Friday, August 27, 2010

Union of Concerned Scientists Debunks Errors in Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli's July 13 Court Filing

"Cuccinelli falsely maintains [in his July 13, 2010 court filing] that climate scientists are primarily motivated by money, and suggests they are skewing their research results to attract grants. He also fails to take into account the self-correcting nature of scientific review. (page 4)...It would be essentially impossible for so many scientists to collude to manufacture research results in such a widely studied field as climate and go undiscovered for decades. Regardless of Cuccinelli’s claims, the Mann et al. hockey stick is one of the most extensively reviewed pieces of scientific research of our time. Over the years, the paper’s conclusions have been upheld as scientifically valid by several independent studies as well as a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review. Cuccinelli essentially is alleging that those independent scientists as well as the NAS are all party to a conspiracy.---Union of Concerned Scientists (8-2-10)

[See also the Union of Concerned Scientists' Timeline of the Virginia Attorney General's Misguided Investigation]

In his error-filled July 13, 2010 court filing requesting documents from the University of Virginia related to climate scientist Michael Mann, Attorney General Cuccinelli is spouting Pravda's canards (see here and here) about the supposedly greedy, dishonest climate scientists who allegedly misled people about global warming.

Time (8-2-10) observes:

Two months before Copenhagen, [Russia's] state-owned Channel One television aired a documentary called The History of a Deception: Global Warming, which argued that the notion of man-made climate change was the result of an international media conspiracy. A month later, hackers sparked the so-called Climategate scandal by stealing e-mails from European climate researchers. The hacked e-mails, which were then used to support the arguments of global-warming skeptics, appeared to have been distributed through a server in the Siberian oil town of Tomsk, raising suspicion among some environmental activists of Russia's involvement in the leak....

"Broadly speaking, the Russian position has always been that climate change is an invention of the West to try to bring Russia to its knees," says Vladimir Chuprov, director of the Greenpeace energy department in Moscow [More here]. Case in point: when Medvedev visited Tomsk last winter [early 2010], he called the global-warming debate "some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects." That was two months after the Copenhagen talks.

Russian and Soviet propaganda campaigns often depict scientists as crafty and meretricious, although the leaders frequently publically re-evaluate their propaganda. Even in Russia, politicians eventually retract ridiculous lies about scientists because they need to deal with reality.

In his famous 1956 "Secret Speech" to the 20th Party Conference, Nikita Khrushchev stated:

Let us...recall the “affair of the doctor-plotters [who were falsely accused of taking money from the U.S. government to poison Soviet leaders].”

(Animation in the hall.)

Actually there was no “affair” outside of the declaration of the woman doctor [Lidiya] Timashuk [more
here], who was probably influenced or ordered by someone (after all, she was an unofficial collaborator of the organs of state security) to write Stalin a letter in which she declared that doctors were applying supposedly improper methods of medical treatment.

Izvestiya (3-19-92) reported:

[Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov]mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists' "crafty" plots were fabricated in KGB offices.

Russia's President Medvedev recently stated that global warming is happening.
RIA Novosti (7-31-10) reports that President Medvedev stated:

"What is happening to our planet's climate should motivate all of us, I mean, states and heads of non-governmental organizations, to take more active steps to resist global warming."

This affirmation of global warming is an about-face for President Medvedev. As noted above, when he visited Tomsk two months after the Copenhagen Climate Conference, President Medvedev characterized the global-warming debate as "some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects."

It should be pretty obvious that President Medvedev's former views are shared by U.S. and British global warming denialists. They are the same conspiracy theories that are spread by Fox News. I certainly hope that President Medvedev continues to listen to what the world's great scientists are saying about global warming. Even if the immediate cause of Russia's terrible forest fires is not due to global warming, the effects are a harbinger of things to come.

Soviet and Russian canards about the "plots" of "crafty" scientists are reminiscent of older anti-Semitic propaganda about cunning, meretricious Jews. We note that Cuccinelli, not the scientist Dr. Michael Mann, received 55,000 dollars from a Florida-based criminal who is sought by federal and state authorities for defrauding people who believed they were donating to a charity for Navy veterans.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (8-2-10) reports:

Latest Court Filing from Ken Cuccinelli Continues to Make Basic Scientific Errors

Below are a dozen of the most egregious errors the Union of Concerned Scientists found in Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's July 13 court filing [here] requesting documents from the University of Virginia related to climate scientist Michael Mann.

1.
Cuccinelli inaccurately asserts that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age "disappeared" in Mann et al.’s original hockey stick paper.

2. Cuccinelli misrepresents the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

3. Cuccinelli falsely maintains that climate scientists are primarily motivated by money, and suggests they are skewing their research results to attract grants.

4. Cuccinelli exaggerates the importance of the hockey stick, implying that it provides the rationale for laws that would require emissions reductions.

5. Cuccinelli cites a paper that criticized the hockey stick, but fails to cite refutations of that paper’s conclusions or the unusual circumstances under which it was published.

6. Cuccinelli uncritically cites a study by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick that erroneously criticized Mann et al.’s hockey stick research.

7. Cuccinelli implies Mann was hiding something in a data folder marked "CENSORED," but fails to acknowledge that the folder was publicly available.

8.Cuccinelli extensively cites the 2006 Wegman report, but fails to note valid criticisms of that report.

9. Cuccinelli incorrectly cites three emails that were stolen last fall from Mann.

10. Cuccinelli and his staff again make a basic mistake when describing the now well-known email that features the phrases "trick" and "hide the decline."

11. Cuccinelli confuses the Muir Russell report’s criticism of a Phil Jones graph with Mann et al.’s hockey stick research.

12. Cuccinelli’s filing demonstrates a lack of understanding of how science works.

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