On Monday the 18th October 2021 (in the run-up to COP 26 in Glasgow) the BBC broadcast a re-enactment/version/play/docudrama (call it what you will) of events following the release of emails and other materials from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in November 2009 and its effects upon the leader of that unit – Phil Jones. Also covered are some of the attempts by the University and its Vice Chancellor Professor Ed Acton (aided and abetted by the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research: Professor Trevor Davies) to limit the damage these disclosures (almost immediately labelled Climategate) were causing within UEA and across the globe. At the time of the email release I was a member of the School of Environmental Sciences, within which CRU was a part. I knew many of the UEA participants involved and worked with some of them. The BBC broadcast was therefore of particular interest to me, and I anticipated it would bring back personal memories, both good and bad. It didn’t. It didn’t really deal with the reality I remember. Instead it focussed upon preparations to get a mentally shattered Phil Jones into a position where he could face the Press and, more importantly, a House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. I suspect memories have been selectively massaged (just like the weather data Jones used) to fit what the playwright and the BBC establishment want it to look like.

The underlying premise of the play was that the emails were taken out of context; they did not reveal any dark, nefarious plot by the world’s senior climate scientists to hide evidence that refuted the world heating up to dangerous levels. Instead, they reveal attempts to frustrate evil climate contrarians (aka evil deniers) from their misleading claims. All was done for the very best of motives and can be (and is) defended eagerly and vociferously. Nevertheless reaction to the email release was overblown and was directed at individuals causing great distress, and for some like Phil Jones, suicidal thoughts. Concentration was focussed upon one email which used the words “Hide the Decline”.

So nothing to see here, move on. But the world didn’t move on and, according to the BBC and the writer of its play “The Trick”, action to resist oncoming Climate Armageddon was delayed by a decade.

Problems with the play

Related denier bashing

Oddly, statements about Climategate causing substantial policy delay, according to my suspect memory at least, only started to be aired in the past few years, not in 2009-10 as the play implies. In a similar vein the play brings up the not-so-old chestnut that the major Oil Companies knew about global warming as long ago as 1979 but deliberately kept it hidden. Unfortunately (for the play) I believe that this storyline only became current in around 2017 when lawsuits in the USA began. The claim of big oil company knowledge and cover-up would not have been widely known immediately after Climategate when the play was set. But inclusion of this claim fitted the narrative of the play – that well financed deniers paid for the illegal hack (= cyberterrorism) and caused a totally innocent Phil Jones to go doolally. Certainly at the time of Climategate oil companies were being accused of funding anti-climate change activities but commonly not for suppressing knowledge that it would cause major harm. Swept under the carpet was the fact that CRU at this time was actively seeking research funds from the self-same wicked big oil.

Actors and who they played

I had a significant personal problem with the play – I knew what the UEA and CRU personnel looked like. Some of the actors playing those people looked nothing like the people they portrayed. Every time Aneirin Hughes appeared as Trevor Davis I did a double take because there was no resemblance. I needed to re-establish the identity of who he was supposed to be and by the time that happened I had missed what he was supposed to be saying. I missed, for example what his relevance was within the play – was this ever explained? I suppose I could go to a recording I made but I haven’t the fortitude. Adrian Edmondson as Ed Acton was much easier; the tonsure was a great help, but every now and then when Edmondson’s full stature was visible I had to remember he was playing the role of a much shorter man. I never met the PR men, nor Mrs Ruth Jones, so those characters gave no trouble.

Timings in the play

I have serious problems with the play. It took place between the email release (November 2009) and the report of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (dated March 2010). It thus spans five winter months, yet we see the Jones family cavorting on an East Anglian beach, splashing each other with what must have been frigid sea-water, or Phil Jones ambling up to his calves contemplating suicide. It wouldn’t have happened, not without much facial grimacing. Then there was a scene of Ruth and Phil in a car parked on grass next to the Broad (a large man-made lake in the UEA grounds). Leaving aside the fact that such parking is strictly verboten, the grounds were full of trees in full leaf. The continuity advisor must have been having a really bad day.

Then what was it with all the night scenes within the UEA campus? Yes, I’m aware that during the day the walkways would be full of students, but I recall scenes from a science fiction film being shot in daylight in a previous year during term time with no problems. Anyway it gave an impression that the actions being contemplated to combat the bad vibes UEA were being subject to could only be discussed during the secrecy of the night. Not a good image.

