Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Climate Conspiracy

Conspiracy theories have become a hallmark of modern life. The modern conspiracy theory probably can be traced back to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the belief that undiscovered gunmen actually killed the president. Another long lasting conspiracy theory is the belief in a government cover-up of an alien spacecraft’s crash in Roswell, New Mexico. More recently, conspiricists on the left and right have been busy promoting theories that the Bush Administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks or that President Obama’s birth certificate was fake.

From time to time, however, proof of an authentic conspiracy emerges. This was the case with the recent publication of hacked emails from East Anglia University’s Climate Research Unit. After years of hearing about climate science being “settled” and that there was a scientific consensus supporting the belief in human-caused global warming, the leaked emails present a very different picture. Ironically, the story has received scant coverage from most media sources in spite of the implications to the upcoming Copenhagen conference and cap-and-trade debate.

The conspiracy was revealed when an unknown hacker penetrated the Climate Research Unit’s computers and forwarded thousands of documents and emails to a server in Russia. Shortly after, a link was posted to the documents along with the message “"We feel that climate science is too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents. Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it" [1].

Global warming skeptics quickly learned that the documents revealed two important things about global warming proponents. First, much of the data that “proved” the reality of global warming was corrupt. As global temperatures flattened or declined in the years after 2000, climate scientists were at a loss to explain the lack of warming. For example, an email from Dr. Kenneth Trenberth, a scientist at the US Center for Atmospheric Research, said “This means we can't fully comprehend or understand exactly what is going on. We know that it cooled in 2008 but we are not 100 per cent sure why….”[1].

Second, the documents confirmed the belief that there was a widespread conspiracy to discredit dissenting scientists and deny publication of scientific papers that pointed out the flaws in global warming theory. Scientific journals rely on peer review of scientific papers to ensure their validity. The climate conspirators would use their status as article reviewers to prevent scientific journals from publishing articles critical of global warming theory. In one email, Phil Jones of East Anglia University writes of dissenting articles, "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow--even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" [4].

In 2003, after a paper questioning the extent of warming in the 20th century was published in the journal Climate Research, Dr. Michael Mann, director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, sent emails to his colleagues to boycott the publication: "I think we have to stop considering 'Climate Research' as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal" [3].

The scientists also discussed ways to mislead opponents. In one discussion of the medieval warm period, a period of extremely warm weather from AD 800-1300 which led to an economic boom, Dr. Trenbarth suggested creating a blog on a neutral web site and then referring inquiries to his own blog [5].

The email trail extended as far as the White House itself. One email was authored by President Obama’s science advisor, Dr. John Holdren. Dr. Holdren had sent an email in 2003 defending Dr. Mann’s research. Dr. Holdren was working at Woods Hole Research Center at the time.

Since many of the scientists who contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report were implicated in the email scandal, the conclusions of the report itself have been cast into further doubt. The inability of climate change scientists to explain the lack of warming also casts global warming and the need for expensive government programs to combat it into doubt. The Environmental Protection Agency has been on the verge of regulating carbon dioxide due to the conclusions of the IPCC report.

Global warming defenders have decried the leak of the emails claiming that not all emails were released; only those that were the most damaging. They do not, however, deny the validity of the emails.

Already, the release of the emails has sparked legal action. In Congress, Republican lawmakers have launched an investigation into the role of the implicated scientists in the formulation of the IPCC report. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has also announced the intention to sue NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies for failure to provide climate-related documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

The obvious question is how the revelation of the climate fraud will affect the upcoming climate conference in Copenhagen and President Obama’s attempt to pass a cap-and-trade energy tax in the United States. Hopefully, diplomats and lawmakers will step back and examine the science on both sides of the debate before rushing into climate policies that would be potentially disastrous for the economies of the world.

Q: How many climate scientists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. There's a consensus that it's going to change, so they've decided to keep us in the dark.
-James Taranto


A complete database of the emails can be found here:
Secaucus NJ

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