The recent criminal hack of emails from an English university is the final nail in the coffin of the global climate change hypothesis.
Except there is no nail, no coffin, and global warming isn’t a hypothesis, it’s a phenomenon that’s already having measurable negative effects on our climate.
That there is a scientific consensus on human-caused climate change is beyond dispute. A recent survey from the University of Illinois revealed that 97% of climatologists accept it as fact. That leaves just 3% who are skeptical.
Why then do so many people believe that the jury is still out on climate change?
Simple: there is a well-funded, well-orchestrated campaign that is doing everything in its power to convince the public and the politicians that climate change is at best uncertain and at worse a complete hoax. Follow the money funding the Deniers. It leads back to groups such as the Global Climate Coalition and Information Council on the Environment, groups that are bought and paid for by the global petroleum industry, utilities, auto makers and other industrial concerns with a huge stake in forestalling any action on climate change.
In a Newsweek article on the topic, ICE’s game-plan was this: to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact. In 1998, a memo leaked from the American Petroleum Institute revealed a five million dollar plan to undercut the science by training the small minority of skeptics in propoganda techniques to effectively sieze control of the debate from mainstream scientists.
And they’re not even being very original in their game plan or tactics — they’re recycling them from the massive public-relations campaign waged by Philip Morris and other cigarette makers when medical science had already established a clear positive link between smoking and cancer. Phrases like “junk science” to describe the peer-reviewed literature and studies were used by Big Tobacco in its attempt to defuse regulation of tobacco products, and they did succeed in delaying action for many years (and were directly responsible for thousands of deaths).
In fact, many of the exact same organizations funded by Philip Morris to wage its campaign against tobacco regulation now receive significant funding from Exxon and other industry sources, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.
And that’s part of the reason that the Denial Cult has gained such traction. The Cato Institue and Heritage Foundation, long known for a history of deceit, distortion and ineptitude, are major conservative “think tanks”. Their fabrications, propoganda and pro-industrial bias has a direct line to the ears of the Republican Party, which is only too eager to feed it to their followers, and it is mana to that particular strain of neo-anarchist dedicated to destroying the ability of the Federal Govenment to effectively keep rich and powerful multinational industrial interests in check (not that the Federal Government has done enough on this front, but they’re infinitely better suited for the role than cash-strapped state or local governments).
So the 3% of skeptics is amplified out of proportion by a small army of public relations specialists and “think tank” policy wonks who are paid to make it look like a scientific debate is in full swing and nothing has been proven, even though they are fully aware that the matter has long been settled to the satisfaction of everyone save a tiny fraction of crackpots, cranks, and grandstanders.
Into the mix comes a hack. Persons unknown, presumably bought and paid for by one or more of the aforementioned Denial groups, broke into a university server and stole the email correspondance of one particular researcher. The criminals then released an edited selection of information that THEY CLAIM is authentic (why one would trust a thief on such a matter is beyond my ken… oh wait, this is the party of G. Gordon Liddy, never mind)… just in time for the upcoming Copenhagen summit on global climate change.
The emails, out of context and possible faked, cast the writer in an unfavorable light as he talks about manipulating data, deleting other emails (the content of which is never revealed – my bet is on dirty jokes), and being frustrated with “scientific” journals that allow themselves to be propoganda platforms for the Denier’s fake scientists.
Predictably, the response of the Denial Movement is that this fragmentary dross, the idle thoughts of a single researcher, discredits the whole theory. They believe this despite the fact that they’ve been totally and completely unable to come up with a single instance where anything discussed in the emails changed so much as a single data point in a single study.
Predictably, they’re wrong. Even if every released email is authentic, even if every action described in them was carried out in full, there is nothing in any of them to indicate that any data were falsified. There is no evidence anywhere of a vast global conspiracy orchestrated by Al Gore. There’s no email in which the researcher says, “boy, this sure is a great hoax we’re playing on the world, innit?”
At the absolute worst there’s a conspiracy between two or three researchers to “massage” two or three stubborn data points in an insignificant graph in one study, out of thousands of scientists and hundreds of studies proving global climate change to be a reality. It means nothing. It proves nothing.
And if you detect a hint of anger in this post, you would be correct. I know something of science. I have an absolute passion for ecology. And I am not going to sit still and be quiet while a bunch of mealy-mouthed PR hacks and their media cronies spew out their filty lies and try to pass off their Orwellian doublespeak as “science”. If you promote Denial, then I’m sorry, you’re either a paid con-artist peddling your hog-piss as fact, or you’re an ignorant buffoon. The good news is that buffoonery is curable. And as for con-artists, it’s never too late for a good tarring and feathering when the masses realize how you’ve played them for suckers.