Climategate Update: Congressional Edition

|

Not a fair and balanced cartoon

As we all know, various panels have absolved Climategateers of any conscious wrongdoing. They did not mean to "hide the decline" or play fast and loose with tree ring data. Perhaps addled by the impending end of the world, they were a bit over-enthusiastic about tryiing to suppress contradictory data. But all is now forgiven. Maybe not.

The New York Times reports that if the Republicans manage to gain a majority in the House of Representatives this fall, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who will head up the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is promising to take another look at how global temperature data sets are compiled. According to the Times:

"I do have a backburner investigation that I'm going to want to have completed, and that is, we paid a lot of money to have international evaluation, most of it done in Britain, that turns out to have been less than truthful in some of the figures," he said. "We're going to want to not investigate to get our money back, but we're going to want to have a do-over of good numbers so that everyone can have confidence."

The disputed climate data became the subject of heated controversy last year when hackers released e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England. Climate skeptics pointed to the e-mails as evidence that prominent scientists tried to inappropriately manipulate and suppress raw climate data and silence their critics.

Investigative panels in Britain and the United States have since cleared researchers of any wrongdoing, but some Republican lawmakers remain unconvinced.

"For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data, then people negotiate and discuss and hypothecate from that data," Issa said. "If the raw data's in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn't exist. I want settled science."

In general, congressional hearings are usually just "show trials" that aim to justify the committee chairman's preconceived point of view, e.g., Henry Waxman. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that the folks at Climatic Research Unit in the U.K. who are at the center of the controversy will consent to appear before the committee. Nevertheless, here's hoping that Issa will seek a wide variety of views on how climate data sets are constructed.

The whole New York Times article is here.

NEXT: One More Reason to Hate on Sesame Street

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Issa doesn’t have to drag the non-FTP site understanding British doofuses in front of Congress, There are enough of these charlatans running around over here to line them up out the door to have an excellent dog and pony show as they explain statistical manipulations, horrendous computer code, tree ring studies that make phrenology look like a solid theory, and why an obscure little NASA group that’s working on peripheral data sifting that doesn’t directly support any NASA ops rate plush office space in the heart of Manhattan, and how that same bunch, instead of working on the Government assigned and funded tasks instead used their work hours to maintain a private web site used as a blunt object to whack skeptics over the head with. Hansen, Schmidt, Mann – all three of these guys need to be raked over the coals on C-Span for a couple of days. And then some. Bolo would be a good option also.

    1. Most excellently put, Mr. Rider

    2. I nominate Mr. Wind Rider for the post of Special Assistant to Oversight and Government Reform Committee for the climategate hearings. Do I hear a second?

      1. 2nd. This question is now settled.

        1. Thirded. Or whatever.

          Get ye to Washington, sir Wind Rider. If there is any chance to getting those NASA fellows to sit in front of cameras and explain why they’ve been pissing away tax payer money on non-NASA related operations let’s do it.

        2. 2nd.

          I call for the question.

          Note: you bitches need to learn the Rogers Rules of Order.

          1. Screw your rules

  2. Investigative panels in Britain and the United States have since cleared researchers of any wrongdoing[…]

    As they should, otherwise the interested parties would not get their money’s worth.

    1. This. The performance of the “investigators” has convinced many that AGW (or whatever its labeled now) is an obvious scam.

    2. Obviously, their exoneration is just more evidence of their guilt.

      1. Re: Tony,

        Obviously, their exoneration is just more evidence of their guilt.

        Of course – remember O.J.???

      2. After five independent investigations, all of which concluded there was no wrongdoing at CRU, Ronald believes we need . . . more investigations.

        How many more? At what point do we stop hounding these people? Is it too much to ask that Ronald tell us exactly why he believes FIVE independent investigations were flawed? I would be surprised if he’s even read them.

        1. At what point do we stop hounding these people?

          When they stop hounding us.

          1. You’re saying Phil Jones should retaliate by investigation you?

          2. Actually, this is rather revealing. “When they stop hounding us.” I’m fairly sure CRU hasn’t repeatedly investigated you, or anyone else commenting at Reason.

            I can only conclude you really meant to say “when they stop saying things we don’t want to hear”.

            1. Your conclusions are wrong. “Hounding” refers to the only consistent ‘consensus’ that the AGW group puts forth: The need to take people’s money for the purposes of avoiding an ‘environmental catastrophe’, the likes of which keep changing, depending on what politically favored groups are ‘invested’.

              Again, separate the scientific funding, and eliminate any calls for taxes and regulation, and then the viability of the data, as well as the discussion of the possible effects, will have no ‘profit motive’ to sully the results.

