Responses reveal more than e-mails in 'Climategate'

Bob Tippee

In the controversy known as “Climategate,” responses by chagrined climate activists reveal even more than embarrassing e-mails.

“There is no alternative theory that the minority is proposing,” declared Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), at a hearing of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “The deniers have decided to use a small number of e-mails as a way to cast doubt.”

False. There is indeed an alternative theory. It is that natural forces contribute far more than human emissions of greenhouse gases do to global warming.

But that theory, like any refinement that doesn’t support imposition of martial law on energy markets, has been systematically derided as unserious science.

Now, however, e-mails leaked or stolen from the University of East Anglia in the UK show scientists important to the urgent-response agenda distorting data and gaming academic journals to marginalize opponents.

The e-mails uphold suspicions that the campaign to engineer climate feeds more off propaganda than science, that it depends on the immunization of a questionable theory against question.

With shameful help from the popular media, activists have successfully depicted questioners as corrupt loons. After East Anglia, the ploy won’t work.

So overextended politicians like Markey resort to falsehood as their exertions to suppress debate become desperate.

Equally appalling is the statement of Nicholas Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science who, while working in the UK government, led a 2006 study that said benefits of strong warming precautions outweigh costs.

“People have the right to speak up,” Stern said after the East Anglia dust-up, according to the Telegraph newspaper of London. “But if they are muddled and confused then they do not have the right to be described as anything other than muddled and confused on the basis of the arguments they set out and what is wrong with them.”

Stern’s argument by characterization is typical, and his assertion is false. The case against precipitous response to warming is as clear and unconfused as any on the other side.

That it hasn’t received a fair hearing is the biggest part of the scandal.

(Online Dec. 4, 2009; author’s e-mail:

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