"ClimateGate" a PR Disaster That Will Be "Taught in University Communications Courses"

By Chris Mooney | December 11, 2009 10:49 am

You simply must read science journalist Fred Pearce’s take on the PR blunders made in “ClimateGate,” especially by the University of East Anglia and other institutions. He writes:

The media blizzard that has descended on climate science since the hacking of hundreds of e-mails held on the webmail server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, is set to become a case study — in public relations disasters, in the folly of incontinent electronic communication, in the shortcomings of peer review, and, very probably, in “how not to save the world.”

And again:

The failure of the University of East Anglia to respond substantially to the avalanche of invective from climate skeptics has been a PR disaster that undermined the reputation of science as well as the institution itself. One angry media insider says: “Their response will be taught in university communications courses. Because I’m going to make sure it is.” The university’s failure for a full fortnight to put up a single scientist to defend Phil Jones amounted to cruelty.

Ah, but will scientists and heads of scientific institutions take those communications courses? As we explained in Unscientific America, this is still a rarity, at best.

“ClimateGate” is really the ultimate in demonstrating that the scientific world has got to work vastly harder on communications.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Global Warming, Media and Science

Comments (44)

  1. toasterhead

    I’d like to propose a moratorium on climategate/swifthack stories in the fact-based section of the blogosphere. By continuing to promote this non-story, you’re shifting focus away from the real news coming out of Copenhagen – climate debt, climate reparations, and how the response to climate change is as much a poverty issue as it is a scientific one.

    Continuing to debate the science itself is like debating the merits of slavery 150 years after its abolition. It’s pointless, unproductive, and drags us backward instead of forward. Time to move on and leave the deniers behind.

  2. Denbo

    Stop it NOW!!! Skepticism has no place in science you Holocaust… I mean AGW DENIERS!!!

  3. BartonCreekBett

    I agree, let’s discuss the facts not the emails. Please someone look at how their computer codes “homogenize” the temp data for all of these studies. The emails jsut show the scientists admitting how to stifle FOI requests and belittle any one with an opinion other than theirs. The true story is raw temp data-gate. Look at the fortran code. They have run no less than 20 different computer snippets on their “raw” temp data to provide the needed rise in temps. Read the comments from the fortran developer, he admits just adding in static value’s to get a result. No wonder they hide from FOI requests.

    Simple stuff, someone show me a study using raw temp data as input from varied sources, the actual computer code to homogenize the data, and the resulting graph over the last 150 years. It is not as easy to find as you think it would be. All the studies i find utilize other peoples studies who utilized other studies who utilized GISS or CRU or GHCN, which in themselves use homogenized final data nicely corelating with each other, but still no source code to explain how a raw temp half degree rise over 100 years turns into 2 to 10 degree rise over 100 years.

  4. Sorbet

    It wasn’t just the university; it was Jones himself who was silent for most of the initial time, silence that was of course conveniently construed by the deniers as a cover up. Even Joe Romm thought this was a bad strategy on Jones’s part.

  5. iainsy

    Yeah in his opening Gambit he says…..

    ‘Lots of people BELIEVE in UFOs. It doesn’t make them right. Lots of people DON’T BELIEVE in man-made climate change. It doesn’t make them right either.”

    Some dolt called fred pearce……

    My take on that is…

    Why Not?

    ‘Lots of people DON’T BELIEVE in UFOs. It doesn’t make them right. Lots of people BELIEVE in man-made climate change. It doesn’t make them right either.”

    Why not?
    ‘Lots of people BELIEVE in UFOs. It doesn’t make them right. Lots of people BELIEVE in man-made climate change. It doesn’t make them right either.”
    ‘Lots of people DON’T BELIEVE in UFOs. It doesn’t make them right. Lots of people DON’T BELIEVE in man-made climate change. It doesn’t make them right either.”



  6. @toasterhead:

    Clearly you’re part of the problem. “Ignore skeptics and move on” is hardly an intellectually honest approach.

    How about releasing all of the source the data as well as the modeling code and allow the skeptics to submit it to a rigorous review. What’s so terrible about that if the science is as strong as you assert?

  7. iainsy

    ps. Bring On the EPA ANTI HUMAN CO2 Ruling! I can’t wait to Sue COCA COLA for making me a danger to mankind because of all the farting and burping that their ‘Product’ makes me do!

