The Failure of Climategate 2.0

It has been a few days since the release of a new batch of emails that were obtained by hacking servers at the University of East Anglia. And the usual suspects have been in a complete feeding frenzy digging through them to see if they can find some damning quotes/evidence.

James Delingpole was one of the first to jump on this and to proclaim “here comes Climategate II“:

And as before, they show the “scientists” at the heart of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa – all your favourite Climategate characters are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming, while privately admitting to one another that the evidence is nowhere near as a strong as they’d like it to be.

Again doing the same thing he did with the first release of emails, smearing the scientists involved. While he, by his own admittance, doesn’t read the scientific literature.

With other so-called sceptics blogs following up on this and doing their best to start an outrage. For example Anthony Watts said the following about the e-mails soon after they were released: “They’re real and they’re spectacular!“.

However despite the attempts of these so-called sceptics the response from the media to these emails is of them not being impressed. Almost all covering these emails with reserved scepticism. With Fox News of course being one of the few noticeable execptions, hardly surprising with them consistently spreading misinformation to their audience.

But the majority were either doing their research. With some putting the quote mined quotes into context. And other articles actually talking about what these emails do show, scientists being critical about each others work and not just accepting what like-minded scientists say. The complete opposite of the narrative the climate change deniers are trying to establish:

But Michael E. Mann, a Pennsylvania State University scientist who wrote or received some of the e-mails, said they showed the opposite of any conspiracy, demonstrating instead that climate science is a vigorous enterprise where scientists were free to argue over conclusions. “Scientists rely on the ability to have frank, sometimes even contentious discussions with each other,” Dr. Mann said in an interview Tuesday. “Science requires that.”

In one of the e-mails, Raymond S. Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, criticized a paper that Dr. Mann wrote with the climate scientist Phil Jones, which used tree rings and similar markers to find that today’s climatic warming had no precedent in recent natural history. Dr. Bradley, who has often collaborated with Dr. Mann, wrote that the 2003 paper “was truly pathetic and should never have been published.”

Dr. Bradley confirmed in an interview that the e-mail was his, but said his comment had no bearing on whether global warming was really happening. “I did not like that paper at all, and I stand by that, and I am sure that I told Mike that” at the time, he said. But he added that a disagreement over a single paper had little to do with the overall validity of climate science. “There is no doubt we have a big problem with human-induced warming,” Dr. Bradley said. “Mike’s paper has no bearing on the fundamental physics of the problem that we are facing.”

This far more restrained and balanced reporting is in no small part caused by the nine independent investigations that have vindicated climate science and climate scientists on the hacked University of East Anglia emails.

But the biggest contributor to this change was that the scientists involved reacted immediately, and started answering questions from the press. And even taking the time to talk to the public and answer their questions. One of the best examples being the comment section on Real Climate. Combine this with a large number of science and climate blogs helping the scientists in getting the information out. And it effectively stopping this non-controversy in its tracks.

Although it will not stop the deniers from quote mining another batch of emails, in an attempt to delay action. And this is exactly the stated goal in the readme file the hacker(s) released with the emails (website is no longer available, an archived copy can be found here):

“Over 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day.”

“Every day nearly 16.000 children die from hunger and related causes.”

“One dollar can save a life” — the opposite must also 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.”

Today’s decisions should be based on all the information we can get, not on hiding the decline.

The blog Skeptical Science shows why the poorest nations are absolutely not in agreement with the hacker(s) and definitely do not want any delays:

The poorest nations, whose people the hacker claims to be concerned about, want serious international action to address climate change:

“African, Least Developed Countries and countries of the ALBA alliance in Latin America have agreed to work together to ensure that the Durban Climate Conference later this year delivers outcomes that strengthen the climate regime, cut emissions and deliver on climate finance”

In fact, the poorest nations want to set a more aggressive, 1.5°C global warming limit target (as opposed to the current 2°C international target).

So the hacker’s motiviation – to undermine efforts to mitigate climate change – is the exact opposite of the goals of the poorest nations.  In fact, the poorest nations are so serious about this goal that they have agreed to work together to try and maximize the progress made towards climate mitigation at the upcoming Durban climate conference – the same conference the hacker appears to be attempting to derail by releasing the stolen email benchwarmers a week before it begins.

This shows that this hack is driven by an ideology that isn’t shared by the poorest nations. They want action as they know it is going to affect them more than the developed countries.

And they aren’t alone, the vast majority of people in the richest country want action. They do not want the future that is in store for us if we do nothing. And these hackers have shown that they are not driven by the desire to expose some real controversy or bad science. They just want to keep things as they are and ignore what the science is telling us.

Collin Maessen is the founder and editor of Real Skeptic and a proponent of scientific skepticism. For his content he uses the most up to date and best research as possible. Where necessary consulting or collaborating with scientists.