Further Reading of Stolen Emails Reveals Scientists Searching for the Truth

I haven’t commented on the stolen emails yet because I wanted to know more about what was in them. The news reports and excerpts that highlight troubling statements certainly have caused a stir. So I have spent the last week reading many more emails belonging to other people than I ever would have liked. Not just becase they are the private correspondence of other people. For the most part, the vast majority of these are innocuous discussions dull enough to trigger a sleep response in most laypeople after the first dozen or so.

As for the ones that have caught the most attention, they have been well-addressed in various blogs and websites, which you can peruse from Fight Clean Energy Smears, Union of Concerned Scientists, Pew Climate Center, RealClimate.org or SkepticalScience.

So now to the ones that haven’t caught much attention. Any attention, for that matter. Possibly because these emails show that the denialistas claim of a grand conspiracy to exaggerate global warming is in reality a grand hallucination.

Because, in fact, throughout the 1,000 or so emails, there are plenty of discussions that reveal just how hard the scientists work to make sure they are getting the information right. Here’s a sample. I haven’t read every single email yet, so just consider these a taste.

Michael Mann to Ed Cook re long-term temperature trends and how to resolve differences in research findings. “There are some substantial scientific differences here, lets let them play out the way they are supposed to, objectively, and in the peer reviewed literature.” April 12, 2002

Eric Steig explaining the goal for new paper to examine more closely the bearing that a particular line of evidence (icehole bores) has on the temperature record since the last ice age. “An example might be that the "thermal maximum" was actually warmer than present – a major issue of contention in the popular literature - and was more-or-less simultaneous in both polar regions. If this is correct, it will be a useful service to the paleoclimate community to demonstrate it. Alternatively, we may find after carefully looking at the data that we CANNOT reach such a conclusion. This would be an equally important result.” (emphasis added.) December 12, 2000.


Michael Mann to Ed Cook in an exchange about the possibility of Cook’s research being used to attack Mann’s findings: “Lets figure this all out based on good, careful work and see what the data has to say in the end. We're working towards this ourselves, using revised methods and including borehole data, etc. and will keep everyone posted on this.” May 2, 2001.

Jonathan Overpeck to a team of scientists he coordinating to write a section of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Summary for Policymakers, the goal of which is to make clear the most certain aspects of the science that policymakers need to understand in order to make policy decisions. “We have to make sure we stick to only the best science.” July 14, 2005.

Keith Briffa and Tim Osborn to Tom Crowley, discussing how to best represent what’s known about the “Medeival Warming Period” for the upcoming 4th Assessment Report. "I **absolutely** agree that we must avoid any bias or perception of bias. My comment on "nailing" was made to mean that uninformed people keeping coming back to the mwp, and describing it for what I believe it wasn't. Our job is to make it clear what it was within the limits of the data. If the data are not clear, then we have to be not clear." July 20, 2005.

About the Authors

Pete Altman

Director, Climate & Clean Air Campaign, Climate & Energy program

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