It’s interesting how the British papers seem so much more willing than American papers to cover Climate-gate.  The American media seems somehow defensive about global warming (it makes sense, really, since journalists here have been cheerleaders for the idea of a “consensus” and “settled science,” which are undermined, to say the least, by the scandal). 

Here’s a take from the Financial Times:

Dubbed “climate-gate” by global warming sceptics, the most outrageous East Anglia email excerpts appear to suggest respected scientists misleadingly manipulated data and suppressed legitimate argument in peer-reviewed journals.

These claims are forcefully denied, but the correspondents do little to enhance confidence in either the integrity or the professionalism of the university’s climatologists. What is more, there are no denials around the researchers’ repeated efforts to avoid meaningful compliance with several requests under the UK Freedom of Information Act to gain access to their working methods. Indeed, researchers were asked to delete and destroy emails. Secrecy, not privacy, is at the rotten heart of this bad behavior by ostensibly good scientists.

Why should research funding institutions and taxpayers fund scientists who deliberately delay, obfuscate and deny open access to their research? Why should scientific journals publish peer-reviewed research where the submitting scientists have not made every reasonable effort to make their work – from raw data to sophisticated computer simulations – as transparent and accessible as possible? Why should responsible policymakers in America, Europe, Asia and Latin America make decisions affecting people’s health, wealth and future based on opaque and inaccessible science?

They should not. The issue here is not about good or bad science, it is about insisting that scientists and their work be open and transparent enough so that research can be effectively reviewed by broader communities of interest. Open science minimises the likelihood and consequences of bad science.

The writer, Michael Schrage (a research from MIT temporary at London’s Imperial College), also notes the need for more disclosure when it comes to pharmaceutical research. 

Perhaps this will resonate with the American media.  They are used to thinking of pharmaceutical companies as greedy corporations undoubtedly willing to cook the books if Uncle Sam lets them get away with it. 

Well, what about these environmental scientists whose entire livelihoods rest on the idea of devastating, human-caused global warming?  If you take even 10 minutes to skim some of the highlights of the emails now listed online you will see that the scientists admit to making up data and destroying conflicting evidence.  Shouldn’t this cause concern?

The White House, apparently, isn’t concerned at all.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insisted that climate change “is happening” and that “I don’t think that’s anything that is, quite frankly, among most people, in dispute anymore.”  Did anyone in the press push back?  The biggest takeaway from the email scandal is that these scientists who are at the center of forging the “consensus” were hiding data and eliminating those who “dispute” their conclusions.  Does Gibbs just not get it or is his ignorance a p.r. tactic? 

The U.S. press seems unlikely to push the White House or those who are making the fortunates off climate change hysteria about these emails or for their opinions about how science should be conducted (especially science funded with taxpayer dollars). 

Luckily the American people no longer trust the media. And they don’t trust politicians.  And they are learning that they shouldn’t trust many scientists either.  As we begin debate on massive economy crushing legislation in the name of “climate change” (or the debate about government-run health care for that matter) this skeptism is a healthy thing.