When it is dangerous to be right

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

Clipped from: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/15/collapse-of-global-warming-deception-triggers-variety-of-bailouts-and-revisionism/ 

We will see an increasing number of people changing their positions on global warming as the global warming ship sinks. It will take various forms including; articles appearing that subtly shift previously held positions; reevaluation of data; or finding new evidence that allows a change and perhaps worst of all those who say they knew the science was wrong all along but did not consider it important to speak out; dredging up a sentence or two from their writings that they claim showed they knew. The level of inventiveness will astonish as rats desert the sinking ship. 

I am not well disposed to any of these people since the evidence was there all along. They chose not to see it, for a variety of reasons none of which are valid and as the old proverb says there are none so blind as those who will not see. I admit I hold some animosity to this group as I head to Vancouver for my first of two trials [although I received three lawsuits all from the same lawyer and all from members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)] for speaking out against the misuse of science for a political agenda and the scientific deception and corruption this engendered. When I realize that if even a few of these people had spoken out I would likely not have suffered the lawsuits, personal attacks, death threats and career limiting denial of funding, loss of speaking opportunities, and having my wife cry now if someone knocks on my door at four on a Friday afternoon because that is the time that all three court summons were delivered. The timing was deliberate as I only had 48 hours to respond.

I am glad Mr. McCarter finally saw the light as expressed in his article “Naïve scientists awakens to the politics underlying climate change”, but it is too late, too easy and self-serving. It is precisely his ‘I don’t want to know attitude’ that the perpetrators of the global warming deception knew would happen and exploited. What he doesn’t know is that the three Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP) I received were not only to silence me but also to have a much wider chilling effect against anyone else who dared to speak out. It was very effective because of the silence of so many who didn’t want to know. There is safety in numbers, but a majority chose to say and do nothing. I know first-hand what Voltaire meant when he said

It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.

Or for my fellow Canadian

Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort.

Why didn’t McCarter act when the emails were leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) providing clear evidence that it was more than politics but included the abuse of science by scientists? Here is a list of the activities set out by Mosher and Fuller.

  • Actively worked to evade (Steve) Mcintyre’s Freedom of Information requests, deleting emails, documents, and even climate data
  • Tried to corrupt the peer-review principles that are the mainstay of modern science, reviewing each other’s’ work, sabotaging efforts of opponents trying to publish their own work, and threatening editors of journals who didn’t bow to their demands 
  • Changed the shape of their own data in materials shown to politicians charged with changing the shape of our world, ‘hiding the decline’ that showed their data could not be trusted.

Even if only half these charges are true, they are activities that would and should have triggered McCarter to action. It appears they did not, so the question is how much more did he need? How are things any different now that causes McCarter to respond? The apparent answer is that there are no consequences and he will be praised for his enlightenment and forgiven for his failures. Sorry, it is far too late, inadequate, and unworthy of praise. How much damage has occurred because of decisions he made to ignore the problems.

Massive amounts of damage have already occurred. People, economies, and societies have already suffered enormously. He watched as others suffered attacks, lawsuits, and bullying and did nothing. As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I think that the fact they did nothing eliminates them from being called good men. McCarter apologizes for Naomi Klein as a fellow Canadian, but where was he when she was appointed to Pope Francis’ committee on global warming helping him to draft the Laudate Si Encyclical? As he admits, he knew there were problems but rationalized they were political, and as a scientist, he could ignore them. He made a conscious decision to look the other way; now he wants absolution and even praises after a perfunctory mea culpa.

It is easy now as the tide is turning because Trump had the courage to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement. It is easy to jump on “the deception shouldn’t have happened” bandwagon. I can’t tell you how many people felt they were supporting me by telling me privately they agreed with me. Presumably, this absolved their conscience, but when the opportunity to speak arose at least 95 percent of them were nowhere to be seen. I used to try and understand that people did not want to lose their jobs or their income, but I don’t anymore because it is precisely this weakness that makes them vulnerable to bullies and exploiters. McCarter, by his own admission, hasn’t learned much.So having had doubt about climate change being a political rather than scientific problem I am now a bit wiser.” Only a bit? If he had taken even a limited quiet look at what was going on, he would be a lot wiser. If he spoke out even minimally at the start, he would have experienced the push back and learned how political and nasty the attacks. He chose not to do that, and now he wants absolution for that failure. Sorry, it is too late unless he offers more than hand waving.

