Friday, September 17, 2010

{#11a} SPPI, Monckton, Seitz, WSJ - anatomy of a character assassination

Seitz’s Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1996, Op-Ed

Ben Santer’s censored reply ~ Wall Street Journal letter to Ed, June 25, 1996

IPCC’s censored reply ~ Wall Street Journal letter to Ed, June 25, 1996

{in red}
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Lord Monckton, Mr Ferguson, SPPI, (and Dr. Seitz),
This letter cuts to the heart of your AGWHoax storyline, its fabrication and propagation. To fully appreciate this story, we need to review some history first and look at someone who can be considered your intellectual mentor, one Dr. Seitz.

In particular, his June 12, 1996 Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal: “A Major Deception on Global Warming.” Even the title is audacious in its open hostility.

The following WSJ letter can be found at.

"A Major Deception on Global Warming"
Op-Ed by Frederick Seitz
Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1996

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations organization regarded by many as the best source of scientific information about the human impact on the earth's climate, released "The Science of Climate Change 1995," its first new report in five years. The report will surely be hailed as the latest and most authoritative statement on global warming. Policy makers and the press around the world will likely view the report as the basis for critical decisions on energy policy that would have an enormous impact on U.S. oil and gas prices and on the international economy.
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Right from the get go Seitz has diverted the discussion from the science of the IPPC report, to economic considerations. Shouldn’t we first honestly understand the science - without all this outside crazy making? You know, actually appreciate what is going on within our climate. After that, deal with the incoming reality. To constantly confabulate those two worlds the way Seitz and all hoaxers since have done, is appallingly dishonest.
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This IPCC report, like all others, is held in such high regard largely because it has been peer-reviewed. That is, it has been read, discussed, modified and approved by an international body of experts. These scientists have laid their reputations on the line. But this report is not what it appears to be--it is not the version that was approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page. In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.
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This is truly an amazing statement coming from a founding father of the tobacco disinformation lobby back in younger days. See here, here, and here.
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A comparison between the report approved by the contributing scientists and the published version reveals that key changes were made after the scientists had met and accepted what they thought was the final peer-reviewed version. The scientists were assuming that the IPCC would obey the IPCC Rules--a body of regulations that is supposed to govern the panel's actions. Nothing in the IPCC Rules permits anyone to change a scientific report after it has been accepted by the panel of scientific contributors and the full IPCC.
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Dr. Seitz’s is making very serious allegations, that will be addressed below.
Creating charges comes easy, where's the substantiating evidence?
Hot air alone does not truth make!
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The participating scientists accepted "The Science of Climate Change" in Madrid last November; the full IPCC accepted it the following month in Rome. But more than 15 sections in Chapter 8 of the report--the key chapter setting out the scientific evidence for and against a human influence over climate--were changed or deleted after the scientists charged with examining this question had accepted the supposedly final text.
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Here, Seitz grossly misrepresents what happened, as revealed in following letters.
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Few of these changes were merely cosmetic; nearly all worked to remove hints of the skepticism with which many scientists regard claims that human activities are having a major impact on climate in general and on global warming in particular.
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Look at this paragraph, nothing but innuendos and personal charges, a lot of screaming, but where is your evidence Mr. Seitz?
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The following passages are examples of those included in the approved report but deleted from the supposedly peer-reviewed published version:

• "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."

• "No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes."

• "Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced."
The reviewing scientists used this original language to keep themselves and the IPCC honest. I am in no position to know who made the major changes in Chapter 8; but the report's lead author, Benjamin D. Santer, must presumably take the major responsibility.
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Where did that come from? Grand charges, but where’s the evidence?
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IPCC reports are often called the "consensus" view. If they lead to carbon taxes and restraints on economic growth, they will have a major and almost certainly destructive impact on the economies of the world. Whatever the intent was of those who made these significant changes, their effect is to deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming.
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Again, just a bunch of opining, lacking specifics or even explaining the substance of his bold allegations. Also, once again mixing up understanding “what is going on” with “how to deal” with it.
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If the IPCC is incapable of following its most basic procedures, it would be best to abandon the entire IPCC process, or at least that part that is concerned with the scientific evidence on climate change, and look for more reliable sources of advice to governments on this important question.
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This is a classic Strawman performance, first create many unsubstantiated charges, then, in a rousing closing statement refer to your smoke’n mirrors “charges” as self evident fact and go from there.

