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ClimateGate? Hardly

The news media has been reporting on something they are calling “ClimateGate” — some internal emails from the Climatic Research Unit in England that were hacked and leaked. Some climate change skeptics are claiming that these emails prove that climate change is bogus.

Hardly. I’ve looked into the emails and the code, and there just isn’t any there there. No smoking gun. As a computer scientist who has worked extensively with simulations, I can say that it is common practice to play around with data to test out different scenarios, but the key point here is that none of the fudged data was ever published as real data. None.

But what is really hypocritical is that back in 2007, a likewise leaked internal document revealed that ExxonMobil was spending $16 million on an extensive PR campaign to confuse the public on global warming science. To do this, they employed some of the same organizations and people who had spent 40 years helping the tobacco companies sow doubt about whether their product caused lung cancer. One of the things they had done was to “recruit and train a team of five independent scientists to participate in media outreach”. If they are recruited and trained by the oil company, how can they be independent?

So on one hand, you have a large corporation spending millions of dollars to spread lies about climate change. On the other hand, you have some internal emails from some scientists playing with their data, even though this data was never actually published. So, which story does the mainstream media jump on? Guess.

UPDATE: FireDogLake has more about the hypocrisy of “ClimateGate”.

UPDATE 2: An independent investigation of the “ClimateGate” emails has concluded that there is no evidence that data supporting global warming was faked.



  1. jallen wrote:

    >>> ExxonMobil was spending $16 million on an extensive PR campaign to confuse the public on global warming science.

    One mans “confusion” is another’s “education.”

    The solution to this problem — as with so many others — is honesty.

    Whether AGW is factual, exaggerated, understated, or erroneous, the issue is not yet ripe for dramatic public policy action.

    Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  2. Schiller Thurkettle wrote:

    The problem is, the scientists were struggling with counterintuitive data and models because they thought they were studying the ‘natural’ climate. In fact, they were not.

    “However, with the leaked CIA emails, it becomes apparent that the scientists were consistently confounded because the scientists thought they were investigating ‘natural’ weather patterns.

    The scientists were not, in fact, investigating natural weather patterns because the CIA has been directly tampering with the climate for at least two decades.”

    Full article at:

    Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Giggle. Great spoof.

    Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  4. starluna wrote:

    Actually, there was one disturbing thing in the emails. They do show some scientists trying to prevent the publication of peer reviewed research, not because there was something wrong with the research method or data, but because they did not agree with the conclusions. This is contrary to the spirit and practice of science. These particular individuals are receiving their due flogging from colleagues. They will not likely be allowed in the peer review process again, which is a pretty serious blow for those of us in this line of work. It would be the equivalent to allowing a lawyer in a firm to practice, but not actually represent anyone in the courtroom.

    Most of the rest of the brouhaha is a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what was discussed in the emails by the “climate change skeptics” and Fox News.

    Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink