The Copyright of the The Copenhagen Diagnosis

Readers may recall The Copenhagen Diagnosis, a (so-to-speak) non-governmental international climate assessment published in November 2009 and targeted by activists at influencing deliberations at the Copenhagen conference. Because it coincided with Climategate, it received little-to-no critical attention at climate blogs. Thus, I suspect that few, if any readers, will (without peeking) be able to guess the answer to today’s trivia question about The Copenhagen Diagnosis: who holds the copyright to The Copenhagen Diagnosis itself?

copenhagen diagnosis The surprising answer is that the copyright to The Copenhagen Diagnosis is the sub-charterer of the Ship of Fools: the University of New South Wales (click on image at left for enlargement of the frontispiece). Out of all the universities and institutions in the world, why the University of New South Wales? Dunno.

The ostensible purpose of The Copenhagen Diagnosis was as follows:

The purpose of this report is to synthesize the most policy-relevant climate science published since the close-off of material for the last IPCC report. The rationale is two-fold. Firstly, this report serves as an interim evaluation of the evolving science midway through an IPCC cycle – IPCC AR5 is not due for completion until 2013. Secondly, and most importantly, the report serves as a handbook of science updates that supplements the IPCC AR4 in time for Copenhagen in December, 2009, and any national or international climate change policy negotiations that follow.

Its co-authors included both Real Climate bloggers (Michael Mann, Stefan Rahmstorf, Eric Steig) as well as University of New South Wales academics (Matthew England, Steven Sherwood, Ben McNeill, Andrew Pitman), Turney’s University of Exeter associate Peter Cox and longtime activists such as Stephen Schneider, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Andrew Weaver and Richard Somerville). The document itself contained no information on sources of funding.

Some of the authors appear to have also been involved with the large consciousness-raising conference of climate scientists in Copenhagen in March 2009 – see its Synthesis Report also bearing Copenhagen in its title (Richardson, K. et al., (2009) Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions. Synthesis Report of the Copenhagen Climate Congress. (University of Copenhagen), a report that was cited by The Copenhagen Diagnosis. Turney, then still at the University of Exeter, was a session chair at the March 2009 conference, as was Matthew England of the University of New South Wales, both subsequently (July 2010) recipients of lucrative ($3 million) Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowships. Curiously, Turney made an initial appearance in Climategate documents in March 2009, writing to Jones and Briffa about a scheme to get UKP 3 million in NERC funding, a topic that I’ll return to in a later post.


  1. Nicolas Nierenberg
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    I haven’t been blogging lately but I did write a post about that document at the time. I didn’t find it a useful addition to what had already been published on the various topics.

    Steve: nice commentary.

  2. dayday
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    “Antarctica is also losing ice mass at an increasing rate, mostly from the West Antarctic ice sheet
    due to increased ice flow. Antarctica is currently contributing to sea level rise at a rate nearly
    equal to Greenland.”

    I wonder if any recent evidence as caused a rethink.

  3. Fred Harwood
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Permalink


  4. Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    Was it all done on a voluntary basis ? Who mentioned it and when?

  5. amac78
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    My favorite part of the report has to be Figure 19, “Comparison of various Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions, with estimated 95% confidence intervals
    shown (from Mann et al. 2008).” Some things (fine wines, CPS & EIV paleo reconstructions) only improve with the passage of time.

    • Scarface
      Posted Jan 24, 2014 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

      Post-scientific climate theories use 95% coincidence intervals now. This helps them to explain everything, even cold caused by warming. So the Theory of Everyting may arrive anytime soon. Finally!

  6. Lance Wallace
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    A bit surprising to find them recognizing temperature change precedes CO2 change (p.44, just following the Mannian Figure 19):
    “Temperature warming typically comes before increases in atmospheric CO2 over the ice-core record. This finding is consistent with the view that natural CO2 variations constitute a feedback in the glacial-interglacial
    cycle rather than a primary cause (Shackleton 2000);
    something that has recently been explained in detail with the
    help of climate model experiments (Ganopolski and Roche 2009).”

    • JohnGM
      Posted Feb 4, 2014 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: Lance Wallace (Jan 22 15:05),

      “something that has recently been explained in detail with the
      help of climate model experiments”

      Newton’s 3rd Law of Models states: For every model action, a tweak exists for an equal and opposite reaction if needed to explain something away.

  7. Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    I attended the conference of climate scientists in Copenhagen in March 2009. Here is a photo I took during one of the main sessions:

  8. UC
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    amac78: agree, non-overlapping 95s and Mannian smoothing and all. Work of art.