Undue focus upon Jones

Other concerns I have include the impression that only Jones was being victimised. Yet I know that most CRU staff were affected. I saw some of the vicious trash sent to Keith Briffa. Most people either tried to ignore it or simply refused to look at the internet. Offensive mail was intercepted and not read. I don’t know why Phil Jones did not take precautions. Only Phil went catatonic. In an interview for BBC Look East yesterday (19 October) he lays most of the blame on invasive press intrusion but still mentions hate mail. Even now allegedly he receives hate mail every November-December.

In addition to this, there was nary a mention in the play of the support Phil Jones and other members of CRU were offered. This gave the false impression that the powers that be were hanging him out to dry. Yet the head of School, Professor Jacquie Burgess called upon all of us to be supportive and for us not to engage with a raging press – to which even I agreed.

False claims about responsibility

But by far the most egregious element within the BBC fabrication concerned the totally unsupported claim that Climategate occurred as a result of a deliberate hack. This it was stated, without any evidence whatsoever, was at the instigation of and financed by deniers. The fact that much of this unsupported claim came from the Police gave the claim great credence. At the end of the programme there was a little bit of small print saying that the hacker has not been identified. Yet the playwright and the BBC know for a certainty who sponsored and financed the email release. Unbelievable!

The released emails are capable of being interpreted differently. According to sceptics they point to 1) Attempts to engineer the removal of troublesome editors who had allowed publication of contrarian papers within journals under their control; 2) The blocking of legitimate FOI requests; 3) Requests to delete potentially incriminating emails; 4) Attempts to block contrarian-favourable publications from being used in IPCC reports; 5) Scratching each other’s backs by favourably peer reviewing papers; 6) Cherry-picking data; and 7) Modifying code to hide troublesome data. Little or none of this was mentioned in the play so keeping put-upon Phil as squeaky clean as possible.

The dispute that created most heat in the play concerned an email that used the words “hide the decline”. It was this that provided the punctum for the entire play. Even Sarah Palin was mentioned arguing that this email revealed a plot to hide evidence of declining temperatures rather than a continuing increase. The focus upon this email allowed the play to credibly (and correctly) explain the email away and ignore the rest.

Ignoring the Harry Readme Files

Completely ignored was the fact that the released emails were accompanied by other documents, in particular the Harry Readme files. I long for a playwright and broadcaster with the boldness to incorporate this part of the release and its implications into the narrative of Climategate. The contained messages written by the poor sap charged with straightening out of the CRU climate databases (who I never met, but I would have liked to shake his hand for his honesty) are telling. They reveal the parlous state of this information; information used to demonstrate an ever increasing global temperature and then as justification for uprooting the basis of all of our lives.

It’s botch after botch after botch”

“What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’. I can make it up – So I have.”

“Oh my giddy aunt – what a crap system”

“I’m seriously close to giving up again. The history of this is so complex that I can’t get far enough into it before my head hurts and I have to stop. Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and semi-automated interventions that I cannot just go back to early versions and run the update program.

“OH Fxxx THIS I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no data integrity. It’s just a catalogue of issues….”

These (and many many others) give more than adequate justification for the chemist Fred Menger’s famous saying:

“If you torture data sufficiently, it will confess to almost anything.”

This saying should be carved deeply above the CRU building’s main entrance and appear on the screens of CRU computers whenever they are turned on. These would be warnings to all those purporting to calculate a meaningful average global temperature from crap data.

Of course supporters of the current alarmist doctrine point to the fact that all inquiries about Climategate supported CRU and further mention that CRU’s results were duplicated elsewhere including by a group at Berkeley deliberately set up to challenge CRU’s results. What is seldom mentioned is the fact that all these groups are using the same awful data sets and methodology. It’s not surprising the same outcomes arise. After Climategate I mentioned these same outcomes and was told not to raise this issue. The argument was that if CRU was just duplicating other groups’ results, why did we need CRU?

Postscript

Interestingly last week’s Radio Times gave “The Trick” a two page write-up but not top billing. That went to Drama of the Week “Succession,” a series about a close-knit group at each other’s throats, which was given five pages and made the cover story (or am I getting confused and The Trick revealed the wickedness and in-fighting of deniers?) Even the ever-supportive Guardian on Monday gave most attention to Succession, relegating The Trick to a lower place on its recommendation column. Finally the Guardian review for Tuesday wasn’t about “The Trick” but was for “Succession”. Odd that, given the Guardian’s propensities.

