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Author Topic: Global Warming Research Center Hacked
d'Yer
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@TomDavidson: (I know your comment was not directed at me, but I thought I'd reply)

Why not be openly skeptical, I'd say its unhealthy to be anything less than hesitant when faced with such dire scenarios.(continents falling into the sea, global flooding etc..)

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Gaoics79
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quote:
FWIW, I recall that you were openly skeptical of those experts well before the emails were leaked.
I am not surprised that you think that, since I was always critical of using dogma and ad hominem attacks in place of reasoned debate. However, that pertains to the tactics employed, not to the underlying truth of AGW. On that latter point I was nominally on board with AGW, or perhaps agnostic. These e-mails do push me more into the skeptic camp now.
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G2
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quote:
The Met Office plans to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by leaked e-mails.

The new analysis of the data will take three years, meaning that the Met Office will not be able to state with absolute confidence the extent of the warming trend until the end of 2012.

Great news for those that insist on transparency and that we follow the scientific method because:
quote:


The Met Office database is one of three main sources of temperature data analysis on which the UN’s main climate change science body relies for its assessment that global warming is a serious danger to the world. This assessment is the basis for next week’s climate change talks in Copenhagen aimed at cutting CO2 emissions.

<snip>

The Met Office’s published data showing a warming trend draws heavily on CRU analysis. CRU supplied all the land temperature data to the Met Office, which added this to its own analysis of sea temperature data.

However, the pro-AGW forces still want the "science" to be "right":
quote:
The Government is attempting to stop the Met Office from carrying out the re-examination, arguing that it would be seized upon by climate change sceptics.
You know what will be seized upon by climate change skeptics? Refusing to allow the re-examination simply because it would be seized upon by climate change skeptics.
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Mariner
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So when it comes right down to it, explaining requires a choice between going over the heads of the audience (which defeats the purpose) or oversimplifying things (often to the point of making statements that are of more metaphorical than actual veracity, which defeats the purpose in a different way). Ideally, the audience would be interested and receptive and have a base level of scientific understanding. However, it's not always easy to tell, and so one usually has to ask some questions and/or make some assumptions about what one's audience is capable of absorbing, which almost inevitable comes off as patronizing. (People are frequently extremely resistant to the idea that someone else knows more than they do, especially in the age of ignorant arrogance that comes with Google University.)
The other choice is to essentially dumb things down so that everyone (even Al Gore) can understand them. The problem with this is that once you have done that, the things you say aren't exactly true anymore. Which leads to a certain amount of defensive behavior, especially when people who don't even come close to understanding the underlying science start accusing you of lying for personal gain.


I can sympathize with that argument, but I'm not sure that I can agree with it. Maybe it's just me and my background (being an engineer rather than a pure scientist, having spent plenty of time doing chemistry shows and demos and lectures to kids, etc), but it is my experience that you can sufficiently explain research to the general public without sacrificing much. No, you're not going to get into the nitty gritty details or the calculations or whatever. Yes, you're going to have to get people to accept some things on faith because of that. But you should be able to explain enough to lead people through all the major logical steps involved. You should be able to explain enough to ease any concerns. Look at how popular Stephen Hawking's books are. There are thousands, perhaps millions of people who are not in any way experts in the higher forms of physics, but can follow the general gist of what he's saying. Sure, if anything he's saying is wrong, we'd have no idea what or how to prove it. But there are other people who do know, and can explain it in just the same way.

That's not what I see with climate science. Some of the basics have been explained in great detail, in a way I think any reasonably educated person can understand. But a lot of it isn't. Conveniently enough, that's the part that isn't as well understood. Likewise, when reasonable objections are brought up, they are also not explained in a reasonably understood manner, but instead just dismissed offhand. That doesn't help maintain their credibility.

Given that our lives are (supposedly) at stake, and given the billions in funding it has already had, surely there's someone out there who could do an honest, open explanation of global warming and explain things to everyone's satisfaction. And certainly there's people knowledgeable enough on both sides who could sign off on these explanations as correct. It really isn't that hard to do.

The problem is doing it honestly, and that's where it'll never happen, of course.

Speaking of which...

