Michael Gerson Attempts Thoughtfulness on "ClimateGate," Then Gives it Up

By Chris Mooney | December 11, 2009 6:47 am

The latest column by Michael Gerson in the Washington Post is a fascinating read. He starts out with a well reasoned account of why the stolen climate emails from East Anglia cannot be taken to undermine the global edifice of climate science:

But the hacked climate e-mails reveal a scandal, not a hoax. Even if every question raised in these e-mails were conceded, the cumulative case for global climate disruption would be strong. The evidence is found not only in East Anglian computers but also in changing crop zones, declining species, melting ice sheets and glaciers, thinning sea ice and rising sea levels. No other scientific theory explains these changes as well as global warming related to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions since the Industrial Revolution. Over millennia, the climate shifts in natural cycles. But we seem to be increasing the pace of change so rapidly that plants, animals and humans may not be able to adequately adjust.

Bravo! This is better than I could have put it. And yet unfortunately, Gerson then somehow goes on blame the scientists quoted in the emails for undermining the whole scientific enterprise:

This professional objectivity is precisely what the hacked e-mails call into question. Some of these scientists are merely activists, deeply invested in a predetermined outcome. They assume that political change is the goal; the scientific enterprise is the means — like a political ad or a campaign speech. But without trust in disinterested, scientific judgments on climate, most non-scientists will resist costly, speculative, legislative actions. When the experts become advocates, no one believes the experts or listens to the advocates.

It is an irony of the first order. Having accused others of a “war on science,” it is climate scientists who are assaulting the authority of science more effectively than anyone else.

I’m not saying that every scientist whose emails have been quoted in “ClimateGate” behaved in a perfectly appropriate manner. However, although he whirls around the phrase “war on science,” Gerson clearly doesn’t know what it means.

What it means, among other things, is that the very scientists now in question were at that moment, when they were writing those emails, subject to politically motivated data requests, harassment, and attempts to seed the scientific literature with questionable papers, all activities tied to fossil fuel interests and their supporting think tanks and politicians. All of this is documented amply in The Republican War on Science.

So for Gerson to describe the scientists as arrogant, “a community coddled by global elites, extensively funded by governments, celebrated by Hollywood and honored with international prizes”–this is ludicrous. These are people who are regularly slandered, pulled before Congress, and indeed, subject to email hacking. They have been under intense and politically motivated fire for years. And, yes, they developed a bit of a siege/herd mentality as a result. Who wouldn’t?

The East Anglia emails cannot be read in any other context but this one.

Comments (50)

  1. Andrew

    The Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the UK was set up in 1971 with funding from Shell and BP as is described in the book: “The history of the University of East Anglia, Norwich; Page 285)” By Michael Sanderson. The CRU was still being funded in 2008 by Shell, BP, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and UK Nirex LTD (the nuclear waste people in the UK)

    This is important to know, for two reasons.
    Firstly, the key institution providing support for Global Warming theories and the basis for the IPCC findings receives funding from “Big Oil” and the nuclear power industry.

    Secondly, the research from the institution which is perceived to be independent publicly funded research, is actually beholden to soft money, CRU is in fact a business.

    The funders of the CRU are on the bottom of this page from their website:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20080627194858/http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/about/history/

    He who pays the piper..

  2. Andrew,

    Bravo! You managed to show precisely the opposite of what you intended to show (I’ve seen this posting and others of yours elsewhere).

    First, the presence of outside funding is not automatically an indication of a conflict of interest or impropriety. Funding that is not disclosed, or that’s tied to a result that favors the benefactor might be, but even then this isn’t definitive.

    Second, the funding information was disclosed on a cached public webpage. That means it was disclosed to the public at some point in the past (when the site was still live – sites change all the time, so no problem there), and is obviously and in fact, still available. How does this indicate impropriety?

    Finally, if anyone has a vested interest in global warming being FALSE, it is “big oil.” They are part of the pollution equation. That they funded the CRU and the scientists came to the opposite conclusion is very telling, but not in the way you seem to imply.

