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Scientists Step Down After CRU Hack Fallout 874

An anonymous reader writes "In the wake of the recent release of thousands of private files and emails after a server of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia was hacked, Prof. Phil Jones is stepping down as head of the CRU. Prof. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, is also under inquiry by Penn State University."
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Scientists Step Down After CRU Hack Fallout

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  • Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:18PM (#30300698)

    The fact that this story is posted under Politics says a lot about what's wrong with the global warming 'debate' IMO.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:23PM (#30300754)

    Your cause may be correct, but your methods damage all of science as well as your cause.

    True science should not hide data or pick data to support predefined conclusions. And dissenting papers with proper methodologies should never be suppressed. This is the only way to do science right.

  • Hockey guy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:23PM (#30300758) Homepage Journal

    Prof. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist is also under inquiry by Penn State University

    Mann? Is he the same guy who said global temperature will go up exponentially like a hockey stick unless we cap and trade right now?

  • Science (Score:4, Insightful)

    by b1t r0t (216468) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:27PM (#30300818)
    Science is not done by consensus. Science is done by showing your work so that others can see it and confirm that your data and methods make sense... sort of like the Open Source process. Only instead of a few million Windows computers getting botted, our very economy is at stake from the "warmers" and their political machinations.
  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mveloso (325617) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:37PM (#30300942)

    The above comment shows a complete lack of understanding of how "Science" fits into reality.

    Science: eating fatty food is bad for you
    Public: f*ck off

    Science: oh, some fatty foods are good
    Public: f*ck off

    Science: oh, some fatty foods are bad, some are good, depending on you
    Public: f*ck off

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:38PM (#30300948)

    I know there are lots of whackjobs who are conviced that GW is a worthless topic, or that the scientists are all on someone's payroll, or that GW science is some kind of master plan to give a certain political party power (and that power will just evaporate if they lose the next election? I've never understood those kinds of consiracy theories). That being said, the issue that I have is more along the lines of scientists trying to "do what's right" to protect the planet (meaning it's not about science anymore for some of them, it's about protecting the planet).

    At best, that attitude leads to behaviors like celebrating the death of someone who disagrees with you; at worst it leads to falsifying data to ensure that world sees things the same way you do. We know, for a fact, that the former has happened; the question to me is, how far towards the latter end of the spectrum is their behaviour? Release the raw data and let everyone take a look at it, until then I'll always have my doubts as to what is really going on.

  • Great, just great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:40PM (#30300978) Homepage
    So now we have hard working scientists who have their lives disrupted over this idiocy. This whole matter has been completely overblown. So people ranted and sent intemperate emails on a private mailing list? Wow. Newsflash: Scientists are not vulcans. The only thing that's even more shocking is the email where using a standard statistical technique is referred to as a "trick." If this is the grand conspiracy, it has to be the most pathetic grand conspiracy I've ever seen. A private mailing list of a few scientists that was mostly used productively and with an occasional whiny email or rant simply isn't that big a deal. People backbiting and such is really common. Welcome to academia.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:42PM (#30301004)

    Not stepping down. Standing aside. As in "I won't be the one in charge whilst this investigation is going on, just like a judge would recuse himself if he had even the appearance of interest in the case".

  • TEMPORARILY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:42PM (#30301006) Homepage Journal

    Even the WSJ article they linked to included the key word "temporarily". They relegated it to the subtitle, but it was there. (The WSJ, owned by Rupert Murdoch, also owner of Fox News, can be assumed to to take the climate-denialist position on everything.)

    Temporarily stepping down is very different from an admission of guilt. It can be a way of allowing work to go on while investigations are under way, when a controversial figure attracts so much attention as to detract from the real work.

    Maybe there are some real failures here, for which the guy does deserve to be removed from his job, but so much of what I've read about the hacked emails is hyped and deliberately misinterpreted that I'm unimpressed by this incident.

  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:43PM (#30301020) Journal

    Funny how people doing "Global Warming" research keep getting bigger and bigger grants with the more hysteria they pump into their findings.

  • Re:Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:44PM (#30301028) Journal

    You act as if the deniers have nothing to gain from ignoring the science. No matter what the science says, everyone that has a stake in industries that produce large amounts of CO2 will tend to fight tooth and nail against anyone claiming that CO2 does any harm. Simple selfish interest.

  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:45PM (#30301050) Journal

    "or that the scientists are all on someone's payroll"

    Umm, yes. They are.

  • Re:Fraud (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chillax137 (612431) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:45PM (#30301052) Homepage
    FALSE. All accusations of fraud have been addressed by the scientists in question, as well as outside sources. There is a reason this hasn't been getting much mainstream media coverage. For everyone's information: data was not manipulated, dissenting papers were not suppressed
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7273/full/462545a.html [nature.com]
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/cru-hack-more-context/ [realclimate.org]
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:47PM (#30301070) Journal

    After all Exxon is so broke...

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:51PM (#30301106) Homepage

    You forgot government intervention :

    Science: eating fatty food is bad for you
    Government: we outlaw them all

    Science: oh, some fatty foods are good
    Government: we outlaw all other food !

    Science: oh, some fatty foods are bad, some are good, depending on you
    Government: okay, seriously ... everybody alive is breaking the law. How could this possibly happen ? People simply have no respect for the laws anymore.

    Science: ...
    Government: obviously the solution is more laws !

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918.gmail@com> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:54PM (#30301164)

    to keep it simple for those who don't get global warming, most people don't understand that icecaps melting/receeding like they have been lately is not at all a normal part of our weather patterns.

    On the contrary, this is quite normal. Ice caps expand and recede all the time and have been for centuries. As MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen pointed out in WSJ today [wsj.com], you're discarding a well-established understanding of the history of the planet by making that claim.

  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:55PM (#30301188) Journal

    And there was a giant lake in Missoula Missouri, which periodically broke-through the glacier/ice dam and flooded Washington State (hence the weirdly-carved landscape).

    And before you mark me troll, remember scientists are fallible. They once thought space was filled with "ether" so lightwaves could travel from the sun to the earth. They believed that vehemently for ~100 years, until it was proved light could travel through a vacuum. If they were wrong then (and many many other times), they can certainly be wrong now.

    If global warming actually exists, why do the scientists feel it necessary to fudge their numbers? They ought to be able to use the clean data without need for obfuscation, as these climatologists were caught doing.

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:57PM (#30301230)

    What suppression? [nature.com]

    Whatever the e-mail authors may have said to one another in (supposed) privacy, however, what matters is how they acted. And the fact is that, in the end, neither they nor the IPCC suppressed anything: when the assessment report was published in 2007 it referenced and discussed both papers.

    Keep it up deniers, Im sure your corporate masters are laughing all the way to the bank while you cry all the way to the grave.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:58PM (#30301254) Homepage
    Mostly out of context. Have you never said anything nasty about someone and then asked someoen to delete it? Right. And claims that garbage data was added is simply false. Discussion about "suppressing" journals never occurred either. What was discussed was a single person suggesting that maybe not send papers to certain journals and not citing papers from those journals. Again, you are going to need to do a lot better than that. Capitalizing things doesn't make an argument any more valid. But nice try.
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:00PM (#30301276)
    With apologies to myself. [slashdot.org]

    GOOFUS has a PhD.
    GALLANT has a PhD in a field unrelated to his research.

    GOOFUS gets little respect as a scientist outside the scientific community.
    GALLANT gets little respect as a scientist inside the scientific community.

    GOOFUS drives a beat-up old car.
    GALLANT drives a BMW unless his chauffeur is driving.

    GOOFUS wears street clothes to work, maybe a lab suit on occasion.
    GALLANT wears three piece suits at all times.

    GOOFUS is employed by a "university", a "hospital", or a "laboratory".
    GALLANT is employed by a "Coalition", an "Institute", an "Association", a "Foundation", a "Council", or a "White House".

    GOOFUS earns $30000 per year unless they cut his funding.
    GALLANT earns $200000 per year but makes his real money from speaking fees.

    GOOFUS lives anywhere in the country.
    GALLANT lives in a wealthy area near Washington DC, but may have additional homes elsewhere.

    GOOFUS may sometimes be filmed standing in front of big melting icebergs.
    GALLANT may be filmed sitting in front of a bookcase or standing behind a podium at a $2000 per plate fundraiser, although there may be ice melting in his drink.

