“This appears to be a carefully timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change…” – University of East Anglia, UK
A new batch of emails and a curious message:
In what appears to be a well-timed attempt to add controversy and confusion just ahead of the up-coming UN Climate meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, a new batch of (several thousand) stolen emails were published on the web yesterday.
According to scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) and others, the emails appear to be from the same cache of emails stolen in November 2009, and which led to the so-called “Climategate” scandal (note: at least seven independent investigations of the “scandal” found no wrong-doing or any false manipulation of data by the CRU researchers).
Oddly, the large file of emails was posted on a Russian server and accompanied by a note that reads:
“‘One dollar can save a life’ — the opposite must be true. Poverty is a death sentence. Nations must invest $37 trillion in energy technologies by 2030 to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at sustainable levels.”
This note would seem to support the scientific consensus that human-accelerated climate change is real and of urgent concern. Further, the logical assertion of the first sentence (its obverse), which would read: ‘A life can save a dollar’ is obscure and ambiguous as to its reference (who’s life?)
The person or persons responsible for this data dump claim to have an additional 220,000 such emails.
Expected Responses from Climate Change Deniers:
Without much, if any, review of the new cache of stolen emails (and no mention of the curious note accompanying the file), the response from climate change deniers was swift and predictable.
Conservative Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) was quoted in a recent SciAm article, stating:
“The apparent release of the Climategate 2.0 emails is just one more reason to halt the Obama EPA’s job-killing global warming agenda,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.
Responses from the NASA and Climate Research Unit Scientists:
So far, no one at the CRU seems too upset — no “smoking gun” that would presumably undermine the scientific consensus on Climate Change — apart from the fact that the stolen cache appears to be even larger than they had supposed.
Quoting NASA climatologists Gavin Schmidt from the same SciAm article:
“They’re the leftovers from Thanksgiving 2009. All the stuff that they didn’t put out then, this is just another selection from that thing. There hasn’t been a fresh hacking incident. It’s just more of the same.”
But Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann (who was involved in the original ‘Climategate’ email exchange) was a bit more forceful in his response:
“Agents doing the dirty bidding of the fossil fuel industry know they can’t contest the fundamental science of human-caused climate change. So they have instead turned to smear, innuendo, criminal hacking of websites, and leaking out-of-context snippets of personal emails in their effort to try to confuse the public about the science and thereby forestall any action to combat this critical threat.” [source: same SciAm article]
Lastly, the University of East Anglia released this statement yesterday:
“These emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks. This appears to be a carefully timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when that science has been vindicated by three separate independent reviews and a number of studies.”
So them there is nothing”new” here (as of yet), just more of the same. It would seem to be an attempt to re-ignite controversy, except that the message (quoted above) seems to be in-line with social justice issues (‘Poverty is a death sentence.’), adding only confusion as to its motivation and reference.
Meanwhile, Norfolk (UK) police continue their investigation into the 2009 hacked emails.
For more reading on this issue, check out: Attacks on climate scientists are the real ‘climategate’ or Stolen Emails Show How Pitiful Global Warming Deniers Are
Top photo: The Hubert Lamb Building, University of East Anglia, Climatic Research Unit Image: ChrisO/Wikimedia Commons
Michael Ricciardi is a well-published writer of science/nature/technology articles and essays, poetry and short fiction. Michael has interviewed dozen of scientists from many scientific fields, including Brain Greene, Paul Steinhardt, and Nobel Laureate Ilya Progogine (deceased). Michael was trained as a naturalist and taught ecology and natural science on Cape Cod, Mass. from 1986-1991. His first arts grant was for production of the environmental (video) documentary 'The Jones River - A Natural History', 1987-88 (Kingston, Mass.). Michael is also an award winning, internationally screened video artist. Two of his more recent short videos; 'A Time of Water Bountiful' and 'My Name is HAM' (an "imagined memoir" about the first chimp in space), and several other short videos, can be viewed on his website (http://www.chaosmosis.net). Michael currently lives in Seattle, Washington.