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Madeleine Akrich
Yannick Barthe
Fabian Muniesa
et al.

Procrustean transformations: Climategate, scientific controversies and hope

Raghu Garud et Joel Gehman

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  • 1 We thank Roger Dunbar, Petter Holm, Ashoka Mody, Fabian Muniesa, and Kjell Tryggestad for their com (...)

1In November 2009, around 1,000 emails and 3,000 other documents were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and posted to the Internet.1The files – some dating back to 1996 – disclosed “ the inner workings of a small network of climatologists ” (Revkin, 2009). According to the UEA, “the selective publication of some stolen emails and other papers taken out of context is mischievous and cannot be considered a genuine attempt to engage with this issue in a responsible way ” (Johnson, 2009). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concurred, suggesting that the culprits were professionals: “It’s a carefully made selection of emails and documents that’s not random at all. This is 13 years of data and it’s not a job of amateurs” (Webster & Ahmed, 2009). Kevin Trenberth, a scientist who served as a lead author for both the 2001 and 2007 IPCC reports, believed the files were intended “ to undermine the scientific consensus on man-made climate change ” (Selva, 2009). The United Nations likened the incident to Watergate, calling it “ an attempt to destroy public confidence in the science of man-made climate change” (Webster & Ahmed, 2009).

  • 2 We will be using the terms “Procrustean crime” and “Procrustean transformations” interchangeably.

2In other words, the climate scientists considered Climategate to be what we call a Procrustean crime.2According to Greek mythology, Procrustes was a smith who would invite travelers to rest on his iron bed (see Brewer, 1870). As the myth goes, Procrustes made sure that travelers fit the bed perfectly – either by stretching or cutting them to fit, thus requiring all to conform to a single standard. Such Procrustean transformations are clearly acts of violence. In the same way, the perpetrators behind Climategate had performed their own Procrustean transformations by selecting specific files and timing their release so as to sabotage the credibility of the Copenhagen Climate meeting.

3Given these facts, Climategate may appear to be an open and shut case, but difficult questions remain. Why would anyone take the risk of stealing and then releasing these files? Considering that science is supposed to be objective and transparent, why were the contents of these files not already available to the general public? Regardless, why should the climatologists be concerned about revealing the contents of these messages? Setting aside the seriousness of the crime, should not the release of these files have been a great scientific achievement, a chance for the world to marvel at the fairness and sophistication of the scientific apparatus?

4Clearly, there is more to Climategate than meets the eye. Intrigued, we decided to explore the incident in greater depth to better understand what may have motivated people to illegally obtain and release these files. Our investigation revealed a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of science, and the picture that emerged was not entirely flattering. In the released files, the climatologists spoke of: (a) employing modeling “tricks” to make the data fit with certain preferred theories; (b) attempting to exclude, censor or boycott those who made competing claims; and (c) hoarding, withholding, and potentially even destroying data so as to prevent others from fitting it to their own iron beds. According to The Wall Street Journal, the released emails “give every appearance of testifying to concerted and coordinated efforts by leading climatologists to fit the data to their conclusions” (Wall Street Journal, 2009). In other words, the people who allegedly posted the emails and files had turned the tables, accusing the climate scientists of committing Procrustean crimes of their own.

5Our interest in Procrustean transformations complements Michel Callon’s insights into the ways in which science “actively participates in shaping the thing it describes” (Callon, 1998). In particular, Climategate foregrounds the Procrustean tendencies of scientific translations. As Callon and Latour (1981: 279) noted: “By translation we understand all the negotiations, intrigues, calculations, acts of persuasion and violence, thanks to which an actor or force takes or causes to be conferred on itself, authority to speak or act on behalf of another actor or force” (Callon & Latour, 1981: 279; emphasis added; see also Callon, Lascoumes & Barthe, 2009: 70 on the threefold violence of translation). Our brief study of the Climategate incident builds on these themes, suggesting that as the Procrustean process unfolds, not only are data transformed, but so too are the actors who become involved (or excluded) and the policies that are enacted (or abandoned).

Procrustean transformations in climate science3

  • 3 Our analysis draws on national news sources, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, T (...)

6Once released, scrutiny of the Climategate emails raised at least three questions about the integrity and objectivity of the climate scientists and the scientific enterprise. The first is whether the climate scientists manipulated or misrepresented their data to better conform to the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. The second is whether the climate scientists tried to subvert the peer review process by privileging work which agreed with their views while suppressing the publication of papers written by dissenting scientists and attempting to exclude conflicting opinions from IPCC reports. The third is whether the scientists prevented their data from being publicly released and independently analyzed, perhaps even destroying data requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Using ‘tricks’ to ‘hide the decline’

7The first charge centered on concerns over possible data manipulation and

8misrepresentation. For instance, multiple news stories included an excerpt from a November 1999 email sent by Phil Jones, director of the CRU, to Michael Mann and others which reads as follows: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temp[eratures] to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) [and] from 1961 for Keith’s [trick] to hide the decline.”

9The phrase “Mike’s Nature trick” refers to scientific translations performed by Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998). Known as MBH98, the paper reconstructed global temperatures back to the year 1400 (and subsequently, back to the year 1000). The resulting “hockey stick” graph (see Figure 1) showed 900 years of relatively stable temperatures (the shaft of the hockey stick), followed by a sudden rise in global mean temperature towards the end of the last millennium (the blade of the hockey stick). The “trick” alluded to by Phil Jones was a decision to overlay data from thermometers4with data from proxies5, such as tree rings and ice cores. Featured multiple times in the 2001 IPCC report, the hockey stick became “probably the most politicized graph in science” (Brumfiel, 2007).

Figure 1: The Hockey Stick Trick

Figure 1: The Hockey Stick Trick

Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001, Geneva, Switzerland. Color version available at:​ipccreports/​tar/​wg1/​005.htm.

10Following the release of the CRU files, Phil Jones confirmed that the email was genuine, and defended his use of the word “trick” as a colloquialism. “It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward” (Schiermeier, 2009). Nonetheless, the email rekindled a longstanding argument between climate scientists and “blogging” scientists who disputed the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. After repeatedly asking Mann for access to his original data (Heffernan, 2009), Stephen McIntyre, the editor of a blog devoted to analyzing climate data, and Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph, published a paper criticizing “errors and defects” in the methods and conclusions of MBH98 (McIntyre & McKitrick, 2003). According to McIntyre and McKitrick, when these “heavily transformed” data are “corrected” the hockey stick turns out to be an “artifact.” Following their critique, a correction was published in Nature, noting that “the Supplementary Information … contained several errors,” but adding that “none of these errors affect our previously published results” (Mann, Bradley, & Hughes, 2004). However, far from satisfying McIntyre and McKitrick, these corrections and additional data provoked further critiques of MBH98. In a subsequent paper, McIntyre and McKitrick (2005) claimed that the conclusions drawn by Mann and colleagues were not robust, leading them to “reject the temperature reconstruction in MBH98.”

11In the email released by the hackers, Jones also claimed to “hide the decline.” The “decline” in question referred to work by Keith Briffa, a CRU scientist specializing in dendroclimatology (i.e., the study of past climate using tree-rings as proxies). In particular, Briffa found that after a century of close correspondence, starting in the 1960s, temperatures derived from tree-rings began showing a decline, whereas the instrumental record showed an increase in temperatures (see Briffa et al., 1998 on the “divergence” problem). Lacking an explanation for the divergence, climate scientists simply began ignoring tree-ring readings after 1960.

12According to Jones, “the problems with the tree-ring data had been openly identified earlier and were known to experts” (Tierney, 2009).

13As an “expert” faced with the need to summarize such matters for a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report, Jones decided to further transform Briffa’s work by grafting the tree-ring data through 1960 together with thermometer readings from 1961 until 1999 (see Figure 2). However, he did so “without explicitly acknowledging the switch” (Hoyt, 2009). According to The New York Times, the use of this “trick” does not mean “that global warming was a hoax or a fraud, as some skeptics proclaimed,” but it does suggest “that the evidence for global warming is not as unequivocal as many scientists claim” (Tierney, 2009). Moreover, despite these problems, the solution took on a life of its own. As John Tierney, a science reporter for The New York Times noted:

“[T]he graph adorned the cover of a report intended for policy makers and journalists. The nonexperts wouldn’t have realized that the scariest part of that graph – the recent temperatures soaring far above anything in the previous millennium – was based on a completely different measurement from the earlier portion. It looked like one smooth, continuous line leading straight upward to certain doom” (Tierney, 2009).