I'm okay with the idea of people who have put in the effort to try to understand what's going on having a louder voice in these policy decisions than I do.
While having policy decisions being decided based on science alone is bad, it's certainly preferable to what is happening in this "debate". Rather than taking the conclusions of an objective scientific community to create a policy, we have a political entity taking the scientific data and organizing it in a way to support a predetermined policy. The most glaring example of this is that the IPCC considers any positive impacts of global warming to be outside of their scope, but negative impacts are perfectly fine to present. It's not objective science. And since this is the "authoritative" report, there's nothing to argue with. We get the appearance of a policy backed by science, but only because the science is controlled by the politicians. So while it may seem fine to let policy be determined by the experts, that idea breaks down when the experts themselves are politicians.

On the one side, How can 2000+ (?) scientists (and AL Gore) be wrong.
Well, if it makes you feel better, you're not disagreeing with 2000+ scientists. It's my experience that scientists tend to be devoted specifically to their particular field, and tend not to have much more knowledge on the overall picture than the knowledgeable public. So most of those 2000+ are working on items that are peripheral to the global warming debate, and aren't really important pieces of evidence. Heck, depending on how you want to define it, you could probably claim that I'm a proponent of AGW theory based off my papers and scientific presentations. Obviously that's not the case. I'm sure that at least a few of those 2000+ actually disagree with the conclusions, but keep their heads down and their mouths shut so as to not disrupt their own research.

So the question of what to do when plotting historical tree data arises: do you plot it with the decline (which means discussing it, when that is extensively discussed already elsewhere and is nothing to do with the paper at hand), or use corrected values or use the direct temperature measurements in its place (with a note about the existence of the problem and reference to sources discussing it).

That is what the talk of 'hiding the decline' is about.

Vulture, I mentioned this already all the way back on page 1, but your explanation misses a key reason why hiding the decline is dishonest. Namely, that the fact that your calibration is horrible for a large chunk of your calibration period calls into question how accurate it is for the rest of the study. And so to avoid the possibility of people correctly recognizing the faults of bristlecone pine reconstructions, an additional data set is included to hide the faults. Also, you stated that the idea is "extensively discussed already elsewhere" but IIRC the problem wasn't widely known back in 1998 (the time period in question). The divergence issue wasn't even brought up until 1995, and that's not enough time to become extensively discussed.

Great news for those that insist on transparency and that we follow the scientific method
Only if it's done transparantly, of course. I get a sinking feeling that (even assuming this is done in the first place), this will all be done behind closed doors, and all we will be left with is the final result with no knowledge of how they got there. In order to be truly transparant, all raw data, including temperatures, locations, and documentations of any changes to the sensors, must be included, as well as all adjustments and explanations for these adjustments. I doubt that'll happen.

Personally, I'd love to see someone ask Obama if he'll order a complete release of NASA's and NOAA's temperature profiles. Given his supposed committment to being the most transparant administration in history and given his assurance that Climategate is meaningless, it'd be an excellent gesture of goodwill. Of course, if GISS (and/or NCDC, but we have more evidence of GISS) has been tampered with to exaggerate the warming, then that'd be a big problem for the AGW belief.

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vulture
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quote:
Originally posted by Mariner:

So the question of what to do when plotting historical tree data arises: do you plot it with the decline (which means discussing it, when that is extensively discussed already elsewhere and is nothing to do with the paper at hand), or use corrected values or use the direct temperature measurements in its place (with a note about the existence of the problem and reference to sources discussing it).

That is what the talk of 'hiding the decline' is about.

Vulture, I mentioned this already all the way back on page 1, but your explanation misses a key reason why hiding the decline is dishonest. Namely, that the fact that your calibration is horrible for a large chunk of your calibration period calls into question how accurate it is for the rest of the study. And so to avoid the possibility of people correctly recognizing the faults of bristlecone pine reconstructions, an additional data set is included to hide the faults. Also, you stated that the idea is "extensively discussed already elsewhere" but IIRC the problem wasn't widely known back in 1998 (the time period in question). The divergence issue wasn't even brought up until 1995, and that's not enough time to become extensively discussed.

I agree that simply hiding it is dishonest. A scientific paper should at least acknowledge the problem and provide references to discussion and review articles. This isn't my area obviously, so I have no idea of how much discussion there has been (just going on the quote of someone who is much more familiar with the relevant science; I wouldn't swear that he wasn't trying to underplay the problem though).

But if you listen to some of the reporting of these emails, it sounds like a) there has been a real decline in temperatures that is being covered up (false) and b) papers conflicting with the standard view were suppressed (false - the dissenting view were discussed, although it appears that these particular scientists involved in the emails were indeed trying to suppress dissenting opinions, which is obviously wrong).

