Montford – forget Hockey. Stick to maths!
This is re-posted from my old Earthy Issues blog on the MyTelegraph website last year.
Andrew Montford, the author of Hockey Stick Illusion, is a Chemistry graduate of St Andrews University, a practicing professional Chartered Accountant, and the creator of the sceptical Bishop Hill blog, who wrote his book after being directed (via Tim Worstall) to Stephen McIntyre’s Climate Audit blog. However, whereas neither Montford nor Worstall is a scientist, Canadian mining consultant McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick are two of the key players in the so-called Hockey Stick (MBH98) Graph controversy.
Despite the title and focus of the book on the MBH98 graph, Montford’s supposed “conspiracy” is actually rooted in the foundation of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in 1950; and the first World Climate Conference in Geneva in 1979. As such, Montford chooses to see something sinister in the fact that, having been instructed to review the state of knowledge and tell governments what the implications are for humanity, the Conference issued a ‘Call to Nations’ (for full advantage to be taken of man’s knowledge of climate… and for potential anthropogenic changes to climate to be foreseen and prevented). Here, according to Montford, the scientists supposedly saw… “a source of funding and influence without end” (p.21-2).
With regard to the MBH98 graph itself, Montford also makes it clear at the outset that this was the inevitable product of a much earlier decision that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) needed to be got rid of:
“Climate science wanted big funding and big political action and that was going to require definitive evidence. In order to strengthen the arguments for the current warming being unprecedented, there was going to have to be a major study, presenting unimpeachable evidence that the [MWP] was a chimera” (p.30).
Thus, an Accountant set out to summarise attempts by a Mining consultant and an Economist to discredit the work of a team of multi-disciplinary Scientists: As such, is it so unreasonable to question the motives of the non-scientists involved? Why do they find it necessary to question the integrity of the scientists? Once again, the answer (a desire to deny our responsibility for anthropogenic climate disruption [ACD]) accords with David Aaronovitch’s explanation for conspiracy theories: We believe in them to make ourselves feel better about – and/or less responsible for – bad things that happen… But the story does not end there: The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) then asked this Chartered Accountant to write a report on the Climategate inquiries for them!
What is the point of asking a non-scientist to investigate such a complex subject as international, multi-disciplinary, research into something as complicated as global climatology? Be that as it may, Montford unsurprisingly found “evidence” of a state-sponsored conspiracy to provide an excuse to tax people more heavily.
Sadly for the GWPF and Montford; nobody really takes them seriously. Montford’s GWPF report was considered in a further review of the matter by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the Summary of which (as published on 25 January 2011) concluded:
“The disclosure of data from CRU has been traumatic and challenging for all involved. While we have some reservations about the reviews which UEA commissioned, the key point is that they have made a number of constructive recommendations. In our view it is time to make the changes and improvements recommended and with greater openness and transparency move on.” (p.3)
As with the 9/11 Truth Movement, the only way to perpetuate the conspiracy theory explanation for the consensus regarding ACD is to continually implicate more and more people in it…
My ‘Questions for Dr Richard A Muller’ (26 October 2011); and
Robin McKie’s review of Mann’s The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars in The Guardian newspaper in March this year.