But, what if the charges are false to begin with?
Does the other side have a right to present their evidence at the Wall Street Journal?

Lets find out.


As it happened, both Ben Santer and the IPPC - the people at the receiving end of Seitz’s charges - sent polite, thoughtful, clarifying letters to the Wall Street Journal. Below I reproduce these two letters. When reading them ask yourself how fairly did Wall Street Journal present these letters to their readers?
Please notice WSJ's many editorial deletions are indicated in red, additions in green - I've added the bold highlights.

The following letters can be found at:

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Published in the Wall Street Journal, June 25, 1996

Frederick Seitz's op-ed of June 12 editorial-page piece, "A Major Deception on 'Global Warming'" wrongly accuses both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a member of the climate science community of violation of procedure and deception. Not only does he thereby demonstrate ignorance of both the topic and the IPCC process, but his actions reflect an apparent attempt to divert attention away from the scientific evidence of a human effect on global climate by attacking the scientists concerned with investigating that issue.

Dr. Seitz discusses editorial changes made to Chapter 8 of the 1995 IPCC report on the science of climate change. The chapter in question evaluates the scientific evidence from many studies that have attempted to detect "unusual" change in the Eearth's climate, and determine whether some portion of that change is due to human activities. Dr. Seitz claims that the alterations made to Chapter 8, after a November 1995 IPCC meeting held in Madrid, were in violation of IPCC rules of procedure, and that their effect is to "deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming."

Similar claims of procedural improprieties have been made by the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a consortium of industry interests. These claims conjure visions of sinister conspiracies that are entirely unfounded.

All IPCC procedural rules were followed in producing the final, now published, version of the Chapter 8. The changes made after the Madrid IPCC meeting in November 1995 were in response to written review comments received in October and November 1995 from governments, individual scientists, and non-governmental organizations. They were also in response to comments made by governments and non-governmental organizations during plenary sessions of the Madrid meeting. IPCC procedures required changes in response to these comments, in order to produce the best-possible and most clearly explained assessment of the science.

There has been no dishonesty, no corruption of the peer-review process and no bias--political, environmental or otherwise. Mr. Seitz claims that the scientific content of Chapter 8 was altered by the changes made to it after the Madrid IPCC meeting. This is incorrect. The present version of Chapter 8, in its Executive Summary, draws precisely the same "bottom-line" conclusion as the original Oct. 9th version of the chapter--"Taken together, these results point towards a human influence on climate." A statement conveying the same message was endorsed unanimously by the governments of the 96 IPCC countries represented at the Madrid meeting.

The pre- and post-Madrid versions of the chapter are equally cautious in their statements. Uncertainties have not been suppressed. Roughly 20% of Chapter 8 is devoted to the discussion of uncertainties in estimates of natural climate variability and the expected "signal" due to human activities.

The deletions quoted by Seitz relate to the difficulties involved in attributing climate change to the specific cause of human activities, and to uncertainties in estimates of natural climate variability. These issues are dealt with at great length in the published chapter. The basic content of these particular sentences has not been deleted.

Dr. Seitz is not a climate scientist. He was not involved in the process of putting together the 1995 IPCC report on the science of climate change. He did not attend the Madrid IPCC meeting on which he reports. He was not privy to the hundreds of review comments received by Chapter 8 Lead Authors. Most seriously, before writing his editorial, he did not contact any of the Lead Authors of Chapter 8 in order to obtain information as to how or why changes were made to Chapter 8 after Madrid. He also did not contact either Prof. Bert Bolin, the Chairman of the IPCC, or those in charge of the report, the Co-Chairmen of IPCC Working Group I, Sir John Houghton and Dr. L.G. Meira Filho, in order to determine whether IPCC rules of procedure had been violated by the changes made to Chapter 8.

