Oh No! It’s Climategate Three!

Paul Brown writes at the Climate News Network:

“Black ops” is what the military call it – using false radio messages, news releases and newspapers, leaflets, and creating conspiracy theories so the enemy is confused, demoralized and loses the stomach for the fight.

It worked so well in World War II that, in every conflict since, all sides have used the dark arts. Many of their methods and secrets are classified, too effective a weapon to allow to fall into the hands of the enemy.

In a sophisticated world, however, the military are not alone in using black ops. They have excellent propaganda value in the commercial world too, winning a war without a shot being fired.

A classic example has emerged in the last few days. A new leak of hundreds of thousands of emails between climate scientists is revealed. The climate deniers are having a field day. A new Climategate looms (see Watts Up With That?, which describes itself as “The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change”).

Just to recap. In the battle over whether climate change matters and whether the world should do anything about it, nothing has recently been so potent as the leaking of emails between scientists.

These are alleged (by climate deniers and others) to show a conspiracy between scientists to cook the evidence and leave out inconvenient facts in order to falsely show that man-made climate change is happening.

The allegation is, successive inquiries have shown, a load of bunk, but that did not matter. The damage had already been done, doubt had been sown, and successive rounds of climate talks failed.

‘Brilliant’ memo

What was startling about the whole saga was that the black ops side of it went almost unnoticed. The whole leak was put down to climate deniers hacking into private emails “in the public interest” to unearth the “conspiracy”. Therefore, the argument ran, it was somehow a legitimate quest – at least there were no condemnations of what is both illegal and disgraceful behaviour.

If you were looking for a motive for the hackers, it could be to further the interests of the fossil fuel lobby, which wants no action on climate change. But not many journalists – or anyone else – bothered to look.

But scroll forward to this week. Along with the thousands more (probably innocuous) leaked emails came an extraordinary memo from the alleged leaker, anonymous of course, but showing all the brilliance of the best black ops in the business.

Signing himself/herself Mr FOIA, (Mr Freedom of Information Act), the leaker claims to be an individual who is an insider blowing the whistle on a conspiracy to foist climate change on an unsuspecting world.

Although the memo is written in perfect English, it comes with a classic black ops style disclaimer that the writer is anything to do with North America. He claims not to have English as his first language, so implying that he is neither British nor American.

Later, to underline the point, he says there is “no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil. The Republicans didn’t plot this.  USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the UK.  There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere.”

Read more here.

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  • jnana

    I think climate change is perhaps more of an effect of ELFs and such, rather than CO2.
    Also, HAARP.

  • jnana

    I think climate change is perhaps more of an effect of ELFs and such, rather than CO2.
    Also, HAARP.

    • jnana

      maybe not, but it’s still a variable, so who knows

    • jnana

      maybe not, but it’s still a variable, so who knows

  • Jeremy

    I really don’t believe in man-made global climate change. And even if I did, I would blame the intelligence & black ops communities for keeping the solutions needed to solve the crisis secret. Tesla had solutions 105+ years go that were discarded because of greed. Scientific dogma will destroy this world, mark my words.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Then you are stupid.

      • moremisinformation

        Way to contribute to the discussion. You’re neat!

      • Matt Staggs

        c’mon, play nice.

      • Matt Staggs

        c’mon, play nice.

    • kaklan

      HERETIC! WAY TO SHOW HIM THE LIGHT ANARCHY PONY

  • echar

    Just as it is good to be kind to one another, it is also good to be kind to the earth.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

    That the “97% of climatologists are in on some kind of scam together” theory was nonsense was obvious from the beginning to anyone who understands how publication in peer reviewed journals works. Research is an incredibly competitive field, where someone trying to pass off crackpottery as science gets savaged by his peers. The research on anthropogenic climate change has held up under scrutiny by rival researchers competing for the prestige of having their own names taught to students one day. It has held up because the methodology of the measurements, the calculations, and the projections have held up when reviewed by other scientists whose own careers and whose very field of specialty depend on separating fraud from sound science for legitimacy.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

    That the “97% of climatologists are in on some kind of scam together” theory was nonsense was obvious from the beginning to anyone who understands how publication in peer reviewed journals works. Research is an incredibly competitive field, where someone trying to pass off crackpottery as science gets savaged by his peers. The research on anthropogenic climate change has held up under scrutiny by rival researchers competing for the prestige of having their own names taught to students one day. It has held up because the methodology of the measurements, the calculations, and the projections have held up when reviewed by other scientists whose own careers and whose very field of specialty depend on separating fraud from sound science for legitimacy.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Uh no, it’s all a hoax by the dirty liberal Government which plans very dastardly evil things which they continue to not implement because of vague incoherent reasons.

