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Climategate: Needed, Some Shame!

Shikha Dalmia
December 2, 2009, 7:05pm

In a not-so-subtle dig at his predecessor, President Obama promised when he took office that : "Science and scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my administration on a wide range of issues, including ... mitigation climate change...The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process. Public officials should not suppress or alter scientific technological findings."

But in the wake of perhaps the biggest corruption scandal involving modern science, what do we get from President Obama? Radio Silence. This, despite the fact that leading publicly funded climatologists at leading publicly funded universities have engaged in all kinds of scientific shenanigans including manipulating data, destroying evidence that didn't support their conclusions and keeping contrarian scientists from being published in peer-reviewed journals, I note in my latest Forbes column.

One e-mail as recent as last month acknowledged that global temperatures plateaued in 1998, something that skeptics have been pointing out for years and warming warriors have been pooh-poohing. "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment," the e-mail confessed. But instead of celebrating the good news that the planet may not ineluctably fry to a crisp, the e-mail continues with its gloom and doom, blaming an "inadequate observing system" for not picking up on the warming.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if other e-mails didn't show even worse malfeasance.....

This is precisely the kind of perfidy that undermines public trust in the scientific process that Obama pledged to restore. So if Obama had his priorities straight, he would end his radio silence and thank the authors of Climategate for performing a great public service. Indeed, if President Bush had been so lucky, perhaps fate would have contrived a WMDgate for him before he launched the Iraq invasion and saved him from the worst mistake of his presidency.

It is worth recalling that Bush too was relying on an international consensus--especially reports by U.N. arms inspectors--that Saddam Hussein was sitting atop stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction as a justification for war. "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," Bush said in a 2003 prewar declaration calculated to escalate the hysteria level against Saddam. After a two-year-long wild goose chase through the deserts of Iraq, Bush was finally forced to admit that Saddam no longer possessed weapons of mass destruction. But at least the phony consensus on which he based his decision was intact at the eve of the war.

However, Climategate is fast shattering the global warming consensus, and so Obama won't have even that to hide behind should he go ahead and sign up the U.S. to cut its carbon emissions 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 at Copenhagen next week. There is zero chance right now that Congress will endorse these cuts, which will dwarf the trillion-dollar Iraq price tag. So Obama won't really be able to advance his foolish crusade, but he will lose the opportunity to protect his own integrity by joining the growing chorus of voices--some of them of global warming believers--demanding a thorough investigation of this episode. Former Chancellor Lord Lawson is asking the British government to launch a formal inquiry about it. Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, is doing the same here in the U.S. Penn State is launching an investigation of Mr. Hockey Stick Mann's conduct. Calls for Phil Jones resignation are rising in England.

If President Obama had any sense or any shame he would call for a total cease fire on the war against global warming pending a full scientific review. But I am not waiting on one foot for that.

Whole column here.


Shikha Dalmia is Senior Analyst


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