So… Part two of the Climategate series is out. Popcorn is flowing.
It’s too early to say anything that isn’t already being said about what the new emails revealed. But, as per usual, what’s being said about what the emails do or don’t reveal is interesting.
Leo Hickman is the first to the scene…
The lack of any emails post-dating the 2009 release suggests that they were obtained at the same time, but held back. Their release now suggests they are intended to cause maximum impact before the upcoming climate summit in Durban which starts on Monday.
The BBC’s Richard Black was not far behind, quoting the a University of East Anglia (home to many of the climate researchers)…
The university says it has “no evidence of a recent breach in our systems”, and suggests that the cache – posted on a Russian server – has “the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks”.
The central argument from those invested in the climate debate seems to be that the release of these emails is a ‘deliberate attempt to derail the climate talks in Durban’.
It would seem so. But when is the best time to publish information pertaining to the climate debate? The proximity of the COP17 meeting didn’t stop the International Energy Agency announcing just two weeks ago that,
Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system […] The agency’s flagship publication, released today in London, said there is still time to act, but the window of opportunity is closing.
And the looming meeting in Durban didn’t stop the publication of the IPCC report into extreme weather:
Regarding the future, the assessment concludes that it is virtually certain that on a global scale hot days become even hotter and occur more often. “For the high emissions scenario, it is likely that the frequency of hot days will increase by a factor of 10 in most regions of the world”, said Thomas Stocker the other Co-chair of Working Group I. “Likewise, heavy precipitation will occur more often, and the wind speed of tropical cyclones will increase while their number will likely remain constant or decrease”.
Why weren’t the journalists at the Guardian as suspicious of the timing of these documents as they are now about the release of these emails? The two reports above, are consistent with the raised tone with which the Guardian has been reporting on climate matters recently. Fiona Harvey, for instance, covered the IEA’s report with the dramatic words:
World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns
If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will ‘lose for ever’ the chance to avoid dangerous climate change
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be “lost for ever”, according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
And Harvey was equally credulous about the IPCC report.
Extreme weather will strike as climate change takes hold, IPCC warns
Heavier rainfall, storms and droughts could wipe billions off economies and destroy lives, says report by 220 scientists
Heavier rainfall, fiercer storms and intensifying droughts are likely to strike the world in the coming decades as climate change takes effect, the world’s leading climate scientists said on Friday.
There are double standards in play: it’s okay to step up the alarm on the eve of climate talks, but to throw any questions about the provenance of climate change alarmism into the mix is to ‘deliberately derail’.
I’ve made the point about timing myself, before. It seems that each autumn, the alarmist narrative goes into overdrive. Back in 2008, for instance, the ink on the UK’s new Climate Change Act was barely dry by the time the COP meeting was underway. As I said at the time,
The point of all this is that the UK Government’s need to have successfully created a a strong climate law, in place by now, December the 1st 2008, is owed, not to the Government’s commitment to ‘saving the planet’, nor even the UK population, but to the designs its members have on being ‘world leaders’.
Timing is everything, after all.
“It seems that each autumn, the alarmist narrative goes into overdrive”.
Normal. They’re in competition with Old Moore’s Almanack.
Congratulations on getting this out so quickly. I agree that the reactions are as interesting as the material. Nature and the Time Higher Ed both have articles. The Times HE quotes Bob Ward, plus Mann’s satement that the release is “truly pathetic” which, by coincidence, is precisely the term used to describe Mann’s research by one of his colleagues in an email.
I had a quick look at the comments on BishopHill to Climategate1. Precisely the same things are being said now, two years on. Yes, the emails really are awful. Are they clowns, con-men, criminals, or little boys seeing who can get his thermometer reading highest up the wall?
My guess is that this will change nothing. And that’s the real story.
One obvious answer to the question of why ramping up the alarming stories just before a climate conference is generally considered a good thing (by those of the thermal persuasion) can actually be pieced together using a few phrases taken straight from today’s e-mails.
Given the perceived “importance of extreme events as foci for public and governmental opinion”, “the most valuable thing to do is to tell the story about abrupt change as vividly as possible”, in order to “help the cause”.
