The release of private emails between climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that show malpractice and conspiracy have had their effect. Public acceptance of the reality of global warming has dipped, politicians are retreating and changes to how science is done and scientists behave are required.What is he talking about? Well, he rejects any link between public opion polls and Climategate. Based on the BBC poll data (which we discussed on this blog as well) he says: 'The evidence shows that the battle for hearts and minds in the fight against climate change has been strengthened, not weakened, by the East Anglia affair.'
I do not accept this. I believe this seductively simple narrative is based on ignorance, scientific illiteracy and hypocrisy. Worse, it is dangerous and will erode the very public confidence it seeks to restore.
He then goes on to discuss the meaning of 'hide the decline' and the role of peer review in science. He claims that the first is systematically misrepresented by sceptical voices and that scientists themselves were always aware of the problem and discussed it by the technical term 'divergence problem'. They may have done so, but not in public. This was the whole point. And it is here where Adam defends the East Anglia researchers:
It is true the East Anglia emails suggest that Jones and other scientists did not enter the brave new world of open data and Freedom of Information requests with gusto. In fact, they fought it tooth and nail. Any failure to comply with the regulations should be punished, but equally we should not forget the context in which many of these emails were sent... Climate scientists, left to fight this pretty much alone, were seriously angry with those who they saw as engaged in a systematic effort to undermine their profession.Is Adam endorsing what Jones said in one of the emails, that FoI should not apply to 'evil' requests? Does he not realise that the practicising of double standards is what got these scientists into trouble? 'The brave new world of open data' -- does he really say this is a horrible thing?
It is noteworthy that Adam's comment is on the email scandal and problems of peer review only. No mentioning is made of the IPCC and its recent problems. Why the focus on the 'older' story? Could it be because the Parliamentary inquiry is due to start on Monday? If this is the case, Adam's well meaning piece in support of the CRU scientists might well be a disservice.