Yes, it does call in to question the overall calibration of the tree ring data. But the calibration of the data, and the (estimated) reliability of the reconstructed temperatures
for various epochs is obviously a major research question in itself. Since it is outside the scope of a paper on a different subject, standard practice would be to use the widely accepted calibration method, or to (briefly) examine how different calibrations affect the conclusions.

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
Any attempt to sweep this under the rug or pretend that the e-mails don't mean precisely what they appear to mean will backfire.
This statement made me laugh out loud - not in a mean way, you understand, just a surprised way.

They "appear" to mean something to you, but any attempt to "pretend" they don't mean that will backfire?

Fact: the only way to know what someone's words mean is to ask them. Normally, in words intended for public review, there's reason to assume that someone would have thought carefully about potential misunderstandings and reworded to be most clear. But not in private correspondence; I know that my friends and colleagues will know what I mean, because we've been talking about the same things for a long time and I know that they know exactly where I stand and what words are or are not to be taken at face value. People communicate differently in private words meant for people they know than they do in words meant for the public. No conclusions can be safely drawn by reading words that weren't meant for you.

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PSRT
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Fact: I used the word "Trick," yesterday to describe the process of solving a problem by understanding what the geometry of the situation described has to be in order to avoid having to set up and solve a multi-equation system.

Sorry. Just one word that has been getting highlighted as "Evidence," that the involved scientists are up to no good. TO me, just demonstrates the ignorance of the people making that claim.

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DonaldD
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Sure, but that is just spin you are using to deflect attention away from the facts obvious to any non-biased observer.
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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
quote:
Any attempt to sweep this under the rug or pretend that the e-mails don't mean precisely what they appear to mean will backfire.
This statement made me laugh out loud - not in a mean way, you understand, just a surprised way.

They "appear" to mean something to you, but any attempt to "pretend" they don't mean that will backfire?

Fact: the only way to know what someone's words mean is to ask them. Normally, in words intended for public review, there's reason to assume that someone would have thought carefully about potential misunderstandings and reworded to be most clear. But not in private correspondence; I know that my friends and colleagues will know what I mean, because we've been talking about the same things for a long time and I know that they know exactly where I stand and what words are or are not to be taken at face value. People communicate differently in private words meant for people they know than they do in words meant for the public. No conclusions can be safely drawn by reading words that weren't meant for you.

Ops, you posted a few pages back that you refused to read the emails out of a moral principle of respecting individuals privacy.

Therefore it's highly amusing to see you turn around and try and argue that the contents of the email should not be considered on their own merit, since we cannot know the context.

You see dear, I've read the emails. Any objective, unbiased person who does the same would clearly see the correspondence for what it is...active collusion. Your argument essentially boils down to an appeal to authority (scientific tribalism) and a call for people to avoid taking literal meanings from something taken potentially out of context.

Yet, how would you know...you haven't read them! [LOL]

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Wayward Son
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And where in heaven's name would we find one, Donald? [Wink]
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DonaldD
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Well, Heaven would be a good place to start looking...
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OpsanusTau
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quote:
Therefore it's highly amusing to see you turn around and try and argue that the contents of the email should not be considered on their own merit, since we cannot know the context.
Why? I am not sure I understand you.

I have not read the emails under discussion because I would feel like a slimy, prying scumbag if I did.

Moreover, I don't even see the point of reading them, because I know that they are private correspondence and that reading private correspondence is most frequently a source for misunderstanding and confusion rather than enlightenment unless one is the intended recipient.

You talk about "any objective, unbiased person reading..." but Daruma, that's exactly my point. It is not safe to assume that the meaning of a letter or email meant as a private communication from one colleague to another will be preserved in the reading of such an "objective, unbiased" person (whatever that means). Personal communication is highly informed by subjectivity and bias.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Salvation from indecision on this contentious topic lies in removing the politics and viewing it as a scientific possibility.

Politics enter because AGW/GW, if true and severe, require us to take action yesterday.

But such urgency ill aids rational analysis. To build on a Churchill quote, I'll say that to determine that which is urgently necessary it is necessary to remove notions of urgency and strictly examine the facts.

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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
quote:
Therefore it's highly amusing to see you turn around and try and argue that the contents of the email should not be considered on their own merit, since we cannot know the context.
Why? I am not sure I understand you.

I have not read the emails under discussion because I would feel like a slimy, prying scumbag if I did.

Moreover, I don't even see the point of reading them, because I know that they are private correspondence and that reading private correspondence is most frequently a source for misunderstanding and confusion rather than enlightenment unless one is the intended recipient.