Figure 2: The “Briffa” Transformation

Figure 2: The “Briffa” Transformation

Source: Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999, World Meteorological Organization, 2000, Geneva, Switzerland. Color version available at:​pages/​prog/​wcp/​wcdmp/​statemnt/​wmo913.pdf.

Not all peers are equal

14The second charge was that, in addition to potentially cutting and stretching data to fit their own theories, the climate scientists were also cutting off those who promoted alternative theories, either by blocking them from being published and cited, or by boycotting journals which published such papers. According to one science reporter, “contempt for the critics is evident over and over again in the hacked email messages, as if the scientists were a priesthood protecting the temple from barbarians” (Tierney, 2009). For instance, in an email to Michael Mann, Phil Jones wrote “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” pledging that “Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer review literature is!” (Kintisch, 2009).

15In one of the offending papers, McKitrick and Michaels (2004) claimed to show that surface temperature records were “significantly correlated with non-climatic factors, including economic activity and sociopolitical characteristics.” Based on these correlations, they then surprisingly concluded that humans were not to blame for global warming. In the other paper, Kalnay and Cai (2003) concluded that “surface warming… due to land-use changes is at least twice as high as previous estimates based on urbanization alone.” As one implication, these authors suggested that any climate models that considered urbanization effects but neglected land-use change were misspecified.

16However, contrary to the promise made by Phil Jones (to exclude these two papers), both were eventually discussed and cited in the 2007 IPCC report. Citing the work of Vose et al. (2004), the IPCC report concluded that Kalnay and Cai’s conclusions were not supported. At the same time, the IPCC also noted: “Nevertheless, changes in land use can be important for DTR [Diurnal Temperature Range] at the local-to-regional scale.” In sum, Kalnay and Cai’s (2003) report did come to play a role in the IPCC recommendations (which is why it was probably included). Outsiders, such as Sharon Begley, a reporter for Newsweek, described the IPCC report as having shown that these two papers were “riddled with errors” from which she concluded that “science worked as it should, good research crowding out bad” (Begley, 2009; what Callon (1995) calls the “competitive enterprise” model of science).

17In another highly publicized email, this one from 2003, Michael Mann wrote:

“This was the danger of always criticizing the skeptics for not publishing in the ‘peer-reviewed literature.’ Obviously, they found a solution to that – take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal” (Crovitz, 2009).

18This email was in reaction to a paper published in Climate Research by Soon and Baliunas (2003), two researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Drawing on a literature review of more than 240 prior climate studies, Soon and Baliunas concluded: “the 20th century is probably not the warmest, nor a uniquely extreme climatic period of the last millennium.” Their conclusions were widely reported by the media, and became heavily politicized. For instance, U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) cited the paper as proof that natural variability, not human activity, is the overwhelming factor influencing climate change.

19Many scientists countered that their studies did not support the conclusions reached by Soon and Baliunas in their paper. For instance, David Black claimed that Soon and Baliunas had “stretched the data to fit what they wanted to see” (Monastersky, 2003). Mann and a dozen of his colleagues wrote a critique of the Soon and Baliunas paper. Describing their position as “a robust consensus view,” Mann and his colleagues concluded that “late-20th century hemispheric-scale warmth is anomalous [i.e., much warmer than the past]… and that anthropogenic factors likely play an important role in explaining the anomalous recent warmth” (Mann et al., 2003).

20Otto Kinne, publisher of Climate Research, also launched a review. He concluded that, though the manuscript was handled “along generally established lines… [T]here was insufficient attention to the methodological basis of statements that touch on hotly debated controversies.” By the time the dust had settled, four editors of Climate Research had resigned in protest over the publication of the Soon and Baliunas paper.

21It also was revealed that Soon and Baliunas had received financial support from the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s main trade organization, and were paid consultants to the Marshall Institute, a non-profit funded by ExxonMobil and opposed to limits on carbon dioxide emissions (Sanchez, 2003; Union of Concerned Scientists, 2007), further suggesting to some that Soon and Baliunas had engaged in transformations of their own. In the meantime, Sallie Baliunas argued in a public forum that “adding CO2 in the atmosphere may actually benefit the world because more CO2 helps plants grow. Warmer winters would give farmers a longer harvest season, and might end the droughts in the Sahara Desert” (Stossel, 2007). When asked why people were not aware of this argument, Dr. Baliunas replied:

“It’s the money! Twenty-five billion dollars in government funding has been spent since 1990 to research global warming. If scientists and researchers were coming out releasing reports that global warming has little to do with man, and most to do with just how the planet works, there wouldn’t be as much money to study it” (Stossel, 2007).

