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Climategate: Environmentalists versus climate-change deniers

emissions5There are two sides to every story as evidenced by the various opinions across the Web about the recent release of hacked emails and documents from the top climate research organization in the UK.

Some say the documents were released to discredit climate researchers and don’t disprove global warming while others say it proves that global warming was exaggerated by a handful of climate scientists. However, the heated debate has taken an ugly turn, resulting in name-calling by both parties.

Here are some of their opinions.

A few climatologists at the center of the climate scandal, now called Climategate by many in the media, believe the documents don’t undermine the underlying science of the research, and the private emails — some using colloquialisms between colleagues or written in the heat of the moment — were misinterpreted or taken out of context, reports the Wall Street Journal. But according to the opinion piece, the researchers are ignoring the damage they’ve done to public confidence of climate science.

The WSJ blogger says the issue is not about colloquialisms or about the tone of the documents but rather how the scientific consensus on global warming was reached and how it’s being enforced. The impression is that the research was rigged from the start, and the public has the right to ask why they needed to rig their data if it is as indisputable as claimed, according to the article.

The fallout from the leaked emails could also damage President Obama’s hope of cap-and-trade legislation, which is being supported by Fox News’ reporting on the story with the “juiciest quotes” and calling the emails a “game changer”, reports a Telegraph blog.

In addition, climate skeptic Senator James Inhofe’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has notified all the relevant U.S. government agencies about the content of the leaked emails, according to the Telegraph.

The Telegraph blogger went so far as to call the researchers “liars” and “petty tyrants” and that there may be criminal prosecution for those who falsified data to secure funds.

On the flip side, a Guardian blog reports that many environmentalists and scientists have gone into denial stating the material has been exaggerated, but says now isn’t the time to pretend it’s not big deal or to justify the damaging emails based on technicalities.

One of the most damaging emails was sent by the head of the climatic research unit, Phil Jones, which supports the claims of climate-change deniers that the IPCC process is biased, reports the Guardian.

The Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia knew of the security breach three days before the story broke but released no statement nor had a spokesperson to respond to the breach, allowing opponents or what the blogger called “scumbags” to take swipes at CRU scientists.

Despite many years of fabrication, fraud and deceit on the part of the climate change denial industry, which the Guardian blog called 100 times worse than anything in the hacked emails, climate scientists now look bad. But still, it doesn’t justify their secrecy and suppression of data on the part of climate scientists, according to the article.

Three leadings scientists called the hacked emails a smear campaign aimed at sabotaging climate talks in Copenhagen at a recent press conference call, reports Reuters.

Instead of discussing their new report, the Copenhagen Diagnosis, an update of the UN IPCC’s 2007 climate data, they spent most of their time discussing the hacked emails, according to Reuters.

Still, the report findings, based on 200 peer-reviewed papers, reveal that global warming emissions in 2008 were nearly 40 percent higher than those in 1990 and sea level rise is 80 percent above past IPCC predictions, reports Reuters. The report indicates that to avoid a 2-degree C warming fossil fuel emissions must peak between 2015 and 2020 then decline rapidly, according to the article.

Though some of the emails just reveal some grumblings about a research paper, other emails, such as the one that suggests Jones and his colleagues should delete emails unless they get into the hands of climate-change deniers and or another email that calls for blocking a research paper questioning global warming, are more difficult to explain, reports the New Zealand Herald.

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