I Like You….You?…Not So Much!





Can anyone explain the difference in treatment that the BBC gave Tom Herndon whom they believe undermines the case for Austerity,  here on the Today programme (08:49): 

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’.


Here is a good overview of Mcintyre’s Hockey Stick work.

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”.



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13 Responses to I Like You….You?…Not So Much!

  1. Span Ows says:

    Hi Alan, have you got more details of that tour (final sentence of your post). That sounds like propaganda, pure and simple; at UK tax-payers’ expense incluidng what I imagine would be 2 to 4 people at least accompanying said tour (hotels, meals, fuel etc)


  2. Andrew says:

    I recall the internationally respected climate expert Marcus Brigstocke sneering, on Radio 4 in one of “The Now Show” Left propaganda slots a while ago, about people who thought the sun had anything to do with climate change rather than accepting the man-made hypothesis.


  3. mike fowle says:

    For a highly readable and comprehensible account of the Hockey Stick affair, Andrew Montford’s (who blogs as Bishop Hill) The Hockey Stick Illusion is well worth while. There is also a sequel dealing with the enquiries into Climategate: Hiding the Decline. Equally excellent.


  4. A scientist says:

    Alan, are all the large-scale temperature reconstructions published since Mann et all “broken”?
    And the programme Alan is referring to Span Owls is likely BBC Two’s “Climate Wars” presented by Dr Iain Stewart. The graph on a truck was a simple visual idea to be used when discussing how “iconic” the hockey stick image was. The same programme also featured several clips where skeptics described it as “fraud”. I’d imagine the cost of printing a big graph pales besides the cost of flying a crew round the world to talk to skeptics and scientists alike.


  5. Miv Tucker says:

    Criticism of the hockey stick, etc., goes way back.

    Here’s an insightful article by Mark Steyn from the Sunday Telegraph 1.4.2001, in response to the near-universal outrage over President Bush’s decision to de-sign from the Kyoto treaty:


    Where rising hot air hits cold hard facts
    By Mark Steyn
    (Sunday Telegraph 1.4.01)

    EVEN if the Kyoto accords didn’t deserve dumping in and of themselves, it would have been worth doing just for the pleasure of watching Europe go bananas. “Mark yesterday’s date,” wrote Geoffrey Lean in the Evening Standard. “It is no exaggeration to say that 28 March 2001 may prove to be one of the most important days in the history of the world.” Michael Meacher thought it could lead to the planet becoming “uninhabitable”. John Gummer called it an assault on European sovereignty (whatever that is). Globally warming to his theme, he decided he wasn’t going to have Yankee imperialism shoved down his throat like a Tory minister’s daughter being force-fed a BSE quarterpounder. “We are not going to allow our climate to be changed by somebody else,” he roared, threatening an international trade war against the United States. You go, girl! Why not refuse to sell the Yanks your delightful British beef?

    Following Gummem Hussein’s attack on the Great Satan, the Express declared “Polluter Bush An Oil Industry Stooge” and The Independent dismissed the President as a “pig-headed and blinkered politician in the pocket of the US oil companies”. But enough of his good points. According to the eco-alarmists of the Seventies, there wasn’t supposed to be any oil industry to be a stooge of by now. The oil was meant to run out by 2000. Being in the pocket of the oil companies should be about as lucrative as being in the pocket of the buggy-whip manufacturers. But somehow the environmental doom-mongers never learn – so concerned about reducing everybody else’s toxic emissions, but determined to keep their own going at full blast.

    So now “this ignorant, short-sighted and selfish politician” (Friends of the Earth) is dumping Kyoto because it “irked the American right” (The Independent). It’s certainly true that, for a Republican, there’s little to be gained in kissing up to what Dubya’s dad called “the spotted owl crowd”. Indeed, if I understand this global-warming business correctly, the danger is that the waters will rise and drown the whole of Massachusetts, New York City, Long Island, the California coast and a few big cities on the Great Lakes – in other words, every Democratic enclave will be wiped out leaving only the solid Republican heartland. Politically speaking, for conservatives there’s no downside to global warming.

