A few days after leaked e-mail messages appeared on the Internet, the U.S. Congress may probe whether prominent scientists who are advocates of global warming theories may have misrepresented the truth about climate change. Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said on Monday the leaked correspondence suggested researchers “cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled, when all the time of course we knew it was not,” according to a transcript of a radio interview posted on his Web site.
Aides for Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, are also looking into the disclosure. The leaked documents (see our previous coverage) come from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in eastern England. In global warming circles, the CRU wields outsize influence: it claims the world’s largest temperature data set, and its work and mathematical models were incorporated into the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report. That report, in turn, is what the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged it “relies on most heavily” when concluding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and should be regulated.
James Inhofe has been saying, since at least 2003, that there is a conspiracy. This quote is from 2005:
“As I said on the Senate floor on July 28, 2003, “much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science.” I called the threat of catastrophic global warming the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” – senate.gov
Inhofe’s claims have been debunked in the past. People need to understand how many independent scientists are concluding that warming is real and man is responsible.
For instance, the American Geophysical Union, which includes 50,000 earth, ocean and atmospheric scientists, among others, whose first mission is to value the scientific method (rational skepticism), has stated since 2003 that “Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth’s climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth’s history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century. … The unprecedented increases in greenhouse gas concentrations, together with other human influences on climate over the past century and those anticipated for the future, constitute a real basis for concern.”
And if you, like Inhofe, value international expertise, consider the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change. By some estimates, 2,000 scientists have participated. Their sole purpose is to state consensus about global warming, humankind’s role in causing it and its likely effects. The panel spoke clearly last year that it is nearly certain that human pollution is making the climate warmer, and that it will have dire consequences around the world.
I found this post from the Hadley Centre interesting:
As many of you will be aware, a large number of emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia webmail server were hacked recently (Despite some confusion generated by Anthony Watts, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Hadley Centre which is a completely separate institution). As people are also no doubt aware the breaking into of computers and releasing private information is illegal, and regardless of how they were obtained, posting private correspondence without permission is unethical. We therefore aren’t going to post any of the emails here. We were made aware of the existence of this archive last Tuesday morning when the hackers attempted to upload it to RealClimate, and we notified CRU of their possible security breach later that day.
Nonetheless, these emails (a presumably careful selection of (possibly edited?) correspondence dating back to 1996 and as recently as Nov 12) are being widely circulated, and therefore require some comment. Some of them involve people here (and the archive includes the first RealClimate email we ever sent out to colleagues) and include discussions we’ve had with the CRU folk on topics related to the surface temperature record and some paleo-related issues, mainly to ensure that posting were accurate.
Since emails are normally intended to be private, people writing them are, shall we say, somewhat freer in expressing themselves than they would in a public statement. For instance, we are sure it comes as no shock to know that many scientists do not hold Steve McIntyre in high regard. Nor that a large group of them thought that the Soon and Baliunas (2003), Douglass et al (2008) or McClean et al (2009) papers were not very good (to say the least) and should not have been published. These sentiments have been made abundantly clear in the literature (though possibly less bluntly).
More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.
Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in ‘robust’ discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.
It’s obvious that the noise-generating components of the blogosphere will generate a lot of noise about this. but it’s important to remember that science doesn’t work because people are polite at all times. Gravity isn’t a useful theory because Newton was a nice person. QED isn’t powerful because Feynman was respectful of other people around him. Science works because different groups go about trying to find the best approximations of the truth, and are generally very competitive about that. That the same scientists can still all agree on the wording of an IPCC chapter for instance is thus even more remarkable.
http://www.copenhagendiagnosis.org/press.html is the latest science – and sorry GOPers/dittoheads/Beck lovers/ Fox News believers – the SCIENCE says Global warming is real, getting worse, and the part that is man-made appears likely to destroy our grandkids lives as it is growing more rapidly than expected – with a tipping point soon
Some interesting background:
1. There was a previous data breach/leak in July 2009 or before. It appears that just one person was the recipient of the stolen data: Stephen McIntyre, who says he got them anonymously. The breach was due to an insider (”mole”) in the UK. http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6644 http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6634 (esp. comment #3)
(McIntyre is a skeptic of human-caused Global Warming, not a denier. He focuses on problems/weaknesses he sees in the data and methods.)
2. McIntyre has been in a long-running battle with the UEA HCC/CRU over access to their data, their “code” (data analysis software), and even their emails http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3234. Here’s McIntyre’s philosophy and goals in this quest: http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=66 . Here’s a short summary of the conflict, published just a day before the recent breach hit the wires: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704335904574496850939846712.html
3. McIntyre was actively monitoring defensive actions by UEA HCC/CRU over the summer, including “massive data purges”: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6673 (Is “Climate Audit reader Super-Grover” an insider, given the comment “worse than we expected”??).
4. McIntyre has just recently been denied in his appeal of the rejection of his most recent FOI. http://camirror.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/test/
Putting these together, plus imminent start of the Copenhagen Climate Summit…
… it doesn’t take a detective genuis to see that the current data breach/theft/leak is probably just a continuation of this on-going war between these parties. It’s also likely that the same “mole” is also responsible or involved in this breach.
Rapidshare still has a this leak document: http://rapidshare.com/files/309710046/FOI2009.zip
(64 MB, 157 MB when expanded.). It was originally posted to a Russian server but that link has been removed:
How soon until “Hactivism” hits the other side? Will we see 100 MB of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh email hack downloads?
Summary: Yes, huge sums of money are at stake. There is indeed a battle and each side uses propaganda because it must, because you, the consumer, the voter, respond emotionally, not rationally. Despite the battle tactics, there is an objective truth about Climate Change. This leak does not change that.