The desparate attempt by climate change deniers to sully climate scientists returns today with the release of 5,000 emails stolen back in 2009 during the original “Climategate” hacking of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit email servers.
Other than a great attempt at ruining another Thanksgiving holiday for American scientists, the bottom line conclusions on this story are identical to the 2009 release:
1. There is nothing in these emails that in any way disproves the enormous body of peer-reviewed climate science. As even the Koch-funded BEST study recently showed, climate change is real, global temperatures are rising and human activities are responsible.
2. The 'new' emails appear to come from the same batch stolen from the University of East Anglia in 2009. The denialosphere blogs are trying to frame it as ‘Climategate 2’. Cherry-picked quotes from the emails are once again being taken out of context by skeptic bloggers and irresponsible media like the Daily Mail in a last ditch attempt to smear climate science, and derail COP17 talks in Durban.
3. It's not a coincidence that this new release of hacked emails comes just days before the Durban COP17 climate conference, much as the first release from the hacked files came just before Copenhagen. When the world’s governments start to make progress toward climate action, the polluters panic and resort to desparate measures.
4. Remember that this was an illegal hacking of emails, and this second batch represents a continued breach of privacy of these scientists whose personal emails were released to the public. The UK police investigation into the hacking is still ongoing, and this new episode should compel them to redouble their efforts to find out who these criminal hackers are, and bring them to justice.
Update: Richard Black at the BBC points to the real scandal that needs further investigation - why the UK police have done such an astonishly poor job investigating this criminal hacking, as evidenced by their tiny expenditures to date. From Climate Emails, Storm or Yawn?:
I have been passed information stemming from an FoI request to Norfolk Police showing that over the past 12 months, they have spent precisely £5,649.09 [US$8843.64] on the investigation.
All of that was disbursed back in February; and all but £80.05 went on “invoices for work in the last six months”.
Of all the figures surrounding the current story, that is perhaps the one that most merits further interrogation.
In the Canadian tradition, it would be “unparliamentary” to accuse ClimateAudit’s Steve McIntyre of purposefully misrepresenting climate science, but his latest attack on the so-called “hockey stick” suggests that McIntyre is a great deal more interested in scoring distorted debating points than in saying anything that is actually factually correct.
McIntyre, apparently a retired mining stock promoter, has enjoyed a certain degree of fame in the denier community since 2003, when he and an economist named Ross McKitrick launched an attack on a graph (inset) by the highly respected actual scientist, Michael Mann.
In response to the M&M attack, Mann published an amendment to his original work, giving deniers the world over the courage to say that the original graph had been “debunked.” They then extrapolated to say that if there was an error in this single graph, that must mean that climate change wasn’t happening or wasn’t caused by humans - that the whole anthropogenic theory had collapsed in the math of a single published paper. Here is a recent and typically ridiculous example.
The panicky Professor Ian Plimer appears to have run from the field of intelligent debate in his latest duck-and-dodge fest with UKGuardian Columnist George Monbiot.
Plimer is the author of Heaven and Earth, a terrible hash of logical misdirection, plagiarism and mistakes which was shredded into fine bits by people like our favourite Australian, Tim Lambert at Deltoid blog.
After Monbiot joined the public lashing, Plimer protested and demanded that Monbiot engage with him in debate. Monbiot agreed, but only on condition that Plimer first respond in writing to a handful of questions about the accuracy and source of material in his book.
The denier web has been alive with excitement over the past week about a presentation by the German meteorologist Dr. Mojib Latif, who told a recent scientific meeting in Geneva that he expects atemporary lull in global warming.
One of the National Post’s most vigorous climate change deniers, Lorne Gunter, grabbed onto this story in a celebratory column titled: Global Warming Takes a Break. But Gunter has not suddenly decided to take science seriously. He dismissed as somehow unknowable Latif’s ultimate conclusion: that climate change is a real and pressing problem and that even if global temperature increases stall, they will inevitably resume.
Nope. Gunter doesn’t want to listen to a whole scientific sentence: but he’s willing to bet our lives on a fragment that bolsters his own agenda.
RealClimate.org has stepped in to deliver a devastating aside in the unfolding “debate” between Guardian columnist George Monbiot and hopeless Australian climate change denier Ian Plimer.
The back-and-forth began when Monbiot ridiculed Plimer’s book Heaven and Earthas an unsourced, unscientific load of codswallop. Plimer retaliated with a challenge to a public debate, which challenge Monbiot rebuffed as giving Plimer an unwarranted opportunity to hold forth unaccountably. But then Monbiot reconsidered and said the he would debate Plimer if only the geologist and businessman would agree to answer some basic questions about the content of his book (like, where was he getting his purported evidence; some of the footnotes can’t be sourced).
What a difference a year can make. While the consensus on the Hill may not have grown stronger in the interim—I’m looking at you, HouseRepublicans—the American public seems to be increasingly wising up to the idea that global warming is, in fact, a real threat and not some nefarious liberal plot to deprive it of its God-given right to pollute.
That is the principal finding of a new survey, entitled “Global Warming’s Six Americas,” that was released this past week by the Center for American Progress. The survey, which the authors describe as an “audience segmentation analysis,” splits the American public into six distinct groups based on their level of engagement with global warming: alarmed, concerned, cautious, disengaged, doubtful, and dismissive.
The authors polled 2,129 American adults in the fall of 2008 on a variety of issues related to global warming, including risk perceptions, policy preferences, and values.
DeSmog fans will likely know about Tim Lambert at Deltoid - a smart Australian scientist who does fabulous work debunking some of the ridiculous denier talking points. But he has recently been pointing to some contributors who are also raising the bar: Robert Grumbine (Penguindreams ) at MoreGrumbineScience, and Tamino, who plays the deniers for fools at Open Mind. (Hat tip to VJ).
These guys are adding significantly to the quality science debunking that we have come to expect from RealClimate, the kind of stuff that leaves the deniers sputtering because, well, it's all about science and they're, well, not.
It's frightening how easy it is to present a computer-assisted lie, especially if you have no conscience about faking things like climate reconstruction graphs. It's also frightening that such a piece of fakery can find its way into the school system of a G8 country.
This graph was created by a German high school teacher named E.G. Beck. It's based on information that is more out of date than a Tim Patterson solar forcing graph, and is manipulated to specifically misrepresent both the scale and the recent climate curve.
This link popped up in an earlier comment, but I think it's worth highlighting. The the-used-to-talk-cooling-and-now-they-talk-warming refrain is becoming more common. Till now, I thought it reflected an evolution in scientific thinking. Clearly, though, it's just another bogus pseudo-science claim intended to muddy the climate change waters.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.