I agree that the latest e-mail release will probably not shift anything much at all (unless there’s some kind of explosive, Black Swan-like revelation that no-one’s picked up on yet, buried in the depths of the file.) But neither will the alarming headlines do a lot, at this stage of the game. My feeling is that sheer lack of funds plus public inertia and indifference will continue to whittle away at politicians’ resolve in the ci-devant wealthy nations, from now on, while developing nations will continue to develop – and emit – even as they talk the talk. Yet another chorus of “Wolf!” is not going to have the effect it had back in 2007.
I think it will be increasingly interesting to watch what the most ardent believers do, over the next decade. Once their logic tells them that it is too late to avoid the catastrophe, what will they do? Despair? Actually prepare for the worst, using their money and resources? Go the opposite way and throw orgies? It will be illuminating to find out.
Geoff – My guess is that this will change nothing. And that’s the real story.
I was very sceptical of CG1. I said ‘it didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t know already’, because I felt that all the ‘dirt’ on environmental alarmism happened prior to, or in the treatment of ‘the science’. In my more cynical moments I called it ‘the climate da vinci code’.
But it did create the possibility of at least some more circumspect thoughts about the relationship between science and ‘policy’. It showed, for instance, that science simply cannot bear the weight of all the expectations that moral and political argument invested in it. ‘Cos it does reflect some contempt for the wider debate: science as a proxy for a PR war. And if that’s too harsh, it shows the players in the debate are naive about their own ambitions, never mind the expectations that others have of their research.
I think Shub had the most insightful take so far. Behind closed doors, climate scientists talk like real people (skeptics), in a way no parroting True Believer would have ever had nightmares about.
There’s enough material in there, WRITTEN BY CLIMATE SCIENTISTS, to fill up a skeptic blog. Without changing a word.
That’s what’s different, in CG2.
I don’t agree that Climategate1 “didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t know already”. It gave a tremendous morale boost to those of us (the majority, I’d guess) who are not statistically or scientifically equipped to judge Mann versus McIntyre, confirming the suspicions raised by Jones’s famous “why should I give you the data?” remark.
Until Climategate, I was judging the quality of the science by the quality of the treatment of the science by mainstream journalists on the one hand, and by sceptical bloggers on the other. It was always clear that McIntyre and Watts were serious investigators and that Black and Monbiot were charlatans. When Jones , Mann, and co were condemned as charlatans out of their own mouths, the interest for me moved from the science to the politics, or rather to the social history of CAGW.
You talk about “science as a proxy for a PR war”. I’d put it wider than that; science is being used as a proxy for politics, journalism, rational debate in general. Except it’s not science, is it? McIntyre has just posted an indulgent link to Appell’s non-sceptic take at Quark Soup, where it’s suggested that this is just scientists sounding off the way they do.
Everything I’ve read of the emails, where it isn’t downright nasty or illegal, shows second-rate hacks bending the science towards designing the next pie chart for the IPCC. Science as proxy for PR? It IS PR, and nothing else.
Every time some game-changing event seems about to topple the CAGW edifice for good (which is about every 3 months) I find myself doing precisely what I accuse the believers of doing – trying vainly to predict the future.
I hope you’re right about the wittling away, but I can’t help feeling that the irrational nature of our current intellectual and political élite may yet surprise us. I agree that “it will be increasingly interesting to watch what the most ardent believers do, over the next decade”. I thought at one time of doing a graphic novel on Climategate, starring Phil Jones. I’d call it “The Revenge of the Beige Pullover”.
Geoff, I was saying what I had said during CG1, which is pretty much what you say: a proxy for politics. That’s why I suggested it didn’t say anything we didn’t already know.
I’ve long argued that the science is over-emphasised, and that the politics of the climate debate — i.e. the arguments — are more obscene than anything we’d find in the emails. What’s more those arguments, are, in black and white, under all our noses.
I don’t follow you or Shub here. I consider myself a real person – a bit bitchy sometimes – but never in a million years would I be glad someone was dead because I didn’t agree with him about global temperatures. I’ve been to more meetings of leftwing groupuscules than you’ve held PdL press conferences, but I could never talk about “the Cause”, even in my most ironical moments.
Which is why I don’t agree with Ben when he says:
“the arguments [of environmentalists] are more obscene than anything we’d find in the emails”.
We expect scientists to behave differently, not because they’re better than us, but because they’re scientists, and because society wouldn’t work if people didn’t assume different roles and conform to them.
No doubt scientists, like accountants, sometimes say and do naughty things. But if you overheard an accountant say “I think I’ll cook the books” You wouldn’t think “What a bad accountant”. You’d think: “What a bad actor (or script writer)”. Similarly, the emails show people not only behaving badly (“cooking the books”) but incapable of understanding what a scientist is and does. They’re not only bad actors, they’re in the wrong play.
When that green lawyer woman talks about arraigning you and me before the European Court of Justice, she may be mad, or bad, but she’s acting in character, since environmentalists, as newcomers on the scene, have the privilege of defining their own role in society. Say “the End is Nigh” in Oxford Street and you’re a nutter. Say it from your desk in the Met Office and you’re an expert. Arrest people for dropping a toffee paper and you’ve got a police state. Arrest them for emitting too much carbon and you’re saving the planet. The social context is everything.
Nice snapshot of the Guardian’s hypocrisy.
It just goes to show that any act is noble and good as long as it is being done for the “right” reasons. And every act is evil if it has the effect of undermining “the cause”.
Never mind that they could be exactly the same act.
“This is a dead parrot – it has ceased to be!”
I agree with Ben’s comment: “the arguments [of environmentalists] are more obscene than anything we’d find in the emails”.
I don’t think CG2 will have effect much and it doesn’t need to. The public takes a long time to make up their minds about an issue and are already convinced that climate science is not up to telling us much.
Climate science’s predictions thus far for extreme weather events have been so poor.
Last year’s worst winter for 100 years was not predicted by the MET and people just think how can they predict the climate 100 years from now?
In the public’s eyes we have already won the debate – scepticism is so high we need do little more on the subject of the science. So let’s shift our efforts to focus on the policy and really talk less and act and organise more – we really need a strong opposition to the decarbonising regulations enshrined in the CCA, because they are having enormous social and economic impacts especial the 30,000 excess winter deaths.
We have missed many opportunities to challenge the Green policy thinkers and their crass policies, which are based on little more than wishful thinking and international gesture politics. The Greens are in a weak state right now – even Dr Douglas Parr has admitted, “The Green Deal won’t work”, and few believe that wind and solar can deliver affordable energy at some distant time in the future.
Decarbonsation isn’t working either – CO2 emission are up 5% this year in the UK, and 65% of local councils have given up on measures to reduce CO2. So in reality climate, is not just a dead project in the US, but in the UK. You could say that, “This is a dead parrot – it has ceased to be!” It remains for us to bury the stinking corpse.
I hope some of you will come along and contribute to this debate: “The Climate Change Act Reconsidered” 1-4pm Wed 30th November 2011 House of Commons Committee Room 14. See you there.
Monbiot has gone totally schtumm on AGW for some months now. One wonders why? It was his language against sceptics that turned me from default believers (scientists wouldn’t stiff us, after all, would they?) to sceptic; now a firm sceptic. The new release of emails contain some horrors, and it is horrifying to to see the likes of the Guardian & Black at the BBC saying – nothing to see here, move along.
It will end in tears as my grandma used to say.
geoffchambers – are you aware of the facts behind Mann’s “hide the decline” “trick”? It is not a mathematical trick – whatever that may be – rather a deliberate act of deception.
For the graph up to 2000, he uses one dataset. When, to his horror, he finds that taken on to the current date, it shows a decline in temperatures, he then uses a different dataset. This is not a trick, it is fraud.
Enjoy Richard Muller, from BEST, deconstructing Mann’s fraud here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk – and read The Hockey Stick Illusion for the full story.
Climate Gate 2 What has changed is
Rupert Murdocks journalists got caught hacking innocent peoples phones
Jullian Assange hacked a load of US Emails and then subsequently got himself
grassed up by the Guardian saying that “Iraqui and Afgan imformers deserve to die”
Hacking is unfassionable at the moment
The govenment dosent even bother deliberatley leaking documents in plain brown envelopes anymore The ministers just leave them lying about in waste paper bins in parks or flash them in front of the photographers outside downing Street
No more News of the World and Super Injuctions no more kiss and tell
Suddenly people feel sorry for Hugh Grant Why?
