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A New Maximum For Climate Hubris

What should one wisely think upon discovering that 200-year-old remarks sound as if uttered today?

  • within the last 40 or 50 years there has been a very great observable change of climate
  • a change in our climate … is taking place very sensibly
  • men are led into numberless errors by drawing general conclusions from particular facts

Why, one might start considering the possibility that a lot of the climate debate is as relevant and as important today as a discussion about the relaxation of costumes, the good old days and the decline in University exam standards (=something more or less in the news since the times of Cato the Censor some 23 centuries ago).

But of course…no, now it is different! Now “we have satellites monitoring high-latitude snow cover, thinning sea ice and deep-layered atmospheric temperature increases, coupled with ground observations revealing the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro (85 percent ice loss since 1912) and many other glaciers“.

In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, not always with the lack of knowledge

0 replies on “A New Maximum For Climate Hubris”

as I wrote at Stoat:

I have already seen what appears to be “perfectly legit” text being presented as “scandalous”. Guess it depends on how one wants to read it.

Am afraid unless a hugely incontrovertible smoking gun will be found, the whole episode will only mess things up, even more than before.


Here’s a good example I have read at Luboš’s.

From: Gary Funkhouser
I really wish I could be more positive about the Kyrgyzstan material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that

Not sure how many people will believe me, but there is nothing wrong in trying to pull every trick out of one’s sleeve in order to milk something out of a bunch of data.

Otherwise there would be no point in writing articles and discussing results. Once you set upon a path towards a “discovery”, you’ll try whatever means to gather evidence that will solidify that path. As a matter of course.

On the other hand, those words will hopefully put to rest the whole fantasy of results being incontrovertible, and skepticism only the result of evil corporations funding people of ill repute, a fantasy I am sure no serious scientist has ever tried to sell (but plenty of bloggers, journos and politicians have).

HadleyCRU says leaked data is real
The director of Britain’s leading Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones, has told Investigate magazine’s TGIF Edition tonight that his organization has been hacked, and the data flying all over the internet appears to be genuine.

In an exclusive interview, Jones told TGIF, “It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails.”

“Have you alerted police”

“Not yet. We were not aware of what had been taken.”

Jones says he was first tipped off to the security breach by colleagues at the website RealClimate.

“Real Climate were given information, but took it down off their site and told me they would send it across to me. They didn’t do that. I only found out it had been released five minutes ago.”

TGIF asked Jones about the controversial email discussing “hiding the decline”, and Jones explained what he was trying to say….


Here’s the end of the Jones quote from Luke’s extract above:
Jones told TGIF he had no idea what me meant by using the words “hide the decline”. “That was an email from ten years ago. Can you remember the exact context of what you wrote ten years ago?”

I saw this excerpt and thought of you:

>>>>>> Michael Mann wrote:

>>>>>>> extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on

>>>>>>> BBC. its particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard

>>>>>>> Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from what I

>>>>>>> can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met

>>>>>>> Office.

>>>>>>> We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile

>>>>>>> it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say

>>>>>>> about this, I might ask Richard Black what’s up here?

>>>>>>> mike

I can’t help the smirking at the irony that as skeptics we’re the wrong crowd to have this information leaked to us. Now if we were paranoid…

Geoff I agree that the whole would be hard to fake but to selectively edit key bits would not. If it is a forgery, though, then may I be the first to applaud whoever put it together.

Too good to be true? But too big to be false. Some commenters at the sites linked by Luke above are saying it can’t be true, since the content of the mails exchanged between the big boys on the hockey team corresponds exactly to our fevered imaginings. But hey, if we’re right about the science, why shouldn’t we be right about the psychology?

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