An independent investigation into the leak of hundreds of e-mails from one of the world's leading climate-research centers largely excuses the scientists involved, claiming their research was reliable.
The e-mails, which originated from Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., created a sensation when they were first published online in November. The communiqués revealed well-known climate researchers speaking in baseless terms about their critics, discussing clever ways to sidestep colleagues skeptical of manmade climate change, devising plans to freeze opponents out of peer-reviewed journals and systematically manipulating the earth's temperature record. The e-mails became known as "Climategate" and led to the title of my hard-hitting book.
The Climategate scandal rocked the United Nations climate-change conference at Copenhagen in January and forced the resignation of unit director Phil Jones.
In summation, the panel of inquiry, led by Muir Russell – a high-profile educational bureaucrat from the United Kingdom – requires 158 pages to accomplish two items. First, the report excuses the intemperate language found throughout the e-mails (such as one "cheering the death" of global-warming skeptic John Daly; or another threatening to "kick the crap" out of another denier) as being "characteristic of the [Internet] medium."
Second, the panel gently finds fault with the scientists in question for being "unhelpful" in dealing with Freedom of Information Act requests for data and for failing to share their data with other researchers holding different points of view.
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However, the report does not address the primary question raised by vocal critics like me.
Is this the warmest weather in history or not?
In one of the most damning unit e-mail exchanges, scientists spoke of a "trick" to "hide the decline" in an iconic graph used to illustrate an increase in global temperatures since industrial times. The graph, known as the "hockey stick," was unfurled in 1999 and is famously used by both the U.N. and Al Gore to make it appear as if the temperature in recent decades has dramatically spiked.
"We do not find that the [graph] is misleading per se," the report says. "But we believe the procedures used [to create it] should have been made plain."
In "Climategate," I disclose the faulty unscientific procedures used to create the phony graph, thus revealing how the hockey-stick graph is a broken fraud.
And, contrary to what the scientists at Climatic Research Unit say, we are not living in the hottest conditions ever. In fact, as recently as 1990 the United Nations promoted a totally different graph, illustrating that the warmest weather in the past 1,000 years occurred during the medieval period between 1150 and 1350. That graph illustrated that the "Medieval Optimum" was a solid two degrees warmer than today! Certainly, SUVs and coal-fired electrical generating plants could not be blamed for that increase in temperature.
However, the newer 1999 graph eliminates the medieval warming and contends the earth's atmosphere has been forced – by human-derived greenhouse emissions – into uncharted territory. Politicians, eco-activists and even unit scientists proclaim that only urgent political action will reverse the warming trend.
The hockey-stick hoax has now become the basis for every current proposal on the planet to combat global warming, including President Obama's proposed cap-and-trade legislation currently being considered by the U.S. Senate.
Interestingly, the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia was founded in 1972 by one of modern meteorology's most respected scientists, Dr. H.H. Lamb. It was also professor Lamb who created the graph used by the U.N. in 1990 revealing that the world was a much warmer place during the medieval years.
What the Climategate e-mails are about is whether academics were justified in making the Medieval Warm Period disappear. This investigation conveniently refused to address the issue.
And Phil Jones? He has been reinstated as director of the Climatic Research Unit. Certainly, Dr. Lamb is rolling in his grave. As Lamb's graph portrayed, he was never a believer in human-caused global warming.
Here's an excerpt from his obituary, which ran in the Independent on Wednesday, July 9, 1997:
An irony is that, now the world is acutely aware of global climate change, Lamb had maintained a guarded attitude to the importance of greenhouse-gas warming. Although many others have accepted this, he felt that there was too much reluctance to consider the full range of other, natural, causes of change. Right to the end of his life, he was promoting his "different view."
His different view of climate has left behind a deeper understanding of the nature of climate change, and of the interactions between natural systems which contribute to it.
Dr. Lamb was a pure scientist who went to his grave believing that climate change was natural and not caused by mankind. It's a shame the independent panel of investigators did not pick apart the Climategate e-mails in a manner befitting Lamb's legacy.
Brian Sussman is author of the bestselling book, "Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam."