subscribe to Friday night comedy, in particular the Now show. Last week (i.e. 27th November) it had the most wonderful skit imagining what exactly the supposedly dastardly Climate Change Conspiracists are up to in planning a 20 year fraud in order to .. . enjoy some meetings in Copenhagen, with pastries and biscuits. Please subscribe, now, you cannot regret it.

As the brilliant satirists of the Now show point out, the last serious scientific organisation to come over to AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) was in 2007.

Paul has a brilliant video on the subject over at Bad Conscience. What I find terrifying is (a) hearing Rush Limbaugh’s voice for the first time and (b) how easily they convince themselves that the whole thing can be a conspiracy.  The narrator has a great point: Limbaugh denies that the emails could be a hoax, but has no problem with millions of scientific points of data being faked, and the vast majority of the scientists in on it.

Repeat many times.  Conspiracy Theorists Are Fools.

UPDATE: I meant to add details but, well, I didn’t.  (Kids have about 3 parties a weekend  this time of year.  I’m a taxi driver)

First detail: the Times has the depressing news that this kerfuffle is forcing the Met Office to re-examine 160 years of data.  This fight has had real repercussions.

Second detail: the Economist did a good job explaining what the scientists were actually emailing about.

The CRU specialises in studies of climates past. For parts of the past where there were no thermometers to consult, such studies use proxy data, such as tree rings. Reconstructions based on these tend to show that the planet’s temperature has risen over the 20th century to heights unprecedented for centuries and perhaps millennia. They are far from the only evidence for believing in climate change as a man-made problem, but they are important, and the sharp uptick they show has taken on iconic value. . .

and this may be of interest to Ben (commenting below)

And the idea of anthropogenic climate change rests on a great deal more than just tree-ring records, useful as they are for providing context to the current warming.

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7 thoughts on “If you were to subscribe to one podcast

  1. Point 1: Are the emails hoax?

    Particular emails have been authenticated by correspondents and people who had seen them before.

    On the other hand, it seems no-one from CRU has said they are fake or hoax. No-one.

    So I think you have to accept that they are genuine.

    Point 2: Are the vast majority of scientists in on a conspiracy?

    No. No-one has said they are.

    The vast majority haven’t even looked at the evidence because they work in different areas which have nothing to do with climate science. The cabal, if such it is, is around 40 people, most of whom are accused of nothing more than *taking their colleagues word for it* and supporting them without knowing what they were up to.

    People accused of manipulating data, and scientific misconduct can be counted on one hand, as far as I can tell.

    The problem is that everyone in the world has been taking their word for it, rather than insisting on reproducibility and access to data and methods. And now it looks, to a lot of people, a lot like they were cheating all along.

    Positing a conspiracy of five people is not an extra-ordinary claim requiring extra-ordinary evidence. It should be enough to have, say, copies of emails of them conspiring.

  2. The point about CRU being a hoax was not that. It was how Limbaugh was very quick to dismiss the idea for the very same reason all of us sane enemies of conspiracy theories do: that people cannot organise to supress information or confuse millions like it’s a bad 1950s scifi movie. Sure. But apply that logic to the whole global-warming-is-a-conspiracy theory.

    On the subject of which, do you HONESTLY believe the whole climate change theory rests on what 40 people in East Anglia report on tree rings from Siberia years ago? Since you are clearly keen to read more mockery of this, here is Monbiot arguing about what you would NEED to read to find that ‘it’ is all a conspiracy

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/nov/23/global-warming-leaked-email-climate-scientists

    It goes back 185 years. There are university departments all over the world dealing with this. The scientific departments of many companies and governments. There is theory, and measurement.

    There may well be enormous uncertainty, melodramatic overstatement in places, pious and sanctimonuous bilge in others. The only thing that is unlikely to exist is a large conspiracy to make it all up.

    And watch the video. The “trick” was not about hiding data.

  3. “There may well be enormous uncertainty, melodramatic overstatement in places, pious and sanctimonuous bilge in others. The only thing that is unlikely to exist is a large conspiracy to make it all up. ”

    Yes, quite. I specifically said there was no “large conspiracy”. Since you are keen to set up a straw man and knock him down, have fun.

  4. I guess where I should have been more clear is in the importance of your phrase “everyone in the world was taking their word for it”. I doubt very much that the theories or evidence of just 40 people can have been decisive for a policy area which looks set to dominate a chunk of the economy and tens of thousands of scientists. I suspect most scientists are natural sceptics, and don’t use the argument from authority, particularly if that authority is based somewhere in East Anglia.

    But whatever. We all agree AGW is not some huge conspiracy. Some of the scientists behind it get a bit enthusiastic. None of them have gone back on what they believe is actually happening.

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