Monday, November 30, 2009

Climategate Grows

I've previously discussed what environmentalists rarely mention: that worldwide temperature data is "adjusted" before being compiled to "prove" global warming. I don't doubt that some tweaks are necessary to make data sets consistent over time. But the modifications are non-uniform -- almost always up -- despite the fact that appropriately compensating for the urban heat island effect should bring the data down. And the adjustments are made by those with the most "skin in the game."

We've recently confirmed that climate change advocates masquerading as scientists systematically pushed U.K. temperatures up and deleted data--"to hide the decline" in the raw data. And it's not just Britain--figures published last week by the New Zealand Climate Coalition show that most of the supposed warming was created by man-made adjustments to the data:

source: New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

source: New Zealand Climate Coalition

In New Zealand, six of the seven weather stations "had their past (pre-1950) data heavily adjusted downwards. In all six cases this significantly increased the overall trend." And a N.Z. scientist who also formerly worked at Britain's CRU was quoted in the leaked emails reacting to a paper casting doubt on human causation for warming: "If it is not rebutted, then all sceptics will use this to justify their position."

I thought Jonah Goldberg's previously quoted reference to the No True Scotsman fallacy an apt analysis of how the media treats warming skeptics. It also applies to Rajendra Pachauri -- the "former railway engineer with no qualifications in climate science" now chairing the UN's IPCC climate change group -- who repeatedly dissembled about statistics and suppressed dissent. Pachauri insists man-made global warming wasn't undermined by the hacked CRU emails because -- get this! -- all the science is peer reviewed. Yet that's precisely the problem--the warming zealots have hijacked peer review, as shown by two CRU emails discussing contrary studies:
  • 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 !

  • This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the "peer-reviewed literature". Obviously, they found a solution to that--take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think 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 in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board...
This makes the response of warming zealots un-sound and un-scientific, as the November 27th Wall Street Journal editorialized:
The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at, and how a single view of warming and its causes is being enforced. The impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.

According to this privileged group, only those whose work has been published in select scientific journals, after having gone through the "peer-review" process, can be relied on to critique the science. And sure enough, any challenges from critics outside this clique are dismissed and disparaged. . .

The response from the defenders of Mr. Mann and his circle has been that even if they did disparage doubters and exclude contrary points of view, theirs is still the best climate science. The proof for this is circular. It's the best, we're told, because it's the most-published and most-cited--in that same peer-reviewed literature. The public has every reason to ask why they felt the need to rig the game if their science is as indisputable as they claim.
Conclusion: A summary of the most outrageous leaked emails is here. My favorite so far is dated October 12, 2009:
The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong.
Got that? Like neo-Marxist Frenchmen -- though the CRU also stifled contrary French findings -- warming advocates only acknowledge facts that fit their pre-conceived theories. This isn't science--as Frank Tipler says, it's
an act of treason against science. It is also an act of treason against humanity, since it has been used to justify an attempt to destroy the world economy.
The only solution to test the conspiracy theory called climate change is to release everything, the raw numbers, the adjustment algorithms, the computer code. Stop confining the science to those with an axe to grind and let the data speak for themselves.

Up 'till now, it's been as Mark Steyn says, plus ça climate change, plus c'est la même chose. The White House still holds that line. But the coming slogan is: "Scientists lied, Kyoto died."

(via Instapundit, Best of the Web, Reboot Congress)


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OBloodyHell said...

Nothing like an incompetently written spambot to liven up the day...

bobn said...

The only solution to test the conspiracy theory called climate change is to release everything,

True. I agree with that. THeir "peer reviewed" papers should never have been released without all that in the first place.

But then why not the Fed balance sheet, too? You're only for freedom of information that doesn't hurt the monied interests?

OBloodyHell said...

> But then why not the Fed balance sheet, too? You're only for freedom of information that doesn't hurt the monied interests?

Where the f*** does that come from?

Other than certain security-oriented matters, I see no reason why the Fed should not be open books, and can't recall anything that Carl has said to suggest he disagrees with that.

It won't make much of a difference until we force the Fed, and State and Local governments, for that matter, to apply GAAP to their ridiculous excuses for accounting.

About the best such things can hope for is to embarrass the bejesus out of them until that measure becomes required.

Carl said...

OBH: To be fair, bobn's comment has a long history. It's still wrong.

bobn: The Fed is different from taxpayer-funded warming amelioration proposals such as Waxman-Markey. As I have said to you countless times, the Fed isn't funded by Congress via taxpayers, already publishes weekly balance sheet accounts, and, indeed, returns surplus funding to the U.S. treasury (at 456). Either identify a flaw in the current transparent process or give up on what amounts to a conspiracy theory.

Carl said...

Whoops--page 466.

Carl said...

Talk about perfect timing--from the December 21st National Review (subscription only; page 8):

"Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) has had some recent success in his audit-the-Fed campaign, with legislation clearing the Financial Services Committee. But the Fed already is audited -- redundantly, resplendently audited. The Federal Reserve System and its member banks are audited by the comptroller general and by the Government Accountability Office. The Fed has its internal audits, too, while its balance sheet, financial statements, and legal compliance are audited independently, the most recent round having been conducted by Deloitte & Touche. Which is to say that the Fed is audited, but not by Congress -- and that is by design. Paul’s crusade invites politicians with two-year attention spans to meddle in the working of what is intended to be an independent central bank. We have had our complaints about Greenspan and Bernanke, but we do not relish the prospect of replacing their leadership with that of Frank and Dodd. Congress oversees the Fed, and if it feels the need to shorten Bernanke’s britches it can do so through legislation. But inviting naked politics into the day-to-day operations of the Fed would be an error. We suspect Paul knows as much: His agenda is not so much to audit the Fed as to dissolve it. However sympathetic one might be to that project, how about starting with the Department of Education or PBS and working our way up? When he succeeds, as when he fails, Paul reminds us that the libertarian tendency needs better spokesmen."

bobn said...

Bloomberg made FOIA requests to the FRS whcih are being rebuffed by the FRS. So much for transparency.

And the your apparent naivety about FRS finances, balance sheet and other activities is failing the smell test.

The FRS balance sheet DOUBLED
to 2 TRILLION DOLLARS in the last during the crisis. Unlike previous FRS balance sheets, this growth consisted of MBS and other dodgy securities.

What are those securities? We don't know. Who got the money? We don't know. What we can say with perfect confidence si that these "loans" are at least partially unsecured because there is no way, looking at the Fed's own discount tables, that sufficient haircuts were taken when calulating collateral. So if any of the FRS debtors defaults, who makes up the difference? If it's the FRS, they either can't- they are leveraged 19:1 - or they print, devaluing all other currency in circulation. If it's not the FRS, then it's the Treasury - meaning us.

Carl's continuing to accept the statement that FRS activities are financed out of FRS Treasruy trades is nothing short of absurd - that's operation expences *only* - not the bath they're going to take on the subprime trash they've taken on.

Further FRS guaranteed 300 BILLION of God knows what kind of Citigroup assets - though it does look like SIGTARP will audit this - and that's a clever way to lose money on stuff that's not on your balance sheet.

FRS also helped broker the 180 BILLION "bailout" of AIG, whicb was nothing but a money-laundering operation, where by "paying off" fraudulent insurance contracts at 100% of face value on MBS and CDOs woth nothing like that, taxpayer money was funneled to large private corporation, including most generously to Carl's heroes at Goldman Sachs. "Bob in LA" wants to pretend that some useful service was performed by AIGFP in that tansaction, and Carl prefers to ignore it completely - but it is a huge transfer of TAXPAYER money to the private sector.

Carl said...


