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The Inquisition of Global Warming

A Commentary by Debra J. Saunders

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

This just in from the Times of London: After the leak of highly embarrassing e-mail messages from the University of East Anglia's influential Climatic Research Unit, CRU has been forced to admit that it dumped "the original raw" climate data used to bolster the case for human-caused global warming, while retaining only the "value-added" -- read: massaged -- data.

In short, the CRU dumped the scientific data, but archived information that supports its conclusions. "It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years," wrote Times environment editor Jonathan Leake.

Of course, global warming skeptics see Climategate as vindication. For years, global warming activists have maintained that they alone could claim the mantle of dispassionate science, while skeptics were venal, nutty or both.

The publication of these e-mails puts an end to that happy conceit, as they reveal a small cabal of scientists obsessed with obliterating dissenting scholarship and destroying the reputations of any who stood in their way.

For years, I've read global warming activists cite the work of UC San Diego science historian Naomi Oreskes, who looked at 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles from 1993 and 2003 and found, "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position" in favor of man-made global warming.

No surprise, her unbelievable claim was wrong. In a leaked e-mail, CRU Director Phil Jones complained of a 2003 peer-reviewed article that departed from global warming orthodoxy. Jones went so far as to boast, "I will be e-mailing the journal (Climate Research) to tell them I'm having nothing to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor," who approved printing the piece.

In 2004, Jones said he would keep two troublesome papers out of a U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report "somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

In another e-mail, Pennsylvania State University environmental sciences Professor Michael Mann proposed considering a boycott of Climate Research. But that's nothing compared with Benjamin D. Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who, the Washington Post reported, said he was tempted to beat up skeptic Pat Michaels.

Polls show that Americans are cooling on the notion of man-made global warming. I must credit the bully mentality of activists, whose claims often defy common sense -- and at times, simple decency.

The defying-common-sense part: They claim that no credible scientist departs from the IPCC orthodoxy. Counter with some names -- Richard Lindzen, Fred Singer, William Gray, John Christy, Don Easterbrook, Piers Corbyn, Roy Spencer, Pat Michaels, James O'Brien -- and they impugn their scientific credentials.

If they have to redefine peer review, they'll do that, too. And then they ask you to trust them on the dumped CRU data. After all, they're scientists.

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