You talk about "any objective, unbiased person reading..." but Daruma, that's exactly my point. It is not safe to assume that the meaning of a letter or email meant as a private communication from one colleague to another will be preserved in the reading of such an "objective, unbiased" person (whatever that means). Personal communication is highly informed by subjectivity and bias.

Ops, the debate of this thread boils down to this:

AGW proponents argue for support of a variety of actions based on the idea that we all need to "do something" based on this threat to the planet and humanity.

The foremost proponents have been arguing that the "science is settled" and that people who are skeptical are 'deniers' language meant to impugn anyone that doesn't toe the line of the scientific groupthink.

You yourself are one of those folks that has basically used the 'appeal to authority' argument...that those of us who are non-scientists should simply take the "consensus" at face value and accept what our eminently wiser and more knowledgeable scientists tell us to do. Which includes dramatically altering our economic situations, re-ordering our entire way of life, and submitting our national sovereignty to a global entity...all based on the supposed legitimacy of the threat of AGW. The proposals being done in the name of this supposed threat are radical and will affect many many people if they are implemented.

So when the foremost proponents of this theory of "consensus" have their emails hacked and publicly released, and those emails PLAINLY show they were conspiring to falsify results, avoid FOIA by deleting data and colluding to corrupt the peer review process, I think one can make a strong case for ignoring the breech of privacy here...given that so much is at stake regarding these scientists and the movement they are supporting.

To IGNORE what these emails reveal in the name of some imagined higher morality is just plain ludicrous.

If this were the case of some Big Oil henchmen deliberately colluding to hide info that indicted their actions as environmentally destructive, the hackers would be hailed as a WHISTLEBLOWER and called a hero.

It seems your whole argument here is that because this is a personal correspondence, we cannot gain ANY sort of accurate understanding of what they were discussing.

That's rather obtuse when one can easily read such discourse such as instructing a colleague to destroy data in the face of a FOIA request...one doesn't need to be "highly informed" or consider some kind of personal context is necessary to see precisely what they were conspiring to do.

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MattP
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quote:
those emails PLAINLY show they were conspiring to falsify results, avoid FOIA by deleting data and colluding to corrupt the peer review process
They don't "PLAINLY show" anything if your interpretation correlates strongly with your opinion about AGW prior to reading the emails. Most of the instances of malfeasance that have been alleged have been "PLAINLY" wrong in my view. *shrug*

The FOIA stuff is troubling to me, but it's still no smoking gun. Jones seemed to have enough animosity for his rivals to do something like that out of spite, not because the actual contents of the data was damaging to them. The tone of the emails suggests as much. Petty and unethical, perhaps, but hardly the "last nail in the coffin."

I'm still looking for some evidence that the actual science produced was invalid. Can someone point to a published paper which should now be retracted because the data contained in it has been proven to be fraudulent?

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kenmeer livermaile
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MattP: it's about politics not science, don't you know!
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Pyrtolin
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To add to what MattP said- all that has really been shown for sure is that there are problems using tree ring data to estimate temperatures. That's something that was already pretty well known, even if the data had been patched together to make graphs that appeared more compelling.

Even if you assume the worst here, the reaction is equivalent to catching one Exxon gas station engaging in price gouging and then using it as evidence that not only do all Exxon stations gouge, but stations from all other companies as well.

To say that there was an effort to block FoI against the data is absurd, because the data itself is public domain, controlled by data stores that will release it to anyone who asks.

And the only thing that was shown about peer review was that it's definitely a tug of war between the journals and scientists to make sure that standards are adhered to. We saw evidence of the system working as intended journals implementing their review processes and scientists pressuring them to not let their standards drop. No corruption, just the process which has made it effective.

quote:
Which includes dramatically altering our economic situations, re-ordering our entire way of life, and submitting our national sovereignty to a global entity.
And then you have claims like that which start at gross exaggeration and end in complete fantasy.

Certainly using more efficient appliances does change your economic situation a bit, given that it leaves you with more money to spend on other things, and with things like harnessing solar and geothermal energy, people end up being more self sufficient and less dependent constantly feeding energy corporations.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18238-why-theres-no-sign-of-a-climate-conspiracy-in-hacked-emails.html

http://www.desmogblog.com/elizabeth-may-informed-look-east-anglia-emails

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35297_Video-_Dissecting_the_Phony_Climategate_Scandal

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35289_Video-_Smacking_the_Hack_Attack

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
You yourself are one of those folks that has basically used the 'appeal to authority' argument...that those of us who are non-scientists should simply take the "consensus" at face value and accept what our eminently wiser and more knowledgeable scientists tell us to do.
I'm not sure I would summarize my position that way, though I see why you would. I would be more likely to say that in my opinion most of us are never going to understand the science that climate scientists use to come to their conclusions. This doesn't mean that the best idea is to follow the policy recommendations of anyone with a PhD, but I don't know what the best idea is. So while I might doubt the policy recommendations, and you might too, it makes people look silly when they loudly and repeatedly make bold statements about the underlying science, which they do not really understand.

