What did Climategate do? Well, apart from instigating lots of ‘inquiries’ and ‘exonerations’ and generating employment to damage control public relations firms like Outside Organization, it opened a lot of eyes.
Climategate altered the landscape of the climate change debate.
News comes from Tallbloke’s blog that there has been another email release. Again, the same caveats apply: we don’t know if these emails are authentic, and, we don’t know how they were released.
A few things however seem to be clear. Climate scientists entertain the same kinds of questions that the skeptics ask around on blogs. They have a conscience, they are human, and they are emotional. As observers and members of the lay public skeptics may freely criticize anyone, but as working professionals, scientists cannot be as free and open with their fellow colleagues. Would you run around your office or workplace loudly gossiping about your co-worker?
But these scientists do criticize, and they do recognize the points that the skeptics have to make. A few of them unfortunately appear to be victims and continue to want to be victims of an earlier archaic worldview, that ‘data belongs to the scientists’. One is reminded of the case of Geoffrey Chamberlain, who unwittingly lent his name to a dubious case report, simply because ‘that is how things were always done’ and had to resign. But that bane of the modern world called ‘global policy’, and countless lives literally depend on open access to data and methods now. The old style of squirreling away data and publicly-funded professors hiding behind ‘intellectual property rights’, is going out of fashion.
And then, there clearly are the bad apples. A bunch of a new breed of scientist-activists, with whom it is difficult to discern what hat they are wearing, even in private. One feels sad for their colleagues who have to read their messages and keep a straight face.
Surely, more madness will soon follow. Confirmation of authenticity should be the first step. God bless the Internet.