Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The relation of leftist politics to Catholicism in the United States has been well documented, and it has impacted virtually all of the manifestations of the institutional American Church. We have posted on it before here, here, and here.

This article from The New Atlantis looks at leftist politics, global warming, and climategate.

An excerpt.

"For years, the left has spun the debate over global warming in the starkest Manichean terms. Those who disagree with the scientific and policy orthodoxy have been maligned as greedy capitalists bent on raping the earth of its natural resources for cheap material gain; they have been cast as the benighted enemies of reason itself. Efforts to publicly challenge the science behind global warming have too often resulted in professional and political character assassination. To be skeptical about the fashionable scientific and policy platform aggressively advocated by the mainstream media and self-indulgently championed by the Hollywood elite is nothing less than an “assault on reason,” to borrow Al Gore’s hyperbolic rhetoric. In predictably technocratic fashion, the left has claimed its own peculiar position as the only scientifically legitimate one—everything else reduces to craven interest, manifest dishonesty, or antiquarian faith.

"However, maintaining this self-serving narrative just got a lot harder. In the last few days, the cause of climate alarmism took a big hit when more than a thousand e-mails exchanged by scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) suddenly surfaced online. These e-mails were published by the computer hackers who apparently stole them, a crime that should be investigated and prosecuted. But notwithstanding the e-mails’ route to publication, their actual content is extraordinary. These behind-the-scenes discussions among leading global-warming exponents are remarkable both in their candor and in their sheer contempt for scientific objectivity. There can be little doubt after even a casual perusal that the scientific case for global warming and the policy that springs from it are based upon a volatile combination of political ideology, unapologetic mendacity, and simmering contempt for even the best-intentioned disagreement. Especially in anticipation of the major climate summit taking place in Copenhagen next month, the significance of this explosive disclosure is hard to underestimate. According to climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, “This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud.”

"The evidence of scientific dishonesty supplied by these communications is so copious it’s hard to know where to begin an attempt to describe them. Many of the e-mails brazenly discuss the manipulation of scientific data either to provide the appearance of greater support for global warming science or to undermine the claims of skeptics. For example, CRU scholar Timothy J. Osborn explicitly describes how data can be reconfigured so that evidence of an apparent cooling period disappears. His colleague Tom Wigley discusses recasting the data on sea-surface temperatures so that the results seem considerably warmer but also scientifically plausible. The director of CRU, Phil Jones, brags about his use of eminent climatologist Michael Mann’s “Nature trick” which deliberately confuses scientific data to “hide the decline” in current temperatures.

"Other e-mails openly encourage the suppression of data that could prove difficult to repudiate. Michael Mann provides strategic advice on how to deal with a journal, Geophysical Research Letters, that seems to be open to publishing views that dissent from climate orthodoxy. In an e-mail to Phil Jones, Mann also expresses his desire to “contain” the very inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period, so important in overthrowing Mann’s classic “Hockey Stick” model of anthropogenic warming, even though he admits they don’t have an appropriate model to do that legitimately.

"Public spokesmen for the global warming agenda constantly claim a near-universal consensus within the scientific community supporting their position, but these private exchanges often reveal serious personal reservations regarding what they really know and how confident they are in the statistical models they rely upon. In an e-mail to several prominent climate scientists (including Mann and Jones), Kevin E. Trenberth, one of the leading contributors to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, offers this confession: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.” In another e-mail, Trenberth admits climatologists have a limited understanding of where our energy ultimately goes, what the effects of cloud formation might have on the entire issue, and expresses doubts about the efficacy of geoengineering to provide any substantive relief, again saying that the gaps in the scientific knowledge amount to “a travesty.” All of this a far cry from the strident claims about unimpeachable evidence and demonstrable theory that usually emanates from these quarters."