If this is to be a review of the  program, it will require an overall evaluation and a number of stars awarded.  Well, overall I enjoyed it; it never dragged and for me the 90 minutes sped by. Victoria Hamilton impressed portraying a supportive Mrs Jones.  For many of the reasons given above I didn’t believe all of it, but then it wasn’t billed as a documentary.  I learned a couple of interesting new things, but these I will need to do some research upon before I believe them – such is the nature of this story and its narrative. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

34 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for sharing with us your views on ‘The Trick’. It is always interesting to learn the opinions of an ‘insider’.

    The only thing that I think you and I disagree upon is the adequacy of the official explanation for the ‘Hide the Decline’ email. I have never been too impressed with the ‘mathematical jargon’ argument, simply because this is not how the jargon applies. I think their term ‘trick’ does not share the innocence of a mathematical trick since in their case a deception was obviously involved. I am quite sure that Jones believed the deception to be justified and indeed ethical, but, there again, as a general rule, I don’t think his judgment on matters of scientific ethicality has proven to be particularly strong to be honest. I also accept that the allegation that he was trying to exaggerate the case for recent warming is a load of tosh. Unfortunately, by focusing upon that email, Owen was able to play that particular straw man for all its worth. The real issue was never the validity of the hockey stick’s blade — it was its significance. This rests to a large extent upon the straightness of the handle, and the significance of the hiding of the decline has to be seen in that context. The play asserted that the proxies could be trusted because of the correlation with twentieth century readings, and so hiding the more recent decline had no ramifications. I would find that a lot easier to accept if Jones had been more willing to share the data that would enable an independent reconstruction of the relevant data handling and subsequent statistical analysis.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. John, I doubt that we disagree upon anything substantive. It’s not so important that we differ about the “official” explanation for the ‘Hide the Decline’ email. What is most important is what Jones was hiding. It wasn’t temperatures that were declining but proxy temperatures derived from tree rings (and using Keith Briffa’s methodology) which for some unknown reason diverged from instrument temperatures after1960. Before that date Briffa’s temperatures mirrored those from thermometers. All this had been discussed thoroughly in the scientific literature. They were hiding nothing except what they considered misleading information destined to be used in a report cover.

    The problem arises from Phil’s misuse of the word “trick” and then his inexplicable attempts to extract himself from the quagmire of his own making. Try substituting the word “device” for “trick”. It works for me.

    I’m uncertain whether even this explanation gets Phil out of the do-do, because his action hid the possibility that Briffa’s curve might have diverged from real temperatures before the introduction of thermometers. As you point out this greatly influences the possible straightness of Mann’s hockey stick handle and the validity of earlier warm periods. So once again we agree. This gives me great solace (no sarc.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for your insight into an event that changed this then believer of ‘global warming’ into a believer of the Royal Society’s motto.

    “In a similar vein the play brings up the not-so-old chestnut that the major Oil Companies knew about global warming as long ago as 1979 but deliberately kept it hidden.”

    That is an old chestnut. Spread by folk unaware of (or deliberately failing to mention) the 1965 report by President Lyndon Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee which warned of the impacts of pollution (inc atmospheric Carbon Dioxide) and humanity’s role in addressing the future.

    “Restoring the Quality of Our Environment”

    Click to access PSAC,%201965,%20Restoring%20the%20Quality%20of%20Our%20Environment.pdf

    Like

  4. Thanks Alan, I really appreciate that you must have put a lot of work into this

    They are trying to batter the world into submission by firing a Blitzkrieg of Green PR
    but reality is reality and we shouldn’t keel over.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Hiding the decline” means hiding adverse data, which means it stops being science. The decline should have been front and centre, with at worst an asterisk leading to an explanation about the CO2 fertilisation effect and the “divergence problem”.

    The hockeysticks are not valid generally. The blade has usually been produced by data mining, while the flat shaft is due to uncorrelated noise cancelling out. Even the most recent set of hockeysticks bear no resemblance to the underlying data (see recent Climate Audit articles).

