Capitalmind
Capitalmind
Actionable insights on equities, fixed-income, macros and personal finance Start 14-Days Free Trial
Actionable investing insights Get Free Trial
Commentary

Off Topic: Global Warming Emails Reveal Potential Fraud

The Global Warming debate has just gotten more intense. Recently, a major GW advocacy center, the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit was hacked into, and about 62 MB worth of email communication and other data was “made available” on a public FTP server in Russia.

No big deal? Well, it turns out that the emails reveal a sinister plot – that scientists were “fudging” or deleting or hiding data in order to prove their point, which is that Global Warming exists. One email talks about a scientist applying “tricks” to make sure the data would “hide the decline”, referring to temperatures – you can’t have declining temperatures in a global warming paper, can you? Others talked about how it was a “travesty” that they can’t account for the lack of warming – so instead of questioning if there is global warming, they question the data.

If these guys were in the stock market, they would start by saying the market is wrong, so let’s assume that prices are much higher than they are today, because they should be.

But I digress.

Excellent reads on the topic are:

I’m hugely skeptical about global warming, in the sense that we cause it and that we can do anythign to reverse it. Specifically three questions are of concern:

  • Are we warming? Sure it seems like that in some cities, but not really – Delhi has had 48 degree summers for a long time, which is more than what we see today. Bangalore has been much cooler the last two years. And globally, even with the CRU data, we seem to be cooling at the surface level over the last 10 years – a fact mentioned in one of those emails as a problem because it couldn’t be explained by the global warming theory.Still, you could manipulate the data into believing we are warming. But I’m unconvinced until data shows up – the lack of unified data points is niggling.
  • If we are warming, are we warming too much? Most studies take the last 1000 years or so – which is ridiculously small. And even there, the data is very shady – the last few years’ data is highly suspect because the metrics keep changing. First, the 1000 year problem.Consider this: If the entire Earth’s history was condensed into 24 hours, then dinosaurs would appear at 10:40 pm (imagine!) and home sapiens have lasted about 4 seconds. All of recorded history – 5000 years – is in one-tenth of a second. The last 1000 years are about 20 milliseconds on that scale. Can you imagine anyone predicting anything about “global warming” based on SUCH RIDICULOUSLY INSIGNIFICANT DATA POINTS?

    And then you have the shady data problem. From bad locations of weather stations, to unreliable stratospheric measurements, to refusing to admit data/analysis if it’s not a published in a “peer reviewed” journal, even if the work is correct. Now it’s even worse with CRU folks saying on emails that they’re happy to hide any data that refutes the hypothesis; and will take legal help to do so.

    (Read McIntyre’s blog, Climate Audit, for some views)

  • And lastly, have we done anything to influence global warming? I have my doubts. The data aspects of it all are too long to type, but it’s evident to me that we are blind to long term phenomena simply because we don’t have enough of a window, in any timeframe that is significant to the lifespan of cold and hot cycles of the earth. That means things might seem like they’re happening now (even if you take the claims that we are warming at face value) but it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have happened – we simply seem to be consistent with small margins of error up or down when you look at the 10,000 year picture.Instead we focus on carbon – stupid thing to do, IMHO, carbon dioxide is actually good and isn’t quite indicative of warming (CO2 levels have been going up in the last 100 years but surface temperatures have not). Wouldn’t it be better to learn to live with the impact of warming, rather than spending so much money trying to curb CO2 emissions?

    For the record, pollutants are horrible and those need to go. But good ole CO2, cutting that out is a out of line.

I’m a skeptic and not entirely on the other side, so I’m happy to be corrected. I am totally not interested in statements like “this scientist says this, and he is reputed and has 30 years of experience and has so many papers published bla bla bla”. That kind of crap doesn’t work – reputed people have been known to be wrong, and they have been wrong in the climate debate many times too. I hate ad-hominem arguments, so I’d rather focus on the argument.

And earlier climate scientists used to say that the skeptics are funded by the oil companies and so the incentives are all wrong. Well, with the amount of funding and reputation that global warming brings today, the incentives are all wrong on the other side too; for a GW scientist to say “there is no global warming, our data says it” is career suicide, and they will do what is needed to protect their turf, as is evident from the email leaks. So: Suspect everything, trust nothing.

Well, if the world doesn’t agree and still goes nuts on CO2, I’ll do my bit for global warming by breathing in more often than I breathe out. Or I’ll fudge the data to say I did so.

Like our content? Join Capitalmind Premium.

  • Equity, fixed income, macro and personal finance research
  • Model equity and fixed-income portfolios
  • Exclusive apps, tutorials, and member community
Subscribe Now Or start with a free-trial