I have some back-history with Trenberth. In 2005, Trenberth was interviewed by Paul Thacker of ES&T about the MM articles (discussed here) where he stated:
There have been several examples of people who have come into the field of climate change and done incredibly stupid things by applying statistics in ways that are inappropriate for the data, [Trenberth] says.
I wrote back and forth with Trenberth a number of times in respect to his earlier comments about me – the correspondence is online here. After several attempts to get Trenberth to justify his allegations, Trenberth challenged me to respond to the criticism at realclimate. When I did so, Trenberth discontinued the correspondence without justifying his comment.
In his most recent outburst, Trenberth says:
Debating them [“deniers”] about the science is not an approach that is recommended. In a debate it is impossible to counter lies, and caveated statements show up poorly against loudly proclaimed confident statements that often have little or no basis. Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. Moreover a debate actually gives alternative views credibility.
Trenberth described his recommended tactic in a Climategate email as follows:
So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric. Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.
Trenberth now complains that the supposedly “false claims” of critics have not been “scrutinized or criticized” enough:
But their critics are another matter entirely, and their false claims have not been scrutinized or criticized anything like enough!
However, Trenberth himself advocated the strategy of casting aspersions on critics instead of scrutinizing their arguments and, as one of the architects of this strategy, is hardly in a position to complain.
The way to counter lies is obvious – show evidence that statements are lies. For example, when Mann said that I had asked for an Excel spreadsheet and that they had inadvertently introduced errors in the process of tailoring the data for this special request, the way to counter it is to produce the original email showing that we had not asked for an Excel spreadsheet but an FTP location and that the dataset that we were directed to at Mann’s FTP site was dated long prior to my inquiry. (The data set was deleted by Mann shortly after this incident, thereby removing this evidence.) Or when Mann told the NAS panel that he hadn’t calculated a verification r2 statistic as this would be a “foolish and incorrect” thing to do, the way to counter this was to examine his original article which showed the verification r2 statistic for the AD1820 step and, when code became available for this step, to show that the code calculated the verification r2 statistic in the same step as the RE statistic that was reported.
Trenberth also purports to justify Jones’ successful effort to keep McKitrick Michaels 2004 out of the two AR4 drafts sent to reviewers on the basis (this incident has been discussed at length on other occasions) that:
AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment.
while noting that Trenberth himself, as a “veteran”, was aware of the obligations:
As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.
Trenberth goes on to add that:
[climate scientists] are unlikely to make false claims that other colleagues can readily show to be incorrect.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many incidents where climate scientists make false claims that are readily shown to be incorrect. We need think back no further than Jones’ claim that CRU had confidentiality agreements that contained language prohibiting the distribution of data sent to Peter Webster to “non-academics”.
Trenberth’s very claim that AR4 was the first time that Jones had been on a writing team is itself another example of an untrue statement that can be “readily” demonstrated to be untrue (although his “colleagues” have thus far not called him on it.)
Both Jones and Trenberth are listed as contributing authors of AR3. (Indeed, Jones’ correspondence about the Briffa reconstruction in the wake of the 1999 Lead Authors meeting in Arusha, Tanzania was important in the setting of the notorious “hide the decline” memo.) See the list of AR3 chapter 2 authors below, where both Trenberth and Jones are listed as Contributing Authors.
Likewise with AR2 – both Trenberth and Jones had precisely the same standing as AR2 Contributing Authors. See here.
Trenberth’s assertion that Phil Jones had not previous been on an IPCC writing team is, to borrow a phrase, a “travesty”. It turns out that Phil Jones had been involved in all three previous IPCC reports.
Update: Pielke Jr observes:
FYI, Phil Jones was also listed as a “Contributor” to IPCC FAR (1990) Sections 6, 7 and 8 pp. 348-349. (Later this role was called ‘Contributing Author”).
[Update Jan 20] Trenberth’s CV (as pointed out by Dave Clarke) shows that Trenberth had also been a Lead Author in 1995 and 2001. However, as discussed here, Jones had not merely been a Contributing Author to IPCC 2001, he had been a Key Contributor who had been part of the Chapter 2 “writing team”.