonstrated to be untrue.”

      Fact 3: The very next sentence from Trenberth stated: “The comment was naïve and sent before he [Jones] understood the process and before any lead author meetings were held.”

      Fact 4: This latter sentence from Trenberth makes clear that Trenberth was referring to Jones as a “first time” lead author in the preceding sentence.

      Fact 5: Jones was in fact a lead author for the first time in AR4.

      Fact 6: McIntyre omitted reference to Facts 3, 4 and 5 in his exposition.

      Fact 7: Trenberth referred to himself as a “veteran” of IPCC assessments.

      Fact 8: To further support his argument, McIntyre pointed to Trenberth’s and Jones’s shared history as Contributing Authors in SAR (1995) and TAR (2001).

      Fact 9: Trenberth was also lead author for one chapter and one section in SAR (1995), and a total of four chapters and sections, including one in the Synthesis Report in TAR (2001).

      Fact 10: McIntyre omitted reference to Fact 9 (along with omitting facts 3, 4 and 5 as previously stated).

      AMac, do you dispute any of these facts? If so, which ones and why?

      Thanks!

    • DC (January 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm),

      > AMac, do you dispute any of these facts?

      Thanks for the response. Your question refers to a different topic than the one I proposed for you and SMcI, which was whether you could present the other’s strongest points, and whether you could see any merit in any of them.

      I don’t think there’s any answer I could give that would move the ball forward. From what I can see already, if I took the time to look into this issue more fully, my response would be sure to please you and your supporters a bit, but tick you off rather more. And likewise for SMcI and his. Neither Trenberth and his AMS preprint, nor SMcI and his posts, nor you and your your posts are innocent of roiling the issues with further billowing clouds of smoky rhetoric. To mix metaphors. In my opinion.

      Communicating with me doesn’t really address the core problems.

    • The core problem, AMac, is that McIntyre’s a serial liar.

      While nothing you can post would help solve that problem, you might gain some respect ’round these parts if you could at least admit this basic fact.

      And the lack of quote marks around a *cited* reference in a *preprint* (draft) a a paper *not yet presented* is hardly the scandal you and your buddies seem to think it is.

      [DC: I avoid using the “l” word you use, for the simple reason that just because someone makes a false statement does not mean that they *know* it is a false statement. ]

    • Amac,

      You are using a string of words, without actually expressing anything meaningful.

      So let’s cut through a bit. You seem to be indicating that McIntyre’s post on this is not very important. Which is true, it is not. But he still made the post. Should DC not respond to it, if he feels inclined to do so? Are you saying DC should ignore anything McIntyre writes that is not technical in nature, or is not particularly well argued? (One might argue that means we’d ignore all of McIntyre’s output..) Well, I do tend to ignore all that, but why hold it against DC if he chooses to respond on occasion?

      Anyway, this dispute has nothing to do with science. On the other hand, I don’t know what your background is, but you might be surprised just how petty or bitter the personal feuds can get in pretty much any field of science. But what we have here is somewhat different from what you see in other fields. We’ve got here an outsider with a large popular following who actually makes a point of not making positive contributions to the field, while engaging liberally in innuendo and half-complete analysis.

    • Carrot eater,

      Considering AMac’s reluctance to post on moderated blogs and the nature of his symmetrical (perhaps even neutral) message, I believe that his tentative shows that, contrary to what you surmise, Steve and DC are doing something that matter a lot to him. I am not always in agreement with AMac, and we shared our debating moments, but I agree with him on this one.

      An exegetical analysis of an unpublished speech makes no sense; coupled with “smoky” rhetorics from both sides, it is arguably so corrosive as to lead to hatred. This would be as easy to show as it is to see.

      At the very least, the list of facts stated by DC is helping to “clear” things up a bit.

      Perhaps only “independent” people might be able to completely remove the argumentative mode that AMac is deploring. We’ll see, I guess.

      If AMac’s post does not make sense to you, you can try to read it again. Then, you can try to ask question. If that does not work, you can simply ignore it.

  4. I’ve been getting lots of this Trenberth-attacking from comments on my blog. I don’t even need to read Climate Audit to know what it’s currently writing about, I just have to pay attention to what a few regular characters are posting in the comments! Kind of a pathetic attempt at smearing, though.

    Kate

    http://climatesight.org

    • Kind of a pathetic attempt to boost your blog traffic as well.

      [DC: Another highly doubtful proposition.

      Warning: Off topic, borderline abusive to another commenter. ]

    • You just made that up to drive more traffic to your site.

      First of all, you hardly have any comments on your blog. Second, none of the comments this year even mentions Trenberth. Third, you include a link to your blog in your comment.

    • And it’s an excellent blog, having visited previously. Skip would benefit from it, if he weren’t just a troll.

    • Skip Smith,

      Check out the dates of the last few comments. Read and learn.

      http://climatesight.org/2010/08/30/what-kevin-trenberth-has-to-say/

      Please don’t bother posting here again, unless it’s to proffer a complete and unqualified apology. Thanks!

    • So by “lots” of Trenberth attacking comments, she meant one?

      Count and learn. LOL.