    GOOFUS is a dues-paying member of several scientific grassroots organizations.
    GALLANT is on the payroll of several scientific astroturf organizations.

    GOOFUS gets summoned for jury duty but is never picked as a juror.
    GALLANT claims "the jury is still out" on evolution or global warming, since he considers himself to be on the jury.

    GOOFUS maintains the world is five billion years old.
    GALLANT isn't really saying, but creationists distribute his pamphlets all the time.

    GOOFUS claims the world is warming as a direct result of human activity.
    GALLANT either claims that climate change doesn't exist, or if it does, that humans have nothing to do with it.

    GOOFUS and his graduate students do the dirty work of collecting raw data and looking for conclusions to be drawn from it.
    GALLANT does the dirty work of discrediting GOOFUS by manipulating his data in Excel with statistically invalid techniques.

    GOOFUS writes scientific papers and grant proposals.
    GALLANT writes the nation's environmental legislation and a column for the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

    GOOFUS draws scientific conclusions from the data he collects that usually come out in agreement with the scientific consensus.
    GALLANT paints the scientific consensus as being entirely political in nature and enjoys comparing himself to Galileo.

    GOOFUS is heavily trained to be a skeptic and to treat information from all sources with a skeptical mind.
    GALLANT is heavily marketed as a skeptic but reserves his skepticism for GOOFUS.

    GOOFUS isn't paid much attention by the press since his opinions are commonplace among scientists.
    GALLANT holds maverick opinions for a scientist which keeps him busy running from one balanced talk show to the next.

    GOOFUS has no PR skills.
    GALLANT leverages his PR experience all the time, although he has access to paid PR staff.

    GOOFUS claims the sky is falling and we have to take painful steps to reduce CO2 emissions now.
    GALLANT claims the free market will take care of it and recommends solving the problem by conning Zimbabwe out of their pollution credits.

    GOOFUS advises his kids not to go into science.
    GALLANT advises the president.
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:01PM (#30301290) Journal

    Madoff? The guy who stole billions of dollar? Versus a guy who might, at worst, have infringed on a Freedom of Information act? What else is fraud? The "Nature trick" thing? That's such bullshit it's ridiculous.

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:02PM (#30301306) Homepage Journal

    We know, for a fact, that the former has happened; the question to me is, how far towards the latter end of the spectrum is their behaviour? Release the raw data and let everyone take a look at it, until then I'll always have my doubts as to what is really going on.

    Sadly, they don't have the raw data [timesonline.co.uk]. They threw it away. Worse, they probably have threw it away much more recently than they originally stated [strata-sphere.com].

    We'll never see it because they've deliberately destroyed it.

    Based on my reading of the e-mails, which are available on Wikileaks for your own inspection, combined with this more recent information about the destruction of the raw data, I'd have to say they are very far towards that latter end of the spectrum.

  • by Wildclaw (15718) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:05PM (#30301350)

    A big problem is that most people have grave misconceptions about what science is. Even those who think they understand it, often fail to remember the truth behind the scientific method. Science is not the search for truth. In fact, it is pretty much the opposite. Science is the search for what isn't true.

    The truth is invisible, so we do the next best thing. We look at everything else, and notice what isn't there as possibly being the truth. Einstein's real feat of progress wasn't that he came up with the theory of relativity. What really advanced science was that he pinpointed a weakness in the previously accepted theory of gravity.

    The problem is that most people don't like to find out that what they know is wrong. And that is a prerequisite to conducting science. Which is why it is so difficult to conduct. You have to suppress your natural instincts of control and try to let your instincts of curiosity guide you instead.

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:05PM (#30301354) Journal
    It's not about 'suppression' per se, it's about bait and switch.

    Look, what's the scientific consensus that we have? Is it about ocean levels rising to cover the earth? Is it about melting glaciers and polar ice caps? Is it about increases in hurricanes? Is it about a six degree increase in temperature?

    Not at all. The only consensus we have is that there has been a slight increase in temperature over the last century, and that human activity (specifically CO2) has contributed to that. That's it. There is no consensus on how much CO2 has contributed to it. There is no consensus on how much temperatures will rise in the next century. There is no consensus on what the effect of that rise would be, assuming it does rise. Basically what alarmists have been saying is "AGW is a fact" and everyone agrees. Then they go on and say, "therefore disaster is coming if we don't stop it now" but not everyone agrees with that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:08PM (#30301410)

    Funny how the ones who bemoan the science behind global warming are most likely the ones who believe in creation "science". Does God not believe that the earth is warming up?

    Wow, you make a statement of fact, with no actual facts involved whatsoever, and then insult the conclusion you made. I do believe that's what's called a 'straw man'. Can I try? "You are, from your tone, most likely a child molester and coke fiend. What, you don't have enough energy to molest all the children you want to molest without the coke?"

    The science behind global warming, at least certain parts of it, is complete bullshit. There's a reason people call the pushing of AGW a religion.

    The science behind creationism, at least certain parts of it, is complete bullshit. There's a reason people call the pushing of creationism a religion.

    Calling people who are skeptical of a rather large claim 'deniers' and claiming they are just in the pockets of big oil, and now saying that they must be creationist wack jobs... none of those endear me to your point of view.

  • by Marcika (1003625) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:08PM (#30301418)
    Unfounded denier claim #6 of 7 [scientificamerican.com]. The coal/oil/transport industry probably spend more money in PR than all scientists taken together.
  • Re:Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ejtttje (673126) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:10PM (#30301440) Homepage
    Just because climate changes occurred before humanity existed doesn't mean we can't cause changes as well, or that we shouldn't be concerned and mitigate future changes regardless of whether we are the original trigger.

    Our industrial processes are massive. Pretending that this has no effect on the environment or that we shouldn't care about the environment is willfully short sighted.
  • Re:Fraud (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:10PM (#30301446)

    You shouldn't count just direct damages here. Policies resulting from their theories could end up costing $120,000,000,000,000 according to some estimates. Everything from CAFE standards on cars to the ban on incandescent light bulbs has to be factored into this (as well as obvious things like carbon credits and cap and trade). If man made climate change turns out to be a total hoax, then the amount of money and wealth they indirectly stole makes Bernie Madoff look like a mere shoplifter in comparison.

  • Re:TEMPORARILY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:13PM (#30301494) Journal

    The WSJ, owned by Rupert Murdoch, also owner of Fox News, can be assumed to to take the climate-denialist position on everything.

    See, this is the attitude I can't stand. Why do you feel the need to divide everything into believers and denialists? It isn't 'us' against 'them.' That's not scientific in any way.

    What I've seen from the Wall Street Journal seems to be more of a skeptical viewpoint.....they want to see the evidence before they choose one side or the other. As a financial periodical, the WSJ lives and dies by the quality of the information it provides, information that is often immediately testable (if I read that there is an oil embargo in some country, and based on that information invest in oil, only to find out later the information was wrong, I'm not going to be very happy). Is it really unreasonable to demand from scientists that their results also be testable and verifiable? That is how science should be done.

  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:19PM (#30301576)

    Here is my problem with the AGW debate, and feel free to slap me around for it, not going to change my mind.

    The planet's climate is changing, yea, thats a given. The planet's climate has changed before, drastically and at very high rates of change, much much quicker and more dramatically than what is going to happen in the next 91 years (according to models).

    Those dramatic changes happened without man burning fossil fuels. Younger Dryas and the defrosting after happened without AGW. Ice ages came and went without it being man's fault. Are we going to have a glacial lake Missoula ravaging Oregon/Washington/Idaho every 50 years from AGW...no, in the grand scheme of climate change during the history of man, this is minor.

    The climate changes with or without us, if there were glaciers and it dropped the sea level, a country like the US would gain vast amounts of land, good farmland, so why do we want to terraform Earth to 1990 or 2000 standards and leave it there?

    Because thats what we are talking about with stopping climate change, terraforming the world to a "perfect" point in time.

  • by luzr (896024) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:19PM (#30301584)
    Deleting 30 years of inconvinient data and replacing it with something else is now considered the "standard statistical technique"?

