WaPo reports on East Anglia CRU e-mails, global-warming controversy

posted at 12:00 pm on November 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

It’s out in the mainstream, in a not-too-bad report from the Washington Post.  Juliet Eilperin focuses exclusively on the controversy and not the content in this report, which is a story in itself (via Instapundit):

While few U.S. politicians bother to question whether humans are changing the world’s climate — nearly three years ago the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded the evidence was unequivocal — public debate persists. And the newly disclosed private exchanges among climate scientists at Britain’s Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies.

In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes.

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Jones replies.

Why is that important?  Global-warming advocates routinely criticize skeptics for not having enough peer-reviewed work rebutting their findings.  If they’re conspiring to block the publication of such research, that undermines their argument and their scientific credibility.  One of their nemeses explains the significance:

Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute who comes under fire in the e-mails, said these same academics repeatedly criticized him for not having published more peer-reviewed papers.

“There’s an egregious problem here, their intimidation of journal editors,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘If you print anything by this group, we won’t send you any papers.’ “

As I wrote when the scandal first arose, the anthropogenic global warming advocates have not been practicing science, if these e-mails prove genuine.  Scientists welcome debate and analysis of data to test hypotheses and theories.  When people start attempting to silence dissent, they cease being scientists and start being high priests of a faith-based system.  This smacks more of Galileo’s treatment than Galileo’s work.  E pur si muove?

Real scientists also don’t delete data when asked to provide transparency to their work, as John Hinderaker points out:

These emails appear to show that, when faced with a legitimate request under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act, these global warming alarmists preferred to delete their emails with one another about the crucially important IPCC report–the main basis for the purported “consensus” in favor of anthropogenic global warming–rather than allow them to come to light. This is one of many instances in the East Anglia documents where the global warming alarmists act like a gang of co-conspirators rather than respectable scientists.

Eilperin’s report is a straightforward account of the controversy.  How long will it be before the media that has hailed AGW scientists and amplified their hysterical findings gives us analysis of the e-mails, such as those being done at Climate Depot and Watt’s Up With That, in order to expose the highly unscientific behavior of AGW hysterics?

Charlie Martin at Pajamas Media gives just such an analysis and concludes:

These emails and the data associated, taken together, raise really important questions about the whole scientific structure of AGW. Is the data really valid? Has the data been effectively peer reviewed and have attempts to falsify been fairly treated? Is CO2-forced AGW really the best hypothesis?Until these questions are answered, the various attempts to “deal with the climate change crisis” have no acceptable scientific basis.

If CRU’s scientists have been conspiring to smear skeptics and keep people in the dark about their processes, the assumption should be that the work is dishonest and could not stand the light of scrutiny.  Based on the e-mails, Hadley and everyone who relied on their work — including the UN and the IPCC — should be forced to start over from scratch … with total and complete transparency.

Update: East Anglia’s CRU is not Hadley.  None of the e-mails exposed came from Hadley’s servers.  Those are two separate institutions.  I’ve corrected this post’s headline and body to reflect that.


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