    Sue, Sue, Sue!

  8. FadingFast

    BartonCreekBett has hit the nail on the head. The land-based raw temperature data show a flat to very mild increase over the 20th century with some significant ups and downs, but hockey stick curves abound in the “adjusted” data of the major players. There is a very significant divergence of the land data from the sea and satellite data. This is the place for both journalists, objective scientists, and the public to concentrate on. Why the divergence? In adequate adjustment for the urban heat island effect is the most likely cause, but biased selective data inclusion and exclusion is also likely. All of this needs to be rigorously audited. For a window into this subject, see the discussion of the manipulation of the data for northern Australia, specifically Darwin airport at:

  9. The propaganda supporting AGW is so pervasive that it is hard for people to accept that it could be wrong. Every assumption the theory is based on has been proven wrong by empirical science. There is no real world empirical proof that manmade Co2 caused the late 20th century warming that peaked in 1998. The biggest lie is that a warmer planet will cause ecological disasters. Earths boimass increases during warm periods and life flourishes. Plants die or become dormant in winter or cold climates. There will ALWAYS be droughts and ecological disasters. It is the nature of our ever changing environment. WE should be taking on black carbon,deforestation,pestisides and other real pollutants. Carbon is the basis for all life on this planet. You have to give credit to the people who figured out this scam for profit and control. Trillions of dollars are involved, all to be controled by the world bank. This is an opportunity for the world to wake up and see how easily false realities can be created by propaganda.

  10. johnsmoothy

    Facts indeed!

    Where shall we start? “Lost” data, which Dr. Jones stated in his email he would destroy rather than release? All of the original raw data destroyed because of “storage problems”? Code that gives the same result with random numbers, or with alleged “data”? Frank discussions of how to thwart the FOIA? Frank discussions of how to rig the peer review process? Frank discussions of how to discredit colleagues who did not agree with the “consensus”? Verifiable facts that Dr. Jones and company acted on these discussions? The 30,000+ real scientists who signed the Global Warming Petition stating the evidence does not support the “belief” that humans caused “global warming”? I could go on, but this should keep us busy for a while, if we want to discuss just facts.

    If this is the warmest period ever, how do we explain the Viking in Greenland found buried in permafrost? He had been farming that area, and he was not farming the permafrost.

    Or how about this: I am right now sitting in a place that was by ALL accounts covered by an extremely thick ice sheet for thousands of years. Did it melt because early humans driving Hummers caused climate change thousands of years ago?

    Or, just for sport, let’s mention Mr. Gore’s recent statement that the “newest” of the emails was over 10 years old? Fact: the emails are time stamped as recent as last month. Of course, maybe a lie is a fact to him.

    How’s that for starters if we are going to discuss only facts?

    The facts are the inconvenient truths. This is not a PR disaster; this is a real disaster for science.

  11. TTT

    I find it increasingly revolting that you continue to focus on this issue solely from a communications perspective–specifically to hammer home how bad you think every other scientist involved is except you and how if only they’d done what your book said, none of this would ever have happened. .

    Guess what? YOU are already here, doing what you’re doing, yet this problem is as bad as it is despite you and your recommendations. Maybe, just maybe, you’re prescribing the wrong medicine!

    I have asked you REPEATEDLY for an example of what a “good” response to a professionally coordinated email hack and mass-distribution of cherry-picked information possibly could be. If you will not provide one, would you at least stop blaming the victims, ever?

    No response could possibly pre-empt a theft, and since we’re still dealing with people who believe things like “global cooling of the 1970s” or “it’s cold out now, so AGW is false,” *****ANY***** response from the scientific community must be expected to fail on some levels, just because of how dense and ideological a lot of the opposition is. What William F. Buckley referred to as “invincible ignorance.”

  12. The dilemma is that research institutions with no PR resources will always be vulnerable to spin from outsiders pushing an agenda (this includes the environmentalists as well as the denialists). Yet, if research institutions start spending significant resources on PR, they will be accused at best wating research funds, and at worst of spinning, over-hyping, and distorting their own research.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    The only resolution will be this classic article from The Onion.

  13. Megan

    I think they have a liitle bit more than a “PR problem” here. The genie is out of the bottle and its only a matter of time before the AWG shills join the 9/11 Truthers. Good company.

