Sunday, May 15, 2016

CEI and WUWT attack the messengers, and the strange role of Judith Curry and Peter Webster

Sou | 2:38 PM Go to the first of 42 comments. Add a comment
Deniers get very excited when they get their grubby paws on private emails between scientists. It doesn't matter what is written in those emails. The very fact that academics have been using email to communicate from a time before most people had heard of the Internet is sufficient for them to claim that climate science is a hoax.

Yesterday Anthony Watts posted some emails released through yet another FOI demand by Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) (archived here). They were related to the support from some scientists of a RICO investigation, proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, into fossil fuel companies and other organisations who have allegedly "knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change". The emails contain nothing that shows anything more than the very real concern by scientists that there are wicked people who are trying to thwart efforts to mitigate global warming. That there are evil people in the world who have been knowingly working to deceive the public by by saying that global warming either doesn't exist or is not dangerous. They've even got some people believing that climate science is a hoax.

Anthony Watts of WUWT is one of the low-level tools used by anti-mitigation activist organisations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, that wish harm on the world.

Any reasonable person would want to know

Any reasonable human being would be wanting to know if there was truth to the allegations. Those who don't know it already would be appalled to learn they'd been misled by lobby groups in the same way that tobacco companies misled the general public about the dangers of smoking. Not science deniers though.

Rather than accepting that there may be a case to answer, this latest article at WUWT got more comments than average (at the time of writing, there are 385 mostly silly "thoughts"). The general view is that the very fact that there are emails means that scientists are criminals who ought to be sent to prison. I'd say that deniers think it's a crime for any academic to write an email.

Science deniers want to be misled

The conclusion that I draw is that deniers want to be misled. Of course many of the comments could be from people who are engaged in the disinformation campaigns. It doesn't take much effort to whip up deniers into a frenzy, and a frenzy is what vested interests want to build.

"Win-win" for Chris Horner

The article includes a choice quote from Chris Horner, whose sole purpose in life seems to be to send FOI requests to governments and universities. He never finds anything incriminating in those emails, but that's not the point. He doesn't even have to get any emails. He's in a win-win situation as far as his disinformation campaign goes:
  • If he gets emails and publishes them, then deniers think there's a plot even though there's nothing in the emails except for scientists talking to each other
  • If he doesn't get a judgement that he can get emails then that's proof that the conspiracy extends to the judiciary.

The contradiction: Hiding an open letter?

The choice quote this time is about the fact that he got a judge to order the release of emails, writing:
This victory puts on notice those academics who have increasingly inserted themselves into politics, that they cannot use taxpayer-funded positions to go after those who disagree with them and expect to hide it.
Deniers are so blinded by their denial that they lap up this contradiction. There was no attempt to hide anything. Chris Horner didn't need emails to show that scientists are against disinformation campaigns. They published an open letter. Here is an excerpt:
We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change. The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peerreviewed academic research (Brulle, 2013) and in recent books including: Doubt is their Product (Michaels, 2008), Climate Cover-Up (Hoggan & Littlemore, 2009), Merchants of Doubt (Oreskes & Conway, 2010), The Climate War (Pooley, 2010), and in The Climate Deception Dossiers (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015). We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.

The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking. If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done.

The methods of these organisations are quite similar

As the scientists pointed out, the methods are similar to the pro-tobacco campaigns. Even the delivery organisations are the same. The Competitive Enterprise Institute still has on its website lobbying in favour of tobacco and against the health of the populace, labeling those against COPD, emphysema and lung cancer "health activists".  (Anthony Watts has said his parents died from tobacco-related disease, yet he is fully supportive of the organisations that promoted disinformation about tobacco.)

The open letter from scientists had a predictable response. The disinformers went straight for the jugular and accused one of the lead scientists of fraud. The fact that there was no evidence of fraud did not stop deniers from believing it. All that's needed is an accusation and deniers believe it. The next step in the disinformation campaign was the FOI demand for emails.

What is revealed

There was another press release posted as an update on Anthony Watts' disinformation blog. In it was this paragraph:
FME Law, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, and others should now look forward to publicly discussing what this information reveals about the ongoing campaign by text pair funded academics, lawn force meant officials, and major political party donors to use the offices of attorney general to prosecute and silence political opponents.

