Climategate: Disdain for the Scientific Method

CRU defenders argue that the results obtained by CRU were validated by other scientists. However, the emails indicate that the other scientists were part of an inside group of paleoclimatologists who backed each other up and discussed how to avoid anyone outside the gang interfering with their work.

Thus, the emails validate the conclusion of Dr. Edward Wegman, chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, who testified before Congress in 2006: “[A]uthors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.”

Climate science -- like all science -- must be open to challenge in order to advance. Otherwise, global warming proponents can hardly complain when the public ignore and question their findings and expensive policy recommendations.

In the meantime, the claim that the science of anthropogenic global warming is “settled” has been discredited. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relied on the CRU for its data.  Now that the coordinated effort of Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and others to suppress data and subvert the peer review process has been exposed, the IPCC’s own findings are in doubt.

For public policy, this means that the question of whether the recent global warming is unusual or unprecedented is open once again. That question, in turn, is crucial to the decision of whether to spend large amounts of public money on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency and the United Nations carry on their carbon emissions control efforts as if nothing has happened. They should postpone any such actions. The scientific method deserves at least that much respect.