December 14, 2009 | Graham

Climate Change Chutzpah

You’ve got to give Kevin Hennessey writing in today’s Courier Mail an award for climate change chutzpah.
He says:

Without the peer-review system, publication of research findings would be arbitrary, and possibly influenced by personal, social or political agendas.

The hack of the HadCru computers demonstrates just how much peer-review has been hijacked by “personal, social and political agendas”, but we didn’t need Climategate to tell us this. The Wegman Committee of Inquiry which put the last rites on the “Hockey Stick” graph pointed out that the peer review system, at least in so far as it touched paleo-climate reconstructions, was a case of mates reviewing mates, and that the mates didn’t actually know much.
In this day of Web 2.0 and open information architectures, the idea of “peer review” is as quaint as a gentleman’s club. It’s about time that the science community embraced transparency and allowed a proper debate on ideas, not one limited by “chaps” who determine who may or may not be “clubbable”.
Many of the great scientific ideas that govern our age were not subject to peer review. No-one demanded that Newton submit his ideas to peer review, or Galileo. They didn’t really have such a thing either when Darwin published his first paper on evolution.
The idea that only “scientists” defined as someone with a science degree rather than someone with relative intelligence or expertise, have the right to discuss scientific ideas is anti-science, as is the idea that only ideas that are peer reviewed have relevance.
The only people who advance these arguments are those who are being not scientific, but political. Which should lead us to ask what is Mr Hennessey’s “political agenda”.

Posted by Graham at 9:44 pm | Comments (8) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. Hmmm! He hasn’t read the leaked UEA CRU emails, where the climate science CRUminals successfully campaigned against editors of GRL and CR who had allowed publication of papers that didn’t agree with the views of the 20 consensus gatekeepers. Then there is the email from Phil Jones to Ben Santer about picking 2 referees to block the McIntyre&McKitrick comment on Santer et al 2008. The peer review system is being knobbled!

    Comment by Paul Biggs — December 15, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  2. It has been revealled that 42 of the key scientists at the Hadley Centre are peer reviewing each others work.This is why they have emphaised the importance of peer review.
    How can computer models possibly represent the complexity of climate,when you don’t know all the salient influences or how they interact?
    They cannot predict local weather acturately.50% of the time,they are wrong.
    What chance do they have of predicting long term climate trends?

    Comment by Arjay — December 16, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

  3. This article is confusing since anyone with “relative intelligence or expertise” does in fact have the right to discuss scientific ideas. However, I can confidently say that my scientific ideas (or indeed the author’s views) would not be considered a worthy base for the implementation of government policies without the benefit of peer-review.
    Similar to the author’s own distorted view, the hapless Ian Plimer “Esquire” has difficulty in understanding this or even why he’s the laughing stock of Australia’s scientific community. So conceited is he, that he again appeared on Lateline this week, ducking and diving and blatantly refusing to answer relevant questions by Jones and George Monbiot.
    I shudder to imagine what will happen to humanity if governments are silly enough to believe the falsehoods of quacks who set themselves up as environmental experts and who dodge the peer-review process. Typical examples are the pseudo-expert writings of McIntyre and McKitrick.
    McIntyre has a degree in politics and economics and has spent some 30 years in the mining industry and also as a director of several exploration corporations. McIntyre has been found “distorting the data and misrepresenting the data” on climate change.
    McKitrick is an economist who (astonishingly) denies any relationship between air pollution and mortality and claims that the U.S. Endangered Species Act “imposes draconian restrictions on use of private land on which rare species are present.”
    The current understanding of climate science is not based on a few imprudent emails criminally hacked from East Anglia but on the rigorous accumulation, testing and synthesis of knowledge represented in peer-reviewed literature over many decades.
    The noisiest deniers are affiliates or shills to the oil, coal and mining industries (and previously the tobacco industry) and extreme right wing religious groups, whose primary concern is to attack the proposition that human activity is a major cause of climate change. They work to maintain current fossil fuel based economic systems.
    Not surprisingly their supporters are bombarding the East Anglia science community with death threats. Australian scientist Tom Wigley said that these threats are “truly stomach-turning and show what sort of venomous monsters we are up against.”
    A concerned Dr Charles Rue, a Sydney-based priest of the Columban Missionary Society, and coordinator of Columban JPIC (Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation) has warned that:
    “It is crucial to recognise that climate change sceptics have placed themselves outside the normal scientific community. They pile up so called ‘evidence’ with which to browbeat people.
    “Climate change denying organisations need to be exposed. Whether from ignorance or malevolence, they are hindering constructive debate and blocking urgent action.”

