Apologies to Michael Kelly for not linking properly to his site, which is at
Thanks Paul Matthews
[One of the joys of a work like Vasari’s “Lives of the Artists” or Aubrey’s “Brief Lives” is the prominence afforded to the otherwise totally obscure. That’s the policy here, too.]
Steve McIntyre, in one of his articles about Climategate
“The very first email (1. 0826209667.txt) is about Yamal – an opening scene wittily described by Michael H. Kelly (not the Michael Kelly of the Oxburgh panel) in an overlooked account of the emails shortly after they became public:
‘Like an Aristophanes satire, like Hamlet, it opens with two slaves, spear-carriers, little people. Footsoldiers of history, two researchers in a corrupt and impoverished mid-90s Russia schlep through the tundra to take core samples from trees at the behest of the bigger fish in far-off East Anglia. Stepan and Rashit don’t even have their own e-mail address and like characters in some absurdist comedy must pass jointly under the name of Tatiana M. Dedkova. Conscientious and obliging, they strike a human note all through this drama. Their talk is of mundane material concerns, the smallness of funds, the expense of helicopters, the scramble for grants. They are the ones who get their hands dirty, and their vicissitudes periodically revived my interest during the slower stretches of the tale, those otherwise devoted to abstruse details of committee work and other longueurs. ‘We also collected many wood samples from living and dead larches of various ages. But we were bited by many thousands of mosquitos especially small ones.’ They are perhaps the only likeable characters on the establishment side, apart from the exasperated and appalled IT man Harry in the separate ‘Harry_read_me’ document, and I cheered up whenever they appeared.’”
and he gives this reference
The link no longer works, but it’s on the wayback machine at
[Please donate. If I weren’t a pensioner living on half the minimum euro-pension thanks to a variety of bureaucratic insanities which needn’t concern us I’d be supporting the Wayback machine – plus Michael H. Kelly, if he’s still in existence.]
Michael Kelly’s site is/was the work of an author who discovered the Climategate files, as we all did, and decided to investigate. But whereas you and I had a quick look and then went on to our favourite blogs to find out what everyone else thought about it, Michael H. Kelly stayed with the files – for several days and nights it seems, right to the end. And he wrote down his thoughts as they came to him – the James Joyce of the History of Science.
When I was contemplating writing “Apocalypse Close” I first contacted Mike Kelly to ask his permission (I recalled vaguely that he’d spoken about the suitability of the Climategate files as material for a comic novel). It was easy enough to find his site (Google “Climategate + Aristophanes” and you don’t get thousands of hits) and he kindly replied saying he had no intention of pursuing this idea. So I went ahead. Though the primary inspiration for the idea of “Apocalypse Close” came from the sight of George Monbiot investigative journalist with his head up the arse of George Monbiot, green activist, I cede to Michael H. Kelly the honour of being the first satirist of the Age of Global Warming.
Steve’s quote from Mike Kelly continues thus:
“’Slaves’ is horseshit, and ‘footsoldiers’ insulting, but if scientists are allowed to put a creative spin on facts, I can certainly do so. They are respected scientists: in fact, it emerges, eminent or destined to be eminent. But they talk funny and are at the beck and call of CRU, are financially dependent on them; when the film is made they will be comedy relief, played by Alexei Sayle and the dopey one out of The Fast Show.
In the early parts of the story those who are to become the bigger players are not much better off, though. The mails start in 1996 when they have not yet attained world fame and the ear of statesmen, and often do not know where their next grant is coming from. There are moments of poignance:
“As always I seem to have been away bullshiting and politiking in various meetings for weeks! I try to convince myself that this is of use to us as a dendrochronological community but I am not so sure how much that is really true these days.” 
I was intending to continue this post with a “best of”, a compilation of quotes. But it can’t be done. Mike’s blogpost is a work of art, and defies selective quoting. The Royal Society has an annual prize for the best science writing, and there’s the Samuel Johnson prize for the best non-fiction. I don’t think Mike’s work is going to be considered, somehow.
I urge you all to read the original. Since I know you’re a lazy lot and you won’t, I append the next few paragraphs. Read this, Alice Bell, lecturer in History of Science. Read this, Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society. Read this Mike Hulme, plaideur for the greater involvement of literary types in the climate discussion – read this and weep for your future reputations:
“The first disquieting note, the first thing that causes the novice to this to frown with unease or hang his mouth open with alarm, and the experienced skeptic to laugh bitterly, comes ten mails in, text document 0842992948. Two scientists – one cajoling the other to try to wring more from his data than the latter thinks it warrants, to try to turn some mildly interesting samples into a reconstruction of past climate – share a joke about a third who appears to have been notoriously fastidious about jumping to conclusions: ‘Are you not being (in the time honoured Don Graybill fashion) too demanding of the response function results when you say deriving a transfer function is not justified? We all strive for perfection but does it exist? Seriously, it would be easier as regards publication policy to get the Editor to accept a reconstruction…’
“Keith Briffa to one Gary Funkhouser. Funkhouser laughs but declines the suggestion:
“’I really wish I could be more positive about the Kyrgyzstan material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that. It was pretty funny though – I told Malcolm what you said about my possibly being too Graybill-like in evaluating the response functions – he laughed and said that’s what he thought at first also. The data’s tempting but there’s too much variation even within stands. I don’t think it’d be productive to try and juggle the chronology statistics any more than I already have – they just are what they are (that does sound Graybillian).’ 
“Silly old finicky Graybill died some years ago. I had to do an internet search for this Gary Funkhouser who – sheepishly, laughing at himself – manages to resist temptation: unlike Briffa he has not become a household name in climate science.
“A while later, Briffa is being interviewed by New Scientist : a draft of the article is copied into an e-mail to him from the reporter. It details efforts to isolate man’s fingerprint on weather patterns: at this point problems with the theory, the models and the raw data can still be admitted to outsiders. It is still 1996 and the existence of a Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age may be acknowledged. There is frank, excited talk of how the problems might be resolved. Keith’s on a high: he may be the man to do it. ‘The modellers are queuing at Briffa’s door to find out what his tree-ring data shows about the real world beyond the computer simulations.’
“Even knowing how the story ends, I found their enthusiasm infectious. A glimpse of men doing what they were born to do is always vicariously exhilarating, the spectacle of humans applying their intelligence uplifting.
But already the fatal flaw is evident. One of the more cautious scientists, one who has actually fought with the IPCC to keep caveats as to the uncertainty of models within their reports, one who does not underestimate natural variability, has set up a group to examine patterns of forcings on the climate. He says, ‘What we hope is that the current patterns of temperature change prove distinctive, quite different from the patterns of natural variability in the past.’
I think they are not supposed to ‘hope’ things in that way. There is a human tendency to magnify the evidence that proves the things we hope to find and diminish that which does not, and scientists of all people are supposed to guard rigorously against this. They are a forensic team looking to bring a murder home to a pre-determined suspect. Without even being sure there is a body.
The journalist says: ‘For climatologists, the search for an irrefutable “sign” of anthropogenic warming has assumed an almost Biblical intensity.’ I don’t think I need point out how that sentence should have sounded alarm bells.”
And so on for forty pages in my conserved document. When the history of climate warmism comes to be written, the comments of one Michael H. Kelly will be a key testament to the fact that the lies of the politico/scientific establishment were obvious to any independent critical mind. This simple fact is important.