As you probably know, 61 MB of emails and other files from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were recently released on the web (the linked articles speculates a bit about by whom).
The CRU is one of the two centres that record and collate global climate data, the other being NASA in the US. The emails contain some damaging exchanges, where it at least appears (analysis is still on-going, and there’s an awful lot of quoting-out-of-context going on to muddy the waters) that the scientists were colluding to ‘cook’ the data to show climate change that either wasn’t really happening or that they were exaggerating.
Of course, in a heated debate and in the lead-up to the Copenhagen conference, climate change ‘skeptics’ immediately trumpeted this as showing that all climate change is just a huge hoax perpetrated by scientists. But let me make the following points:
- Even if the CRU data set was proved to have been entirely fabricated (and we’re a million miles from that), these emails reflect not at all on the completely independent NASA data set – which also clearly shows a strong warming trend.
- These emails don’t unmelt the Arctic sea ice, or glaciers all over the world, and don’t change back the breeding patterns of creatures that have adapted to a warmer climate, nor do they invalidate the measured sea level rise.
So – some scientists did some dumb, and arguably even unethical, things with the data, as well as made mistakes, and then wrote about it, and had their private correspondence made public (remember, kids, if you don’t want it made public, don’t write it down in the first place!) But, in terms of whether global climate change is real, nothing has actually changed. The evidence is robust and multifaceted.