I have been reading a fair amount of the news associated with the latest release of the CRU emails and have even downloaded the whole cache and peeked through them a little. It is entertaining and somewhat informative, but my response to the whole thing seems to be very different than the response of others. The person who is releasing the emails clearly has a political motive based simply on the timing of both releases. Both the Copenhagen and Durban conferences were targets for the release and there will be disruptions as a result. Of course the entire global warming debate has always been political so I suppose that this is a fair tactic.
Before I go into my personal views on this I would like to contrast the two typical responses that are taking place. The first is the thunderous response from the Skeptic side of the debate. This can be easily demonstrated by the top of page headline that it has been for the past week at Watts. I suspect that it will continue to be top news there for a while. This is a convenient sorting house for the thousands of emails and documents because it is useful to know what is in them. The clear intent of any article from this realm is to discredit the climate scientists, or at least to paint them in a bad light.
The flip-side of the debate is the denounce the whole thing as an illegal political ploy. Any article that starts out with a comment on the illegally stolen emails usually falls into this category and there are many like this, this and this. This is simple damage control aimed at getting the idea out there that private emails should not be released because it is private. There are many comments along the lines of “How would you feel if your private email was released to the public?” Mix that in with the constant barrage that only conspiracy theorists can find anything useful in the emails and you have pretty much the response of the warmists.
There is plenty of truths in both sides of the response. The emails were obtained illegally, but that also doesn’t matter. My work email is subject to many government regulations of storage and retention so if something illegal is happening, the company will be held accountable if emails are destroyed and they can’t prove wrongdoing as a result. Much of the same regulation applies to public resources and it should. Anyone using their work email should expect that it could come back to haunt them. That is life in the modern world. In addition public universities get public funding from the government. It is my tax dollars they are using to fund their research (at least in the U.S.). They have every responsibility to show that they are using that money wisely. So despite the fact that the emails were obtained illegally, the emails should be available anyway through proper channels.
This of course leads to the issues of avoiding Freedom of Information requests. It is clear from the emails that the climate scientists were actively discussing ways to avoid releasing information under FOI requests. Here is the legal definition of conspiracy.
Law . an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.
When people agree to a method to circumvent the law, it is by the legal definition a conspiracy. Granted this is a foolish and silly one, but nonetheless it is conspiracy. This leads to a merry-go-round of stuff that is best left to lawyers, but based on my experience in the workforce, if I was caught doing what they were doing, I would most likely lose my job and be on my own in facing the wrath of the courts. So I have very, very little sympathy for the scientists who were for the most part using their work email in these discussions.
Aside from the legal shenanigans, the most disturbing aspect of this is release is the response that the warmists have for any paper that disagrees with their all important consensus. The paper and the author are instantly and immediately treated like a fool and disparaged as such. There is no room for dissent within the community. This is insanity in its clearest form. In my work getting 10 people to agree to something all the time is a joke. Healthy disagreement is part of getting to real solutions. Walking on eggshells to avoid irritating anyone else is the worst possible way to reach good solutions or good science. The climate scientists are a best case example of a completely dysfunctional team. They are incapable of direct honesty with each other and resort to sniping each other behind each others backs. It is no wonder that their science sucks as bad as it does (yes, I mean that).
That of course is the key problem. Their science is just bad. There is a lot of good science taking place, but all of it is warped to fit around CO2. As a result, their conclusions are always skewed towards their incorrect assumptions. That they are always looking to show that CO2 causes all past changes, they succeed. That is what they have done with the opening of the Drake Passage and with the more recent glacial/interglacial cycles. If their science were good, then the emails wouldn’t matter. That the science is bad also means that the emails mean nothing, but they provide an insight into why their results are so completely wrong. Any group that cannot tolerate any dissent is doomed to reach bad conclusions. They provide a wonderful example of how to not do science.