Monday, November 30, 2009

Just Who Are the Deniers Now?

It started with leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit suggesting, if not outright stating, that scientists had manipulated data to support the notion of manmade global warming. Global warming skeptics, like yours truly, pointed at the emails as proof of what has been circulating in the scientific community for a decade or so, but had not been widely expressed. Leftist bloggers and commentators have either been silent or extremely vocal (and might I add abrasive) as a response to the news. With two recent events, however, the guilty parties and their defenders are seeing their credibility take more hits.

Recently, the Times Online website posted a story that scientists at the aforementioned Climate Research Unit threw away much of the raw data used in their climate change research. As of this writing, it’s unclear as to when they dumped this information, but the fact that they had to admit this after a Freedom of Information inquiry couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Now, it will become more difficult for their peers to try to recreate their research. This may buy them a little time as they try to figure out when the data in question was scrubbed, but the lasting impact is that the CRU looks like it was trying to hide something after the fact. For them to be mostly cleared of this perception, they are going to have to do a lot of work to show the data dump was either unintentional or inconsequential.

The University has taken the first step on this road by announcing they would drop their opposition to releasing the data once the CRU completes negotiations under some non-publication agreements. Of course, if some of the data has already been tossed, it may become a meaningless gesture. We won’t know until we see all of the data, or at least as much of the data as the CRU is willing to part with.

To make matters worse, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has dug in, saying the recent revelations will not have an impact on that body’s work, as chairman Rajendra Pachauri said there is “virtually no possibility” that the scientists biased the information given to them. The IPCC may be commended in Leftist circles for standing firm against the tide of skepticism being shown these days, but it doesn’t address the issue adequately. Pachauri’s statement comes off as a whitewash of events, not as a serious inquiry into the situation itself. Given how widespread the now-erroneous conventional wisdom of client change is, simply saying “it didn’t happen” isn’t good enough. We need to see if they are the victims of a greater fraud or willing participants in perpetuating the fraud.

For decades, we’ve been told that man is responsible for the planet’s temperature, and when scientific inquiry has cast doubt on the veracity of this conclusion, the scientists responsible for the inquiries have been derided as being “bought and paid for by [insert name of evil industry here].” Now that we’ve seen more information come out that damns this point of view, maybe it’s time those who mocked the skeptics to man up and become skeptics themselves.

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