What part of "Congress doesn't appropriate funds for the Fed" don't you understand? The Fed gets its money from "open market operations," meaning transactions with banks. The banks have the incentive and ability to monitor the Fed, which publishes accounts and is audited. "Brokering" the deals you cite is taxpayer money -- TARP and the like -- and such programs should be closely scrutinized. But that's not the Fed, and has nothing to do with an audit of the Fed.

I, too, think some of the Fed's assets are toxic--but since it's not taxpayer money, I'm not very concerned. As NR said, I would be concerned with anything that made Fed monetary policy less independent, as it was in pre-Reagan days.

Bob in LA: This is part of the reason I dislike Ron Paul. He, those who parrot him, often are economically illiterate.

bobn said...


A trillion dollars went out in "loans" in return for assets of dubious value.

When the payments aren't made and the collateral is lacking, where will the money come from? It is either printed, destroying the value of existing money, or the FRS goes to the Treasury. It's not like they have it or would get it from the big banks.

You keep ignoring this, acting as if the Fed had some magic source of non-printed money. If you think that, I think your economic literacy is in question, not mine.

As for Ron Paul, heaven forbid that anybody should take the Constitution of the US literally. In just which Article is the authority to "bail out" blatantly fraudulent "banks" and hedge funds granted, Mr. HotShot lawyer? Because if it's not specifically granted, then the 10th Amendment tells me that it's not granted at all.

Carl said...

Btw, bobn, I know nothing about the Freedom of Information Act request you mention, but if it sought information about banks -- as opposed to the Fed itself -- such information need not be disclosed under FOIA exemption 4. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4).

bobn said...

Btw, bobn, I know nothing about the Freedom of Information Act request you mention

This supports my contention that you are not following the crisis closely enough to comment meaningfully on it.

As near as I can tell, it's a request that was later expanded as noted here.

According the article, both requests are in the suit "Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)." So maybe you can take a look and comment.

Also, at least the earlier part of the request has been allowed by a Federal Judge. It looks like that request involved the types of collateral posted for the "loans" the Fed has made.

And as noted here in February: "The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged up to $5.7 trillion more."

Pledged up to 5.7 trillion more! This isn't all FRS, but it does give the magnitude of the bailouts, which you keep minimizing. Since the bailouts all went to huge private concerns, especially I-Banks, and especially Goldman Sachs, your apparent lack of concern is very interesting, to say the least.

bobn said...

What part of "Congress doesn't appropriate funds for the Fed" don't you understand?
The Fed gets its money from "open market operations,"

In a good year, the Fed's "open market operations" would return a billion to the Treasury. Now, the Fed is on the hook (or has already disbursed as "loans" on dodgey collateral) TRILLIONs of dollars. Which part of the difference between "a billion in" and "multiple TRILLIONs out" don't you understand?

The banks have the incentive and ability to monitor the Fed

Oh, while the Fed supposedly regulates the banks? This circle-jerk is supposed to protect who? This is a stunningly lame statement.

OBloodyHell said...

> Oh, while the Fed supposedly regulates the banks? This circle-jerk is supposed to protect who? This is a stunningly lame statement.

bobn, the problem here is that there IS no solution. It's an eternal problem -- "quis custodiet ipsos custodes".

The best bet in general is NOT to use the government as a final regulator, but as an oversight to vested interests who do the regulation -- i.e., insurance companies in some form or another.

The government should make sure that all the regulation is on the up-and-up -- no hidden deals, no conflicts of interest -- but not to do the actual rule-making and verification of same. By having independent parties with an interest in what happens if banks go under (and requiring them to really, really be on the hook if they do) overseeing the bank's actions, the problem is as self-resolving as human structures can be.

In fact, you wind up with a triumvirate (banks, insurance, fed), which is almost always the best way to set up checks and balances.

The problem in this case was more collusion between all parties -- including the government in particular to screw things up long term for short term benefits all around.

So "more government" isn't the solution, we had plenty of that already.