A week after
my colleague James Delingpole, on his Telegraph blog, coined
the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed
by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic
Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across
the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres
of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands
of documents has largely been missed.
why even the Guardian’s George Monbiot has expressed total
shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that
their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance
cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small
group of scientists who have for years been more influential in
driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others,
not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Jones, the CRU’s director, is in charge of the two key sets of data
used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the
Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of
the IPCC’s key scientific contributors, his global temperature record
is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which
the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions
that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions
of dollars are spent to avert it.
Dr Jones is
also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British
scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures
conveyed by Michael Mann’s "hockey stick" graph which
10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that,
after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently
shot up to their highest level in recorded history.
billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate
the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher
they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire
man-made global warming movement.
however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey
stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert
Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, an increasingly heated battle
has been raging between Mann’s supporters, calling themselves "the
Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have
ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical
basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.
and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of
the IPCC’s scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey
Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague
Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial
rewriting of key passages in the IPCC’s 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth,
who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering
over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al
Gore’s ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature
data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.
There are three
threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a
shock wave through informed observers across the world. Perhaps
the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see
McIntyre’s blog Climate
Audit and Anthony Watt’s blog Watts
Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which
show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing
the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data
to outsiders under freedom of information laws.
They have come
up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data
on which their findings and temperature records were based.