Fun with Climategate
Published 06th December 2009 - 26 comments - 1340 views -
How many of those incessant blogosphere writers and commenters have actually read the emails and data sets they are raving about under the "Climategate" headline? Very few, of course. But by now some of those both qualified and willing to spend the time to do so properly have done so and more sober coverage emerges.
Of course, one could also take a look at the response from Michael Mann himself! Not exactly exciting; "mundane" is more like it. Because there is no drama except what was stirred up by selectively quoting and weaving of conspiracy stories. Luckily for those who will not bother with a scientists' nerdy explanations in letters, someone explained the non-scandal in a short video.
Rationality: Nature speaks
Read the Nature editorial Climatologists under pressure. It is not often a blogosphere conspiracy theory gets this much attention from one of the most prominet science journals. Well of course - they should be reviewing their climate change articles, right?
It is Nature's policy to investigate such matters if there are substantive reasons for concern, but nothing we have seen so far in the e-mails qualifies.
There we have it. Nature says Climategate brings no "substantive reasons for concern". But they do not fail to use the occation for something productive:
If there are benefits to the e-mail theft, one is to highlight yet again the harassment that denialists inflict on some climate-change researchers, often in the form of endless, time-consuming demands for information [...] The e-mail theft also highlights how difficult it can be for climate researchers to follow the canons of scientific openness
Fun with and worry over Climategate
Which of the silly claims made by the Deniers have been the silliest? Vote for your favourite silly Denier claim at Huffington Post's ClimateGate: The 6 Most Dubious Claims About The Supposed "Global Warming Hoax" poll. Looks like the "Suppressing Evidence" claim is winning. However, the "Reopens Debate" claim is voted the least dubious, it seems, hence it's also the biggest problem? And since Climategate did get a lot of attention, this is a real concern.
I'm no fan of main stream media. I think it's been messing up the climate change issue for more than a decade. But regarding Climategate, I'm relieved few jumped on the initial hype. But some did. Enough to get it rolling. As mused over in ClimateGate? Hardly - how come Climategate is a better story than the story of corporate influence on the debate? Oh yeah, Big Oil et al have dirty hands (read Google search of the day: “Exxon behind Climategate?” and The sins of Big Oil).
OK so we have the history of a lying and manipulating industry. Plus a leak of emails obtained by criminal methods and released in curious timing with the COP15 summit. Still not a story big enough for the news on my TV. Well, how about this development: Repeated break-ins point to ‘orchestrated campaign’ by climate skeptics?
A series of repeated break-in and computer hacking attempts at a Canadian climate research institute are a sign of a "well-orchestrated campaign of harassment" against climate researchers ahead of the Copenhagen summit
"The key thing is to try to find anybody who's involved in any aspect of the IPCC and find something that you can ... take out of context," [Andrew Weaver University of Victoria] said, drawing a parallel to the case of British climate researcher Phil Jones, who was forced to step down this week after skeptics seized upon hacked emails they allege point to a plot to exaggerate the threat of climate change. "People don't like it, so they try to discredit it, and the way they try to discredit it is by attacking the individual responsible for it," Mr. Weaver said.
Canada's federal government is investigating some of the hacking attempts, as the university's climate research center is run by Environment Canada, the country's environmental protection agency.
If there is a smoking gun to be found, most likely it'll have the Big Oil fingerprints on it. The blogosphere Deniers, however... I don't think they are criminal. Just stupid.
About the author
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