In November of 2009 a file mysteriously appeared on the internet. Inside it were copies of thousands of emails between some of the leading climate scientists in the world. The emails revealed some rather unscientific behavior and led to a controversy dubbed Climategate by global warming skeptics. Now a second set of emails has again been mysteriously released and the additional revelations dubbed Climategate II. If you really want to dig deep into this stuff you can find all of the info and links to more at Watts Up With That? I'm not going to hit you with all of that, but there are two things that I think are important to note as all of this hits the news again.
The first thing is the way traditional media outlets use certain words to try to de-legitimize the controversy. The emails were "stolen" or "hacked," when in fact nobody knows how they were obtained or why they were released. I believe the normal term for such a circumstance in the news media is "leaked."
They are also often referred to as "private," as if reading them makes us some kind of creepy voyuer and any unprofessional statements by the scientists can be chalked up to "scientists are people too." That last bit is kind of amusing, considering how often we are otherwise hectored to blindly accept their authority on climate science.
Anyway, if these were emails about how some scientists were hiding the dangers of fracking or how the Vatican was plotting to interfere with the 2012 elections I doubt that we would see the media positioning the story the same way.
That stuff aside, if there is one story about this that you will read, I urge you to make it the following one about how one climate scientist fought tooth and nail to keep another scientist from testing his conclusions:
Dear Dr. Jones:
You and I have been interacting, albeit at a distance, since I first asked you for your data some five years ago. I asked for your data in part because I was astounded by your answer to Warwick Hughes when he asked for the same data. You replied to Warwick at that time,“Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
I couldn’t fathom that a leading climate scientist could actually believe that. Finding something wrong with other scientists’ data and ideas is an integral part of how science progresses. This requires transparency and access to the data. I also couldn’t believe that other climate scientists would let you get away with saying that, without some other scientist pointing out the anti-scientific nature of your denial.
There's much, much more at that link. It is more than a tale of outright lies and terribly sloppy scientific procedure(It turned out that the data that was requested was in such disarray that it couldn't be reproduced). It is also a tale of conspiracy and coverup on that and other subjects and similar stonewalling has occurred with other temperature data sets and more than a few climate prediction models.
“Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
What an astonishing thing for a scientist to say.
This is about more than whether humans are causing the climate to change. This is about behavior by some scientists that has led to the corruption of the scientific process at the highest levels of climate science. The real deniers in this debate are the ones who want to excuse and cover that up.