Stop hyperventilating, all you climate-change deniers. The purloined e-mail correspondence published by skeptics last week — portraying some leading climate researchers as petty, vindictive and tremendously eager to make their data fit accepted theories — does not prove that global warming is a fraud.
If I’m wrong, somebody ought to tell the polar ice caps that they’re free to stop melting.
That said, the e-mail episode is more than a major embarrassment for the scientists involved. Most Americans are convinced that climate change is real — a necessary prerequisite for the kinds of huge economic and behavioral adjustments we would have to make to begin seriously limiting carbon emissions. But consensus on the nature and scope of the problem will dissipate, and fast, if experts try to obscure the fact that there’s much about the climate they still don’t know.