    You might have had a point if the nuclear folks were the only (or the biggest) contributor AND other research units around the world with different funding models hadn’t reached the same conclusions.

    It would have been better for you to have heeded Samuel Clemems advice. He said “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

  3. Cam Winston

    Keep spinning. Maybe it’ll catch on somewhere other than the echo chamber.

  4. IGORE

    Hacked email reveil a HOAX, a SCAM, FRAUD of which MANY MADE PROFITS OFF OF!
    Email samples-

    Manipulation of evidence:
    I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

    Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:
    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

    Suppression of evidence:
    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

    Let’s see just how good climate change-global warming believers are at lying about lies.

    Hint, they aren’t that good.

    THEY HAVE STOLEN TAX PAYER MONEY.
    LET THEM STUDY HOW TO GET OUT OF JAIL.

  5. Sorry, Chris,

    Gerson is right on this one.

    I am sympathetic, at a personal level, with the scientists responding to persistent attack by developing a siege mentality. I am not sympathetic with their response, which, the emails show, was to cherry-pick data and tailor their presentation to support the message they wanted to send. That may not be a war, but it’s certainly a battle against science, cut from the same cloth that you described in your book.

  6. dean

    you make me sick.

  7. BartonCreekBett

    As a computer coder, I must say if what was released as computer code is actually what they use to determine global warming this story has legs. The fortran code is utter garbage. Even if the raw data temps for input where released to the public, there are so many independent code snippets it would be impossible to replicate the results. I know temps have been getting warmer by about a half degree over the century, but I really would like to see the GHCN and NASA raw data and computer code to homogenize the data. If it looks anything like this stuff no wonder they won’t release it.

  8. bilbo

    All-caps IGORE:

    THEY HAVE STOLEN TAX PAYER MONEY.

    Explain. And when I mean “explain,” I mean respond with the intellect of someone higher than a high school freshman.

  9. Jon

    They have been under intense and politically motivated fire for years. And, yes, they developed a bit of a siege/herd mentality as a result. Who wouldn’t?

    This is right on. Nice.

  10. Sergey, VT

    Right, give all the power to Junk Science aka Climate Science. Let them fudge data and hide the decline and based on that junk US taxpayers should give $30 billions to UN without asking any question about quality of the reserch. FOIA??? How dare you are?

    Replication of results? What Replication of results? A great man Mann can not be dragged before a Congressional Comission chaired by some Statistitian. What those professors of Statistics may possibly know about Mann’s usage of …statistics.? The found that Mann was misusing statistics:

    http://www.probeinternational.org/old_drupal/UrbanNewSite/Wegman%5B2%5D.pdf

    Their fault, they did not get it because they do not really understand Climate Science.

    >>>The Republican War on Science

    Hmmm…I would rather call it “The Republican War on JUNK Science” or “The Republican War on Scientific Fascism”

  11. bilbo

    Andrew,

    J.C. has you nailed. He’s correct – funding by itself is not evidence of anything (although Silly Little Denialists commonly use it as some weird kind of evidence – you know, the “but scientists get funded!!!” argument).

    To echo J.C.’s point, what makes the difference here is that the paper in question in the whole “redefine peer-review” email was underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute (and here’s the important part) without that underwritign originally being disclosed. This wasn’t an innocent little article written by some guy independent of funding. It was largely a ghostwritten, fraudulent paper quietly underwritten by a corporation with a HUGE conflict of interest. Peer-review is set up to keep that kind of thing from happening (because it is the real definition of scientific fraud), and that’s what the Swifthack sunjects were discussing. Of course, if you don’t care about context and just seize upon things like an unthinking pit bull (like every Stupid Little Denialist does), you wouldn’t know that.

    What I just said above is not “spin.” It’s the truth and the very important context behind a very substantial part of the SwiftHack. No doubt you’ll accuse me of lying….because, after all, that’s the only recourse a Stupid Little Denialist has once they’re called out.

    Isn’t it?

