Environment,  Ethics

Climategate

On Friday the Guardian reported that hackers had broken in to computers belonging to the world-renowned Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Evidence of allegedly dodgy practices was revealed:

Climate change sceptics who have studied the emails allege they provide “smoking gun” evidence that some of the climatologists colluded in manipulating data to support the widely held view that climate change is real, and is being largely caused by the actions of mankind.

Colleagues in other institutions rushed to defend  their fellow scientists:

“It does look incriminating on the surface, but there are lots of single sentences that taken out of context can appear incriminating,” said Bob Ward, director of policy and communications at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. “You can’t tell what they are talking about. Scientists say ‘trick’ not just to mean deception. They mean it as a clever way of doing something – a short cut can be a trick.”

George Monbiot, also writing in the Guardian, took a different view yesterday:

Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

While I don’t have enough of a scientific background to comment on the subject matter of the documents, nor enough time to hunt for and even skim review them I’m more than able to recognise anti-scientific methods when it’s as blatant as his.

Honest people will have to re-examine their attitude to man-made climate change in light of this revelation.

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