The Climate E-Mail Scandal: Group Think and Bullying

By November 24, 2009Energy, Global Warming

From Iain Murray at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Three Things You Absolutely Must Know About Climategate,” a primer on what was revealed when hackers publicized e-mails and other computer data from Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

This may seem obscure, but the science involved is being used to justify the diversion of literally trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels. The CRU is the Pentagon of global warming science, and these documents are its Pentagon Papers.*

Here are the highpoints:

  • First, the scientists discuss manipulating data to get their preferred results.
  • Secondly, scientists on several occasions discussed methods of subverting the scientific peer review process to ensure that skeptical papers had no access to publication.
  • Finally, the scientists worked to circumvent the Freedom of Information process of the United Kingdom.

Jonah Goldberg at National Review’s The Corner adds more context:

One reason this seemed to me like less of a big deal at first was that the individual e-mails — “hide the decline” and so forth — while damning, also seemed open to interpretation. And I still think that’s the case in some instances. But what seems incontrovertible at this point is that the global-warming industry (and it is an industry) is suffused to its core with groupthink and bad faith. For many of us, this is not shocking news. But it is shocking evidence. Proving bad faith and groupthink is very hard to do. But now we have the internal dialog of those afflicted made public (I hope some intrepid reporters are asking other climate institutions whether they are no erasing their files for fear of being similarly exposed). It is clear that the scientists at the CRU were more interested in punishing dissenters and constructing a p.r. campaign than they were in actual science.

It is also an enormous journalistic scandal, Goldberg writes, since the elite press attempts to marginalize and silence critics of the “scientific consensus,” even as governments expand their power, the poor are hurt, and trillions of dollars are spent. Where’s the vaunted journalistic skepticism?

Glenn Reynolds has good links on the topic here.

* Does anyone remember the Pentagon Papers? Besides The New York Times, that is? The comparison is apt because the climate communications were stolen but their release served the greater public interest, maybe. But were the e-mails, etc., really stolen? Or hacked? Or released by someone with inside knowledge, a whistleblower? Yeah, a whistleblower! Journalists love a whistleblower.

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