I’ve waited a bit on this one to see how it would shake out. The hacked/leaked emails and data seemed to me like prime fodder for motivated cognition. My expectations were pretty much met. Many alarmists have inappropriately minimized the importance of the evidence of a shameful conspiracy to enforce what is clearly an ideological party line among climate researchers. Many skeptics have gone too far in using the revelations as grounds for casting doubt on the entire scientific case for AGW. But, clearly, the thrust of the scandal vindicates the skeptics’ claims that the science of climate change is conducted in an ideologically charged atmosphere, that there really are coordinated attempts to suppress or marginalize studies and scholars out of step with the favored narrative, and that there really are coordinated attempts to make evidence in favor of the favored narrative look better than it really is.Word. See also Clive Crook.
The scientific implications of the Climategate files are probably small, but the political implication is certainly large–because of the politicized nature of climate science confirmed by the files. Verification of the existence of conspiring enforcers of orthodoxy weakens the strongest rhetorical weapon in the alarmist arsenal. The idea that the science behind predictions of potentially catastrophic warming is rock solid and that the putative scientific consensus reflects the rock solidity of the science licenses the inference that there is no scientifically respectable excuse for skepticism of or disagreement with the consensus. That is a big stick to thump people with. But the Climategate files strongly suggest that at least some of the science is not rock solid and that the scientific consensus is at least in part the product of silencing or marginalizing those who might upset it. The files have made “How can we be sure that you did not fudge your data” and “How do we know that dissenting voices have been given a fair hearing?” questions that we now must ask rather than questions skeptics can be effectively shouted down for asking. The files show that suspicion is warranted. That’s a big deal.
It is not surprising to see a “Move along! Nothing to see here!” response from alarmists, but there is certainly something to see. Though I’m sure some ideologues will merely amp up their armtwisting thug tactics to protect the fragile perception of consensus they had achieved (precioussssssss!), I predict that the overall response from the scientific community will be healthy and invigorating. Climate science will become more transparent and more rigorously by-the-book because climate scientists are becoming more fully aware that the impulse to jealously protect a public perception of consensus can undermine itself by producing questionable science and a justifiably skeptical public.
Fist Bump - *Iron Fist* may not be good, but it's really not that bad.
2 hours ago