No, I cannot accept McCarter’s pathetic apology now it is easy. He admits in this article he knew all along but decided to do nothing. If I hear of him doing more than making an apology on friendly websites like WUWT, I will maybe temper my view. If he tries to get published in the NYT, I will have some sympathy. When I hear that his grandson was made to stand in the hallway outside his Grade six class every day for most of a month because he dared to ask questions about global warming that challenged what his teacher was saying and she knew I was his grandfather.

The only thing I can do here is quote Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller.

First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew. 
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. 

Ogden Nash wrote:

There are people who are very resourceful 
At being remorseful. 
And who apparently feel that the best away to make friends 
Is to do something terrible then make amends. 

It was a child who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes because the adults were afraid to say anything. McCarter’s story indicates that this continues and will do so until people accept the social responsibility that comes with having the privilege to practice science or do anything in society. He should read about what is happening in his Canada as the government deliberately intimidates people and moves to make alternative climate views a crime. Let him publicly fight that and earn a modicum of credibility, until then his ‘coming out’ is too little too late. For those who think his actions are sufficient as a step in the right direction I will disagree.

Yes, it is a form of penance, the “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong.” However, it is completely out of proportion to the extent of the damage his failure to act created. It indicates that he still doesn’t understand.

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34 Thoughts on “When it is dangerous to be right

  1. Brett Keane on 20/10/2017 at 12:45 pm said:

    I suggest the proposed ‘Climate Commission’ in the new govt, could be a vehicle for us to introduce real science…..

  2. Richard Treadgold on 20/10/2017 at 1:01 pm said:

    Who has proposed it, Brett? We should keep an eye on it.

  3. Mike Jowsey on 20/10/2017 at 4:08 pm said:

    The Greens are going full steam ahead now they have a sizable foot in the door to the corridors of power. They are pushing for an “independent” Climate Commission whose goal will be zero carbon emissions by 2025. Sanity preserve us, please. Oh, and intestinal fortitude by those scientists who know what’s what.

  4. Mike Jowsey on 20/10/2017 at 6:45 pm said:

    Aside from the economic ramifications of stifling our economy (especially agriculture and manufacturing) to achieve this amorphous goal, watch for serious stifling of free speech, ad-hominem attacks and anti-denier legislation regards this matter. Witness Canada and Dr. Tim Ball: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/09/26/climate-skeptic-big-brother-watched-me/

    We are in for a tough 3 years.

  5. Maggy Wassilieff on 20/10/2017 at 7:01 pm said:

    It might pay to take a close reading of the latest document from Min of Environment on “our atmosphere and climate”

    I was especially interested in the datasets.
    In particular: Macara & Tait 2015: Infilling of missing climate data.

  6. Mike Jowsey on 20/10/2017 at 8:31 pm said:

    Maggy, elucidate me if you please.

  7. Simon on 20/10/2017 at 8:33 pm said:

    Cheers Maggie,
    Section 5 of Macara & Tait (2015) is interesting:
    These data were all converted to global mean annual air temperature anomalies, based on the
    period 1981-2010. This is the same base period now used for the New Zealand seven station
    temperature series (7SS). Not surprisingly, the interannual variability of the New Zealand data is much higher than the global mean data, due to the number of climate stations used as input to the respective datasets. The trends (°C per century) for each of the datasets, all calculated over the same period of 1909-2013, are:
     NZ 7SS, 0.92 °C/century
     NCDC global, 1.19 °C/century
     GISS global, 1.01 °C/century
     CRU global, 1.02 °C/century

  8. Maggy Wassilieff on 20/10/2017 at 11:27 pm said:

    @Mike Jowsey

    Well, the concept of infilling missing data seems to be one that was overlooked in my Science training.
    Check out the % of infilled data on p.31-32.

  9. Magoo on 21/10/2017 at 12:01 pm said:

    According to the graphs in the report, the rate of temperature rise in NZ has not accelerated dramatically at all over the last century, in fact it’s tempting to say it’s been largely consistent:


    The oceanic sea-surface temperature has remained consistently static since 1993:


  10. Simon on 22/10/2017 at 8:37 am said:

    A 1°C rise in temperature in only 100 years in almost unprecedented in the paleo-climatic record. Plot it on a chart and you will get something that looks like a hockey stick.