  12. Glen

    I’m sure the heat miser, Al Gore, is sorry he invented the internet now. Darn viral emails!
    Is the earth’s climate heating up or cooling down or just changing? Are things melting or freezing? Help me out, I’m not that smart, really.

  13. Jon

    It’s interesting that Gerson can’t lay off the “elites” thing either. Gotta drop that culture war in there somewhere. Scientists colluding with Hollywood hippies against the silent majority. Nixon lives!

  14. Glen

    The constant and relentless juxtaposition of “stolen/hacked emails” with the “content of the emails” is, I’m sure, an attempt to discredit their contents. It’s quite annoying. I get already, they were lifted, snitched, pilfered, swiped, filched, hacked, stolen!

    Now, just deal with it! That is, the contents. They are quite damning.

    I trust those in support of global “warming, cooling, changing” have read the email.

  15. IGORE

    Im sorry Bilbo was the context in my post to hard for you to follow there. Your attempt at insult is amusing. I suspect next for you is grammar grading posts. Do you really need me to tell you how getting public funds from and for fudged science is stealing.

  16. JJ

    If we now can’t believe the climatologist community, who can we believe? Politics has no place in scientific research. It seems corruption is spreading beyond elitist politicians and high powered CEOs. These scientists are a disgrace to the scientific community.

  17. I think that we should understand the evidence put together by and posted at the Wonk Room. Planned and orchestrated from the beginning and then given gleeful voice by the choir of the uninformed.

    I even caught on Faux new program last night using Ben Stein as their climate-gate expert. I found it humorous even though it was not intended to be. Stein did repeat many of the Faux Facts that you hear all the time.

  18. BartonCreekBett

    Let’s have statistic reality here. Say the coal and oil industry spends $100 million on anti gloabl warming research. This number is dwarfed by the Billions being handed out by tax payers to continue global warming research. Not saying the scientists are scamming money here but….. if opposition scientist views can be bought for $100 someting mill, how much “data massaging” goes on to get at the billions of tax payer grants? NASA just got another $400 million and still will not show the computer code that homogenizes their raw data to produce higher temps…….hmmm… I can easily replicate the data findings of my high school science projects… I think NASA would be able to easily do the same….

  19. JJ

    I don’t think Bilbo understands that it’s illegal for the Federal government to fund partisan activities. i.e. Giving away our tax dollars to scientists that intentionally fudge data or only present data supporting a one sided political agenda.

  20. Marion Delgado

    Well said, Chris. This has stiffened my resolve like nothing else.

  21. Jon

    Let’s have statistic reality here. Say the coal and oil industry spends $100 million on anti gloabl warming research. This number is dwarfed by the Billions being handed out by tax payers to continue global warming research.

    All the coal and oil industry has to do with that hundred million is get someone to publish one or two studies that buck the consensus. They’ve had years to do this. But they’ve got nothing:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

    I suppose you could make some sort of argument that oil companies are some sort of persecuted party by scientific elites everywhere on the planet. And I suppose you could make that argument forever, no matter what the evidence. Conspiracy theorists tend to be that way.

  22. BartonCreekBett

    No conspiracy theories apply. Just making the point that the answer to 99 out of 100 questions is usually money in one way or the other, pro or anti global oil. The historic 1 out of 100 used to be scientific data. In light of this first view on the computer code behind the excess rise in temp’s, it may now be 100 out of 100 questions answer to money.

    I am just a computer programmer but what I know is scientific data should easily be replicated for review. Before this leak I took the documented “consensus” as fact about fast rising temps. After reviewing and digging in to find the simple temp data to back all of this up I am more confused. What I found is all of the research uses temp data from three sources; NASA GISS, GHCN and CRU. Also there are satellites that for some reason lately have had to have their raw data double checked and homogenized against the earth based data sets. Secondly CRU has only put forth the data for their computer models received from GISS, which had already been “massaged” to account for station differentials. NASA uses the raw data from stations but will not release the computer code that moves their average temps from a raw data half degree to their “adjusted” 1.5 to 2 degree rise? Simple basics that seem to be not there on fact checking. Interesting that three sets check and verify each other but no one can find how these models come to the same “consensus”.

