Climategate and the Big Green Lie

Lawrence Solomon
Financial Post
July 15, 2010

That isn’t my headline. It comes from The Atlantic, where Clive Crook its senior editor, yesterday took apart the recent spate of verdicts exonerating the Climategate scientists. For those who don’t know Clive Crook, he’s one of the world’s prominent journalists having been, among other things, a 20-year veteran at The Economist, 11 of them as its deputy editor. Oh, and Crook is also a long-standing believer in the view that climate change represents a threat to humanity.

Here’s what he says on the inquiry by Penn State into Michael Mann of hockey stick fame. The inquiry “would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for ‘lack of credible evidence’, it will not even investigate them. (At this, MIT’s Richard Lindzen tells the committee, ‘It’s thoroughly amazing. I mean these issues are explicitly stated in the emails. I’m wondering what’s going on?’ The report continues: ‘The Investigatory Committee members did not respond to Dr Lindzen’s statement. Instead, [his] attention was directed to the fourth allegation.’) Moving on, the report then says, in effect, that Mann is a distinguished scholar, a successful raiser of research funding, a man admired by his peers — so any allegation of academic impropriety must be false.”

His views of the other Climategate investigations are no less damning. “At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.”

Crook’s column notes criticisms of the Climategate emails from the Guardian’s Fred Pearce (who happens also to have impeccable environmental credentials) and The Economist:  “Like Pearce, The Economist rightly draws attention to the failure of the Russell inquiry to ask Phil Jones of the CRU whether he actually deleted any emails to defeat FoI [Freedom of Information] requests. It calls this omission ‘rather remarkable’. Pearce calls it ‘extraordinary’. Myself, I would prefer to call it ‘astonishing and indefensible.’”

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