Sunday, February 10, 2013

LaFramboise "McIntyre" appendix Chapter 8 #1

LaFramboise "IPCC review" appendix Chapter 8 #1

Since LaFramboise relies on Steven McIntyre's claims and judgement 

I though he was worth a closer look.  Sadly, it turns out he has an incredible double standard and uses disreputable tactics.

Bart Verheggen's weblog on climate change issues has a number of articles reviewing McIntyre.  They are informative, well written and include links to further sources of information.  Since he has done the homework I'm going to share 
excerpts from his blog:

{Words are unchanged though I do take my liberties with formatting and highlights}

McIntyre’s concerted efforts to derail the science and harass scientists

"What would you do if you were confronted with a group who will go through great lengths to find something -no matter how small- that they can twist and use against you? It will naturally make you very careful, and defensive perhaps. I empathize with not wanting to cooperate with people like that.

Indeed, in some of the stolen emails, CRU scientists sounded extremely frustrated with the many ‘Freedom of Information’ (FoI) requests they were getting, from exactly the kind of people as described above. Self appointed “auditor” of climate science Steve McIntyre asked his blog readers to participate:

Steve McIntyre              Posted Jul 24, 2009 at 10:59 AMI suggest that interested readers can participate by choosing 5 countries and sending the following FOI request to (…)

Now someone’s view of this situation entirely depends from what angle they look at it. McIntyre and his fans take the view that their repeated requests to “free the data” were being stonewalled, so they presumably felt that it was ok to increase the pressure this way. Even when acknowledging that more openness in science is a laudable goal, the way he’s going about it is entirely counterproductive and low.

Scientists and their supporters however view McIntyre’s tactics as pure sabotage. 

He doesn’t seem interested in furthering the science, but rather in attempting to shoot holes in work that is supportive of the scientific consensus, and then blowing it up way out of proportion to the significance of his finding (if at all correct). 

He also frequently engages in character assassination, insinuating fraud, scientific misconduct and manipulation on the part of scientists. 

There’s no need to back up such accusations; a verbose writing style and an uncritical audience who love every word that slams climate scientists does the job very nicely. The echo chamber on the internet does the rest.

This has the all the marks of the FOI law being abused to harass scientists. From the Times Online:Over a matter of days, CRU received 40 similar FoI requests. Each applicant asked for data from five different countries, 200 in all, which would have been a daunting task even for someone with nothing else to do.

Jones admitted poor judgment in handling those FoI requests: In an angry private email he wrote that he would rather delete data than provide them to McIntyre. In the context of being the target of what amounts to a ‘denial of service’ attack, I empathize with his frustration. Of course, deleting data would be extremely stupid, and AFAIK, he nor anybody else has done so. But who has never said (or written in email) something in anger, that in hindsight was uncalled for?
Hunting season on scientists seems open, and it’s a disgrace."

See also Eli Rabett. DeepClimate provides a detailed look into McIntyre’s history.

Update: From the Canadian Globe and Mail, where McIntyre is described as a gifted pest whose scattershot criticisms indiscriminately mix a few valid points with a larger body of half-truths, a potent concoction that produces much confusion but little benefit.
The key objection to the work of bloggers such as Mr. McIntyre is that they are engaged in an epic game of nitpicking: zeroing in on minor technical issues while ignoring the massive and converging lines of evidence that are coming in from many disciplines. To read their online work is to enter a dank, claustrophobic universe where obsessive personalities talk endlessly about small building blocks – Yamal Peninsula trees, bristlecones, weather stations – the removal of which will somehow topple the entire edifice of climate science. Lost in the blogging world is any sense of proportion, or the idea that science is built on cumulative work in many fields, the scientists say.

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IPCC SRREN: Conflict of interest or just a bad press release?

The blog discussion of the week seems to be about IPCC’s Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation

"Question is, has a study headed by a Greenpeace employee been overly hyped? I think the short answer is that it has in the press release but it hasn’t in the underlying report.

One would think that that would be the end of it. It’s become the norm that press releases highlight an eye catching finding rather than trying to paint a full picture of the underlying report. The former draws media attention; the latter does not. Media need a news hook after all, as we’re frequently told by journalists. That’s not necessarily a good thing for science journalism and science literacy, but it’s the case nevertheless.

