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November 20, 2009

CONSENSUS WATCH – 11/20/2009

An ongoing series dedicated to vigorously monitoring emerging threats to The Consensus that global warming is real, caused by humans, and must be addressed at all costs. Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data.

While we were putting the finishing touches on our piece yesterday regarding Senator John Kerry’s harmless hyperbole overstating increases in US Carbon emissions by a factor of 32, and Al Gore’s innocuous exaggeration of the earth’s interior temperature by a factor of a thousand, news was breaking that a major global warming research center’s database had been hacked revealing that climate scientists had manipulated data in order to support The Consensus.

Naturally, the usual suspects are suggesting that this information demonstrates that The Consensus is a fraud and that scientists are faking data, basing their accusations on little more than the fact that the information demonstrated that scientists are engaged in fraud and are faking data.

This is a woefully inaccurate interpretation of the material.

First, we have already determined that The Consensus is real and that “urgent action is needed by world leaders in order to save our climate.” Given that, it’s not clear why we’re still examining research data.

Second, we have to remember that simply reporting data is easy. However, consensus science demands far more rigor, and requires that we have researchers dedicated enough to do the hard work necessary to apply statistical tricks, hide inconvenient results, and occasionally just make things up. This is largely due to the fact that consensus science requires that research support a pre-determined conclusion, whereas regular science is a more chaotic, sloppy affair, in which no one knows what the data will prove until it’s been produced.

So before we start casting about accusations and aspersions on peoples’ character, we should stop and think about the difficult, thankless work consensus scientists perform, day in an day out, never knowing just how much data will need to be tampered with and massaged.

As Kevin Trenberth, an IPCC lead author, said in one email: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

But have faith, Consensus Watchers, we’re sure they’ll find a way.


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November 20, 2009 at 10:39 PM in Global Warming with CONSENSUS WATCH | Permalink


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It's enough to make Al Gore wish he had never invented the internet.

Posted by: Mike | Nov 21, 2009 3:21:42 PM

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