He thinks the EAU emails reveal a potential unconscious bias problem and makes a fairly good case for it.
Although the point
(2) The programmer applied arbitrary adjustments to the data (he says so himself) to get the desired results.is based on a misunderstanding, the larger argument is worth considering.
I'm pretty convinced the Charney sensitivity is between 2.5 C and 3 C per doubling or close to that, largely because I'm convinced that Annan and Hargreaves aren't really easy to sway by the weight of public opinion. I'm totally convinced that there is an AGW fingerprint that is totally clear in the stratospheric cooling [corrected, h/t TB]. I don't see how it's possible that we have the big picture as badly wrong as Lindzen suggests.
On the other hand, I'm not at all convinced that the tree rings are worth a good goddamn [Update: for establishing a global mean surface temperature record, I mean; it's certainly useful information for local information], whether Mike Mann is a nice guy or not.
As for the pre-satellite instrumental record, I'm sure Phil Jones is also a very nice fellow, but again that doesn't validate the record. I don't think that the four reconstructions are really independent, so that really doesn't help all that much.
Experimenter bias is a very big deal in medical science for a reason. Climate science doesn't seem to have much room for this question in its culture, and that is a real problem. I don't think the confrontational attitude of McIntyre & co actually helps.
Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist, pointed out that paleo evidence, physical reasoning, stratospheric trends and the like don't mean much to people.
The whole business is called "global warming" and we are sort of stuck with that. People think "the theory" is about the global mean surface temperature trend. And every blip and every question about every blip calls "the theory" into question in the minds of the public. It will snow tonight in Austin. How many "global warming" jokes do you think there will be in central Texas tomorrow?
No need here to summarize all the extrinsic reasons that people don't want to believe "the theory".
COP15 was already derailed. Blaming it on Phil Jones is a profound injustice, and even blaming the hacker is scapegoating, but something like that will be convenient for both sides. On the other hand, that doesn't mean the temperature record is right.
Update: I am hearing rumors that Obama will manage to pull something off at COP15 after all. That would be interesting. So maybe it's best if we avoid casting blame too early.
Update: In a very complimentary link to this article, (Thanks!) Keith Kloor suggests that
Many of the people he admires are shrugging off “climategate” (yes, I don’t like the term either) as “a tempest in a teapot” or an “artificial” scandal. Not Tobis. He recognizes it’s much more than that, and to his credit, he’s trying to figure out how to engage it.Unfortunately, since I hate to turn down compliments, this is not exactly what I am saying.
From the point of view of science I actually believe that it is a tempest in a teapot and an artificial scandal.
There is much to be learned from the instrumental and proxy records of the past.
Still the exact bumps and wiggles of global mean temperature aren't necessarily where we should be looking, and for all I know (and I don't claim to be an expert) might in fact be more or less indeterminate in principle.
Politically, though, it's obviously a big deal.
I should make this clear. I think the main thing that has happened, the most important aspect of the EAU email release, is that a criminal act has been perpetrated and is having a desired effect on a political process. This is a very unfortunate and destabilizing outcome, and people ought to think twice about celebrating it.