Scientists examine all items of evidence before drawing conclusions. They generally avoid making pronouncements outside their own areas of expertise. Seitz has failed on both counts, and his conclusions are incorrect. We urge readers of The Wall Street Journal to read the IPCC report ("Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change," Cambridge University Press, 1996). They will see for themselves that, as stated in and required by and stated in IPCC procedural rules, the detection chapter is a "comprehensive, objective and balanced" review of the science.

Convening Lead Author, Chapter 8
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Ben Santer (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 8), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, U.S.A.;
Tom Wigley (Lead Author, Chapter 8), National Center for Atmospheric Research, U.S.A.;
Tim Barnett (Lead Author, Chapter 8), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, U.S.A.;
Ebby Anyamba (Lead Author, Chapter 8), Goddard Space Flight Center, U.S.A.;
Kevin Trenberth (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 1)
and Jerry Meehl (Lead Author, Chapter 6), both at National Center for Atmospheric Research, U.S.A.;
Alan Robock (Contributor, Chapter 8), University of Maryland, U.S.A.;
Ron Stouffer (Lead Author, Chapter 6)
and V. Ramaswamy (Lead Author, Chapter 2), both at Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, U.S.A.;
Michael Prather (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 2), University of California-Irvine, U.S.A.;
Robert Dickinson (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 4), University of Arizona, U.S.A.;
Mike MacCracken (Contributor, Chapter 8), Director, Office of U.S. Global Change Research Program, U.S.A.;
Don Wuebbles (Lead Author, Chapter 2), University of Illinois, U.S.A.;
Tom Karl (Lead Author, Chapter 3), National Climatic Data Center, U.S.A.;
Karl Taylor (Contributor, Chapter 8), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, U.S.A.;
Peter Bloomfield (Contributor, Chapter 8), Merrill Lynch, U.S.A.;
David Randall (Lead Author, Chapter 4), Colorado State University;
Andrew Weaver (Lead Author, Chapter 5), University of Victoria, Canada;
Ken Denman (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 10), Institute of Ocean Sciences, Canada;
Francis Zwiers (Contributor, Chapter 8);

Jonathan Gregory,
Tim Johns,
Kathy Maskell,
James Murphy,
Simon Tett and
Cath Senior (Contributors, Chapter 8), all at Hadley Centre, U.K.;
John Mitchell (Lead Author, Chapter 6), Hadley Centre, U.K.;
Phil Jones (Contributor, Chapter 8), Climatic Research Unit, U.K.;
Richard Warrick (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 7), University of Waikato, New Zealand;
Bryant McAvaney (Lead Author, Chapter 5),
Neville Nicholls (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 3) and
Scott Power (Contributor, Chapter 8), all at Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Australia;
David Karoly (Contributor, Chapter 8), Monash University, Australia;
Ian Enting (Lead Author, Chapter 2)
and Paul Fraser (Lead Author, Chapter 2), both at CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, Australia;
Arie Kattenberg (Convening Lead Author, Chapter 6), Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Netherlands;
Martin Heimann (Lead Author, Chapter 2) and
Gabi Hegerl (Contributor, Chapter 8), Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany; Dominique Raynaud (Lead Author, Chapter 2), CNRS Laboratoire de Glaciologie, France;
Jean Jouzel (Lead Author, Chapter 3), Laboratoire de Modelisation du Climat et de l'Environnement, France.

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Why did WSJ redact key sentences? Why did the Journal feel the need to make it appear this letter came from one individual, rather than a statement from forty leading climate scientists?

This next letter is from the IPCC. It also clearly explains why Seitz’s charges regarding the Madrid meeting and IPPC process are unfounded and that his greater implication is way false. Read what the WSJ took out, tell me if you can dispute my opinion that the Journal’s censorship of this letter borders on criminal fraud!

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Original letter, also published June 25th, to The Wall Street Journal by B. Bolin, J. Houghton, and L. Meira.

The Editor
Wall Street Journal
New York
Dear Sir,
Frederick Seitz's article 'A major deception on "Global Warming"' (WSJ, 12 June 1996) is completely without foundation. It makes serious allegations about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and about the scientists who have contributed to its work which have no basis in fact. Mr. Seitz does not state the source of his material, and we note for the record that he did not check his facts either with the IPCC officers or with any of the scientists involved.

