The Primate Diaries

What Climategate?

There has been much ado about the hundreds of pages of stolen e-mails from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia. The reality of course is that this is about creating a wedge by those who are opposed to the regulations necessary to circumvent climate change and is not about the scientific realities. This strategy has been understood for nearly a decade and has even been acknowledged by those involved.

As The New York Times reported in 2003:

Most scientists believe that [global] warming is caused largely by manmade pollutants that require strict regulation. Mr. Luntz [a lobbyist for the Republicans] seems to acknowledge as much when he says that “the scientific debate is closing against us.” His advice, however, is to emphasize that the evidence is not complete. “Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled,” he writes, “their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue.”

It would be difficult to have a more blatant admission of the intentions behind the climate denier movement. Like the Intelligent Design advocates, the strategy is not to produce their own research, but to raise doubts in the research of others. While the media has jumped on these stolen e-mails because it spins the narrative at a time of the largest climate change conference in history, the reality is that this is nothing more than a public relations campaign that media outlets are choosing to participate in.

Saleemul Huq heads the climate change group at the International Institute for Environment and Development. He was a lead author on parts of the last two reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here he dispels the rhetoric over these stolen e-mails in an interview from the talks in Copenhagen:

This is a manufactured issue whose sole intent is to distract from meaningful agreements at the COP15 Conference. Why the mainstream media would continue to traffic in such blatant distortion is yet another indication that our media system is dysfunctional.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    December 8, 2009

    Woo-hooo! Someone finally called it the University of East Anglia! Being he pedant I am, I’ve been getting annoyed at all this talk of “East Anglia University”. I guess they chose that because UEA sounds better than EAU. Although ‘Eauuuu’ is a common reaction to the architecture (all 60s concrete).

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