    See, nobody disputes that instrumental records for past 30 years are more accurate than data obtained by proxy. Anyway, if there is such a divergence of proxy data and instrumental record (proxy data pointing downwards), it casts serious doubts about validity of proxy data of the past.

    Also, it means that to show the hockey stick, you in fact do not need care about proxy data too much. Instrumental record will make the right shape even if you feed anything before with noise.

    I guess that the most important issue in Mann's and Briffa reconstruction is that MWP was downplayed and current warming thus became "unprecedented". Which is exactly what you get if you choose noisy unreliable proxy data, and 'stick' real temperature records where it fits...

    If you see any flaws in this analysis of "trick to hide the decline", I would be glad to hear your objections.

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:20PM (#30301612) Journal

    It is politics, though. People are interpreting emails in their preferred context. The most publicized emails are devoid of scientific content. The actors in those emails aren't discussing the latest paper in Nature, or research methodology. They're discussing the rhetorical merits of a graph, or whether responding to a flawed study in some third rate journal gives credence to that study. The emails might be of interest to a historian of science, but it's not as if the archive is a graduate seminar in dendrochronology.

    Two caveats: I have not trawled the archive, and the leaked .zip is a bit small for ten years worth of stored email.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:25PM (#30301688)

    Yeah those climatologists are just rolling in cash, perks, stock options, and golden parachutes. You know, sometimes I feel downright sorry for Oil & Gas industry executives and the embarrassingly low pay they receive for all the dedicated, selfless work they do.

    Translation for the irony-impaired: you want to play the follow-the-money game? Guess where it leads? Maybe not to you because you've somehow been convinced to act as an unpaid shill for an industry you don't even understand, but it certainly doesn't lead to a bunch of climate scientists either.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:27PM (#30301728)

    Using realclimate.org is as about as reliable as PETA. Both are run by activists who are pushing their own agendas, not science. "The Hockey Team" and their data had been discredited a long time ago.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:28PM (#30301748)

    They were all in Wisconsin, IIRC.

    Wisconsin? Did someone mention my home state? WI geology is a good example of why "global warming" is a coastie religion and midwesterners are by and large, unconverted.

    See, where I grew up, they teach us geology by pointing out the glacial terrain features that a mile or two of ice carves out every 10-20K years or so... Then they move on to our local industry, such as limestone pits formed when WI, currently 600 feet ASL, was a warm -n- toasty (relatively) inland seabottom. Then there's the ancient volcanic granite outcroppings.

    On the coasts, I think they teach kids the temperature has never been a degree above or below where it is today, etc etc.

    So, after a good WI education, when the coasties hearts flutter about a degree here and a meter there, we're just not too impressed based on our states natural history.

    Even worse, lets say we go all "Pol Pot" on our civilization like the global warming religion desperately wants us to, and then wait a million years, in wild Wisconsin, the weather we had before is, the weather we'll have again, glaciers, floods, and all, as if a degree here and there or a meter here and there would even be noticeable to us...

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shotgun (30919) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:29PM (#30301754)

    That's because they are normal people that see Copenhagen as nothing more than a power grab by international bodies. If there is no AGW, there is no need for world homogenizing global treaties to come out of Copenhagen, is there?

    People are rising up and making noise, because they are tired of the smug blowhards looking down their noses when some "ignoramus" dares question the veracity of the aloof chosen ones and their "consensus".

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ractive (679038) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:31PM (#30301790) Homepage

    Well... melting? receeeding? even that is doubtful, remember there's ice caps in the artic but also in the antarctic, those have been pretty big [nsidc.org] this year.

    There's a lot of misinformation (most of it, probably caused by this CRU guys) on this subject , one of the problems that leads to confusion is that it's being treated as a single issue, first you have to separate the topics (or the queastions for that matter):

    • Is there a real global warming
    • Is it abnormal / unnatural
    • Is it caused by human activity
    • Is it caused by CO2 [blogspot.com]?
    • Should this be a top environmental priority for humanity?

    The problem with all this misinformation is that the focus on the real environmental problems and it's causes is being shifted to things that can be economically exploited and really bad stuff [wikipedia.org] that is real, confirmed, and its causes known to be of human origin, is being overlooked

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kaiser423 (828989) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:34PM (#30301846)
    You mean the 800-1300 AD warming period seen in Europe due to changes in the gulf stream/jet stream, which was not warmer anywhere else on Earth?

    Yea, god forbid they take into account European data that was warmer for a certain period of time due to known weather phenomenon by adjusting it out since the rest of the world showed no such warming during that same period. Are you saying that you want climate prediction models solely centered around geographically European data? Seems like a bad idea to me.
  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:34PM (#30301850) Homepage

    Call me when you can either (a) prevent or (b) cause an iceberg melting.

    The energies involved are trivial compared to the energies stored in the oceans that affect the climate. It is possible, but not proven, that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is increasing the energy stored in the ocean system.

    What is certain is that slowing the rate of addition of CO2 will do nothing. Except cause a major shift in political and economic power. You want real change? How about doing something real that would actually reduce the emissions rather than reducing the rate of increase of the emissions?

    In September of 2001 for a few days passenger air travel was suspended. It actually reduced the emission of CO2 for a few days. This did not cause economic collapse, nor did it kill people or change their lifestyle in a meaningful way. We could shut off passenger air travel and it would have a huge effect on CO2 emissions without a corresponding shift in political and economic power. If there was a real crisis, this would be an option that would make sense. It isn't even up for consideration, almost certainly because of the lack of there actually being a crisis and the fact that it would not cause a huge political and economic shift.

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:35PM (#30301860)
    Guess where it leads

    Let's see ... ah! It leads to Al Gore, and his fellow investors, who are positioned to make billions of dollars through the absurd selling and trafficking in carbon credits. Just like priests selling absolution in the dark ages. In fact, exactly like that.

    As for those climatologists, who were facing the traditional career full of angst over tenure or grants? For people like that, a steady job is rolling in cash. If you can also crank out an alarmist book or two, and score some face time on BBC so that you'll be invited to travel the world and get in some rubber chicken meals at conferences on someone else's account? Frosting on the cake.
  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:36PM (#30301890)

    Actually, people in Wisconsin seemed pretty freaked out a year or two ago when the Wisconsin river flooded. Especially the ones that had houses washed away.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:37PM (#30301906)

    Define "international bodies"

    I would suggest you might want to include multinational corporations (and trade associations) and the massive marketing and information-management efforts they mount as a species of "international body" that bears watching along with governments, treaty organizations, NGOs, lobbyists, and thinktanks.

    Wouldn't it be equally if not more foolish for me to believe the "consensus" being pushed by the fossil fuel lobby?

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:37PM (#30301908)

    In a commencement speech at Caltech he said:

    It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now
    and speak of it explicitly. It's a kind of scientific integrity,
    a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of
    utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if
    you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you
    think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about
    it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and
    things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other
    experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can
    tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be
    given, if you know them. You must do the best you can--if you know
    anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong--to explain it. If you
    make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then
    you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well
    as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem.
    When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate
    theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that
    those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea
    for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else
    come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to
    help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the
    information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or
    another.

    Unfortunately, many scientists in many disciplines do not follow this. They seek to prove their theories right, and ignore that which might cast doubt on it.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:38PM (#30301924) Journal
    What are you talking about? Your link doesn't even mention PR spent by the coal/oil/transport industry. And if you do want to talk about PR about climate change, I'd say Al Gore wins the day on that one. When was there ever a movie made that said we should take a measured, reasonable attempt to find out what's really happening? And it is well known that if anyone is positioned to make money from climate change spending, it's Al Gore.
  • Re:Is that all? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:40PM (#30301952)

    The CEO of Exxon is the CEO of a company that provides an invaluable service to the entire world.

    The guy who stepped down? He's running a political organization designed to create laws and a new economy that will leech money off of the oil industry and the common people.

    I don't like that the CEO of Exxon rakes in assloads of cash when economies suffer from fuel prices. But at least Exxon provides a service, manipulates the world governments to a far lesser degree, and doesn't take a complete shit on science itself.

  • by benjamindees (441808) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:41PM (#30301962) Homepage

    It's a complex issue and there are several opinions:

    1) The climate is warming and humans are responsible and the consequences are severe enough to require action.
    2) The climate is warming and humans are responsible but the consequences are not severe.
    3) The climate is warming and humans are not responsible.
    4) The climate is not warming.
    5) Whether the climate is warming or not, we should encourage a shift to more renewable energy sources.