I guess what is meant by "text pair funded academics" is "taxpayer funded academics".  "Lawn force meant officials" probably should read "law enforcement officials".

Some of the "major political party donors" might or might not be too happy with CEI and Chris Horner. I don't know if ExxonMobil is in favour of CEI's latest attacks on scientists or not, now that they are being investigated.

The fact that CEI, as a tax exempt organisation, is also effectively funded in part by taxpayers is discounted.

Taxpayers expect that taxpayer funded organisations do not deceive them. It's not the scientists who are deceiving them, as the emails show. It is CEI and other disinformation organisations like them that should not be getting taxpayer support.

The worst part - Judith Curry working with Marc Morano

Anthony Watts thinks the worst part is that scientists thought to use their private email addresses to continue their private discussions. (Ed Maibach wrote elsewhere that his involvement in drafting the open letter was as a private individual, not as part of his job.) The worst part to my mind was this, in an email from Dr Maibach, which Anthony Watts posted on his blog:
GA Tech climatologist Peter Webster (husband of Judy Curry) is a long-time friend of Shukla. He sent Shukla several emails asking Shukla to retract the letter. In those emails he states that Curry, Pat Michaels and Roger Pielke are actively collaborating with Marc Morano and well-funded groups to come after us. Curry, Michaels and PieIke apparently feel that our letter made them targets - so they are fighting back.

Fighting back using professional disinformers. Now that's revealing. I've only read one of the released documents, but that is one of the "worst parts" that I've seen. I don't know if it's true or not, I haven't asked Judith Curry or Peter Webster or Marc Morano. However Judith was a prominent actor in Marc Morano's flop of a denier film "Climate Hustle", and she has said that she's "met Marc several times" and likes the guy. The released emails don't contain any from Peter Webster, however Judith Curry posted part of an email that she said that Peter wrote to "one of the signatories". Apparently Peter Webster thinks that investigating science disinformation is wrong, as Judith said:
Peter Webster did not exaggerate when he wrote:
You have signed the death warrant for science.
It raises the question of whether the Surgeon General or the AMA signed a death warrant for medical science? 

Peter Webster, who is a scientist, seems to wrongly think that "Obama's view" of science is wrong. I guess it was his declaration that he's now a science denier. In a weird reversal, rather than saying that President Obama understands what the science says, he commented on Judith Curry's article protesting against investigation of deliberately funded disinformation campaigns:
Peter Webster | September 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm |
Good point! Everyone of those scientists receive federal funds and to get them to continue perhaps they become advocates of the Obama’s point of view.
What point of view does Peter Webster have, now that he's "come out" against investigating alleged fossil fuel funding of disinformation campaigns pitching anti-humanity activism? It certainly appears that he is supportive of Judith Curry's disinformation activism. Love beats facts and the well-being of the world, I guess.

The bigger question is what are Judith Curry and Peter Webster afraid will be revealed if a RICO investigation proceeds? Are they only against it because it will upset Judith Curry's disinformation activism or is there something more to it?

The motive for the attacks on scientists

Anthony Watts' press release from CEI even admitted the motivation for CEI's attacks on scientists:
In April, 2016, CEI was subpoenaed by the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands for a decade’s worth of climate policy related work. CEI is vigorously fighting the subpoena, which is an attack on its First Amendment rights.
Yes, the CEI knows that mention of "First Amendment rights" will raise the hackles of extreme right wingers all over. They are not concerned about whether or not ExxonMobil or CEI has a case to answer. They don't care that CEI may be engaged in disinformation propaganda. CEI has a very clear statement that it opposes efforts to mitigate climate change:
CEI's largest program takes on all the hard energy and climate issues. CEI questions global warming alarmism, makes the case for access to affordable energy, and opposes energy-rationing policies, including the Kyoto Protocol, cap-and-trade legislation, and EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. CEI also opposes all government mandates and subsidies for conventional and alternative energy technologies. 

Who speaks for the scientists?

