Global warming alarmist George Monbiot of the Guardian concedes that the e-mails "could scarcely be more damaging," adding, "I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them." He has called for the resignation of the CRU director. All of which brings to mind the old computer geek's phrase: garbage in, garbage out. The Copenhagen climate summit was convened to get the leaders of nations to commit to sharp reductions in carbon dioxide emissions -- and thus sharp reductions in almost all energy usage, at huge economic cost -- in order to prevent disasters that supposedly were predicted with absolute certainty by a scientific consensus.
But that consensus was based in large part on CRU data that was, to take the charitable explanation, "complete rubbish" or, to take the more dire view, the product of deliberate fraud.
Quite possibly the CRU e-mailers were sincere in their belief that they were saving the planet. Like Al Gore, they wanted to convince the world's elites that the time for argument is over, the scientific consensus is clear and those who disagree can be dismissed as cranks (and should be disqualified from receiving research grants). If they had to cut a few corners, well, you have to break eggs to make an omelette.
For those of us who have long suspected that constructing scientific models of climate and weather is an enormously complex undertaking quite possibly beyond the capacity of current computer technology, the CRU e-mails are not so surprising.
Do we really suppose that anyone can construct a database of weather observations for the entire planet and its atmosphere adequate to make confident predictions of weather and climate 60 years from now? Predictions in which we have enough confidence to impose enormous costs on the American and world economies?
Copenhagen, despite Barack Obama's presence, seems sure to be a bust -- there will be no agreement on mandatory limits on carbon emissions. Even if there were, it would probably turn out to be no more effective than the limits others agreed to in Kyoto in 1997. In any case, China and India are not going to choke off their dazzling economic growth to please Western global warming alarmists.
The more interesting question going forward is whether European and American governmental, academic and corporate elites, having embraced global warming alarmism with religious fervor, will be shaken by the scandalous CRU e-mails. They should be.