    There are likely others, but I am sure you will find adherents to all of these at least.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HebrewToYou (644998) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:43PM (#30302002)
    It's the content of the correspondence [climate-gate.org] in question that makes the source unreliable. Please click the link and read up on the issue.
  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:43PM (#30302012)
    Two words for you: Al Gore. Moderately wealthy attention-seeking nobody to gazillionaire overnight, flying all over the world in his giant jet to warn everyone about the awful effects of their carbon footprints. As a government contractor, I can say with certainty that there is a huge market for "following the money" to the deepest pockets of all - governments. No climate scare == reduced funding for climate study. If you're a climatologist, there's an obvious benefit to fudging the numbers.
  • Re:Fraud (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HebrewToYou (644998) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:46PM (#30302072)
    Evidence cited by realclimate.org should no longer be considered admissible in this debate. The contributors at that site [climate-gate.org] are not to be trusted. Click the link; read the correspondence of theirs that was leaked. They are not interested in science but rather pushing an agenda.
  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:48PM (#30302120) Journal
    Look [www.ipcc.ch], what's the scientific consensus that we have?
  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:50PM (#30302156)

    Actually, people in Wisconsin seemed pretty freaked out a year or two ago when the Wisconsin river flooded. Especially the ones that had houses washed away.

    God knows the Might Miss never changed her course before global warming, and certainly never will again, if and only if we go all "Pol Pot" on our civilization. And some scientist promised me if I move into a grass hut like he wants, the glaciers will never come again, either.

    You might be thinking of the famous "Lake Delton Disaster", where a manmade dam, which made a pretty nice lake for a couple decades, finally finished washing away, taking quite a few houses with it. Maintenance or lack-thereof is not really global warming related. Probably never should have built a dam there anyway, from what I read, but now we're stuck with one forever.

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:02PM (#30302442) Journal
    That is not a report of consensus, it is a compilation created by a few scientists. Here is a survey that tries to establish a consensus. [eurekalert.org] It is not the only one, there are others. All the surveys that show any type of consensus are very conservative in the questions they ask.
  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Straif (172656) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:03PM (#30302462) Homepage

    Grants can be tightly controlled but are as often as not simply justified by publishing results. If you publish the right results then more grant money is likely to flow in.

    I've had professors in school that were effectively forced to buy new computers for their grant work because they were told that the money HAD to be spent. They didn't need the machines but couldn't find anything else to spend the cash on. Sending back unused grant money is sacrilege akin to not spending your departments projected budget. It doesn't necessarily make sense but it's the way the financial managers of the world like it.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:05PM (#30302488) Homepage
    They ought to be able to use the clean data without need for obfuscation

    And, I might add, they ought to be able to hang onto that clean data so that other people can examine it and see if they can duplicate the results.

  • by Ractive (679038) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:09PM (#30302552) Homepage
    GOOFUS objectively observes that there's not enough data to support that climate change actually exists that i'ts unnatural or that humans have something to do with it.
    GALLANT claims the world is warming as a direct result of human activity, because his associates can profit from paranoia and could use some "dog wagging" from the environmental crimes their companies commit.


    There. Fixed that for you.
  • by Avumede (111087) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:09PM (#30302564) Homepage

    I didn't point you to that site to show you that there's support out there for Mann, but to give info about the controversies in question.

    Your point about not listening to a person defending themselves is not logical. Of course you want to listen to the person defending themselves. How else would you discover the truth of any particular argument? But the fact that they attempt rebut an argument against them is not so surprising, as you point out. The interesting part is how they do it. Is it with facts? With threatening lawsuits? With wild allegations?

    I find the argument coherent and fact-based.

    Also, I find it not likely that Mann is alone defending himself here. RealClimate is more than just Mann, so you shouldn't be concerned that it's just Mann defending his reputation, without other scientists agreeing with him.

  • by Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:11PM (#30302622)

    AGW isn't science, but neither is the competing movement of skeptics. This is all just politics, and the whole thing is awful, and everyone parading around with glee over this controversy is just as guilty of politicizing matters as the people they're lambasting. It's impossible to do proper science when both sides of the argument have become moralistic crusades, and the tainting influence of politics has basically made the entire subject a mish-mash of lies and nonsense on both sides of the equation.

    Neither pride nor gloating have any place in science. Global warming needs to be evaluated solely on the evidence. Skepticism should be applauded wherever it's found, but the entire global warming debate has devolved into nothing but gross factionalism.

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:12PM (#30302634)
    Did you know that Walmart pays most of its employees little more than minimum wage and doesn't provide them with healthcare? We must act now to restore all those mom-and-pop stores which paid their stock boys $60,000 a year and gave them princely health insurance policies!
  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Coriolis (110923) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:14PM (#30302678)
    Seeing as I don't know you from Adam, I'd prefer a well reasoned argument from the data, to "your opinion". I don't have to do better than that, as it would be immense hubris for me to imagine I do could better than the people whose speciality this is. Tell me, who do you consider to be a reliable source?
  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:15PM (#30302706)

    Did they bother to teach you about the timescale over which these geological changes occurred? Or are you simply incapable of grasping that tens of thousands of years is a long time, millions of years is a longer time, and tens or hundreds of millions of years is a very long time indeed?

    Yes, that is exactly the point I was trying to make. Thanks for agreeing with me. Over a long enough time period, human caused global warming is completely swamped into the noise by the extremes of natural change. For example, going all "Pol Pot" on western civilization might make the next ice age come a few years, decades, maybe centuries earlier, or maybe later, who knows, who cares. But, the next ice age is still coming, regardless if we select "Pol Pot" or "Party On". And we'll be buried under volcanic debris again. And we'll be the bottom of an inland sea again. A mere two or three ice age cycles from now, you'd never know the difference between "Pol Pot" and "Party On". Certainly in a couple million years or so, it would be nearly impossible to tell.

    No, wait, don't tell me -- you stopped listening when they mentioned any date before 4004 BC.

    No, those were the conservative kids that thought the earth never changed and never will change because its so young, and they bought into the whole "noble savage"/"garden of eden" rot, and they bought into the whole "original sin" rot that we are all guilty of ruining the world, and had the belief that belief in an authoritarian, fear-mongering religion would "save them", and I'm not talking about Christianity.

  • Re:TEMPORARILY (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:18PM (#30302748) Journal
    OK, you're anonymous, but on the off-chance you'll drop by again, let's talk about this.

    What exactly has been tested and verified? Is it a six degree increase in temperature? No, you won't find any consensus anywhere about that. Has it been verified that the climate simulations are accurate? No, there is significant doubt on that point. Is it that global warming will be harmful to man and the planet? No, the effects of such a warming are largely unknown. Is there a consensus that the cap-and-trade bill in congress is a good thing? No, there aren't many people who believe that, I think.

    The consensus is that the temperature records for the last century or so are roughly accurate, and that CO2 has contributed an unspecified amount to towards increasing that temperature. There is consensus that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will increase temperature. There is no consensus that this increase will be outside of normal variation, or that it will be harmful.

    In addition, there's been some suspicious science going on. Once it becomes a political thing, an 'us' against 'them' thing, then you have to be very careful in your investigation of what's going on. From all appearances, the scientists have become just as involved in the political process. This impairs their capacity to see the situation clearly.
  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:19PM (#30302758)
    You calling them "denialists" does as much to hurt reasonable debate as anything they do.
  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:25PM (#30302848)
    Greenland was never named as such because it was "green." It was named in order to lure colonists who would hear the name and think "Sounds like a nice place. When's the next boat?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:26PM (#30302864)

    The motivations are plentiful, not always practiced in concert (until recently) but have found some common ground in some secret unspoken union of so called concerned citizens of the world

    1) it began as "scientific speculation"
    2) it was then borrowed for enviromental movement and raw political gain
    3) it found additional friends in those who seek to destroy successful economies and social
          systems which have won against the collectivist/totalitarianist interests who know you
          cannot conquer free men and the only way to get over them is to convince them to self
          impose their own decline and their rhetoric was spilled into the pond and used over and
          over
    4) the useful idiot was critical in aiding #3 and proved to be also useful to #1 and 2 and
          some of them occupy positions of power and academia as we now see and have known for
          some time
    5) so called practitioners of science were deluded by their delusions of granduer and self
          importance and of course funding streams, some of them present here
    6) the media, being the lemmings they are not only willingly promoted the psuedo science but
          colluded in the propagation of mis information and intimidation of skeptics

    They should all be publicly flogged

  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kwiqsilver (585008) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:26PM (#30302866)

    Keep it up deniers, Im sure your corporate masters are laughing all the way to the bank while you cry all the way to the grave.
    Yeah...because the mega-corps and super-rich don't make a penny off of the current wave of Chicken Little alarmism. Al Gore isn't poised to become a multibillionaire if Cap-And-Trade becomes law. Western mega-corps won't have complete dominance in commerce if the developing world has to retool its entire production and delivery system to comply with international CO2 limits. Oh wait...that's exactly what will happen. You'll feel very stupid if you ever realize how much the anticorporate movement in the US and Europe plays right into the hands of the companies you're trying to take down.

