An Interview with Climategate’s Phil Jones

Phil Jones, the scientist at the center of the Climategate scandal, answers questions from the BBC. In the interview, Jones maintains that he never intended to “trick” the public about global warming or subvert the academic peer-review process. He also clears up some confusion about the global warming record, confirming that the warming rates for the periods of 1860-1880, 1910-1940, and 1975-1998 “are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.” While the scandal has provided plenty of fodder for global warming skeptics, Jones says he’s “100% confident that the climate has warmed.” [%comments]

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  1. Steven says:

    You know, I’ve just about had it with Freakonomics. I like that you bring up interesting topics I’ve never heard of and provide a useful spin on those I’m familiar with, but this cherrypicking of data and deliberately misleading the public is not appropriate.

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  2. nobel says:

    “Jones says he’s “100% confident that the climate has warmed.”

    So what? That is not the issue at hand. We can and will fight all day about the temperatures. That is a statistical discussion.

    The issue at hand is whether AGW is even a viable theory anymore.

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  3. Nick says:

    The debate is not whether the climate has warmed or not. Global temperatures have risen and fell since the beginning of time. The $100 billion question in whether or not this recent warming trend is man-made. Curiously, Mr. Jones did not assert he was 100% confident in this important detail.

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  4. Jim Berkise says:

    Jones also admitted that there has been no statistically significant evidence of warming since 1995, and that it is very possible that the Medieval Warm Period was at least as warm as the present period. These are significant points, and have been widely reported in the UK and Canadian press for almost a week now.

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  5. frankly0 says:

    The thing that always disturbs me about the arguments from advocates of Anthropogenic Global Warming is how one can never get a straight answer out of them as to what would constitute disconfirming evidence for their hypothesis.

    Jones certainly admits the obvious: that in recent years, there’s been no significant warming. But how many years of a failure of further warming would we have to experience before we should regard their models and their hypothesis as being refuted? I’ve never heard an answer from them on this critical point.

    Shouldn’t a genuine scientist feel a powerful obligation to have a clear answer to this question? If they don’t, how do others escape the conclusion that these scientist will treat virtually anything that happens as consistent with their theory — which is pretty much tantamount to placing their theory beyond science and into the realm of a mystical belief held on faith.

    It doesn’t help that these advocates often, on the hand, disparage those who wonder why we’ve had so many years in a row of non-increasing temperatures as ignoramuses who don’t understand the concept of statistical significance, and, on the other hand, turn right around and come up themselves with theories to explain why temperatures haven’t risen as predicted. If the current plateau requires no explanation, why the desperation to explain it?

    I’m certainly not myself in any position to refute their theories, anymore than I was in a position to refute the consensus views of economists who, a few years ago, insisted that there was no good reason to believe that the housing boom might end badly.

    But I’ll tell you, I don’t like the sort of inadequate and inconsistent explanations one gets from these climate scientists when asked even some very basic questions. They sound too much like the smug and dismissive explanations one got from those economists who told us all would be well if we put our faith in the banks and their infinitely wise and superhumanly clever financial instruments, which will save us all from risk.

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  6. Amitabh Mukherjee says:

    Funny! I thought “not statistically different” meant one is not confident that there is any change.

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  7. Eric M. Jones says:

    –Jones says he’s “100% confident that the climate has warmed.”

    Well then, the whole problem has been sorted….

    I am a low-grade “scientist ” and I am only–
    95% confident that there is something slightly amiss with the theory of gravity; 99.9% confident that Darwin got it basically right; 98% confident that alien UFOs don’t exist; 93% confident who my Father was.

    If I thought I was 100% certain of anything, I’d keep my mouth shut.

    I can draw a line between mile-high glaciers that covered the spot I am sitting 11,000 years ago and today, and Solar theory says that a few million years from now we will be cooked. But that’s not the issue.

    The real issue is whether man’s actions have done much to cause GW and can man’s puny efforts help fix it?

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  8. Ron Armstrong says:

    What amazes me is this is just now being reported in the US. In one of Jones emails in July, 2005, he actually said it had been cooling for 5 years. A good reporter would have read them back in November of last year instead of taking AGW story that there was nothing there, cherry picking, context problems ets. NOT!

    There is a lot more in them that hasn’t made it to the MSM yet. I read them post haste. They were a bit difficult to follow since I didn’t know the people, the acronyms, abbreviations, etc. Still they left me dumbfounded at the bad character of these guys.

    When I found and read Dr. John Costella’s analysis of the emails it became crystal clear. Is he biased? No one who has actually read them could be anything less.

    These guys were involved in tax evasion, signature manipulation, manipulating data, ignoring data, destroying data, violating FOIA, subverting the peer review process, getting each other awards, black balling, and a plethora of other evil deeds.

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