I’ll admit, as someone who spends most days looking for leaked documents, the package of stolen emails and documents from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University is pretty juicy. Anything that provides insight into the inner-workings of your opponents is pretty much manna from heaven in this line of work.
I have been going through all the files today and I hate to disappoint but it just ain’t the scandal climate conspiracy theorists want it to be.
These emails are blissfully being spun by the climate contrarians as proof of some type of worldwide conspiracy by scientists to fake the climate change crisis. Michelle Malkin, who relishes Ann Coulter-esque statements, goes so far as to call it “the global warming scandal of the century.”
As Brad Johnson writes, it’s more likely proof that climate deniers are the crazed conspiracy theorists we always thought they were.
At the center of the conspiracy claim is a quote in a casual conversation between colleagues talking about Mike’s Nature “trick.”
They are referring to the Michael Mann hockey stick study from ten years ago that has been the subject of attacks by climate skeptic bloggers for many years now. In fact, it got so bad that the US National Academy of Sciences was called in by the US Senate to look further into the validity of the Mann study.
Unfortunately for skeptics the NAS exonerated the Mann study, finding that:
“The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.”
More importantly, and this is related directly to these leaked emails that are supposed proof of some massive conspiracy, the NAS concluded that:
“Surface temperature reconstructions for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence.”
In layman terms this means that the Mann hockey stick study is only one of many studies and many lines of evidence that shows that the climate is warming. Even further, they point out that the Mann Hockey Stick isn’t even a primary evidence source.
As for the Mann “trick,” I would be very impressesd that this “trick” was never detected by the NAS report. As Mann himself explains today on Real Climate, the “trick” being refered to is that, “scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem,” rather than something that is “secret,” and so there is nothing problematic in this at all.
What people like Malkin and others don’t understand is that the evidence for climate change is based on decades of research that builds and builds into a solid foundation from which conclusions can be drawn.
It is not the house of cards they want us to think it is. And while these emails don’t look great, they are in no way “proof” that climate change is not happening. It just isn’t the grand conspiracy they think it is.