    So while you "deniers" stick your fingers in your ears, screaming "lalalalala...", so you don't have to acknowledge the thousands of respected scientists who disagree with the Anthropomorphic Global Warming theory or the obvious evidence that all the models failed to predict the past decade of cooling, corrupt cronyists like Gore get richer, and attention is diverted from real environmental issues (farm runoff into rivers, high levels of mercury, lead, and other heavy metals in the food supply, etc) to stopping a gas that is no more dangerous to animals than nitrogen, and incredibly beneficial to plants.
    There have been a few instances in Earth's past where CO2 levels were dramatically higher than they are today, and they were all periods of incredible biodiversity. The world was lush and green, because plant food (i.e. CO2) was so plentiful. And since plants form the basis of the food chain (which is more of a pyramid, wider on the bottom than the top), there was more life at all levels.

    There have also been two periods in western history where global temperatures were significantly higher than today: the Roman Warming Period, and Medieval Warming Period. Rome and London didn't flood under the melted icecap water. Farmland didn't burst into flame destroying all crops. Disease didn't run rampant around the world. In fact quite the opposite happened. Humanity flourished, science advanced quicker, crops were plentiful, disease was lower, the weather was less extreme. Based on what we know of history, if the "science" of Anthropomorphic Global Warming wasn't complete crap, we should all buy Humvees and run them 24/7, to speed things up.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by makomk (752139) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:28PM (#30302898) Journal

    1. They manipulated the peer-review process and controlled it to the point of changing what peer-review meant, freezing out contrary authors, reviewing each others' work, getting editors fired, etc. There's a lot of that kind of manipulation revealed.

    The "changing what peer review meant" was a joke - as demonstrated by the fact they did reference the two papers in the IGCC report that they were talking about what "changing what peer review meant" in order to exclude.

    2. They colluded to avoid the FOIA and deleted emails and threatened to delete data before they would release it under FOIA. This is illegal.

    As far as I can tell, they weren't serious about that, though most of the scientists do seem to be seriously fed up with dubious FOIA requests for data they can't release by people who'll just end up misinterpreting it anyway...

    3. They admitted to manipulating data to 'hide the decline' or 'get rid of the Medieval Warming Period.' I don't have a problem with 'trick' being used. No big deal, but 'hide the decline'? Not good.

    Firstly, not one e-mail talked about getting rid of the Medieval Warm Period. There were e-mails talking about a bogus statement attributed to one scientist in which he said that, but that's it. (Oh, and e-mails about containing the Medieval Warm Period - as in, obtaining temperature data far back enough to cover it in its entirety...)

    Secondly, they did a really good job of "hiding the decline". Publishing about it in the very high-profile journal Nature a decade ago proved a very effective way of keeping it secret. Not. (The "decline" in question is a decline in indirect temperature measurements obtained from the density of tree cores in the high-latitude Northern hemisphere. It's a headache for reasearchers because they know based on other measurements that temperatures haven't actually declined - real cooling would be a different matter entirely...)

    4. They would manipulate the data by simply not adding it, closing a run on an increase, when the subsequent data showed a decline.

    Nope. The issue is not that the subsequent data shows a decline, but that it doesn't match up with other measurements.

    They seem dismayed that the last ten years shows an overall redction in temperature, at one point calling it a travesty and suggesting the data must be wrong.

    Hmmmm? The only thing I've seen called a travesty was the current scientific level of understanding of certain large-scale weather systems. One of the scientists was complaining that it was the coldest year on record where he was and they didn't know why.

    5. Because there were no thermometers 2000 years ago, they use 'proxies' such as tree rings, ice core samples, etc. However, tree ring growth can be caused by wetness and other issues, not just temperature. In ine case they 'proved; warming based on 12 trees in Siberia. When hey went back and measured many more trees, the increase disappeared.

    Yeah, that's a pain for researchers

    But the more damning evidence is in the programs themselves, including REM statements where 'hide the decline' is found numerous times

    All related to Briffa's work on the problem with certain tree rings as temperature measurements since 1960, from what I can tell. Yes, all of them, really. Take a look at the file names.

    data is manually manipulated, and the programs would throw an error and keep on running.

    Sounds about right for scientific code.

    There's one 'Harry Read me' text file where poor Harry is trying to make sense of the code, over several years, and points out many of the flaws.

    Yep. Some ancient legacy code base for an generating an obscure and equally legacy temperature dataset, apparently. (One that's underfunded, I suspect - it's not

  • Re:Science (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ukyoCE (106879) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:28PM (#30302900) Journal

    With so much money behind proving CO2 is NOT harmful, I find it really hard to believe there's a monetary incentive to come to the conclusion that it IS harmful.

    If it was so profitable for alarmists to sound an alarm about totally bogus claims, we'd have a lot more bogus claims out there than just global warming. Sure we have "infinite energy" startups, and every news article has somewhat of an alarmist spin on it. But global warming has been claimed by many scientists for many years. There are still a lot of unknowns I'm sure when making predictions on such a long time scale with so many inputs. So sure, claim they're extrapolating without adequate evidence. Say they're using bad science and point out where.

    But it's a really tough sell to say that ALL global warming research has been intentionally dishonest.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Avumede (111087) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:29PM (#30302924) Homepage

    Your comment only makes sense if you don't believe in science.

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:34PM (#30303014) Homepage Journal

    Oh, I got your point just fine, but it looks like you missed mine. I'll spell it out: humans don't live on geological timescales. The climate change debate is not about what the Earth's climate will be like millions, or tens of thousands, or even thousands of years from now. It's about what it will be like in our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our children. And on that human timescale, things are changing very fast indeed.

    Also ... dude, "Pol Pot?" Seriously? If you think any measure that will ever be taken, or even seriously proposed, to control CO2 emissions is in any way comparable to what the Khmer Rouge did, you are insane.

  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:36PM (#30303064)

    You link to realclimate as a counter-point?

    Have you even read these leaked (not hacked) emails? realclimate is the definition of the word biased here.

  • by Idiomatick (976696) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:46PM (#30303294)
    Warning: Rant ahead

    People keep saying China and India are big polluters but that is TOTAL BS.

    The metric we use is garbage. China has 1.3billion people, US - .3billion, India - 1.1billion. Why in the fuck are we comparing countries as equals for CO2 output? It makes no fucking sense at all. The average Chinese citizen emits less than one-sixth that of the average American. For Indians, the per capita amount is only six percent of the average American. SIX PERCENT and they are called big polluters, fucking ridiculous.
  • by gujo-odori (473191) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:49PM (#30303338)

    No, it's not. There's a smoking gun that they concealed data contrary to their hypothesis in some cases, modified the data to fit the hypothesis in other cases, and actively worked to prevent researchers with differing opinions from:

    1) Analyzing their data
    2) Being published at all.

    The Korean guy was a lot easier to catch because he was only one guy, and he was what one might call an honest liar. He made a bogus publication while supplying all the information necessary to falsify his claims.

    Climate research is dicier because not all that many scientists, really, have access to some of the raw data. Let's say, for example, that I set up a climatological research center. I go take a bunch of ice cores, tree cores, etc. I set up weather stations to record temperatures. I aggregate all this data, then adjust anything that doesn't support my hypothesis. Other researchers at my center and at other places collude with me in doing this. I publish my results.

