Fox Business had me on last week to talk about the growing controversy over the stolen emails at the Climate Research Unit of Britain's University of East Anglia. Unlike host Charles Payne, who clearly sees a near-fatal blow to the integrity of climate science, I have mixed feelings, which I expressed on the air:
Scientists have to protect the integrity of their research, and any appearance that data is being manipulated is serious, indeed. Of course, stealing email is serious, too, but it would be better if there were nothing for thieves to find.
The RealClimate.org blog says the most interesting thing is what is not in the emails: "There is no evidence of a worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research...no admission that global warming is a hoax...and no 'marching orders' from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords." No, but there is some embarrassing stuff nonetheless.
As I mentioned on the air, there's nothing new about manipulating science. According to (TDG contributor) Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science, it was common practice during the Bush Administration. You'll get an earful from Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s Crimes Against Nature, too.
It's also clear that climate changes are well underway (see the book I edited, Feeling the Heat), and that global warming is very real. Evidence continues to accumulate daily. The situation is serious, and it's another reason for protecting the integrity of the scientific process. At a critical time, with Copenhagen climate talks around the corner and a global warming bill pending in Congress, distractions like this are really regrettable.
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