In two recent posts (here and here), I detailed some emails from Climategate 2 which showed that leading IPCC scientists (often known as the ‘team’) conspired to pervert the editorial system of academic journals and sought to have Professor Chris de Freitas, editor of the academic journal Climate Research, sacked from his university and editorial role. The reason for the action was that he had allowed the publication of a paper which challenged the now infamous ‘hockey stick’ chart, which wrongly showed that the current warming of the planet was unprecedented. The hockey stick chart was the work of Michael Mann, one of the members of the ‘team’.
The emails I detail are not the only ones showing this kind of outrageous behaviour. Steve McIntyre also details attempts to smear the good name of one of the authors of the paper that challenged the hockey stick. It is possible to see a pattern of behaviour. The problem is that the ‘team’ are still up to the same ugly tricks, despite the exposure of this behaviour in the Climategate emails. They are still using smear tactics, and still attacking the good name of Professor de Freitas. They appear to believe that they can act with complete impunity. I added the following as an update on the second of my posts, but I believe it deserves more attention. The quote comes from the ‘team’ website ‘RealClimate’, and a commentator asks a question, with a member of the ‘team’ responding:
Any context on this thread – which might be interpreted to constitute a coordinated effort to have someone dismissed for not following the party line?
[Response: The issue has nothing to do with not ‘following the party line’, but rather of being guilty of appalling editorial practices, whereby papers were published with claims that were not justified by the analysis, or that were accepted almost ‘as is’ regardless of the views of referees. Hans von Storch in email 2106: “For me it is important that we admit that the result of the review process of Soon & Baliunas was insufficient”, and noting the pattern “We should have been more vigilant after we had seen that actually two critical comments were written on the first Soon paper” (also handled by de Freitas). The corruption here was de Frietas, not anyone who responded. – gavin]
It is apparent that this new attempt to smear Professor de Freitas is being replicated in comments on the Climategate emails. Wattsupwiththat linked to the posts made on this blog, and comments on the the Wattsupwiththat post included the following:
Another classic black=white, war=peace post from WUWT.
The corruption of peer review happened under de Freitas’s watch – he passed papers that reviewers had recommended to be rejected essentially unaltered into the journal (ref. Wigley comments). Even Hans von Storch agreed that the S&B paper made claims that were not justified by their analysis. The corruption here is all on the skeptic side and the natural reaction to a disfunctional journal is to abandon it.
It is not possible to demonstrate that this comment is made by one of the ‘team’, but the commentator seems very knowledgeable about the background to the story, and follows the lead of RealClimate very closely. Also, anyone who read the post on the subject on this blog, and I mean anyone with any sense of decency, would surely not come to the conclusion shown by JPY in this comment. I cannot be sure, but my guess is that the comment above is from one of the ‘team’.
As a backgrounder, for those of you who are unfamiliar with RealClimate, it is run by the ‘team’ to promote their particular views of climate science. The Climategate emails (Email No. 4349 ) show that the ‘team’, established the website with the intention that:
We are keeping the content strictly scientific, though at an accessible level.
If we compare the intention with the quote on RealClimate, we can see what their idea of ‘strictly scientific’ actually is. The person replying to the enquiry is Gavin Schmidt, and it is notable that other contributors to the site includes other ‘team’ members such as Michael Mann.
If there is any doubt that this is smearing of the good name of Professor de Freitas, he has recently posted the following email that demonstrates that the team were smearing his good name and reputation:
Thu, 3 July 2003 12:42:48 +0200
To CLIMATE RESEARCH
Editors and Review Editors
In my 20.06. email to you I stated, among other things, that I would ask CR editor Chris de Freitas to present to me copies of the reviewers’ evaluations for the 2 Soon et al. papers.
I have received and studied the material requested.
1) The reviewers consulted (4 for each ms) by the editor presented detailed, critical and helpful evaluations
2) The editor properly analyzed the evaluations and requested appropriate revisions.
3) The authors revised their manuscripts accordingly.
Chris de Freitas has done a good and correct job as editor.
It is very apparent from the email above that Professor de Freitas conducted himself in his role as a Climate Research editor in a way that was above reproach. However, this has not stopped RealClimate from continuing to smear his name, even going as far as accusing Professor de Freitas of ‘corruption’. Professor de Freitas, the subject of these smears and attacks is an accomplished scientist, as his record shows. For those who are not academics, his publication record, and his record in winning awards is indicative of a genuinely outstanding scientist.
My concern is this. Rather than the first Climategate emails acting as a check on the disgusting behaviour of the team, it seems to have just emboldened them. Whilst the Climategate emails were kept private, the RealClimate attempt to yet again blacken the name of Professor de Freitas is aired in public, with Schmidt even putting his name to the response to the comment. Following the first Climategate emails, several enquiries were conducted into the behaviour of ‘team’ members as a result of some of the revelations in the emails. However, as many who have examined the enquiries have found, they would be best described as ‘whitewash’ (just one example of why can be found here).
I believe that what we see on RealClimate is a direct result of the whitewash. The team have seen the media and establishment continue to support them in the face of their disgraceful behaviour, and they now arrogantly believe that they can act with impunity. This raises a troubling question. With Climategate 2, we can now see ever more clearly the extent of the disgraceful behaviour of the ‘team’. My worry is that, outside of the skeptical blogs, and a limited number of mainstream media commentators, will Climategate 2 really make a difference? More to the point, what can those of us that are concerned about this sordid behaviour do to ensure that, this time, something will actually be done about this terrible behaviour?
It is a question that those who are concerned about this shoddy behaviour should all be contemplating. Comments and thoughts welcomed.
Update, 1st December.
The attack on Professor de Freitas is once again intensifying. A post in Hot Topic says the following:
Unfortunately for Watts and the anonymous (and low profile) NZ blogger who wrote the article, a new analysis by John Mashey of 700+ papers published at Climate Research reveals that the tribalism on display came from a cabal of sceptical scientists, with Auckland University academic Chris de Freitas safely shepherding their papers — however poor the science they contained — through peer pal review.
The study cited in the post would be funny, if it were not for the fact that this is, yet again, an unwarranted attack. Richard Treadgold of the Climate Conversation Group kindly posted a comment to clarify the source and background to the latest attempt to smear Professor de Freitas:
Renowden examines “a new analysis by John Mashey of 700+ papers published at Climate Research” as though it were significant. But I’ve looked up this “paper”. It hasn’t been peer-reviewed or published in any decent journal, only published informally by his pals at the desmogblog blog.
Renowden usually insists on citations of only peer-reviewed material, just like the IPCC. But not on this special occasion.
Why do we pay either the analysis or Renowden’s comments on it the slightest attention? It’s all worth exactly what the blog site paid for the “paper”.
Enough said. However, there is a very small upside to the latest smear. I have seen from my site statistics that this latest smear is driving traffic to the posts on the original emails. Of course, for those people who follow the links to the original emails, they will get the chance to make up their own minds. When they see the emails and their contents in black and white, I have no doubt that they will see the work of the ‘team’ for what it is. As such, although the Hot Topic post and the ‘study’ are further examples of ugly behaviour, we can at least thank the authors for driving traffic to the information which will demonstrate that their latest smear is just that; a smear.