NS Book Review - THE HOCKEY STICK ILLUSION: CLIMATEGATE AND THE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE by AW Montford

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NS Book Review - THE HOCKEY STICK ILLUSION: CLIMATEGATE AND THE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE by AW Montford

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By Randy Brich

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) relied on flawed historical global temperature reconstructions to make the case that unprecedented warming occurred in the latter half of the last century.  Furthermore, the UN IPCC preached that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels most likely caused the warming.  When the Canadian Government’s mass mailing to all Canadian households of a pamphlet depicting the UN IPCC’s judgments reached retired mining consultant and mathematics savant Steve McIntyre, he read it with stark disbelief. THE HOCKEY STICK ILLUSION: CLIMATEGATE AND THE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE

As a Canadian, McIntyre was well aware of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the 250-year concomitant colonization of Greenland by Vikings during the middle portion of the past millennium.  Their Greenland occupation ended after the climate changed and the island returned to its former arctic environment.  Not only was the MWP warmer than anytime in the current contemporary warming, the MWP had caused a problem that the new climate scientists needed to erase.   

Michael Mann and his co-authors of the famed “Hockey Stick” graph expunged the MWP from their historical temperature record by selectively using tree ring temperature proxies combined with unconventional statistics in their 1998 paper published in the journal Nature.

They replaced the MWP with a graph indicating much cooler temperatures based on a limited set of bristlecone pine tree rings.  Then, when the modern day tree rings failed to record the temperature spikes of the 1990s, they replaced the tree ring proxy data with thermometer readings, thus “hiding the decline,” a phrase that circled the virtual world faster than a fossil fuel derived CO2 molecule. 

The result of these deliberate data manipulations produced a graph resembling a horizontal hockey stick with its blade pointing up, showing the late-20th Century being the warmest since 1400.   

While reading A. W. Montford’s (aka, Bishop HillThe Hockey Stick Illusion:  Climategate and the Corruption of Science, inestimable account of the history of the UN IPCC and McIntyre’s and McKitrick’s quest for the answers to their questions, the following Carl Sagan quote kept reverberating through my cranium:  

We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both.  

In a masterful expose on scientific sleuthing, practiced primarily by Steve McIntyre and his fortuitous statistical economist friend, Ross McKitrick, Montford’s captivating climate science chronology commands attention and must, I assume, be giving Mann and his co-conspirators fantastic fits. 

In exquisite, excruciating and exacting detail, this one book answered all of my questions regarding the nature of the disagreement between Michael Mann and his colleagues, now collectively known as The Hockey Team, and McIntyre and McKitrick and their band of merry auditors, now referred to as The Climate Auditors.    

Montford’s a natural storyteller and his captivating style meticulously contrasts the entire history of McIntyre and McKitrick’s polite and patient requests for data, methods and techniques used in the historical temperature reconstruction with the refusals, rebuffs and retributions practiced by the Hockey Team scientists, their journal editors and UN IPCC accomplices.  

With all but the last chapter of the book written before the CRU hack released the now infamous East Anglia emails, Montford relishes in the vindication the emails offer of his previous assertions and conclusions.  The emails provide convincing evidence that the scientists, the UN IPCC and journals conspired to withhold the truth from the rest of the world.   

Without the untiring and uncompensated efforts of McIntyre, McKitrick and the rest of The Climate Auditors we would never have known about the unscientific, agenda-driven efforts of a few self-proclaimed climate scientists doctoring the books to match their view of the world.  Now, through the capable eyes of A.W. Montford, the world can finally see through the charade and people can decide for themselves what it all means.   

The Hockey Stick Illusion:  Climategate and the Corruption of Science
A. W. Montford
Stacy International, paperback 2010, 482 pp.
ISBN 978 1 906768 35 5

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  • A very on-point review.  I had seen, but not yet purchased this book - after reading this review I think I'll get a copy of it post haste!  Thanks very much for reviewing this; it made my Earth Day all the better.

  • I bought the book when it first came out and read it twice to get the full story clear in my mind.  Truly a captivating read which shows the corruption inherent within the field of "climate science"; it is the greatest scientiific scam there has ever been.

    I recommend the book to everyone; scientists and non-scientists alike.  It is written so that all can follow the evidence of the corruption which permeated "climate science", from lowly scientists with an agenda, all the way to politicians and the UN bureaucrats.  It will be years before the effects of the corruption are eliminated.

  • I support the comments made by Phil Bratby.

    This is a very important thought provoking story and should be read by all those who want to be informed about the climate debate.

    Thank you Randy Brich for your excellent review and for bringing this book to the attention of your readers. Anyone who decides to buy the HSI will not be disappointed. It is a riveting read. A real page turner.

    A word of advice, don't start reading it late at night because you will not want to stop.

  • Congratulations to Randy for the best review of The Hockey Stick Illusion that I have ever seen. Let me add just one thing to the comments of two friends from the Bishop Hill blog who got here before me: You don't need to buy the idea that the global warming hooha is the "greatest scientiific scam there has ever been" to gain a great deal from the book. In fact, it's worth noting that Steve McIntyre himself would never use such language. The interpretation people give to the facts Andrew so brilliantly marshals varies greatly. What is stupid, given the importance of the energy policy implications, is not to know those facts. There's no better place to start.

  • Can I be forgiven if I mention a crass commercial message? I am selling copies of HSI with a bookplate signed by the Bish and there are a few left. If I don't sell them, my wife will make me eat them.

