“Climategate” Scientists Vindicated


By thegreenpages contributing editor Fraser Los

After “climategate” allowed skeptics to sow seeds of doubt for months, things have settled back to the solid bedrock of scientific consensus on climate change.

The scandal originated at East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in the UK and involved the hacked emails of prominent scientists who were alleged to have manipulated and suppressed data to further their claim for anthropogenic global warming.

After months of haranguing from skeptics, and as minds were muddied more than ever, a comprehensive investigation by the British House of Commons has exonerated Phil Jones, one of the main climate scientists at the centre of the controversy.

No, the investigation did not uncover some grand, world-traversing conspiracy involving shady scientists cooking the climate books. Yet, it seems perfectly fine for our media elite in Canada to insinuate that something along these lines is going on.

As can be expected, the stories of vindication are largely buried in the media cacophony that featured The Globe and Mail‘s Margaret Wente boldly proclaiming that “The Science Isn’t Settled, Now What?

Another crusty Globe regular, Rex Murphy, now writing for the National Post, has chimed in with his typically eloquent musings on the topic. But in an article written in December he really uncorked a gem. It’s worth repeating:

There is something about the great cause of global warming that tends to disarm scrutiny, to tamp down the normal reflexes of tough questioning and investigation that the press brings to every other arena.

With this general statement, he is absolutely correct. But the article (and other more recent ones), full of venom for the pie-eyed environmentalists among us, is precisely backwards.

If he took his own advice as a respected journalist, and poked his head above the media frenzy, he would find that every world science organization understands that anthropogenic global warming is occurring. This includes the World Meteorological Organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Scientific American, NASA, the UK’s Met Office and Royal Society, and, yes, Canada’s Environment Canada.

In short, any honest investigation into this admittedly complex topic would carry journalists to the exact opposite conclusion from Murphy. They may still report the inherent complexity, and that scientists are never 100 per cent sure on any major topic, but they would at least tell the public that a sizable consensus does exist. It’s simply a matter of taking the time to look at the actual science.

If people wonder why climate scientists and environmentalists get frustrated, it’s because, at this point, there can be nothing fueling this level of skepticism but blind ideology or knee-jerk denial. And as Rex Murphy suggests above, it’s especially egregious for the mainstream press to get so easily sucked in.

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