Climategate 1 we got them by the balls “hide the decline” cant argue with that
Simple the scientices f…cking lied to us
Climate Gate 1 was too easy
It made us lazy we took our eye of the ball
We all sat around waiting for the next Leaked Email or document
Now its arrived what?
This time Climategate 2 we aint got pants except “Sex up Climate Change”
But we knew that already
Leave Climategate 2 alone
Panorama last week and Stupid old Prince Phillip and rising fuel bills
Concentrate on the uneconomic cost of Wind Turbines causing Fuel poverty and Julia Gillards Carbon Taxes etc etc use the recession to our advantage (and save a load of unessessary hardship for people)
Get our movement Real and back on track
I am Michael Mann, as pure as the driven snow. A disinterested, objective scientist only concerned to discover the truth. So it must be a different Michael Mann who wrote:
“3115 It would help the cause to be able to refer to that reconstruction …”
“0810 “I don’t know what she (Judith Curry) think’s she’s doing, but its not helping the cause”
and, on 29th August 2007 to Phil Jones (CRU, East Anglia University, England),
“I (Mann) have been talking w/ folks in the states about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre, and his thus far unexplored connections with fossil fuel interests”
And the response of the second Michael Mann, to the Guardian yesterday (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/22/fresh-hacked-climate-science-emails) is textbook paranoia. He describes the person/people who released the latest batch of CRU emails as:
“agents doing the dirty bidding of the fossil fuel industry know they can’t contest the fundamental science of human-caused climate change. So they have instead turned to smear, innuendo, criminal hacking of websites, and leaking out-of-context snippets of personal emails in their effort to try to confuse the public about the science and thereby forestall any action to combat this critical threat. Its right out of the tried-and-true playbook of climate change denial.”
I think the purely scientific Michael Mann needs to contact his paranoid doppelganger, and ask him to calm down, and get some treatment. He’s clearly not well.
And he’s not alone. Ex-chief scientist David King, whose infallible ‘Pope of Science’ role has clearly gone to his head, speaks in Mann terms about plots, and schemes, and dirty oil money financed disinformation. Their ‘politics’, like the Guardian and the BBC etc, are Mickey Mouse, goodies (them) and baddies (us, and Big Oil, of course). But they control the public purse, and they’ve tried to control the public mind. It’s not working but they sure are wasting shed loads of money.
Jeremy Poynton #13
Yes, I am aware of the facts behind Mann’s “hide the decline” “trick”. These things are well discussed at Bishop Hill, Wattsupwiththat, etc.
If you look back through a few of Ben’s posts here, you’ll see that he is far more interested in the political, social, and economic implications of the global warming story. I fact, he takes a position radically different from the science-orientated sceptics, which makes the discussion here particularly interesting.
Like you, I was quite influenced by Monbiot’s attitude – in the opposite direction from that which he intended. I admired many of his radical stands, which often made him unpopular within the rather narrow world of the far left within which he operates. So it was doubly distressing to see this reputable journalist using the crudest Stalinist tactics to blacken the name of anyone who doesn’t agree with his extreme position on global warming.
When Climategate 1 broke, he momentarily reverted to being an investigative journalist, calling for Phil Jones’ resignation. Then, at the moment of the Muir Russell enquiry, he said that he wouldn’t be coming back to the subject. Don’t expect anything more from him except organic gardening tips and musings on badger culling. He’s finished.
geoff- I misunderexplained myself. When I said they talk like real people behind closed doors, I meant they talk like skeptics, ie they look at the data, think about it, ask each other difficult questions, consider alternative hypotheses, etc etc.
I do believe real people are skeptic by nature, otherwise as the old saying goes, every supermarket cashier would be able to swindle large amounts of money by telling customers their rest has been stolen by an invisible fairy.
Maurizio, I agree about them being “normal human beings”, of course. Shub seemed to be going further in his hastily written comments, suggesting that, because they didn’t always agree, they were “just like us”. Being willing to differ with (and be rude about) your colleagues is a necessary, but hardly a sufficient, condition for rational discourse. (And my dig about the PdL was just because its so rare for me to encounter someone with even more eccentric political beliefs than my own).
