Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Climategate Being Ignored

For many of us, the series of emails that came out awhile ago detailing the rather dubious methods being used by scientists whose work was involved in setting policy around how to deal with global warming, pretty much closed the case many had already thought indicated much ado about nothing; and we have been somewhat perplexed that it hasn’t helped change the minds of supporters.

This article from Commentary examines that.

An excerpt.

“Since Climategate broke, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted that its much-cited 2007 claim that the Himalayan glaciers would have melted by 2035 was unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. Further media reports revealed Michael Mann, one of the key scientists implicated in Climategate, is still receiving millions of dollars in grant money from the 2009 stimulus package. Yet policymakers in Washington and around the world press on, even as the climate-change evidence becomes more and more dubious.

“In late November 2009, an anonymous hacker with the pseudonym “FOIA” posted confidential data onto a Russian server. The leaked information included a messy hodgepodge of e-mail exchanges, raw scientific data, comments from analysts, and programming, all of which were used by scientists informing the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. The hacked data appears to show that leading scientists have hidden or manipulated information that does not fit their climate-change thesis, blacklisted dissenting researchers, and circumvented freedom-of-information requests, possibly by destroying documents.

“The leak, which has come to be known as Climategate, has undermined two of the most substantial assumptions underwriting the climate-change argument: that the science is accurate and that a consensus exists among scientists. Despite this, leaders in Washington and around the globe continued to pursue climate-change policy without pause.

“Climategate challenges the credibility of a group of the most influential climate-change scientists on the planet. At the core of the controversy is Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and Michael Mann, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, along with many other members of the so-called Hockey Team. The team’s name refers to Mann’s famous hockey-stick diagram, which purports to show there has been no warming in the past 1,500 years similar to that in the last 50 years. The e-mails implicate scientists and groups closely affiliated with the UN climate-change panel.

“These institutions and individuals constitute the bastion of official climate-change thought, the wards of commonly accepted ideas about what industrial society is doing to the planet. The Climatic Research Unit at the previously obscure University of East Anglia is one of the few in existence that stores temperature data. The UN climate-change panel—an eminent international organization that reviews and assesses research and advises governments—relies heavily on the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit data for its projections. That is significant because the Climategate revelations suggest that East Anglia’s data may have been manipulated to fit the global-warming community’s thesis.

“And the UN panel not only advises the world body and leaders across the globe; it is also a key reference for academic climate researchers. The extent to which the now-questionable Climatic Research Unit / IPCC data may have contaminated other research has not yet been determined. But the hacked data calls into question the claim that temperatures have recently and significantly risen because of human activity. Today’s climate-change policy agenda rests on this thesis.

“In addition to raising questions about the actual scientific method and analysis, Climategate undermines the “scientific consensus” that so many world leaders and bureaucrats have involved when pushing for a more severe policy to combat climate change. The UN panel essentially sets the tone for the official discussion on climate change. But if peer review has been rigged to give voice only to those scientists who believe in climate change, then that “consensus” is weak at best—and nonexistent at worst. Viewed in this light, Climategate makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for the public to place its trust in a “consensus” established by scientists who do not provide or honestly defend the scientific evidence for their assertions….

“…At first glance, Climategate’s leaked correspondence is the Dangerous Liaisons of the scientific world. Despite the drumbeat informing the public that science strongly supports the climate-change thesis, the hacked data paint a picture of a community of experts afraid of scrutiny, willing to use underhanded methods to silence doubters, and content to eliminate evidence that might undermine both their theories and their funding.

“Yet the scandal has not led to serious policy reconsiderations or even significant stigmatization for many of the scientists and organizations implicated. Instead, even as fundamental suppositions about climate change were being challenged, the Environmental Protection Agency took initial steps to implement the most extensive carbon-emissions regulations the United States has ever seen. And only a few weeks afterward, the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, with 192 countries in attendance, began without meaningfully addressing the Climategate e-mails.”