Monthly Archives: January 2011

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.

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Ethical Oil

“The world needs more Canada” is a favourite saying among Canadians (not to mention U2’s Bono). But there are days I’m not so sure. And today is one of those days.

Say hello to so-called  “ethical oil”. And goodbye to any remnant of Canadian government respectability on the world stage, at least as far as environmental issues are concerned.

This week, newly minted environment minister Peter Kent took the opportunity of a full-length interview on CBC to launch a vigourous defence of the Alberta oil sands, regarded by many as one of the the most environmentally destructive mega-projects in the world. Piling falsehood upon falsehood, Kent claimed:

  • Canada is on track to meet its greenhouse gas emissions target of 17% reduction from 2005 levels by 202o.
  • Reductions so far have been due to “technology improvement” (with the oil sands as the sole example cited).
  • Any contamination of the Athabasca River is natural and there is “absolutely no scientific evidence” of elevated contaminant levels from oil sands operations, specifically referring to leakage from tailings ponds. Renowned ecologist David Schindler is flat-out “wrong” to assert otherwise.

And then Kent unleashed his “ethical oil” talking point (one that originates with far right columnist Ezra Levant). Not only are the oil sands subject to “environmental control and oversight”, but Americans should be reassured that revenues “don’t go to fund terrorism or the destabilization of other governments”.

All of which leads to the obvious question asked by flabbergasted CBC host Evan Solomon: “Is your job to protect the oil sands or is it your job to protect the environment?”

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Wegman on Deep Climate (and “climategate”)

John Mashey has released an updated version of Strange Investigations at George Mason University [SIGMU PDF at DeSmogBlog], which tells the story of GMU’s slow-as-molasses misconduct  inquiry of Edward Wegman through various email exchanges between paleoclimatologist Raymond Bradley and GMU. Mashey now includes correspondence involving one Donald Rapp, retired engineer/physicist turned climate contrarian author. Rapp has been complaining far and wide about the indignity of plagiarism complaints lodged at the University of Southern California and at his publisher Praxis/Springer, even going so far as to exhort USA Today reporter Dan Vergano to spread one email exchange “all over the internet”.

All this will no doubt prove fascinating reading and provide fodder for weeks to come, as it has in the past. (Highlight from early 2009: “But the donkeys on are the Taliban of climate change – and just as dangerous”). But for now I want to focus on two emails from Wegman himself, both forwarded by Rapp. Wegman has some choice comments about the “totally unsavory” blog of yours truly, claiming it to be – wait for it – “developed in retaliation” for enquiries into the “obvious misconduct made clear” by climategate.  But the problem is not just some obscure Canadian blogger; according to Wegman, even Bradley’s complaint to GMU itself is nothing more than “a smear campaign that attempts to deflect scrutiny from the real misconduct revealed by the climategate emails”.

When the story of the Wegman misconduct inquiry first broke in USA Today, Wegman plaintively protested “We are not the bad guys”, leaving one to wonder just who the “bad guys” might be, at least in Wegman’s fevered imagination.  Now, we have the answer in Wegman’s latest outrageous and unsubstantiated accusations against climate scientists.

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Looking back and looking forward

By Deep Climate

Given the time of year, and with a spiffy report from WordPress on Deep Climate sitting in my mailbox, this seems as good a time as any to take stock as well as talk a little bit about what’s coming up in 2011.

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