Climategate 3.0: Practicing what I preach

In my previous post, I had written:

To my mind the password protected files [included in CG2] were more akin to an archive of documents written in an obscure language that required “translation”.

And there was only one person on the planet who could provide the “translation” so that the material in the archive would be comprehensible to all who might read it: The Saint.

So maybe what we should be doing – instead of expending hours complaining (and/or trying to guess The Saint’s identity) and arguing while the “translated” documents are being compiled into a useful database – is taking the time to revisit the material we already have at our virtual fingertips to see what we might have missed. [emphasis now added -hro]

Yesterday, I had also made a comment to this effect in the (now very long) comment thread at WUWT.

So I was delighted to see a reply from Duke C. in which he had written:

Hilary, I converted Buffy Minton’s spreadsheet to an html index with a link in the subject line that opens the selected email in your web browser window, all offline. 35 Meg zip file here:

Next step is to imbed a more comprehensive search engine, something better than Ctrl-f.

Posted this on Tips and Notes awhile back, but it went unnoticed, apparently.

So, my mouse and I followed Duke’s link, downloaded the file, unzipped it, read the readme … and it works like a charm!

I also found that if I import Duke’s “CG1CG2Merge_index.html” into an MS Access database, I can run queries to my heart’s content. For example, one of the NYT‘s Andrew Revkin’s conspicuous shortcomings is his failure to give equal time, treatment and consideration to any skeptic’s investigation into (and/or observations on) alarmist publications.

As I noted a year ago, Revkin (amongst others) wasted no time at all posting Peter Gleick’s cooked up allegations – without bothering to conduct any due diligence on the provenance:

Unlike the NYT‘s Andrew Revkin, or the U.K. Guardian‘s Suzanne Goldenberg and Leo Hickman, for whom fact-checking and provenance confirmation is – for all intents and purposes – anathema when it comes to matters enironmental, Megan McArdle of the Atlantic has been following this story and asking questions, as a journalist should.

McArdle readily acknowledges her green-tinted glasses; but she does not permit her vision to become as clouded and biased by advocacy as Revkin, Goldenberg or Hickman.

More recently, Revkin has continued this practice. He happily churned out a blog-post on March 7 on the highly dubious Marcott et al’s latest reincarnation of the “hockey-stick”. And he subsequently gave lots of air-time to Michael Mann (who’s been singing glowing praises of Marcott to beat the band!)

In the meantime, Steve McIntyre has been conducting the due diligence that obviously was not done by Revkin (nor, evidently, by those who “peer-reviewed” the paper for Science). So how did Revkin deal with this fact when it finally appeared to cross his radar, circa March 16? I’m so glad you asked. Here’s Revkin’s update:

Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit has been dissecting the Marcott et al. paper and corresponding with lead author Shaun Marcott, raising constructive and important questions.

As a result, I sent a note to Marcott and his co-authors asking for some elaboration on points Marcott made in the exchanges with McIntyre. Peter Clark of Oregon State replied (copying all) on Friday, saying they’re preparing a general list of points about their study.

So all he’s interested in is “the points Marcott [et al]” had made during the course of this correspondence.

Did Revkin understand (or even ask McIntyre about) “the points” McIntyre had made?! Perhaps. But I have yet to see any evidence of this. OTOH, Revkin had provided a link ( but the criteria Revkin chose only yields four of McIntyre’s six posts since March 13. I found that yields all six – and I suspect that if I use it in future, it will also list any subsequent Marcott-related posts.

Although Revkin – to his credit – has acknowledged that his name (and emails) can be found in the Climategate files, I was curious to know how many were sent to or from him. So, using my Handy-Dandy-Duke’s-Database, a simple query tells me that between Sept. 27, 2004 and Sept. 29, 2009 there were 22 (well, actually only 21, as the last is readily identified – both by timestamp and by Duke’s filename – as a duplicate).

I haven’t looked at the content yet, but I’ll let you know what I find :-) In the meantime … speaking of Michael Mann, Marcott et al (and Duke’s diligent work) …

Yesterday via twitter, I came across two related interesting tweets. The first from Anthony Watts WUWT

People send me stuff. Word has it that Michael Mann was one of the reviewers of Marcott et al.

And the second was Richard Tol’s tweet in reply:

@wattsupwiththat I would be surprised if he wasn’t.

By pure serendipity, while I was perusing Duke’s index (before I created my Access database), I came across the following. The subject is listed as “no_subject” (which suggests that there wasn’t one, but it piqued my curiosity) [paragraph breaks and emphases in body inserted for ease of reading, email addresses partially redacted, and signature stripped by me … I’m sure they get their fair share of spam already]:

From: Keith Briffa
Date: 7/24/2002 12:01 PM
To: mas@xxxxx
CC: ppn@xxxxx

Dear Meric

The purpose of this short message is to ask that you do not send my RAPID proposal to Mike Mann for refereeing.