      • kaklan

        First ad hominem in your reply to jeremy, now strawman here, all in the comments to one article. You’re on a roll, bud. There may not be a vast conspiracy, but ego and dogma as evidenced here is holding science back and turning it into a religious cult.

        • Anarchy Pony

          Ooh, you got me, I feel bad now. I like how you’re utterly obfuscating the issue by bringing in post-modernist assertions of the Cult of Science, when the issue is the legitimacy of anthropogenic climate change, and the constant sabotage of public understanding by PR shills that work for industries that are profiting greatly from fossil fuel exploitation.

          • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

            It’s almost as if there were a concerted effort afoot to confuse the difference between scientific research and religious demagoguery. Oh, wait…

          • kaklan

            No, the problem is that the entire idea of anthropogenic climate change has become a modern shibboleth. The whole issue is devolving into a tribal us and them kind of thing. Why focus all this time and energy arguing about a question that’s almost impossible to answer, instead of actually doing things to take care of the environment. Obviously most of our commercial pursuits are terrible for the earth, manmade climate change is basically a diversion at this point.

          • jnana

            don’t worry, there are plenty of industries ready to and currently profiting from so called “green energy”, too. check out the current industrial wind power scams. the “green” energy industry is often made up of companies profiting from fossil fuels

          • echar

            Also some may not be so “green” after all. It’s becoming a brand, much like low fat and others.

          • Jin The Ninja

            in the last 5 years, almost every major oil multi-national has DIVESTED from renewable sources, and almost never implemented tangible projects during the initial greenwash- it was all R&D (read propaganda for suckas), not to say there isn’t an oligarch at the end of every rainbow (or windmill) as it were, but most wind projects in N. America are small. and more often than not hindered by rich white retirees/refugees not wanting a wind turbine marring the landscape of their golf course mcmansion gated communities.

          • Jin The Ninja

            in the last 5 years, almost every major oil multi-national has DIVESTED from renewable sources, and almost never implemented tangible projects during the initial greenwash- it was all R&D (read propaganda for suckas), not to say there isn’t an oligarch at the end of every rainbow (or windmill) as it were, but most wind projects in N. America are small. and more often than not hindered by rich white retirees/refugees not wanting a wind turbine marring the landscape of their golf course mcmansion gated communities.

          • jnana

            its not rich white retirees who hate the windmills, it’s the people who live near them, and bought into the lie that they’d be this great environmentally friendly source of energy. I did a hike through Maine last year and met a dude who gave me some of the local info on it. In the alpine zones of maine, you can’t stray off the hiking trail, to protect the fragile environment. But wind companies are coming in destroying the fragile alpine zones to put up their shit windmills. industrial wind power never gives back the amount of energy it takes to build. In a windmills 25 year life span it took more energy to build, truck materials cross country, maintain, etc. than it ever could give back, even if it lasted 25 years with no problems. it’s a total financial scam and the wind companies are mostly subsidiaries of fossil fuel giants. there are many other problems with these windmills , too. I lived in Lowville, NY a while back where they put up a bunch of these windmills. They would pay a farmer, like 3000$ to use their land. The landowners were glad to do something for the environment and get paid a chunk of change. But the windmills are very loud, extremely low vibrations that can actually create health problems if yer unfortunate enough to live near them. They also kill birds, throw ice chunks up to a mile away(!), and can create a strobe light like effect. And they produce no energy. everyone who bought into it, now regret it and are trying to inform people about it. It has nothing to do w/ propaganda by fossil fuel companies. The people I met who told me about it were not supportive of fossil fuels, either. The guy in ME was a proud environmentalist, which is why he is so against these industrial windmills.
            Anybody I know who knows about alternative energy sources, knows that they are largely futile. Most actually take more energy to create than they can produce. Solar panels are made of rare earth metals. The only solution if you want to live a positive beneficial life, is to abandon technology. Granted, small personal windmills can supply a house w/ energy, and perhaps that combined w/ a little water power or even solar power, or even backup generator for emergency uses, that would all be positive. But no matter what, we need a DRASTIC and RADICAL change in lifestyle if we really want to help the planet. These industrial windmill farms and solar farms are simply a way of people appeasing their consciences and still be able to consume at the same rate they feel they need to.

