The Independent Climate Change E-Mails Review has reported on the “Climategate” scandal.
No surprises, the scientists have been vindicated again:
“Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct. On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt…”
The entire strategy of the deniers is to cast the integrity of scientists in doubt.
On the famously taken-out of context quotes “hide the decline’ and “trick”:
“On the allegation that the references in a specific e-mail to a „trick‟ and to „hide the decline‟ in respect of a 1999 WMO report figure show evidence of intent to paint a misleading picture, we find that, given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the IPCC Third Assessment Report), the figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading.We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data, but we believe that both of these procedures should have been made plain – ideally in the figure but certainly clearly described in either the caption or the text…”
Interestingly the note the power of the blogosphere and the need for increased openness:
“Handling the blogosphere and non traditional scientific dialogue.One of the most obvious features of the climate change debate is the influence of the blogosphere. This provides an opportunity for unmoderated comment to stand alongside peer reviewed publications; for presentations or lectures at learned conferences to be challenged without inhibition; and for highly personalized critiques of individuals and their work to be promulgated without hindrance. This is a fact of life, and it would be foolish to challenge its existence. The Review team would simply urge all scientists to learn to communicate their work in ways that the public can access and understand. That said, a key issue is how scientists should be supported to explain their position, and how a public space can be created where these debates can be conducted on appropriate terms, where what is and is not uncertain can be recognised…”
“Openness and Reputation.
An important feature of the blogosphere is the extent to which it demands openness and access to data. A failure to recognise this and to act appropriately, can lead to immense reputational damage by feeding allegations of cover up. Being part of a like minded group may provide no defence. Like it or not, this indicates a transformation in the way science has to be conducted in this century…”
The denial movement has been able to take advantage of the usually closed nature of advanced research (in that it is almost impenetrable to most lay persons) by casting aspersions on the motives of scientists.
They have also effectively have take advantage of uncertainty that is typical of science:
“There is a widespread misconception that science produces unequivocal and absolutely precise answers. It does not, and cannot. All scientific results contain uncertainties, and it is important that these are made clear to and are understood by those who use them. There are two fundamental sources of uncertainty in science: uncertainty in measuring a phenomenon and uncertainty in determining causes and causal relationships…”
By exploiting tiny errors and uncertainties and blowing these up into massive scandals the deniers have been very successful in creating the impression that the vast majority of climate science is uncertain.
Will Andrew Bolt retract his statements?
When Climategate broke, Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt made the following comments:
“So the 1079 emails and 72 documents seem indeed evidence of a scandal involving most of the most prominent scientists pushing the man-made warming theory – a scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science...”
Bolt was instrumental in creating “the scandal”, helping promote it amongst the denial-blogosphere.
Here’s the question: will Bolt now retract these statements and acknowledge he was wrong?
If he has any integrity or commitment to journalistic standards he should.
Addendum: how a journalist should apologise
George Monboit called for the resignation of Phil Jones when Climategate broke. However, following the release of this above report he has retracted his statements and apologised:
So was I wrong to have called, soon after this story broke, for Jones’s resignation?(14) I think, on balance, that I was. He said some very stupid things. At times he squelched the scientific principles of transparency and openness. He might have broken the law. But he was also provoked beyond endurance. I think, in the light of everything I’ve now seen and read, that if I were to write that article again I would conclude that Phil Jones should hang on – but only just. I hope the last review gives him some peace.
This is what one means by integrity.