Last week Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff paper that showed that growth slows dramatically if a country’s debt goes over 90% of its GDP was found to contain significant errors. Tom Herndon, a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explains that he discovered the inaccuracies while he was doing his homework.
…And the way the BBC treated Steve McIntyre whose work proved that the climate lobby’s central pillar, the Hockey Stick, was wrong.
Whilst giving Herndon a highly respectful write up McIntyre’s work was buried under a deluge of insults and smears for climate change sceptics from Roger Harrabin who then tried to imply that in fact McIntyre didn’t think his own conclusion was correct somehow.
Climate sceptics rally to expose ‘myth’
Note the choice of wording, all selected to convey a particular impression…rightwing, vegetarians endangered, wine and blood coursed, libertarian, oppress the people, ‘geologist and Republican’, small government, McIntyre ‘shambled…a retired mining engineer…climate a hobby….a lugubrious bear of a man…nervous, winced’, one handed applause, this conference – part counter-orthodox science brainstorm, part political rally.
Rather than look at McIntyre’s debunking of the graph Harrabin gets personal.
So an article by Harrabin about someone exposing the Hockey Stick myth didn’t actually deal with the claims made by McIntyre or his evidence that the graph was badly misleading.
Here is the only comment on the graph…..
‘Mr McIntyre then advised sceptics to stop insisting that the Hockey Stick is a fraud. It is understandable for scientists to present their data in a graphic way to “sell” their message, he said. He understood why they had done it. But their motives were irrelevant.
The standard of evidence required to prove fraud over the Hockey Stick was needlessly high, he said. All that was needed was an acknowledgement by the science authorities that the Hockey Stick was wrong.’
Harrabin is working hard to give the impression that McIntyre didn’t think the Hockey Stick was a fraud, that he couldn’t prove it was wrong, but he could understand the reasons for its conclusions.
I think it is almost a racing certainty that McIntyre said no such thing…or rather he said a lot more which would have made a strong case against the Hockey Stick and that Harrabin has been highly selective in what he puts down on paper.
Harrabin is engaged in a campaign to undermine Sceptics with ridicule and accusations that their scepticism is based on politics not science. He doesn’t examine McIntyre’s thesis because to do so would mean actually admitting that McIntyre was right and that the Hockey Stick was just ‘an illusion’.
Steve McIntyre linked up with Ross McKitrick a Canadian economist specialising in environmental economics and policy analysis. Together McIntyre and McKitrick began to dig down into the data that Mann had used in his paper and the statistical techniques used to create the single blended average used to make the Hockey Stick. They immediately began to find problems.
Some of these problems just seemed the sort of errors that are caused by sloppy data handling concerning location labels, use of obsolete editions, unexplained truncations of available series, etc. Although such errors should have been spotted in the peer review process and they would adversely affect the quality of Mann’s conclusions they had a relatively small effect on the final results.
But McIntyre and McKitrick found one major error, an error so big that it invalidated the entire conclusion of the whole paper. A whopper of an error.
Shame once again it is a mere blogger who provides the credible and coherent examination whilst the BBC hack provides an almost invective laden diatribe intent solely on insulting and abusing Sceptics in an attempt to undermine their credibility.
Harrabin’s artricle is just as much a ‘fraud’ as the Hockey Stick graph he sought to defend.
In 2008 the BBC paid for a large truck to tour central London displaying a giant version of Mann’s Hockey Stick as part of the promotion of its very pro CO2 warming mini series called “Climate Wars”.