I think I've also said (perhaps even in this thread) that in my opinion it's all a moot point; I don't for one second believe that we are going to quit emitting as much carbon dioxide as we darn well please until something really bad happens to make us.

quote:
That's rather obtuse when one can easily read such discourse such as instructing a colleague to destroy data in the face of a FOIA request...one doesn't need to be "highly informed" or consider some kind of personal context is necessary to see precisely what they were conspiring to do.
Did they do it? Because that's an important distinction.

Oh [LOL] Is this the one email I did see? Because I read one of them on the front page of something before feeling gross about it and quitting. The one that says something like "I would rather destroy the data than let these fools get ahold of it!"
Right, that is TOTALLY a statement that can only be taken at face value.

My point is that you can know (if you choose to read other people's illegally-obtained private correspondence) what was said, but you can't know what was said with what degree of seriousness. I, for instance, communicate via deadpan sarcasm all the time. This is effective because my friends and colleagues know what I think and the cognitive dissonance makes it funny and/or thought-provoking. However, in the event that a stranger were eavesdropping on a conversation or reading some of my email, the stranger might think things about me that were not true.
I am not the only person in the world who uses sarcasm, or exaggeration, or misstatement of mutually-known facts, or overdramatic word choice to enliven my communication and make it clearer. However, the very facets of communication that can make it clearer for someone who knows me can also make it more easily misunderstood by someone who happened to be reading it without my permission.

So, maybe one can learn something by reading those emails - but it is certainly inappropriate to pretend that there is one unequivocal reading and you know what it is. If you want to know what it mean, you will have to ask the authors - who, since the emails were stolen in the first place, may not always be sympathetic to these requests for better understanding.

quote:
To IGNORE what these emails reveal in the name of some imagined higher morality is just plain ludicrous.

If this were the case of some Big Oil henchmen deliberately colluding to hide info that indicted their actions as environmentally destructive, the hackers would be hailed as a WHISTLEBLOWER and called a hero.

Well, some people are hailing these hackers as whistleblowers and heroes. I am not one who would do so in either case. And the higher morality that theft of private correspondence is wrong might be "imagined" to you - in fact there are all those interesting conversations to be had about how morality might be entirely "imagined" - but actually I would have thought you, Daruma, to be more behind the idea that theft of what is privately yours is wrong.
Surprising!

Besides which, as far as I can tell, the emails don't actually reveal anything of particular importance. They don't reveal that all the data is fabricated; they don't reveal a global conspiracy; they might reveal that some scientists behaved unprofessionally in their private correspondence (or at least talked about behaving unprofessionally), but that's not really convincing to me, and even if it were it is certainly not a justification for theft.
I am pretty sure that if we stole almost anyone's email, we would find evidence of that person expressing unprofessional thoughts, possibly in a petty and childish manner. Probably we would find many people discussing potentially illegal or unethical activities. Does that mean it's right to steal everyone's email?

I don't think so.
Maybe you do.

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cherrypoptart
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In a legal sense, since this information was obtained illegally, it is deemed "fruit of the poisoned tree". Therefore, everyone has to ignore it now.

> The "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine is an offspring of the Exclusionary Rule. The exclusionary rule mandates that evidence obtained from an illegal arrest, unreasonable search, or coercive interrogation must be excluded from trial.

So to be fair to global warming we must pretend that this never happened. I love it when they tell the jury that. The global warming jury will disregard this information about fraud because it was obtained illegally.

I know it sounds absurd but that's basically the impression I'm getting from people freaking out about the "hacking" angle of this story.

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d'Yer
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@ Pyrtolin
This legislation will do much more than encourage us to buy more efficient appliances. Two coal plants in my area have already been slated to close, laying off over 250 workers, this before any real legislation is even past.

Now lets look at the potential implications these closures hold:

Less power generation, in an environment of ever increasing demand, means higher energy prices.
Higher energy prices, while ten percent of the nation's population is unemployed is bad for those jobless.

