Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WUWT proposes harassment and lawsuits to stop climate research

Sou | 10:38 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment
Matt Manos is going great guns with his conspiratorial thinking over at WUWT (archived here). He comes across as a real nutter, albeit one who can manage to write an entire sentence with proper use of nouns and verbs. Flush with his success at flushing out all his fellow WUWT conspiracy theorists, today he's urging WUWT-ers to spam governments with FOIA requests. Matt wants to get to the bottom of what he thinks is a giant climate conspiracy. He wrote, using the same "sheeple" concept from his last article:
In my previous post, Why It’s So Hard to Convince Warmists, I introduced the concept of bellwethers and rational ignorance to explain why it’s so hard to convince warmists using empirical evidence. 

Matt won't accept (or even look for) empirical evidence

Just what empirical evidence he thinks "warmists" don't use is a vexed issue. It looks as if he's talking about the fact that temperature records are updated to incorporate records as they arrive. He's incapable of reading, or too lazy to read the information about how the GHCN is constructed and maintained (Linksoverview and version 3 intro and quality control and homogeneity adjustments and GISS updates and detailed paper, for starters). Or maybe he's just a conspiracy theorist by inclination. He wrote:
Another obvious issue for skeptics would be FOIA requests around how NCDC functions and emails around why the GISS dataset keeps being adjusted only in ways that suggest AGW. Maybe there is a smoking gun email exchange. I predict that there is a lot of low hanging fruit out there. 

Matt's looking for some mythical "smoking gun" from NOAA or NASA. He's a conspiracy theorist after all.

The National Climatic Data Centre (NCDC) doesn't exist as such any more. It's been merged into the newly created National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). (You might have noticed the change in the links under the charts here a little while ago.). The merger was between the former agencies:
  • the National Climatic Data Center, 
  • the National Geophysical Data Center, and 
  • the National Oceanographic Data Center, which includes the National Coastal Data Development Center.
As for what it does, it's a (massive) data centre. It develops national and global oceanic, atmospheric, and geophysical datasets and related products and services. You can see the range it covers on the NCEI home page

Surface temperature adjustments are the opposite to what Matt claims

GISS uses GHCN data. And that data isn't adjusted "in ways that suggest AGW" - it's AGW that is driving the direction of the data. It's getting hotter. In fact, as you'll probably have read already, on balance, global surface temperature wasn't adjusted "in ways that suggest AGW". Quite the reverse. The earlier data was adjusted upwards on balance, which means that the slope is less, not greater. This is the opposite to what Matt Manos would have you believe.

Credit: Zeke Hausfather - annotated by me. Source: Variable Variability

Matt Manos' Proposed War against Science

Matt Manos is suggesting guerrilla tactics to fight against increasing knowledge and understanding. Here is what he urges the anti-science brigade to do:
  1. Shift research funding away from climate
  2. Submit multiple vexatious FOIA requests weekly
  3. Engage public policy lawyers

Matt's suggestions are not new. They've been used by fake sceptics for years, in their attempt to shut down science. It's no surprise that deniers would not want to learn about climate. They don't like the message. Whether they learn about what is happening or not, the climate will continue to change and the world will continue to warm, as long as we keep emitting more greenhouse gases than can be absorbed at the surface.

How well are deniers funded?

Matt claims that "the skeptic community isn’t organized or well funded". He's not exactly right. Sure at the bottom of the barrel climate disinformation is poorly organised and has no consistent message other than "don't mitigate global warming".

However, it's common knowledge now that there is a lot of money being channeled into denial of climate science. It's a lot cheaper to make up disinformation than it is to do climate research.

Paying a salary to Pat Michaels and his sidekick Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger via CATO costs a whole lot less than sending a research vessel to the Arctic or Antarctica. Funding the Heartland Institute and all it's offshoots (like the Climate Science Coalitions in various countries) is one avenue for disinformation campaigns, just as it was used when people wanted everyone to die early from COPD or lung cancer. Companies that still support ALEC find that returns on their investment are pretty good. (Check out this recent video about ALEC and lawmakers!) Individuals and companies that funnel their campaigns via Donors Trust can remain anonymous.

And the same people who fund climate denial find they can get a lot of help from people who'll reject climate, at no or little cost to them. There are lots of blogs they can use for free to get the word out. CATO doesn't have to pay Anthony Watts to post their disinformation. The IPA can use the Australian Broadcasting Commission as its "free" public relations company. It can even get out of paying deniers when it promises to do so. (It promised to pay Anthony for his book chapter in their recent hodge podge effort but reneged on the deal, according to Anthony Watts.)

There are lots of useful idiots out there who are knowingly and willingly spreading lies about individuals and about science itself, living off the crumbs that their readers send their way when they ask for donations.

For years organisations have been doing what Matt suggests. Look at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and its focus on FOIA requests for emails - even text messages. It's not shifted the science one iota. It's all bluff and bluster in an effort to appear to it's funders to appear to be doing something. Nor has it succeeded in stopping clean air regulations. The USA has been reasonably successful in cleaning up at least some of the worst pollution over the years, despite the best efforts of organisations like CATO, CFACT, CEI and other anti-environment lobby groups.

Who is Matt Manos?