Data hoarding and destruction

22The third charge relates to allegations that the climate scientists withheld their data from the skeptics, and perhaps even deleted data so as to prevent it from being released under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. For example, in a 2005 email to Michael Mann, Phil Jones wrote: “The two MMs [McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the U.K., I think I’ll delete the file rather than send [it] to anyone… We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind” (Wall Street Journal, 2009). Three years later, Phil Jones wrote to Michael Mann again, this time regarding the 2007 IPCC report (also known as AR4). “Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise… Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same?” However, McIntyre did learn of the U.K.’s FOIA, and in July 2009 he and his colleagues submitted some 58 requests to the CRU (Heffernan, 2009). Nonetheless, following the release of the CRU emails, UEA officials “disclosed they had disposed years ago of the historic weather data underlying their analysis... They say they’ll release the data they still have some time next year” (Crovitz, 2009).

Current status

  • 6 This essay was written in real time and is current through February, 2010. As we close our chapter, (...)

23As we write this chapter, just a few months after its emergence, Climategate is still in the midst of unfolding, and its full effects remain unknown.6Many of those involved appear to have engaged in a process of “cleaning up.” Not only are the police trying to figure out who is responsible for releasing the CRU files, but the University of East Anglia, and the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) have each launched separate investigations. As part of the inquiry, Phil Jones has stepped down as director of the CRU, and has even admitted to contemplating suicide (Brown, 2010). Meanwhile a preliminary investigation by PSU cleared Michael Mann of 3 out of 4 allegations, but “could not make a definitive finding” as to whether or not he “deviated from accepted practices within the academic community” (Pennsylvania State University, 2010). A separate panel has been given 120 days to consider this question. If anything the violence from this incident continues to spread. For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its chairman Rajendra Pachauri have also come under attack for allegedly misrepresenting some scientific studies, and including other studies that were not peer-reviewed (Rosenthal, 2010).

24Some scientists find these developments deeply disturbing. For example, Roger Pielke, Jr., a climate change policy scientist, worries that “We appear to be on the brink of having Republican science and Democrat science… This simply arrays scientists on opposing sides of a gridlocked issue, when what we really need from scientists is new and practical alternatives that might depoliticize the issue” (Revkin, 2003). Others, such as Hans van Storch, one of the editors who resigned from Climate Research over the Soon and Baliunas (2003) paper, seem less concerned about such politics. “Only naïve people think that climate science has only to do with facts and truth… [C]limate science is to some extent a social process, with many extra-scientific influences.” Mike Hulme, director of a climate change research center, agrees: “How important a problem climate change is and what society should do about it is all about subjective judgments” (Hopkin, 2007).

25Building on Kuhn’s (1970) distinction between normal and revolutionary science, Funtowicz and Ravetz (1990) define situations in which “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent” as post-normal science. They argue that such cases are best resolved by involving all those affected by an issue, and by including local knowledge, as well as materials not originally intended for publication, such as leaked official information. This approach is consistent with Callon’s (1999) “coproduction of knowledge” model, which advocates for the inclusion of laypersons and nonspecialists in creating knowledge which concerns them (see also Callon & Rabeharisoa, 2008). Unfortunately, the climatologists appear to have pursued courses of action that were at odds with these insights. Instead, as the leaked messages show, their actions subverted the credibility of the consensus that they were trying to accomplish. And, as a result, other scientists and society more broadly became disenfranchised.

  • 7 Callon interprets the innovation of the precautionary principle as a response to the growing multip (...)

26Why would scientists resort to such tactics when their data is supposedly “unequivocal” and “consensual”? Why is it that science, instead of settling disputes, appears to have stirred them up? It may be because of the kind of science that is required. In the case of climate change, the issues being addressed are not only complex, but also potentially irreversible with catastrophic consequences, in the sense that there are no known solutions to removing CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. All of these factors suggest that science is no longer simply a matter of extrapolating from past causes in order to predict universal effects. Instead, science is now faced with predicting the future in order to prevent such a future from ever happening (what some call the “precautionary principle”; see United Nations (1992) for one definition).7

  • 8 Faced with the loss of foam from the underside of the Columbia space shuttle, Dunbar and Garud (200 (...)

27Such a science cannot be based only on data – how can data be collected about events that science is trying to prevent from happening?8Instead, it is a science of models, of suppositions about what the future could or should look like (or not) (see Akrich, 1992; Tryggestad, 2004). Because such suppositions are implicitly normative, science is confronted with unavoidable Procrustean transformations. As Funtowicz and Ravetz (1990) concluded:

“The phenomena of climate change are novel, complex and variable, and poorly understood. In such circumstances, science cannot always provide well-founded theories based on experiments for explanation and prediction; but can frequently achieve at best only mathematical models and computer simulations, which are essentially untestable. The trouble is that on the basis of uncertain inputs, decisions must be made, under conditions where science cannot proceed on the basis of factual predictions, but only on forecasts influenced by value and policy.” (Funtowicz & Ravetz, 1990)

Revisiting Procrustes and his bed

28In the Greek myth, one day, Procrustes invited Theseus (future king of Athens) to sleep on the iron bed (see Baldwin, 1895). Having been warned of the violent transformations wrought on unwary travelers, Theseus asked Procrustes to first demonstrate how the bed worked. When Procrustes refused, Theseus forced him onto the bed, and in this way was able to turn the tables, bringing Procrustes into conformity with his own standards. In sum, the Greek myth suggests Procrustean transformations are potentially symmetrical, capable of violently transforming victims and perpetrators alike.

29As the data suggests, there is ample evidence of such symmetrical transformations in the case of Climategate. To recapitulate, the hackers involved with Climategate committed a Procrustean crime by selectively posting stolen emails and other private documents to the Internet. Upon further analysis, however, the victims of this crime – the climate scientists – appear to have precipitated the actions of the hackers by first inflicting their own Procrustean transformations.

30Going even further, the Climategate incident suggests that rather than asking “Who is Procrustes?” it may be more appropriate to ask “What is Procrustes?” It is not just that the travelers (data) are transformed, or that Procrustes (scientists) are transformed, but additionally, that the bed itself (theory) and its various effects (policies) are transformed. These observations are compatible with actor-network theory, an approach that Michel Callon has played a pivotal role in advancing. Consistent with this position, there is not just one Procrustes, not just one iron bed to which data must be fitted, and indeed, not just one set of data. Procrustean actors, beds and data are multiple and heterogeneous (e.g., see Larédo & Mustar’s (2001) analysis of the fragmentation and multiplication of technoscientific actors and policies in France).

31From this perspective, calculations are distributed (Callon & Muniesa, 2005) with “trials of strength” unfolding across distributed centers of calculation (Latour, 1987). As each calculative center tries to enroll more and more elements in a series of transformations, the findings from different studies become entangled in particular ways (Holm, 2007). Such distributed processes may lead to more robust conclusions (see Beunza & Stark, 2004), but can just as easily result in situations that remain indeterminate (see Dunbar & Garud, 2009). As the process unfolds, yet more Procrustean transformations are necessary to accomplish closure – forinstance, through the inscription of scientific findings into emergent policy (Garud, 2008) – thereby inflicting perceived and real violence on those who subscribe to alternative agencies and identities. In many cases, truly monstrous macro-actors emerge, violently transforming those for whom they purport to speak (Callon & Latour, 1981).

32These observations are consistent with Callon’s notions of framing and overflowing (Callon,1998)andthetendencyforsuchdynamicstogenerateemergent“concerned” and “orphaned” groups (Callon & Rabeharisoa, 2008). As these translations unfold, new overflows emerge which might be perceived to be acts of violence by some, thereby provoking their counter reactions (Callon & Rabeharisoa, 2004). As we encounter increasingly difficult issues ranging from global warming to genetically modified organisms to medical treatments, we are more likely to encounter similar processes of Procrustean transformations over time.

Is there any hope?

