Climategate 2 – Salinger puts the boot into De Freitas

Update: See below – Pachauri, head of the IPCC is being copied into emails that reveal the hatchet job on a skeptical scientist.

Another Update:

I have been looking through some further emails, and all the usual suspects are there i.e. the ‘team’. I have to admit to having run out of energy to go through them all now, and it is just depressing to read this stuff. Perhaps the most surprising point is that the emails cc Pachauri. Let’s be very clear about this. Although we all know otherwise, the IPCC is supposed to be a scientific body of some repute. Key ‘scientists’ who work for the IPCC are the ‘team’. In the emails below, the team are seeking to destroy the career of a scientist who dared to allow the publication of a skeptical article.

Pachauri is kept informed of this hatchet job, so must be aware that some of the key IPCC scientists are, for want of a better description, out of control. He must be aware that they have moved beyond the boundaries of science, and into personal attacks and crusades – this is even admitted in one of the emails, in which it is accepted that the attempt to smear de Freitas is an ad hominem attack.

But Pachauri does nothing. No response, no comment. Nothing.

This is the person responsible for the IPCC. He is aware of this witch hunt and does nothing. Is this person fit to lead an international body such as this? I think this will be hard for Pachauri to explain away, though no doubt there will be claims that he never read the emails (from some of the most prominent ‘scientists’ in the IPCC, I don’t think he can claim to have ignored these).

Original post continue below….with updates….

This is my second post on climategate 2, and I now reach new levels of complete disgust. I will simply copy below an email from Jim Salinger of NIWA, and it speaks for itself. If you look at my previous post, this is Salinger’s response to Pittocks suggestion to use the team to damage those who disagree with the ‘team’s’ views:

date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 11:21:50 +1200
subject: Another course of Action – Recent climate sceptic research and the
to:,,,, Phil Jones <>,,,

Dear All

For information, De Freitas has finally put all his arguments together in a paper published in the Canadian Bulletin of Petroleum Geology, 2002 (on holiday at the moment, and the reference is at

I have had thoughts also on a further course of action.  The present Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Professor John Hood (comes from an engineering background) is very concerned that
Auckland should be seen as New Zealand’s premier research university, and one with an excellent reputation internationally.  He is concerned to the extent that he is monitoring the performance of
ALL his senior staff, from Associate Professor upwards, including interviews with them.  My suggestion is that a band of you review editors write directly to Professor Hood with your concerns.  In it you should point out that you are all globally recognized top climate scientist.  It is best that such a letter come from outside NZ and is signed by more than one person.  His address is:

Professor John Hood
Vice Chancellor
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, New Zealand

Let me know what you think!  See suggested text below.



Some suggested text below:


We write to you as the editorial board(review editors??) of the leading international journal Climate Research for climate scientists
We are very concerned at the poor standards and personal biases shown by a member of your staff. …..
When we originally appointed … to the editorial board we were under the impression that they would carry out their duties in an objective manner as is expected of scientists world wide.  We were also given to understand that this person has been honoured with science communicator of the year award, several times by your … organisation.

Instead we have discovered that this person has been using his position to promote ‘fringe’ views of various groups with which they are associated around the world.  It perhaps would have been less disturbing if the ‘science’ that was being passed through the system was sound.  However, a recent incident has alerted us to the fact that poorly constructed and uncritical work has been allowed to enter the pages of the journal.  A recent example has caused outrage amongst leading climate scientists around the world and has resulted in the journal dismissing (??).. from the editorial board.

We bring this to your attention since we consider it brings the name of your university and New Zealand into some disrepute.  We leave it to your discretion what use you make of this information.

The journal itself cannot be considered completely blameless in this situation and we clearly need to tighten some of our editorial processes; however, up until now we have relied on the honour and professionalism of our editors.  Sadly this incident
has damaged our faith in some of our fellow  scientists.  Regrettably it will reflect on your institution as this person is a relatively senior staff member.