    I wonder whether the existence of the CO2 fertilisation effect is becoming troublesome. We saw previously that entirely correct benefits of climate change were expunged from the BBC after enraged howls from Monbiot and others. There can be no upsides to climate change: it is not really change at all, but decline. The CO2 fertilisation effect and in particular its benefit to plants in marginal situations is an inconvenient truth indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I do expect that some other big blogs will do a deconstruction of the BBC drama
    So far WUWT and Paul H haven’t put anything out.

    Steve McIntyre has put out a 31 tweet thread
    starts with these two

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Joe, you raise an interesting point that Geoff Chambers and I have been discussing by email. In the end I maintained my view that in 2009, it was not common knowledge that it was being claimed specifically that big oil had secret scientific data and interpretation that continued use of hydrocarbons would cause dangerous climate change and nevertheless deliberately chose to suppress this information. Certainly at this, time when I discussed climate change in my fossil fuel module I cannot ever recall having to discuss this claim, nor was it ever raised by one of my students. I only recall this claim becoming commonly mentioned in 2017 when cities in the USA started lawsuits against Exxon-Mobil and their likes. Thus when I heard this specific claim uttered in a play set in the year 2009, it grated. I accept that my now poor memory could be playing me false.

    This does not exclude the fact that oil company activities well before 2009 were being used to attack oil companies for causing climate change (when as we know it is the purchaser and user of oil company products that are to blame (perhaps)).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Alan,

    You are quite right; our disagreement may not not be that fundamental. The key question is ‘hiding from whom?’ Certainly not from the scientific community, since the problem had been openly discussed within CRU’s own scientific literature. The rabbit up the sleeve was only being hidden from those who were looking at the graph without the benefit of the relevant background knowledge. Unfortunately, this was likely to be the very people who were going to be most influential in deciding policy. Was Phil taking advantage of that fact? Difficult to say. He does rather come across as someone who knows how to exploit an advantage. Or perhaps the fairer thing to say is that he was just condensing the complexities.

    Like

  9. Another review of The Trick that is less than complementary regarding its effectiveness:

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2294061-the-trick-review-how-the-climategate-scandal-rocked-the-world/

    However, I return to the sad fact that, no matter how critical the reviews were of the play’s lack of artistry, they were still almost all of the Zippity Doo Dah variety (“It’s the truth, it’s actual, everything is satisfactual”).

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Alan

    Thanks for that. Bottom line question – should I watch it, or could my precious spare time be better spent?

    Like

  11. Mark. It’s really what you want to do with a spare 90 mins. As a piece of entertainment telling a story of a shattered person being brought into a position where he could face an important, but potentially hostile committee it works and is reasonably good. Even after I realised it wasn’t going to cover situations that I was familiar with, I found parts of it fascinating. If it would disturb you to suffer multiple claims about sceptics being responsible for a hack and misinterpreting the material within the released emails, then the program is not for you.

    I suppose the most disturbing revelation was that it must have been sceptics/contrarians who were responsible for the hatred that cause so much mental damage to Jones.

    On balance I suppose you might well consider the program to be 90 mins wasted.

    Interestingly a female friend of my wife (someone who was married to a Guardian reporter) reported that she enjoyed the program but also was sceptical about some of its more blatant partisan content – probably not what the BBC intended.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks, Alan

    If next week’s weather forecast is borne out (it looks rubbish) and I’m at a loose end, I might give it a go (good to keep an open mind, and all that).

    Like

  13. The idea that Climategate had anything to do with “Mike’s Nature trick” or “hide the decline” is totally false. What it was about was that Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Kitty Inglis, and others lied, cheated, and destroyed evidence to avoid responding to a Freedom of Information request.

    How do I know this?

    Inter alia, it was my FOI request that they lied, cheated, and destroyed evidence to avoid responding to. I was in it up to my ears, mentioned in the leaked emails.

    Here’s the real story of what happened. The people involved at UEA would have faced criminal charges but the Statute of Limitations had elapse.

    In case this site doesn’t allow hypertext tags, here’s the full URL. The claims made in the head post above miss the mark entirely. Phil Jones was NOT a poor beleaguered person trying to do right. He was a liar, a cheat, and a VERY poor scientist trying desperately to cover up his failures.

    w.

