Who’s to blame for Climategate?

The publication of damning emails about climate change could literally change the world, Gordon Rayner reports.

Published on Telegraph.co.uk, by Gordon Rayner, 27 Nov 2009.

… A little over a week ago, hundreds of internal emails written by scientists working at the CRU were obtained by a hacker and posted on the internet, some of which appeared to show that researchers had deliberately faked evidence of global warming by manipulating statistics.

At first, the fallout was restricted to a row between climate change experts, played out in scientific journals and specialist internet blogs, but in the past few days, as the ripples have spread around the globe, “Climategate” has become a white hot political issue which has been seized upon by global warming sceptics and now threatens to overshadow next month’s crucial climate change conference in Copenhagen. 

In the US, where the CRU emails have been cited as proof of “the greatest act of scientific fraud in history”, there are very real fears that hardline Republicans – together with powerful Right-wing media organisations – will use the scandal to scupper President Obama’s proposed legislation to cap carbon emissions.

In Australia, the world’s worst carbon dioxide polluter per capita, 10 opposition front bench MPs have resigned in protest at a proposed carbon bill, their resolve seemingly strengthened by the emergence of the emails.

And here in the UK, although the main political parties agree that global warming does exist and is man-made, there have been calls for the head of the CRU to resign over the scandal, and demands for a full-scale public inquiry from the former chancellor Lord Lawson who, this week, launched a new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, to challenge the consensus on global warming policy …

… Mr Ward does not believe the emails reveal any evidence of impropriety, but supported Lord Lawson’s calls for an independent investigation so the matter can be cleared up.

He said: “I don’t believe there is any evidence here of fraud, but it’s regrettable that this has happened and I regret the fact that some members of the research community have dismissed out of hand those who have tried to make a counter-argument.”

Whether or not Climategate influences the outcome of the Copenhagen summit, it seems that its long-term legacy will be to make the ongoing war of words between “warmists” and “coolists” more poisonous than ever. (full text).


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