    Later, somebody wants to double-check my work. I hand over all the data. All the massaged data, that is, while claiming that it's raw. No one questions it too closely b/c after all, why should I lie?

    Plausible? Sure. Did it happen in this case? Don't know. That's why I said it merits investigation. I didn't say climate change research is rigged. I said it might be, there's a smoking gun, and it needs to be scrutinized very closely. There are reputable scientists who have done so and are calling BS on some or all of it, only to have the other side work very hard to prevent them from being heard at all. Rather than attack their arguments, it doesn't want them to be allowed to argue. That's not how science is supposed to work.

    And like you said, if this is bogus, some independent researcher or researchers will find them out. They seem to not want independent researchers to be allowed to fact check them or publish. Could it be that they are in the process of being found out and are trying very hard to prevent it? Maybe. Let all the fact-checking go forward and let any and all scientists who think the pro-GW group is wrong publish. If the anti-GW scientists are wrong, that will become apparent. As you say, that's how science is supposed to work. My contention is that it often doesn't work that way. Science has politics and agendas of its own, driven in large part by the desire for public and private funding, and somewhat by the desire for fame.

    I'm not in disagreement with you about how it's supposed to work. What I'm telling you is that because scientists are human too, it doesn't always work that way. You sound like you are clinging to the "scientists are perfect, and perfectly honest" myth. That Korean geneticist is a perfect example supporting my argument. Thanks for that.

    Is there a political agenda in the global warming debate? Sure. More than one. The pro side certainly has a political agenda, since GW theory is giving them a good excuse to do what they want to do anyway, and they are not going to scrutinize it too closely. The anti side also has a politico-economic agenda because they don't want to do it if it's not actually necessary.

    That's why there needs to be a lot more scrutiny, something which the pro side seeks to suppress. Anytime one side wants to suppress debate, you need to look at their motives. It's kind of like healthcare reform in the US. The pros aren't much interested in debate of what, or even why, action needs to be taken. All the more reason why their should be vigorous and extended public debate.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Avumede (111087) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:54PM (#30303460) Homepage

    If you have a better idea of how to go about believing in something, I'm eager to hear it.

    Here's a few methods that I know don't work:

    1) Believe based on the evidence and arguments you hear. Sounds reasonable, right? Unfortunately, for any field of sufficient complexity, laymen like us don't have the ability to evaluate the evidence and arguments in context, because we are too ignorant. I don't care if this has been your hobby for a few years, or that you are a brilliant person. Unless you actually have a degree in this stuff, you aren't going to be a great judge of arguments.

    2) Believe based on a particular expert. But when there are many experts, there is no reason to believe in any particular one.

    3) Believe based on the personalities involved. Don't trust Al Gore? Logically, it shouldn't make a difference, since many more people are involved beside Al Gore.

    So, please tell me the method you use to believe, that is better than scientific consensus.

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:55PM (#30303470)
    Maybe they will get more funding to carry out more science, but you do know that they don't get to have any of that money, right?

    Sir, you are a moron. Just where do you think the salaries of the professors and graduate students and research assistants doing research into global warming comes from? Grants.

    It is extremely tightly regulated and controlled by the grant providers.

    Unless a grant has money included to buy lots of equipment or rent ship time, the vast majority of the money in a grant is salary. This "tightly controlled" money destined for salary GOES to salary. A certain percentage of the grant goes to "overhead" -- money skimmed right off the top, taken by the University to fund management and physical plant, etc. And to fund professors in stuff like English and History.

    After you reach 100% grant funding for the principal investigator salary, new grants go to fund more students and more research assistants and post-docs. The more students and post-docs a PI has, the more prestige and the bigger his realm. The more overhead he provides to the Uni the more respect and more prestige he's given by the Uni. The more he can demand in offices and lab space.

    Disclaimer: I am a researcher in a university lab.

    So am I, in a college deeply invested in climate research, and 100% of my salary comes from grant money. If we don't get grants to pay me, I don't get paid. If my PI doesn't get grants to pay him, he doesn't get paid. If my PI told the funding agencies "We have solved the question we were looking at" he doesn't get any more grants to study that question. If we were doing AGW research and said "humans aren't the cause", we wouldn't get any of the grants going to find "the solution". We'd be cutting our own throats. We'd be sitting on the unemployment line reading about all the grants going to the researchers like CRU who fudge the numbers so they look like AGW is real.

    About fudging numbers. I've seen what today's grad students are being taught about data processing. If their dataset is supposed to look like a smooth line they will make it look linear, even if that means they throw 90% of it away as "outliers". There is no consideration given to why those points exist, if they don't fit the assumption about what valid data should look like, out they go. There are tools to take a plot that looks ugly and simply point at the data you want to go away, and it does. Magically, their dataset matches the prediction.

    I remember very well one of the emails coming from NCAR a few years ago, trumpeting the fact that they'd made a small change to the hockeystick model and the upswing in predicted temperatures got much larger. There was no physical reality to the parameter they changed. It didn't make the hindcast fit better. It just made the scare factor bigger, so the result was BETTER!

    Being right has nothing to do with success, being able to create a desire for your particular kind of research does. "We're all going to die unless..." works better at the latter than "we understand the issue and it isn't serious".

    Why are people so ready to claim "follow the money" when the money comes from oil companies, and then claim that money has nothing to do with it when it appears in the pockets of the people doing the research?

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raddan (519638) * on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:04PM (#30303616)
    "invented global warming"? I hate to break it to you, guy, but the Greenhouse Effect [wikipedia.org] was discovered in the 1850's, with people like Callendar [wikipedia.org] pointing to anthropogenic sources in the 1930's. Nearly ALL of the early global warming researchers believed that this phenomena would be a net positive, so their research was far from a scare tactic. The effect was noticeable enough by the 1960's that researchers from separate disciplines (i.e., not climate scientists) began to notice the trend independently.

    There is a huge amount of data that supports the claim that the planet is warming. The data is unequivocal. The cause of this warming, and whether is is anthropogenic or not, has been a major research focus for more than 40 years. Your claim that there's this cabal of scientists conspiring to brainwash the general public into believing in a theory of anthropogenic warming is ludicrous. Do you know how many people you're talking about?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:06PM (#30303658)

    For scientists it is about getting funding to keep up the research and world wide field trips to prove global warming. For all the Hollywood celebrities its the new hot cause to back since public interest in AIDS has subsided. They are flying their large private jets to Copenhagen right now.
    For politicians and economists it is about trying to create a new industry, taxation system, and bureaucracy. Al Gore himself has over 200 million invested in green ventures ("carbon credits"): http://newsbusters.org/node/11149
    If the global warming hype subsides a lot of government big shots will lose their investments. Their green industry companies currently depend on government subsidies to survive, and will only boom if the requirement for carbon credits becomes law.

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jtdennis (77869) <oyr249m02@[ ]akemail.com ['sne' in gap]> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:07PM (#30303672) Homepage

    I was always taught that this was how science worked. If your "results" can't be duplicated, then it's not proving anything.
    By the same token, if you hide the data so it can't be duplicated, then the "results" should be thrown out and the work redone.

  • Re:Science (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:09PM (#30303716) Journal

    These "deniers" are trying to get a massive gain: The truth.

    BS. They have much to gain from denying AGW. Truth doesn't factor into the profit equation here.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nutria (679911) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:16PM (#30303842)

    The level of noise has everything to do with the precision of the instruments that you're using to measure your system.

    A point which I have not overlooked.

    Do you know the precision of ground-based weather stations? Also, I seriously doubt that tree-ring and ice-core data can be accurate down to the tenth of a degree.

    These are two very basic Science 101 concepts, and if you're struggling to understand these, I must question your ability to understand something as vastly complicated as climate science.

    I do understand them, and should have taken into account temperatures below "zero". My other reply in this thread points out out that using Kelvin makes things even worse. [slashdot.org]

  • by Marcika (1003625) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:18PM (#30303896)

    All your link does it point out that Federal research funding increased from 1.85 billion to 1.99 billion ANNUALLY, (and tries to make it sound like the poor little researchers are struggling to get by).

