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.

But it isn’t.

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.



~ by Andrew on December 7, 2009.

4 Responses to “Why “ClimateGate” is Nothing to Worry About”

  1. http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/fraudulent-hockey-sticks-and-hidden-data/#more-4660 best aggregation (with reference links)

    • Our understanding of AGW is not derived solely from tree ring or borehole data, and at any rate, the independent methods of obtaining recent temperature show a warming trend that is unambiguous. Even if the reconstructed data is inaccurate to some extent, that does nothing to refute the fact that the earth is warming as a direct result of the billions of tons of CO2 we pump into the atmosphere.

  2. Yep. You’re wonderful.

  3. “Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.

    It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.

    A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.

    Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.

    But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.

    The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.

    All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.

    It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.

    Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

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