Climategate: Alarmist Scientists Plan a Snow Job

by Myron Ebell on March 5, 2010

in Features, Politics, Science

According to recently disclosed e-mails from a National Academies of Science listserv, prominent climate scientists affiliated with the U.S. National Academies of Science have been planning a public campaign to paper over the damaged reputation of global warming alarmism.  Their scheme would involve officials at the National Academies and other professional associations producing studies to endorse the researchers’ pre-existing assumptions and create confusion about the revelations of the rapidly expanding “Climategate” scandal.

The e-mails were first reported in a front-page story by Stephen Dinan in the Washington Times today. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has independently obtained copies of the e-mails.  A list of excerpts, with descriptive headlines written by me, can be found below.  The entire file of e-mails has been posted as a PDF and can be read here.

In my view, the response of these alarmist scientists to the Climategate scientific fraud scandal has little to do with their responsibilities as scientists and everything to do with saving their political position.  The e-mails reveal a group of scientists plotting a political strategy to minimize the effects of Climategate in the public debate on global warming.

Selected Excerpts.

Note that the descriptive headlines in italics are by me. The statements in quotation marks are excerpts from the e-mails.

Can we get corporate funding for some splashy ads in the NY Times?
Paul Falkowski, Feb. 26: “I will accept corporate sponsorship at a 5 to 1 ratio….”

But our ads will be untainted by corporate influence.
Paul Falkowski, Feb. 27: “Over the past 24 h I have been amazed and encouraged at the support my proposal has received from Section 63 and beyond. We have had about 15 pledges for $1000!  I want to build on that good will and make sure that the facts about the climate system are presented to a very large section of the public—unfiltered by the coal, oil and gas industries….”

What is it about the New York Times?  Aren’t Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman enough?
Paul Falkowski, Feb. 27: “Op eds in the NY Times and other national newspapers would also be great.”

Scientists should be effecting social and political change.
Paul Falkowski, Feb. 26:  “I want the NAS to be a transformational agent in America.”

Snow in Washington is anecdotal, but no snow in Vancouver is proof.
Paul Falkowski, Feb. 27: “…the coal, oil and gas industries (who, ironically, are running commercials on NBC for the winter Olympics, while the weather is so warm that snow has to be imported to some of the events.)”
Robert Paine, Feb. 27: “The beltway’s foolishness about climate change seems especially ironic given the snowless plight of the Vancouver Olympics.”
David Schindler, Feb. 27: “I’d add that Edmonton is near snowless….”

This is a political fight, and we’ve got to get dirty.
Paul R. Ehrlich, Feb. 27: “Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules.”

Top scientists adore Al Gore.
David Schindler, Feb. 27: “I recall an event at the Smithsonian a couple of eons ago that I thought did a great job, & got lots of media coverage. AL Gore spoke….”
Paul Falkowski, Feb. 27: “Al Gore has a very well written article in the NY Times.”

Forget the science, we want energy rationing!
William Jury, Feb. 27: “I am seeing formerly committed public sector leaders backing off from positions aimed at reducing our fossil fuel dependence.”

They’ll forget Climategate if an authoritative institution repeats the same old line.
Paul Falkowski, Feb. 27: “An NRC report would be useful.”
Steve Carpenter, Feb. 27: “We need a report with the authority of the NAS that summarizes the status and trends of the planet, and the logical consequences of plausible responses.”
David Tilman: Feb. 27: “It would seem wise to have the panel [writing the report] not include IPCC members.”
Stephen H. Schneider, Mar. 1: “National Academies need to be part of this….”
Stephen H. Schneider, Mar 1: “It is imperative that leading scientific societies coordinate a major press event….”

The last academic defense: It’s McCarthyism!
Stephen H. Schneider, Mar. 1: “…Senator Inhofe, in a very good impression of the infamous Joe McCarthy, has now named 17 leading scientists involved with the IPCC as potential climate ‘criminals’.  ….  I am hopeful that all the forces working for honest debate and quality assessments will decry this McCarthyite regression, and by name point out what this Senator is doing by a continuing smear campaign.  ….  Will the media have the fortitude to take this on–I’m betting a resounding ‘yes!’” [Note that Schneider has already sent this e-mail to the media asking for their help.]

