East Anglia research, NASA climate data under scrutiny

Posted on December 3, 2009

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The University of East Anglia announced today that, as part of its probe into the troubling e-mails from its Climatic Research Unit, the research data itself will be under scrutiny to determine whether or not scientists fudged data. The announcement comes after the head of the CRU, Phil Jones, stepped down amid the inquiry, and happens alongside the start of an investigation by Penn State into e-mails by one of its own researchers, Michael Mann, all part of the spiraling ClimateGate scandal.

The spin has now begun to paint East Anglia’s foibles as a mere isolated incident, just a few bad apples that don’t spoil the whole pie. Indeed, Jane Lubchenco, the head of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), said the e-mails do nothing to undermine the “very strong scientific consensus” that global warming is real and that its cause is human activity since they don’t deal with data from NOAA or from NASA.

The problem now is that NASA’s data may soon get a closer examination. Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and an author of books skeptical of global warming, has alleged that NASA has refused Freedom of Information Act requests for how the agency has compiled its data and why it has had to revise its figures for temperature data going back 80 years. NASA has to recalculate in 2007 that 1934, not 1998, was the warmest year on record, before revising it again to having 1998 and 2006 tied for the warmest with 1934 a close second. Horner wants the data and the internal discussions that led to the revisions and has given NASA until the end of the year before he sues to get the information.

Believers of man-made global warming will continue to dismiss all of this as a meaningless tempest in a teapot. Skeptics aren’t allowed to ask questions; they’re deemed “deniers” on the same level of skeptics of the Holocaust. It would be nice to see more people with the honesty of Jon Stewart – a fake news anchor and a comedian, mind you – who still believes in global warming but blasts the scientists’ poor methods and admits this all looks very bad. Instead, we get the “Nothing to see here, move along” treatment along with few derogatory epithets about our ignorance and lack of intelligence from the majority of the man-made global warming supporters.

Stewart, along with other believers in anthropogenic global warming, should be frustrated with the subterfuge of certain climate change scientists. The scandal has a definite impact on public opinion on global warming (59% say it’s at least somewhat likely researchers falsified data) and on trust in the independence of the scientific community in general. In the meantime, Al Gore has cancelled a lecture at the Copenhagen climate summit and India has already said it will not sign any binding agreement to cut emissions.

I’d like to make one thing clear – we need to be good stewards of our planet, and I’m all for reducing pollution and keeping our ecosystems healthy and clean. Where I become skeptical is the labelling of carbon dioxide, a natural byproduct of most animal life, as a pollutant, and a global push by national governments to use carbon taxation and regulation as a pretense for societal re-engineering. I’m also a believer of where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and if the science was really as irrefutable as the law of gravity, we simply wouldn’t be seeing the kind of obfuscation, denial and suppression of criticism that has been coming to light recently.

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Posted in: News, Politics, Science