With the Obama administration prepping for the Copenhagen summit on climate change in December, and The note ii taking a chance on love download.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2454″>Congress mulling over “cap and trade” legislation, those who advocate combating climate change should be celebrating. But the stakes changed last week, when hackers illegally gained access to e-mail exchanges between climate scientists at the University of East Anglia.
“In one e-mail exchange, a scientist writes of using a statistical ‘trick’ in a chart illustrating a recent sharp warming trend. In another, a scientist refers to climate skeptics as ‘idiots’,” according to the New York Times. Other e-mails discussed the best ways to argue against skeptics. Skeptics and opponents of “cap and trade” have latched on the e-mails, citing them as evidence that many climate scientists are skewing the real data to argue a political point. It won’t be long before Hannity is touting this as part of a conspiracy to stunt economic growth and promote liberal environmentalism.
What exactly is so upsetting about these e-mails though? Put aside the fact that it would be a huge logical leap to assume that these scientists are at all representative of the vast majority of climate scientists. What would be wrong with scientists considering how best to counter the arguments of their opponents? Climate change skeptics consistently level attacks against climate scientists, saying they are beholden to progressive environmentalist visions and will slant the truth. (I can’t wait for Fox News to use that.) Their reputations are challenged in public; should we really expect them to turn the other cheek? Of course they want to be as prepared as possible when offering their interpretations of real data.
As for calling skeptics “idiots,” who really cares? Aw, are the skeptics’ feelings hurt? Do they need a hug? Everyone writes e-mails that are not meant to be, nor should be, public.
This shouldn’t be a big deal, but it will be. The efforts of climate change skeptics are monumental, and they will find any excuse to stunt legislative efforts. Climate scientists need to be as careful as possible, but they were not. I know, I know — the e-mails were obtained illegally — but they should never have been written at all. When billions of dollars are on the line, nothing is off the table.