Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some sensible reactions to the “Climategate” kerfuffle

Anybody who knows anything about how science works understands that “Climategate” is a desperate attempt by denialists and their pals at Heartland Institute and CEI to sow FUD. Mark Morano and Sen. James Inhofe, I’m looking at you.

Here are a few sensible reactions from around the science blogging community. Keep these in mind the next time you hear someone spouting off about the climate science “hoax” or “conspiracy.”


By Ian O'Neill | Wed Nov 25, 2009 01:25 AM ET

When discussing man-made climate change (or anthropogenic global warming), I often drift into unfamiliar (and sometimes disturbing) territory. That territory is what I call The Land of the Afraid, Ignorant and Lost.

In this weird alternative dimension there are doomsayers who are convinced the world is going to end in 3 years time, there are conspiracy theorists who totally believe the moon landings were faked and everyone seems to be taking a potshot at Al Gore.

As with my research into the 2012 doomsday phenomenon that continues to cause a stir (especially after Roland Emmerich's use of killer neutrinos in the movie "2012"), I have found that no amount of scientific evidence can change the minds of conspiracy theorists or individuals with a grudge.

And the subject of accelerated climate change always causes upset (and/or rage). …

"Climategate" and Other Nonsense

By David Biello, Scientific American Observations

Was Sen. James Inhofe right when he declared 2009 the year of the climate contrarian? A slew of emails stolen from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit highlight definite character flaws among some climate scientists—including an embarrassing attempt to delete emails that discussed the most recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—while also exposing what looks like a failure of scientists to acknowledge a halt to global warming in the past decade.

Sadly for the potential fate of human civilization, rumors of the demise of climate change have been much exaggerated. …

You can judge the emails for yourself at this wonderful searchable database. While the revelations about pressuring the peer review process and apparent slowness in responding to an avalanche of requests for information unveil something below impressive scientific and personal behavior, they can also be seen as the frustrated responses of people working on complex data under deadline while being harassed by political opponents.

Note the adjective there. Political, not scientific, opponents. Because the opposition here is not grounded in any robust scientific theory or alternative hypotheses (all of those, in their time, have been shot down and nothing new has been offered in years) but a hysterical reaction to the possibly of what? One-world government? The return of communism? …

Climate change cover-up? You better believe it

AllegationAudit: In the last post we saw that accusers are willing to quote mine the released CRU emails, selectively taking a choice phrase at face value and missing the preceding and proceeding context in the longer email.

Now we will see them doing similar with some of the released CRU source code. The released source code included source for some of CRU's surface temperature record and source code for some proxy work.  No climate model source code was released as far as I know, although that hasn't stopped many of the accusers rampantly assuming there has been - presumably either confusing or not knowing the difference between temperature records and climate models.

This post concerns the an accusation which is now spread far and wide all over the internet. …

Mining The Source Code

Tamino: Most of you are probably already aware that recently someone managed to hack into the computer system at CRU (the Climate Research Unit in Great Britain). They stole over 60 megabytes of personal emails, which was posted online.

The denialosphere has trumpeted the contents as proof of the fraudulent behavior of climate scientists, especially Phil Jones at CRU. But what’s most remarkable is that even the bits pointed to as a “smoking gun” really don’t support that idea. There are certainly phrases which seem incriminating when taken out of context — but when put into context are nothing of the kind.

Continuing to suggest that climate scientists generally, and Phil Jones specifically, are engaged in a conspiracy to deceive the world about global warming, when there turns out to be no real evidence of it in 10 years of personal communications (only words that can be twisted when taken out of context), demonstrates the idiocy of those who stand by that suggestion. If anything, the messages prove that there is not any conspiracy, and the scientists at CRU did not fudge data or engage in deceptive practices to push their “agenda.” …


Finally, if you’re interested in the real Climategate, read this:

Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. By James Hogan

Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming

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