    • You did claim “none of the comments this year even mentions Trenberth”. But actually there were a few, out of the blue. And some of them were quoting “attacking” comments, if not themselves attacking. Kate mentioned that some others didn’t make it through moderation (but you probably missed that too).

      But most important, you missed the real reason that Kate showed up here – one of the comments pointed to my blog. So much for your accusation of “made up” story (why anyone would think posting here, as opposed to RC or CA, would boost traffic is beyond me). Anyway, I really don’t have time for such mean-spiritedness and twisting of the facts to attack anyone who displeases you. In fact, my cheerfulness would be greatly enhanced by an end to your nonsense. Enough is enough.

  5. McIntyre doesn’t appear to know the difference between contributing and lead author, and uses this ignorance to assume others are lying. What a tool.

    McIntyre runs a trash blog, but the trash must be taken out once in awhile lest it fester and stink up the house. Kudos.

  6. I wonder why Stephen McItyre, of Ontario Canada, chooses not to harass, defame and libel Canadian climate scientists? Very intriguing….

  7. I watched the Marx Brothers movie “Duck Soup’ today. This is a spoof of the self-importance of political characters. While watching it I thought of this posting. I thought that Groucho, Chico and Harpo would have had a wonderful time spoofing the scientists and bloggers in this field. Self-important quibbling about trivialities. (think of Tobis and the “Climate Scientists are smarter than you so obey them meme), would have bene great fodder for the Marx Brothers.

    • Tom Gray, I ask again:

      Which part of Deep Climate’s debunking do you have an issue with?

      frank

    • Tom Gray — Look at Michael Tobis’ constructive contributions to this Blackboard thread on the Berne model of carbon sinks. Somehow the dynamics of the AGW debate don’t generally bring out people’s best, or lead to recognition when it does happen.

    • This is exactly the sort of insubstantial commentary that should go straight to the proposed “Very Deep Hole”, “Troll Hole,” or whatever name you choose for it. And speaking of self-important quibbling about trivialities, that perfectly sums up the entirety of McIntyre’s blog, since its inception.

    • Have you ever been inside a very deep hole?

    • Taylor,
      Easier said than done using standard WordPress. But I will look into it.

    • Deep Climate:

      I’ve seen the Very Deep Hole trick done on standard WordPress – i.e. at Greenfyre’s – but the technique is rather crude – brute copypasta. Until WP enables comment-moving as a moderation technique, it might be simpler to look into plugins such as the +/- approach (i.e. vote up / vote down). I suspect you can rely on us to actively do the burying at this point. (This assumes whatever plugin you use can’t be votebotted or breach anonymity, of course.)

    • And just to clarify, since I occasionally comment on climate posts–the Tom Gray who posted this comment is not me (I’m a consultant to the American Wind Energy Association and normally make that affiliation clear, though my opinions are my own.)

    • Just to make it clear, I am the Tom Gray who made these comments. My opinions are my own as is my name.

  8. I’m sure regular Deep Climate readers will be shocked – just shocked – to find out that a closer look behind McIntyre’s selective facts tells a completely different story.

    Nope.

  9. Fact 4: This latter sentence from Trenberth makes clear that Trenberth was referring to Jones as a “first time” lead author in the preceding sentence.

    The latter sentence does not make clear that Trenberth was referring to Jones as a first time lead author. It makes clear that Trenberth thought Jones’ “comment was naive and sent before he understood the process”…..and…..”before any lead author meetings were held”. Otherwise Trenberth would have said ” The comment was naive and sent before he understood the process and before he attended any lead author meetings”. It seems obvious that “and before any lead author meetings were held” is Trenberth just covering his butt since the very next sentence says “It was not sanctioned by me.”

    McIntyre has shown that Trenberth’s statement “first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment” is categorically untrue. Regardless, for Trenberth to suggest that in 2005/6 Phil Jones did not understand the IPCC process is preposterous and to try and defend comments that even a grad student shouldn’t make is just another own goal.

    • McIntyre conflates “contributing authors” (which do not operate on an organized team) and “lead authors” (which do).

      A similar mixup would be confusing wire journalists with copy editors; the coordinating lead authors (the exact title changes with each report) would correspond to section editors (or editors-in-chief) in this analogy.

      If you don’t believe me, consider asking any of the “skeptical” lead authors (going off of the most recent Inhofe List, that would be Lindzen, Christy, Richard Tol, John T. Everett, Phillip Lloyd, and Tom Tripp) or contributing authors (same list suggests Christopher Landsea, Rosa Compagnucci, Aynsley Kellow, Oliver Frauenfeld, and Robert E. Davis) what their role was. I can’t be bothered to look it up right now (I have students coming to see me in about five minutes) but I seem to recall hearing complaints from Landsea around the time AR4 came out about not being involved enough in the process.

      Jones may have been a major player, but he wasn’t a lead author, and likely wasn’t involved in the lead authorship meetings. McIntyre’s evidence does not show he was involved as a lead author, merely that he was a distinguished contributing author.

      Continuing the journalism analogy, Jones was a very good, prolific, or often-cited wire journalist, but he wasn’t involved as an editor. McIntyre is making this claim as if his evidence proves it, when he has not met the burden of proof. Unless you think “guilty until proven guilty”, you cannot support your position on his evidence.

    • Jones may have been a major player, but he wasn’t a lead author, and likely wasn’t involved in the lead authorship meetings. McIntyre’s evidence does not show he was involved as a lead author, merely that he was a distinguished contributing author.

      You’ve said nothing. McIntyre never said that Jones was a lead author. Neither did Trenberth. Trenberth said:

      “AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment. The comment was naïve and sent before he understood the process and before any lead author meetings were held. It was not sanctioned by me. Both of the papers referred to were in fact cited and discussed in the IPCC. As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.”

      Everyone here seems to think it’s “crystal clear” that Trenberth said:

      “AR4 was the first time Jones was a lead author of an IPCC Assessment. The comment was naïve and sent before he understood the process and before he attended any lead author meetings. It was not sanctioned by me. Both of the papers referred to were in fact cited and discussed in the IPCC. As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.”

      The game is easy if you’re allowed to make up your own quotes. To quote Michael Mann, this is “bizarre.

    • Dave O:
      I’d put some severe doubt on the scientific abilities of any of my grad students if they’d cited Michaels&McKittrick’s paper in any other form than “some people tried something, made stupid mistakes, and still don’t see why it’s wrong”. If he’d not cite it, I’d be just as happy, since it contributed absolutely nothing but noise to the scientific literature.
      This M&M paper is a good example of the “auditors” being very, very selective in their auditing process, deliberately neglecting, nae, even defending, such flawed papers. The funniest is that Gavin Schmidt has, on multiple occasions, explained M&M how they could get their hypothesis proven, or disproven. It is exactly that analysis M&M DON’T do, despite publishing yet another attempt at making it stick.
      Where’s the auditor when he’s needed? He’s attacking Kevin Trenberth, and not on the science…

    • Ok, let’s assume Trenberth did mean “writing team” to be “lead authors.” That means Jones’ understanding of the IPCC process, as a newly minted lead author and former contributing author in 2 prior assessments, is that he can now exclude from the IPCC process papers he doesn’t like? Seriously? That’s what Trenberth is saying?

      Jones must have been incredibly naive if the writing team (read other “lead authors”) had to disabuse him of that idea in their first meeting. What a shock that must have been for Jones. All that time he thought the lead authors were rigging the IPCC Assessment process. Where would he get such an idea in the first place? Its ridiculous! This is science!

      Isn’t it?

    • Scott B, so are you admitting that McIntyre’s original claim was indeed nonsense?

      frank

  10. You can see from these attacks on Trenberth and Jones as well as others that the entire focus is on the climate scientists, their behaviour and motives rather than the science. If you can’t take the science down, take down the scientists. The public is sensitized to Maury Povich-like smears and intrigue and this is what they want to see, hence the very high traffic at these sites. This seems to be the strategy of those on the contrarian / denialist side. I won’t call them skeptics for that is too honourable a position.

    As to AMac’s request for us to try to find McI’s strong suit — sorry. I don’t see McI to be about the science, despite his many protests to the contrary. His contribution to the science has been marginal at best, with a few comments on methodology and a few errors that made little difference to the findings of the pieces he critiqued. Mostly what he’s done is draw attention to himself. and raise meaningless doubt about the IPCC and climate science among a certain group in the public — and politicians looking for a good reason to stall.

    So, there’s one strong suit, and it’s of value — not to scientists but to denialists. IOW, generating a lot of heat but not much light.

    • Well stated SheWonk. You really do have the game plan and motives of these despicable characters like McIntyre nailed. And they know it ;)

    • Well, I’d say his “strong suit” is finding out new ways to insinuate fraud without actually saying “fraud” – and thus open himself up to explicit libel cases. dhogaza nailed it earlier.

      All jesting aside, you’re right – the inactivists have always made it about the people, never about the science. The closest that you get is stuff that sounds-like-science (purported to be sound science) that is always* used to suggest incompetence or malicious intent in the scientist behind it.

      Case in point: Montford’s Hockey Stick Delusion. It’s not enough to claim the hockey stick is broken – it has to be a deliberate fraud concocted by Mann in a malevolent plot to ????.

      * I can’t think of a counterexample, but there might be one.

    • Lars Karlsson

      The purpose of McI and associates seems to be to build a narrative in which a group of climate scientists (and by extension the entire field) act in a clandestine manner. It is much easier to paint the scientists as not trustworthy than to prove the science wrong, and it appeals to the emotions of the audience. Even the dumbest person can understand the message “they cheat”.

    • About the science: I’m thinking of using the information in FOI2009.zip to attempt to reconstruct the paleotemperature methods used by Briffa and others. However, I wonder if it’ll simply be a waste of time. What do you all think?

      frank

  11. I was a contributing author on AR4 (Chapter 10), and I can confirm that my role was very minor. Contributing authors do not do any of the writing, scoping, responding to reviewers, deciding on references, or finalising text. Instead, they are generally asked to contribute a paragraph or figure or some such at the draft stage and their contributions are then adopted (or not) by the lead author writing team. In terms of deciding what gets in and what doesn’t, contributing authors have no role whatsoever.

    • I was a contributing author on AR4 (Chapter 10), and I can confirm that my role was very minor.
      I assume this is a true statement and that your role was indeed very minor.

      Contributing authors do not do any of the writing, scoping, responding to reviewers, deciding on references, or finalising text. Instead, they are generally asked to contribute a paragraph or figure or some such at the draft stage and their contributions are then adopted (or not) by the lead author writing team.
      This may be “generally” true but obviously not the case here. Phil Jones was directly told to revise several sections of Chapter 2 and respond to reviewer’s comments. He was allotted 2 months to do this.

      In terms of deciding what gets in and what doesn’t, contributing authors have no role whatsoever.
      That’s not relevant here. Jones’ comment on what gets in and what doesn’t was not made when he was contributing author of TAR. It was made when he was lead author of AR4.

    • DaveO:
      That’s not relevant here. Jones’ comment on what gets in and what doesn’t was not made when he was contributing author of TAR. It was made when he was lead author of AR4.

      Strange. I seem to recall the nature of Trenberth’s quote being that Jones was *not* used to the procedures involved in being a lead author (“on the writing team” – the writing team consists of coordinating lead authors and lead authors, not contributing authors). Furthermore, I distinctly recall the paper Jones referring to was not left out of the AR4 – it was discussed quite openly – in other words, what Jones and others actually did was NOT the same as the quote suggested.

      In other words, the evidence suggests that the timeline is: 1 – Jones makes his comment, being unfamiliar with his new responsibilities as lead author, 2 – Jones becomes more familiar with the writing team’s role, rather than however he perceived it (based on his perceptions as a former contributing author), 3 – the writing team, including Jones, includes a discussion on the paper in question.

      In other words, Jones’ perception *is* relevant to the timeline but is *not* relevant to what actually appeared in the report, and – more importantly to the topic of this post – Trenberth’s quote is accurate, and Steve McIntyre lied and misrepresented the facts, part of a long-documented pattern of misrepresentations and slander that accuse others of fraud but stopping short of using key words that would get a libel suit levied at him.

    • Brian D,
      Absolutely freakin’ hysterical. This comment is so silly it isn’t even wrong. Adieu.

    • Dave O,

      I hate to disturb your hysterical chuckling over the punch line known only to you in your private world, but what, exactly, is your point? That McIntyre’s accusation is accurate in substance, *as well as/or if not* in literal detail? If so, then you must believe that Trenberth’s characterization of “a hacked email from Phil Jones (not cc’d to me),” is disingenuous:

      “AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment. [The comment was naïve and sent before he understood the process and before any lead author meetings were held. It was not sanctioned by me. Both of the papers referred to were in fact cited and discussed in the IPCC.] As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.” [brackets added]

      For the sake of fair argument (not to say I agree with all of the following), let’s stipulate in your favor every possible point, i.e.,
      a) McIntyre’s selective quotation of Trenberth [excluding the bracketed text above] was not intentionally deceptive;
      b) Jones’ e-mail, *not intended for a public audience,* was thoughtfully considered and faithfully rendered his serious intentions, known only to himself and a select group of insiders, irregardless of the context in which it was written;
      c) further, it accurately reflects Jones’ desire to exclude *revolutionary, science-overturning papers proving AGW is a hoax* and therefore, his willingness to risk his career and reputation to *game the IPCC process* in favor of a conclusion that AGW is a real threat to life on our planet; and
      d) without Trenberth’s, Jones’ and most, if not all other IPCC lead authors’ *nefarious and obvious conspiracy* that was *fortuitously exposed by the “leaking” of Climategate e-mails,* by *a brave and heroic, unkown insider* *M&M’s trivial, cherry-picked, and misleading paper* would have been given the weight it *deserves* in AR4, thereby *proving to the world, beyond any reasonable doubt,* that *the theory of AGW is a complete hoax.*
      Now that I’ve stipulated all of the above in your favor, would you like to clearly state the substance of your argument with DC’s post?

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Dave O got caught out… good at histrionics, he.

  12. The main thing to remember is to remember the main thing: the scientific evidence is stronger than ever that anthropogenic sources of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are driving the the world’s climate to higher temperatures, and these temperatures will continue to rise for decades, even if we immediately cease all production of GHGs.

    McIntyre hasn’t had any significant impact on this body of evidence, and for all of his effort, he’s made negligible, if any, contributions to our understanding of the physical processes governing climate change. On the other hand, he’s managed to mislead legions of naive, conspiracy-minded folk, and even a number of people who are neither but nevertheless are ideologically blinded, who will seize on any reason to question the credibility of scientists who’ve devoted their careers to improving our understanding of these physical processes.

    McIntyre’s and the other usual suspects’ renewed focus on Dr. Trenberth is simply an obvious attempt to resurrect the dead issue of stolen e-mails from UEA as a distraction. McIntyre’s entire raison d’etre, the undermining of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes’ “hockey stick” paleoclimate reconstructions, has been thoroughly debunked, and his primary source of scholarly validation, Edward Wegman’s report, has been exposed as a sham without any scientific support for its conclusions. Since he hasn’t had any effect on the science, McIntyre is again desperately seeking another false issue with which to undermine the credibility of climate scientists.

