Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of SuperFreakonomics, came on Fox News today to help support charges made by climate deniers and skeptics that the scientific consensus on climate change is actually made up. Dubner let Fox Business Network host David Asman lead him into answering questions that framed climate change as a funny ruse set up to foster a one-world government. What's worse, Dubner holds that the hacked University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit emails show that the "consensus" on climate change is because "everybody's scared to be an outlier, everybody's scared to be a skeptic." This comment came after Asman used images of and rhetoric about Hitler and Stalin, who used science for their own ends, to "show" how the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are to suspect.
The NYT's Andrew Revkin explained the situation last week and highlighted one of the more damning emails.:
In a 1999 e-mail exchange about charts showing climate patterns over the last two millenniums, Phil Jones, a longtime climate researcher at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, said he had used a "trick" employed by another scientist, Michael Mann, to "hide the decline" in temperatures.
Dr. Mann, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, confirmed in an interview that the e-mail message was real. He said the choice of words by his colleague was poor but noted that scientists often used the word "trick" to refer to a good way to solve a problem, "and not something secret."
At issue were sets of data, both employed in two studies. One data set showed long-term temperature effects on tree rings; the other, thermometer readings for the past 100 years.
Through the last century, tree rings and thermometers show a consistent rise in temperature until 1960, when some tree rings, for unknown reasons, no longer show that rise, while the thermometers continue to do so until the present.
Dr. Mann explained that the reliability of the tree-ring data was called into question, so they were no longer used to track temperature fluctuations. But he said dropping the use of the tree rings was never something that was hidden, and had been in the scientific literature for more than a decade. "It sounds incriminating, but when you look at what you're talking about, there's nothing there," Dr. Mann said.
More On The Hacked Emails:
The Truth Behind the Hacked Climate Email Controversy