Year 2, Month 11, Day 27: Fool Me Twice…

The Washington Post addresses the new attempt to cobble together another “Climategate” from another batch of the same damn emails:

LONDON — The British climatologist ensnared in a major new email leak took his case to the public Wednesday, arguing that he and his colleagues’ comments have again been taken out of context.

The University of East Anglia’s Phil Jones was one of the major players in the controversy that erupted two years ago over the publication of emails which caught prominent scientists stonewalling critics and attacking them in sometimes vitriolic terms.

The University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of how world temperatures have varied over time, and Jones came under particular scrutiny following the 2009 disclosures — even receiving death threats over allegations that he was a leading a conspiracy to hype the dangers of climate change.

Sarcasm isn’t usually going to make it into print, but it felt good. Sent November 23:

Goodness! What a coincidence that another batch of hacked emails from the University of East Anglia’s climatology team should be released just in time for this year’s Durban Climate Conference. One wonders if our nation’s journalists have learned anything from the last time this happened. The fortunate few who have access to the series of tubes known as the “internet” will discover that climatologists Phil Jones, Michael Mann and their collaborators were cleared of any wrongdoing by no fewer than six independent investigations.

Perhaps one or two reporters may sense a bigger story at work here: why are stolen communications from 2009 being released in the build-up for another important conference on global warming? Who’s behind the subterfuge? Who will benefit should these inconvenient scientists be discredited? Who gains from confusing the discussion, from delaying action on the climate crisis?

The losers, of course, are the rest of the world’s people.

Warren Senders

Month 3, Day 31: Fire at Will!

It’s sad that “good news” on climate change is simply the information that the by-now-to-be-expected bad news is acknowledged to be true. Phil Jones and the rest of the East Anglia Climate Research Group have of course been exonerated completely by the British House Of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee.

There were any number of things I could have done with this news. As it happened, I decided to send a paronomasiac screed to the Washington Post, which has provided a forum for the odious George Will, a man of disproportionate influence whose glib mendacity has gravely damaged our planet’s chances of survival. The chance the Post will print this letter is probably slimmer than my winning the lottery (I never buy tickets), but it sure felt good. Especially calling Will a calumnist.

Now that the British House of Commons has exonerated Dr. Phil Jones and the rest of his Climate Research Team from charges of scientific malpractice, may we expect more from the Washington Post than a solitary Associated Press article? By printing effluvia like “Climate Tantrums” (February 21) the Washington Post has become complicit in an egregious misrepresentation of science. I hope I may be forgiven the obvious pun: the deception is indeed Willful. George Will, the Post’s glibly erudite house denialist, should be required to apologize for his mendacious pedantry. A single mea culpa, however, is insufficient: like many a juvenile offender against the common good, the Post’s errant calumnist should spend a year in “community service,” working as an unpaid assistant to one of the climatologists whose work he has so freely disparaged.

Warren Senders

Month 2, Day 23: George Will is an Utter Disgrace

As usual, the Washington Post disgraces itself by continuing to print George Will’s vacuous denialism. Here’s the latest example.

I am not a scientist, and I’m certainly not a mathematician…but I sure as hell know more about statistics than George Will. The fact that this guy is still read and heard in our media is depressing beyond belief. So I wrote them a letter.

It is beyond incredible that a mainstream newspaper like the Washington Post should continue to publish misinformation of the sort propagated by George Will. In his column of February 21st, Will distorted the words of climatologist Phil Jones, making it seem that Jones asserted that no human-caused warming is occurring. But Jones has stated in a BBC interview that he is “100% confident that the climate has warmed,” and notes evidence that “most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

Jones made a scientifically accurate statement to the effect that statistical significance was vastly more difficult to achieve in short-term measurements; this has nothing to do with whether global warming exists, as witness Jones’ own statements to the BBC. Either George Will doesn’t know what “statistical significance” means, in which case he’s incompetent — or he knows and doesn’t care, in which case he’s a mendacious hack. In neither case does he deserve to be heard on the subject of climate change.

It is a sad commentary on the state of our media that George Will’s scientific illiteracy is considered important commentary on the most significant threat human beings have ever faced. Will should stick to issuing quote-studded pronunciamenti on politico-cultural trivia, a genre in which his glib faux-erudition can remain relatively harmless.

Warren Senders