New Scientist – Those cursed climate emails

Originally a Guest Post of mine at Watts Up With That

The first edition of New Scientist (UK) of 2011 has a review of 2010 and a preview of 2011 section…

…and they are rather optimistic that the world has finally moved on from the climategate emails.

Those Cursed Climate emails – New Scientist Jan 1, 2011

Thousands of them were hacked off the servers of the University of East Anglia, home to one of the UK’s leading research units, in November 2009. In 2010, their content was dissected, re-dissected, and then dissected some more, amid claims that some climate scientists had engaged in fraudulent behaviour. Four independent reviews exonerated them, and datasets were made public that were previously under lock and key. And finally, the world moved on.”

(behind a paywall, but in their blog

This would just appear to be the time-honoured PR strategy  ‘Nothing to be seen here, move along please’ and an attempt at controlling a message.  So there is to be no optimism from New Scientist that the world could now be safe from Thermageddon (NS October 2010).


It seems that the great CAGW delusion, early 21st century ‘modern end of the world cult’, cultural phenomenon or whatever else history will call it, has not quite yet had its bubble pierced.

In 2010, I personally thought that perhaps the lowest point of climate science reporting in the UK, was the New Scientist, Age of Denial issue with a Special 10 page report.


When organisations of whatever type start speaking of ‘truths’ rather than ‘facts’ it is perhaps a worrying sign of a political position and message rather than a scientific position. This particular issue linked Climate Denial with, Evolution Denial, Holocaust Denial, Aids Denial, 9/11 Denial, Vaccine Denial and Tobacco Denial. It even included an article from Richard Littlemore (one of those behind DeSmogBlog) which  stated that;

“The Doubt Industry has ballooned in the past two decades. There are now scores of think tanks pushing dubious and confusing policy positions, and dozens of phoney grass-roots organisations created to make those positions appear to have legitimate following.”

I would be very interested in finding out which current ‘phoney grass root organisations’ and ‘thinktanks’ that Richard Littlemore of DeSmogBlog is thinking of.  I am not aware of any behind or encouraging the popular global warming sceptical blogs, least of all my own. No doubt DeSmogBlog and other similar AGW advocate sites,  sincerely believe that this accurately describes the cause of the explosion of sceptical blogs and opinions on the internet. 

This is perhaps the only explanation that fits the world view of some of the CAGW consensus advocates, that the popularity of blogs  like Watts Up With That, Climate Audit, Bishop Hill, Jo Nova, The AirVent, Harmless Sky and many others, is because organisations are creating an environment that allows these blogs to flourish. 

This is the same type of groupthink that led to thinking that the 10:10 Campaign ‘No Pressure’ video was a good idea. There is actual belief in a current multi million dollar fossil fuel denial machine as it fits the romantic vision of environmentalism vs ’big corporate’. 

A regular Climate Audit reader started the UK Bishop Hill Blog, he then wrote a certain book, ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ to describe the team vs Climate Audit history. That book is now prominently displayed on the front page of Watts Up With That (and many other blogs). I started my own blog after reading Bishop Hill, as have  many others, Haunting the Library being one of the latest excellent spin offs by a Bishop Hill reader.

Those consensus advocates may perceive this as evidence of an astroturf coordinated multi million dollar funded, fossil fuel funded PR denial machine. If they spent time actually reading them, it would become evident that it is just individuals reacting to events.  

The internet has allowed any individual to put their views to a world audience, anybody with an internet connection, a blog and a domain name only costs a few dollars.  My own blog cost less than £20 for the domain name and a few pounds a month for a website host. It is possible to create your own blog, with the same world presence for even less than this and anyone can do this.

Sceptical websites only become successful by word of mouth and because of the quality of the articles, individual commentors spread the word and create a popular website and make news viral, it is driven by the reader NOT the website owner. CAGW consensus advocates do not understand that the game has changed, they seem to think ‘pushing’ content onto a passive audience is still the only way to communicate.

So, in my opinion, the New Scientist’s optimism about the world moving on from the climategate emails is totally unrealistic, particularly in light of all the recent Met Office stories of failing to predict another harsh winter in the UK.  This was immediately followed by various reports and denials  that actually the Met Office did predict it, but had kept it ‘secret’ from the public, followed by numerous stories about who exactly knew this information. Today another inquiry is being considered in the UK, following pressure from the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Back in December BAA announced an inquiry into what went wrong due to the snow in the UK at London Heathrow airport. The fact that since then that ‘secret’ harsh winter predictions had been made by the Met Office to the Cabinet Office are surely very applicable to that inquiry, which leads to some obvious awkward questions.

Did BAA go with the earlier Met Office predictions of a mild winter?

Were BAA aware of the ‘secret’ prediction?

Was the Cabinet Office really warned by the Met Office?

Did The Cabinet Office (coalition government) fail to pass on this warning to, Airports, councils, etc?

All very relevant to this earlier BAA inquiry. Is it now a coincidence, that following all this news, that Virgin Airlines and others are now withholding landing charges and are demanding compensation from BAA and are awaiting the results of the earlier BAA inquiry? 

This particular story has, in my opinion, larger implications than the Met Office, ‘climate scientists’ or ‘climate change’ lobby groups are  aware of:

Because the Politicians in London and the UK have been made to look publically foolish, again by the Met office and it is all being played out in the mainstream media, reported by the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Mail.  There are also millions of pounds of potential compensation to the airlines and other businesses.

