Climate Emails Stoke Debate
Scientists' Leaked Correspondence Illustrates Bitter Feud over Global Warming
The scientific community is buzzing over thousands of emails and documents
-- posted on the Internet last week after being hacked from a prominent climate-change research center -- that some say raise ethical questions about a group of scientists who contend humans are responsible for global warming.
The correspondence between dozens of climate-change researchers, including many in the U.S., illustrates bitter feelings among those who believe human activities cause global warming toward rivals who argue that the link between humans and climate change remains uncertain.Some emails also refer to efforts by scientists who believe man is causing global warming to exclude contrary views from important scientific publications
"This is horrible
," said Pat Michaels, a climate scientist at the Cato Institute in Washington who is mentioned negatively in the emails. "This is what everyone feared. Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult for anyone who does not view global warming as an end-of-the-world issue to publish papers. This isn't questionable practice, this is unethical
In all, more than 1,000 emails and more than 2,000 other documents were stolen Thursday from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University in the U.K. The identity of the hackers isn't certain, but the files were posted on a Russian file-sharing server late Thursday, and university officials confirmed over the weekend that their computer had been attacked and said the documents appeared to be genuine.
"The selective publication of some stolen emails and other papers taken out of context is mischievous and cannot be considered a genuine attempt to engage with this issue in a responsible way," the university said.
Most climate scientists today argue that the earth's temperature is rising, and nearly all of those agree that human activity is likely to be a prime or at least significant cause. But a vocal minority dispute one or both of those views.
A partial review of the hacked material suggests there was an effort at East Anglia, which houses an important center of global climate research, to shut out dissenters
and their points of view.
In the emails, which date to 1996, researchers in the U.S. and the U.K. repeatedly take issue with climate research at odds with their own findings. In some cases, they discuss ways to rebut what they call "disinformation" using new articles in scientific journals or popular Web sites.The emails include discussions of apparent efforts
to make sure that reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that monitors climate science, include their own views and exclude others
. In addition, emails show that climate scientists declined to make their data available to scientists whose views they disagreed with.The IPCC couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125883405294859215.html