    Really, why should anyone care about McIntyre’s interpretation of the processes used by the IPCC in developing their assessment reports? Was M&M’s trivial and misleading paper excluded? No. Would the IPCC’s conclusions be more robust or differed in the slightest way if they had given more weight to M&M’s critique of MBH’s paleoclimate reconstructions? Given DC’s and Mashey’s exposure of M&M’s code and Wegman’s “analysis” as a sham, clearly and thankfully, no. What is clear is that McI is only interested in promoting unwarranted doubt about the science and smearing the scientists doing the real work of improving our understanding of climate change. McIntyre and his ilk are to science the equivalents of Jerry Springer to journalism and Joseph McCarthy to democracy.

    • Steve Metzler

      Taylor B, very well said.

      It is only a matter of time before, thanks to DC, the shoddy ‘statistics’ in the Wegman Report are laid bare for everyone to see them for the copy-and-paste of McIntyre’s cherry-pick that they were.

      Perhaps DC needs to distill the information in “Replication and due diligence, Wegman style” even further so that even journalists will understand that it was a complete stitch-up? How can we get the mainstream media to acknowledge that it is the Wegman Report that is a fraud, not climate science?

      The really annoying thing is that posters like Dave O, or for that matter anyone who posts on CA or WUWT, will not even *read* DC’s article. Hmm. Why would that be?

  13. The game is afoot! Again!

    The overall message from skeptics is “the science is fine, as long as you trust the messengers!” Notice my use of an exclamation points. That means that I’m being hyperbolic! This happens in emails and on blogs! But this set of attacks isn’t about Jones’ statement (redefining peer-review!). It’s about the person defending it. Jones has already been through the washing machine. It’s Trenberth’s turn now. And it’s easy pickings for CA. It doesn’t matter how Trenberth or Peterson had said it. They could have said, “What? you think Jones was serious? Redefine peer-review?” I’m sure that would have went over well, too. When forced to play politics, you need cover. These scientists aren’t bureaucrats or politicians, but they are set up to act them, and of course failure is in the cards.

    They can’t win that game.

    And you can already see that the goal posts are being moved. Watch the reaction to Gavin’s comment and Rattus Norvegicus’ follow up, so there’s not much left in the bank. Now the semantics really start to fly. But wait, there’s more! Back to Jones! Reboot. Rule #1, as someone pointed out, generalize, name names, but never say, “fraud”! (Brian D, 2011)

    See that exclamation point! The best thing to do is let them play this game, they’ve gotten especially good at it. What people engaged in the reality of the science and risk need to do is keep pointing to the game, and repeating, over and over, what is actually is. The blogs are seeded, and everything goes ‘splody! Scientists aren’t perfect, especially when they are in a game where each choice is already a loser. But I’m sure the advice on what they should have done will be well intentioned!

    • Paul Middents

      Indeed the game continues at Curry’s place with her post on mid 20th century warming where she features an exchange extracted from the purloined letters between Girma and Trenberth . Curry plays gotcha with some references that call into question one of Trenberth’s responses to Girma.

      I thought Trenberth was very patient and complete in his responses to Girma. Curry focuses on just one response. Someone at Deltoid noted a long time ago that one could have a more profitable discussion on climate science with their kitchen table than with Girma. He has now been elevated above the fold by the good Dr. C.

      Curry, with a patented wave of the hand, responded to some significant comments by the ever patient, polite and incredibly well informed Fred Moolten by referring him to the previous series on IPCC attribution. This forced me to review those posts. Gryposaurus tried in those threads but got pretty much the same treatment as Fred.

      I see that one of the adults has finally waded in. Zeke Hausfather has a post up at the Blackboard addressing the issues in an analytic way. Fancy that!

      Paul

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Zeke’s analysis is nice and answered some questions I had about Peter’s post. I do mildly disagree with his conclusions. One has to remember that Trenberth was dashing off an answer to a lunkhead who was arguing something of the form “A then not B”. The main point of this section of his answer was that you have to look at the spatial pattern of the warming and on this he was right.

    • Curry plays gotcha with some references that call into question one of Trenberth’s responses to Girma.

      This is true? You have a link? Curry giving Girma credibility in the least?

      That’s astonishing to me (and I’ve long given up on Curry).

      Girma’s even more crazy than the person who posts as “wmar” …

  14. As luminous beauty pointed out above, Canada Free Press has apologized to Andrew Weaver for untrue and disparaging statements written by Tim Ball.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/canadafreepress-grovels-apology-weaver

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2011/01/tim-ball-de-balled.html#links

    • Ian Forrester

      Holly and LB, note that Weaver’s outstanding law suit (which was filed last April) against the National Post has not been resolved yet, as far as I can determine.

  15. Hollystick and Luminous: just thought I’d note the retraction isn’t for the libel claim brought against the National Post by Weaver, but for the more recent blithering nonsense created by Tim Ball in the Canada Free Press.

    I’m not aware of the status of the libel claim.

