John Holdren

by Dr. Tim Ball on December 5, 2009

in Data,Government,Politics,Theory

Files released either by a hacker or a whistleblower from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia contain so much material that will take some time to put it all in context. However, enough is already known to underscore their explosive nature. It is already clear that the entire claims and positions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are based on falsified manipulated material and therefore completely compromised. The fallout will be extensive as material continues to emerge. Reputations of the scientists involved are already destroyed; however, fringe players will be identified and their reputations destroyed or sullied. It is the biggest scientific scandal in history because of the global policy implications. A member of the Obama White House is directly involved in a truculent nasty manner. He provides a brief demonstration of his lack of understanding, commitment on faith, and willingness to ridicule and bully people.

There are a multitude of small but frightening stories in the massive files. For example, I’ve known solar physicists Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon for a long time. I’ve published articles with Willie and enjoyed extensive communication. I was on advisory committees with Sallie when, suddenly and politely, she withdrew from the fray. I don’t know if the following events were contributing factors, but it is likely.

Baliunas and Soon were authors of excellent work confirming the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) from a multitude of sources. Their work challenged attempts to get rid of the MWP because it contradicted the claim by the proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Several scientists challenged the claim that the latter part of the 20th century was the warmest ever. They knew the claim was false, many warmer periods occurred in the past. Michael Mann ‘got rid’ of the MWP with his production of the “hockey stick”, but Soon and Baliunas were problematic. What better than to have a powerful academic destroy their credibility for you? Sadly, there are always people who will do the dirty work.

A perfect person and opportunity appeared. On 16th October 2003, Michael Mann, infamous for his lead in the “hockey stick” that dominated the 2001 IPCC Report, sent an email to people involved in the CRU scandal:

Dear All, Thought you would be interested in this exchange, which John Holdren of Harvard has been
kind enough to pass along…”

At the time, Holdren was Teresa and John Heinz University Professor of Environmental Policy & Director, Program in Science, Technology, & Public Policy, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is now the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology — informally known as the United States Science Czar.

In an email on 16 October 2003 from John Holdren to Michael Mann and Tom Wigley, we are told:

I’m forwarding for your entertainment an exchange that followed from my being quoted in the Harvard Crimson to the effect that you and your colleagues are right and my “Harvard” colleagues Soon and Baliunas are wrong about what the evidence shows concerning surface temperatures over the past millennium. The cover note to faculty and postdocs in a regular Wednesday breakfast discussion group on environmental science and public policy in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is more or less self-explanatory.

This is what Holdren sent to the Wednesday Breakfast group:

I append here an e-mail correspondence I have engaged in over the past few days trying to educate a Soon/Baliunas supporter who originally wrote to me asking how I could think that Soon and Baliunas are wrong and Mann et al. are right (a view attributed to me, correctly, in the Harvard Crimson). This individual apparently runs a web site on which he had been touting the Soon/Baliunas position.

The exchange Holdren refers to is a challenge by Nick Schulz, editor of Tech Central Station (TCS). On August 9 2003, Schulz wrote:

In a recent Crimson story on the work of Soon and Baliunas, who have written for my website, you are quoted as saying: My impression is that the critics are right. It’s unfortunate that so much attention is paid to a flawed analysis, but that’s what happens when something happens to support the political climate in Washington. Do you feel the same way about the work of Mann et. al.? If not why not?

Holdren provides lengthy responses on October 13, 14, and 16th; but comments fails to answer Schulz’s questions. After the first response Schulz replies,

I guess my problem concerns what lawyers call the burden of proof. The burden weighs heavily, much more heavily, given the claims on Mann et.al. than it does on Soon/Baliunas. Would you agree?

Of course, Holdren doesn’t agree. He replies,

But, in practice, burden of proof is an evolving thing – it evolves as the amount of evidence relevant to a particular proposition grows.

No, it doesn’t evolve; it is either on one side or the other. This argument is in line with what has happened with AGW. He then demonstrates his lack of understanding of science and climate science by opting for Mann and his hockey stick over Soon and Baliunas. His entire defense and position devolves to a political position. His attempt to belittle Soon and Baliunas in front of colleagues is a measure of the man’s blindness and political opportunism, which pervades everything he says or does.

Schulz provides a solid summary when he writes,

I’ll close by saying I’m willing to admit that, as someone lacking a PhD, I could be punching above my weight. But I will ask you a different but related question. How much hope is there for reaching reasonable public policy decisions that affect the lives of millions if the science upon which those decisions must be made is said to be by definition beyond the reach of those people?

We now know it was deliberately placed beyond the reach of the people by the group that he used to ridicule Soon and Baliunas. He was blinded by his political views, which (as his record shows) are frightening. One website synthesizes his position on overpopulation as follows:

Forced abortions. Mass sterilization. A ‘Planetary Regime’ with the power of life and death over American citizens.

Holdren has a long history of seeking total government control. He was involved in the Club of Rome providing Paul Ehrlich with the scientific data in his bet with Julian Simon. Ehrlich lost the bet. Holdren’s behavior in this sorry episode with Soon and Baliunas is too true to form, and shows the leopard doesn’t change his spots.