As hundreds of us sift through the mails looking for smoking guns, evidence of illegal activity, scientific incompetence, moral turpitude, Monty Python sketch material (you name it, it’s all there) we’re naturally going to lose sight of the the big picture: What do climate scientists actually do all day? How do they see their role?
One thing I see provides startling evidence for Ben’s key point; that the politics comes before the science. They really seem to see their primary task as to provide convincing-looking graphs and pie charts for IPCC reports. Not a dishonourable task, in itself , but not one that warrants treating them as an infallible caste of superior beings.
Just a reminder…
“The Climate Change Act Reconsidered”
1pm-4pm Wednesday 30 November 2011
House of Commons, Committee Room 14
London SW1A 0AA
Come via main – St Stephens (Cromwell Green) entrance
Ask for Sammy Wilson’s (DUP MP) Meeting
Please allow 30 minutes for security
RSVP Eventbrite ticket required
See here: http://repealtheact.eventbrite.com/
Chairperson: Dr Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at SOAS the University of London, and was Editor-in Chief of the International Journal of Biogeography.
Ruth Lea, former Economic Adviser and Director of Arbuthnot Banking Group and Director of Global Vision. She was a Governor of the London School of Economics. Ruth will speak on the impact of the Climate Change Act (including the Renewables Directive) on energy prices, manufacturing and business.
Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist (winner of the Hayek prize), will speak on the potential for shale gas.
Prof Ian Plimer is Australia‘s best-known geologist and author of Heaven and Earth, Global warming: the missing science and How to get expelled from School: a guide to climate change for pupils parents and punters.
Donna Laframboise, journalist and author of The Delinquent Teenager who was mistaken for the world‘s top climate expert – an in depth investigation into the IPCC.
See Donna here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TYPwPXNazOs
“The Climate Change Act Reconsidered” is of great relevance today in light of scientific scandals and the public’s loss of trust in costly green climate and energy policies.
The Climate Change Act is having huge social and economic consequences, which MPs can no longer ignore. The EU’s and UK’s climate and energy policies are too expensive, too ambitious, too complex – and ineffective. The government’s blind faith in drastically reducing CO2 emissions and liberalising energy markets will profit only a select group of companies and officials at the expense of everyone else. MPs would do well to rethink these policies – before the public rises up in anger.
Geoff – Like you, I was quite influenced by Monbiot’s attitude – in the opposite direction from that which he intended. I admired many of his radical stands, which often made him unpopular within the rather narrow world of the far left within which he operates. So it was doubly distressing to see this reputable journalist using the crudest Stalinist tactics to blacken the name of anyone who doesn’t agree with his extreme position on global warming.
I think that with Monbiot, his style was owed less to insight than to his almost pathological tendency to vacillate and his resistance to understanding anyone’s perspective (even his own). He reflected the disintegration of the radical left, in this respect. Notice how he got greener. Some anarchists of the time believed him to be so disruptive that they saw this and his upper class, public school and Oxbridge education and overseas travels as evidence that he was an MI5 agent. In that respect, he and they were as paranoid as each other — it’s the sort of thing he says when he imagines conspiracies of US oil interests campaigning to undermine him in CiF discussions.
That said, his recent article on Busby I thought was remarkably sober. Here. It’s quite a straightforward presentation of the facts as he saw them, relating to the Green Party’s science man, Chris Busby quite evidently taking liberties with science, and scaremongering. But that article was co-authored, and Monbiot comments further here. The second article, unfortunately, although it makes some laudable statements in its analysis, fails, because Monbiot creates standards he’s never held himself to.
And like other greens speaking for a nuclear renaissance, Monbiot hasn’t yet developed any insight into what drives their erstwhile anti-nuclear and anti-GM colleagues. For him, the important dynamic is that people are driven ‘to accept claims that fit our beliefs and reject those that clash with them’. Well, d’uh; even scientists do that. But Monbiot imagines that this is arbitrary, irrational, and a ‘weakness’ — a kind of relativistic hell, that only ‘science’ can overcome. Mark Lynas is more honest, admitting that some of environmental zeal was an ’emotional rejection’ of modern life. But again, the remedy for this is beating people over the head with his scientific reading list, not interrogating the values, ideas, and prejudices that would interpret the ‘science’. As Monbiot reveals in his argument with Lynas over GM, all he has to say is that Lynas has been conned by big agribusiness.
What is wrong with attempting to derail something that is an attempt at fraud ?
Claiming as this post does that the release of more “climategate” emails on the eve of the Durban talks is no different than the IEA report or the SREX stuff coming out over the past few weeks is one of the more specious arguments I’ve ever heard.
First, it completely ignores the fact that there is a more or less constant release of papers and reports in support of anthropogenic climate change theory, and IEA/SREX just happened to be the two most recent ones. A climate change meeting could be held at random any time of the year, and there will have been “important” reports released in just the previous week or two.
Second, even were the release of the IEA and SREX papers to have been intentionally delayed until just before the Durban meeting, they were nonetheless written and released honestly, openly, legitimately, and with full attribution. The emails just let out, on the other hand, were stolen more than two years ago, stored on some unknown Russian server all this time, cherry-picked, removed from context, and released anonymously to denialist websites. To buy the argument presented here, then, one would have to assume that this is how actual science is done.
News flash: it’s not.
We humans are now pumping around 40 trillion liters a day of excess CO2 into the environment. That much of anything doesn’t simply vanish without leaving a trace. If you ask me, the REAL villains are those who will stop at nothing to deny that.
Jim – Claiming as this post does that the release of more “climategate” emails on the eve of the Durban talks is no different than the IEA report or the SREX stuff coming out over the past few weeks is one of the more specious arguments I’ve ever heard.
If you think there’s no rush on behalf of those institutions and individuals with an interest in climate policy to get their reports out in time for COP meetings, you’re simply naive. Of course there’s a steady stream of articles and studies produced throughout the year, but there is an increasing density of them in the Autumn months. And as highlighted in the post linked to, the UK’s climate change Act was rushed through in order to give the UK delegation credibility in negotiations at COP14 and subsequent COPs. The timing of this — and the hurry — is revealed by one of the CCA’s authors, who in a candid discussion admitted that it was a hastily cobbled-together act: just months to determine the framework for decades of the UK’s energy policies. There was barely any debate in the UK parliament, and no public debate to speak of, since the major broadcasters were on message.
My argument, as I’ve said above, is that the Climategate emails didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know already. However, what they confirm — whatever the rights and wrongs of such leaks — is that the public has been deprived of a debate, and scientific researchers have incautiously allowed themselves to become advocates, and to make political moves to influence the public debate — or to preclude it altogether.
…even were the release of the IEA and SREX papers to have been intentionally delayed until just before the Durban meeting, they were nonetheless written and released honestly, openly, legitimately, and with full attribution.
I didn’t suggest they were delayed. The COP schedule is known years and years in advance.
If a public debate about climate change and energy policies were permitted, and if the values that inform the interpretation of climate science were open to democratic contest, the climategate emails would be inconsequential. What makes them interesting is the censorious, elitist, authoritarian, and democratic character of environmentalism, of supranational political institutions, and a few, but powerful climate scientists political advocacy and manoeuvring.
In other words, if you want to know why Climategate is interesting, don’t look for the source of the leak/hack and question the ‘ethics’ of climate ‘deniers’; take a long, hard look at the ‘ethics’, and the politics of those who have worked to deny a public debate about climate change.
First, it completely ignores the fact that there is a more or less constant release of papers and reports in support of anthropogenic climate change theory
In support, yes. In other words political documents, even if disguised as science papers. The number of papers that actually go towards proving the villainy of CO2 is very small. Most merely take it as a given and work from there. So I deny your argument by authority has any validity. (Genuinely breakthrough science does not work by way of volume.)
Anyway there is an equal constant release of papers and reports opposing anthropogenic climate change theory. They don’t get much traction in the media of course. And reading the Climategate II e-mails we can see why.
The behaviour of “the Team” to put pressure on editors, journalists, reviewers, etc to tow the party line goes well beyond what could be considered ethical. The thread relating to the attempt to sack de Freitas in the University of Auckland is particularly awful.