Deep Cool

The Global Warming debate is so much more interesting on the web than it is in the mass media. In fact there’s no real debate about it at all in the media. The debate’s been over for years.

But on the web there’s one breaking story after another. A few months back the big story was that lone amateur sleuth Steve McIntyre had finally got hold of some tree-ring data he’d been requesting for years, and had found out that the latest Hockey Stick showing a rapid rise in temperatures at the end of the 20th century were based on just 12 trees in the Yamal peninsula in Russia. In fact maybe just one tree – The Most Influential Tree In The World.

Then at the end of last month influential climate sceptic Lord Monckton of Brenchley made waves with a viral campaign against the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Treaty that he said was going to be signed by world leaders next month. But which probably isn’t going to be signed now.

And now there’s the latest revelation, which is that someone seems to have hacked into the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, and deposited 160 MB of emails, documents, pdfs, data, and Fortran computer code on a website in Russia for anyone to download and read. Or maybe it wasn’t a hacker, but the mole that’s said to lurk inside CRU: Deep Cool.

You never get news like this on the Beeb. Which is why I don’t listen to it much. Except to see what they’re not reporting these days. All the real news is on the web.

So I’ve been reading bits and pieces of the stuff that’s emerging as hordes of climate sceptics have begun to explore this windfall. The emerging consensus seems to be that it’s genuine stuff, and no hoax. If only because Hadley CRU have said that they’ve been hacked. The bits of stuff I’ve been reading today don’t sound like a hoax. Here, for example, is an explanation why Steve McIntyre’s Freedom Of Information requests were refused:

When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince them otherwise showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing. with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals. The VC is also aware of what is going on –
And what sort of people were there on Steve McIntyre’s website, Climate Audit (CA)? Sceptics! Contrarians! Every last one of them. Very definitely not the sort of people to be handed CRU’s raw data. No way. Steve McIntyre also doesn’t publish in peer-reviewed journals, but publishes on his website instead, and gets peer-reviewed in the comments. And you get to understand why in email #1047388489.

This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?

So, ha ha, if sceptics ever did get to air their views in any peer-reviewed journal, that journal would be de-legitimised, for having the gall to publish unreasonable and wrong ideas. Neat, eh? No wonder you never hear from the sceptics: they can’t get published.

Smokers should watch what’s happening here. Because the parallels between AGW and Passive Smoking are remarkable. Both involve an inflated and largely imaginary threat from minute amounts of gas in the atmosphere. Both involve a lot of singularly bad science produced by zealots claiming to be unquestionable authorities. Both dismiss sceptics as being a tiny minority in the pay of either Big Oil or Big Tobacco. And in both cases the mass media carry their consensus opinion as gospel truth. And while one calls for the complete reconstruction of Western civilisation, the other demands the destruction of convivial traditional cultures.

AGW and Passive Smoking are almost twin sisters. Except that the war on smoking is far older, and the perils of smoking tobacco are far more deeply established in the public mind than the perils of AGW. In some ways, it may even be that the cultural war on tobacco provided the blueprint from which the AGW scare was constructed: Identify an ubiquitous threat; carry out arcane and authoritative research into it; prophecy mass death; stampede both public and politicians; demand sweeping lifestyle changes to avert the threat. If public scepticism and resistance to AGW has mounted extraordinarily rapidly, it’s probably because the AGW threat was never well-established in the public mind, and because demands of the warmists were intolerably greater than those of the antismokers.

There’s also the similarity that both AGW and Passive Smoking are the products of well-funded universities and research establishments, and they are accepted as genuine threats by almost all governments and all political parties and in all mainstream media, while the resistance to them is conducted by individuals out of their own resources. It’s the broadcast media versus the internet. It’s a mechanised army up against a ragtag guerrilla movement. It’s Goliath versus David. It’s central authority versus dispersed dissent. It’s government versus people.

And in the matter of AGW, the people are being surprisingly successful in tearing apart the pretensions and exaggerations of all those universities, all those media outlets, all those governments. It’s beginning to look as if the AGW scare is losing momentum, as more and more people question it. And if the people prevail in the face of a massive AGW media propaganda onslaught, it will be an extraordinary victory for the determination of individual men and women. It will be a victory for a certain kind of democracy. And it will be tremendous blow for authority, for established political power.

If the AGW scare can be defeated, then so can its sister, the Passive Smoking scare. If the research underpinning the AGW scare is has been largely constructed from unproven climate simulation models and suspect historical climate data, Passive Smoking research – indeed all smoking research – is far more questionable, far more ill-founded and insubstantial. AGW science is in large part hard science based upon physics and the physical measurement of temperature. But Passive Smoking science is soft science which largely consists of statistical conclusions spun out of data from questionnaires. It barely merits the title of ‘science’ at all. If the AGW scare can be defeated, then Passive Smoking should be a walkover by comparison. And if AGW is defeated, and shown to be an illusion, it will call scientific and political authority into such question that people will be bound to ask, ‘What else have they been fooling us about?’ And Passive Smoking is an obvious candidate. What’s needed is a willingness to question authority, to not defer unquestioningly to scientists and doctors and media pundits and governments, but to call them to account.