          • jnana

            its not rich white retirees who hate the windmills, it’s the people who live near them, and bought into the lie that they’d be this great environmentally friendly source of energy. I did a hike through Maine last year and met a dude who gave me some of the local info on it. In the alpine zones of maine, you can’t stray off the hiking trail, to protect the fragile environment. But wind companies are coming in destroying the fragile alpine zones to put up their shit windmills. industrial wind power never gives back the amount of energy it takes to build. In a windmills 25 year life span it took more energy to build, truck materials cross country, maintain, etc. than it ever could give back, even if it lasted 25 years with no problems. it’s a total financial scam and the wind companies are mostly subsidiaries of fossil fuel giants. there are many other problems with these windmills , too. I lived in Lowville, NY a while back where they put up a bunch of these windmills. They would pay a farmer, like 3000$ to use their land. The landowners were glad to do something for the environment and get paid a chunk of change. But the windmills are very loud, extremely low vibrations that can actually create health problems if yer unfortunate enough to live near them. They also kill birds, throw ice chunks up to a mile away(!), and can create a strobe light like effect. And they produce no energy. everyone who bought into it, now regret it and are trying to inform people about it. It has nothing to do w/ propaganda by fossil fuel companies. The people I met who told me about it were not supportive of fossil fuels, either. The guy in ME was a proud environmentalist, which is why he is so against these industrial windmills.
            Anybody I know who knows about alternative energy sources, knows that they are largely futile. Most actually take more energy to create than they can produce. Solar panels are made of rare earth metals. The only solution if you want to live a positive beneficial life, is to abandon technology. Granted, small personal windmills can supply a house w/ energy, and perhaps that combined w/ a little water power or even solar power, or even backup generator for emergency uses, that would all be positive. But no matter what, we need a DRASTIC and RADICAL change in lifestyle if we really want to help the planet. These industrial windmill farms and solar farms are simply a way of people appeasing their consciences and still be able to consume at the same rate they feel they need to.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i agree with your conclusion that we need a radical change in lifestyle. i do not dispute that industrial civilization at large is largely detrimental to health and the environment. The truth though, is that, the negative health effects of a wind turbine are largely negligible in the face of the sheer toxicity of coal, gas, and nuclear. and as i said, the oil giants have DIVESTED from green energy- which mostly was R&D anyway. these same people, do not want coal, gas, nuclear plants near them, yet are happy to consume, consume, consume petro products and the energy derived from petro/coal/nuke. Have you ever heard of environmental racism? it is a term used to denote the mass industrialisation of communities of colour and reservations that disproportionately affect both environmentally and physically (health)of these communities- that was what i was referring to. a similar effect affects poor communities in general (asbestos mining in montana decimated 2 towns). I wonder though if wind energy is disproportionately WORSE, more detrimental to the health of residents and the environment than coal/nuke/petro? i think not. As for solar, i am not a proponent of any one source, and of course rare earth minerals are completely unethical- however industrial civilisation is founded on a psychotic, unethical premise of endless growth and consumption- if there were only a way to re-use the minerals previously extracted rather than continuing to plunder and pillage and utilise forced labour to extract more and more.

          • jnana

            but industrial wind mill farms don’t actually provide energy, as I said. again, they burn more energy to build, truck, maintain, etc. than they provide in their 25 yr lifespan. I wish I remembered the website the guy told me to check out. something about no windmills in maine. I don’t know, but he was well-informed, so the research is out there. I also saw a doc. that’s about Lowville, ny’s windmills

    • kaklan

      They may not be in on some scam consciously, but there are a lot of flaws in modern day academia. Peer-reviewed journals are largely a joke. Very little attention is paid to detail and there are cases of outright fraud. IT has more to do with ego and dogma than some vast conspiracy theory.