    Okay, now include inflation into your calculation. In the period from 1993 to 2004, US price inflation was 29.8%. So if you adjust the 1993 number for inflation, you will see that in real terms, the funding for climate research actually decreased by more than $400mn (OMG BIG NUMBER)!

    Do you even have the slightest hint how much 1.99 billion dollars is?

    I do indeed know. It is about one-twentieth of the annual net income of ExxonMobil, which in turn represents a tiny fraction of total profits of oil/coal vested interests. (Less polemically: the salary of about 20,000 people, not even including the equipment they need.)

    I really don't think some people understand what the 'B' in billion represents.

    Flamebait.

  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:33PM (#30304132) Homepage Journal

    For example, going all "Pol Pot" on western civilization

    You've used this fanciful expression several times now.

    So, you consider replacing fossil fuels with renewable and nuclear energy to be the moral equivalent of the Killing Fields?

    Can you show us any evidence that you are not a moron? And, if you can, please make sure to include a link to your data, because some of us are going to be a little hard to convince.

  • Re:Politics (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:33PM (#30304136) Homepage
    I'd call that denialism and spin in its purest form. The plain fact is that the emails revealed the extent to which the "Hockey Team" were prepared to pervert data, methods, peer review and the scientific method in order to get the result they wanted.

    And Realclimate is the propaganda front for the justification of all of those offences, as their own emails reveal.
  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 2short (466733) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:38PM (#30304246)
    "... Al Gore, and his fellow investors, who are positioned to make billions of dollars through the absurd selling and trafficking in carbon credits."

    How exactly are you imagining Al Gore stands to make billions on carbon credits? Does he have a secret stockpile he will be selling? That would certainly be absurd. "trafficking" certainly sounds nefarious, but I'm not sure I see how that's going to happen... pass a law creating carbon credits, stockpile them, then outlaw them so he can absurdly sell them on the black market?

    Seriously though, skipping past your loaded language, you appear to think Al Gore stands to make money when cap-and-trade goes into effect in some way not available to others. I don't see it.
  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:39PM (#30304252) Journal

    Ironically many of the "may I see the data" and other FOIA requests were turned-down because the CRU claimed copyright over the data. How convenient. Of course now the data is leaked, and we can see why they refused to share it. It had nothing to do with copyright - the leaked data reveals the published papers were fudging the numbers.

    Oh and yes there are big dollars in favor of global warming

    - like GE (owner of NBC, USA, Syfy, NBC Europe, NBC Asia, and so on). They would lose billions of dollars they've invested in green technology.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:41PM (#30304290)

    Apparently, your simple reliable science can't account for the last decade of no warming.

    And how convenient for you that you can't prove a negative because it leaves you free to assert pretty much anything.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:44PM (#30304350)

    Their careers and livelihoods are only improved if they are right (through recognition maybe getting them a better job at a better uni or something).
     

    I'm surprised that you think that, being a researcher, because you should know that's not true at all. How do you get paid? Who pays the salaries of the scientists and for the lab equipment while you are proving that you are right?

    A scientist will certainly advance himself by being right, but how many scientists in the field of climate change have proven anything? They've stated some interesting facts which seem to point toward a conclusion. Ask yourself how much money there is out there for climate change research, and then ask yourself how many of the scientists in that field have proven their theories are right?

    I honestly do not know if climate change is happening due to human influences. Presumably at a certain level of human activity, we definitely would affect climate. The question is whether that is happening now, if so, what is causing it, and can we then combat it.

    I want the answers to those questions, if there is a threat. The problem is right now, I don't want to hear that someone is removing inconvenient data to cut corners and make it easier for themselves to get grant money. They are getting paid to explain those things they are removing, not to ignore them.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rho (6063) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:59PM (#30304582) Homepage Journal

    Study on the matter and come to a conclusion yourself.

    Unless you actually have a degree in this stuff, you aren't going to be a great judge of arguments.

    This is nonsense, because we do this all the time. And those with degrees do not always judge correctly either.

    It's a thinking person's responsibility to look into all of these important issues and come to their own conclusions. You're perfectly welcome to punt and let somebody else make the decision for you, but you shouldn't feel good about it.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:21PM (#30304938)

    Right alongside the other fools that believe the opposite things without using an ounce of reason to come to their conclusions.

    Despite your world view, being ignorant is not limited to only those people with whom you disagree.

  • Re:Hockey guy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:32PM (#30305070) Journal
    When they tell me that all throughout the history of life on Earth up until 1960, trees grew rings at a specific rate in relation to temperature, and that in 1960 when datalogging was invented the trees suddenly stopped behaving in this way, I have questions about that. When they use that as a reason to add .5c to a calibrated instrument measurement made today, I have a problem with that. When they claim these adjustments that create an AGW signal not present in the raw data are necessary for good justifiable reasons that they can't show us the math for, well, that is not science.
  • by jbeach (852844) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:32PM (#30305078) Homepage Journal
    Suggesting it might be better, based on scientific evidence, if industries didn't pollute in certain ways is NOT going "Pol Pot".

    Let me refresh your memory:

    Climate scientists suggest that if we reduce the amount of sulfates, we'll have less acid rain. Sulfates reduced; the amount of acid rain shrinks.

    Climate scientists suggest that aerosols are hurting the ozone layer, and point to an actual growing hole in the ozone layer. We reduce aerosols, the hole in the ozone layer shrinks.

    I'm not at all suggesting climate scientists are infallible - they should be questioned like anyone else.

    But to suggest that reasonable restrictions on companies that produce pollution is "going Pol Pot?" FFS.

    Maybe you're right, in a way - Midwesterners may tend not to believe pollution can damage the environment, if they live somewhere that's untouched by industrial waste. If that's the case, they should go live in New Jersey for a while.
  • by jbeach (852844) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:40PM (#30305190) Homepage Journal
    Just because Federal-funded research **may** be influenced by Federal $, does NOT mean that corporate-funded research is clean. If anything, Federal-funded research is more likely to be clean IF ONLY because the Federal government is ultimately beholden to the voters, whereas companies are only beholden to their stockholders, if at all.
  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:42PM (#30305218) Homepage
    Exactly. If the AGW fanatics were as sure of their position as they claim to be, they'd publish their raw data and the source code to their programs so that everything can be reviewed, recompiled and verified. The fact that they've done everything they can including, apparently, deleting the raw data speaks volumes about their lack of confidence.
  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kinkozmasta (1140561) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:47PM (#30305292)

    not going to change my mind.

    And here in lies my major problem with you. Your hole post is a bunch of hand-waving and innuendo, but you don't actually back up anything you say.

    The planet's climate has changed before, drastically and at very high rates of change, much much quicker and more dramatically than what is going to happen in the next 91 years (according to models).

    Here are some questions you need to consider (and answer) if you want to have a convincing post:

    • And what were the consequences of those changes and were there people around when those changes occurred?
    • Care to give a citation for those models? You act as if all the models concur with your beliefs, but you don't even cite one that does.
    • What is so magical about 91 years. What about 100, 200, 300 years.

    Those dramatic changes happened without man burning fossil fuels. Younger Dryas and the defrosting after happened without AGW. Ice ages came and went without it being man's fault. Are we going to have a glacial lake Missoula ravaging Oregon/Washington/Idaho every 50 years from AGW.

    It's hard to figure out exactly what your point is, but the best I can tell it's, "climate has changed dramatically without people, why bother caring about it". I strongly suspect most people who believe in AGW understand full well that climate changes with or without humans. The difference is we care if the next major shift in climate happens on the order of hundreds of years versus thousands of years. The longer we have I can only hope the more technology we will have to adapt to the situation no matter what causes the outcome. Not even considering that humans ALSO contribute to an instability and increase in global warming is irresponsible and simply sticking your head in the sand as your first sentence illustrates perfectly.

    no, in the grand scheme of climate change during the history of man, this is minor.

