A new scandal involving hapless British climate researchers has fired up global warming skeptics and made climate change a burning issue again just days before President Obama is set to attend talks in Copenhagen.
To recap: Last week, leaked e-mails revealed a small group of influential scientists at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) had boasted about concealing data from skeptics. On Sunday, the Times of London poured gasoline on the controversy. Scientists from the same East Anglia facility admitted to throwing away some raw temperature data in the 1980s -- data has been used to achieve an international consensus on climate change.
- New York Times green blogger Tom Zeller Jr. summarizes all the “intrigue and plot twists” from the past two weeks. “For those inclined to view climate change as a grand hoax perpetrated by a tight-lipped conspiracy of environmentalists and clean-technology investors, the e-mail messages were red meat,” he writes.
- Wall Street Journal columnist Gordon Crovitz weighs-in with the obligatory “Inconvenient Truth” reference. “The findings from East Anglia have been at the core of policy reports by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” he writes. “The IPCC does not do its own research but compiles information relating to climate change… The panel, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, now faces the inconvenient truth that it relied on scientists who violated scientific process."
- “The scientific method ain’t what it used to be,” Paul Mirengoff echos in Powerline, the conservative online water cooler. “One need not be a hard-core global warming skeptic to question whether we should alter the way we live in response to predictions based on findings that cannot be checked because the raw data was intentionally destroyed by the outfit that made the findings.”
- Over at The Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan downplays the scandal's significance by linking out to sites where “all the original raw data can still be found at the meteorological services where they originated.” Sullivan also notes that a widely cited quote in the Times' piece by a climate change expert was written months ago on a blog and “dressed up to add hysteria.”
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer writer Joel Connelly laments that climate change deniers appear to be winning converts. “It's a classic example of Junk Propaganda,” he writes. “The klutzy profs at East Anglia have become devil figures in a canny disinformation campaign, directed into an ideologues' echo chamber.”