      • echar

        You forgot to mention what may be one of the reasons with the most leverage. The money it takes to continue their research as well as the the people behind that money offering ultimatums.

    • ishmael2009

      Yeah, as someone who has intimate knowledge of how peer review works, it is entirely transparent and it would never be used to whack a rival’s contradictory paper that you didn’t like. *cough* *cough*

    • Charlie Primero

      Exactly. This is why academics desperately avoid results which deviate from AWG Orthodoxy. They know instant savagery by both peers and the priesthood would result. When such result do emerge, they are quickly shoved into the back of a locked filing cabinet. Science indeed.

      • IokSotot

        Ah, ok. There IS actually lots of evidence that AGW is real but the “Orthodoxy” has bullied them into silence. Goddit.

        • Charlie Primero

          No. Simply put, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Government funding produces whichever results are desired. It’s called Fascism.

        • Charlie Primero

          No. Simply put, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Government funding produces whichever results are desired. It’s called Fascism.

        • Andrew

          Right. Fossil fuel corporations and the industries that depend on them fund the government.

  • ishmael2009

    I keep hearing this “97% of scientists agree” claim thrown around like global warming is some fucking brand of soap powder or something. Can someone just point me to the study that this statistic is taken from? Thanks and all that.

    • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

      The figure refers to a survey of over 3,000 Earth Scientists, published in Eos.

      Article with charts: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/20/97-of-active-climatologists-ag/

      Conspiracy theorists like to point out that the “97%” refers specifically to the percentage of scientists polled who described themselves as “actively publishing research on climate change,” as if the opinions of the people on the cutting edge of research are the least trustworthy. This sounds like a good argument if you don’t know what circular reasoning is.

      • ishmael2009

        Cheers for the link there. Appreciated.

    • Matt Staggs

      Discus flagged your two prior questions. Not sure why, and sorry for the inconvenience.

      • ishmael2009

        There’s a glitch in the Matrix! No problem, thanks for the head-up.

      • ishmael2009

        There’s a glitch in the Matrix! No problem, thanks for the head-up.

  • Guest

    I keep hearing this “97% of scientists agree” claim thrown around, like global warming is some f**king brand of soap powder or something. Can someone tell me which study this statistic is taken from? Thanks.(Edited for the mod’s delicate sensibilities.)

    • Matt Staggs

      The mod’s sensibilities are hardly delicate. The problem lies with Discus, which seems to have arbitrarily flagged these two posts for moderation.

    • bobbiethejean

      >>>response below….

    • bobbiethejean

      >>>response below….

  • Guest

    I keep seeing this “97% of scientists agree” quote thrown around, like global warming is some kind of soap powder or something. Can anyone tell me where this statistic comes from? Thanks.

  • astrofrog

    Predictably, the thread summons trolls and counter-trolls almost instantly (I wonder if I’ll get trolled now? Carrying on….) What I find very interesting here is the meta-conspiracy-theorizing: that there is a conspiracy amongst one group to confabulate a conspiracy by another that everything the first group is doing is a giant conspiracy (and not legitimate science). Is the meta-conspiracy more plausible than the conspiracy? Maybe it is. But then, to counter this, the second group (which admittedly has accused the first of conspiring) has to resort to meta-meta-conspiracy-theorizing.

    The question I suppose is, what is in those 200,000 emails? Unless of course they are all fabricated, but this could be easily checked.

    (the rest is a bit long, sorry)

    As to climate change … it is undoubtedly happening. Global weather has been getting weirder for some time now. But I do not think the evidence suggests we are going into a global warming phase: there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary that this is in fact what the onset of an Ice Age looks like, sudden warming and cooling, chaotic weather patterns, out of phase seasons, and then wham, snow everywhere. This has happened repeatedly, suddenly, for tens of millions of years, and our best guess as to what causes it (the flux of galactic cosmic rays, modulated by the solar and terrestrial magnetic fields) is completely out of our control. Admittedly, this theory is controversial. But it is being continually verified, and in contrast to the anthropogenic CO2 theory, which can at best explain the last few centuries of climate change (and at most the past few thousand, even if you make the extraordinary assumption that the influence of our species on the climate superseded every former influence as soon as civilization began), it has an explanatory power that stretches back at least 500 million years.

    None of this is to say that local influences don’t matter. They clearly do: Earth is a living world and maintains homeostasis under a variety of Galactic conditions (entering Ice Age mode as she passes through the spiral arms, and blossoming into extended interglacial summers in the interarm regions). But local conditions aren’t the whole story, just as our own body’s homeostasis means only so much against the seasonal shifts of our planet’s circumsolar cycle.

    Are we affecting the climate? Undoubtedly. Topsoil depletion, rainforest destruction, strip mining, mountaintop removal, overfishing and oceanic deadzones caused by fertilizer runoff and oil spills … collectively these are catastrophic, equivalent from the biosphere’s standpoint to the kind of natural disaster that is spelt by ELE-level cometary bombardment or supervolcano eruption. Nor will covering the planet in solar cells and wind farms necessarily do much to solve things, given that massive industries of this nature would involve great deals of pollution themselves. The answer isn’t what we’re doing now, but it isn’t that either.

    Personally, I suspect that the answer has a whole lot more to do with a massive economic devolution to local production and usage, with a much greater respect for the autonomy of regions and of individuals that works against the centralization of power anywhere by anyone, together with a cultural shift towards multi-generational thinking, even multi-millenium planning … but all of this within a global context in which humans understand the unity of their world, and appreciate the time-scales that are relevant to its life-cycles. If our species (and the descendants of our species) are to remain on this planet long-term, by which I mean for tens or hundreds of millions of years, WITH intelligence, this is necessary. We have to cease being natural disasters, and become instead part of the world’s homeostatic system. promoting life rather than destroying it. Otherwise we will destroy ourselves (or be destroyed, when the next cosmic cycle closes in on us, which it inevitably will).

    • ishmael2009

      I like the way you point out that there are no easy answers to a complex problem, though i’m wary of your argument that we need to be “part of the world’s homeostatic system”. Nature doesn’t work by balance – that idea in ecology is long gone – it works by dynamic disequilibrium, boom and bust, as my zoology professor used to put it. I guess the question is, will our population decrease sufficiently before we run out of resources? I think the answer is yes, given that the projected peak is only in 2050, but there are still many questions that remains even after that.

      • astrofrog

        Very good point: equilibirum is kind of a 19th/20th century paradigm, in economics or physics as well. Nothing is ever truly stable, and the emphasis on stability reflects our obsession with control (since stability is predictable, and what is predictable is in principle controllable). The idea of strange attractors is an important one too: dynamic instability between multiple equilibriums. Growing, nurturing, and cultivating can be seen as one semi-stable cultural mode … pillage and conquest another.

        Point remains, the biosphere has managed to persist through billions of years, and our species should be putting a lot more thought into what we can do to ensure that our particular variation sticks around with it for the next few billion … and that for this to happen, we need to behave symbiotically.

        I suspect a population decrease is in the cards. Probably a catastrophic one due to some form of sudden economic system failure, perhaps brought on by natural disaster(s), perhaps brought on by war, perhaps some other cause. But I’m wary of emphasis upon the desirability of this solution, since it tends to come from denizens of the rich white Global North and also tends to refer to the teeming masses of the poor brown Global South. The problem isn’t one of population per se, it’s one of resource use, and the north uses way too much.

        An economy which distributed wealth more like a square root, as supposed to a power law, would probably do a lot of good, especially if accompanied by a cultural shift that ceased regarding massive greed as some sort of primary virtue. All the stuff we have doesn’t make us particularly happier, since happiness (once basic survival needs are met) is relatively independent of material wealth; at the same time the desire to accumulate material wealth is destroying the planet; ergo we should give that game up and try something new.

  • disqus_7gSKTb00bt

    Black ops and psy-ops are related but different. The climate debate isn’t sufficiently bloody to call it a true black op, yet.

  • Charlie Primero

    * It’s the “Fossil Fuel Lobby” (ignoring massive government subsidy to the SAME corporations for “green energy”).

    * It’s a Conspiracy! (ridicule conspiracy when skeptics claim it. Claim conspiracy when science fraud is exposed. Nice.)

    * Hacking is unethical! (leaks good, no wait, leaks bad)

    Good German, your Defender of the Faith merit badge is only a few posts away. Keep the faith brother!

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