Getting the Facts About the Global Warming E-mail Scandal

| 1/6/2010 9:05:36 AM

KeyboardRemember the so-called “Climategate” e-mails that created a lot of hype last month? Now that the noise has subsided, we are left to ask, What did all that really amount to? 

First, What Started It All?

In November, unknown hackers stole thousands of documents and e-mails, some as many as 13 years old, from computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich, England. The Climate Research Unit is a pretty big player in global warming research. The British Broadcasting Corp. notes that they are one of the world’s leading research bodies on natural- and human-induced climate change.

The hacked e-mails, including personal exchanges from those at the CRU, appeared on the Internet on Tuesday, Nov. 17 (without permission from the university). A spokesperson from the university has confirmed that their server was hacked and that they are completing a thorough internal investigation and have involved the police.

Why Did the E-mails Create Such a Stir?

Apparent deception in some of the e-mails led to extensive media coverage and fired up skeptics of global warming, with some claiming these e-mails reveal that scientists have been purposefully skewing climate change research. For instance, one e-mail written by a researcher discusses using the “trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years” in an attempt to “hide the decline.” (Watch this CNN video, Climate E-mails Hacked, for more details.)

In another e-mail, a scientist calls one research paper “garbage,” saying, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” 

Other e-mails, such as the one detailed in the Time article, Has ‘Climategate’ Been Overblown? use some harsh language to talk about global warming skeptics. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a nonprofit devoted to promoting scientific solutions to environmental issues, explains that the most troubling messages refer to deleting e-mails to avoid disclosure in the event of a Freedom of Information request.  

7/10/2010 4:26:11 AM

I am thoroughly amazed at people who no nothing of statistics and climate models can be so sure that the climate change issue is a hoax. Those email snippets are a reflection of how statistical people speak about technical trends in the data. They should not be read in a layman’s venacular as they were not written with such in mind. It is unconscionable that anyone today can ignore the significant evidence that Climate change is happening and is more likely than not lead by human industrial activity. Denying what is happening makes you look increasingly foolish and more a partisan hack than anything.

1/25/2010 2:51:23 AM

"The United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen ran from December 7 to 18, so the timing of the Climategate scandal was frustrating to many hopeful that the Copenhagen Summit would result in a positive global initiative to address global warming." Hmm I smell a rat. It looks like this "climategate" "scandal" was politically motivated. What people seem to lack a basic understanding of climate science is that scientists and laymen alike saw the changes in the environment first. Drying up and disappearing lakes, melting glaciers, shorter winters were seen long before the theories about why they were happening were ever postulated. However theoretical predictions are also starting to materialize. This latest deep freeze in the UK is a scary sign the gulf stream is shutting down just as predicted. What people have to understand is, it does not matter what people are saying. The chatter doesn't make a damn bit of difference. What is HAPPENING matters. I think people grew up on too many soap operas thinking social interaction was the same as reality. It isn't. The icecaps are melting. That is reality. People are saying that Brittany Spears and a GOP Senator from Arizona say it is totally cold at the South pole so global warming can't be happening. That isn't reality. Understand?

1/8/2010 2:26:02 PM

Without intending to, Daniel totally supported my comments. Anyone who is the least bit skeptical of global warming, according to Daniel, "clearly lack(s) even a basic semblence of scientific understanding". What elitist arrogance! I have a Bachelor's degree in a science field and as I mentioned by brother has a PhD in a science field and makes his living doing research, so obviously some of the skeptics do have a basic semblence of scientific understanding! There are thousands of highly respected scientists who question global warming and have done extensive research on the subject, does Daniel think these scientists "clearly lack even a basic semblence of scientific understanding"? I don't know the background of the others who have commented here but I'm sure they are intelligent adults and do not deserve to have their intellect questioned by Daniel or anyone else.

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