  14. Q

    so THIS ARTICLE IS SAYING THE UNIVERSITY SHOULD HAVE LIED A LITTLE BETTER? WOW !! Discover Magazine is now officially discredited The response of the climate-science establishment to Climategate has been disappointing if not predictable. The guild mentality has come to the fore. Campaigns are under way to defend the integrity of science from a scurrilous smear campaign. The message is simple: you are either with us or you are a barbarian.

    The first line of response to the leaked or hacked emails, you recall, was to say that they showed science going on as usual–even science at its best, some argued. “Trick” did not mean trick; “hiding the decline” did not mean hiding the decline. These were innocent phrases torn out of context. As for the expostulations of harry_read_me, and discussing ways to punish or silence dissidents, and musing over the deletion of data that might be demanded under FOI requests, er, this is all just part of the healthy cut and thrust of normal scientific inquiry. We all have to let off steam now and then. No conspiracy. Nothing improper.

    That did not work–too many of the emails speak for themselves–and the scandal refused to die down. The next line of response was to say that the emails involved just a few individuals, and implicate no more than a sliver of information about global warming. Even if you threw out everything the Climatic Research Unit had done, such is the weight of other research that nothing would change. (The newly empowered EPA administrator added a nice wrinkle last night on the PBS Newshour. The work in question was done abroad. Other research was done by Americans. So no cause for alarm. Well, no cause for lack of alarm, if you see what I mean.)

    This is a strange defense. Would deleting not just selected CRU data but its entire research effort really subtract nothing from what we thought we knew?If CRU’s work is as redundant as that, taxpayers might wonder if they have been getting value for money. At the very least, in fact, one layer of confirmation would be removed, which is not nothing. And of course CRU’s contribution was much more important than that. The e mailers are among the world’s leading, and most influential, climate scientists; they are not just a few marginally significant individuals. It is far from clear how independent the supposedly corroborating research on the temperature record is. Networks of co-authors span these various efforts. A lot of the raw and parboiled data is shared. If the CRU work is impaired–that is the question the emails raise–the effects on the state of our knowledge are non-negligible.

    Also note that the first line of defense fatally undermines the second. If the CRU emails show climate science as it is done in the real world, and there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, then what reason is there to think that the corroborating research, even if truly independent, has been done to a higher standard? If coercing the data, bad-mouthing dissenters, and covering your tracks are business as usual in climate science–which is what we have been told–why expect the other proofs of the temperature record to be any better? I would be far more persuaded by the “plenty of other evidence” line if there had been more of an outcry over the CRU emails from within the climate-science community. There have been some protests, but not many.

    Which leaves just the “attack on science”. Circle those wagons. If you criticize one of us, you criticize all of us. No distinction is attempted between intelligent informed critics (of whom there are plenty) and ignorant malicious critics (of whom, admittedly, there are far more). The distinction which is emphasized, rather, is between qualified critics and unqualified–where “qualified” means “people who agree with us”. What could be more anti-scientific?

    To criticize the work of a particular scientist or collaborating group of scientists is no more to attack science than criticizing a particular journalist is to attack press freedom, or criticizing a particular politician is to attack democracy. Trying to shut down criticism in the name of science is the real attack on science.

  15. 20,000 years ago, Canada was in the last Glacial Maximum followed by the Medieval Warming Period when the Earth was warmer by several degrees more so than today. In fact the Earth was so much warmer the Vikings were able to sail to Greenland(Vinland) which had trees and was as the name implies-Greenland was green.
    Then the Earth went through the Little Ice Age(16th Century-mid 19th Century.
    As documented, the Earth goes through warming and cooling cycles that have everything to do with the Sun. Having said what I’ve said, I dont believe in poisoning the environment or selling carbon credits to continue polution.

  16. The larger picture should be of interest to both sides of this discussion. Temperature data from a Greenland ice core: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/09/hockey-stick-observed-in-noaa-ice-core-data/ I’ve actually been to Greenland. Must have been much warmer for Vikings to have grown crops back then.

  17. Sorry, but this amuses me:

    I agree, let’s discuss the facts not the emails. … The emails jsut show the scientists admitting how to stifle FOI requests and belittle any one with an opinion other than theirs.

