As Air Force One heads to Copenhagen for the climate summit Dec. 9, it will presumably not make a U-turn while flying over the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia near Norwich, England. But perhaps it should.
The 61 megabytes of CRU e-mails and documents made public by a hacker cast serious doubt on the ballyhooed consensus on manmade global warming that the Copenhagen summit was called to address.
The CRU has been a major source of data on global temperatures, relied on by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But the e-mails suggest that CRU scientists have been suppressing and misstating data and working to prevent the publication of conflicting views in peer-reviewed science periodicals. Some of the more pungent e-mails:
"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
"Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re AR4?"
"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."
"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty we can't."
"I'm getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU temperature station data. Don't any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!"
You get the idea. The most charitable plausible explanation I have seen comes from The Atlantic's Megan McArdle. "The CRU's main computer model may be, to put it bluntly, complete rubbish."
Australian geologist Ian Plimer, a global warming skeptic, is more blunt. The e-mails "show that data was massaged, numbers were fudged, diagrams were biased, there was destruction of data after freedom of information requests, and there was refusal to submit taxpayer-funded data for independent examination."
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