There is a very interesting, if rather toe-curling, segment about Climategate and the inquiries on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC.
Although she kicks off with the normal straw man about hiding declines in global temperature, she soon moves on to something that is closer to the truth, explaining that hide the decline was about hiding the failure of the proxies to track temperatures in the period after 1960. This is good, but she then elides into an important piece of misinformation, by suggesting that this is an issue that only affects the post-1960 period. This is of course, not the case. Since nobody knows what causes the divergence, nobody knows whether it affects earlier periods or not, although of course there are strong suggestions that it does.
Maddow also looks at the Climategate inquiries, quoting Russell's conclusions that the CRU scientists are beyond reproach, but strangely not mentioning the fact his contradictory finding that hiding the decline was "misleading".
Maddow is clearly very political, sounding off several times about people who get their views only from the conservative media. Strange then that she hasn't noticed the conclusions of non-conservative writers such as Fred Pearce or the BBC's Roger Harrabin, both of whom have said that the inquiries into Climategate were inadequate.
There is an interview with Inhofe afterwards, which I haven't watched.
Welcome back. here is oklahoma senator james inhofe.
my point is, god's still up there, and this is the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate is, to me, outrageous.
Senator james inhofe on global warming. this is one of those issues where if you participate in only conservative media and consult only conservative authorities, you have a totally different understanding about what's happening in the world than the rest of the world does. for example, take what they call "climate gate." in november 2009, someone, we still don't know who, somebody apparently leaked or stole a bunch of e-mails between scientists at the university of east anglia in england, this seemed like a huge scandal at the time. the senator inhofes of the world are right, the most damning snippets and excerpts of the e-mails made it seem like scientists were manipulating data and doing other shady things to convince us the earth is warming which the earth is not, in fact, warming. the most damning sna sentence is a letter from the director of east anglia. he wrote in this e-mail, "i just added in the real temps to each series from the last 20 years, and from 1961 for keates to hide the decline." there it is right there, see? those scientists are using tricks to hide the fact that the earth's temperature is actually declining.
Interviewer: these e-mails, if you read through them, they are pretty damaging. and i'm being gentle.
Interviewee: they are truly damaging. it's -- it's hard to say how damaging they are. i mean, you've got people saying we need to use that trick to hide the decline.
Interviewer: what they call mike's trick, i'm going to add certain temperatures on to other temperatures.
phil jones, the scientist who wrote that e-mail that's getting taken apart there, tried to speak up. he said the word "trick" was used as in a clever thing to do. it's ludicrous to suggest it means anything untored. yeah, right, you climate-hoaxing scientist. then again, the hide the decline part of this damning e-mail, turns out that wasn't about hiding declining temperatures. what they were hiding in the data was the fact that tree rings are less reliable as thermometers after 1960s. we don't exactly know why, but it is a documented thing that if you're using tree rings as a way to tell what temperature things are, that gets less accurate after 1960, so if you were using tree rings to show temperatures a long time ago, and that is the only way to tell temperatures from hundreds of thousands of years ago, it can be misleading to use tree rings for data that covers the last 50 years. luckily, in the last 50 years, we've got other ways of telling temperature. there are other temperature records around, so you can combine that recent data with the tree ring information, so as to make sure you're keeping the data on temperature accurate over time. scientists work like that. science sometimes works like that. the data has to be as accurate as possible, and since data doesn't come down from a mountain on a stone tablet, you have to work to keep the data accurate. using the word "trick" and "hide" in explaining how to keep the tree ring data accurate, makes it sound awful if you take it out of context and put it on fox news, right? but until these e-mails were stolen from scientists, these were scientists e-mailing each other in work and there's nothing weird about what they were saying. i know, i can hear you now, why believe maddow, why believe me? all right, how about this, the university paid an independent commission, they paid for an independent commission to investigate whether the scientists were being unethical, falsifying data, nobody on the review team was a part of the university. that investigation's 160-page report found, "their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt, in addition, we do not believe they are data." they did find one thing, there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the open degree of openness. that was the criticism. i know, though, this investigation was funded by this university, i know a global conspiracy when i see one, i don't believe that either. how about the british parliament, you think they are part of the conspiracy? the british parliament also investigated these scientists, e-mails, and university, they found the contents of the e-mails showed discussions in line with common practice. the phrases were colloquial terms used in private e-mails, not a systemic attempt to mislead. researchers from penn state also investigated the e-mails in climate gate, one of the professors whose e-mails were stolen was a penn state guy. they found no wrong doing. epa looked into it, they found no wrong doing. most of the world who has taken any time to figure out what happened here knows the gate should be removed from climate gate. there was no gate here, there was no real scandal, but this is where the rest of the world and the conservative world diverge, if you only trust conservatives with whom you already agree, the lesson here is that the whole global warming thing was disproven by that e-mail scandal, it's over now. senator james inhofe has just written a book about how it's all over now, and one of the chapters, chapter six, is called "climate gate." "climate gate equals vindication." that's the title of the chapter, vindication of his career-define career-definicareer-define career-defining crusade. even if it is happening, of course, global warming isn't that big a deal, and even if it is a big deal, as you heard at the top of the segment there, god will probably take care of if anyway and we shouldn't be so arrogant to think we could get in god's way of taking care of us.