    But I don’t think it will come to that. The UN’s report on climate change, issued in January, insists that the 20th century was the warmest in the last millennium. But it measures the 11th to the 19th centuries with one system (tree ring samples) and the 20th with another (thermometers). The resultant graph looks like a long bungalow tacked on to the side of the Empire State Building – but only because the UN is using incompatible sets of data. That’s why, according to their survey, most of the alleged warming occurred in the early 20th century, when America was a predominantly rural economy: if the UN report proves anything, it’s that, as soon as folks got off their horses and starting buying automobiles, the rate of global warming slowed down.

    Maybe there really is global warming. And maybe the 4.5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases we humans generate is responsible for it, as opposed to the 95.5 per cent generated by nature. But, as long as the UN and others substitute hot air for hard science, Bush is right to suspect it’s eco-bunk. Even American politicians who believe in global warming don’t believe in Kyoto. Geoffrey Lean might like to note that the day that will live in infamy is not March 28, 2001 but July 26, 1997 – the date when the US Senate voted against the proposed treaty 95-0. Not one Senator – not even Ted Kennedy – voted in favour. In Kyoto, Al Gore signed anyway, but that old fraud Clinton never bothered sending it to the Senate for ratification because he needed 67 votes and he knew he was 67 short. Mr Lean and his chums have had four years to get used to the idea that Kyoto’s dead, not because of one right-wing oil stooge but because of the entire American political establishment. It’s doubtful whether even Senator Hillary Clinton would vote for this. When Bush announced he’d be drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, Hillary said his “charm offensive” was really a “harm offensive”. When Bush decided against Federal regulation of carbon dioxide emissions, Hillary observed that “it looks like we’ve gone from CO2 to ‘See you later’.” When he scrapped proposed federally-mandated reductions on arsenic in the water supply, she jeered, “It’s arsenic and about face”. But when Bush scrapped Kyoto, Hill made no puns whatsoever. Even Hillary knows Kyoto’s off the graph.

    As for John Gummer’s protests about the US invading European sovereignty, the whole treaty is an assault on national sovereignty, especially America’s. The US cannot comply with the accords without substantial job losses – 100,000 in Michigan alone, 80,000 in Georgia. Worse, the treaty would set up an international emissions-trading market, whereby the only way to mitigate against the economic shrinkage would be for the US to buy “pollution permits” from Russia, India or various developing countries, which would be allowed to sell their “pollution rights” for billions of dollars which they could then use to reduce their own emissions. The US would wind up paying the Russian mafia or the Congo’s nutcake of the month for the privilege of not closing an auto plant in Flint, Michigan. Do you really think the generals and the KGB are going to let the Kremlin spend an estimated $40 billion cheque from Uncle Sam on cleaner factories for lead-free Ladas? At best you’d have a greenhouse-gas version of the European Fisheries Policy, under which the British can’t fish in their own waters but any passing Spaniard trailing his pantyhose off the back of the trawler can. The Kyoto treaty was a deranged proposal to give the world’s loopier jurisdictions a veto over America’s economy.

    The US was supposed to go along with this because it would be a “symbolic gesture”. But we’ve had eight years of symbolic gestures, and Bush feels it’s time to get real, especially on the environment. Messrs Gummer, Lean and the overheated Europeans should chill out. Every significant environmental improvement – from lead-free gas to recycling – comes from America, and global warming, such as it is, will be solved – like most problems – by American ingenuity, not Euro-regulation. The era of Clintonian posturing is over, chaps. Wake up and smell the CO2.


  6. Bob Nelson says:

    Steve McIntyre has integrity in spades. The BBC cannot understand this but cannot argue with his audits of some pretty shoddy warmists’ papers – so they attack the man.
    If it wasn’t for him (and other bloggers) the pro-AGW fanatics would have taken over the world by now.


  7. johnnythefish says:

    A cowardly attack – cowardly because the last thing Harrabin or the BBC will do is to have McIntyre in the studio to debate the subject. He would simply wipe the floor with them or any of their AGW 28gate cronies. Too many inconvenient facts, you see.


  8. Gibberish Buster says:

    “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””

    I am not saying that that is not true but if it is I expect a link to it, not just an unsupported quotation. If true, it is scandalous but I fear it may be mere supposition that conveniently ties in with your own ‘bias’. But what do I know?


  9. Gibberish Buster says:

    Really helpful comment there, Stewart.