Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Dangerous Diversion of Climategate

At a time when we should be focusing on finding solutions at COP15, we are debating the meaning of word choices in a stolen email. Climate change deniers point to controversial emails hacked from climate scientists and say it is evidence of corruption, but the sad reality is that good science is being ignored in favor of a sensationalistic ruse.

A few weeks ago the emails from a British university's climate center were obtained by computer hackers and posted online. Climate change deniers contend the messages reveal that researchers manipulated and suppressed data and stifled dissent.

The controversy led Phil Jones to step aside as head of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia while the university investigates the matter and Penn State University is investigating emails written by Michael Mann.

At Washington hearings staged to focus on the latest evidence for global warming, government scientist Jane Lubchenco, a climate researcher, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tried to demonstrate how oceans are being made more acidic but Republican's were more interested in hacked emails.

"These e-mails show a pattern of suppression, manipulation and secrecy that was inspired by ideology, condescension and profit," said U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. However many more informed commentators disagree, "The e-mails do nothing to undermine the very strong scientific consensus ... that tells us the earth is warming, that warming is largely a result of human activity." Lubchenco exlaimed.

Regardless of the how Jones intended to use the word "trick," the e-mails don't negate all the independent data sources (including NOAA and NASA), all of which show dramatic warming.

The chairman of the Academy of Science panel, Texas A&M University atmospheric scientist Gerald North, said "even if Jones, Mann and others had done no research at all, the world would still be warming and scientists would still be able to show it."

The world does not need to re-examine experts' claims on the science of global warming. Even if the climate change deniers allegations are true, it does not change the fact that numerous independent credible scientific sources have data that indicates the world is warming.

Participants at COP15 need to understand that the overwhelming body of climate change science is sound. As we debate these diversions, we continue to emit ever increasing levels of greenhouse gasses, the Arctic continues to warm, the glaciers continue to melt and the oceans are acidifying.
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3 comments:

Jim said...

Richard: as a "pale green" -- sympathetic but not wholly convinced -- I've been quite shaken by the "climategate" scandal. The scientific establishment has cried foul, reasserted its faith in man-made warming and so on, but nobody has adequately explained just what the folks at the UEA climate centre were up to, or why they thought it appropriate to destroy all of the original data that had been laboriously collected over the decades.

Those who don't believe in global warming can point to the lack of any increase in temperatures over the past decade or so, while many others may believe the temperature is on a long-term uptrend but be unsure that man is at fault. I suppose I am in the latter camp.

For now I support anti-warming policies mainly because of the imbalance of risks -- if I'm wrong about it, the worst thing that happens is that we needlessly deprive idiots of the right to drive SUVs, whereas if Sarah Palin et al are wrong, millions of people will die. But until the integrity of the science is convincingly re-established, you can't blame people for being a lot more sceptical.

Richard Matthews said...

Independent of the research by Jones and Mann, there is a plethora of diverse, replicated, peer reviewed science that clearly supports the existence of global warming and climate change.

The evidence for anthropomorphic contributions to climate change comes from many areas of research but one of the simplest comes from ice core samples that reveal significant increases in CO2 after the dawn of industrialization.

While I appreciate your efforts to share your point of view, I implore those who doubt climate change to rigorously investigate the facts.

Please see the following GREEN MARKET posts summarizing the science of climate change.

Copenhagen Diagnosis
CO2 Myths and the Science of Climate Change
Green Science
The Effects of Global Warming
Green Dissent (Part 1)
Green Dissent (Part 2)
Action on Climate Change
Primer on CO2 and other GHGs
The Business of Climate Change Deception
What is Wrong with the Right

Anonymous said...

For a summary of the science click on the following link
http://www.thegreenmarketoracle.com/p/blog-page.html