Sunday, May 15, 2016

Peter Webster's Coming Out Party

Ever since Judith Curry went feral, Eli has wondered where Peter Webster stood.  Webster is Curry's colleague, business partner and husband.  Was it the good cop, bad cop routine, a you do your thing I'll do mine or what.  Sou points to Emails from Webster to Ed Maibach that CEI got from George Mason.  This was CEI's response to a petition originating with Jagdsih Shukla and Maibach asking that the fossil fuel companies be prosecuted under RICO.

There is little doubt that the fossil fuel companies did conspire to obscure and deny the damage that their products have done.  There is little doubt that CEI profited in that campaign.

Still, there are a couple of bits of interesting information in those Emails, including,

and especially this one which Sou highlights

Eli's friend, John Mashey gets a mentions

Oh yes, there are some letters from deniers that are just up Sou's alley but not much else.


JohnMashey said...

Note that almost-certain-to-fail defamation suits are often disguised as "tortious interference."

See the lawsuit and if you take legal language, see motion to dismiss starting PDF p.5.

Anonymous said...

I don't suppose many of the small number of people that bothered to wonder thought that conversations over the breakfast table started off with "Judy, this is really dumb..."

For an amusing example of faux-distance, a 2010 Scientific American news article rerun in Nature contained this quote from Curry: "The lead author on the paper, Peter J. Webster, supports me in speaking with skeptics, and we now have very cordial interactions with Chris Landsea (whom we were at loggerheads with in 2005/2006), and we have had discussions with Pat Michaels on this subject."

Bill H said...

I met Peter Webster along with his wife at that curious climate change "reconciliation" meeting organised by Jerry Ravetz in Lisbon back in 2011, described by Sou as "Judith Curry's coming out party". He was certainly rather more affable than his other half, and I can well imagine him doing a "nice cop" act on his opponents. Ideologically, there was no discernible difference between him and Curry, and, underneath the bonhommie, he shared her personal animosity for many leading climate scientists, most notably Schmidt and Trennberth. He asserted that Trenberth had, on a visit to Georgia Tech, declared that "the science was settled", and he eagerly pounced on a private email from Schmidt to Ravetz, revealed in an "edited" version in a boozy session during the meeting, to claim that Schmidt shared Trenberth's views.

It's also interesting to see the revelations of Pielke Jr's involvement with CEI and Morano. This particular "honest broker" seems to have been feeding Jerry Ravetz with a lot of "facts" about the climate change "debate".

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the stoat, that Maibach and co. initiating this RICO letter from their work e-mail accounts was politically naive in the extreme:

It's an unnecessary entanglement that allows the likes of the CEI to immediately cry foul, thus muddying the waters/diluting the message.

angech said...

"initiating this RICO letter from their work e-mail accounts was politically naive in the extreme" "It's an unnecessary entanglement".
Basically if what they did was good [Eli] and above board [honest], which it was, then I see no problem in full and open disclosure of said e-mails.
Where is the problem?
The e-mails give a good and open account of their thought processes and actions.
Where is the problem?
No entanglement, no naivety.
Anyone suggesting using private e-mails to get around good honest opinion makes it sound dodgy
The UCS mentioned some quibble about using RICO to attack individuals as a side issue.
Obviously this was not an issue as no-one got upset about their wife going to jail, did they?

Anonymous said...

Basically if what they did was good [Eli] and above board [honest], which it was, then I see no problem in full and open disclosure of said e-mails.
Where is the problem?

I see that you appear to be politically naive as well. The likes of the CEI do not play fair, and have a lot of 'dark money' backing them. They will accuse the scientists of doing non-science related work/political activism on the 'taxpayer dime'. Standard attack mechanism for a libertarian think tank.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to remind everyone that there is a fund set up to help climate scientists with this kind of situation, one called the Climate Science Defense Fund in case they want to help in concrete ways.

I do not have any direct ties to the Fund, apart from being an occasional contributor. But I have a very nice white-on-black tee-shirt I proudly wear from them as a result.

Just a thought.

Jan Galkowski said...

By the way, in case there's any doubt, hypergeometric == Jan Galkowski.