Scientists cannot take these attacks lying down. It is a last ditch effort from disinformation propaganda organisations in the USA. Bloggers can only do so much. Let's hope that the Attorney-Generals who are investigating find sufficient to pursue the disinformers, including the organisations that the vested interests use to spread the lies.

From the WUWT comments

I haven't read all the 385 "thoughts" at WUWT, but as I said above, it's enough for many of them that there were emails. The existence of emails is sufficent proof that climate science is a hoax and that scientists must be engaged in nefarious activity. It doesn't matter what is written in those emails. It doesn't matter that they contain nothing nefarious at all. They are just emails about the open letter. Emails expressing concern that the public is being misled about climate change.

Tom Halla is an uber-conspiracy theorist who thinks that organisations like CEI have a civil right to get paid to spread disinformation:
May 13, 2016 at 10:33 am
CEI should countersue under the Ku Klux Klan Act Shukla et al for attempting to deny them their civil rights. Go after the VI Attorney General, too.

Scott Frasier says that John Holdren should have been castrated:
May 13, 2016 at 10:40 am
should get his views on Eugenics and population control on the record. Holdren is a Pseudoscience
advocate that should have been castrated during his studying years.

Duncan wonders how RICO could apply to deceiving the public about climate change. He might not know that it was applied to deceiving the public about the effects of smoking:
May 13, 2016 at 10:50 am
The RICO law was designed to extend penalties for an illegal enterprise (money laundering, murder for hire, etc.). Until emitting CO2 becomes illegal, how could RICO apply? Every living thing on this planet would be guilty. Even if the oil companies own research showed CO2 causes warming, even “dangerous” warming, RICO could not apply. Someone correct me otherwise.

Mark may not have read how ExxonMobil knew from its own research about the dangers of burning fossil fuels, way back in the 1970s
May 13, 2016 at 6:19 pm
If Exxon have scientific proof AGW is a valid hypothesis that would be something.
I seriously doubt anyone Exxon hired has that kind of experience and knowledge. The science hasn’t even been born yet, it’s just models and a lot of wild guess figures thrown around and lent authority because it is an extremely weak argument.
As Steyn says, the idea is so weak it cannot even bear public debate

Does Roy Spencer not think that tobacco is harmful? Does he think that scientists are in a mess? It's organisations like CEI that have a case to answer, not scientists (except for scientists like Roy Spencer, and like Judith Curry and Peter Webster, who were mentioned in the emails. It was suggested that Judith Curry consulted with Marc Morano on the issue).
May 13, 2016 at 11:02 am
One of the reasons these scientists got themselves into this mess is that they believe the tobacco-funding memes of the leftist organizations they follow.

ferd berple seems to want to wait until the world is more than 1.8 C hotter:
May 13, 2016 at 11:28 am
Even the IPCC agrees that mild warming is beneficial. It is only warming over 1.8C or so that begins to get harmful, and we HAVE NOT YET reached that point.
So all that can be said is the Oil Companies conspired to bring us a net benefit.

Lord Beaverbrook comments on Anthony Watts' breathtaking (not!) headline that this is "breaking news":
May 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm
Could someone possibly explain this breaking American news in terms that the rest of the world can relate to? 

TA engages in wishful thinking:
May 13, 2016 at 6:28 pm
The prosecutors of the CAGW Skeptics are about to get the tables turned on them. 

Bernie1815 couldn't find much to complain about in the emails, except that he objects to scientists writing about an open letter while having a job at a University. He didn't say anything about Roy Spencer or Judith Curry blogging science denial (or acting in science disinformation films) while having a job at a University:
May 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm
I have read through the emails and communications at JunkScience. Apart from the sheer silliness and narrow-mindedness of a number of the writers, I am not sure what else there is of note in the sample provided. It seems to me pretty clear that these guys were doing this while ostensibly working for the State via their Universities – a form of co-mingling. It seems to me that to support an alternative interpretation they would have to take personal days or time and document it accordingly.
What else is being looked for? 

blcartwright thinks that if the scientists had done this from home, using personal emails, it would have been okay, or maybe not. BTW I don't think that the letter from the 20 scientists was on any letterhead. The scientists did say where they worked:
May 13, 2016 at 5:45 pm
My point was if they would have done this privately from the beginning, I doubt they would be in the situation they are now. It appears they used the university letter heads as an appeal to authority. That made their emails university property and subject to FOIA. They then lied in response to the initial FOIA requests. They could have setup some ‘concernedscientists@gmalil’ and avoided this pickle.
However, looking at Curt Schilling, doing things on private time does not shield one from their employer’s wrath.

