Monday, November 23, 2009

A snootful of e-mails

The climate noosphere is in an uproar about a bunch of e-mails there were hacked from a global climate site. The e-mails are allegedly from prominent climate scientists and date from the late 1990's. According to this article in the NY Times at least some of the e-mails don't show climate scientists in a very favorable light. For instance one e-mail talks about using a statistical trick, another e-mail calls global warming skeptics "idiots".

Of course skeptics are chortling over what they see as proof that global warming is a hoax and that climate scientists are trying to hide stuff, while the climate scientists involved in the e-mail exchanges seem to view the exchanges as normal give and take between scientists.

I have actually looked at some of the e-mails and quite frankly a lot of it really does look like the kind of give and take that people taking a particular position might have. Somehow I doubt that a similar hack of climate skeptic e-mails would be any different.

It is clear that the scientists involved are aware of the skeptics and how skeptics might react if certain data sets are not properly explained:

"Otherwise, the skeptics have an field day casting
doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates
and, thus, can undermine faith in the paleoestimates. I don't think that
doubt is scientifically justified, and I'd hate to be the one to have
to give it fodder!"

Well at any rate, I think this is typical scientific e-mail give and take in a highly politicized arena (been there myself) and I don't think that global warming skeptics should make too much of this stuff. Besides if they are crying foul because some one who disagrees with them in a private e-mail refers to them as idiots then maybe they ought to get thicker skins.

Don't take my word for it. You too can sleuth evil climate scientists e-mail by going to the following site and enter your favorite search term!

Of course I would love to have an equivalent set of e-mails between global warming skeptics - maybe working for a large oil company or perhaps a certain large business group that will go unnamed -and I just bet a little judicious browsing would yield lots of choice quotes. But of course hacking e-mails is wrong, a minor point seems to have been lost in this whole tea pot tempest.

For full disclosure, I have used the word idiot at least 27 times in my e-mail career, all of them of course quite justified.
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