Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Curious Redemption of East Anglia

UK legislators have come out and pardoned East Anglia University and Professor Phil Jones, who were implicated in the Climate-gate scandal.

Let me get this straight, because I can’t understand how the British government is in a position to do this.

In November 2009, it became accepted that East Anglia’s research was less than credible due to evidence of fabricated data. Shortly after, the UK lawmakers came out and condemned East Anglia for the data manipulation, mostly because it compromised the global perception of British science. Oh, and also because the British government was implicated in the scandal, considering public funds were used to produce the faulty data. Then, after the hubbub died down and the lawmakers had escaped the pressure, we’re just supposed to take the UK's word that now East Anglia should be exonerated, and everything was kosher the whole time?

Imagine a guy robbing a bank, and his getaway driver is right outside while the act is perpetrated. The bank robber gets caught and is incarcerated, while the driver escapes conviction but is suspected of plotting the crime. Then 6 months later after everything cools off, the driver comes out of the woodwork and says the bank robber is innocent and that he should be released. Is the court going to believe him and just let the bank robber off the hook?

Well in this analogy, imagine East Anglia is the bank robber, and the UK legislature is the driver. And the world is the court. We’re not going to believe it either, and we're not going to let them off the hook to keep pushing carbon caps and credits.

But the juiciest part of all is that they try to spin the devious verbiage in an email that says: "I've just completed 'Mike's Nature trick' of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years ... to hide the decline."

Most people will not take the threat of global warming as seriously when temperatures are declining, unless you’re Al Gore and fully invested in the belief that the world is going to climate-hell. Of course, if you're Al Gore, everything from blizzards to earthquakes is rock-solid evidence that the world is committing suicide because we’re such bad tenants.

But Phil Jones knew that most people are not so dim as to believe that "cooling means warming," and that’s why he tried to hide the cooling data.

A second grader could easily decipher the meaning of the above sentence about hiding data. Perhaps the word "hide" has a meaning that's lost in translation as it moves across the pond, like how "chips" are fries, or to "pinch" is to steal something. But I doubt it. So the rest of Western culture should be deeply offended that the British parliament thinks so little of us.

We need to just use some common sense and recognize that, yes, crucial data used in IPCC reports was manipulated, and that, yes, the veracity of the science that many had believed is now legitimately in question. And before diving headfirst into costly global carbon regulation, we should make damn sure the theory is foolproof. It certainly isn’t now, and that's why they had to fudge the data. What the “consensus” thought to be a sure thing has proven to be a bit of a long shot.

But that's not stopping the British government from betting the farm.

William Sullivan

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