AllyKat seems to think that the scientists shouldn't have used their university email accounts. I don't see any problem with that - YMMV. There was nothing in the emails that indicated in any way that they did wrong.  Scientists are expected to speak out when they see something wrong in the world in their area of expertise, and often do.
May 13, 2016 at 12:51 pm
You would think they would be savvy enough to NOT use their official school email accounts to make these communiques. State school = public records. (Of course, they probably think the same thing Hillary does: rules are for the little people.) GMU will fight to try to keep the school’s reputation intact (the admins are all about the money and attention), so they will probably continue trying to make this go away. If it starts looking like a loss and/or donors start getting leery, GMU might just quietly drop these guys. One can only hope. George Mason is spinning in his grave.

Mercury might get yet more evidence, if there is a formal investigation:
May 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm
The scientists allege that the aforementioned interests “knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, in order to forestall America’s response to climate change.”
Can somebody point to examples of the oil industry trying to influence the public about climate change? I can’t recall ever seeing an ad in any form about climate change by an oil company. What I have seen are commercials by environmental groups about melting ice and dying polar bears. I’ve also seen episodes of “Nature” and “Nova” that assert great current and future harm to the world because of climate change, along with claims by politicians, movies stars and activists along the same lines. As far as I can tell the attempts at public influence are largely one-sided. 

AGW is not Science shows that disinformers have been partially successful:
May 13, 2016 at 3:38 pm
Keep all that in mind when the lawsuits begin for THEIR ACTUAL deception. The oil companies COULDN’T HAVE “deceived” anyone, because there is no proof of any “climate catastrophe” from human CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use. 

ossqss is mired deep in conspiratorial thinking:
May 13, 2016 at 1:38 pm
I smell personal liability coming soon to the cast of 20 and many others. What a bunch of arrogant, oppressive people.
They deserve what is coming for them.
The moral, ethical, social, and economic decay continues at a rapid pace in the USA via the current administration.This is just another example of what happens when you empower liberal progressives who think they are above the law. The next election cannot come soon enough! 

I don't know if Clyde Spencer thinks that a RICO investigation would turn up wrongdoing or not. If not, then I don't know why he thinks an open letter to the US President is the wrong means. I don't think he objected to any of Bob Tisdale's silly open letters.
May 13, 2016 at 5:06 pm
So I’m not the only person to have come to the conclusion that liberals feel that any and all means are justified by their ends.

SMC is convinced that some unnamed "they" are communists. It probably makes him or her feel better about denying science:
May 13, 2016 at 5:38 pm
They are neither liberal nor progressive. They are regressive, totalitarian communists.
Terry might think that public release of innocuous emails is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. Or maybe he's hopeful that Senator James Inhofe will criminalise climate science and send US climate scientists to jail.
May 13, 2016 at 2:07 pm
Considering the sheer volume of advanced degrees among these individuals, there is an overwhelming naivete and sheer stupidity surrounding their words and actions.
Seriously…. these professors are freaking retards. Which goes a long way to explain people like Mann and Gleick and their ridiculous behavior.
Two aspects also jump out.
Absence of doubt. They truly believe that what they are doing is correct and right.
And assumption of immunity from their actions. They actually think they can get away with this bullshit, trying to lever their respective higher positions in academia to lend weight to their pontifications while doing all this on company time and company computers and using company email systems, then conveniently claiming it was all personal opinion done on personal time. Do they really think people are stupid enough to buy this crap?

