The Skeptics Are Vindicated

The Skeptics Are Vindicated

By David Warren - November 25, 2009

A computer hacker in England has done the world a service by making available a huge quantity of evidence for the way in which "human-induced global warming" claims have been advanced over the years.

By releasing into the Internet about a thousand internal e-mails from the servers of the Climate Research Unit in the University of East Anglia -- in some respects the international clearing house for climate change "science" -- he has (or they have) put observers in a position to see that claims of conspiracy and fraud were not unreasonable.

More generally, we have been given the materials with which to obtain an insight into how all modern science works when vast amounts of public funding is at stake and when the vested interests associated with various "progressive" causes require a particular scientific result.

There is little doubt that the e-mails were real. Even so warmist a true-believer as George Monbiot led his column in the Guardian yesterday with: "It's no use pretending this isn't a major blow. The e-mails extracted ... could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them."

He went on to rekindle his own faith in the "settled science," however, by revealing that he will not give up on the global-warming hypothesis until he sees an e-mail that reveals a specific conspiracy over the centuries by a secret fraternity of "knights carbonic" to seize planetary power and install a Communist World Government.

Behind this sarcastic little face-saving joke is a disheartening reality. For, as we glean from the hacked documents, supporters of the hypothesis have been able to reverse the onus of proof. In the last resort, their argument comes down to: We say the planet is warming. And anyone who says the contrary must "prove the negative" beyond the faintest shadow of a doubt. And we will be their judges.

Nigel Lawson (a.k.a. Baron Lawson of Blaby), the former British chancellor of the exchequer, who is among prominent persons demanding a full and open public inquiry, summarized the content of the e-mails in this way:

"Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that (a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals. ...

"There may be a perfectly innocent explanation," he continues with that impartial aplomb for which we have always adored British lords, but then he reminds just how much government spending and bureaucracy, in Britain and all over the world, has been mounted entirely upon this dubious research; and thus how far-reaching the implications if the obvious turns out to be true.

For the correspondence that has been hacked is not mere backroom gossip. It includes incriminating exchanges between some of the biggest names in the "global warming" business. In its attempt to resist an inquiry, a British Meteorological Office spokesman effectively acknowledged as much. He fell back on the traditional clinching argument of persons "dressed in a little authority": that the sublimity of their office and the splendour of their robes puts them beyond the possibility of suspicion:

"It's a shame that some of the skeptics have had to take this rather shallow attempt to discredit robust science undertaken by some of the world's most respected scientists. The bottom line is that temperatures continue to rise and humans are responsible for it. We have every confidence in the science and the various datasets we use. The peer-review process is as robust as it could possibly be."

The same spokesman alleged it was no coincidence that the incriminating materials had been released on the eve of the United Nations' Copenhagen climate conference. But, of course, that is exactly what the hacker was doing: getting a story out that could be released in no other way and at the best possible moment to draw attention. Those would be the first two laws of journalism.

It is amusing to see mainstream media sources such as the New York Times, which thinks nothing of publishing purloined government documents that will endanger the lives of U.S. soldiers in the field, and compromise vital intelligence operations, suddenly become all jowly and uptight about publishing the e-mails in question because they were "illegally obtained."

Other media -- which have played a leading part for years in giving credibility to "global warming" claims -- are now maintaining the silence of Iago on the revelations. We will see how long this can be sustained.

© The Ottawa Citizen

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