The unbearable arrogance of activist-advocates (aka climate scientists)

It’s been an interesting few weeks in the climate wars blogosphere. The following are some highlights, not in the order in which I learned of them, but in chronological order (sort of!) according to the date of the documents:

May 26, 2010 – Notwithstanding an April 16 statement on the Independent Climate Change E-mail Review (ICCER) website:

“We will continue to publish submissions and evidence on the website, and we intend to publish all submissions, evidence and correspondence by the end of the Review.

“The Review team has read and noted all submissions, and is currently working towards its conclusions. We do not therefore intend to accept any further submissions to the Review from this point.”

the ICCER (at some point after April 16) did decide to accept a May 26 submission (#0103) from “various”.

The “various” turn out to be a veritable who’s who of Mann and his co-authors and/or supporters. All of whom (considering the signature format) are purporting to represent the views of their respective academic institutions, although they are listed alphabetically by their respective last names:

Letter to Sir Muir Russel May 26

[signed by]:

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS – RAY BRADLEY
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA – MALCOLM K. HUGHES
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY – MICHAEL E. MANN
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY – MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY – BENJAMIN SANTER
NASA GODDARD INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES, NEW YORK – GAVIN SCHMIDT
WOODS INSTITUTE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT – STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER
THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH – KEVIN E. TRENBERTH
THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH – TOM M. L. WIGLEY

YMMV – as, indeed, may that of Sir Muir Russell and his “review team” – but my take on the contents of this missive is that it reflects the unbearable arrogance of activist-advocates, whose word we should take as gospel because, well, because they said so!

In fairness to the ICCER, though, it is worth noting that – notwithstanding some rather bizarre excuses for not publishing the submission of David Holland – they did accept a Supplemental Submission to the Climate Change Email Review (dated June 9) from Steve McIntyre There is certainly more substance in McIntyre’s supplement than can be found in the “various” letter.

An aside … OK, a digression:

While perusing the (mostly uninformative) published “Notes” from the ICCER meetings, I did notice the following rather curious “notes”:

Confirmed Note of Actions from CRU Review Group Meeting, 13 April 2010

Minutes of 20 March meeting and 1 April conference call

[…]

Data Mining

In relation to its remit the Review agreed, based on negotiation with the Police for selective access to material held on the CRU server, and the employment by the UEA of a trusted, independent, forensic analyst, to prepare a proposal in terms of which the UEA would seek to determine whether there is more information from the compromised CRU server that might still come into the public domain and which would be of relevance to the Review. [emphasis added -hro]

Hmmm … so it would seem that any further “information from the compromised CRU server” would not be of “relevance to the Review” (as determined by UEA?!) unless it “might still come into the public domain”.

But wait, there’s more:

Confirmed Note of Actions from CRU Review Group Meeting, 28 April 2010

Data mining

It was noted that a trusted, independent, forensic analyst has been engaged by the UEA and once they are available, he will start work on examining the first set of downloaded emails from the compromised CRU server.
[…]

Progress on the Report

[…]

It was noted that while the released CRU emails are currently being hosted on a website, this might not be the case in the future. The Review Team would consider the possibilities for web archiving the emails and submissions to the Review. [emphases added -hro]

As Alice is known to have said, this just gets “curiouser and curiouser”. Not to mention that as “minutes of meetings” these examples fall far short of a credible record. Mind you, considering the abysmal non-existent record-keeping of the Oxburgh crew (charged with “assessing the science” – notwithstanding Lord Oxburgh’s recent astounding claim that “the science was not the subject of our study“) – I suppose one should be thankful for such insignificant concessions to the many calls for disclosure and greater transparency.

<end digression>

Following on the heels of Bradley et al’s May 26 letter to Muir Russell, on June 21 the prestigious Journal known as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) decided to publish a particularly shoddy “study” entitled “Expert credibility in climate change

This generated considerable (and much deserved) unfavourable coverage in the blogosphere. Not surprisingly, one of the authors is none other than Stephen H. Schneider; the lead author is William Anderegg, a dizziyingly idealistic Stanford grad student, and a third author is a heretofore unknown (and somewhat misleadingly credentialed “Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto”) James Prall – by his own admission a “computer support staff” at U of T – whose hobbyhorse has been vaulted from obscurity to infamy. The fourth member of this learned quartet, a Jacob Harold, hails from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which – along with Stanford University – was kind enough to provide funding for the project.

In a nutshell, the authors contend that quantity trumps quality in determining the “credibility” and “expertise” of those whose voices should be heard on the subject of “climate change”. Oh, well, using their “logic” and methodology, I suppose one might consider my own assessment [link updated 11/25/2012 -hro] of this study (on the strength of its 17 reader recommendations) to be more worth reading than that of any of the other reader responses to Andrew Revkin’s NYT blogpost on the subject ;-)

Finally … in other recent (but not unexpected) developments, a few days ago, Penn State released the final results of its “enquiry” into Michael Mann’s “alleged misconduct”. About the best that can be said of this report is that it gives considerable support to the hypothesis that if you ask the wrong questions of the wrong people, you’re well on the path to securing the right answers.

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