Bruce Cobb is one of many who thinks that writing an innocuous email is a criminal offense:
May 13, 2016 at 2:10 pm
So basically, it’s like a gang of thieves on their way to rob a bank getting stopped for speeding.
There was a bit of to and fro about whether it's legal to send a personal email from work. blcartwright says he or she does it:
May 13, 2016 at 1:59 pm
I think that would be true only if, as Hillary Clinton did, switch their official work correspondence to private, unsecured channels. These communications were private, being done on their employer’s dime.
When I’m at work I have two tabs open in my browser – one for work email, the other for private.

ristvan thinks that doing anything personal while at work is property theft. Or sending a personal email (and presumably phoning home, or writing a personal note using an employer's pen) is property theft:
May 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm
Brandon, you missed the legal plot here. It was done on his GMU computer/server/ email account. He admits that. Does not matter legally whether at 2am on ‘his own time’. The law cares about where and how, not when. And whether he was ‘paid’ matters not. He used paid for by Virginia GMU resources for supposedly private purposes. In any company I have been associated with, the most polite term for that is ‘diversion’, and the most legally precise is ‘property theft’. There is literally no legal Maibach defense I can think of. And as a licensed lawyer, have been thinking for months on this with many previous comments around the blogosphere.

Mike the Morlock thinks that it's a crime to charge your phone at work. Seriously!:
May 13, 2016 at 9:43 pm
Brandon Shollenberger May 13, 2016 at 3:08 pm
Wrong Brandon you are missing the point. You can’t even charge your personal phone, Its called stealing.
Think I’m over harsh? These people were not working on sanctioned activities that the State and Granting organizations had agreed to. Game over.

Pauly thinks that writing an open letter to the US President constitutes a conspiracy against ... well, I don't know what. Whatever it is it must be a crime. Advising the President that "an overwhelming majority of climate scientists are convinced about the potentially
serious adverse effects of human-induced climate change on human health, agriculture, and biodiversity" has somehow brought universities into disrepute. Who'd have thought.
May 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm
Brandon, you are obviously missing Ristvan’s points.
Firstly, the emails are not his. Any work done for a university remains the property of the university, including intellectual property. As such, he has no basis for declaring that they are exempt from and FOI request. You note that he does not try to declare them private property? Because he knows that they are not.
Secondly, the emails in aggregate will potentially show a conspiracy was formed with an intent that may have led to a breach of other laws. That has yet to be judged in a court of law, so as yet, no criminal or civil violation has been found.
And to put a final nail in your argument, Edward Maibach’s day job is to communicate about climate change:
“His research – funded by NSF, NASA and private foundations – focuses on public understanding of climate change and clean energy; the psychology underlying public engagement; …” (see http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio-view/edward-maibach-4/)
I would like to see his explanation for how his “private” behaviour is not directly connected to his job. Even if he had used a private email account, his employer would be asking him to explain this serious conflict of interest. As it is, he and his colleagues have brought his employer into significant disrepute.
 Or perhaps Pauly's a four-pack a day smoker, and this is what he objects so strongly to:
The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking. If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done.

Geoff Sherrington points out that people in senior roles are expected to be honest. And these senior people are honest as the emails and the open letter show, so I don't know what his point is.
May 14, 2016 at 3:15 am
You know that you write nonsense here.
Consider how hard it would be for a Maibach to pick up a phone and call any number of ‘important’ people, if he did not have the credentials associated with his university post.
When one takes a senior office, it is implicit in acceptance that there is duty to uphold several historical concepts like honesty. This is held so important that governments often require oaths as part of the administration.
Are you arguing in favour of universities being a new Wild West of lawlessness by force?

Tom Trevor has a very warped view of free speech. I'm guessing he thinks that defamation laws are illegal. I don't know what his views are about the rights of scientists to send emails to each other. He does indicate that disinformation propaganda has worked to shield him from scientific evidence:
May 13, 2016 at 5:49 pm
The whole thing is a matter of opinion. In the US, because of the first amendment everyone is, or should entitled to their opinion, it should matter not if their opinion is right, wrong, or indifferent. It should not matter if their opinion is shared by 99.99% of people or 0.0000000001% of people. The first amendment protects all speech. In this case the government is trying to criminalize speech.
But it is worse than that. it is an indisputable fact that no one knows what damage, if any, will be caused be CO2 in 50 to 100 years or more. There is no data at all from the future to prove or disprove the models.
The tobacco case was way over reaching by the government, but a least that case was based on harm already allegedly done. This case is based on harm that might possibly happen in the future.