I couldn't imagine losing my job in this economy, good luck finding anything when your competing against ten percent of the population for an opening.

Perhaps their loss will be justified, and they will get employed by the next solar farm that is built. However it is naive to say that this legislation will simply mean more efficient appliances.

I know specifically in my little corner of the world, there are no plans to build any new power generation in this area, green or otherwise.

Not to say that your naive Pyrtolin, I am merely suggesting you had not thought of some of the serious implications of this potential legislation.

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DonaldD
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If those plants have been slated to close even in the absence of "real legislation", why do you assume that this is anything other than a strictly business-related decision by a business?
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DonaldD
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Also, IF (and it is obviously a big, disputed IF) releasing CO2 in some way has a cost to the general environment, why should that cost NOT be incorporated into the price of coal in the first place?

If you want to subsidize coal (bacause that is what not building in the cost of CO2 actually is) shouldn't that decision be made consciously and transparantly? Because right now, those jobs in the coal industry are currently being subsidized by everybody else.

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d'Yer
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@ DonaldD:
I assume because I work for this company in question, and closing these two plants falls in line with their (our?) Co2 reduction plans.

I'm not disputing whether or not coal should be subsidized. I'm only showing Pyrtolin that there are more implications than what he originally suggested.

As you said if the release of Co2 is detrimental to the environment, then steps need to be taken to offset that impact, but I am yet to be convinced either way.

There are ways to "wash" or "scrub" the emissions of these plants, that are to some extent already employed, however to reach levels some speculate may become mandated, very expensive equipment would have to be added to the plants. These costs would have to be considered while adding cost to coal.
Adding cost to coal to offset the cost of Co2 emission makes sense to me, but understand that adding cost to coal only adds to the cost of electricity, because the utility will simply pass the extra costs along.
So couldn't you still make the argument that coal is still being subsidized by the end users of the, now more expensive, electricity? (or everybody else)

Also, not to nitpick but they were not jobs in the coal industry, they were power utility jobs. The generation plants the employees worked at just happened to be coal fueled.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
(if you choose to read other people's illegally-obtained private correspondence)
I don't dispute that they were illegally obtained, but I'm still a little dubious about your use of the "private" adjective. This implies that they were highly "personal" e-mails about personal matters like a family pregnancy or a parent's illness. Yet the subject-matter under dispute was not personal, but work-related, and I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) they were not sent from private e-mail accounts i.e. they were sent on company / university servers.

If my supposition that these were work accounts and not personal accounts is correct, then at a bare minimum, these scientists could not have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of their employers, or whoever was paying their bills. Indeed, I'd argue that legal or not, as the ones paying (in part) for this research, taxpayers have a definite interest in the content of those e-mails, and perhaps even a moral right to see them, given the public policy implications.

The privacy argument is mighty thin and your moral objections to reading the e-mails are somewhat overblown, in the circumstances.

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DonaldD
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quote:
I assume because I work for this company in question, and closing these two plants falls in line with their (our?) Co2 reduction plans.

So it is just an assumption... did the plants specify that these closures were due to possible future CO2 rules or to comply with their CO2 reduction plans? BTW, which plants were these, anyway? Maybe there are some company announcements that we can look up to get more details. Also, are these publicly or privately owned plants?

As to the the implications of associating a cost to CO2 emissions, I think everyone is already aware (since resistance to AGW concepts is so often accompanied by claims that AGW supporters are out to ruin the economy and put people out of work [Smile] )
quote:
So couldn't you still make the argument that coal is still being subsidized by the end users of the, now more expensive, electricity? (or everybody else)
Well, I wouldn't use the term "subsidized by" but rather "payed for by". But that is the whole point: to build the true cost of all externalities into the end product - in this case, coal-generated electricity. Will such changes be painful? Sure. But that's why even the toothless proposals coming from governments talk about plans spanning decades. And it's why no such changes will successfully be implemented until large numbers of people start feeling comparable (or more) amounts of pain due to inaction.
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OpsanusTau
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quote:

I don't dispute that they were illegally obtained, but I'm still a little dubious about your use of the "private" adjective. This implies that they were highly "personal" e-mails about personal matters like a family pregnancy or a parent's illness

You can have private mean whatever you want it to mean. For me, it means "not public."

Your argument that because there are public policy implications to communications, the taxpayers have some sort of automatic right to read them is pretty questionable.

But that aside - and the moral implications of it aside, because obviously people want to read the emails so bad that they will construct ethical systems to allow them to no matter what - the fact that they were not intended for public consumption quite simply limits the amount of information that public consumers can get out of them.