I do this openly (i.e. by cc’ing this message to Philip) because I wish it to be an above-board statement , made simply for information. I am genuinely a little nervous as to whether Mike could remain sufficiently objective . We have had a debate (politely phrased) as to the merits of trying methods of data assimilation that are independent of his approach. Ray Bradley is a coauthor on the most significant Mann papers and is very aware of the needs of the science in this area – but I have suggested him as a potential referee rather than Mike because , although he may disagree on some matters , I am confident of his objectivity. If our proposal has gone (or does go ) to Mike , I at least feel happier having made this statement before you receive any report from him.

best wishes


REF: CG2 <4025.txt>

So, if you want to verify for yourself that the E-mail reads as above, Duke has provided (on each of the 6,366 pages) a reference to the Climategate release in which the file can be found, as well as the text filename one can use to search any of the current online databases; my choice is EcoWho – and here’s a link to 4025.txt

Assuming that the source of Watts’ tweet above has reported accurately, I would think that by now Marcott might be kicking himself for not having taken a good hard look at the emails released in CG1 and CG2. He might have spared himself considerable grief and embarrassment.

Incidentally, Revkin’s quasi-journalistic green-heart-on-sleeve endeavour had noted that when he wrote to Marcott, his co-author and thesis supervisor (and AR5 WG1 Ch13 Coordinating Lead Author) Peter Clark had responded:

[…] we’ve decided that the best tack to take now is to prepare a FAQ document that will explain, in some detail but at a level that should be understandable by most, how we derived our conclusions. […]

So, I can’t help wondering if Mann will be giving them a helpful hand in writing this FAQ!

P.S. Many thanks, Duke C … for making it so easy for me to practice what I preach ;-)


3 thoughts on “Climategate 3.0: Practicing what I preach

  1. Hilary, thanks for the positive feedback.

    I have been collating more html indices based on keyword searches(“from: Micheal Mann”, “Yamal”, etc.), subsets of CG1/CG2.

    Agreed, much can still be learned from what has already been released. Many unturned stones line the path…

  2. HRO – I’m a bit of a technophobe.

    However, back in the very early days of CG1, I browsed in Monbiot’s (shhh!) stache of CG1 Emails with a focus on Briffa’s name and came up with a series of Emails which I suspect relate to Briffa’s “debate (politely phrased)”; they appear to be a pretty heated argument about Briffa et al (Osborne?) daring to stray from Mann’s hymnsheet.

    From my brief scribbles at the time, they start from Ed Cook dated 22 March 02, Briffa to Mann on 5th April 02, Malcolm/Edward Cook 11th April, and a beauty from Mann of 12 April displaying his preoccupation with ‘funding managers’!

    There may be/probably are more within that period or just either side that I missed, but you may have fun (or not) if you can still access them.

    I had been following the Yamal tree ring saga before CG1, hence my interest in Briffa, and I have aways had a suspicion (no evidence) that it was at this very period that Briffa was coerced to fall into line with the ‘Team’, or else.

  3. Hilary,

    I have a lot of Revkin e-mails with the team, in a word doc. If you let me have a suitable address I will send it to you, it may save you a little time.

    Few people seem to know about Andy Revkin’s alter ego at Pace University:

    “His intellectual expertise and ethical balance will make enormous contributions to helping the Pace Academy in its aim to be a global resource for policy development.”

    “I’m taking a position as senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University, situated in the school’s young Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. There’s more background on my plans in the Columbia Journalism Review, the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media and CEJournal.

    I’ll also be working on two books, one for middle school kids on resilience to disasters and another, for adults, on ways to navigate the next 50 years with the fewest regrets.

    Finally…I want to help build networks of journalists and communicators in rich and poor places so that good ideas can be efficiently shared and flawed ones modified. The Earth Journalism Network is one example. Developing Radio Partners is another. When writing my book on the Amazon, I learned about the power of radio (which was an organizing tool for the rubber tappers seeking to gain land rights). But this potential goes way beyond radio. What happens to all those “ one laptop per child” machines? Are they simply dropped off, or are the recipients cultivated as a network?”

    He is still a Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University:

    “NEW YORK, NY, September 15, 2011 – Andrew Revkin, the noted science journalist who is now a Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University and writes the “Dot Earth” blog for The New York Times, has become the first two-time winner of the Communication Award bestowed jointly by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine.

    The award is arguably the most prestigious award in science journalism, coming from the nation’s preeminent scientific advisory organizations (the jury is journalists and educators) and includes a $20,000 check. It recognizes “excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public.”

    This is the Earth Journalism site he promotes:
    Internews Network developed the Earth Journalism Network (EJN) to empower and enable journalists from developing countries to cover the environment more effectively. EJN will establish networks of environmental journalists in countries where they don’t exist, and build their capacity where they do, through training workshops, support for production and distribution, and dispersing small grants. (dead link)
    “We are extremely pleased that Andy Revkin is joining what we believe is one of the strongest university environmental programs in the nation,” said Geoffrey Brackett, DPhil (Oxon.), the University’s Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “His intellectual expertise and ethical balance will make enormous contributions to helping the Pace Academy in its aim to be a global resource for policy development.”

    Pace awarded Revkin an honorary doctorate in 2007.

    “Green expertise. Over the years Pace has become well known for environmental education. The Pace Law School’s environmental program is consistently ranked among the top three in the US. The law school’s Environmental Legal Clinic, co led by Professors Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Karl Coplan, trains environmental lawyers who, while still students, have set national precedents in a number of cases involving the Hudson River. This fall Pace Law launched the first curriculum in the nation entirely dedicated to climate change, offered within the school’s Masters of Environmental Law (LLM) program.

    He is starting what will be his third book for adults, about the interlinked issues of sustainability and population, and finishing the second of two books for children on environmental issues. The first has the ironic title “The North Pole Was Here.””

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