Mike dipped his toe into the conspiracy pond, maybe to see if there are any other sane readers of WUWT:
May 14, 2016 at 12:00 am
Clearly a genius. A one degree of surface level temperature increase averaged across the globe across all the year, melting arctic ice, most glaciers retreating, tree lines going up, increases in sea level, increases in sea temperature, an increase in the recorded satellite temperature, a whole lotta ice cores and … grade school physics. Yep no evidence at all.
Who you going to listen to, an overwhelming majority of people who’ve been properly trained and studied this stuff all their life, or a failed weather man and a bunch of libertarian nutters, most without a Science degree let alone a PhD behind them, who rant about government control, paying tax and conspiracies?
Clearly genius.
It seems the sane are few and far between. The "thoughts" deteriorated the more they came. It mostly turned into a political stream from the extreme right. Anthony Watts must be feeling very pleased with himself that his blog has found a niche among conspiracy theorising utter nutters.

References and further reading

Climate scientist requesting federal investigation feels heat from House Republicans - article by Warren Cornwall at Science mag, October 2015 (with a link to the RICO letter from scientists)

Letter To President Obama: Investigate Deniers Under RICO - article by Greg Laden, September 2015

Sen. Inhofe inquisition seeking ways to criminalize and prosecute 17 leading climate scientists - article by Joe Romm at ClimateProgress, February 2010

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. We have an open letter that states:

    "investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change."

    And we have a response:

    "Curry, Michaels and PieIke apparently feel that our letter made them targets"

    Oh its time for that video again.

    1. Makes one wonder, doesn't it, what else they've been getting up to with the disinformation "corporations and other organizations". We know about Judith having a role in Climate Hustle. Is there more than that?

      I guess it will all come out in the wash eventually.

    2. So this fishing expedition might have backfired and put the activities of some deniers out in the open. Curry's behaviour certainly suggests she is very cosy with the denier crowd. If she is paid for her time and "intellectual" efforts, should we be surprised?

    3. I think she got in way over her head when she chose to give her congressional testimony. And now there is no way back for her.

    4. The irony burns - didn't Dr Curry get a request for her emails a while back? If denierville has suddenly developed a taste for "disclosure", then Dr Curry would be more than happen complying with that disclosure request.

    5. I don't know that Judith's had FOI requests for emails. Not yet anyway. (This latest revelation might change things.) Her university fielded a question from Raul Grijalva about her funding sources, though it only related to her published research, not to her disinformation activities.

    6. Sou.

      Yes, I think that is what I meant. It gets hard to keep track sometimes.

  2. Maybe somebody could FOIA Shukla or Webster for those e-mails (apparently plural).

    Oh, and Sou, you have a direct link to WUWT in your piece ("email from Dr Maibach")

    1. I expect people will be equally interested in what went on between Judith Curry, Peter Webster, Pat Michaels, Marc Morano, Roger Pielke (2), Chris Horner, CEI, CFACT, and the CATO Institute, among others. Whether they sent any emails to and fro I wouldn't know. They could have connived together over the phone.

      Perhaps we can ask Chris Horner to do an FOI request on behalf of humanity and in the interest of openness and freedom of speech (that is, knowing what everyone is speaking about behind closed disinformer doors).

  3. Re, comments: you missed the ones from Brandon Shollenberger, which is odd, because you quoted people replying to him.

  4. "The conclusion that I draw is that deniers want to be misled".

    Yes, confirmation bias is a powerful thing.

  5. "Scientists cannot take these attacks lying down."

    As an aside, it was revealed today that the CSIRO's John Church, on of our nation's (and, indeed, the world's) pre-eminent scientists, has been sent a "Dear John" letter by Larry Marshall.

    There are many in Australian science who are not impressed...

  6. Can somebody please remind me: how did Judith Curry react to the "Climategate" email theft? What about Patrick Michaels? Surely they must have taken the side of the scientists whose emails were spread all over the web?

