One failed resurrection of the old hockey stick prop, one "scientist" using thin data, and one entire research unit destroying what should have been secured are distasteful scandals that couldn’t have erupted at a worst time for global warming alarmists. Cooling temperatures and collapsed economies have already forced this once hot issue of yesteryear to the bottom of anyone’s list of concerns.
How embarrassing to have an "official" United Nations Climate Change Science Compendium caught most recently using an unscientific graphic from Wikipedia. The hockey stick graph selected had never been peer-reviewed, so it should not have been used, but it did back the global warming storyline being pushed. A citation to "Hanno 2009" was even made as if the graph had been from a published and peer reviewed work. It wasn’t. Having now been caught out, the United Nations has hurriedly replaced it. Isn’t this all a bit sloppy for science?
Then, a UK "scientist" is exposed for having used inexcusably frail studies. This is the same "scientist" whose work has been relied upon to support the Hockey Stick all along. Tree-derived temperature data have long been controversial. Keith Briffa’s Yamal series has been the basis of multiple papers since 1990. But, recent inspection of Briffa’s work has exposed that just a few trees yielded any unusual proxy warming information. Far too few trees and far too-highly-selected trees, at that, were used for any work that could be called science.
Were there no other trees to study in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia? No, there were many other trees. Other scientists did study them. Briffa had to be aware of their work and results. Their resultant tree-ring studies did not yield any temperature "proof" that the Twentieth century was unusually warm. They were unhelpful in substantiating an infamous "hockey stick" graph of global warming. That "hockey stick" graph was the alarmists’ chief prop for at least seven years. It took several years for scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick to prevail in proving the Mann Hockey Stick to be unscientific in both its mathematics and its base bristlecone pine data. Flawed climate data should not be the basis for any mandated wrenching transformation of humankind.
On top of these two gaffes, it’s been barely a month since an entire government-funded research unit also violated basic scientific principles. It didn’t cherry-pick; it just wholly destroyed original raw data — data behind major studies claiming a global warming crisis. How credible can those studies be now? That’s a scandal. Data are stored and shared for the express purpose of all interested scientists who might work to replicate results. That is the scientific process. How convenient for that original data to disappear if it had been manipulated to produce certain results that backed climate change policies that require a global bureaucracy to monitor and ration energy use of developed countries. How convenient, indeed.
Our EPA has rested its own case to regulate carbon dioxide on studies that depended upon these destroyed records. The EPA is even a funder of that Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia that destroyed the evidence. Convenience again. This scandal stinks. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has boldly petitioned the EPA to reopen global-warming rulemaking in light of this suspicious behavior.
Despite these scandals, or perhaps because of them, alarmists will become even shriller in forthcoming weeks and months. The handwriting on the wall tells them taxpayers are tired of global-warming hysteria and mad about the certain cost burdens that will be dumped on them, so alarmists are launching last-ditch efforts to really scare everybody. Prepare for the sky to fall. That same handwriting even cautions that there is unlikely to be any climate change legislation passed in Congress this year, and unlikely to be any climate change concessions given away in Copenhagen in December by the US. But, before we shift our attention away from this old crisis, we should become aware of an item that surfaces in the Copenhagen Climate Change Treaty Draft that could spell pure trouble, if implemented. Anthony Watts refers to this Draft as "wealth transfer defined, now with new and improved u2018dignity’ penalty.”
17. (a) Compensate for damage to the Lesser Developed Country’s economy and also compensate for lost opportunities, resources, lives, land and dignity [emphasis added], as many will become environmental refugees; (p.122 of 181)
I find it distinctly undignified and fraudulent for persons to be held morally and financially accountable for unproved, unscientific alarms of man-caused catastrophic global warming. I understand that the International Socialist Party has been working on making this global agenda happen for a long time. Their Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio in 1992 and their Agenda 21 made that platform clear. I understand that these central planners feel entitled to such power and such wealth transfers by sheer perseverance. I listened closely to their claims and global plans for all of us through twenty-two United Nations sessions. But they have yet to make a rational case on climate change, among other things. Their proponents still avoid even debating the issue. Meanwhile, global-warming policies appear decidedly more catastrophic to productive humans than any two degrees of potential warming could ever become.
Let the world leave scandals, fraud and extortion behind, if it would. Let us move toward the real dignity of the human spirit. Let us create the dignity possible through social cooperation based on private property and division of labor in free market societies. That would be dignity I could get my arms around.
Floy Lilley [send her mail] is an adjunct faculty member at the Mises Institute. She was formerly with the University of Texas at Austin’s Chair of Free Enterprise, and an attorney-at-law in Texas and Florida.