Over a thousand sensitive emails and documents from Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were published online in late November without CRU’s permission. Some of their content suggests that the data used to support the theory of human -caused global warming have not been accurately represented.1
The leaked emails have surfaced in time for the United Nations summit on climate, set to commence in December. Most of the emails are mundane, but some contain dialogue between scientists about adjusting climate data to support the man-made global warming hypothesis. The university is currently investigating the information leak, but if these communications prove to be legitimate, what other areas of research have also been subject to data tampering?
One email in particular that has raised questions appears to have been sent from CRU Director Phil Jones and uses the words “trick” and “hide” in relation to the presentation of climate data. “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd[sic] from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline [in temperature],” the email states.2
While scientists generally agree that global temperatures had been rising, they disagree as to what causes warming or cooling. “Warmist” scientists cite human activity, and “non-warmist” researchers are convinced that the data are either inconclusive or that natural phenomena are primarily responsible for global temperatures.
Climate research has been going on for a long time, yet the issue came to the media, and subsequently the political, forefronts when former U.S. Vice President Al Gore championed it as a “climate crisis” and released the documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. Gore has since continued to push the warmist view, asserting that the science so robustly supports human activity as the cause of global warming that “the debate in the scientific community is over.”3
Despite Mr. Gore’s assertion, over 31,000 dissenting non-warmist scientists have put their names on the Global Warming Petition Project. Signees remain unconvinced that significant global temperature trends can be attributed to human activities.4 ICR climatologist Dr. Larry Vardiman, a petition signee, has previously highlighted research indicating that solar activity is a much more likely cause.5, 6, 7
While the university investigates the apparent information leak, some warmists suspect that the entire collection is a fabrication by disingenuous non-warmists willing to influence the UN summit. Contrarily, many non-warmists feel that if these electronic documents are legitimate, thus showing that data were manipulated, they add yet another reason to doubt that human activity has significantly impacted global climate.
If confirmed, the data distortions should not come as a shock. One recent study showed that though scientists rarely admit to it themselves, they claim that colleagues manipulate data at a high rate.8 Preferred paradigms can take precedent over an enormous amount of contraindications. Some profess unsupported ideologies in spite of the facts against them. Oft-quoted evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin once wrote:
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.9
Thus, “the stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots is self-serving mythology.”10 In light of the fallibility of humans and therefore scientists, all involved would benefit from careful consideration of all available evidence before jumping onboard the latest “scientific” bandwagon.
- Schiermeier, Q. Storm clouds gather over leaked climate e-mails. NatureNews. Published on nature.com November 24, 2009, accessed November 24, 2009.
- Alleged CRU Email - 942777075.txt. Opinion Times. Posted on eastangliaemails.com November 24, 2009, accessed November 24, 2009.
- Lindzen, R. S. Don’t Believe the Hype. Wall Street Journal. Posted on opinionjournal.com July 2, 2006, accessed November 24, 2009.
- Global Warming Petition Project. Posted on www.oism.org, accessed November 24, 2009.
- Vardiman, L. 2008. Does Carbon Dioxide Drive Global Warming? Acts & Facts. 37 (10): 10.
- Vardiman, L. 2008. A New Theory of Climate Change. Acts & Facts. 37 (11): 10.
- Vardiman, L. 2009. Will Solar Inactivity Lead to Global Cooling? Acts & Facts. 38 (7): 12.
- Thomas, B. 2009. Study Shows Many Scientists Manipulate Results. ICR News. Posted on icr.org July 1, 2009, accessed November 24, 2009.
- Lewontin, R. 1997. Billions and billions of demons. The New York Review of Books. 44 (1): 31.
- Gould, S. J. 1994. In the Mind of the Beholder. Natural History. 103 (2):14.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on December 3, 2009.