At the outset I must admit that I’ve long been skeptical about the relatively recent claims of global warming. Mostly because I’m old enough to still remember the chicken-little stories about global cooling and how we were all heading for the next ice age as depicted in this TV show circa 1978:
My skepticism regarding global warming, however, was rather mild until I came across Michael Chreighton‘s excellent (albiet rather preachy) work, “State of Fear“. Until reading Chreighton’s career-crippling (if not ending) work, I had assumed (or had been lead to assume) that the only people actively fighting global warming were religious zealots and conspiracy theorists. I had bought into the “inconvenient truth” that, as Al Gore (the leading proponent of global warming) puts it, “it’s a settled science”.
Regardless of other observable facts we’re constantly told that we are in imminent danger of catastrophic climate shift due to the “accepted fact” of the earth’s temperature rising. Facts such as: there are 5 times as many polar bears today as there were 50 years ago (despite what global warming advocates try to say to the contrary in order to continue using images of them to promote global warming) or that the oceans are actually cooling, not warming, or that glaciers such as those on Mt Kilimanjaro are not rapidly receding, or
No, all we’ve been given are data sources of tempatures collected around the world and we’re told these numbers paint a grim picture for the future of the earth’s climate, and that we (humans) are to blame!
Unfortunately (for global warming advocates at least) this single point of failure has recently come under direct fire following the release (either via hack or leak) of a large number of emails1 from the Climate Research Unit. The CRU is largely responsible for fueling the global warming hysteria through data and charts, including “the hockey stick” chart which seemed to indicate a sharp rise in temperature from 1980 to 2000.
The emails contained regrets of lack of warming data, mentions of cooking the data to show warming trends, and mentions of suppressing any and all opposition. These emails are quite damaging to the cause of global warming, forcing the head of the CRU, Phil Jones, to step down pending an investigation.
As damaging as the emails are, the source code, leaked along with the emails, looks to be a lot more damning because it shows artificial (VERY ARTIFICIAL in the words of the programmer via comments) limits placed on the data used to generate graphs along with blatant data cooking. Statistician and founder of the free software/open source movement, Eric S. Raymond, writes:
This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.
All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.
Incidentally, following the backlash generated by the leaked emails we’ve learned that the original data used to generate these graphs has been erased. Not that we should be overly surprised, it seems that modifying and massaging global warming data has been going on for quite some time and is not limited to the CRU, it’s happened at NASA and New Zeleand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NiWA).
No wonder John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel calls Global Warming “the greatest scam in human history“.
At a minimum, the unraveling of the myth of global warming reveals a gross violation of the trust placed in the “unbiased” nature of the scientific community. It calls into question the value of the peer-review process when scientists at the top get to determine what gets peer-reviewed and accepted (which, in turn, allows them to suppress anything they don’t like). At worst, the leaked CRU data and subsequent unraveling of man-made global warming2 are evidence that scientists are humans who have agendas just like everyone else. This incident tends to highlight the notion that “just the facts ma’am” is a bit spurious as facts don’t interpret themselves.
With the explosion caused by climategate it seems inescapable to conclude along with columnist Christopher Brooker that this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation.