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ClimateGate picks up steam, claims a victim, causes enviromentalist self doubt

December 3, 2009

Where do we start?

ClimateGate is blowing up a storm of reprisal.   Investigations are underway at the Climate Research Unit and at Penn State University.   Sen. Inhoff and Boxer got into it before an unrelated hearing.  An administration official was grilled Wednesday at a congressional hearing.  There are calls for more hearings. 

Even Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been forced to respond.

And oh yeah, down under the Aussie parliament voted down cap and trade.

First, the head of the center of the controversy has agreed to– as the British put it — “temporarily stand aside” as head of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia which serves as the worldwide center for climate research.

One of the U.S. climate researchers whose emails surfaced is being investigated by Penn State University where he is on the faculty.   Taking a page out of the environmentalist playbook, American Spectator lists all of the government grants Michael Mann has received, nearly $6 million  over the past decade or so.

In Washington, Sens. Barbara Boxer and James Inhoff, the chair and ranking members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, debated the relevance of the emails prior to a hearing on an unrelated bill.

In response, Sen. Boxer said she is considering whether to hold a hearing or a briefing for Senators, but seemed less concerned about what the emails said rather on how they came to light.

There’s no question these emails give us permission to reopen the science door.   Did a small group of influential, taxpayer-funded climate scientists work together to shut out differing perspectives?   Is this legitimate science?   Are we supposed to have faith in scientists who feel compelled to “trick” the data to hide the decline in global temperatures?    Based on my read of the emails, it sure doesn’t seem like the science is settled?   Not when they seem to panic about the inability of their models to explain how higher concentrations of greenhouse gases are causing a decade of cooling. 

And don’t calls us crazy.   As Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin put it at today’s hearing, the burden of proof is squarely on the folks to want to change the U.S. economy forever.

“We’re being asked as a Congress to make major changes in American society, in energy use and how much the out-of-pocket cost is to everyone in this country, as a result of this debate…We’d better get it right. The scientists may be able to change their story (but it’s) as difficult to repeal the consequences of that law as it is to get milk back in the cow.”

One environmental blogger is trying to spin ClimateGate, comparing the coverage to the kinds of tactics once used by the tobacco industry.   

A European writes that the environmental movement was not equipped to deal with the swift boating of climate change  or to address the recent drop in public acceptance of man-made global warming occurring on both sides of the pond.

Environmental groups, once brilliant at swaying public opinion, have lost their touch. They have progressively become part of the establishment, while the skeptics have taken the insurgent role that environmentalists once exploited so well. As they became more and more involved in the process of formulating agreements and legislation to tackle global warming, talking to governments and attending negotiating conferences, leaders of the environmental movement have increasingly appeared to take public opinion for granted.

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