First head rolls in Climategate?

The scientific-fraud scandal first revealed in emails and computer code leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit has claimed its first scalp: the  CRU’s director, Dr. Phil Jones has temporarily stepped down pending an investigation:

The head of the British research unit at the center of a controversy over the disclosure of thousands of e-mail messages among climate-change scientists has stepped down pending the outcome of an investigation.

Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, said that he would leave his post while the university conducted a review of the release of the e-mail messages. The university has called the release and publication of the messages a “criminal breach” of the school’s computer systems.

The e-mail exchanges among several prominent American and British climate-change scientists appear to reveal efforts to keep the work of skeptical scientists out of major journals and the possible hoarding and manipulation of data to overstate the case for human-caused climate change.

They forgot the part where he says he’s “leaving to spend more time with his family.” That’s de rigeur in scandals these days.

I don’t know whether this is the beginnings of a faux-investigation that will whitewash the scandal, or if Jones is being prepped as the sacrificial victim for the greater good of CRU and the AGW Cause, or if it’s the start of a genuine housecleaning and a move toward transparency climate science. I hope for the latter, but I suspect there’s strong pressure for one of the first two options.

And this isn’t the first investigation started in the wake of Climategate: the article also mentions that Michael Mann, author of one of the infamous and debunked hockey stick graphs, in now under investigation by his employers, the University of Pennsylvania. I bet these won’t be the last, either.

RELATED: The consequences are spreading outside the realms of science and academia, as the Australian Senate defeated a government measure to impose a destructive cap and trade scheme on the country by a vote of 41-33. Climategate was a certain contributor to this. Under Australian rules, this could lead to a dissolution of both houses of Parliament and a general election in early 2010. Let’s hope that Australia’s is just the first among many governments to come to their senses. More at Hot Air.

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3 Responses to First head rolls in Climategate?

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  3. hkyson says:

    “Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.

    It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.

    A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.

    Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.

    But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.

    The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.

    All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.

    It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.

    Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

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