The Altruist

“Pure altruism consists of sacrificing something for someone other than the self (e.g. sacrificing time, energy or possessions) with no expectation of any compensation or benefits, either direct, or indirect (e.g., receiving recognition for the act of giving).” (Source Wikipedia)

Climategate 3.0 opened today with a glimpse of Mr FOIA’s moral imperative.

If someone is still wondering why anyone would take these risks, or sees only a breach of privacy here, a few words…

The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to  garner my trust in the state of climate science — on the contrary.  I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact.

Briefly put, when I had to balance the interests of my own safety, privacy\career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades, the first two weren’t the decisive concern.

It was me or nobody, now or never.  Combination of several rather improbable prerequisites just wouldn’t occur again for anyone else in the foreseeable future.  The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen.  Later on it could be too late.

I don’t want to speculate on identity.  I’d hate accidentally to hit on something that led to outing Mr FOIA, but this is tantalising.

Combination of several rather improbable prerequisites…” This person had the right knowledge and skills, opportunity and timing.

“behind the scenes” At UEA or in climate science in general?

It’s easy for many of us in the western world to accept a tiny green inconvenience and then wallow in that righteous feeling, surrounded by our “clean” technology and energy that is only slightly more expensive if adequately subsidized.

Those millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc.  don’t have that luxury.  The price of “climate protection” with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations.

Conversely, a “game-changer” could have a beneficial effect encompassing a similar scope.

If I had a chance to accomplish even a fraction of that, I’d have to try.  I couldn’t morally afford inaction.  Even if I risked everything, would never get personal compensation, and could probably never talk about it with anyone.

I’m not one of the chosen few this time and I’m quite glad as I need to focus elsewhere at present.  I have had time to invest in some popcorn though 😉 Thank you Mr FOIA.

To quote James Delingpole:

“I hope one day that FOIA’s true identity can be revealed so that he can be properly applauded and rewarded for his signal service to mankind. He is a true hero, who deserves to go on the same roll of honour as Norman Borlaug, Julian Simon and Steve McIntyre: people who put truth, integrity and the human race first and ideology second.”

Hear, hear!

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3 Responses to The Altruist

  1. We all started out with the kind of simple idealism that FOIA personifies.

    Keats with his “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

    Most of us found that this kind of idealism put us in conflict with the “Powers That Be”, so we took the easy road.

    Thank you FOIA for reminding us about what really matters.

  2. ArndB says:

    Hi Verity,
    kindly permit that I do some reminder concerning FOIA-2009 here today, as the release of emails happened in a Comment to an Open Letter at The Air Vent, concerning a Letter, which 18 leading scientific organisations had written to the US Senate in October 2009. The Open Letter asked the heads of the organisations:
    ___“How could it happen that more than a dozen of the most prestigious scientific associations signed and submitted this letter on ‘climate change’ without having ensured that the used terminology is sufficiently defined. Good science can and is required to work with reasonable terms and explanations. ……cont/.” Both letters here:

    At „Comment 10“ at, Climategate commenced with the text:
    “FOIA said
    November 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm
    We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps.
    We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents.
    Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it.
    This is a limited time offer, download now: http…………“

    In “Comment 21” I replied:
    “ArndB said November 20, 2009 at 5:56 am
    TO: FOIA (# 10 & 19)
    You did it. You made many people very, very happy with your visit here and the given link. Luckily Jeff Id discovered it immediately: “This is the biggest news ever broken here“, hunter said November 20, 2009 at 12:01 am , „Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    God bless you.“ And at : Terry Hurlbut (Nov19; 9:42 PM) said: „Commentary on all the blogs involved has been brisk, except, oddly enough, at The Air Vent, where only seven comments have been received.“
    Allow me to assume you did it intentionally with regard to the subject OPEN LETTER. That would at least make me very happy, as it would be a clear indication that there are other person out (at minimum one), which would agree with me that a science is nuisance if it is not able and willing to define in a reasonable scientific manner what it is talking about. That the talking about a definition on CLIMATE should not be taken lightly, is indicated in my previous comment. If a nonsense term is used by science it is not only misleading the simple people, but also shows that they do not understand what they are talking about. That is the real tragic of all the talking about the CO2 greenhouse gases since the James Hansen’s AGW claim before the US Senate in 1988. They stare in the air, without knowing where they are going to. OK. Currently, presumably only you, (few other ?) and I know. That should change, and your kind appearance here may have been a help, hopefully, for which you deserves my highest appreciation, and sincere thanks.
    Gratefully yours
    Arnd Bernaerts“
    The two letters in question also here:
    Best regards

  3. Bloke down the pub says:

    A question that springs to mind is ‘does anyone on the team know, or at least suspect, the identity of Foia?’ They can’t all think that he’s a big-oil funded sceptic anti-science reactionary.

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