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Climate change deniers exposed by the truth

Scientific truth has won three convincing victories over corporate-funded climate change deniers. Independent reports published in the UK and US entirely exonerate two leading climate scientists and their teams – Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia and Michael Mann at Penn State University.

And a comprehensive review of the 2001 report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that the evidence is not flawed, and the fact of socially-driven climate change is incontrovertible.

The two groups of scientists were subjected to a fake scandal manufactured out of leaked emails, timed to coincide with the UN climate summit at Copenhagen at the end of last year.

Emails were misrepresented to suggest that they knew that Earth is actually getting colder, and could not explain why. One of the emails was in fact a comment by Professor Jones on how designers should present a graph being simplified for use on the cover of a report published in 2000 – before the IPCC report.

The UK enquiry, chaired by former civil servant Sir Muir Russell, reported:

The honesty and rigour of CRU (Climatic Research Unit) as scientists are not in doubt ... We have not found any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.

Far from hiding the raw data on which their findings were based, the enquiry found that it “is freely available to any competent researcher”. And to underline the point, the enquiry itself accessed the data and used it to recreate exactly the same findings.

In the US, the science faculty at Penn State University unanimously exonerated Michael Mann and his team. With the UEA researchers, they created the so-called “hockey stick” graph of global warming.

Hockey stick

This famous image, used in Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, draws on evidence from a range of studies and shows the dramatic rise in global warming coincides exactly with the last three decades of corporate globalisation. It induces apoplexy in the climate change deniers and their corporate backers and rubbishing it is a key focus of their activities.

The investigators found no substance to charges made against Mann and his team and added that his emails had been "misrepresented ... (and) completely twisted to imply the opposite of what was actually being said."

So have the deniers shut up? Of course not. Have they disproved the science? Discussing science scientifically is something they assiduously avoid! Instead Myron Ebell of the so-called Competitive Enterprise Institute simply denounces the report as a whitewash, without giving any reasons. And Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit – the main attack dog against the “hockey stick graph” – focuses on the one and only criticism the UK enquiry made.

Muir suggested that deleting emails does not show a great commitment to openness on the part of the UEA team. But who can blame them, since the requests for emails were entirely vexatious.

Of course there is a long history of lying and distortion of scientific research. The corporations have covered up the facts about tobacco and cancer; about GM crops migrating into non-GM; about the side effects and dangers of anti-depressants; about thalidomide. And now they sponsor people to lie about climate change.

As Michael Mann told the BBC last night:

If our work wasn’t important in adding to the weight of evidence we wouldn’t be getting this attention from the professional climate change deniers... I look at all these specious attacks and lies as a testament to the importance of our work.

Now all the anti-science pundits who claimed the cold winter of 2009/10 means global warming is a lie have gone strangely silent as vast areas of the world suffer terrible heat waves. Temperatures this week rose to 40.3 Celsius in Beijing and 39.4 in New York. Abraham Lincoln had it right: You can fool some of the people all of the time. You can fool all of the people some of the time. But you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time.

Penny Cole
Environment editor
8 July 2010

Your Say

Cissie says:

Exxon-Mobil and Koch Industries are helping to fund the climate denial conspiracy to the tune of millions of dollars - see Greenpeace report. Do they help fund the computer hackers who snooped onto Phil Jones' computer or the hacks in the Mail, Telegraph and Times who keep on churning out the smears?

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