    • Just to clarify. Weaver’s first claim was against Canada’s National Post newspaper, which has yet to settled. Given the NPs record, though, they will probably lose. The CPF is a small, right wing online paper (don’t know if they publish dead-tree style) that via Ball repeated almost verbatim the stuff Weaver is sueing the Post over. They, I suspect (but do not know for sure), were contacted by Weaver’s attorney and, seeing how seriously he was taking it, decided that discretion was the better part of valor.

      Weaver’s claim is also interesting in that he has demanded that the NP make an effort to clean up the various blogs that republished its defamatory material. That’s kind of a first, up here in Canada. If he wins, folk’ ll think twice about publishing something they know will get amplified by a 1,000 small timers and basically fill up any google search you do on the topic with the defamatory material (which with some people, journos included, is a conscious strategy). Because they will be tasked with cleaning up the mess they started.
      As Holly noted.

    • Canada Free Press has certainly been asked to clean up their mess. Although in the case Climate Realists it is done in a very weird way …

      http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=7001

    • That certainly looks like a clear case of “Hide the retraction.”

      You have to read the same nonsense headline and first two paragraphs of the article that they were sued for before you get to the retraction. Then, you need to scroll well down the page into the comments section to find the retraction.

  16. Yes, I don’t know what stage the National Post lawsuit is at; but I believe some of the untrue statements Tim Ball had made in the CFP were repeating claims made in the National Post articles that Weaver is suing the NP over. So perhaps this might encourage the NP to think about apologizing or whatever.

  17. Just a note that despite hoping to camouflage itself onto the coattails of other m0re worthy print-based bearers of the title ” …… Free Press” of the past, in contrast “Canada Free Press” is no more than an eminently forgettable right wing blog regularly acting as a sounding board for anti-mitigationist nutters like Ball and its ilk.

  18. Desmogblog changed their headline, so the link is now:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/canadafreepress-apology-weaver

  19. A quite amazing post. The ‘argument’ basically boils down to this:

    If you imagine that Trenberth never said that this was Jones first time on the writing team and instead imagine that what he said that this was Jones first time as a lead author, and also imagine McIntyre’s is disputing whether this was Jones first time as a lead author rather than the statement he is actually disputing, then McIntyre’s claims are not true.

    Not very persuasive but certainly very enjoyable to read the case made in earnest. Of further enjoyment was reading you caution a commentator that it is improper to refer to McIntyre as a serial liar and that this was not grounds to call McIntyre a liar as you cannot know his motives. The title of the blogpost? ‘Another climategate whopper from Mcintyre’.

    At the very least you reason entertainingly if not well.

    • Shorter Exxon Mobile:

      McIntyre never said what DC claimed he said, but I’m not going to tell you what McIntyre actually said. Therefore, Climategate.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      No, the argument boils down to what “writing team” is.

      While there are mentions of writing team in Appendix A of the IPCC Principles, no where is that term defined. However, section 4.2.3 of that appendix makes it clear that the Coordinating Lead Authors and the Lead Authors are responsible for the assimilation of the contributions of the contributing authors and the preparation of the text. Thus it would seem that the writing team consists of the CLA’s and LA’s for each chapter.

  20. DC, your work is excellent, but could I make a plea to everyone to quit drawing attention to perennial rogues like McIntyre.

    He’s already had much more attention than is warranted. Let him disappear as quickly as possible, except as a footnote to the as yet unwritten history recording that he was one of the villains of the turn of this century who did his best to delay action that would have prevented so many climate disasters (some of which have happened already).

    I am not asking to stop your excellent work exposing villains like him as they emerge. It’s just that there comes a time when it’s probably time to ignore particular individuals.

    (As for canadafreepress – that’s only for the real crazies, isn’t it?)

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Sou,

      the question how far to go in responding to continuing mendacious nonsense has no easy answer. Yes, it would be nice if we could just ignore McI, but that is not the way the world works. Unfortunately even an outrageous claim, uncontested, will stand. In journalism, and among the public at large. Already forcefully contesting it will transition it to the “he said – she said” state. Doing it with evidence is even better — that will convince most reasonable people and provide a reference to use.

      Unfortunately McI already has all the attention he doesn’t deserve, and a reputation he doesn’t deserve. Someone should do the dirty work.

    • I think different bloggers fill different niches. DC’s work or the work of Scott Mandia and crew means that the folks at RC can concentrate more on the science. In any case, the dissemblers do not get free rein.

  21. Sou: I think you need to have more patience.
    The blogosphere tends to have a low attention span, but when one is dealing with a climate anti-science machine that’s been running for 20 years, doing something useful about it may take longer.

    In particular, telling untruths about science carries little penalty for some people, but telling untruths about people to damage their reputations sometimes is actionable, and in fact libel litigation (or credible threat thereof) is likely to be simpler in Canada than in US. But evidence has to be collected and well documented, and archived where it doesn’t disappear.

    As a hint, hopefully of even better to come, the CFP grovel was interesting.
    I’m looking forward to meeting Andrew Weaver in April.

  22. All three Working Groups have similar processes (indeed the IPCC Principles cover all three), but the most explicit use of the term “writing team” can be found in the WGII documents, for example, PROGRESS OF WORKING GROUP II TOWARDS THE IPCC FOURTH ASSESSMENT REPORT (AR4) from 2004.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/session22/doc10.pdf

    1.2 Author selection
    Following the approval of the outline, procedures were set in motion to select the writing team. Widespread consultation was undertaken to identify the key experts in each chapter of the AR4. The database of
    government nominations, together with the results of the consultation, formed the basis for the author selection.

    The WGII Bureau met in March 2004 to select and approve the list of authors and Review Editors for the AR4.

    The author team currently consists of:
    47 Co-ordinating Lead Authors (CLAs)
    125 Lead Authors (LAs)
    In addition, there are 46 Review Editors (REs). Thus, the writing team of authors and Review Editors consists of 218 experts, selected with due consideration of the geographical and gender balance.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      I find the inclusion of the Review Editors on the “writing team” interesting since Appendix A states that the Review Editors should have nothing to do with the preparation of the text.

    • The WG II document distinguishes between the “author team” (CLAs and LAs) and the “writing team” which includes the REs. The point here is that this is the team that is present from the very beginning of the process. And CAs are then chosen and contacted by the writing team later. As was obvious from the beginning, it is in this sense that Jones was held to be “first time” member of the “writing team”.

      So I simply can’t see how Trenberth can be reasonably accused of making an “untrue statement that can be ‘readily’ demonstrated to be untrue”. Especially when the very evidence adduced by McIntyre *at the time* purported to show that Trenberth and Jones had exactly the same IPCC background, but omitted key details about Ternbreth’s c.v. Thus, in fact it is this McIntyre statement itself which is the example of an “untrue statement that can be ‘readily’ demonstrated to be untrue”.

      But of course now McIntyre and his acolytes want to move the goalposts and not actually talk about McIntyre’s original statements about Trenberth.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Thanks for clearing up that distinction.

  23. Within WG I, the term is used in the same sense as WG II (and Trenberth of course), if more informally.

    Here is an excerpt from recent letter sent to APECS by three Lead Authors on “behalf of the writing team of Chapter 4″ (Cryosphere).


    In addition, the names of Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs), Lead Authors (LAs) and Review Editors (REs) for WGI , WGII and WGIII have now been announced, but in the coming months there will be other opportunities to contribute to the content and quality of the assessment:

    1. Contributing Authors (CAs) will be co-opted into the chapter teams as required to provide extra expertise. CAs will be named at the start of each Chapter.

    2. Many researchers will be asked to participate in the three reviews of the chapter drafts, and we urge those invited to participate. Reviewers of the formal review of the first and second order drafts will be named in each WG report.

    3. The IPCC does not undertake new science – it relies on published science as the basis of the science content. In the AR5, increasingly heavy reliance will be on peer-reviewed sources. Thus the entire cryospheric community can contribute towards the report through timely submission (and review) of significant results. There are two specific deadlines; to be eligible for the WGI assessement, papers should be submitted to journals by July 31, 2012 and should be at least “in press” by March 15, 2013.

    4. Finally, personal interactions with the LAs and CLAs are to be encouraged, as it is hoped that these representatives will bring forward opinions from their science communities into the report writing process.

    On behalf of the writing team for WGI Chapter 4, we look forward to working with you over the coming months and years to provide a clear, objective and unbiased assessment of the cryosphere and its interactions. We hope this contribution will increase understanding of the science behind climate change, and provide a strong foundation for the wider debate surrounding our personal and collective responses to climate change.

  24. One more interesting document:

    Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Authors and Review Editors

    This document captures the writing teams for the IPCC Working Groups I, II, and III contributions to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Names, roles, and countries of residence are provided, as extracted from the AR5 nominations database, except in the case of experts that work for international organizations or institutes. [Emphasis added]

  25. Gavin’s pussycat and Deech56, you are correct of course. People like McIntyre do need to be called out. I sometimes forget that there are still plenty of people who have yet to investigate what’s happening to the climate. If not for the work of those like DeepClimate, who do the hard yards of showing up the villains like McIntyre, many more people might be misled. Especially those who aren’t interested enough to do more than visit denier blogs.

    And the climate scientists need to know they have the solid support of everyone who cares about humanity and the world, and we won’t let the libellous bloggers get away with trying to silence scientists by intimidation.

    I take back what I said in my previous post.

    • I would also include the hard work of commenters such as yourself, who are willing to dive into the morass of the blogosphere and contribute useful comments.

      Cheers.

  26. But of course now McIntyre and his acolytes want to move the goalposts and not actually talk about McIntyre’s original statements about Trenberth.

    You must mean how they are back to showing how Jones redefined peer-review! I jest, but it’s not something that should be ignored. IMO, I’m not sure how pointing out the data makes the results of both papers in question logically impossible is a redefinition of anything, but whatever. It’s just another example of people caring about what is right scientifically and what is good for identity politics, I guess. Sure, Jones could have brought up Benestad, wondering why the results couldn’t be replicated or discussed Parker at length (again), but there is no purpose to it there. It’s all in the review comments anyway. My favorite comments there are where the Lead Authors get accused of scientific malfeasance. I can’t wait for AR5 and to see how they deal with Gerlich and Tscheuschner (2009) and Miskolczi (2010). Not seeing the peer-reviewed rebuttals to both. May have missed them. But no matter. Will political pressure get those included? Someone published them, after all. How will everyone react to a new greenhouse section where new peer-reviewed rebuttals aren’t cited, but instead an invocation of scientists who’ve been dead for decades?

