No, science is not ‘dying’

NO, SCIENCE IS NOT ‘DYING’…. The right’s misuse of the old, stolen emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit continues in increasingly foolish ways.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Henninger, for example, argues today that the CRU materials are evidence proving that “science is dying.” He went on to describe the release of the stolen emails as “an epochal event.”

And people wonder why the WSJ editorial page isn’t taken seriously.

There have been plenty of take-downs of the right’s misplaced CRU excitement, but I found Brad Plumer’s item this week especially helpful. He noted that “the growing mantra among conservatives that these e-mails somehow discredit the entire body of climate science is getting overheated and absurd.”

For one, CRU isn’t the only group in the world tracking global temperature trends. As Michael Schlesinger, a climatologist at the University of Illinois, points out, there are at least three other groups, including NASA, NOAA, and the Japan Meteorological Agency, that have been analyzing surface temperature data for well over a century (there’s a fair bit of overlap in what raw data they use, but they all have their own ways of analyzing it). […]

All very similar, all showing the same clear upward trend. (If anything, note that CRU readings have been on the low side in recent years, largely because they don’t include temps from the Arctic, where the Earth is warming most rapidly.) I suppose the [New York Post] could always argue that all these agencies are in cahoots, somehow coordinating fraud so as to fabricate global warming and achieve whatever dastardly ends they’re trying to achieve. […]

[Y]es, climate scientists should take pains to be as transparent as possible, and some of the CRU e-mails cut against that. That needs to be remedied. Georgia Tech’s Judith Curry also has a sharp take, noting that good-faith engagement with skeptics can be a positive thing. But there’s no evidence that climate data has been fudged, and even if there was a smoking gun in the CRU e-mails, the basis for what we know about man-made climate change still comes from a vast array of sources.

Right. If one were to simply throw out every climate piece of data ever collected, analyzed, or published by the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, the evidence in support of global warming would still be overwhelming and incontrovertible.

Plumer added that he’d be delighted if global warming were an elaborate hoax, he could move on to covering an issue that’s less depressing.

I shudder to think how much longer conservatives will ride this hobby horse, but I get the feeling it’ll be a while until they move on.