I really don't know what the hubbub is about climategate. It's been obvious for a very long time that the data upon which the arguments for anthropogenic global warming is wrong. And it has bee obvious for a long time that the most political scientists advocating for AGW have been hiding the source data.
Let's recap: in science you have a theory if and only if you have a model that can be tested against actual phenomena: In other words, you have to be able to predict some behavior in the real world. The models constucted by AGW proponents have never predicted anything which means they do not have the data necessary to create theory.
Due to the stunning failure of the AGW models, scientists have been asking since the 90's for the source data upon which the models were based and no data have been forthcoming.
Now in science, it is important and routine to share data. This is because a basic tenent of science is that experiments (i.e. testing the theory against reality) must be replicable by other scientists. This is how basic science is conducted. This is how scientific knowledge is advanced.
As an example, back in the 80's the Fleischmann-Pons announcement that they had achieved "Cold Fusion" (nuclear fusion achieved at something resembling room temperature, or minimally fusion achieved at something below temperatures of millions of degrees Celsius). This announcement excited many people about the promise of very cheap energy production. Now in this case, Fleischmann and Pons published their data and their experiments as they should. Scientists around the world attempted to duplicate their results and failed. Ultimately it was determined that Fleischmann and Pons had made an error and life moved on without Cold Fusion.
And that is how science is done. Of course, there was no politics involved here and we had ethical scientists who, though wrong about their discovery, acted honorably.
With AGW, the models have been demonstrably wrong for so long with no one on the the AGW side sharing data that the only conclusion one could reach was that they were hiding something: that they weren't really doing science at all. They were in fact politicians.
And the only thing climategate did was reveal this fact in a concrete way.
Now those who continue to support the exaggerated claims of AGW calls us doubters AGW deniers, but that's not the case.
It's not the case because I at least, and I suspect most who understand and respect scientific inquiry, are not deniers of anything other than phoney theories.
I do not deny that Global Warming is occuring; it clearly is occuring.
I don not deny that humans are contributing to Global Warming; it would be very surprising if we were not.
But, in order to make policy decisions we need to know how we are contributing to global warming, how much we are contributing, what the effects of our contirbution are on climate, and how much our actions can affect the outcome.
And, of course, we have to know what it means to "stop" global warming. I mean what are we talking about making the global climate colder? What would the effects of that be? Do we think we can adjust the climate so it is always the same? What are we talking about?
Policy, or at least good policy, needs to be informed policy. And the rabid proponents of Global Warming do not help the serious issues we must confront.
The idea that human produced "greenhouse" gases are the primary cause of Global Warming is clearly wrong. If it were correct, the models produced from this theory would be correct as well.
And we need to know the facts because if it turns out there is nothing we can do to "stop" Global Warming then we need to start to put in place policies that will deal with the inevitable.
In fact, the unproven idea that we can do something about Global Warming is effectively preventing us from mitigating the effects of Global Warming.
Which brings us to the importance of realistically predicting the effects of Global Warming is important from a policy point of view. If we don't know what were really talking about we don't know what we should do.
Now none of this should be construed to mean that we should stop our effort to control things like carbon dioxide emmissions; we should and not just for climate reasons but for national security reasons as well. But knowing more about Global Warming will tell us what the extent of our committment needs to be and over what period of time.
This bad science being propogated by AGW evangelists is dangerous from a number of points of view. First, it degrades the public's appreciation and valuation of real scientists and science and people will be more unwilling to believe correct information in any field when it is presented.
Second it prevents us from good realistic policy decisions as mentioned above.
And third, it restricts funding for real climate science because if you already think you know the answer to a question, why would you pour more money into researcing the answer?
The actions of the "scientists" at the University of East Anglia and elsewhere are deplorable and are anti-science.
But that wasn't anything new that was revealed in these emails.
We've known they have been bad actors for a very long time. I suppose, the new thing, is that now, maybe people will believe us and now, maybe, people will start doing the science again instead of trying to make everyone shut up.