There endeth a disgusting hatchet job. However, that is not the end of it. The ‘team’ approve of this underhand and foul approach. This is from Michael Mann:

So while our careful efforts to debunk the myths perpetuated by these folks may be  useful in the FAR, they  will be of limited use in fighting the disinformation campaign that is already underway in Washington DC. Here, I tend to concur at least in sprit w/ Jim Salinger, that other approaches may be necessary. I would emphasize that there are indeed, as Tom notes, some unique aspects of this latest assault by the skeptics which are cause for special concern. This latest assault uses a compromised peer-review process as a vehicle for launching a scientific disinformation campaign (often viscious and ad hominem) under the guise of apparently legitimately reviewed science, allowing them to make use of the “Harvard” moniker in the process. Fortunately, the mainstream media never touched the story (mostly it has appeared in papers owned by Murdoch and his crowd, and dubious fringe on-line outlets).  Much like  a server which has been compromised as a launching point for computer viruses, I fear that “Climate Research” has become a hopelessly compromised vehicle in the skeptics’ (can we find a better word?) disinformation campaign, and some of the discussion that I’ve seen (e.g. a potential threat of mass resignation among the legitimate members of the CR editorial board) seems, in my opinion, to have some potential merit.

I have found other emails which approve of this hatchet job, but am still sorting through the mess of information. Maybe a little pause whilst I go to vote in the election – and ‘no’, I will not be voting Green Party.


I have just sent the following to the New Zealand Herald via their Contact News Staff service:

I have been very critical of your coverage of climate change / global warming. I have just posted a climategate email on my blog. In it Jim Salinger of NIWA conspires with other climate scientists to help get a skeptic sacked from University of Auckland.

Do you have the integrity to publish this story?

We will see. Link to the post is below.

Below is the Herald’s confirmation page, so they have received the message….


Yet more on the hatchet job, found here:

date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 12:41:38 +1000
subject: RE: Recent climate sceptic research and the journal Climate  Rese

Dear Jim,

Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I hope the co-editors of ‘Climate Research’ can agree on some joint action. I know that Peter Whetton is one who is concerned. Any action must of course be effective and also not give the sceptics an excuse for making de Freitas appear as a martyr – the charge should surely be not following scientific standards of review, rather than publishing contrarian views as such. If a paper is contested by referees that should at least be stated in any publication, and minimal standards of statistical treatment, honesty and clarity should be insisted on. Bringing the journal and publisher into disrepute may be one reasonable charge.

‘Energy and Environment’ is another journal with low standards for sceptics, but if my recollection is correct this is implicit in their stated policy of stirring different points of view – the real test for both journals may be whether they are prepared to publish refutations, especially simultaneously with the sceptics’ papers so that readers are not deceived.

On that score you might consider whether it is possible to find who de Freitas got to review various papers and how their comments were dealt with. I heard second hand that Tom Wigley was very annoyed about a paper which gave very low projections of future warmings (I forget which paper, but it was in a recent issue) got through despite strong criticism from him as a reviewer.


Barrie Pittock.

—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: Saturday, 12 April 2003 3:40 AM
To:; Mike Hulme
Subject: Re: Recent climate sceptic research and the journal Climate

Dear Mike, Barrie, Neville et al

Saturday morning here and thanks for all your  efforts.  I note the reference to Chris de Freitas.  Chris writes very voluminously to the NZ media and right wing business community often recycling the arguments of sceptics run overseas, which have been put to bed.

I, personally would support any of these actions you are proposing particularly if CR continues to publish dishonest or biased science. This introduces a new facet to the publication of science and we should maybe have a panel that ‘reviews the editors’.  Otherwise we have the development of shonkey editors who then manipulate the editing to get papers with specific views published.  Note the immediacy that the right wing media (probably planned) used the opportunity!

Your views appreciated – but I can certainly provide a dossier on the writings of Chris in the media in New Zealand.

Your views appreciated


On 11 Apr 2003, at 16:27, Mike Hulme wrote:

Dear Barrie,

Yes, this paper has hit the streets here also through the London Sunday Telegraph. Phil Jones and Keith Briffa are pretty annoyed, and there has been correspondence across the Atlantic with Tom Crowley and Ray Bradley. There has been some talk of a formal response but not sure where it has got to.  Phil and Keith are really the experts here so I would leave that to them.

