"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pretending the climate email leak isn't a crisis won't make it go away...

Climate sceptics have lied, obscured and cheated for years. That's why we climate rationalists must uphold the highest standards of science
I have seldom felt so alone. Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial. The emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, they say, are a storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition. It is true that climate change deniers have made wild claims which the material can't possibly support (the end of global warming, the death of climate science). But it is also true that the emails are very damaging.
The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people's denial. Pretending that this isn't a real crisis isn't going to make it go away. Nor is an attempt to justify the emails with technicalities. We'll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologising where appropriate and demonstrating that it cannot happen again....
Picture Left:Research and rationalism: ice core drilling on the summit of Quelccaya ice cap, Peru. (Photograph: Peter Essick/Getty)

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