“This type of thing cannot keep happening and consumers cannot be ignored,” said a Virgin Atlantic spokesman. “We want the inquiry to be robust. If we can add impetus to that by any action we are taking, then so be it.” – Guardian (Jan 10, 2011)

“At one point Prime Minister David Cameron intervened to express his frustration that it was “taking so long for the situation to improve”. – Telegraph (Jan 10, 2011)

“Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is withholding the fees it pays airport operator BAA because of its “slow reaction” to last month’s heavy snow.” – BBC (Jan 10, 2011)

“We want this inquiry to really focus on what happened and when the airport reasonably should have reopened and then we want compensation for all the costs we unnecessarily incurred after that,’ said Mr Ridgway. We’re going to do that by holding back the fees we pay BAA and when the inquiry comes out we will happily sit down and work out what the right numbers are.’ – Daily Mail (Jan 10, 2011)

This time it cannot be waved away as obscure climate sceptic propaganda when the newspapers in the UK report the comments of the BBC’s Environment Analyst Roger Harrabin:

“The trouble is that we simply don’t know how much to trust the Met Office.”  – Roger Harrabin, BBC

or that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson had this to say back in December, before all the recent secret prediction news, about the second transport fiasco due to  weather in London and at Heathrow in 2 years:

“….So let me seize this brief gap in the aerial bombardment to pose a question that is bugging me. Why did the Met Office forecast a “mild winter”? – Boris Johnson

The Met Office and the Hadley Centre is an influential contributor to the IPCC, they are at the heart of climate science in the UK and it is the same computer predicting the weather and climate.  In ‘weather’ mode there are continued updates with new information, as time progresses on a rolling basis to predict the weather. In ‘climate’ mode the computer is used to predict future climate scenarios, when this is done no updates are added. Politicians will I am  sure be taking a very hard look at the Met Office, no doubt quietly and in private.

Let us all be optimistic about whatever the New Year brings, even if it is to be the start of  a decade or two of cooling or even another  ‘mini ice age’  because forewarned is to be prepared.

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7 Responses to New Scientist – Those cursed climate emails

  1. TinyCO2 says:

    “There is actual belief in a current multi million dollar fossil fuel denial machine as it fits the romantic vision of environmentalism vs ’big corporate’.”

    Spot on. They’re desperately trying to convince everyone that they’re David not Goliath. It doesn’t fit their world view to be the big lumbering oppressor against a smaller nimbler foe. One of the best laughs I got last year was the organisational chart presented on LeftFootForward trying to represent the two sides of Climategate. To see huge international institutions balanced against one person blogs was hilarious.

    The sceptic side is at its best when it has some new news to work with and the AGWer side just keep supplying them. LOL!

    Nice article by the way. Got here from Tom Nelson’s site, another good guy 🙂

  2. BWoods says:

    Thanks for the comment…

    Did you see this:
    as it was part of the same post, but I split it in 2 because it grew a bit too long.
    My guest post at Watts Up, which called for the BBC to FOI Met Office/Cabinet Office

    also here:

    • TinyCO2 says:

      Yeah, excellent round up of the situation.

      Of course you know why it happened don’t you? Picture this.

      The MET Office will have sent off one of their convoluted predictions (that can’t be boiled down to recognisable weather) to the Cabinet Office. Some peon will have received it and waved it at someone senior. That person will have wittily asked if it predicts a BBQ Christmas. The peon will umm and ahh for a few minutes trying to make head or tale of percentages ‘colder than average’ and ‘warmer than average’. Finally bored of waiting the superior will snap ‘is it going to be another warm winter?’ To which the reply would have been, ‘I’m not sure, but I think they’re saying it will be cold and dry’. The boss will have sneered and said ‘In other words, it IS going to be warm and wet and everyone will be muttering about global warming. The MET always gets it wrong. Remind me to ditch the winter TV flu campaign and book my Christmas holiday in Cancun. With a bit of luck I’ll be able to wave at the returning MET Office bods as I pass them in Heathrow.’

      Cue Yes Minister music. Sir Humphrey would have loved climate change.

  3. G.Watkins says:

    I used to love the “Adventure” and “Rover” comics but sadly at 13 I realised that they were fiction. New Sc. lasted a lot longer but suffered the same fate.
    As I have commented elsewhere I would not be surprised if in both UK and Australia legal action will be taken against the Met. Off. and BOM(A) and even governments.
    Interesting times.

  4. Cthulhu says:

    “I would be very interested in finding out which current ‘phoney grass root organisations’ and ‘thinktanks’ that Richard Littlemore of DeSmogBlog is thinking of”

    The Global Warming Policy Foundation, for example.

  5. BWoods says:

    In what way are they phoney?.. They are very real people.
    Take a look at the members of their Academic Advisory Panel.
    Real respected scientists.

    Thus at the very least the debate would be which respected scientists are right or wrong..

    Rather, only listen to one group of respected scientists.

  6. Mrko says:

    “Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is withholding the fees it pays”

    Bwaaa. ha. ha.

    Didn’t Branson jump on the global warming bandwagon? He should be blaming himself, STFU, and pay his taxes, er, fees like a good little warmer.

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