In November last year a file appeared on the internet containing thousands of emails and other documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain. How this file got into the public domain is still uncertain, but the emails, whose authenticity is no longer in question, provided a startling view into the world of climate research.
In what has become known as Climategate, one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation.
Moreover, the emails showed collusion with other prominent researchers in the US and elsewhere. The CRU supplies many of the authors for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
One might have thought the revelations would discredit the science underlying proposed global warming policy. Indeed, the revelations may have played some role in the failure of last December’s Copenhagen climate conference to agree on new carbon emissions limits.
But with the political momentum behind policy proposals and billions in research funding at stake, the effect of the emails appears to have been small.
The general approach of the scientific community (at least in the US and Britain) has been to see whether people will bother to look at the files in detail (they mostly have not) and to wait until time diffuses the initial impressions to reassert the original message of a climate catastrophe that must be fought with widespread carbon control. This reassertion, however, continues to be suffused by illogic, nastiness and outright dishonesty.
There were, of course, the inevitable investigations of individuals such as Penn State University’s Michael Mann (who manipulated data to create the famous “hockey stick” climate graph) and Phil Jones (director of the CRU).
The investigations were brief, lacked depth and were conducted mainly by individuals already publicly committed to the popular view of climate alarm. The results were whitewashes that are incredible given the data.