Why “ClimateGate” is Nothing to Worry About
If you are are addicted to crazy-ass conspiracy theories like I am , then the recent ‘climate-gate’ should come as no surprise to you. But for the rest of you, you should know that one of the major climatological institutes recently had a hacker break into their mainframe to steal a large volume of emails and data. Without context, some of these emails look pretty damning, as if climate scientists deliberately doctored data to add a warming effect to real scientific data, which would be a horrible, outrageous scandal, if that was the case.
As per usual, the conspiracy wingnuts have quote-mined this illegally and unethically obtained data and made a big flipping fuss out of a non-issue. So let’s be clear. Here is the quote that most people are losing their shit over.
“From: Phil Jones
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
Oh my god! Hiding a decline! That’d sure look incriminating, if it weren’t for the fact that it refers to an anomaly in tree ring measurements starting from the 1960s, (referred to in the ‘biz as the divergence problem), or were it not for the fact that the word ‘trick’ is scientific shorthand for a clever manipulation of data to solve to a problem (like plotting logarithmically as opposed to linearly). An unfortunate name for such a procedure, no doubt, but most certainly not evidence of a global conspiracy involving a virtual consensus of climate scientists.
Though this is cited as the ‘smoking gun’ by the idiotic AGW deniers, there are other, less extreme examples that seem to show these scientists conspiring to suppress dissent, bashing other scientists, and generally acting, well, human. It should be noted that the papers specifically mentioned as worthy of suppression were published anyway, even in the most recent IPCC report. So even if these scientists WERE in a conspiracy, they did a piss-poor job of it, because none of their conspirational musings were actually carried out. Hell, the very existence of the hacked emails demonstrates that they probably did not carry out their suggested deletion of the emails . But this is the modus operandi of these contrarians, quote mining and presenting the candid voices of scientists in private discussion (violating their privacy in the process) without much-needed CONTEXT.
At any rate, private discussion, even if it was explicitly about a cover-up ( which it isn’t) does not do anything to change the reality of AGW. Just like how there is no NewtonGate. The evidence we have for global warming comes from numerous sources (including, but not limited to ice core data, weather stations, sea temperature data, geo-satellites.. and so on), the raw data for which, I might add, is mostly freely available online. On this data, however imperfect and tenuous it may be, we can nevertheless come to some conclusions about how we’ve gotten here and where we’re going, in terms of the global climate. And yes, that does include the infamous and hated HOCKEY STICK GRAPH, in case you were wondering. Google even has slick new visualizations made for Google Earth to help visualize the projected long-term implications of our current, shameful inaction.
This video does an amazing job of taking all the claims on:
At the end of the day, all ClimateGate boils down to is a bunch of pathetically misguided idiots who eagerly latch on to any scrap of ‘evidence’ against the MSM, science, and The Man without thinking, all the while claiming the moral high ground and being horribly condescending to us folks who care about reality. If you immediately jump to the most ridiculous conclusions on the most tenuous evidence, then you have demonstrated a lack of critical thinking skills, and should shut the hell up while the adults are talking about the future of the world. By all means, speak up, you have every right to. But don’t expect those who haven’t drank the Kool-Aid to take you seriously, because we don’t, even though you insist on wasting our time and drawing out the process of real, significant climate change mitigation (you assholes).
A word of advice for the future, if you’re going to perform a frontal assault on a scientific theory, you should get more evidence then a couple of poorly-worded emails from ten years ago that were obtained illegally. Maybe, next time, some real evidence would be good.
If you (yes, YOU!) still have doubts on AGW or ClimateGate, I’ll give you some links for further reading. The Island of Doubt, Bad Astronomer, Real Climate, Residual Analysis , Nature, or Scientific American’s Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense. But don’t trust me.. think for yourself.