Climategate: The Russian Distraction

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is blaming Climategate on a fiendish Russian plot. Well he would, wouldn’t he?

“It’s very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services,” he told The Times.

“If you look at that mass of emails a lot of work was done, not only to download the data but it’s a carefully made selection of emails and documents that’s not random at all.

“This is 13 years of data and it’s not a job of amateurs.”

And why would van Ypersele’s chief suspects the Russian secret service want to do such things? To stop honest, decent, never-hide-evidence-or-fiddle-with-raw-data scientists getting on with their job, that’s why.

Mr van Ypersele said the expose was making it more difficult to persuade the 192 countries going to Copenhagen of the need to cut carbon emissions.

“One effect of this is to make scientists lose lots of time checking things. We are spending a lot of useless time discussing this rather than spending time preparing information for the negotiators,” he said.

Richard North has another theory: the story is utter bilge.

First, he argues, there is absolutely no significance that the leaked Climatic Research Unit (CRU)  files were deposited on a server in the Siberian city of Tomsk.

From the very start, then, the crucial issue is that this is a publicly-accessible server which can be reached from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, Russian servers are particularly attractive to people who wish to lodge material on the internet anonymously, as the Russian authorities are distinctly unhelpful when it comes to revealing the addresses of computers used to upload material onto servers in their territory.

Thus, the fact that the material was placed on a Russian server gives no clue whatsoever as to the identity of the person (or persons) who uploaded the material, or of their location.

Second, North believes – as do most people who have been following this story closely – that the “hack” is much more likely to have been an inside job: a leak by someone at the University of East Anglia sick to the craw of the scheming and incompetence and dishonesty of the activist-scientists pushing AGW.

For sure, the material is very selective. But it would have needed someone to know what they were doing to pick such a careful and relevant selection of material. And so carefully to select the material over such a time-span would have taken weeks of work (not necessarily by one person). That almost rules out a hacker – a hacker could hadly get the period of extensive, uninterrupted access needed to access and pull together all the files.

Given the name of the folder (FOI2009), the speculation is that the files had been gathered by the University of East Anglia itself, in response to a Freedom of Information exercise, which had not been released.

In other words the story about the Russian Connection is a glorious red herring, designed both to impugn the motives of the people who leaked the CRU files and to distract from the significance of the files’ contents.

Of course the leak of the files was timed so as to derail Copenhagen. Nobody is disputing that. But the fact that Climategate was tactically planned and politically motivated doesn’t suddenly make it a spy-story, or a crime-story, or – as the IPCC would so dearly love to pretend, a non-story.

We shall see a lot more of this in the coming weeks: desperate attempts by various interested parties to pretend that Climategate is something that it is not. So let’s not allow ourselves to be distracted and keep our eyes on the main prize: our right as free, sentient citizens not to have $45 trillion worth of economy-destroying taxes and regulations imposed on us by big government in the name of a problem that quite likely doesn’t exist.

That’s why Climategate matters. Built into its outcome is the entire future of Western civilisation.


It was almost certainly an inside job, according to some pretty comprehensive and convincing analysis by network analyst Lance Levson – whose findings you can read at Watts Up With That

Related posts:

  1. Climategate 2.0
  2. Climategate 2.0: the Warmists’ seven stages of grief
  3. Climategate goes SERIAL: now the Russians confirm that UK climate scientists manipulated data to exaggerate global warming
  4. Climategate: how the MSM reported the greatest scandal in modern science