    The raw data shows a blip of a half degree rise over 100 years, which is nothing. After “massaging” data by human created computer code we end up with 1,000 + studies of the data that says we have 1.5 to 10 degress of temp rise over 100 years, yet all of the studies refrence each others temp data. The studies refrencing raw temp data do not show the computer code used to “massage” the data.

    This is just not documented science. Speed of light calculations are the same no matter what, it seems global temps are wildly varying depending on the study.

  23. Denbo

    So you believe it was ok for Dr. Jones to stonewall the FOIA requests? You believe it was perfectly fine when he talked about destrying the data?

    Surely you cannot believe this and yet, you do. Why hide the data and the code? If AGW is undeniable then the scientists should be more than happy to release this info. And yet Dr. Jones ordered the others not to mention the FOIA to anyone and he even ORDERED THEM TO DELETE ALL EMAIL REGARDING AR4.

    Even Dr. Mann told the press that it was wrong for Jones to do so.

    But you’ll keep trying to prop him up, won’t you?

    And please don’t forget to look at the code and certainly the Harry Read Me file. For 3 year this man logged about how data existed for places in years there were no weather stations.

    See for example he wrote: “COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn’t open until 1993!”

    and lines like:

    “What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah — there is no ’supposed,’ I can make it up. So I have : – )”

    Tell me PLEASE… tell ALL OF US HOW CAN YOU SAY THIS WAS GOOD SCIENCE?

  24. Joe

    NASA just got another $400 million and still will not show the computer code that homogenizes their raw data to produce higher temps

    You mean the NASA GISTEMP data and code that are cleverly hidden on the NASA GISTEMPwebsite? I must admit they were difficult to find. First I had to go to google. Then I had to type in NASA global temperature data. Finally I had to hit the submit button and click on the top result. Come on, BartonCreekBett, you’re not even trying.

  25. Doug

    JJ, Bilbo specializes in hit and runs, calling people names and convincing himself that, once he has called them a name, he has won. He’s easy to ignore.

    Unlike some, I will admit that things have gotten warmer over the last century. My primary interest in this whole affair, however, remains the scientists under fire, and I think that’s where things go sideways in the posts and comments I read. If these fellows did what is alleged by these emails, if that can be shown to truly be the case, then they have sh*t the bed royally and should be flogged for it. Again, if this is the case, strong proponents of the consensus view on climate science would do well to start distancing themselves from this lot. To continue to defend them would cast a greater shadow on climate science than the one that would result from discounting the work called into question at present.

    In the long run, this whole tableau should be a good thing for climate science as a whole, while not so much for those directly involved. It will definitely increase the scrutiny on studies done in the field, and should help to ensure that, whatever the quality of the science to date, anything put forth from here on is as tight as a drum.

  26. BartonCreekBett

    On that page under “Current Analysis Method” there is a link to code that seems to require the temp data from “Hansen et al. 1996″ global temp set for historical records.

    On the “updates to analysis page”
    Aug. 7, 2007: A discontinuity in station records in the U.S. was discovered and corrected (GHCN data for 2000 and later years were inadvertently appended to USHCN data for prior years without including the adjustments at these stations that had been defined by the NOAA National Climate Data Center). This had a small impact on the U.S. average temperature, about 0.15°C, for 2000 and later years, and a negligible effect on global temperature, as is shown here.

    .15 c rise since 2000 thrown out. I like that, now moving on find the global raw temp data from “Hansen et al 1996″ or the computer code used to homogenize it’s data.

  27. “I’m not saying that every scientist whose emails have been quoted in “ClimateGate” behaved in a perfectly appropriate manner. ”

    Oh! Well, thank heavens for that! And in that one sentence, in that understatement of understatements, I watched you disappear into a nebulous fog of shape-shifting reason, and you completely lost me.

