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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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Curry on the hockey stick

 

 

Judith Curry has written two blogs here and here on the significance of the "hide the decline" email in the Climategate affair.

They have attracted a torrent of comments, over 1400 so far, many of them interesting. I have left a comment there as follows:

 

As a science journalist who first wrote about climate change 23 years ago, in The Economist, I think Judith is right to identify the hockey stick as a seminal icon whose debunking is therefore also seminal. When I first properly looked at that image, in a presentation by the UEA's David Viner, it was a Road to Damascus moment for me. I had drifted in a sceptical direction from orthodox alarmism over several years. The Vostok ice core had stopped me in my tracks because it seemed to suggest definitive evidence of CO2 attribution (though we now know the effect comes before the cause), but it was the hockey stick graph that caused me to do a U-turn, because it implied so plainly that today's temperature was unprecendented in magnitude and rate of change. I recanted my previous scepticism. Imagine then the impact of discovering a few years later (via Climate Audit and Bishop Hill) that the hockey stick graph was methodologically flawed and based on poor data. I have friends who say "Ah, but the hockey stick was never an important part of the argument". I disagree.