    1. Not so, Lars. For Judith it was the signal she was probably waiting for to "come out" as a denier. She piggybacked on the stolen emails. That was what she used in her "bridging" letter at ClimateProgress, and she went downhill from there, relishing the adulation from science deniers and conspiracy theorists.

      See this brief history.

    2. Let's see if I get this right... According to JC and PM, it is OK to steal emails, but no to try got get access to emails by legal means? Or is it OK if it's the emails of scientists, but not if it's the emails of a political think tank?

    3. Judith is well known for her disinformation activism. Like most science disinformers, she has double standards, too.

      Yes, stealing emails is a good thing in her book. I doubt she'd feel the same if it was her own private correspondence that was stolen (or FOI'd).


  7. "The conclusion that I draw is that deniers want to be misled."

    That seems to be right. In fact, that's it in a nut-case (sorry, nutshell).

  8. 'In those emails he states that Curry, Pat Michaels and Roger Pielke are actively collaborating with Marc Morano and well-funded groups to come after us.'

    They collaborate with Marc Morano? The Morano who has a full-time job harassing scientists by publishing their contact information to that the disgusting element that visit his GarbageDepot harass them.

    In this video Morano explains his harassment himself. There is no denying him doing it and his intend doing so.

    Could there be a bigger disregard of the norms of the scientific community than Curry, Michaels and Pielke collaborating with someone who wants to make open scientific debate impossible? These 3 are despicable.

  9. Hi Sou,

    Fascinating stuff. The double standard that Curry et al. live by is astounding.

    Any idea if Pielke Jr. is involved or is it just his dad who is being mendacious?

    1. Alby, I think it's probably just Roger Jr. I don't know if Sr was involved. See Eli Rabett's article here.

  10. What interesting lives Webster and Curry lead:


    Recently Exxon was at risk losing its affiliation with the AGU, I wonder if Curry and/or Webster played any role in the AGU's decision to continue their affiliation with Exxon (despite the overwhelming evidence against them)?

    One has to wonder if Curry was conspiring with Morano et al. while she was chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology?

  11. "The conclusion that I draw is that deniers want to be misled."

    That's pretty much tautological, if they're not professional disinformers but are actually "in denial" in the psychological sense: "in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence".

    Harry Twinotter has the right of it: "Confirmation bias is a powerful thing." It's one of the mechanisms that make psychological denial self-sealing.

  12. It will be interesting to see if (Spin)Dr Curry responds to the mention of hubby's emails.


  13. The Very Reverend Jebediah HypotenuseMay 17, 2016 at 1:49 AM

    Back in 2014, someone named Michael Asten submitted a paper to EOS (AGU Journal) that was rejected by the editor:
    I have decided to reject the submission based on the significant scientific consensus regarding the question of human-induced climate change. – Eos editor

    This was red meat to Judy and Peter - who then took it upon themselves to defend science from the AGU.

    There is nothing in Asten’s submitted essay that is overtly ‘skeptical’; rather he is arguing that AGU needs to facilitate a broader spectrum of scholarship and dialogue on this topic. However, if you google ‘Michael Asten’, he clearly shows up as a scientist that is skeptical of climate change. It seems that the Editor of Eos also did the same googling, identified Asten as a skeptic, which motivated the content of the Editor’s letter. So this was as much about the ‘person’ as about the content of Asten’s essay.


    The accusation of google-stereo-typing is telling.

    Curry continues:
    I received the initial email from Michael Asten about this on May 16. With Asten’s permission, I forwarded his email to Peter Webster, who is President of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences Section and a member of the AGU Council. He asked me to hold off on a blog post, while he tried to get the AGU to deal with this issue internally. He sent emails to the AGU leadership, voicing his concerns about using the AGU policy statement as a basis for rejecting an article, and requesting permission to send an email to the Council voicing his concerns about AGU’s editorial policies in this regard. He was denied permission to communicate with the Council regarding this issue, and was told that he had no standing to communicate with the Eos editor over this matter since he was not an author on the paper in question. (note Peter Webster gave me permission to report on this interaction with the AGU leadership).

    Please note: This is not irresponsible advocacy.

    1. I just read the article that Michael Asten wrote. It was a dog's breakfast. Not worthy of publication anywhere except maybe at Curry's place or WUWT where quality isn't a consideration.