    In a “perfectly appropriate manner”?! The opposite of which would be a “not so perfectly appropriate”, “somewhat flawed” manner? Holy brown and slippery shovels, Batman! The lengths at which some go to minimize and characterize this as “that’s just how the sausage is made”, or “boys will be boys”, as if that’s just how science works is staggering! Mind numbing even.

    But that is, I believe, where you’re playing a part – and not a small part – in making it impossible to “hide the public decline” (the recent, and severe, erosion in public confidence), because it’s not a very good trick.

    George Monbiot’s trick was the only one that had me worried. At least he was able to appear to stand firmly on standards and principle, “shaken” and “disturbed”, and perfectly willing to thrown these morons, these unprincipled IDIOTS, under a bus, so that they would no longer be around to undermine the so-called overwhelming remaining “science”. But to morally equivocate? To actually try to paint this as “the norm” that we must try to understand and put into perspective so that it can stand? Not only are you lowering the bar by implying that it is “somewhat less than perfectly appropriate”, by implication this also means that this is how ALL science is conducted.

    Whether this is true or not is irrelevant to the fact that a vast portion of the public does not now (nor will it ever) feel that way.

  28. Wilhelm Labumbard

    Any work done without open peer review of data and methods is not science.

    If the results cannot be repeated by independent third parties, any resulting conclusion is not scientifically valid.

    These are the basics of the scientific method.

    Hiding raw data for any reason is not scientific.

    Refusing to publish all the details of methods used to reach a conclusion is not scientific.

    The leaked CRU emails clearly show their work had more in common with religion and politics than science…but I wouldn’t expect the vast majority of journalists who have no formal science education to understand that.

  29. Victor

    I remain skeptical of the climate change skeptics/denialists on this one. There’s no proof of a massive global warming cabal, yet these climate-change denialists take the hacked email quotes massively out of the context and are attempting to manufacture them as evidence for a “global warming conspiracy.” It’s funny and sad.

  30. Blue Light

    Oh, the poor beleagured “scientists”, harried as they jet hither and yon to one champagne and caviared conference after another.

    If you can’t stand the heat…

    get out of the kitchen.

  31. Matt

    1 Where is the clear undisputable ‘proof’ that global warming is happening?
    After shirinking a bit, the artic ice sheet is now as big as it was in the early90’s and the antartic ice sheet has been growing the entire decade.

    2 Even if Global Warming is happening, how do you go on to ‘proove’ that it’s caused by people? There isn’t a such thing as a second earth that we could use for testing, which would be needed to verify Gore’s claims of the science being ‘settled’. Otherwise, it’s just speculation.

    3 Furthermore, how does the plan to tax American workers in favor of Hatian or (insert name of favorite welfare economy) workers going to change the weather? Answer: it won’t, but the one-world-order types at the UN don’t care because it was never really about controlling the Earth’s atmosphere in the first place.

  32. Jon

    Where is the clear undisputable ‘proof’ that global warming is happening?

    Try Google.

  33. M Btok

    Check out the Copenhagen Document leaks, this knowledge may save your life! Do what you can with your Government Reps in your country to have these infringements on your life may be eliminated! You will literally be fighting for your and your family’s existence, Click the videos below:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAqqAnUxACY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94KH-WMZuw0

    Request that PM Harper doesn’t sign the Copenhagen Treaty, thereby causing Canadians to lose their Sovereignty and Freedom, email the PM at: pm@pm.gc.ca

  34. dave decaro

    Al Gore is on the board of directors at Google. The referree for climate science entries at wikipedia is William Connelly who has run for office in Britain on the Green Party ticket, the moderators at RealClimate like Gavin Schmidt are shown to be cooperating with the UEA crowd. There is a clear pattern of an attempt to control the information available to any curious layman.

  35. Mariss

    Discovery Magazine must either have a tin ear or their bloggers never read the comments section. Nothing said here seems to reach these people. They keep going with the “AGW is real and we’re all going to die!” propoganda despite it’s been shown to be a fraud. Arrogant fools!

  36. Phil

    Are we talking religion or science? Science doesn’t usually go for the one simple “explanation for everything” – I would like to hear someone explain how – quote: “The evidence is found ….also in changing crop zones, declining species, melting ice sheets and glaciers, thinning sea ice and rising sea levels. Even if the “warming” hypothesis is accepted, none of these things is in any way evidence linking C02 to warming. I can think of some rather commonsense explanations for these – eg might the declining species have something to do with humans and their urge to exterminate everything they cannot sell or eat? I guess wild bill hickcock – shooting bison by the thousand, was part of C02 induced warming then? Having spoken with researchers who work on site, I can truthfully inform on the Antartic ice situation, there is no ice shortage at the South Pole, nor any warming, the opposite is in fact true. I understand the North pole ice coverage is in dispute, as it seems to have re-formed this year to levels not seen since ~2000. Again changing ocean currents are relevant, as is normal variance. C02 is by no means the only suspect. Changing crop zones? Hmmm – might environment destruction – including soil leaching and salinity be more relevant ??? Worst of all is the complete lack of any rational evidence suggesting 350 or any other majic C02 number, will do anything at all. Commonsense suggests it will be as effective as King Canute’s efforts. As posted by others, hiding your raw data then claiming to have absolute proof, is not science, it is religious fraud. A good question is why are all the other “scientists” so coy about the sins of the warmists? Don’t they realise that science itself is now endangered by the lying zealots? Are they all in the pay of big carbon traders, in denial, or just idiot savants who can add but not think?

  37. Dr Mo

    This article appears to be a very confused, contorted, and ultimately obfuscating attempt to minimize the impact of the CRU-gate emails. BOTH Republicans AND Democrats war on science when they try to make science fit their ideologies. That said, the AGW debate is NOT over, and we need to have more scientifically informed opinion out there.

  38. Dan

    I have spent a considerable amount of time examining the CRU documents, with particular focus on the programmer’s notes and code. As a professional programmer, I am very disturbed by the methods they used to manipulate that data. What I see in those documents is an attempt to manipulate data to demonstrate a pre-determined outcome. That is not science–that is propaganda.

    I have gone from being modestly skeptical of the theory of global warming to being an out-right skeptic based on the CRU documents. The earth may be warming slightly, but we should definitely require better science by more capable and less partisan scientists than that provided by the CRU before we commit to any actions.

  39. Ridahoan

    Let’s call this what it is: a shameful, stinking mess.
    The scientists involved now share the blame for the inability to persuade the public that climate change should be taken seriously. They are more guilty than many of their opponents of squandering public trust, and should suffer the consequences.

    The best that can come from this scandal is a vigorous examination of the case. Personally, as a mountaineer I have seen too many melting glaciers, too many dying forests to think that something major is not happening, and our production of greenhouse gases is an obvious suspect. But that is not science.

    We may never know how much of the scandal stemmed from an ideological crusade, and how much was simply ambition to rise in academia. Unfortunately, the current system of reward for scientists, in which their rank is largely determined by a quick perusal of the length and source of a publication list by funding bureaucrats rather than a penetrating analysis of their work by true peers, fosters such shoddy work.

  40. FTM

    From what I’ve seen of the e-mails, the fortran code and especially the Harry_Read_Me.txt file the whole sorry enterprise has been exposed for what it is. Sorry.

    However on an upnote, somebody ought to do a serious investigation of alternate power generations technologies.

    Pebble bed fission reactor technology. The pilot plant is being built in South Africa. It’s an air cooled, run-away proof fission reactor design. I’m not a big fan of fission because of the long half-life waste problem bet we can even deal with the waste to a large extent. The French have been using breeder reactors to reduce their nuclear waste problem for decades. We don’t use breeders in the US because of the idiots at the sierra club, et al.

    Next there’s the ITER project (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) technology. The pilot plant is being built in France and thanks in large part to international fraud, graft, pocket stuffing and corruption that we’ve all come to know and expect from the international political community not to mention their stooge “scientists” after ten years they’ve managed to clear a forty hectare site. God only knows how much they’ve spent so far.