    The people -vs- the CRU: Freedom of information, my okole…

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Willis. I feel your anger even after more than a decade. Your evaluations of Phil Jones as a scientist and as a man are probably not too divergent from mine. I cannot recall any instance where we had agreed and both of us studiously ignored each other if we passed in corridors. I never liked the man even before we clashed over FoI. Yet I was utterly shocked when I saw him a few days after Climategate -an utterly broken man. He was shattered, just a shell of a man. No one deserves to suffer as he undoubtedly did.
    You could say I was conflicted, and to some degree I still am. I consider myself fortunate that I had fully retired and physically had left UEA before Phil was restored as head of CRU.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Key initial tweets from Steve:

    9/ the BBC posits that these events were part of a fantastic and well-orchestrated conspiracy. But there wasn’t. I, Mosher and others were reacting to events which surprised us as much as anyone else. 10/ My initial reaction (and still to this day) was profound disappointment at the antagonism and bitchiness of Mann, Jones and others. 11/ I had originally thought that, if climate scientists expect society to make dramatic changes based on their analyses, the data and methods would have been thoroughly audited and would be available for scrutiny. The animosity in emails to that expectation was discouraging

    I remember that ‘profound disappointment’ very well.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. “The people involved at UEA would have faced criminal charges but the Statute of Limitations had elapse.”

    Willis, a technical point. In the UK, there is no Statute of Limitations on crime, only with regard to civil wrongs.

    Like

  17. Alan, regarding the “oil companies” knew mantra, we have this today from the BBC:

    “TotalEnergies accused of downplaying climate risks”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58989374

    “French oil company TotalEnergies knew at least 50 years ago about a link between burning fossil fuels and global warming, researchers have said.

    An article from 1971 in the company’s magazine, Total Information, mentioned partial melting of ice caps, researchers found.

    It also predicted the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    The company denied it had concealed climate risk and added that since 2015 it had focussed on renewable energy

    The research, which follows similar studies about US oil giant ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch, was carried out by three historians and published on Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Global Environment Change.

    The researchers said the 1971 Total article warned that burning fossil fuels since the 19th Century had increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and this would continue if fuels were burned at the same pace.

    “It is not impossible, according to some, to foresee at least a partial melting of the polar ice caps, which would certainly result in significant sea level rise. The catastrophic consequences are easy to imagine,” the Total Information article said.

    Despite this, by the late 1980s Total “began promoting doubt regarding the scientific basis for global warming”, moving from “denial to delay,” the researchers said.”

    Link here:

    Click to access Bonneuil_Choquet_Franta_GEC2021_Early_warnings_Total%E2%80%99s_responses.pdf

    Which is all a little curious, given that I remember as a child watching programmes on TV in the 1970s warning of the forthcoming Ice Age.

    Like

  18. Mark, if the Total Magazine included material that said or proved burning hydrocarbons would eventually alter the climate, then they were not exactly hiding it were they? The meme that Big Oil deliberately kept such “knowledge “ secret is much later.

    Round about the time of Climategate students taking my Fossil Fuels module spent much time and effort researching various aspects of climate change (I suspect collectively spending more than 240 hours every year on this topic). I don’t recall a single mention of Big Oil hiding data or information.

    Like

  19. Thanks Alan, it’s interesting to have an insider view. I suppose you naturally have more empathy for Jones than those who didn’t know him do.

    The conspiracy theory of the well organised and funded hack can be easily debunked just by looking at the primary source. I’ll write more about this.

    I still haven’t watched it yet, but I suppose I should. There seems to be little point in complaining to the BBC. Such complaints are met with stubborn denials and in this case they can just claim it’s a drama.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. A bit tangential, but I think that the CRU approach to instrumental temperatures is the best one, at least in principle. They rely on countries to do their own homogenisation, all the others (NOAA, NASA and BEST) do their own, with no metadata, and no local knowledge. In practice everybody uses similar methods, and of course the same data, mostly they all make appalling errors for some individual stations, but when averaged over regions or the globe they all get more or less the same answer … which I believe is mostly correct.

    It might appear that CRU is the only group that makes no errors, since they don’t really do anything besides averaging, but they fail to check the internal consistency of the data they get from countries, many of which (Australia and Canada for example) also fail to check internal consistency.

    Like

  21. The successful pushback by the climate extremists against prima facie fraud and deceit was a forerunner of ever more crazed anti-scientific narratives dressing up as sciencey. Sort of what in America is called putting lipstick on a pig.
    So now gender, public health, virus research, are all scientifically proven to immune to data.

