Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

‘Climategate’ inquiry largely clears scientists

with one comment

As you would expect, after doing a piece on Monday on the James Lovelock interview I have been getting comments from the deniers – none of which have appeared. Becuase I simply do not wish to give them any platform at all. Sorry, I have no obligation to provide “balance” – the so called “debate” is way too overly anxious to publish things that support the fossil fuel industry. I will however provide what seems to me to one of the clearest rebuttals of the claims of the “climategate” crowd – which has been published by the Associated Press and is in The Seattle Times this morning.

The House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee said Wednesday that it had seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming — two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.

In its report, the committee said that, as far as it was able to ascertain, “the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact,” adding that nothing in the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity.”

That seems to me to settle the issue. It won’t of course. Any more than the bricks through the windows of Democrat Senators who voted for health care reform settle that argument either. Indeed, the parallels between the way the two sides argued  in that discourse are disturbingly similar to the climate “controversy”. In both cases it is as clear as can be that the right wing is wrong and facts are against them. But that does not stop them. And it is not that the people who promote the cause of the insurance companies, or the fossil fuel companies, are stupid. They are simply doing what they are paid to do. In the case of US health care they were not unsuccessful –  there is still no public option let alone the single payer that most other countries have. In the case of effective action against greenhouse gas emissions, they have also been remarkably dominant. The results are now going to be dire, because we really are heading for an unprecedented increase in global temperatures – well in our experience anyway. The same sort of people who deny climate change also like to deny the scientific evidence for the age of the planet (and the universe come to that) – and many  of them believe that the end of human life on earth is all pre-destined and that they are the only ones due to be saved.  Of course belief and science are two different things. You cannot actually argue with thermodynamics. But then acts of faith do not require evidence either. Just a good story. Which is apparently why they get so much media attention.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 31, 2010 at 11:12 am

One Response

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  1. It’s unfortunate that you even needed to write this blog post. The climategate “controversy” is one of the biggest non-events of 2009. It only became a story because, as you say, others have taken the emails out of context and refuse to understand the rich history and science that gave rise to them.

    Andrew E

    April 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm


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