Climate-gate and Sarah Palin?
You know that the times are getting a little weird when Sarah Palin starts talking about historical reconstructions using proxy data of average global surface temperature (see her recent opinion piece in Washington Post).
I really should keep this blog focused on items that are more core to the mission of the GHG Management Institute, but I am compelled to comment briefly on the issue of the stolen emails from the research center at East Anglia University. I am compelled because they are being used as a political weapon to discredit well-substantiated understanding of atmospheric science.
The U.S. EPA has finalized its endangerment finding under the Clean Air Act, which now clears the way for regulations of GHG emissions in the United States for vehicles and ultimately other sources. Immediately the EPA was sued by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in part based on what they see as a smoking gun within these stolen emails that they claim are evidence of climate change being a big hoax.
There are now multiple investigations in the works to determine if any improper actions were taken by the scientists whose emails were stolen. Although, I cannot say with certainty, my bet is that the only improper action that will be uncovered is the obvious one. That by those who illegally stole personal emails from respected scientists. Already, one of the scientists involved in the so-called “climate-gate” has received death threats and another climate scientist in Canada has had is office broken into. This state of affairs is the sign of an anti-climate change policy movement that is so lacking in credibility that anything goes.
The truth is that there is almost no credible science behind the other side, which is why they have to fall back on twisting words in private emails out of context to try and manufacture a conspiracy.
Just imagine trying to get thousands of scientists, researchers and academics from around the world to maintain and coordinate a decades long conspiracy for manipulating research results. Yeah, right! Scientists could pull that off. Science does not always get everything correct the first time, but it is not because of some conspiracy (see The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), by Thomas Kuhn).
I am actually happy that CEI filed this lawsuit because now a judge can look at all the evidence behind climate change and pass judgment. I am pretty confident about the conclusion. And just like the judge that looked at intelligent design as an alternative to Darwinian evolution (see Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District), another judge can expose the climate deniers as the pseudo science that they are.
If you want to look more deeply into the stolen emails, see a really useful investigation by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
UPDATE ON CLIMATE-GATE
December 13, 2009
Science of global warming not faked, inquiry decides
By Seth Borenstein, Raphael Satter and Malcolm Ritter, AP
Emails stolen from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia show they stonewalled sceptics and discussed hiding data. But the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, an exhaustive review by the Associated Press has found.
The 1,073 emails examined show that scientists harboured private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. But the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing that the world is warming as a result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message.
The emails were stolen from the computer network server of the UEA climate research unit, and posted online last month. The AP studied all the emails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them – about a million words in total. Summaries of the emails were sent to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy. “This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds,” said Daniel Sarewitz, a science policy professor at Arizona State University.
One email that sceptics have been citing is from Phil Jones, the unit’s head. He says: “I’ve just completed Mike’s [Mann] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onward) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” Mr Jones was referring to tree ring data that indicated temperatures after the 1950s weren’t as warm as scientists had determined. The “trick” that Mr Jones said he was borrowing from Mr Mann was to add the real temperatures, not what the tree rings showed. And the decline he talked of hiding was not in real temperatures, but in the tree ring data which were misleading, Mr Mann explained.
Trials can go either way. If you have ever been in a real trial the best attorneys will tell you that even with the best evidence there is a chance they will lose. In a trial of Al Gore’s “movie” in Great Britain it was determined that his material contained mistakes and errors. This issue is going to get “tried” in the U.S. courts at some point and this is as good of time as any to start.
I find it interesting that both sides of the climate debate claim absolute certainty. This always bothers me when a group in the science field contains absolute certainty. In the 1950’s U.S. colleges were teaching that you can not bend light and that we had found all the elements that existed. If we had absolute certainty then we would not have a need for science and we could all take a long nap.
The other contributors are absolutely sure of the science. Be Careful of this close minded and intolerant position. Even with evolution we are learning more each day and know matter the outcome we still need diligent work in both fields.
FURTHER UPDATES ON “CLIMATE GATE”
University of Pennsylvania release report on Prof. Michael Mann concluding that stolen emails demonstrate no academic misconduct.
For the full report, see here: