By restoring the reputation of the U.N.s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the reports released by a Netherlands environmental agency and a special British investigative panel should do much to dispel the widespread doubt generated by hackers who pinched nasty e-mails from the computers of climate scientists associated with the IPCC.
Or the reports would dispel doubt, if only the mainstream media showed sufficient interest in correcting the record. For what the probers found is that those embarrassing e-mails, considered in context, undermined neither the basic integrity of the scientists who authored them nor their dire conclusions about the potential impact of carbon dioxide pollution.
This is the next zombie lie that will soldier on for decades to come. In the future, right wing conspiracy nuts enjoying the fruits of the renewable energy economy will be writing revisionist histories about the whole climate change problem being a secret socialist hoax.
Of course having the media correct the record should be the first step. The second should be to call out all the people in the media who were quick to report the false scandal and slow to clarify that they were wrong and that there was no scandal. Lastly, those who insist on reporting this as a zombie lie for the next few decades should be called out as well.
E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.
The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP show that scientists harbored private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
The people on the Global Warming skepticism side are increasingly behaving like Ufologists. Anyone who calls a weather-balloon a weather-balloon is imminently considered part of the conspiracy to hide the truth.
The head of the British research unit at the center of a controversy over the disclosure of thousands of e-mail messages among climate-change scientists has stepped down pending the outcome of an investigation.
While embarrassing, this incident does nothing to change the physics of carbon in the atmosphere. A really good, politics free discussion is at
Take Climategate. One response is: 1. “These people behaved dishonorably. I will lower my trust in their opinions.”
Another response, not entirely out of the ballpark, is: 2. “These people behaved dishonorably. They must have thought this issue was really important, worth risking their scientific reputations for. I will revise upward my estimate of the seriousness of the problem.”
I am not saying that #2 is correct, I am only saying that #2 deserves more than p = 0. Yet I have not seen anyone raise the possibility of #2. It very much goes against the grain of good vs. evil thinking: Who thinks in terms of: “They are evil, therefore they are more likely to be right.”
Once again, Tyler Cowen comes up with the most interesting out-of-the-box comment on a topic.