  11. Richard Treadgold on 22/10/2017 at 11:54 am said:

    The 2015 paper, “A Reanalysis of Long-Term Surface Air Temperature Trends in New Zealand” by de Freitas, Brill and Dedekind, correctly using Rhoades and Salinger’s statistical methodology, found an increase of 0.28°C in average NZ temperatures from 1909 to 2009. It is the most recent published paper on the NZ temperature record and has not, to my knowledge, even been acknowledged by NIWA scientists, much less refuted, so it stands. The Mann, Bradley and Hughes 1998 hockey stick reconstruction is a well-debunked piece of fraudulent nonsense.

    McIntyre, Steven and Ross McKitrick, (2003), in Corrections to the Mann et al. (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemisphere Average Temperature Series Environment and Energy 14(6) pp. 751-771, showed that the hockey stick shape in MBH98 “is primarily an artefact of poor data handling, obsolete data and incorrect calculation of principal components.”

  12. Magoo on 22/10/2017 at 12:06 pm said:


    You’re comparing apples with oranges to avoid the facts. Comparing high resolution thermometer data over the last 100 yrs to low resolution proxy reconstructions is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. Ironic you should mention a hockey stick, Mann’s discredited hockey stick graph used a similarly dishonest method.

    At the bottom of the temperature graph page is states:

    ‘… the IPCC has concluded that “the science now shows with 95 percent certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2013)’

    Yet according to the graphs there is very little acceleration in temperature rise since the mid 20th century, and almost all of the warming post approximately 1953 occurred from 1979-1997 only. It’s only warmed for approx. 18 years since 1953 & there has been very little (if any) warming over the last 17yrs in the graph – 18yrs of warming over the last 61yrs & that was 17yrs ago.

  13. Simon on 22/10/2017 at 8:18 pm said:

    Incorrect RT. de Freitas et. al. pre-applied adjustments to the Auckland and Wellington stations independent of the RS93 homogenisation process. Mann et. al. has been independently confirmed at least a dozen times using other datasets. Your beliefs are not borne out by the scientific literature.

  14. Richard Treadgold on 23/10/2017 at 12:18 am said:

    Simon, what is the authority for your astonishing claim that deFreitas et al. has been, apparently, invalidated by unspecified adjustments? What adjustments are they? On MBH98, it may be confirmed by the Pope and several monarchs, but until MM03 is dismantled, it hardly matters. Those criticisms, and others from their subsequent papers, rip the hockey stick apart. It is a fraud.

  15. Magoo on 23/10/2017 at 11:55 am said:


    The IPCC excluded Mann’s hockey stick fraud from the last IPCC report, and all 16 paleoclimatic temperature reconstructions that are featured have reinstituted the medieval warm period:


    Source: Box 5.7, page 409, chapter 5: Information from Paleoclimate Archives, Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, IPCC AR5 report, 2013.

    Mann’s hockey stick is discredited scientific trash & is in the wastepaper basket of historical embarrassments. It would seem it is your beliefs that are not bourne out by the scientific literature, not RT’s.

  16. Andy on 24/10/2017 at 4:15 pm said:

    Agriculture in the ETS, “independent’ climate commission, etc, just announced in coalition

  17. Richard Christie on 24/10/2017 at 8:36 pm said:

    Agriculture in the ETS, “independent’ climate commission, etc, just announced in coalition

    Sounds like a step forward. Mind you, a carbon TAX would be more efficient.

    So Tim Ball is still breathing? 78 yrs old! It’s club with a shrinking membership, that of the climate science deniers.

    “science advances one death at a time”

  18. Hemimck on 25/10/2017 at 12:19 am said:

    I have been a bit depressed about the concensus in the new government and for some reason read to the end of the attached,


    There were1676 responders. Their claimed experitise is Climate Impacts, Carbon Cycle, Climate Modelling, Climate Observations etc.

    Two answers caught my eye

    Question 18a. “Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are lower than natural CO2 emissions to the
    atmosphere” 63% of respondents didnt agree.

    Question 19a “The predicted tropospheric hot spot has not been observed” 142 respondents from 1676 agreed, some disagreed and 60% didn’t know.

    I now understand how they get 95% consensus amoung so called scientists

  19. Hemimck on 25/10/2017 at 12:40 am said:

    While I am here in the middle of the night can I suggest a new topic.

    “Dumb questions in the House for the Minister for Climate Change”

  20. Andy on 25/10/2017 at 8:36 am said:

    I just read on Stuff that agriculture in the ETS will have a 95% subsidy. What does that mean? I presume that taxpayers will be forking out most of the money that farmers are supposed to pay under the scheme, when it will be siphoned off to various overseas Ponzi schemes that will remain unaccountable to the NZ public

    How does this align with reducing poverty?

