Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What about Climategate Part II?

by Rod Williams
Several years ago, I was persuaded by the evidence that global warming is most likely a scientific fact and that human activity was most likely a contributing factor. My position was shaken however by the “climategate” scandal when emails of climate scientist were hacked and it appeared that the effect of global warming was greatly exaggerated, that contradictory evidence was ignored (“hide the decline”), and those scientist who dared offer a skeptical opinion were conspired against to be marginalized and ridiculed.

Despite climategate  however, I never became a global warming denier . That is, I never reached the conclusion that global warming was all a crock. (I hate the term "denier" when used to refer to global warming skeptics, and I almost used it. "Denier" is a loaded term, much like "Holocaust denier." Reasonable people can have different opinions on the reliability of the science of global warming or people can be misinformed. That does not make them evil.) I had greater doubts about the validity of  science after climategate. If I was to express as a percentage my degree of acceptance of the theory of global warming, at the height  of my  acceptance of  I was about 90% persuaded; after climategate I was about 55% persuaded.

Putting climategate in perspective along with the mass of scientific evidence supporting the theory, my acceptance of global warming theory gradually increased again. After a recent study financed by the Koch brothers and led by global science septic Richard Muller reaffirmed the theory (see here, here, and here), my acceptance level shot back up to close to 90%.

Now comes Climategate II. Five thousand more emails have been released and they again show a conspiracy to lie, manipulate data, and hide contradictory data. The below excerpt is from a recent Washington Times editorial. Look closely at the quoted email within this excerpt. (my highlighting)

The basic problem with climate research is that it is at best soft science, and this leaked correspondence demonstrate just how unsettled it is. “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others,” one scientist wrote. “This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.” Nonsense, another concluded: “ The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what’s included and what is left out.” But what if the whole warming phenomenon is “mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation?” one scientists muses. “They’ll kill us probably.”

This is apparently only a small portion of what is revealed by the leaks. Nevertheless, I am still persuaded the theory of global warming is correct. However, one can only conclude that the theory is not as air-tight as it is ofter presented. One must conclude that many scientist working on the theory were not persuaded by the evidence but manipulated the evidence to fit their preconceived conclusion. There was a conspiracy to present a united front and hide doubts and hide contradictory evidence.

The conclusion to draw from this is that scientist are not Gods. They are not without an agenda and skeptics should not be demonized. Reasonable people can reach different conclusions. 

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