Then why does the bulk of the criticism go to the whole of the IPCC process? That’s a bit of a rhetorical question of course, as the answer is fairly obvious: There are legions of people looking for excuses to throw the IPCC under the bus. . ."
~ ~ ~

"The Carbon Brief has a good rundown of issues. One paragraph though struck me:
the use of word “could” in the IPCC’s press release (“Close to 80 percent of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century”) is likely to refer to future uncertainties, but may well have been perceived by journalists and the public as a straightforward statement about the technical potential of renewable energy.

I think it’s the opposite: I think the word “could” refers to “technical potential” rather than to future uncertainties. As in, if we really wanted to and put the effort (and money) in, this is what we could achieve. . ."
~ ~ ~ 

"It’s destructive because it hides the central moral choice: we could cut emissions if we want to, we could have started decades ago when the scientific warnings about climate change were first raised, but we decided not to. It was a choice, implicit or not. . ."
~ ~ ~

"McIntyre, in a comment at DotEarth, seems to agree that the central issue is the press release:
Andy, I don’t think that you adequately highlighted that the Greenpeace scenario was the one that was featured in the IPCC press release and covered by the world media. Had the problem been limited to the Chapter 10 discussion, it would be less of an issue.
Which leads Michael Tobis to remark:
It does appear that whoever wrote the press release did a disservice. This seems so common in press reports of science that I am starting to think of it as typical. If Mr. McIntyre had limited himself to such a claim, as he does here, I would have no quarrel with his behavior in this case. But he proceeds, on his blog, to use this incident to call for “Everyone in IPCC WG3 [to] be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.”
Thus he continues to play to the “climate science as fraud” crowd that frequents his blog while adopting a more reasonable pose here. 
{Does this earn the label of 'two-faced' liar?} 
The persistent substitution of fake problems for real ones is a key to derailing serious conversations these days."

The important conversation that we should be having, 
connected with the issues in the SRREN, 
is about what kind of future we want.
“Those who want search for a way. 
Those who don’t want search for a reason.”

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But wait, there's more. . .

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October 6, 2009

This whole tempest in a teapot about the Yamal tree rings made me curious about how this story, with an analysis by Steve McIntyre at the centerpoint, gained such traction. The not-so-critical part of the blogosphere ran away with his results, blowing it way out of proportion in their haste to claim that climate science is a big sham. How much credit or blame (dependent on your viewpoint) goes to McIntyre for how this story panned out in the public mind?

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October 8, 2009

The bunny is right on top of it. He quotes an excellent comment from ClimateAudit about the fact that McIntyre was being told who to contact about the data. It is written in a very non-judgemental way, but in between the lines the message is clear. I.e. some of McIntyre’s writing tactics are being used to convey the message. Eli calls it a work of art.

Craig Allen over at Deepclimate brings the news that McIntyre was already provided with the data 5 years ago (!), but was unsure that they were the real deal, so he wasn’t ‘immediately’ satisfied. Deepclimate’s post itself details how the Russian scientists (and originators of the data) have an analysis based on a much bigger sample that basically confirms Briffa’s results.
If this wasn’t already a tempest in a teapot, then it most definitely is now.

Update: Tim Lambert (Deltoid) has a round-up as well, with some relevant quotes.
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February 26, 2010

John Mashey explains how organized defamation of science has been structured and funded. Good (and long) reading, though bad for your blood pressure. Some excerpts:
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November 17, 2010

It’s a year ago now that email correspondence of the British CRU was illegally released (*) on the internet. Over the course of heated discussions that followed, this became known as “climategate”, implying some sort of scandal.
The scandal that wasn’t
The emails were spun as if they uncovered some massive conspiracy to hide the truth. For example {...}

The scandal that wasn’t
Of course, some unwise and some not-so-nice things were said. Haven’t you over the course of 13 years of emailing? If you had worked in a field about which there is a heated public and political debate, would people who are very hostile to your views be able to find something that they could shame you with in all those emails?

The scandal that was
The real scandal was that some people, for whatever reason, are so hostile to the science that they took this illegal step of breaking into an institute’s computer system and released private email correspondence. This was a day that the attack on science (and on scientists) arrived at a new low. Such an attack has nothing to do with sincere skepticism. Those who did this –and those who celebrate it- follow the adage of the end justifying the means, where the end apparently is to bring science on its knees. Needless to say, I hold science to be an important part of a healthy, modern society, and ignoring its insights is not a good strategy. Attacking it in ways as was done in “climategate” is scandalous. . .
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June 19, 2011

The blog discussion of the week seems to be about IPCC’s Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. Question is, has a study headed by a Greenpeace employee been overly hyped? I think the short answer is that it has in the press release but it hasn’t in the underlying report.
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