Why is Ross Gelbspan’s Name Found in ClimateGate Emails?

Pick randomly among the thousands of ClimateGate emails, and you see discussions among IPCC scientists about finely detailed climate science matters. So why is a non-scientist like Gelbspan found among those discussions?

Let’s take a brief look through a few ClimateGate emails and items they refer to.

In this October 31st, 2003 email by Michael Mann to his fellow IPCC scientist Phil Jones and others, he speaks of alerting various organizations to news of a rebuttal to the McIntyre and McKitrick 2003 paper which had become quite a problem for Mann’s central work.

The appropriate outlets would be: EDF, other NGO groups, Ross Gelbspan’s site, David Appell’s blog, etc…

Just days before this email, Michael Mann sent one to IPCC scientist Stephen Schneider and many others on how to deal with the McIntyre / McKitrick problem. Who is among the IPCC scientist recipients? Ross Gelbspan. Although Gelbspan’s name isn’t displayed in Mann’s outgoing email here preceding Ben Santer’s, it is caught in Schneider’s reply. The name would be no surprise to Schneider – he described Gelbspan as a Pulitzer winner in end note #8 of his 1996 “Laboratory Earth” book. Don’t forget the big problem with that “Pulitzer winner” label.

Then we have Michael Mann’s email from earlier in the month, October 2, 2003, in response to a UK reporter’s inquiry about PhD skeptic scientists Sherwood and Craig Idso at the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, which he cc’d to Phil Jones:

These comments have not been made by scientists in the peer-reviewed literature, but rather, on a website that, according to published accounts, is run by individuals sponsored by ExxonMobile corportation, hardly an objective source of information.

What “published accounts” might Dr Mann be referring to? Well, one distinct possibility was mentioned near the end of this May 2003 email string, where a woman at the UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs office was alerting Phil Jones to an item that Hans Verolme of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office was pointing out on May 20th:

Jeff Nesmith of the Cox Newspapers group is working on a piece exposing the skeptics…

It is very plausible that Verolme was referring to Nesmith’s “Foes of global warming theory have energy ties” article which subsequently appeared on June 1, 2003 regarding another thorn in Michael Mann’s side, the Willie Soon / Sallie Baliunas 2003 paper. The key paragraphs appear at the end of Nesmith’s article (*8/12/13 edit: archive article version which is dated June 2, as contrasted with the ‘current’ page’s June 1, is here with the link at its end to Gelbspan’s web site preserved. (*8/14/13 edit: more problems here):

The Idsos, who have been linked to Western coal interests, do not reveal financial sources  ….

Ross Gelbspan, a former Boston Globe reporter and editor whose 1997 book, “The Heat is On,” details industry efforts to discredit climate change science, said conclusions that greenhouse gases are causing the planet to heat up are the result of the “most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history.

“The contradictory statements of a tiny handful of discredited scientists, funded by big coal and big oil, represent a deliberate — and extremely reckless — campaign of deception and disinformation.”

Mere days after Nesmith’s article appeared, Dr Mann forwarded an email Nesmith sent directly to him, about an item relating to the Soon / Baliunas paper and Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, to his fellow IPCC scientists.

Finally, consider Der Spiegel‘s 2010 analysis of the ClimateGate scandal, which attempts to marginalize the damage with gems like this (under the article’s Industrial Propaganda for the ‘Less Educated‘ subheading):

In 1991, the Information Council on the Environment (ICE) issued a strategy paper aimed at what it called “less-educated people.” This proposed a campaign that would “reposition global warming as a theory (not fact).”

Need I remind my readers that the phrases above ostensibly stem from just one source?

Forget the proverbial “six degrees of separation” here. Journalists ought to ask themselves why any narrative pushing the idea of skeptic scientists being corrupted by industry money seems to be separated from Ross Gelbspan by three degrees or less. And a large portion of the public should why the media never apparently noticed this problem.