Copenhagen chaos as climate code shows cooking

Posted on December 8, 2009

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The UK Guardian is reporting that the climate summit in Copenhagen has already hit a major snag with the leaking of the so-called “Danish texts.” The documents show that an agreement has already been worked out that sees rich countries receiving more regulatory power and the UN sidelined in the process (not necessarily a problem with me, but the idea is anathema to supporters of a global climate regulation scheme). The documents also show that developed countries will be allowed a bigger per-capita carbon allowance than developing nations, all of which rightfully angers poorer countries as they see the move as an insider deal that keeps the industrialized countries happy while the modernization efforts of developing countries are severely curtailed.

Meanwhile, a duo of articles by Robert Greiner (here and here) exposes some troubling lines in the computer code that was leaked along with the e-mails from East Anglia:

First, let’s get this out of the way: Emails prove nothing. Sure, you can look like an unethical asshole who may have committed a felony using government funded money; but all email is, is talk, and talk is cheap.

Now, here is some actual proof that the CRU was deliberately tampering with their data. Unfortunately, for readability’s sake, this code was written in Interactive Data Language (IDL) and is a pain to go through.

NOTE: This is an actual snippet of code from the CRU contained in the source file: briffa_Sep98_d.pro

1 ;
2 ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
3 ;
4 yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
5 valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75   ; fudge factor
6 if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,'Oooops!'
7   
8 yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

“Fudge factor”? Gee, I sure feel comfortable in the ironclad reliability of the East Anglia data, don’t you? I’d urge you to read both articles by Greiner – at the bare minimum they show a suspect method of research by the East Anglia team and renders all of their conclusions suspect. And remember, East Anglia isn’t some podunk college with a bored post-grad student interested in Al Gore’s film – it’s one on the major contributors to the UN’s IPCC which pronounced 3 years ago that a universal consensus that the science on man-made global warming was settled.

It’s not settled. I heard an interview the other day with Weather Channel founder John Coleman in which the meteorologist expressed his skepticism at anthropogenic global warming, and he’s not alone. The general public is looking more askance at the claims of science that human behavior is the largest contributor to a warming trend which some have questioned.

Doesn’t seem like the best time to ram through a planetary carbon scheme, does it? Yet that’s what a lot of people are hoping will happen at Copenhagen this week. The Dutch texts epitomize the essence of so-called “limousine liberalism” – the rich get to keep up their lifestyle while dictating to the rest of us what we ought to do for the good of society. They also underscore a major flaw in carbon regulation – most carbon output comes from India and China, yet countries like the US are expected to take the brunt of draconian carbon regulations that will cripple industry, a fact recognized by the poorer countries that has them hopping mad over the attempt to curtail their industrialization.

You can’t blame them, really. I wonder how damaging the disclosure truly is to the Copenhagen process, but it seems increasingly evident that the goal is to get some agreement as quickly as possible before any more damage to credibility can be done.

(Oh, and by the way, I hope you all appreciate the display of alliteration in the post title.)

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Posted in: News, Politics, Science