Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Climate of Frustration

I was happy to see Phil Jones vindicated and re-instated within the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, in a new role of Director of Research last week.

‘Climategate’, as it became ridiculously known, the scandal over the content of emails that were quite possibly hacked into and leaked over the internet from the above mentioned university department, provided further fuel to the arguments of the climate change sceptic community and provoked a blood-thirsty demand for inquiry into the allegations they had orchestrated.

My frustration with these people is difficult to express. It took three independent publicly funded reviews to conclude the obvious: that the content of these emails had no bearing on the fact human activity on this planet is inducing global warming.

I can appreciate the reasons for counter research in order that both sides can collaborate to try and better predict the trends in environmental change and measure the changes that have already taken place. However, I can see no benefit to this attempt to discredit the research and working practices of the CRU. In my opinion, not only did these three independent reviews end up dismissing the integrity of their argument, but also questioning the integrity of the members of these sceptic organisations as human beings.

The UK Met Office spokesperson from Leo Hickman’s article on the scandal for the Guardian in November 2009 summed it up well, I thought. They expressed no doubt that an inquiry would essentially be a waste of time, as the work by some of the world’s most respected scientists would stand as strong as ever at the end:
“It's a shame that some of the sceptics have had to take this rather shallow attempt to discredit robust science undertaken by some of the world's most respected scientists. The bottom line is that temperatures continue to rise and humans are responsible for it.”
In summary of the conclusions from the reviews that subsequently took place and were released this month, I thought the New York Times editorial from last week was pretty spot on:
I wasn’t surprised by any of the findings from the reviews because I, like many ordinary people who live with very little involvement in the actual science community, have enough common sense to have formed the reasonable expectation that the earth will become damaged beyond recognition and repair if we carry on using and destroying its natural resources at the current rate. For me, this goes beyond Science and is a deeply moral issue. Why does the sceptic community insist on using cheap tricks to whip up controversy like this and then call for the use of public money on pointless enquiries that will have predictable outcomes? They failed to discredit the science behind Climate Change that indicates it is the biggest threat to human livelihood and this planet. What they did succeed in discrediting was themselves in terms of human compassion and consideration for the fragile ecosystem and its inhabitants. Isn’t it about time the sceptics piped down, behaved more responsibly and started co-operating more with those scientists who work for preservation, conservation and survival, instead of leaving our future to chance?

Picture from:


Dan @ Eyes on Power said...

Sceptics whip up scientific controversy to serve their own agenda. I don’t think it’s necessarily because they believe their own arguments, but because they wish to protect capital and investments. It’s cheaper, after all, if companies and countries don’t have to worry about safety, emissions or any other type of regulation.

Janis@ Eyes on Power said...

Yes I agree it's probably true that the sceptics and those whose interests they are serving believe that this sort of behaviour will generate savings in these areas. However, only in the short term. The longer it takes for countries and companies to act and address these issues, the more environmental damage will be caused and the more costly the repair bill will be. Either that or the fossil fuels will run out and they'll be caught short with any alternative energy supply methods being under-developed.

Corporations and nations themselves taking responsibility for their actions, offsetting their consumption of natural resources and investing in green efficiency methods for the future will ensure their long-term success and the greater stability of their economies.

Dan @ Eyes on Power said...

Completely agree. Companies will only change their policies and practices if they are forced to by the consumer. If the money they lose from customers leaving is greater than the money they save cutting corners environmentally, then they will act and fly the ‘aren’t we moral and ethical’ flag. It is therefore down to concerted grassroots action to pressure companies into action. In the same way, it is down to countries like the UK to apply international pressure on countries which flaunt targets on climate change and renewables.

Tom @ Eyes on Power said...

Definately. I don't think it's possible to overestimate the involvement of corporate interests in these smear campaigns. Those with the most to lose will fight the hardest to undermine the work of those who are generating the evidence that will bring about the end of their economic dominance.

Chris Madden said...

The cartoon accompanying this article doesn't seem to be credited.
I'm assuming permission was sought to use it.
Please credit it, or link it, to

Tom @ Eyes on Power said...

Hi Chris, apologies for the oversight. You are now credited. Thanks for reading!

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