The plot of the Hockey Stick Illusion will be familiar to any follower of the Colombo shows on television. In each case, we see the humble investigator initially ignored, brushed aside, stonewalled, disdained, doubletalked, waffled, red herringed, and evaded by lofty and complacent Establishment figures, citing their own authority, crowded schedules, sophisticated reasoning, advanced degrees, abstruse mathematics, and exalted ideals.
In this case, the Columbo figure is Steve McIntyre, a Canadian mining consultant. A.W. Montford's book tells the gripping and suspenseful details of McIntyre's pursuit of the self-denominated "hockey team" led by Michael Mann, who wrote the key chapters on his own work for the IPCC, and Phil Jones, who maintains the temperature record used by the IPCC to document the "Hockey Stick": showing unprecedented and anomalous anthropogenic global warming in the Twentieth Century while denying that any comparable or greater warming occurred in the Medieval period.
McIntyre relentlessly replicates and decodes the increasingly desperate devices used by the climatocrats to defend their findings. But parallel to this fascinating story is the amazing tale of the ascent of Mann. From an obscure newly minted PhD in 1998 at the U Mass department of geosciences, he became the Lead Author of the crucial Observed Climate Variability chapter in the IPCC report, contributor to several other chapters, 'Scientific Advisor' to the White House on climate change, pundit on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR, PBS, and scores of Establishment newspapers and magazines. The ascent culminates in the Nobel Peace Prize for the team and a role as the very incarnation of a Consensus of science requiring the creation of a global apparatus to stigmatize as pollution, regulate and tax the very CO2 that sustains all of plant and animal life.
Explaining the science in detail, Montford's narrative climaxes with the dissolution of the hockey stick, the discomfiture of the Hockey Team, the eruption of Climategate, and the quiet and total victory of the humble mining engineer. The reader should know that the supposed email "scandal" is in fact rather trivial and defensible. Few people are at their best in emails. But the hockey stick's science is shoddy beyond easy belief. The hockey stick chart mostly reflects a defective algorithm that extends and inflates a few deceptive signals from as few as 20 cherry-picked trees in Colorado and Russia into a tendentiously rising graph that is replicated repeatedly through reshuffles of the same or similar defective and factitious data. These people apparently had no plausible case and were pressed by their political sponsors to contrive a series of Potemkin charts.
Make no mistake. This argument is conclusive: if temperatures were warmer in the pre-industrial Medieval period, the entire global warming case for CO2 suppression collapses. Don't miss this definitive book.