    Like

  22. The melting of the Antarctic icecap in anything close to historical periods of time is physically not possible.
    The Arctic icecap, floating, can melt to no effect and indeed, if geologists are to be trusted, has done so.
    The Greenland icecap, like the Antarctic icecap, literally cannot melt in historically relevant periods of time. The accusation against Total, dressed up as science is utter bullschist.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Soap article with a quote from recent interview with Phil Jones in today’s Sunday Times. All the old tropes dug up and burnished – deniers, hackers, trick translated into”a common phrase in statistical analysis. Interestingly, Camilla Long, the newspaper’s television critic did not review The Trick, writing “Zzz, nope, sorry, fell asleep”. Enough said.

    Jones says they only picked on him, they didn’t because other people in CRU received hate mail and texts.

    But perhaps I should not criticise the newly sanctified ex director of the Holy Temple of Climate Science.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Just read that the Amarillo (the COP26 venue) has a F energy efficiency rating (the second worst possible).
    Chuckle!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Can’t spell for toffe. Armadillo (or was it once again my evil spell-checker)

    Like

  26. Alan; Thanks for sharing your own insider experiences. I swerved the programme and the comments above seem to justify that.
    On the “Big Oil Knew” meme, I have read (possibly on WUWT) that Exxon’s research in the 60s/70s led to the publication of a number of papers and that the company supported some of the early research groups that grew into the IPCC.

    Jo Nova posted this clip of a congressman telling it like it is:
    https://joannenova.com.au/2021/10/great-speech-the-oil-execs-are-owed-an-apology/
    We need more like him!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. “A Theory of the Hack”

    https://climateaudit.org/2021/11/01/a-theory-of-the-hack/

    “Two major new BBC programs, The Trick and the Hack That Changed The World, re-visit 2009 Climategate events on the eve of UK hosting the most recent international climate get-together. I was interviewed by The Hack and mentioned in The Trick as a villain.

    In today’s article, I’m going to propose a theory of the Climategate hack that is very different from the grandiose conspiracy of Russian intel services and US fossil fuel corporations that is the prevalent fantasy of the climate “community” and chattering classes. Subsequent to my interview with the Hack That Changed, I’ve re-examined and cross-checked documents and noticed some interesting new connections. I don’t know the identity of the Climategate hacker, but do believe that deductions about his profile (e.g. motivated individual vs paid institutional hacker) can be made more intelligently by carefully examining details of what was exfiltrated and when – as I shall do here….

    …Conclusion
    The Climategate hack did not involve malware: no X-Agent, X-Tunnel, Fancy Bear or Cosy Bear. Nor did it involve spearphishing emails or any of the paraphernalia that usually define “hacking”.

    The first avatar of Mr FOIA in the CRU network was almost certainly via password access to Keith Briffa’s online account (through proxy servers). I’ve received a first-hand statement that Briffa’s password was exposed and available to the public in the period immediately prior to the “hack”. Signing on to Briffa’s account with this password via a proxy server did not require CIA or KGB level skills. Once in, according to the Mother Jones cybersecurity expert, the rest was “not rocket science”. The encrypted passwords were more or less in plain view and decryption of the sys admin password could be accomplished in a few hours or couple of days using open source software.

    Nothing in the hacking technique or timeline points to Russian intel services or US fossil fuel corporations. I don’t know the identity of the Climategate hacker nor do I even have a guess. What we do know is what we knew more or less since the beginning: that Mr FOIA was a reader of Climate Audit, Watts Up, Real Climate and other climate blogs; that he was careful both in his use of proxy servers; and, that, unlike Guccifer 2, he had no interest in leaving a massive social media trail.”

    Like

  28. Ross Clark in the Spectator adds his perspective regarding the BBC mis-framing of Climategate in The Trick and on Radio 4. He finishes:

    “No, Climategate didn’t ‘disprove’ global warming or show that it was a scam. What is did confirm is that climate scientists are using highly questionable methods to construct a record of historic temperatures. Moreover, it showed the lengths to which some climate scientists would go to try to silence colleagues with whom they disagreed – in one case threatening to try to remove an editor from an academic journal. Theft or no theft, Climategate revealed important matters of public interest – especially given the extent to which we are now being asked to adjust our lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions – and the BBC is quite wrong to try to dismiss the public interest side and present it merely as some dark and dastardly crime.”

    Liked by 3 people

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