To pretend otherwise is just ludicrous.

Tangentially related, I recently read this paper about how ignorance/incompetence in a particular arena necessarily leads the person who is less competent to vastly overestimate his or her capabilities and performance in that arena.
"Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. Justin Kruger and David Dunning."
Fascinating, and with a lot of implications for the larger current discussion.

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
In a legal sense, since this information was obtained illegally, it is deemed "fruit of the poisoned tree". Therefore, everyone has to ignore it now.
What an excellent summary of what I have said!
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DonaldD
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See, it's only because we know and love you that we can tell that was rebuttal sarcasm [Smile]
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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
quote:
In a legal sense, since this information was obtained illegally, it is deemed "fruit of the poisoned tree". Therefore, everyone has to ignore it now.
What an excellent summary of what I have said!
Am I for theft of private emails?

Of course not.

But neither am I the sort to excuse corrupt malfeasance that is exposed to the light of day, even if that exposure was unethical.

I.E. - if the hacker gets caught, by all means, throw the book at them.

But to absolve these "scientists" for their actions simply because the hacker was unethical?

That's just silly. That's like saying a mass murderer should be let off the hook for his crimes because the cop forgot to read him his miranda rights. [Roll Eyes]

Pyrtolin - nice try. You continue to try and deflect and basically say: "Those emails don't say what you think they say, so shut up and say your hail Gaia's to the high church of AGW!"

I get it. To read these emails objectively would just be too damaging to your FAITH! [LOL]

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
the fact that they were not intended for public consumption quite simply limits the amount of information that public consumers can get out of them.
I'd say that it increases this amount, rather than limits it: Emails intended for the public can only reveal what these people want revealed, while private correspondence can also reveal what they don't want revealed.
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OpsanusTau
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Donald, I knew SOMEONE would get it. And I hoped it would be you.
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Lloyd
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Opsanus Tau -- you say these email weren't intended for the public, but they were all subject to the FOIA requests that had been filed.

Lloyd

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DonaldD
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OT: Oh, go on, you silver-tongued devil you [Wink]
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MattP
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quote:
Opsanus Tau -- you say these email weren't intended for the public, but they were all subject to the FOIA requests that had been filed.
Really? I'd be surprised if every email would be considered responsive to a specific FOIA request. Presumably you can't just ask for all of the email ever produced by an individual at an organization regardless of content.
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DonaldD
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That kinda misses the point. OT just provided a perfect example of a message/post that only made sense to some, not all, of the people actively posting on Ornery. This post was "not intended for the public" in that only some of us would get the underlying sarcasm.

Her point was not that they could never be requisitioned by government, but rather that they were not intended to be understood by anyone but the recipients.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Opsanus Tau -- you say these email weren't intended for the public, but they were all subject to the FOIA requests that had been filed.
Really? I'd be surprised if every email would be considered responsive to a specific FOIA request. Presumably you can't just ask for all of the email ever produced by an individual at an organization regardless of content.
You are correct, there are exemptions:
quote:


(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;[5]
related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;[5]
specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552b of this title), provided that such statute (A) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;[5]
trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;[5]
inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency;[5]
personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;[5]
records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual;[5]
contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions;[5] or
geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells


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G2
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Dr. William Gray, Atmospheric Scientist and Hurricane forecasting specialist and the renowned hurricane forecaster and Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University weighs in:
quote:

Had I not devoted my entire career of over half-a-century to the study and forecasting of meteorological and climate events I would have likely been concerned over the possibility of humans causing serious global climate degradation.

There has been an unrelenting quarter century of one-sided indoctrination of the western world by the media and by various scientists and governments concerning a coming carbon dioxide (CO_2 ) induced global warming disaster. These warming scenarios have been orchestrated by a combination of environmentalists, vested interest scientists wanting larger federal grants and publicity, the media which profits from doomsday scenario reporting, governmental bureaucrats who want more power over our lives, and socialists who want to level-out global living standards. These many alarmist groups appear to have little concern over whether their global warming prognostications are accurate, however. And they most certainly are not. The alarmists believe they will be able to scare enough of our citizens into believing their propaganda that the public will be willing to follow their advice on future energy usage and agree to a lowering of their standard of living in the name of climate salvation.

<snip>

The last century's global warming of about 1 degree F is not a consequence of human activities. This warming is primarily the result of a multi-century changes in the globe's deep ocean circulation. These ocean current changes have lead to a small and gradual increase in the globe's temperature. We are coming out of the Little Ice Age and into a generally warmer climate state. This is akin to the warmer global climate of the Medieval Period. We can do nothing but adapt to such long period natural temperature changes.

The recent 'ClimateGate' revelations coming out of the UK University of East Anglia are but the tip of a giant iceberg of a well organized international climate warming conspiracy that has been gathering momentum for the last 25 years. This conspiracy would become much more manifest if all the e-mails of the publically funded climate research groups of the US and of foreign governments were ever made public.

Gray is a very heavy hitter in the climate department. Anyone want to argue he's not a "real" scientist or that he's in the pocket of big oil or something?
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Greg Davidson
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Here is a clear discussion that cuts through all the BS on this topic, written by an astronomer friend of mine who writes science textbooks. In language we can all understand (yes, that's me too, I am not a climate expert), with real data, and a focus on the important, overarching issues:

1. There is no doubt that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide make planets warmer.
2. There is no doubt that human activity has been raising the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
3. There is no serious doubt that the Earth's temperature has risen roughly 1.4 degrees f in the past century
4. There is strong evidence that natural cycles are not responsible for the level of warming that has been experienced
5. The remaining uncertainty is in regards the timing and consequences of global warming

That's a very brief summary, but he also addresses questions of skeptics far better than I could. He added an addendum over "climate-gate", where he summed up the situation as follows
quote:
the failings of these individual scientists do not change the laws of physics

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kenmeer livermaile
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Good summary, Greg. It fits all the basic tghemes I;ve encountered since the topic first arose many decades ago.

Funny: if not for the attempt to goad we the people into preventative action, AGW would probably spontaneously have by now become a large grassroots movement.

But because it has been politicized, the actual science and probable implications have been subsumed by classic left/right politics, polarizing itself therein via each sides' most salient ideologies.

So we see the right tending to denounce AGW and Peak Oil (two neatly linked phenomena) in favor f small guv/free market notions while the left endorses collective action to mitigate potential damages that would affect all.

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Mariner
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quote:
To add to what MattP said- all that has really been shown for sure is that there are problems using tree ring data to estimate temperatures. That's something that was already pretty well known, even if the data had been patched together to make graphs that appeared more compelling.

Even if you assume the worst here, the reaction is equivalent to catching one Exxon gas station engaging in price gouging and then using it as evidence that not only do all Exxon stations gouge, but stations from all other companies as well.

quote:
3. There is no serious doubt that the Earth's temperature has risen roughly 1.4 degrees f in the past century
Hey, I know my posts are boring, but I already mentioned this. This meme that Climategate is only about a couple scientists behaving like jerks and that one paper 11 years ago should be rescinded is wrong. Completely wrong.

The biggest and most important thing we got out of this release and the fallout is what most skeptics already knew or suspected: that the temperature data is useless. Let me repeat that: We do not know the temperature of the last 130 years.

CRU admitted they lost vitally important data. We know from the release that the code is a mess and extremely poorly documented. We know from the emails that some people were attempting to manipulate it to make it look good. We also know from experience that it is very, very easy to manipulate temperature data.

Yes, that's right. Most people probably assume that getting the temperature of the Earth just involves reading a bunch of thermometers. But the surface temperature record of the Earth comes from two things: the raw data (thermometers) and adjustments (manual manipulations of the thermometers). There's good reason that these adjustments need to be done. But it also gives people a nice easy way of making the data say what it wants to. Just make up adjustments, and you can turn a flat temperature profile into a hockey stick without any problems whatsoever. And with no documentation and a mysterious loss of data, who's to argue?

Before you roll your eyes, go do some reading on this yourself. A HUGE chunk of the warming in the temperature profiles comes from these adjustments, NOT the thermometers.

Given the poor documentation, the loss of data, and the known propensity of these people to play fast and loose with the truth if it fits their agenda, any reasonable scientist would consider the data useless for further analysis. I am absolutely convinced on that.

This is the temperature profile that every single climate model is based on. Again, let me repeat: The entirety of global warming science is based on a data set that is not up to scientific standards.

And you say that this is no big deal? Even the Met agrees; they're planning on redoing the entire data set (of course, it'll probably be done in secret, but whatever...) They know how bad this looks. And it looks bad because it is bad.

Greg's astronomer friend is wrong. We don't know the temperature change of the past 130 years, not to any reasonable accuracy. And without knowing that, we know absolutely nothing about the climate.

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