No, he’s not questioning man-made global warming, but neither is he ignoring the e-mails or pretending that they don’t matter like, say, the UN or Obama’s climate czar or pretty much all nutroots bloggers great and small. Put Stewart in the Monbiot camp: Data manipulation doesn’t mean the icecaps aren’t melting, but it sure ain’t helping convince people that they are. At Reason, Ronald Bailey surveys the damage:
But for now, regardless of the motivations of the researchers, damage has been done. How can the world of climate science recover? First, carry out independent investigations of the activities of the researchers involved. Pennsylvania State University has announced that it will investigate the activities of researcher Michael Mann, who worked closely with the CRU and several times expressed in the leaked emails his desire to stifle the scientific work of researchers with whom he disagreed. In Britain, Nigel Lawson, former chancellor of the exchequer, has called for an independent investigation of the CRU. Tireless journalistic global warming scold George Monbiot has declared, “It’s no use pretending this isn’t a major blow….I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign.”…
One thing more transparency won’t fix: the complications and uncertainty inherent in the policy debate about global warming. “In the end, I would hypothesize that the result of the freeing of data and code will necessarily lead to a more robust understanding of scientific uncertainties, [and] that may have the perverse effect of making the future less clear,” emails Pielke Jr. “The inability to tolerate dissent has unfortunately destroyed the credibility of climate change science and I don’t know how it’s going to come back,” laments climatologist and free-market Cato Institute fellow Patrick Michaels, who was frequently reviled in the CRU emails. “I don’t know how the public and policymakers will ever trust what climate scientists say in the future.”
No less a skeptic than Jim Inhofe was sufficiently pleased with this bit to post it to his own YouTube account, even though its primary target ultimately is, er, Jim Inhofe. Think of it as the “Daily Show” equivalent of Obama’s new timetable: Very far from ideal, but probably the best you’re going to do from a lefty.