    But too much information on the above problem for a simple comment. Perhaps an in-depth post on this is in order, DC? Maybe some suggestions on how to protect the lead authors from these types of attacks can be brainstormed? They can’t win this way.

  27. DNFTT

  28. Rocco,

    Regarding the “emotional investment,” a large part of it (with trolls, at least) is of course a power trip. And a useful strategy is rather than responding to the troll you talk around the troll, at times even about the troll, but just not to the troll himself.

    Talking around the troll but not about him results in his feeling invisible and this of course takes power away from him. But talking about the troll to others in essence objectifies the troll so that he no longer controls the conversation but becomes the object of conversation. Which is in some ways worse than invisibility, particularly if it involves well-grounded ridicule.

    However, I at least regard a troll as someone who isn’t really being a trollish for the sake of some “higher purpose” but for the sake of the power trip itself. As such there are many people who might exhibit trollish behavior (deniers of various stripes) but who will have a somewhat different set of motives and may not necessarily respond quite the same way. It is always a good to have some idea what you are dealing with.

    For someone whose sense of identity is strongly grounded in “being persecuted” (e.g., certain creationist groups) ridicule might actually give them what they are looking for, particularly if they are playing to an audience that largely identifies with them. They may still go away — now that they have what they are looking for — but the larger consequences may be less than desirable.

  29. Regarding trolls, I would suggest that inspection of RC’s Bore Hole and Unforced Variations can be instructive as is Greenfyre’s Dunce Corner, or cases where Tim Lambert banishes a troll to their own thread.

    DC does a much better-than-average job of moderating trolls out, but blog software really could be a lot more helpful. It really should be one menu-select to send a post to a choice of several other places, possibly with a code to say why, insertion of URL links for those who want to follow or see where it came from.

    Trolls inject noise, and if permitted to do so, it just worsen the S/N ratio, especially if it gets people arguing with them. I’ve often KILLFILE’d otherwise-reasonable people who just cannot stop themselves from feeding trolls. Life is short.

  30. Truly crazy, but the resident pecan, self assigned his drivel to the Rabett Hole. Eli is blessed.

  31. Marion Delgado

    Shortest skip Smith: do.

  32. I attended Trenberth’s talk at AMS – very much standing-room-only. Seemed to me he got longer and louder applause at the end than is typical. He made the same points he did in the manuscript he wrote; and his comment regarding “deniers” being upset at being called “deniers” – “If the shoe fits, wear it”. I think he’s had more than enough.

  33. I finally got around to putting up the Very Deep Hole. It’s under the MISC menu item. Having said that, I don’t particularly want to feed the trolls or even talk about them (and you can’t comment there anyway).

  34. I realize Sou, withdrew his comment, but still I want to add my two cents worth. I’m a small timer, but do dialogue at various discussion groups and blogs. And the sock-em puppets that deniers toss up get overwhelming. But worse, when I go looking for information on the latest obscure charge, it is typical to find pages of links to the denier echo-chamber, and nothing to very slim pickens from the scientific side. Interesting the copious denier sites all tend to endlessly parrot the same talking point, article.

    Quite often when I finally get to information of substance, I’ll find myself at DeepClimate. This very thread being a case in point.

    You are needed, you are appreciated, you are most helpful.

    Cheers and please do carry on.

    • This custom Google search will save your sanity, if you’re sick of seeing the same phrase endlessly repeated in Google results under copious links to shills.

      Google Warming 101

  35. Oh hell, it’s that day isn’t it.
    I may have to suspend my dialogue with the kids today, they do love attaching to any nonsense that will allow them to side-track the conversation and ignore the real issues being discussed.
    Just to be clear April 1st or not, DeepClimate is first class and much needed.

  36. Google Warming 101

    JB, I remember hearing something about that, but haven’t checked it out.
    Thank you for the suggestion and reminder – I will definitely go and get acquainted with it today.

  37. Rattus Norvegicus

    Ol’ Stevie is at it again:

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/04/25/cru-refuses-foi-request-for-yamal-climategate-chronology/

    Notice his usual tricks here. He is conflating Yamal (for which he already has data and for which the current chronology is online) with research project mentioned in the Climategate emails which to this point has not been published. In this FOIA request he asks for the data concerning the chronology mentions in one of the emails and confuses things with Yamal, probably deliberately, probably to stir up indignation amongst his dupes.

    At this point I have to conclude that the man is either hopelessly confused or a pathological liar. You be the judge.

    • Bill O'Slatter

      No psychological explanation for McIntyre is necessary. His “former” company , CGX, has oil and gas interests off the coast of Guyana in cooperation with Exxon. McIntyre went down to Guyana in November last year in conjunction with the head of CGX, Kerry Sully.

  38. Robert Murphy

    “At this point I have to conclude that the man is either hopelessly confused or a pathological liar.”

    Those are not mutually exclusive propositions.