  9. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    My first thought was that the copyright would be held by some alarmist university or other. So I plumped for the usual suspects, UEA. Oh well, it was a decent try… If only Turney had been affiliated with UEA rather than University of Exeter (which just happens to be where my Ph.D. is from).


  10. Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    So many people working so hard in the run-up to Copenhagen … and little FOIA. Thank you for this fascinating series of posts, Steve. Turney as hustler in the Climategate emails sounds like a treat.

  11. little polyp
    Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 8:07 PM | Permalink


    As they say sunlight is the best disinfectant. It’s clear that UNSW has been a hotspot for “alarmists” for some time and the more sunlight that can be brought to bear on this group and their questionable scientific persuasion the better. You should also not forget their convenient little propaganda arm Deltoid, run by a colleague down the corridor.

    • Nicholas
      Posted Jan 22, 2014 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

      Tim Lambert works there too (teaching Computer Science).

      • pdtillman
        Posted Jan 23, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

        Re: Nicholas (Jan 22 20:47),

        *Timmy and Turney, now there’s a fair pair …..

        “Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” — Voltaire

      • Posted Jan 24, 2014 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

        I believe Mr. Lambert has found gainful employment with Google. We should salute them for removing one of the more tedious alarmist voices from the daily disputes.

  12. pesadia
    Posted Jan 23, 2014 at 11:05 AM | Permalink


    or better still let them make fools of themselves.
    Cuts out the middleman.

  13. Clark
    Posted Jan 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Nothing like simply slapping (in the case of Fig 19+20) or grafting (in the case of Fig 21)real observations onto proxy reconstructions. I always knew proxies were just thermometers in disguise!

    Also, very nice to see that global temps haven’t varied by more than 0.5C over the course of 2000 years (until man got his dirty hands on things in the 20th century).

    • Jeff Norman
      Posted Jan 23, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Permalink


      Apparently not something a “real scientist” would do.

  14. Arnost
    Posted Jan 24, 2014 at 2:21 AM | Permalink

    Dr Ben McNeil
    Live Earth Australia Grant Funding (The Copenhagen Diagnosis)
    2009: $145,000

  15. G.S. Williams
    Posted Jan 30, 2014 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Sorry to side-track, Steve, but your email address was rejected

    this is the message I tried to send

    I’ve been following you, on and off, for about 5 years, so I know that you’ve been dealing with the “Hockey Stick” graph.

    have you seen the new batch of hockeysticks in the AR5. The pdf file is “WG1AR5_FinalDraft_All.pdf. It’s 2216 pages long.

    look for pages5-117,118 and 125.

    If you have not yet acquired a copy would you like me to up-load it to you? It’s 165.9Mb, if your email system can accept that size of file.

    Keep up the great work.

    Best regards.

    G.S. Williams (Gordon)

    Steve: yes, but so much to do, so little time and energy

  16. TX Iconoclast
    Posted Jan 30, 2014 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    New Model.

    I haven’t run stats on this but looks like a very strong inverse correlation.

    Don’t know what happened to the raw data.

    Older data and newer data may have been gathered by different means and spliced together.

    But looks as good as any info.

  17. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 31, 2014 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Back in “Upside Down Mann,” where dbstealy just posted on the credentials of a trollish Mr. Meisler, Steve wrote, “I haven’t yet written about EPA’s reliance on Upside-Down Mann in their response to the Petition for Reconsideration, but it’s an amusing incident as well.

    That sounds like a wonderful topic. I’m wondering, Steve, if you’ll post on that.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Feb 17, 2014 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

      That sounds like a wonderful topic. I’m wondering, Steve, if you’ll post on that.


  18. Posted Jan 31, 2014 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    I well remember the pre-Copenhagen foreplay conducted by the “large consciousness-raising conference of climate scientists” in March 2009. George Monbiot went there and reported on it in the Guardian.
    He went by train at his own cost (£600) to spare the world his carbon footprint and announced on his return that the whispers he’d heard from the scientists indicated that it was worse than we thought. This moved me to make a comment which (miraculously) hasn’t been moderated:
    In the night-train that left Copenhagen
    George announced to the sleeping Schlafwagen
    (to thunderous applause):
    “I’ve just wet my drawers
    And bullsh*tted myself, into the bargain”.

  19. kim
    Posted Feb 1, 2014 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    The Hockey Team, tired of all the ice, has changed its name to the Chicken Little Brigadiers.

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