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Climategate - heating the debate?

 |  01/11/10 @ 4:00pm

In the past month or so each of us at GCBL has been asked for our thoughts and opinions about the illegally obtained private emails from University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. We've responded to these inquiries individually, but here we offer everyone a bit of insight into what has come to be known as Climategate.

While some news sources pounced on the opportunity to try and instill doubt in the public, via a misinformation campaign based on approximately a dozen messages taken out of context and misconstrued as proof of climate data manipulation, climate scientist, researchers and other news sources were reading through the 1,000+ emails to get the whole story and objectively answer the question ? did these prominent climate scientists manipulate data to further their own agenda?

Over the holidays GreenCityBlueLake steering committee member Bud Talbott put together a helpful list of resources for anyone interested in learning more about the side of the story that didn't receive as much mainstream media coverage.

  • Here one can read about an exhaustive study by the Associated Press of all 1,073 stolen messages - some 1 million words ? which concluded that "the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked."
  • Here one can read about stolen email messages that demonstrate "just how hard the scientists work to make sure they are getting the information right."
  • Here one can read about "why the great majority of knowledgeable scientists are convinced that climate change poses a serious threat to us," as explained by climate scientist and Climate Central Executive Director, Berrien MoorenIII.
  • Here one can find links to a variety of resources including background information, press releases, factchecks, and analyses by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Among the resources found on this site worth highlighting are:
    • An open letter to Congress from some of the most prominent climate scientists in the country reemphasizing that "The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming. The scientific process depends on open access to methodology, data, and a rigorous peer-review process. The robust exchange of ideas in the peer-reviewed literature regarding climate science is evidence of the high degree of integrity in this process."
    • A Washington Post op-ed by Michael Mann, one of the implicated scientists, in response to an op-ed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in which he notes, "The conspiracy theories about the e-mails are fueled in part by their criticisms of the quality of two papers regarding global warming and a suggestion that at least one of the papers be kept out of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. As Nature noted in a recent editorial, neither the e-mail writers nor the IPCC suppressed any findings. Both papers were included in the IPCC's report.
  • Here one will find a searchable list of all 1,073 stolen emails, arranged chronologically from March of 1996 to November of 2009 - in case you want to form your own opinion.
  • Here one can find a handy set of Frequently Asked Questions about climate science

Bud also recommended the recently released "Storms of My Grandchildren" by Dr. James Hansen, adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and at Columbia's Earth Institute, and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies as an "additional and more detailed resource that clearly describes the emergency nature of this issue."

Many thanks to you Bud for gathering these resources for us.

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