I don't know. Seems like just another conspiracy theorist from among the dozens at WUWT. Don't confuse him with Matt Manos from verynice.co. (To think that Anthony Watts tries to make out his blog isn't a denier blog - ha!)

From the WUWT comments

How many conspiracy theorists do you know? In my lifetime I've met one or two people who fantasize in real life. Mostly it's either they or someone they know well, who swears they've seen a UFO. The object might have been unidentifiable to them, but it doesn't mean it was aliens. Other than that - nope. They all seem to congregate at WUWT and other conspiracy nuttery blogs.

Conspiracy theorising sturgishooper wrote:
May 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm
Except that the whole ho*x was political from the git-go, and all the real science is suppressed by regimes and their minions in the media.

kamikazedave thinks he has some as yet unpublished and unidentified "science" on his "side". Pity that no-one can publish it. In fact, no-one can even mention it much less discuss the details. Not even in the denier-friendly WUWT. It must be a conspiracy :)
May 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm
I’m inclined to agree with you, Dawg. We have science on our side. Using alarmist tactics will only place us on their level.
On the other hand, alarmists are so firmly entrenched (at least until Nov. 2016) I’m not sure science alone will win the day. I’m not confident 2016 will improve the situation.

nigelf is either one of the 8% Dismissives or a Poe
May 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm
I’ve always maintained that the scam needs to end up in court to put an end to it. Facts vs theory under oath.

Most of the rest are just more utter nutter conspiracy theorists, all utterly nutterly convinced that climate science is a giant hoax. Or the "thoughts" I saw anyway. I'll just add one more comment. It's from Alcheson. While headlines everywhere (like the Daily Mail and Matt Ridley's :) (London) Times and SMH) are screaming that this year could be the hottest ever, hotter even than the last hottest year (last year), Alcheson thinks we're about to head into an ice age:
May 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm
Hmm… seems to me the world is already starting to cool. There are signs everywhere they indicate the climate is back to 1970s conditions… early falls and long winters etc. However, due to continually changes to the surface temperature record post data collection people are told to disbelieve their lying eyes. Unfortunately, the masses are doing just that. Even though it is cooler where they live, they are told weather is local… that it is hot everywhere else, just not where they are.
Just for kicks, compare the 1970s global surface temperature with what we're seeing today. My guess? Short of a nuclear war, some supervolcanic eruptions or an asteroid strike, nothing on earth will see Earth as it was in the 1970s for tens of thousand years.

Data source: GISS, NASA

Meanwhile, India bakes

While Alcheson is feeling a bit 1970's chilly, he's missing out on news of the rest of the world. So far almost 800 people have died in the dreadful heat wave that's hit India. From the ABC: India heatwave death toll reaches 800 as New Delhi roads melt in near-50-degree temperatures. And the heat isn't going anywhere soon. From the Hindustan Times (click the link to see the melted road in Delhi - amazing):
According to the IMD, most parts of India will remain in the grip of high temperatures for the rest of the week. The department issued “red box” warnings for Odisha, Jharkhand and coastal Andhra Pradesh.
[Added by Sou 12:14 am 27 May 2015]

References and further reading

Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, M. Sato, and K. Lo, 2010: Global surface temperature change. Rev. Geophys., 48, RG4004, doi:10.1029/2010RG000345. (pdf here)

Surface temperature data and its descriptions (selected)

Variable Variability - Selected articles from Victor Venema, leader of the WMO Task Team on Homogenization

Selected HotWhopper articles


  1. "And that data isn't adjusted "in ways that suggest AGW" - it's AGW that is driving the direction of the data. It's getting hotter."

    Yebbut there is no global warming coz it's all a hoax innit (started by the Rothschilds, in cahoots with the Knights Templar, and the Men in Black, who are associated with the Spiders from Mars, who are in league with the Jews and want to eat your babies) so obviously the data is being fudged to make it look like the world is heating up. Stands to reason.

  2. Here's a link to a great program about the influence of ALEC in my state. It is a couple of years old, but all the same characters were still at work in the most recent legislative session, so it remains pertinent:

    Brought to You by ALEC

  3. ...and now, on the catwalk, WUWT agencies latest mannequin Manos pairs a tinfoil beanie with embroidered oblivion cloak...must say, looks a lot like last years ensemble.

  4. I’ve always maintained that the scam needs to end up in court to put an end to it. Facts vs theory under oath.

    Having no memory for inconvenient history is a hallmark of the denier. (And guess who still hasn't paid the ordered costs?)

    The courts do not do scientific assessments. The courts will always defer to the established, reputable authorities. And the courts will always assume that the professional organizations whose job it is to do science - e.g. the CSIRO, BoM, NIWA - are the people who legitimately define the state of it.

    So deniers - antivaxxers, creationists, and fauxskeptics alike - will then scream 'conspiracy'! This cycle is unbreakable.

  5. FOIA requests?

    What I really want to know is how these numbskulls know that the information isn't already public. The biggest problem I have with NOAA and all the rest is tracking down stuff that I _know_ is there but I stupidly didn't bookmark it when I last saw it.

    These people would be a lot more believable - or something sensible - if they asked for links to information they've not been able to locate on websites or in publications.


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