The climate denialsphere, having learned exactly the wrong lesson from the last email hack, has attempted to overshadow another international talk on climate change by releasing the remainder of the e-mails illegally obtained via a hack of university mail servers in the original incident now known as “Climategate”.
The first batch of emails, if you’ll remember, contained informal language by some of the scientists who compiled the data in the “hockey stick graph” that was (probably intentionally) misinterpreted by denialists as being proof of some sort of conspiracy to make climate change seem worse than it actually is. This despite the fact that the graphs Michael Mann produced with the data available has been vindicated no less than nine times, once by a true climate skeptic.
That second release of emails, however, has been met by the international community with a massive yawn — and the press has actually begun to dissect the hackers’ and denialists’ claims. More importantly, there are growing calls to continue the investigation into the hack.
First Copenhagen, now Durban. When the science is so rock solid that it can no longer be reasonably doubted, all that is left is to steal private correspondence in a desperate attempt to disparage those who are trying to protect the world from the risks it is facing.
And there are real repercussions for any scientist trying to investigate climate change: witch hunts by highly placed politicians.
That is the second real climategate: the McCarthyite attempts by Senator Inhofe to criminalise climate scientists — attempts to criminalise those who, 35 years ago, predicted the temperature rise by century’s end to within 1/10th of a degree.
This is no isolated incident: Virginia’s Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, has launched several frivolous lawsuits — despite losing an earlier one — against the University of Virginia in what the Washington Post called a “war on the freedom of academic inquiry”“. And Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman evoked Pastor Niemoeller’s cry against the erosion of humanity under the Nazis: “First, they came for the climate scientists…”.
The real climategate involves active censorship within NASA by Bush appointees, which the agency’s Inspector General later found to have “reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science”.
The real climategate involves Bush White House staff replacing assessments of the National Academy of Sciences with a discredited paper by two individuals with no expertise in climatology. This paper, funded by the American Petroleum Institute, was so flawed its appearance in a peer-reviewed journal led to the resignation in protest by three editors and the publisher’s unprecedented acknowledgement of mishandling.
The real climategate is the systemic squelching of the reasoned and evidenced opinions of scientists in the field of climatology. It is the fact that nobody’s paying attention to the very illegal activities that went on in an attempt to discredit the solid science. This solid science shows that climate change is happening, and that we humans are to no small degree responsible for it.