    Comment by Environmental Impact Statement — December 17, 2009 @ 11:53 am

  4. Environmental Impact Statement assumes that the ” Noisest deniers are affiliates or shills of the oil and coal industries…” Not so.Many in these industries are secretly wanting the taxes and the derivatives so their products will be worth more.They can also trade in carbon derivatives themselves and make even more profits.
    There are no serious substitutes for fossil fuels in the short term.There needs to more invested in solar.If Kevin Rudd is serious about addressing CO2 then all the proposed carbon taxes should go toward developing solar energy and subsidies for their installation.He won’t commit to that since he won’t have the taxes to pay for his stimulus bill.
    So the end result is that those in the carbon energy businesses can mine bit less and get much higher profits.
    Carbon is the basic building block of life and the source to most of our energy,if you can tax and trade that on the share market,you can control the planet.
    I had my doubts about AGW but now I think that the science is seriously flawed.Climate does change but it seems it is the Sun which has the greatest influence on climate and not CO2.

    Comment by ARJAY — December 18, 2009 @ 7:13 am

  5. Arjay, it’s a sad comment on the state of the debate when environmental activists dress themselves up with fancy nom-de-plumes and run around blogs like ours spreading disinformation.
    If they had a good argument they’d argue the facts, not play the personalities and they’d put their own reputations on the line by using their own names.
    There were a few novel claims in Environmental Impact’s post so I thought I’d check some of them out. Only done one so far, but you might like to help with the rest.
    The one I did was the claim that McKitrick denies any links between air pollution and health effects. Didn’t take long to disprove that one and this paper: makes interesting reading.
    He’s campaigning against exaggerated claims of health effects (and exaggerated claims of increases in pollution as well), not claiming that pollution has no effect.
    The status of this poster is pretty low! But typical of the tactics used by many environmental activists, unfortunately.

    Comment by Graham Young — December 18, 2009 @ 7:44 am

  6. Man has only added 60ppm[parts per million] or 0.006% of CO2 compared to the total volume of the atmosphere .In 1900 CO2 was 300 ppm.It is now 360ppm.
    We hear a lot about computer models but I have not seen controlled experiments that can clearly demonstrate the potency of CO2 as a so called greenhouse gas.It can be easily done.Have a series of enclosed environments with exactly the same amount of energy imputs.Then vary the amount of CO2 and compare them to the control.
    I bet that if you had one million molecules of ambient air and added an extra 60 molecules of CO2 the temp would not change.They have the technology to do this very precisely,yet choose computer models.
    Perhaps real models don’t give the desired outcomes.
    Yes Graham,there are very few who want the examine the reality and get to the nitty gritty of the arguments.
    Perhaps someone can direct us to some real experiments that can demonstrate the potency or otherwise of CO2 as a warming gas.

    Comment by ARJAY — December 19, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  7. “Arjay, it’s a sad comment on the state of the debate when environmental activists dress themselves up with fancy nom-de-plumes and run around blogs like ours spreading disinformation.”
    Indeed it is for you Graham Young and it is a sad state of debate when an author falsely accuses a poster of being an “environmental activist” and thinks the term: “Environmental Impact Statement” is some sort of “fancy” nom-de-plume.
    So how come you think you’re an expert on the environment? Hey but I think it’s kinda cute that you seek the nod of approval from Arjay yet failed to correct his glaring blunder that the current global CO2 measurement is 360ppm. Oh dear!
    Ok….so are you saying that if I refrain from using a nom-de-plume, I can scurry about the web like you do, perpetuating twaddle as a front so I too can peddle unsubstantiated vitriol about Kevin Hennessey?

    Comment by Environmental Impact Statement — December 22, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  8. Environmental Impact Statement.Address my enquiry.I cannot find practical experiments in CO2 as I’ve described.
    All we need is a control and enclosed environments under exactly the same conditions.Forget computer models they don’t reflect the reality.Now put your filibuster and feigned outrage where you mouth is.I still have an open mind on CO2.The science is not settled.

    Comment by ARJAY — December 30, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

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