    Google this stuff up. I’m not lying. We can put a man on the moon. We’re going to do it again in ’20 God Almighty willing. We have the technology to generate power free of carbon. All we have to do in order to accomplish this achievement is to jetison the incompetant, corrupt thug governments (as far as I’m concerned bush is as guilty as obama)and get the show on the road.

  41. FTM

    Sorry, I only capitalize proper nouns.

  42. FTM

    Sorry, I only capitalize proper nouns.

    So, riddle me this, if research funded by oil comapnies is biased then how is research funded by the druids or the government not biased? How do you get past the predispostition of the researcher to go out and get the data that the person/entity wants to see?

    On another note, beings as how the CRU has been proven to be badly compromised why is it that NASA and NOAA haven’t released their databases? This entire sorry affair can be simply defused by cooperating with the FOIA requests that have been lawfully filed and illegally stonewalled for years.

    Kind of like the current criminal in chief and his birth certificate, the question can be settled in seconds. This isn’t hard.

    Is there a problem with climate change? Maybe, it depends on which bunch of zealots you want to listen to. Is mankinds contribution to climate change a factor, once again it’s hard to tell it depends on which bunch of zealots you want to listen to. However, from my chair the total absence of cooperation from the “sky is falling” crowd leads me toward the “Denialist “camp. Publish the data, prove the point and then let’s make some decisions. Don’t try to sell me a pig in a poke.

  43. Sean

    The denialists act as if the mountain of scientific evidence supporting AGW will go away solely on their say-so. Yep, it’s a war on science. Presuppositions and aspersions, with zero evidence. Baseless invective and vitriolic railing against reason. A thousand different straw man arguments are raised and attacked. Throw in a bit of slick sophistry that damns with faint praise– “without sneering teach the rest to sneer”. And all this denigration of science for what? To prop up a fossil fuel industry that is wrecking our climate?

    “The doubt industry”
    http://www.reformer.com/ci_13981983

  44. John T

    I have no dog in this fight. As a matter of principle, I believe we should be good stewards of the earth.

    I’m very puzzled by the author’s use of the phrase, “politically motivated data requests.”

    It shouldn’t matter who the request is from. If anyone requests information from a taxpayer funded research entity, that information should be provided promptly.

  45. 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?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bdneX1djD0

  46. Arrow

    Michael Gerson is 100% right here but the fact is that Chris Mooney can only stand for scientific integrity when it suits his personal goals.

  47. Brian Too

    Once again, deniers claiming there is BIG MONEY in climate change (why do the denialists always talk in all caps?).

    There’s the sections of the economy based upon oil, gas, coal, all related processing and transportation industries, the retail arms, dependant industries including autos, shipping, aircraft manufacturing and support, it goes on and on.

    Then there’s the scientific sector, the nascent solar power industry, geothermal, and wind industries. All told it’s smaller by, oh, about 10,000 times, than the carbon economy.

    But don’t let me stop you. Talking rot IN ALL CAPS is what give you credibility. Really.

  48. Steven Sullivan

    “Oh, the poor beleagured “scientists”, harried as they jet hither and yon to one champagne and caviared conference after another.”

    Hilarious! I’m a biologist. Jetting hither and yon to consume champagne and cavier? Can’t say I can recall that happening. Guess I need to step up my game.

    Is this really the sort of moronic crap Fox and the right-wing noise machine is feeding its troops these days? It’d be pathetic if it weren’t so dangerous.

  49. Steven Sullivan

    “It shouldn’t matter who the request is from.”

    Seriously? You seriously want scientist to spend significant amounts of time — and grant money — fielding *any and all* requests , at any level of detail, about any of their publicly -funded work past and present, even from people highly motivated to *manufacture doubt* due to their political ideology and commercial interests, rather than scientific curiosity?

    This is insane. Even the US government doesn’t require that of its scientific fundees.

  50. Brian B

    Some are comparing climate change science to a religion. Looks to me like a doomsday cult!

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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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