      BTW Sorry for the delay, Rev. The comment got trapped in the spam folder by mistake.

    2. It is interesting to note how Curry persistently refers to Peter Webster without ever telling anyone that he is her husband.

  14. The Very Reverend Jebediah HypotenuseMay 17, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    It is interesting to note how Curry persistently refers to Peter Webster without ever telling anyone that he is her husband.

    Or her business partner...


    1. Indeed. And what role does the "Uncertainty Monster"(TM) play when (Spin)Dr Curry and hubby invoice their clients for "Climate Risk Assessments"?


  15. "With Asten’s permission, I forwarded his email to Peter Webster, who is President of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences Section and a member of the AGU Council."


  16. So we all agreed that it is a good thing to have RICO used to get criminal scientists then.
    That's a relief.
    Personally good science on either side should triumph by getting it's message over.
    Not by prosecuting people.

    1. I am really not sure what your point is an tech. I think you are being sarcastic but it makes no sense. If they are "criminal" scientists then they are, um, criminal, and should be prosecuted according to the law and their offence? No? The quality of any science involved is a different issue. Perhaps you meant something else?

    2. Angech, RICO isn't about going after specific scientists. It's about the leaders of organizations that asked *others* to (in this case) spread misinformation.

      I do understand why people like Curry and Pielke Jr may be scared, since the Tobacco files unearthed quite a few scientists who were bought and paid for by the tobacco industry. Either they know they feature themselves, or knw/have strong suspicions that people they rely on will feature in similar documents from the fossil fuel industry.

      I have asked someone elsewhere the same rhetorical question I repeat here:
      Ask yourself why Fred Singer never sat in the dock, despite featuring prominently in the tobacco files. You can ask the same question about many, many others who featured in the tobacco files. The only one's on trial were the tobacco companies, who had hired these scientists to spread doubt.

    3. Jammy Dodger
      "If they are "criminal" scientists then they are, um, criminal,".
      "Angech, RICO isn't about going after specific scientists".
      Unfortunately this is how it is interpreted.
      Where criminal means purely being a denier.
      In other words persecuting people for their beliefs, not their actions.
      Shukla and Peter Webster were mates with different beliefs.

    4. angech
      Well, Bill said it more succinctly. Your post was a word salad and therefore was not understandable. And Marco points out it is about organisations not individuals.

      No, it is not about persecuting people for their "beliefs". It is about deliberate and irresponsible actions.

    5. angech, you may want to read this:

      As you will note, the idea that "criminal scientists" (which *you* interpret as "deniers") are to be prosecuted is thoroughly debunked by one of the people signing the letter.

    6. >>Unfortunately this is how it is interpreted.

      No, it's not unfortunate it's deliberate. CEI and other disinformation groups want to paint it this way. They also want to paint it as a free speech issue, when it's not. I haven't seen deniers comment on the double standards. In the same week that CEI is protesting the fact that they were asked to provide documentation, they were boasting how they had obtained personal emails between scientists by, horror of horrors, going to court to get a judge to authorise it. Those same legal avenues that they use to intimidate and try to stop scientific research, they wrongly cry foul when the shoe is on the other foot.

      They fool no-one except the people who want so desperately to be fooled.

    7. RICO goes after organizations and like for tobacco will have to prove that people were deliberately spreading lies.

      Pielke and Curry are not racketeering. They do not sell a lot of oil due to their misinformation campaign. One may hope they are not lying on purpose.

      They may have one reason to be afraid. Due to the discovery, they may get a file like Fred Singer has a large tobacco file. If they just did science, there will also be nothing there, but maybe some deliverables will show up. I am curious.

    8. Just a thought - can anyone be prosecuted for intentionally misleading the US Congress?

  17. US Congress wants to be misled. It's all very incestuous. In their view it's a feature, not a bug. It does seem odd that this is not obvious to someone taking an honest look.

    I don't think we need to dance around the fact that it's all about lies, looting, profiteering, etc.

    1. There is some truth in that. Climate Change remediation is a tough sell. Some probably do just want the issue to go away.


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