Saturday, December 05, 2009

Nature Journal: Climate Science is Sound, Paranoid Interpretation Would Be Laughable If It Were Not Dangerous

There is a great editorial in the leading scientific Journal Nature, busting the myth about the significance of the the stolen emails from the University of East Anglia (UAE) Climate Research Unit (CRU):
"Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails.
  • "First, Earth's cryosphere is changing as one would expect in a warming climate. These changes include glacier retreat, thinning and areal reduction of Arctic sea ice, reductions in permafrost and accelerated loss of mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
  • Second, the global sea level is rising. The rise is caused in part by water pouring in from melting glaciers and ice sheets, but also by thermal expansion as the oceans warm.
  • Third, decades of biological data on blooming dates and the like suggest that spring is arriving earlier each year.
"Denialists often maintain that these changes are just a symptom of natural climate variability. But when climate modellers test this assertion by running their simulations with greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide held fixed, the results bear little resemblance to the observed warming. The strong implication is that increased greenhouse-gas emissions have played an important part in recent warming, meaning that curbing the world's voracious appetite for carbon is essential...." [bullet points added in second paragraph to improve readability].
(For more on the independent evidence supporting climate science, see my previous blog post.)

The editors of Nature also say that the
"...paranoid interpretation [of the stolen emails] would be laughable were it not for the fact that obstructionist politicians in the US Senate will probably use it next year as an excuse to stiffen their opposition to the country's much needed climate bill."
On an even more somber note, Nature's editors warn that
"...the pressures the UEA e-mailers experienced may be nothing compared with what will emerge as the United States debates a climate bill next year, and denialists use every means at their disposal to undermine trust in scientists and science."
Indeed, the stakes are very high. Trillion-dollar fossil-fuel industries and their allies are trying to keep their profit margins in the face of the biggest global push-back that they have had to face. The evidence to date shows only disinformation campaigns, computer hacking -- plus possibly break and enter and attempted trespass (the latter two allegedly happened right here in Canada). I certainly hope that this is the worst of it.

I also hope that journalists stop blindly repeating sensationalized quotes from the stolen emails, and remember the need for critical thinking, as Jim Hogan argues eloquently Desmog Blog.

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