So smokers should watch the unfolding AGW drama. They should watch very closely. And learn.

About Frank Davis

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9 Responses to Deep Cool

  1. The debate is over
    Those four words “the debate is over” brought home to me how authoritarian the politicians can be based on dubious, so called, scientific data. They started using those four words, as far as I can recollect, to legitimise their agenda of [tobacco & AGW]control ergo Social Engineering.
    Sorry, rambling a bit, all this perplexes me considerably. I feel I’ve been coshed by those in power.

  2. Anonymous says:

    They are in the midst of being bitten rather hard on the arse here Frank. For it’s the same governments that wanted everyone to have the internet (viewing it as a means to both spy on us and provide us with their own doctrines via a new medium) whose deliberate scare / control tactics are being brought into serious question for the first time in public via the very same medium.
    Google Scholar opens up avenues to papers and studies approaching these issues from all the angles. The only real problem is, that a lot of people are so believing of the mass media that they simply don’t know that highly qualified sceptics exist. Plus highly qualified people tend to user boring titles and headlines.
    Tables are turning though. Slowly…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Re: The debate is over
    Too true. The debate never got going and the data sets are nowhere near complete and have been altered. In the case of AGW anyway. And in terms of passive smoking, you can alter the variables for that to such a degree it’s childsplay. Coal minor who drinks in smoky environment versus office worker who drinks in trendy smoke free wine bar (they’ve already tackled the class warfare angle on this). Even so, the soundbites from so-called experts are vague and put to non-confrontational journos and reporters. Usually in the format of a vague sentence followed by a piece of raw opinion followed by another vague thought or to, or something based on a whim.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think you’ve managed to write the definitive piece outlining the similarities between AGW and ETS. Well done. WS.

  5. Frank Davis says:

    Re: The debate is over
    “The debate is over” is a red rag for me. Hearing those words started my climate scepticism 3 years or so ago.

  6. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Bullseye
    Well, I hope I’ve managed to say something about it. I think there’s a lot more to be said.

  7. Anonymous says:

    From Junican.
    In the 1800s, there were REAL problems relating to the expansion of towns and cities and the control of sewage and provision of clean water. These problems were solved by Acts of Parliament and appropriate regulations administered by the Quangos of the time. As recently as 1964(?), the problem of poisonous emissions from chimneys in industrial areas was solved by the Clean Air Acts about that time.
    The problems addressed at those times were REAL problems – ACTUAL problems.
    Now, we seem to have our law-makers addressing not REAL, ACTUAL problems but POSSIBLE, POTENTIAL problems. This is not a bad idea – PROVIDED THAT THE POTENTIAL PROBLEMS ARE GENUINE.
    But it is becoming more and more obvious that the ‘global warming’ potential problems are fictitious. Proper scientists (not climatologists) are saying, “No – CO2 is a CONSEQUENCE of natural global warming (via sun activity), not a CAUSE of global warming”.
    We, GROWN-UP ADULTS, have a right to know the facts. It is not OK for politicians to pursue their agendas for whatever reasons that they may have. We, grown-up adults, have the right to KNOW. Slogans are not acceptable.
    Obviously, this same principle applies to the smoking ban. The more you think about it, the more you realise just how ‘infantalising’ the smoking ban is. What is really, really awful is the use of minimum wage bar staff to enforce the ban as though they were policemen. Why pub chains and publican associations accepted this is beyond my understanding.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Re: Bullseye
    Well, there’s always more to be said. But you’ve managed to approach the comparison with a perspective that clearly delineates the territory. It makes it simple to understand, and that’s the thing I enjoy about your writing, I think; you have a gift for unveiling simplicity. That might be the best gift a writer can have. From your perspective, it seems that you’ve adopted an inherent ability for this that just comes as second nature, so you might underestimate how good you are at it. Don’t think about it too much. It might ruin it.;-). WS.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Smokers should not just watch and learn
    Nice observations, as far as they go. Here are some missing points:
    a) It is not just ETS that is based on fraud. Entire anti-smoking “science”, all the way from 1950s to this day is a complete fraud (cf. “The Scientific Scandal of Antismoking” ).
    b) Tobacco is an ancient medicinal plant with numerous beneficial health effects, tested by billions of lifelong “test subjects” over at last 8000 years (cf. and some refs ). The scientific experiments on lab animal conducted over the last six decades have unambiguously shown that smoking animals live substantially longer (~20%), remain thinner (10-15%) and sharper into the old age (see discussions & refs here: and here ).
    c) Smokers should not only watch and learn but smokers organizations should initiate petitions for referenda in the next election cycle requiring review, investigations and repeal of all laws, regulations and taxes alleging to be based on science, while actually lacking proper scientific backing. Cases found to be based on deliberate misrepresentations of science, including outright fraudelant scientific testimony or falsified research, should be prosecuted as criminal conspiracies under RICO laws (or equivalent statutes outside of USA). The petitions for referenda should be broad, appearing on surface to aim chiefly at the “global warming” scammers, while ultimately capable of snaring anti-smoking crime syndicate as well. It would be interesting to watch, should questions come up on a referendum, how anti-smoking thieves lining up behind their “global warming” pals (many are the same groups and moneys behind) in opposition to the investigations and reviews.

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