33Climategate illustrates how, rather than resolving controversies, science can precipitate, perform and perpetuate them. This is indeed a crisis of science. Specifically, if the mechanisms expected to settle disputes are themselves in dispute, then what is there left to arbitrate the situation?

34A ray of hope may be found in viewing science not as the final arbiter of truth, but as an engine of “permanent reform” (Singleton & Michael, 1993). From the latter perspective, the ongoing process of questioning and probing that we witnessed with so much vigor and violence in the case of Climategate is the very epitome of science in action (Latour, 1987). Such scientific probes, although seen as “controversies” from within the “science-as-arbiter-of-truth” paradigm, afford societies with new inflection points, new possibilities for the future. From this perspective, those who question the conclusions of science (and thereby open up taken-for-granted and black-boxed conclusions) are not releasing unknown evils onto the world. Rather, as with the opening of Pandora’s box, at the bottom of such scientific inquiry is hope (Garud & Ahlstrom, 1997; Latour, 1999). It is at moments such as these, when the results of the scientific enterprise are called into question, that the scientific process is at its best, telling us not what should be done, but opening up new possibilities about what could be done (Singleton, 1996).

35In this regard, Callon has often highlighted the inevitability of overflows. Rather than shortcomings to be overcome at all costs, we propose that the overflows inherent to the scientific enterprise might be one of its greatest virtues. Without overflows, there are no possibilities for network reconfigurations, no choices left to be made, and thus, no room for agency. Conversely, the only way to stop the overflows is to seal up Pandora’s box – and with it, all hope. In other words, hope is not found by putting an end to overflows, but by insuring their perpetuation. Put more directly, perhaps scientific progress is better understood as a process of constantly opening new avenues of inquiry, rather than achieving more and more closure.

36Here again Michel Callon’s work is illuminating. After warning us of the dangers of Leviathans and macro actors (Callon & Latour, 1981) and offering normative pleas for the inclusion of laypersons and nonspecialists in the construction of scientific knowledge (Callon, 1999), Callon’s more recent work has offered rich descriptions of successful collaborations in the wild (Callon & Rabeharisoa, 2003). It is because of the possibilities afforded by such collaborations that we join Michel Callon in concluding that “We no longer have to choose between interpreting the world and transforming it. Our work, together with the actors, is to multiply possible worlds through collective experimentations and performations” (Callon, 2007: 352).



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1 We thank Roger Dunbar, Petter Holm, Ashoka Mody, Fabian Muniesa, and Kjell Tryggestad for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

2 We will be using the terms “Procrustean crime” and “Procrustean transformations” interchangeably.

3 Our analysis draws on national news sources, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Guardian, local news sources, such as The Daily Collegian and the Eastern Daily Press, as well as official press statements made by those implicated. We traced the impact of Climategate within the scientific community using Nature and Science. Finally, we reviewed numerous academic journal articles implicated in the dispute. Complete references are available from the authors upon request.

4 Red line in the original graph, available at: (accessed June 2010).

5 Blue line in the original graph.

6 This essay was written in real time and is current through February, 2010. As we close our chapter, the incident continues to unfold with various actors undertaking steps to clean up the processes whereby scientific inquiry is conducted. Some of the most affected groups (such as Michael Mann and Rajendara Pachauri) have invited “outsider” evaluations of their activities so as to clear their names.

7 Callon interprets the innovation of the precautionary principle as a response to the growing multiplication of sociotechnical controversies. At stake in these controversies are the boundaries between specialists and nonspecialists, as well as between political representatives and ordinary citizens (see Barry & Slater, 2002).

8 Faced with the loss of foam from the underside of the Columbia space shuttle, Dunbar and Garud (2009) consider how waiting for irrefutable evidence could have compromised the ability of Mission Control at NASA to mount any feasible rescue operation. This failure to act in the face of indeterminacy proved disastrous, as the shuttle blew apart upon re-entry into earth, killing all on board.

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: The Hockey Stick Trick
Légende Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001, Geneva, Switzerland. Color version available at:​ipccreports/​tar/​wg1/​005.htm.
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Titre Figure 2: The “Briffa” Transformation
Légende Source: Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999, World Meteorological Organization, 2000, Geneva, Switzerland. Color version available at:​pages/​prog/​wcp/​wcdmp/​statemnt/​wmo913.pdf.
Fichier image/jpeg, 49k

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