Critical evidence from climate change sceptics continues to be ignored by the political and scientific establishments
What are we to make of the efforts by the political and academic establishments to hold the line against all those revelations, such as "Climategate", which last winter rocked the authority of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? The most obvious feature of the four official inquiries into the "Climategate" emails (a fifth report is due this week from Sir Muir Russell), is that not one has engaged with the central point at issue. This is the evidence from the emails and other documents confirming that the key IPCC scientists involved had been manipulating data to show temperatures having lately shot up to levels unknown in the past 1,000 years.
A familiar example was the IPCC's "hockey stick" graph, created by the American scientist Michael Mann, but shown by the statistics expert Steve McIntyre to be no more than a statistical artefact. Last week, a second inquiry by his own university cleared Dr Mann, again making no attempt to discuss the central issue. Instead, it merely asserted – while acclaiming him as "among the most respected scientists in his field" – that the techniques used to compile his graph were wholly acceptable. Similarly, McIntyre was startled last week to get a dismissive email from Lord Oxburgh, whose Science Appraisal Panel also avoided the crucial issue in its perfunctory five-page report, bizarrely claiming that "the science was not the subject of our study".
Also defending the establishment line was last week's Panorama, with its "inquiry" into Climategate. This example of BBC propaganda at its most childish purported to be impartial, by pitching two advocates of man-made global warming against two "sceptics", who turned out to be believers in man-made warming. Its centrepiece was yet another vindication of the "hockey stick", including a sycophantic interview with Dr Mann. Again, this gave not the faintest idea of how devastatingly the methods used to compile this graph have been challenged (for full accounts see A W Montford's The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science, or my book The Real Global Warming Disaster).
Meanwhile, there has been a further twist to that other IPCC scandal, "Amazongate", on which I reported last week. This centred on the claim in its 2007 report – attributed only to a paper from green activists at the WWF – that a slight reduction in rainfall caused by climate change could kill up to 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest. After exhaustive analysis by my colleague Dr Richard North of every document cited by the WWF to back its claim, it seems clearer than ever that there is no good evidence.
I have given the WWF one more chance to come up with that evidence, and will reveal its response next week. If it is unable to do so, the IPCC will again be convicted of having made a wildly alarmist claim it cannot justify. Yet this is the body on whose allegedly unimpeachable scientific authority our Government and others propose to land us with the biggest bill in history.