  21. Magoo on 25/10/2017 at 11:20 am said:

    ‘It’s club with a shrinking membership, that of the climate science deniers’

    It certainly is, but the ‘deniers’ are in the alarmist camp. 900 scientific papers supporting a sceptical position on climate alarm have been published in the last 2 years:

    400 scientific papers published in 2017 support a sceptical position on climate alarm (so far):


    500 scientific papers published in 2016 support a sceptical position on climate alarm:


    So much for the consensus.

  22. Andy on 25/10/2017 at 12:02 pm said:

    Never mind, the new government is going to plant 100 million trees a year, and Shane Jones is Minister for 100 Million Trees

    That should keep us all busy for a few weeks

  23. Alexander K on 25/10/2017 at 3:43 pm said:

    I really object to the comment re Dr Ball. I am about his age and am still competiting with others a fraction of my age, Our brains and bodies age to their own timetables. The ageist slur re Dr Ball is vile and only serves to highlight the vacuity of its maker.

  24. Andy on 25/10/2017 at 3:46 pm said:

    Update on the trees. Apparently we wil be using “unemployed people” to plant the 100 million trees a year

    The potential cost of this, not to mention the Health and Safety implications, are just eye watering

  25. Kleinefeldmaus on 25/10/2017 at 7:56 pm said:

    Maybe Steven Joyce’s budget ‘black hole‘ was hiding there all the time.

  26. Andy on 26/10/2017 at 7:53 am said:

    “Climate change predicted to take big toll on Kiwis’ mental and physical health”


    Well, it is turned me into a raving loony !

  27. Gary Kerkin on 26/10/2017 at 11:17 am said:

    “Well, it is turned me into a raving loony!” Never mind Andy—you are not alone!

    I note that Simon has not responded to Richard T’s query about the source of his information denigrating the work of de Freitas, Brill, and Dedekind. I wonder, has he ever looked at the Rhoades and Salinger paper on adjustments to raw temperature time series? Has he ever tried to apply their methodology? I have, and the other methods they mention as well. I can assure him that the de Freitas et al paper got it right!

    I wonder if Simon is aware that when the paper was published and NIWA was challenged over its adjustments for the 7 Series temperature record, it responded that in fact it didn’t use the Rhoades and Salinger methodology, instead using another methodology which they have refused to divulge. More over, it claimed that its methodology was “peer reviewed” by the Australian Bureau of Meterology but has refused to release the contents of the BOM report.

    Perhaps Simon might like to explain why I should accept a methodology which is shrouded in mystery and which I cannot test and assess for myself.

  28. Gary Kerkin on 26/10/2017 at 11:27 am said:

    Perhaps I should have mentioned that I used the same raw data used by de Freitas, Brill, and Dedekind. It all came from the same source used by NIWA—the CliFlo database. Unless NIWA has interfered with the raw data, and there is no evidence to suggest they have (downloading the same various data sets over a decade or so showed no changes had been made), then the de Freitas et al starting point (and mine) was the same as that of NIWA. I wonder where and why the likes of Simon latch onto and perpetuate such calumnies.

  29. Andy on 26/10/2017 at 9:01 pm said:

    “Electric cars emit 50% less greenhouse gas than diesel, study finds”


    So much for those “zero emissions” cars

  30. Simon Papps on 27/10/2017 at 10:12 am said:

    Read the paper:
    In the result, our methodology and data inputs wholly coincide with M10 except in two respects:
    (a) the use of RS93 statistical techniques to measure differences, as opposed to S81/M1 measurement techniques (Table 1), and (b) acceptance of the findings of Hessell’s [10] paper regarding the contamination of Auckland and Wellington raw data.

    A good homogenisation approach would make the Hessell adjustments unnecessary.
    Are none of you puzzled why the deF estimate is so different from all others? Seven stations is insufficient to say anything conclusive. but the best approach IMHO is the BEST approach, which uses cross-correlations of all stations and an algorithmic generation of break-points rather than potentially unreliable meta-data:
    New Zealand Mean Rate of Change ( °C / Century )
    Since: 1860 0.71± 0.17
    1910 0.87± 0.26
    1960 0.97± 0.24
    1990 2.41± 0.60

  31. Gary Kerkin on 27/10/2017 at 1:44 pm said:

    I agree Simon that 7 stations is too few to be definite, but that is the number NIWA chose (or was it Salinger?)

    NIWA has an earlier 11 station series but they chose not to pursue it instead favouring the 7 station series.

    Whether cross-correlations of all stations is the most appropriate methodology on which to base homogenisation is debatable. In my opinion for it to work at least two conditions should be satisfied. The first relates to the geography of the two locations under consideration and the second are the relative statistics of the two series for those locations. For example, Salinger and NIWA subsequently thought that “nearby” stations could be used for such purposes choosing Auckland and Te Aroha as possibilities. The geography of the two areas could not be more different! One is more-or-less undulating while the other sits at the foot of a steep 1,000m range which extends for tens of kilometres to the north and to the south. Te Aroha is notable for the sudden extreme wind and rain conditions it regularly experiences.

    Correlation methods were based on having two series which were essentially normally distributed but there is no reason why the concept cannot be extended to multimodal distributions. But I contend that if such a method of comparing the two series is to be useful then the basic statistical parameters ought to be reasonably close and have the same number of modes. You can easily check for yourself that the Auckland composite has at least 3 modes. If I remember correctly Te Aroha has more modes and the distribution is more skewed than that for Auckland. These points alone would make the use of the Te Aroha series as a basis for adjusting the Auckland series suspect.

    It would be more useful if the meta data attempted to show calibrations before and after instrumental changes and proper attempts were made to quantify the effects of pavements, trees, and UHI effects. Albert Park is a good example of all three.

    Should you be critical of my thinking, which you are entitled to be, I need to tell you that I have used cross- and auto-correlation techniques to study the pressure variations in a two-phase bubbly mixture of air and water, and applied Hamming data decimation techniques followed by Fourier analyses to identify characteristics. That was 40 years ago and I didn’t have the computing facilities that are available today but even so my approach was digital despite a CDC Cyber 72 not being up to modern IBM and Cray capabilities. I didn’t even have the luxury of a decent spreadsheet application! This was at a time when I was also developing digital approaches to applying Bellman’s dynamic programming to process control problems. Lest you ask, it was never published because the work was proprietary.

  32. Richard Treadgold on 27/10/2017 at 4:38 pm said:

    Thanks, Gary. Points that might interest you:

    1. NIWA’s website explains the choice of the 7SS stations very simply:

    These locations were chosen because they provide broad geographical coverage and long records (with measurements started at all sites by 1908).

    I have no idea whether that is good enough for good science. From what you say, mere broadness might or might not be a sufficient criterion.

    The ‘seven-station’ series was originally constructed by Dr Jim Salinger as part of his Ph.D. His thesis is held by Victoria University of Wellington.

    I’m surprised you let Simon get away with challenging the Hessell adjustments to repair the UHI effect. What do you think of his “Mean rate of change” table, showing (of course) how our warming is accelerating. Since it isn’t, what’s wrong with the table?

    I must go, but I’ll be back later.

  33. Andy on 31/10/2017 at 9:48 am said:

    Apparently our new government is going to block any further petroleum exploration permits.
    I don’t have any further info other than this ODT article


  34. Gary Kerkin on 01/11/2017 at 5:38 pm said:

    RT: “I’m surprised you let Simon get away with challenging the Hessell adjustments to repair the UHI effect. What do you think of his “Mean rate of change” table, showing (of course) how our warming is accelerating. Since it isn’t, what’s wrong with the table?”

    I was more concerned with challenging the idea that cross-correlations could prove more useful than the Rhoades and Salinger approach. I rather thought that Simon’s comment about “good homogenisation” being more useful summed up his knowledge, or lack thereof. If he doesn’t understand the effect of UHI he probably doesn’t understand the importance of outliers as being part of the random, chaotic nature of weather and climate. Homogenisation discounts outliers but I consider they must be included to give an accurate picture. Depending on how they are handled means that a trend will look steeper or more shallow: it is another form of “cherry picking”.

    The mean rate of change does little more than demonstrate the importance of the data span and starting point. Starting a period at the “depth” of La Niña event and finishing at the “height” of an El Niño event will result in the sort of value Simon cites since 1990. But, as you well know the La Niña and El Niño events of the last 20 years are outliers. To get an accurate picture we need starting points and ending points isolated from those peaks and troughs. Simon either ignores this or has himself fallen into the trap of cherry picking.

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