The crucial error in Mr Seitz's article -which could have been avoided if he had simply taken the time to familiarize himself with IPCC rules of procedure- is his assumption that the version of the IPCC report from which he quotes was the final version approved by the scientific authors and accepted by the IPCC. This is not the case. He quotes from the draft version of October 1995, which was sent out to delegates in preparation for the November 1995 Plenary Meeting which was held in Madrid. The final version is the one which was modified in accordance with the guidance received at the Madrid meeting and which has now been published. His attack on Dr Santer and the other scientists involved is therefore completely unfounded.

In the weeks before the Madrid meeting, many additional review comments on the October draft were received. For instance, the United States government in submitting their points for review, commented on 'several inconsistencies' and stated 'it is essential that the chapters not be finalized prior to the completion of the discussions at the IPCC Plenary in Madrid, and that the chapter authors be prevailed upon to modify their text in an appropriate manner following discussion in Madrid.'

A substantial part of the Madrid meeting was devoted to scientific presentation and discussion regarding the extent to which anthropogenic climate change has been detected in climate observations. Further review comments from experts and government delegates were received and the Lead Authors were formally asked to consider modifications for improvement. The Plenary meeting finally "accepted" Chapter 8 (the chapter Mr. Seitz attacks) and the other ten chapters of the report, subject to the Lead Authors revising them in the light of the Madrid discussions. The Plenary meeting was, in fact, the final part of the very comprehensive and thorough IPCC process of peer review.

In accordance with IPCC Procedures, the subsequent changes to the draft of Chapter 8 were under the full scientific control of its convening Lead Author, Dr. Benjamin Santer. No one could have been more thorough and honest in undertaking that task. As the responsible officers of the IPCC, we are completely satisfied that the changes incorporated in the revised version were made with the sole purpose of producing the best possible and most clearly explained assessment of the science and were not in any way motivated by any political or other considerations.

It is, of course, easy to take isolated sentences from the earlier version which that have been deleted or replaced to bolster arguments or suspicions such as those presented by Mr Dr. Seitz. But that is to misunderstand the nature of the science with which we are dealing and the very open IPCC scientific assessment process.

We invite Mr Seitz and those concerned about the integrity of the science to read the chapter in the IPCC report and also the approved Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) particularly as they concern the detection issue. Both have been carefully and honestly crafted to explain our understanding of the uncertainties and to express clearly the scientific basis for the conclusions stated in the SPM (approved by all the delegates at Madrid), namely that 'our ability to quantify the human influence on global climate is currently limited nevertheless, the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate'.

Bert Bolin
Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
John Houghton
Co-Chairman, Working Group I, IPCC
Luiz Gylvan Meira Filho
Co-Chairman, Working Group I, IPCC
Hadley Centre, London Road
Bracknell, United Kingdom

June 25, 1996

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I've gone through these dozens of times by now and am still flabbergasted at how the Wall Street Journal gutted these two important letters.

In a final poetic gesture, rather than acknowledging these two letters, the Wall Street Journal assured AGWHoaxers got in the last word by printing a nearly 500 word letter by Fred Singer (The Science & Environmental Policy Project) on July 11th. The letter imitates Seitz’s letter, but as the tough guy, Singer gets in more kicks and makes even more incendiary accusations. Never acknowledging Sanders, or IPPC’s letters; never admitting the charges were resoundingly disproven by the actual facts.

While both Seitz and Singer are known to be corporate hired guns, with documented stories of advocacy imperatives trumping honest science. The world renown Wall Street Journal allowed these two politically driven individuals, to drown out the words of over forty of the world's foremost experts on the IPCC findings. It's an appalling dereliction of duty. The honorable fourth estate indeed... shame on all of you.

With this review of some early foundations of the AGWHoax publicity campaign, we arrive back at today and the long term results of this sort of misrepresenting of facts among the corporate owned media outlets, namely you Lord Monckton’s, and your public performances along with your SPPI essays. But that will wait for another email.


Peter Miesler

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