  • for a refutation of this hack nonsense, see: www.realclimate.org/.../the-montford-delusion

  • Paul Wick apparently would like to discourage potential readers of the Hockey Stick Illusion.  Read the book, then check out the realclimate responses, keeping in mind that the principals of that site are the very ones being criticized in Montford's book.  I would also encourage those who are interested to visit Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit site here http://climateaudit.org/ as well as read the Wegman Report here www.uoguelph.ca/.../WegmanReport.pdf and the often-cited (as a refutatuin of Wegman) NAS Committee on Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years report available here: www.nap.edu/catalog.php.

    Readers can decide for themselves what is "hack nonsense".

  • As I've commented before, on previous review articles, Randy Brich seems interested only in reviewing (promoting?) books that support his own anti-global-warming position.  I have not read this book, and have no interest in doing so; however, the representation of the scientists who support the concept of global warming as part of a vast global conspiracy (as this book apparently does) should set off alarm bells.   Conspiracy theories are fine for UFO proponents and free-energy frauds; they have no place in serious scientific discussions.

    The review by Tamino at the link provided by paul wick is, to me, far more convincing that Randy Brich's, and wick's description ("hack nonsense") appears to be far more accurate than Randy Brich's accolades.  I give the review zero stars--and suggest that Mr. Brich stop using his book reviews as a soapbox for promulguation of anti-climate-change nonsense.

  • Anuke:  You are typical of the close-minded AGW consensus.  You won't read the book but are somehow able to comment on its contents, apparently more than once - that says all we need to know about you and your second hand opinions.

  • No, I am perfectly willing to read a scientifically-based discussion of the global warming issue--both sides of the discussion, not just one.  But I have no time for conspiracy theory nonsense and nut-jobs.  The link provided by wick has not only Tamino's review, but links to two others that pretty thoroughly demonstrate the book's lack of merit.

    As for what I believe, you draw your conclusions about what I think by reading one comment on a review of what would appear to be a lousy book.  You don't know what I think, other than concerning Mr. Brich's propensity to use his reviews to promote his own views.  So I don't really need your second-hand opinions about me, either.

  • Anuke:

    The "review" by Grant Foster you find so convincing is, shall we say, disingenuous at best.  Andrew Montford has put together a well-written, well-documented and credible narrative regarding the hockey stick. If you choose not to read it, that's your loss, but that choice also disqualifies you from making any comments or claims about the book or its author.  That you would comment on a review about the reviewer's choice without having read the book yourself merely confirms Dr. Bratby's evaluation: close-minded.

  • For a fairly thorough refutation of Tamino's views see

    climateaudit.org/.../repost-of-tamino-and-the-magic-flute

  • I note that the commenters here like Bratby and Phelan have posted widely on anti-global-warming websites.  It would appear that the just about the only ones who have a favorable view of Montford's book are those who are already predisposed to believe it.  I also note that neither Montford, nor McKitrick, nor McIntyre have any training in climate-related science, which makes me wonder even more about their credibility.

    As I said, I have no use for conspiracy theorists.  If Randy Brich can find a book that presents both the pro- and anti-global- warming discussions from a sound scientific viewpoint--and if he's actually willing to review something that does not agree with his own views on the subject--perhaps I'll take a look.  But the cheerleading of Phelan, Bratby, Brich, et al., with regard to Montford's book is unconvincing, to say the least.

    To Bratby and Phelan:  You don't know my views, and I choose not to discuss them here.  But referring to me as "close-minded" seems, at best, to be the pot calling the kettle black.  Your own minds are as closed to the possibilty that global warming--anthropogenic or not--is a reality as you accuse me of being on the other side.  I conclude you have no real interest in the truth; you merely delight in continuing to stir the pot.

  • @Anuke

    First of all, the book is not an attempt to falsify the hypothesis of AGW.  Of course, if you actually read the book, you would know this (how does one comment on a book without actually reading it?).  It merely tells the story of the controversy surrounding one of the icons of modern day science - the "hockey stick".  In doing so, it does not rely on "conspiracy theory", but on well referenced and checkable facts.  Andrew Montford lays out the story beautifully, in a manner that allows anyone, scientist or not, to understand and follow the narrative.  You really should read it - you may just be a little surprised to find yourself enjoying it.

    Secondly, you seem to be lacking in understanding as to what it is that most sceptics actually believe, as shown by your comment that included the line: "Your own minds are as closed to the possibilty that global warming--anthropogenic or not--is a reality".  Perhaps you should spend a little time at sites like bishophill or climateaudit and actually read what they say.  Again, you may find yourself a little surprised.  Yes, Phillip Bratby (a scientist by the way) and Robert E Phelan post at sceptic sites, but I note that they have also posted at pro-agw sites too (when they have been allowed to).  Many sceptics don't bother commenting at the pro sites, but we are often there, reading and keeping up to date.  Whichever side of the divide we fall on, surely it behoves all of us to keep an open mind and read both sides of the debate whenever we get the opportunity doesn't it?  Even if it means spending a little time in the "enemies" camp?

  • @Paul Wick:

    If Montford is wrong and the book is inaccurate where are the court cases. Where are the court cases against McIntire/McKitrick and many others who do not buy into the faith led swindle! Your crass attempt to not only rubbish the excellent book and also the review has a link back to a blog setup by the  people involved in the scandal! A typical attack from the "Gang"!

    I would suggest you have not even read the book!