What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 11, 2009

FactCheck.org on "Climategate"

Surprise, surprise, surprise! "Climategate" is much less than meets the eye.

So says Factcheck.org. They say the claims that the stolen e-mails show "man-made global warming" to be a fabrication are "unfounded."

Some bullet points:
  • The messages, which span 13 years, show a few scientists in a bad light, being rude or dismissive. An investigation is underway, but there’s still plenty of evidence that the earth is getting warmer and that humans are largely responsible.
  • Some critics say the e-mails negate the conclusions of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the IPCC report relied on data from a large number of sources, of which CRU was only one.
  • E-mails being cited as "smoking guns" have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to "hiding the decline" isn’t talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The "decline" actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings.
The e-mails (which have been made available by an unidentified individual here) do show a few scientists talking frankly among themselves — sometimes being rude, dismissive, insular, or even behaving like jerks. Whether they show anything beyond that is still in doubt. There are two investigations underway, by the U.K.’s Met Office and East Anglia University, and the head of CRU, Phil Jones, has "stepped aside" until they are completed. However, many of the e-mails that are being held up as "smoking guns" have been misrepresented by global-warming skeptics eager to find evidence of a conspiracy. And even if they showed what the critics claim, there remains ample evidence that the earth in getting warmer.
Even as the affair was unfolding, the World Meteorological Organization announced on Dec. 8 that the 2000-2009 decade would likely be the warmest on record, and that 2009 might be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. (The hottest year on record was 1998.) This conclusion is based not only on the CRU data that critics are now questioning, but also incorporates data from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All three organizations synthesized data from many sources.
And so on.

Ample evidence. From multiple sources. The stolen e-mails do nothing to negate the science.

From this letter to Congress:
As U.S. scientists with substantial expertise on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems, our built environment and human well-being, we want to assure policy makers and the public of the integrity of the underlying scientific research and the need for urgent action to reduce heat-trapping emissions. In the last few weeks, opponents of taking action on climate change have misrepresented both the content and the significance of stolen emails to obscure public understanding of climate science and the scientific process.

We would like to set the record straight.

The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming. The scientific process depends on open access to methodology, data, and a rigorous peer-review process. The robust exchange of ideas in the peer-reviewed literature regarding climate science is evidence of the high degree of integrity in this process.
And then there's this from 18 leading US Science organizations (including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society):
Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science. ... If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced.
But one guy in an e-mail used the word "trick" in dealing with tree-ring data, so you know that proves beyond any doubt that global warming is a hoax.

It's Teh Crazie - science style.


EdHeath said...

Very well stated.

Now let's talk about the ethics of people who steal emails, or those who use information from stolen emails.

Anonymous said...

Jon Stewart said, "I guess the ocean's are rising because of God's tears."

Anonymous said...

@Ed: exactly. Sadly, I don't think we will see that discussion in the mainstream.

Joy said...

To put "unprofessional behavior" and "bad science" in perspective, google [Freshwater crosses electrostatic device]. The panda's thumb blog has the best pix and background on the story.

So remember what kind of crazy too many climate change deniers and anti-evolution partisans are... dangerous bad crazy.