  18. Here is a solution to big oil. If 1% of what they are proposing spending on cap & trade was invested in some of these technologies big oil would be done. http://peswiki.com/index.php/Congress:Top_100_Technologies_–_RD

  19. johnsmoothy Says:

    The 30,000+ real scientists who signed the Global Warming Petition stating the evidence does not support the “belief” that humans caused “global warming”

    You know that this sentence instantly costs you any credibility you might have had, right?

    Ain’t nothing “real” about those scientists.

    Anyone can print out the form, fill it whatever BS they want, and mail it in. OISM won’t check. If it looks OK, it is OK.

    OISM thinks that anyone with a B.S. is a “scientist”. So, your veterinarian, your TV weathermen (including David Letterman), and quite possibly the nurse who gave you your last blood test are all “scientists” as far as OISM is concerned.

    OISM thinks that virtually any field is relevant to climate science. Medicine is relevant to climate science, apparently because doctors are familiar with breathing. I’m still not sure how the expertise of Wilbur A. Aanes is relevant, but I’m sure OSIM has a very compelling argument. He’s a veterinary surgeon specializing in large animals.

    OISM printed the initial mailing, which went to members of the National Academy of Sciences, to look exactly like an NAS communication. I can’t imagine why they did that. Can you? It couldn’t possibly be so that busy scientists would assume it was an NAS petition and sign it without reading it, could it? Nah.

    Did someone else put your name on the list when you’re actually opposed to the petition? Too bad, so sad. OISM won’t take you off no matter how many times you ask them to.

    Did you die in the 90s? Too bad again. You’re on the petition for life. And death, apparently. The idea that you could conceivably have changed your mind based on another decades’-worth of evidence doesn’t bother OISM one bit.

    Look, any number of people, myself included, have tracked down random selections of names from that list and found virtually no qualified scientists–and not many scientists of any stripe. Of the dozen names I picked, not a single one was a scientist, much less a qualified scientist.

    Looking for a scam in climate science? You found it.

  20. Doug

    Chris Dunford, this whole sordid mishmash amuses me.

    It really all depends on what your definition of “is” is.

  21. Daniel Anderson

    Can we start drilling today now that Gaia and the False Prophet Goricle have jumped the shark.
    The Warmist continue to embrace the religion while ignoring the truth that their base data has been destroyed, their vaunted computer models had data intergrated into the models instead of being independent of the models, and all the math does not add up. By the Way…Peer review is not to be an ideological exercise in order to get government money, but we know now warmists are whores.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    There is a theme in your post that others have rightfully pointed out, which is that while you seem to be saying on the one hand that scientists should be better communicators ala Feynman, you are saying on the other hand this should be taught in PR courses how scientists need to figure out how to spin better.

    Regarding the emails, Steve McIntyre did have a very interesting posts yesterday putting the emails together, linearly, in context, to examine what the trick of hiding the decline meant: innocuous clever way to solve a calculation or an agenda driven method of covering up and glossing over problematic data.

    I would be interested in knowing how various PR experts would deal with his post and compare that to a sampling of how current scientists without PR skills would deal with that post.

  23. Doug

    Just found the post the AC referenced above: http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/

    It is an interesting read.

  24. Bill

    These guys were pretty good at lying and concealing the data. EPA shredded their data. NASA is still refusing a FOIA request. NOAA is involved. Nope, we don’t need better liars.

  25. Jack

    U. S. Senate Minority Report:

    More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

    Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008 & 2009


  26. Mariss

    I wonder if communication classes will also teach how Discover (Science, Technology and the Future?) stood behind the discredited AWG theory long after everyone else realized it and the “science” it generated was a fraud.:-)

  27. Dave Bissett

    Other planets in our solar system are heating up as well. To think its caused from our emissions is ludicrous! Rather then Carbon its more likely caused from the Sun. We need carbon, we are made of carbon.

    This whole issue is about creating a new tax, a new tax that is carried by all countries. Rather then give us more freedom, we will be slaves to the new tax, while carbon is removed from the Earths crust and burried deep underground. This will also stifle life, as carbon is the requirement to build life. Less trees will be the result, just do a search on CO2 and Aspen or Poplars growth.

    This Global warming tax based on flawed “flat earth” type mentalities will result in a one world tax, which will result in a one world government. Its not needed or required, as the worlds ability to produce more energy is starting to hit peak, with ever increasing prices for oil and energy, it will naturally result in the development to renewable energies.

