Climate change deniers are getting a lot of press out of hacked emails from East Anglia University’s Climate Research Unit last week. They claim that the leaked emails are evidence of collusion among scientists to suppress evidence that global warming isn’t really occurring.
The timing of the illegal email hacking is very interesting, coming as it does days before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Most of us won’t read the 13 years worth of emails that have been released, but there are several of the emails in particular that the skeptics are jumping on as “proof” of this world-wide conspiracy of scientists. To read more details, check this link or this one, or to read the emails themselves click here.
As anyone who has ever written an email will know, publicized and taken out of context, we all have emails that could damage our professional and/or private reputation. Although the emails do not provide any scientific evidence that would counter the scientific consensus that human emissions are altering the climate system, because they suggest the appearance of impropriety in the scientific process, they may be politically damaging. This is ironic, because the deniers have been subverting and distorting the scientific and public debate on this issue for years. As James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore write in “Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”, the story of denying man-made climate change is
..a story of deceit, of poisoning public judgement- of an anti-democratic attack on our political structures and a strategic undermining of the journalist watchdogs who keep our social institutions honest.
The perilous situation that we are in is too important to let the deniers sidetrack us at this point. As Greg Craven asks in “What’s the Worst That Could Happen: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate” : What is the wisest thing to do, given the risks and consequences of this question?
In other words, what mistake would you rather risk, the possible harm to the economy that the skeptics warn us about, or the possible global disaster and upheaval that scientists warn us about? What is the more acceptable risk – the risk of not taking action or the risk of taking action?
To take action now, check out the 10:10 Campaign,which is encouraging citizens to show governments by example and cut their personal emissions by 10% in 2010. Read more here and here about this UK initiative that is going global!