By James Delingpole
Climategate was the biggest scandal in the history of climate science. Modesty forbids me from identifying the guy who broke the story in the mainstream media — ten years ago this month — took it viral on the internet and brought it to worldwide prominence.
Sorry, but I refuse to name the handsome, brave, witty, intelligent, funny, clever, spectacularly endowed, bravura writer, beloved parent, adored husband, and skilled horseman responsible for this veritable Scoop of the Century, if not the Millennium.
No, absolutely not. Only from my cold, dead hands will you ever prise this secret information. Unless, maybe, you twist my arm just a tiny bit more and —
Yeah, all right. I admit it. That godlike hero was me.
Of course, if you believe the mainstream media, Climategate was little more than a fake news story concocted by a small cabal of wicked deniers in order to discredit the noble cause of climate science.
This is a lie and a particularly dangerous lie at that. If we allow it to prevail then the bad guys will have won, as they are close to doing already.
Look at the fawning media attention afforded Greta Thunberg. Look at the rise and rise of Extinction Rebellion and the extraordinary degree of public sympathy these eco-fascist wreckers command. Look at how across the world — with notable exceptions such as President Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro — even conservative administrations, such as Boris Johnson’s, are surrendering to the Green Blob.
Yet the “science” on which climate protestors base their hysterical claims and from which politicians derive their expensive, constrictive, damaging environmental policies is at best highly suspect, at worst downright fraudulent.
Climategate was the scandal that exposed this truth to the world. And that’s why the increasingly powerful alarmist Establishment has long fought so hard to play down its significance. The alarmists — helped by a lazily complicit media — are trying to do to the scandal what Harvey Keitel’s Winston ‘The Wolf’ Wolfe character did in Pulp Fiction: clean up the bodies, pretend nothing untoward ever happened.
“Move along. Nothing to see here,” the Climate Industrial Complex is telling us about Climategate.
My own involvement in Climategate was actually quite modest. At least, the heavy lifting was done by people much more diligent and scientifically minded than me, such as Steve McIntyre, Willis Eschenbach, Joanna Nova, Anthony Watts, Lucia Liljegren, Andrew Montford, Ross McKitrick, Fred Pearce, Roger Tallbloke, Christopher Booker, David Rose, Jeff Id, Jean S, Steven Mosher, and many others. All I did, really, was give the story the spin, invective, colour and context which made it readily comprehensible to the general reader — and which thus bagged me most of the credit for it.
Here is my summary of what happened. (The Australian Spectator is just about the only print media outlet to have given a fair and accurate account of the Climategate anniversary: that’s how desperate and one-sided the coverage of these issues has now become across the MSM)
Climategate mattered because it offered the first solid proof that the scientific establishment wasn’t being altogether honest about man-made global warming. Up until that point, one or two of us had had our suspicions. But this was the breakthrough; the moment when the alarmists were caught red-handed with egg over their face and their trousers down. Someone – to this day, anonymous – had dumped onto the internet a huge cache of documents and correspondence retrieved from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at Britain’s University of East Anglia – one of the world’s main gatekeepers of climate science research. Finally, we could discover what the scientists most assiduously promoting the climate change scare narrative were saying to one another behind closed doors…
…They were shown: contriving to destroy inconvenient data in order to evade FOI inquiries; attempting to shut down scientific journals which published studies unhelpful to their cause; viciously bullying dissenters; even trying to rewrite history, for example, to erase the widely recognised Medieval Warming Period.
True, Climategate did not offer definitive proof that the man-made climate scare is fabricated. But it did prove something very nearly as important: that the doom-laden grand narrative about climate change which teachers use to frighten children, which politicians use to justify more taxes and regulations, and which crony capitalists use to say ‘subsidise my planet-saving wind farm’ is based on a prospectus so flimsy that if an insurance salesman tried touting it on your doorstep you’d tell him just where he could shove it.
About the only other publication to tell the true story is Quadrant. (Again an Australian publication. Maybe it’s because Australia has been hit particularly hard by the climate scam — electricity prices in South Australia are the world’s highest and Australian greens are especially noxious and whiny — that the sceptics are more robust there…)
The piece, by Tony Thomas, is abundant with damning detail:
Today, anyone questioning this colossal enterprise is told to “respect the science”. Based on the Climategate emails released in 2009, 2013 and 2015, I’d rather respect the Mafia, who at least don’t claim to be saving the planet. For example, today we’re told that warming of 2degC above pre-industrial level is some sort of a tipping point of doom. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, emailed on September 6, 2007, that the supposed 2-degree limit was “plucked out of thin air”, a throwaway line in an early 1990s paper from the catastrophists at the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute.
Thomas goes on to give a list — with illustrative emails – of the myriad ways in which the Climategate scientists were embarrassed and humiliated: ‘Subverting peer review’, ‘Restricting and adjusting data’ and so on.