    A global tax however, will result in a loss of freedoms

  28. Bob

    I see. So if I’m following your logic, the problem with Bernie Madoff and Enron was that (1) they didn’t have an effective PR strategy and (2) we should teach students how to be better at covering up fraud so as to avoid these kind of problems.

    Interesting concept.

    I kinda thought we should be teaching ethics.

  29. jgfox

    Enjoy the spirited debate about the meaning of Climategate.

    After reading a large number of emails and the “Harry Read Me” file, I am convinced that CRU are distorting, destroying, and using Madoff type computer models to get the results they want.

    I really am shocked about how much control a small cadre of scientists have over the data, the peer review system and what is presented to other scientists for their “independent” work.

    The destruction … oh, sorry, “loss” of original data is a crime and should be punished as such. That alone is enough to make suspect all the work based on “homogenized” data.

    There is a recent posting on wattsup that clearly shows NASA removing older data from a California weather station to make more current years look warmer.

    And the older data is no longer available.

    Fortunately, it had been recorded several years prior and a blink graph shows the Before and After its been Hansenized.

    Who are you going to believe; Hansen or your cheating eyes?


    AGW is indeed a Religion and its High Priests and their acolytes are enforcing the strict tenets of revealed truth.

    We should take a lesson from Watergate and “follow the money”.

  30. I have to admit, the histrionics of the AGW skeptic crowd are quite the spectacle to behold. However, there is one thing I do agree with:

    The divide between those who practice science and those who consume it isn’t just a PR issue. To focus on this as merely a communications problem shows a failure to appreciate the complexity, depth and scope of the disconnect, and only serves to water the seeds of discord. It seems to me that it would better serve your readership to confront the content of the emails directly and, if possible, provide some needed perspective on the nature of the controversy and why it doesn’t spell the end of climate science as we know it.

    Well, it might be a good start anyway.

    Just a couple random, incomplete thoughts before bed.

  31. robert

    Maybe few scientists at CRU rushed to their defense because they were also disgusted and dismayed by the content of the emails, and the lack of scientific rigor that they reveal.

    Plenty of competent scientists are sceptical of the agw evidence:

    Dr. Robert Lindzen, MIT

    Dr. Howard Hayden, UConn

    American Physical Society

    the science is far from settled.

    read original sources. ignore the cranks on the right and left of this issue and make up your own mind. you may become a sceptic as well.

  32. @ Dave Bissett

    Other planets in our solar system are heating up as well.

    What other planets, and what evidence do you have for this?

    The two most commonly mentioned are Mars and Pluto.

    The evidence for actual warming on Mars is very thin, it consists of a series of photographs of one icy region covering a period of just 3 Martian years. That ain’t much evidence for global warming on Mars, and it’s very short term. (And it’s interesting that skeptics take this one set of photos of melting ice on Mars as conclusive proof that Mars is warming, while the same sort of evidence multiplied a thousandfold on Earth is poo-pooed.)

    As for Pluto, the only time we can take its temperature is during an occultation. The two measurements on which this claim is based occurred 14 years apart, in 1988 and 2002. . Pluto’s orbit is a bit under 250 Earth years long, so what we have is exactly two data points that occurred 0.06 Plutonian years apart. This is like trying to draw a conclusion about a changing Earth climate based only on the temperatures from January 1 and January 20 of a single year. Pretty thin gruel.

    And in both cases, the climate is totally different from that of Earth. Atmospheric composition, orbit, inclination, geology, you name it–all very different. Comparing their climates to Earth’s really is pretty meaningless. It’s not just comparing apples and oranges, it’s more like comparing apples and helicopters.

    So, that’s Mars and Venus. What other planets do you have in mind?

  33. Iainsy

    You could all have a wee look and see what our Canadian friends are saying in the comments in this 7 BILLION CARBON CREDIT TAX SCAM OVER IN EUROPE….. You know? where the Ho’pe2GainKen Cop 14.5 Wasteful Pow Wow is in deep flow….. S’funny! THE FRAUDSTERS ARE BEING DEFRAUDED BY OTHER FRAUDSTERS! –

    Check it out!

  34. Anthony McCarthy

    Carbon polluting industry + right-wing paranoia + compliant, bought off media + careless expression by scientists (who were rather naive to think their communications were secure) is what climate gate consists of.

    The only variable in this equation is firmly in the hands of the scientists is their communication. If they don’t learn from this (as they refused to learn from similar communications based PR disasters in recent history) they aren’t as bright as they like to think they are.

