May 18, 2014
Among the documents requested from me in discovery by Michael E Mann's Big Tobacco white-shoe legal team a couple of months ago was this column of mine from 2009:
Here's what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by "peer review." When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann "consensus," Jones demanded that the journal "rid itself of this troublesome editor," and Mann advised that "we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers."
So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the "consensus" reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley ("one of the world's foremost experts on climate change") suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to "get him ousted." When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
Which in essence is what they did. The more frantically they talked up "peer review" as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in The Wall Street Journal Europe is unimprovable: "How To Forge A Consensus." Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That's "peer review," climate-style.
"Climategate" wasn't only about the science - "Hide the decline" et al. It was also about the general thuggishness with which Mann and his gang treated anyone who disagreed with them, however mildly: The science is settled. Got it? Nice little peer-review journal you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it.
The joke "investigations" conducted in the wake of Climategate chose to let the Clime Syndicate skate. To be charitable, it's possible Sir Muir Russell, Lord Oxburgh and the other grandees assumed that, having been caught once, the Warmanos wouldn't do it again. Instead, having been caught once and gotten away with it, the Warmanos kept right on doing it. Hence, this week's offer he couldn't refuse to Lennart Bengtsson: Whether they also left a polar bear's head in his bed we shall discover in the fullness of time.
In other words, despite Climategate, despite the Oxburgh inquiry and the Russell inquiry and the NOAA inquiry and all the rest, nothing has changed. With hindsight, Rand Simberg's comparison of Penn State's joke investigations into Jerry Sandusky and Michael Mann missed the most obvious point of similarity: The more Penn State bent over backwards to look the other way, the more Sandusky took it as a nod and a wink to carry on as usual. The Clime Syndicate seems to have reacted to the Climategate investigations in exactly the same way.
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