Despite being just another web site in the climate debate, Real Climate serves as a kind of shield for all opposition to the AGW theory. Since it is run by climate scientists and contributers to the IPCC reports it is therefore thought to have a special authority that goes beyond that of any other web site engaged in discussions of climate issues. In actuality Real Climate is a political tool that conducts carefully orchestrated debates on climate issues; and the outcome of those debates are forgone conclusions. Take any discussion or thread on Real Climate and look over it carefully. The pattern used by Real Climate authors and moderators is never changed. There are basically three kinds of articles posted on their site.
The first seeks to explain or highlight some new or reinforcing aspect of the AGW theory. For example, they will explain why the Arctic ice melt of 2007 is particularly important as supporting data for their theory, while the near record Antarctic ice extent of 2008 is not. Or they will explain why a thirty year temperature trend is important and a ten year one is not. The second kind of article that RC will frequently post is the kind where they attack some author or climate scientist that has published findings that are injurious or contradictory to their own conclusions. For example, they recently attacked Henrik Svensmark and his theory on the effects of cosmic radiation on the climate. The answers to RC's attacks on Svensmark were easy to find. But RC never allowed those answers to be posted. The third kind of article that RC posts are defenses of their friends when their friends have been caught in blatant acts of scientific malfeasance. Their recent defense of Briffa and his thin, inadequate, cherry picked data sets is one example of this. Their defense of Michael Mann and the errors in his proxy reconstruction is a classic. Their defense of the climate scientists involved in the CRU e-mail scandal is another example.
The kind of article that you will never see at RC is the kind that causes problems for the AGW theory. For example, the twentieth century divergence between tree ring data and surface instrument data is never given a thread - even though that divergence has been admitted to by members of the AGW cabal like Keith Briffa. The divergence between the climate models and the real climate history is also never discussed except in a defensive vein. For example, they always make the argument that the divergence is still within the error bands. This is the case even when all the models err on the same side of the real record and when the error is approaching the error limits for most of these models.
What RC seeks to do is to appear to derive a conclusion to these issues by giving them a fair hearing on their web site. A few commenters that are climate skeptics are always allowed to post a few comments that disagree with the RC position and with the AGW orthodoxy. But those comments from the skeptical side are very carefully filtered - not on issues of civility or relevance to the topic, but rather on the ability of the RC staff and the pro AGW/RC commenters to deal with the comments.
A few comments that can be considered as venting by the skeptics are allowed because they carry no weight on the actual debate. Some of the skeptics comments are known red meat for the pro AGW crowd at RC, and they are therefore allowed by the moderator because the moderator knows what will happen to them. A few of the more difficult posts from the skeptics are allowed and are dealt with by the moderator or article author by himself. The moderator will allow these for as long as he thinks that he has answers. If, in the course of a discussion with a skeptic the moderator runs out of answers for the skeptic's questions or objections, the moderator will simply censor the skeptics posts.
The whole purpose of the procedure is to give the illusion that the subject has been fairly and completely dealt with and that the pro AGW side has won - once again. From that point, any future arguments of similar issues by skeptics will simply be marked as, "discredited - see such and such a tread". The entire RC web site is full of victories that are won, not by science or logic, but rather by censorship. Of course the average reader of RC doesn't know this. He never sees the objections by skeptics that cannot be answered. All that he sees is the well orchestrated drama that was presented by Gavin Schmidt, his co-authors, and the regular crew of AGW supporters that frequent the site. The attempt by the scientists at the Hadley Climate Research Unit to illicitly control the debate about global warming by using their influence with publishers and the IPCC will come as no surprise to the thousands of skeptics that have had their legitimate questions censored at Real Climate.
A few examples of the kinds of posts that are censored by Real Climate in order to insure their own victory are captured in the postings below. I took some screen dumps of my submissions while they were in the moderation phase. Of course they were moderated out as I expected.