    I still wonder if some of this isn’t the result of the late-adolescent milieu of universities being the locus of much of our real intelligentsia. We pay a price for the inability of people to leave that kind of stuff behind.

  35. jallen

    >>>”scientific world has got to work vastly harder on communications.”

    Actually, if this one institution, CRU, worked vastly harder on scientific ethics, it would not have the communications and PR problem in the first place…

  36. It’s journalists who have to go back to school. Coverage of this non-issue has been utterly pathetic.

  37. Jeremy

    QUOTE: ““ClimateGate” is really the ultimate in demonstrating that the scientific world has got to work vastly harder on communications.”


    “ClimateGate” is really the ultimate in demonstrating that the media world has got to work vastly harder on basic science and ethical, balanced reporting.

    The global media would not have been completely hoodwinked by this “man-made” global warming hoax if they

    1) did not already want to say important shocking things, maximize circulation, and increase advertising revenues by promoting a Hollywood-style dramatic man-made climate catastrophe explanation for recent modest natural warming.
    2) had even a basic level of science or investigative skills in order to know that natural changes in our Global Climate is quite normal and huge and huge changes have been documented in the recent and distant past; and that explaining all these huge natural changes is still far beyond atmospheric science.
    3) how dishonest it is to confidently take an extremely complex global climate and boil everything down to a single factor, a trace gas, the man-made “CO2 monster”, when we can’t even explain the natural cycles.

    Discover magazine – please stop “crying wolf” – the world is NOT about to end. We are NOT about to all drown and, frankly, people are starting to get bored of this false alarmism.

  38. casalles

    many contributors to climategate do not have a clear view on how Science works.Pehaps reading Karl Popper books eg Conjectures and Refutations and others more easy to read will raise the level of criticism.They will undestand that science starts with hipothesis that must be severely critisized and confronted with Facts.

  39. John A. Jauregui

    Are you angry about this obvious fraud and the national media’s complicity in the cover-up, misinformation, reframing and misdirection of the issue? Take responsibility and take action. STOP all donations to the political party(s) responsible for this fraud. STOP donations to all environmental groups which funded this Global Warming propaganda campaign with our money, especially The Environmental Defense Fund. They have violated the public trust. KEEP donations local, close to home. MAKE donations to Oklahoma’s Senator Inhofe, the only politician to stand firmly against this obvious government/media coordinated information operation (propaganda) targeted at its own people. People that government leaders and employees are sworn to protect. WRITE your state and federal representatives demanding wall to wall investigations of government sponsored funding and coordination of this and related propaganda campaigns and demand indictments of those responsible. WRITE your state and federal Attorneys General demanding Al Gore and others conducting Global Warming/Climate Change racketeering and mail fraud operations be brought to justice, indicted, tried, convicted and jailed. Carbon is the stuff of life. He (Obama) who controls carbon, especially CO2, controls the world. Think of the consequences if you do nothing! For one, the UK is becoming the poster child for George Orwell’s “1984” and the US government’s sponsorship of this worldwide Global Warming propaganda campaign puts it in a class with the failed Soviet Union’s relentless violation of the basic human right to truthful government generated information. Given ClimateGate’s burgeoning revelations of outrageous government misconduct and massive covert misinformation, what are the chances that this Administration’s National Health Care sales campaign is anywhere near the truth?


  40. bilbo

    many contributors to climategate do not have a clear view on how Science works

    100% correct. If many skeptics have ever taken a course on the philosophy and methodology of science, they wouldn’t be skeptics at all.

    Now just imagine if most skeptics could think for themselves, rather than just gobbling up whatever their political party/favorite bloggers say….

  41. Brian Too

    Anyone notice that the climate change deniers have begun to admit that climate change happens? They just deny that it matters and, most importantly to them, that people have any role to play in it.

    If the denialists go extinct because of climate change I won’t be too sad. I’ll think of them but not often. On the other hand I have no intention of going extinct myself.

    It matters little whether people are the main cause of climate change. The challenge of evolution is whether people can adapt and live in spite of climate change. It’s also greatly in our self-interest to limit climate change. Otherwise the “conspiracy” the denialists harp on will pale in comparison to the ecological, economic and social upheavals to come.

    ClimateGate is a hiccup in a hurricane.


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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