Let's nip this one in the bud. The same people who hacked the emails from the servers of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia -- leading to the lamely overhyped, nearly entirely insubstantial "ClimateGate" non-scandal -- are at it again. They've released a second round of email correspondences between some climate scientists, 5,000 messages in total.
The perpetrators, who have still yet to be identified or apprehended, are hoping to cause the same kind of media confusion the first blast of emails caused, this time in the run-up to the Conference of the Parties 17 at Durban. What's that, you might ask? It's the latest international climate summit (of which the much more publicized COP15 at Copenhagen was an installment) that these hackers for some reason think will be influential at all in global climate negotiations (they almost certainly won't be).But here's the thing. Those 5,000 second-string emails are quite likely to be even less inflammatory than the barely inflammatory cream of the crop released the first go 'round. Desperate hacks at places like Fox News and Climate Depot had to stoop to taking words out of context to get the first round to sound bad, and independent investigation after independent investigation has cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing. There might not even be anything here that sounds bad out of context.
Leftovers, again? One climate scientist calls the email dump, “Two-year-old turkey from Thanksgiving 2009.” These are the “second string” emails. The Varsity team couldn’t derail the science so it’s really hard to see how the Junior Varsity team could. In other words, if multiple independent investigations showed that climate science was unscathed by the original batch of emails — which must have been the ones the deniers thought were the best they had — then what precisely are the chances these even weaker second-stringers are going to beat the climate science team? After all, the climate science team has gotten considerably stronger in recent years.In other words, let's let allow those increasingly desperate science-denying mudflingers pore through these emails. Science was easily and thoroughly vindicated the last go-round, when the noise machine was working even harder to crank out the nonsense. Expect more, even less believable hyperbolic claims about scientists' behavior, and more whinnying from Fox News and right-wing blogs. Then expect everyone to get bored from the lack of substance, and return to their regularly scheduled programming.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded its 2010 review of climate science, saying it is a “settled fact” that “the Earth system is warming.” As for the cause, last year, Time reported on a comprehensive new review paper of “100 peer-reviewed post-IPCC studies” in an article titled, “Report: The Case for Global Warming Stronger Than Ever”