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December 14th 2009 print

Dennis Jensen

Give us honesty

Leaked emails and computer code reveal manipulation of data to serve political ends, attempted perversion of the peer review process, collusion, destruction of data and worse.

December 7, 1941. “A day which will live in infamy”, according to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. How ironic then, that the Copenhagen Convention opened on December 7, 2009, exactly 68 years after that fateful day which led to direct US involvement in World War 2. Let us hope that what results from Copenhagen is nowhere near as catastrophic.

Many reading this article have no doubt heard of the infamous draft treaty that some hoped would be ratified at Copenhagen. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apparently was heavily involved in the drafting of the treaty, yet when asked about it in Parliament he dissembled and in general refused to answer questions relating to it. Rudd was quite happy to sell off portions of Australia’s sovereignty in the hopes of ingratiating himself with the international community, and more particularly the United Nations (tragically, thousands of Australians have sacrificed their lives defending that same sovereignty that Rudd is so comfortable just surrendering). It is well known in Canberra circles that Rudd’s long term goal is Secretary General of the UN; prime minister of Australia is a mere stepping stone.

Let’s consider this draft document. It clearly has Rudd’s fingerprints. The document is 180 pages. The Australian Constitution is only 66 pages, the Ten Commandments easily fit on a page, and the Gettysburg Address was a mere 272 words. In Rudd’s case, why say in one page what can be spread out over more than 100 pages?

This document talked of setting up a government to oversee the clauses of the treaty which, of necessity, would have meant surrendering some of our sovereignty. It also spoke of markets having to be subservient to the treaty provisions. This has been part of the dreams of socialists for decades. How strange that a prime minister who avows that he is an economic conservative should be willing not only to sign up to such a provision, but would be party to drafting it! No wonder the draft treaty was buried under multiple layers on a United Nations website.

Further, this treaty was to ensure that there was a transfer of wealth from developed nations to developing nations. At first blush, this does not seem so bad, until you recall the amount of corruption endemic in many (most) of these nations. There is nowhere in this treaty that speaks of elections or transparency provisions as far as the use of the money is concerned. One can clearly see the burgeoning palaces, Mercedes, Ferraris and the like.

Fortunately, this treaty is now off the agenda, so Rudd and his 115 hangers’ on need not concern themselves with the details of that. A shorter, approximately 15 page document has replaced it (clearly, Rudd had far less to do with the replacement document, given its comparative brevity).

Then there has been the whole atmosphere around Copenhagen. The imagery, stark, attempting to terrify people into agreeing with the delegates on the dire need to do something, the religious nature, and the use of children in terms of obtaining an emotional response, brings to mind similar imagery used seventy odd years ago. This is propaganda of the highest order.

All of this for science which has taken serious hits in the last few weeks. Leaked emails and computer code reveal manipulation of data to serve political ends, attempted perversion of the peer review process, collusion, destruction of data and worse. Some scientists have now looked more closely at the data of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and noted that there are considerable discrepancies between the raw data and the data presented in the IPCC assessment reports. In many cases, the record over the last 100 years shows a decrease, whereas IPCC manipulated data shows an increase.

Before we take any action on this, we should insist first upon an independent review of the data, algorithms used to show an increase etc. This review should be conducted by so-called sceptical scientists. Interestingly, Mike Hulme, a climate scientist from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit (or CRU, the body at the centre of the Climategate scandal) has stated that, in his view, the IPCC is a body that has had its time, and should be disbanded. I made precisely this same call a few months ago – at the time, I saw structural problems and institutionalised groupthink. I certainly did not foresee the level of corruption that has been made clear, and as a trained research scientist, that is something that troubles me greatly.

I shudder to think that for the sake of one vote in a leadership challenge in the Liberal Party a couple of weeks ago, we could have surrendered so much, and caused Australia so much damage at the same time. Sometimes the gods of providence do smile down at us.