Turns out my previous post was somewhat prescient in describing the “inexact science” of climate change. Less than two weeks after I published that post, a story came out about what is now being called “Climategate” concerning emails that were hacked from a server at a British university. These emails contain frank discussion between leading climatologists over what appears to be efforts to exclude colleagues who qualify as global warming skeptics from the peer review process and efforts to manipulate data so that it reaffirms their conclusions regarding anthropogenic global warming.
I think it’s fair to say that these emails don’t substantially change the existing arguments either for or against “global warming”, but it should remind everyone that a little healthy skepticism is, er, well healthy and not to believe everything you read, whether it is written by journalists who are beholden to a code of journalistic ethics, or scientists who are supposedly beholden to a higher power known as the scientific process. They are all simply humans and make the same mistakes and respond to the same incentives as the rest of us.
UPDATE: It also appears researchers from the same university (University of East Anglia) have thrown away much of the raw data that they used to derive their predictions about global warming. As Russ Roberts says, that’s “not scientific”. My question is: doesn’t anyone else out there have this data? Surely, the “overwhelming consensus” that humans are responsible for global warming was not simply based on the output from this one university in Britain, right?