        2. Five useless investigations.

          Oh, and here’s a review of the 5 investigations that doesn’t seem to validate the ‘consensus’.

          But the need to take people’s money to ‘save the world’ will most likely continue.

          1. Apogee,

            The “review” is sourced primarily from The Guardian and anti-global warming site climateaudit, is full of typos, and gets most everything wrong. Did you read it?

            1. So, does poor sourcing, like the IPCC, mean that the material should be abandoned?

              If that’s so, then the poor sourcing of the AGW material should completely eliminate it from serious discussion.

              Or do you, like the IPCC, merely cherry-pick so that you can pretend that skeptics get ‘everything wrong’?

              Strange – people defending a ’cause’ that will make them obscene profits.

              You want AGW research taken seriously? Then remove any talk of taxes or regulation, and separate the grant system entirely. Then people will know it’s not a scam.

        3. “Independent”. Rilly?

  3. But, but, but…peer review, peer review. The science to tax you is settled.

  4. “For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data, then people negotiate and discuss and hypothecate from that data,” Issa said. “If the raw data’s in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn’t exist. I want settled science.”

    So do I, since real science [i.e. the discovery process] is simply too shifty to provide ideological certainty. I am pretty sure phlogiston advocates wanted settled science… makes pundintry much easier.

    1. Sorry, punditry… I have thick fingers, small-keyed keyboard…

      1. Pundirty is funnier–missed opportunity.

  5. Hypothecate? The scientists want to put up their data as loan collateral?

    Is this Freudian?

  6. sometimes you have to read the second definition…

    speculate: to believe especially on uncertain or tentative grounds; “Scientists supposed that large dinosaurs lived in swamps”

    1. I am familiar with the proper operation of reference materials. The second definition I saw said “to put in pledge by delivery, as stocks given as security for a loan.” What’s your source?

      Anyway, it was supposed to be a joke, i.e. like grant seeking.

      1. actually, I didn’t get the joke…but it’s quite funny as you’ve explained it.

        second definition from Princeton online dictionary…(hence Ivy knows)

        http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=hypothecate

  7. You would think that scientists would be disgusted at the politicization of their field by a bunch of clueless politicians and unelected bureaucrats. Too bad there’s no time to be disgusted when there are sweet government research grants to be won. What a bunch of intellectual whores.

    1. Many are also scared shitless (by their own confession). Much of the time, it’s about coming up with an angle about AGW in the work, more than making the work all about AGW.

      Doesn’t make it any better, but you can be sure many are simply trying to wait out the madness, rather than face academic and funding retaliation.

      As an example, a certain UCLA professor, James Engstrom, comes to mind. That universities have become exceedingly authoritarian in their treatment of un-PC thought is understood by anyone seeking to make a living in that system.

  8. By “wide variety of views” do we mean anyone who isn’t a fundmentalist, orthodox, man is evil and western civilization the cause of all things bad in the world kind of scientist or in Al Gore’s case an opportunist and rent seeker.

  9. am lovin this. one group looking how to cook the books and set up a surefire way to get there, another group looking to get everybody to chill and is coldly designing their studies, too.

  10. “In general, congressional hearings are usually just “show trials” that aim to justify the committee chairman’s preconceived point of view”

    How coincidental. That’s exactly what the investigations which ‘exonerated’ the CRU were.

  11. Congressional hearings would be a lot more effective if representatives knew how to shut up and listen, rather than ask a 4 minute question for a 30 second answer.

  12. Ronald, perhaps you could tell us exactly what data CRU was attempting to suppress. It would be nice to have a source to go along with the accusation. You know, the kind of thing a real journalist would do.

    Reveal to us your secret insights into the wrongdoings of the world’s scientists. Please.

  13. Whether there was deliberate wrongdoing or not is almost completely irrelevant.

    The fact is, the collected raw data was deleted. So the decisions the CRU (in the UK) and NASA (here in the US) made in adjusting the data to create the current instrumental record cannot be checked for reasonableness and accuracy. So we have no reliable global instrumental record prior to December 1979. And as a result, we don’t have a long enough reliable instrumental data baseline to calibrate any proxies for historical temperatures, either.

    The result is, we have literally no scientifically usable global climate data going back before December 1979. It is accordingly impossible for an ethical scientist to say, “The world is warmer now than it was in 1978”. He doesn’t have any verifiable global data from 1978, so he can’t reach that conclusion.

    That’s the current state of climate “science”. It’s a field with lots of cute models, and not enough actual data to tell us anything. And the field doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to gather together the raw temperature data records necessary to actually do its job.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.