    Wow, I'm glad we have you here to tell us what is and what isn't minor. The point you seem to be missing in your statements is that modern civilization was not around during the last major climate changes. We currently don't know how to cope with any major changes in weather patterns, sea level and other effects that could severely alter the shape and availability of resources around the world. We don't know when or how dramatic these changes will be, but the best your attitude can accomplish is "we'll deal with it when it comes". For many of us this attitude just doesn't cut it. The lives of millions or even billions of people are at stake. Simply saying

    the US would gain vast amounts of land, good farmland

    is totally meaningless. Sure that's one possibility, although I have a hard time actually believing it is the most likely. Even so you totally ignore the vast amount of time it takes for a culture to adapt to new resources and economic systems. For example, the US has been trying to transition to a services based economy (away from agriculture and manufacturing) for decades now and it has left a large percent of the population totally behind. It is at least in part one of the reasons for the recession since a virtually unprecedented amount of our economy and wealth is wrapped up in the financial sector. So, yeah I fail to see how your argument that the US might get more farmland would be a good thing.

    Because thats what we are talking about with stopping climate change, terraforming the world to a "perfect" point in time.

    You may be talking about that but that's not what I hope most of us are talking about. What we are talking about is being responsible and understanding that what we do has consequences. Sometimes those actions are necessary and we have to live by those consequences, but at the very least we want to know before hand what those consequences are. Because we don't know for certain what those consequences are, and there is at least some evidence of negative consequences, some people are basically saying, "maybe we should scale back our actions until we know more".

  • by RJBeery (956252) <rjbeery&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:32PM (#30305844)
    I find it delicious that you were modded funny when I suspect your post was sincere. How can you be so blind as to not see the motivation behind AGW proponents? Economically, the CRU itself has received tens of millions in grant money and I've read that the US Gov't has spent tens of BILLIONS over the decades in AGW inspired research, development, grants, etc. Politically, it's a tool to grant a moral high-ground to unproductive countries which is why it is so popular with anti-consumerists and Socialists. Have you never heard of the calls for exemptions on CO2 emissions for China, et al? What about some South American countries (recently and specifically the President of Brazil) proclaiming that "the Gringos should pay" for the deforestation occurring in their forests?

    After further thought I suspect you are willfully blind or simply a shill trying to paint the AGW movement as an altruistic and unpolitical one.
  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kinkozmasta (1140561) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @09:03PM (#30306126)

    It's quite clear how he would become a multibillionaire. He started a company that does nothing but buy and sell carbon credits.

    No it is not. Here is an article from someone who shares your own view also responding to my post. http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssEnergyNews/idUSL0490971420080604 [reuters.com] He has a 9.6% stake (~$12M) in a company whose total worth is estimated at ~$120M. The value of the company would have to increase its value by more than 100 for him to reach billionaire status. Not impossible, but hardly a slam dunk.

    I also never said he was more influential than multi-billion dollar industries.

    No you just implied it.

    However he is one of the most influential people in the world in terms of environmental policy.

    So what?

    Incorrect. The cost of doing business in the developed world is more expensive than in the undeveloped world. The western factories are steadily losing ground to the Daewoos and Tatas of the world. Their profits (adjusted for inflation) are shrinking. They have a few choices: compete from a position that is inferior in the long term, level the playing field by getting rid of wealth destroying laws like western income taxes and minimum wages (which the economically ignorant would never let happen), or use the fear of the scientifically ignorant to pressure the developing nations to level the playing field the other way. These are the same mega-corps that promote ideas like mandatory worker health benefits, minimum wage, and complicated tax accounting rules. Sure it costs them money, but it costs their small scale competitors a greater amount (in relative terms), so they win. If the American corporations didn't want greater regulation and global environmental treaties, why did they give record amounts of money to the Obama campaign? It certainly wasn't because he wanted to make the US a capitalist country again.

    What??? I can barely even parse what you are saying, but what ever it is it doesn't make any sense.

    make the US a capitalist country again.

    . Huh? What do you mean again? Are those your true colors shining through?

    Astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas Statistician Stephen McIntyre Professor Habibullo Abdussamatov Geologist Astrid Lyså Prof. Roy Spencer, NASA scientist Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT a few dozen here...including an IPCC member. these 32 000 guys.

    So I'm basically right. A few dozen respected scientists and a several thousand pulled off the internet.

    and these 32 000 guys. That should be enough people to show there is no "consensus" on global warming.

    Lol "31,486 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs " Wow a ringing endorsement there. I'm glad that's all it takes to convince you.

    The "trend", as you call it, is a decade long...so far,

    No it's not. Look at the graph.

    and it's projected to last another few decades

    By who?

    Wow, so the IPCC, known for ignoring science and falsifying data says it was only warm in Europe. Shocking!

    And what evidence do you have that proves their claims are false. A couple of news articles, which are of course well know for their ability to accurately report on science. So you/they claim GISS falsified data once so that invalidates all data ever produced by the institution? Do you have better data that shows what you claim, if so why haven't you posted it.

    The problem most of us "deniers" (i.e. adherents to the scientific method)

    Right, so convincing a statement right after this one:

    If AGW can be considered a scientific theory, and Al Gore can get a Nobel Prize f

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:26PM (#30306736) Journal
    "I am not sure where you are getting the 2,500 number"

    Here is the first reputable reference [ucsusa.org] I found with a simple google search. Skip down to the section on peer-review (para 3). Note that not one of these scientists (including the handfull of lead aurthors) are paid to do this tedious and thankless job. The ippc has a budget of $5-6M /yr which is sourced from ~300 politically diverse nations (all hypnotised by Al Gore apparently). They have 2 or 3 permenant staff and the rest is spent on airfares and confrence facilities, etc, their budget is available on their website for the genuinely curious.

    The ippc reports of which I only posted the latest summary, is widely regarded by scientists as one of the most robust reviews of any scientific question in the history of mankind. Virtually every national scientific body on the planet is represented.

    And please stop cherry-picking data to suit your predetermined conclusions, it insults both of our intelligences.
  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:35PM (#30306804) Homepage Journal

    >>Then watch a dozen or so different lectures and tell me if the precautionary principle doesnt say to you that its a fair bet

    If you look at the Medieval Warming Period vs the Little Ice Age, the precautionary principle would instead argue for a slight (0.5C to 1C) positive anomaly. A little bit of extra cold is much worse for humanity than a little bit of extra hot.

    Then again, any arguments made using the precautionary principle are stupid.

  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @04:55AM (#30308466)

    You, sir (or madam), are not a scientist. All the time is data not released, due to constraints by whoever is funding the research.

    This is not a "perversion", simply a sad fact. The important thing is that methods are published so others can reproduce (or not) the results.

    And seeing the kind of stupidity flying around climate change, I fully understand guys for not desiring to have unprocessed data around which _will_ get quoted out of context but nutcases.

    I will add that when raw data is anomalous, does not match with the expected result, etc. it is normal to try and correct it based on your understanding of what might have gone wrong. And you call that a "trick".

  • by huckamania (533052) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:18AM (#30308550) Journal

    If it were only that simple. What the emails reveal, and what skeptics have been saying for a long time, is that the science is not independent, not reproducible and relies on the same flawed data sets and models used over and over, not multiple lines of evidence. In reality, the ice caps melt during summer and refreeze during winter and the arctic has increased in the last two years, in spite of the dire predictions of an ice free summer. The last 10 years is not the hottest on any records, not even the flawed ones, and is hardly unprecedented.

    The hacked emails/data/code reveal plenty of disturbing things and in reality there is much more that has already come out that points to an even wider and more egregious perversion of science. It takes some serious cojones to use a data set that is known to diverge from the only unequivocal temperature record. You can't just hand wave the skeptics away by saying that the authors gave you a note allowing you to drop the data points that don't match up with your hypothesis ,everything after 1960, and which go a long way in raising doubts about their significance prior to 1960.

    Your side is being routed at this point and it is only going to get worse. Wait until the public learns how the current temperature data sets are being massaged, using only a few stations, sometimes hundreds of miles apart, and averaging for the most increase. How the rise in temperature is predominantly in areas that have no thermometers. How one small part of Antarctica that is warming has been overlaid over all of Antarctica to present the worst possible scenario.

    You are right about the laws of physics, but you are sadly mistaken if you think this is a tempest in a teapot.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by secondhand_Buddah (906643) <secondhand.buddah@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:52AM (#30308682) Homepage Journal
    Yes but will it? Or will it simply get glossed over? It will be interesting to observe how this finally pans out. If this is actually a scientific precedent and not a political one, I expect to see new findings based on the research, else it will surely indicate that political manipulation was actually the objective all along.

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