That infamous ‘Mike’s Nature Trick’ email was just one damning example among many hundreds. The idea — heavily promoted by disingenuous alarmists in the whitewash inquiries that followed — that this was just a few, cherry-picked emails ripped out of context is absolute nonsense.
Here was a scandal which none those of implicated should have been permitted to survive with their careers intact: the incompetence, corruption, malfeasance, bullying, and mendacity by these taxpayer-funded scientists was just so widespread and blatant.
For coders and programmers, probably the most damning moment are the Harry Read Me files exposing the sheer cackhandedness of the gatekeepers of the global climatic datasets.
But I think for me — as Willis Eschenbach argued at the time — what’s most shocking is the betrayal of the scientific method.
Science works by one person making a claim, and backing it up with the data and methods that they used to make the claim. Other scientists then attack the claim by (among other things) trying to replicate the first scientist’s work. If they can’t replicate it, it doesn’t stand. So blocking the FOIA allowed Phil Jones to claim that his temperature record (HadCRUT3) was valid science.
This is not just trivial gamesmanship, this is central to the very idea of scientific inquiry. This is an attack on the heart of science, by keeping people who disagree with you from ever checking your work and seeing if your math is correct.
We’re constantly being told by politicians, by the media, and, of course, by the scientists themselves that we should trust the experts: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, President Obama once told us, is the “gold standard” of climate science; the “97 per cent of climate scientists” apparently form an irrefutable “consensus”; and so on.
What Climategate revealed, however, is that the climate change “experts” we’re supposed to trust just aren’t trustworthy. They lie, they cheat, they’re motivated more by grant-troughing and dodgy political activism than they are by — lol — the disinterested quest for knowledge. That was the real shocker at the time of Climategate: that the people on whose “expert” wisdom trillions of dollars worth of your money and my money are being spent on sundry green boondoggles are in fact a lousy bunch of fraudulent second-raters unfit to run a cookie bake sale, let alone a scam involving upwards of one percent of the global economy.
Ten years on from Climategate, the most shocking thing about Climategate is that the bastards have got away with it. No-one has been punished, or even reprimanded, for offences that at the very least should have cost them their jobs as public servants, and in some cases should have landed them behind bars. Instead of being treated as crooks, losers, amd incompetents they are being celebrated as heroic victims of a vengeful witch-hunt, in which the only honest people in this ugly affair — the sceptics — have been recast as the villains.
As I wrote in the Australian Spectator:
If you’d asked me at the time of Climategate whether I’d still be writing about this stuff ten years hence I would have said: “No! God, no! The caravan will have moved on by then.” But it hasn’t, has it? Instead it has accumulated more baggage, more freeloaders. In fact, by some bizarre inversion of logic, the less and less credible the evidence for the great global warming scare, the bigger and noisier and more powerful the Climate Industrial Complex has grown.
I’m especially disappointed with my own trade in this regard. The job of journalists, I had naively imagined, was to seek out the truth, to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Instead, 99.99 per cent of the mainstream media — and that’s probably an understatement — has taken the side of the lying liars, the hair shirt green zealots, the greedy crony capitalists all making like bandits at our expense on the climate change gravy train.
In her own must-read account of Climategate’s legacy, climate scientist Judith Curry optimistically concludes that the truth will out in the end. These factors below, she believes, will inject a note of reality into the fantastical world of the climate change alarmists:
- Energy engineering realities: for a superb overview, see Michael Kelly’s recent essay Energy Utopias and Engineering Realities
- Growing concerns about energy reliability and security, e.g. the recent experience of California with massive power shutdowns and blackouts in Australia
- The climate itself; even with huge 2016 (see this recent overview by Ross McKitrick), the temperatures are not keeping pace with the CMIP5 predictions
- At some point, a spate of La Nina events, a shift to the cold phase of the AMO, increased volcanic activity, impacts of a solar minimum and another ‘hiatus’ are inevitable; sort of the reverse of what Steve Schneider was waiting for.
- Most of the CMIP6 climate models have gone somewhat bonkers, with a majority having values of ECS that exceed 4.5C and do a poor job of simulating the temperatures since 1950; makes it difficult to take seriously their 21st century projections
I wish I could share her optimism.
Climategate was the event when, just for a moment, it seemed we’d got the climate scamsters bang to rights, that the world’s biggest scientific (and economic) con trick had been exposed and that the Climate Industrial Complex would be dismantled before it could do any more damage to our freedom and our prosperity.
But the truth, it would seem, is no match for big money, dirty politics and madness-of-crowds groupthink.
We’ve lost this one, I think, my friends. And the fact that all those involved in this scam will one day burn in Hell is something, I’m afraid, which gives me all too little consolation.