Your blow by blow account of what they have done prompts me again to consider my position with Climate Research, the journal for whom I remain a review editor.  So are people like Tim Carter, Nigel Arnell, Simon Shackley, Rob Wilby and Clare Goodess, colleagues whom I know well and who might also be horrified at this latest piece of primary school science that Chris de Freitas from New Zealand has let through (there are a good number of other examples in recent years and Wolfgang Cramer resigned from Climate Research 4 years ago because of it).

I might well alert these other colleagues to the crap science CR continues to publish because of de Freitas and see whether a collective mass resignation is appropriate.  Phil Jones, I believe, is already boycotting reviews for that journal.


Look at the names that are in on all of this. I have highlighted one email, and it is none other than Pachauri, the hear of the IPCC! This is just too much!

Another Update: This one from Tom Wigley. He at least would not write the hatchet letter, but is enough of a hypocrite to sign it if written by someone else. He even admits it is an ad hominem attack!

Jim Salinger raises the more personal issue of deFreitas. He is clearly giving good science a bad name, but I do not think a barrage of ad     hominem attacks or letters is the best way to counter this. If Jim wishes to write a letter with multiple authors, I may be willing to sign it, but I would not write such a letter myself. In this case, deFreitas is such a poor scientist that he may simply disappear. I saw some work from his PhD, and it was awful (Pat Michaels’PhD is at the same level).

And there is more from here:

date: Mon Apr 28 15:03:41 2003
from: Mike Hulme <>
subject: Re: CR plus a fax
to: Phil Jones <>

Thanks Phil. After my one email about possible resignations from CR a whole flood of emails seems to have been released.  I will wait to see what happens re. Hans and Clare, and will just let my fellow review editors know the score.  I might independently write to the publishers voicing my own concern about losing faith in the peer review process in CR. As an ex-Editor of CR I perhaps also carry some weight with them.


At 10:17 28/04/2003 +0100, you wrote:


I’ve just talked to Clare about discussions I had with Hans last week in the US. I think he is now convinced about de Freitas and is drafting a letter with Clare to go to the publishers and to de Freitas. Basically trying to get the reviewer’s names etc and their reports in the first instance, with maybe sending some of the background emails to the publishers. Also assessing copyright as the ‘other’ Soon/Baliunas paper in Energy and Env. is essentially the same as that in CR.

Hans wanted to try this first, but didn’t want to tell all what he was doing. Fears a backlash if de Freitas gets removed without due cause.  So let’s all try and keep the emails down, and hope we can report something to all once the correspondence Hans initiates gets replies.


Again, I will take a pause in my reviews. I have moved on to searches using the keyword Freitas. Will perhaps update again later today, if I can stand wading through more of this hideous content. As I find more and more, I am also starting to think that it needs to be presented in a more orderly narrative, though it is perhaps a big job to try to string it all together, along with the characters involved.

Yet Another Update:

I couldn’t hold back on this new email. It might be summarised as those nasty people are disagreeing with me – something must be done to stop them!

cc:, “Michael E. Mann” <>, Ben Santer <>
date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 09:20:28 -0600
from: Tom Wigley <>
subject: Re: Fwd: Climate Research
to: Mike Hulme <>


Thanx — but not quite the end.

A nebulous issue is the choice of referees, but we can probably never get that information and Kinne can’t evaluate this aspect.

Danny Harvey and I are still planning to follow up the concerns re the paper we reviewed, rejected and never saw again until it was published.
What has happened since is that another crappy paper that Ben and I rejected for J. Climate, a specific and unjust criticism of our work,
has now appeared in CR. Presumably the pipeline is deFreitas. So Danny and I will raise this issue too.


Oh dear, oh dear. I am moving from outrage to a combination of outrage, for those that have been hurt by the ‘team’, to humour at the rather pathetic people who write this stuff. It is the pomposity of these people, so self-important and hiding behind fig-leaves of ‘science’ when they are just encountering science that contradicts them.


9 responses to “Climategate 2 – Salinger puts the boot into De Freitas

  1. Good find. the cc list shows how connected the “independant ” national bodies are.

  2. I agree that CLimategate 2.0 sheds a great deal of light on this sordid affair. I’ve been parsing these events as well and plan to post up my own chronology of these events in a day or two.

  3. Pingback: Climategate 2 and Corruption of Peer Review – Part II | New Zealand Climate Change

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  9. Good on you all for exposing these nasty people

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