To read all the e-mails that CEI has obtained, go to the PDF posted here.

Def Leppard March 6, 2010 at 9:21 am

The way to fight the environmentalist wackos is to get the word about Climategate out to everyone you know. Simple as that.

B. Kindseth March 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm

The entire Climategate issue was based on AGW advocates (I will refrain from calling them scientists) refusing to release their data, code and methods so that their scientific publications could be replicated, validated or falsified. The Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Statistical Society, all UK societies with worldwide membership, all submitted statements to UK Parliament supporting the principal that scientivic data, code and methods must be made available to others so that the science can be independently replicated, validated or falsified. The American scientists could learn from their example.

Georgeann Gaskey March 7, 2010 at 12:36 am

following your blog, great stuff!

toby March 7, 2010 at 1:34 am

"They’ll forget Climategate if an authoritative institution repeats the same old line"

Sounds fair enough to me, especially as every other reputable scientific institution backs it. [Not counting the Institute of Physics .. it borrowed its line from a oil consulant!]

Leon 'Dusty&#03 March 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

I have an acronym I made up and use to reply when a 'Man made global warming' email is sent to me by a well meaning, deluded individual.

ITSS

Stands for "It's the Sun, stupid".

SD March 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm

It's not the sun actually. According to a study from NASA, variations in solar output during the 11 year sun cycle only account for .6% of the warming seen.

derek March 7, 2010 at 10:48 am

I wasn't aware there was any public debate on global warming well as far as the MSM is concerned or bothers to report.

gallopingcamel March 8, 2010 at 2:58 am

What arrogance! These emails have Ehrlich and Falkowski equating themselves to the “scientific community”!

When the Climategate I emails came out none of the correspondents claimed that the emails were fake.

What do the correspondents implicated in Climategate II say? Are these fake emails or authentic ones?

Jess Coladonato March 8, 2010 at 3:49 am

I don’t get it

drewski March 12, 2010 at 2:00 am

I am still waiting for a properly organized, professionally accredited, and scientifically-based study to prove that man-made co2 does not warm the atmosphere. In fact, I would like to hear from a credible (use any definition you like here) science organization anywhere on earth that refutes the proposition that man is not accelerating climate change towards a warmer earth. Until such time as either of these things occur, I for one will believe what the climate scientists tell me. Even if the rare error is published and the occasional exaggeration is spoken, as a rule, science has been proven to a fair an objective source of information for the past hundreds of years.
As for the proposition climate scientists are corrupt and are part of some worldwide conspiracy — this is just laugh out loud stupidity. That, in effect, is asking me to believe that school kids enter college, take 4+ years of study, then perhaps decades of field study in god-forsaken landscapes just to fabricate their own data and then — somehow — get other scientists living in different countries, speaking different languages and working in different disciplines to co-ordinate their “false” data and have it come out with a common message. All this just to line their pockets with the “fabulous riches” of grant money. Please people, use a little common sense.

John April 1, 2010 at 8:32 am

" Please people, use a little common sense. " Drewski, when you subscribe to that and join the rest of us in this thing called reality, then you will know what common sense is. I like how all of the " talking heads " for the global warming fantasy travel in private jets to conferences all over the globe. How's this for a " green " idea they telecommute their conferences instead of poisoning the climate with their jet fuel ? Or does that not bring in as much money as when they fleece the little green sheep ? Also, " greenies " if the environment is in worse shape now then when they started cleaning it up, doesn't that mean your efforts have been wasted ? I hope they are smoking an eco-friendly pipe for their dreams, otherwise it's just a smoke screen. Green really is the new Brown.

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Tom March 20, 2010 at 10:59 am

Drewski, the judgement of authority seems to be the issue you're talking about. Of course judging authority is necessary, since no one person can reduce all knowledge to first principles. But it is not everything, especially for those who can speak maths and science, and read the literature.

Tara Doonan March 20, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Just a small thank you comment for the time you put into making this post, not bad at all

Gold Price Per Ounce March 31, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I really can’t believe it. I pray Wayne is healed for the cup!

Luis Chernick April 2, 2010 at 5:48 am

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