How to Forge a Consensus…

The Wall Street Journal (and just about everyone else) is either aghast, in denial, or playing a game of see-I-told-you-so on global warming cooling climate change.

We don’t doubt that Mr. Jones would have phrased his emails differently if he expected them to end up in the newspaper. His May 2008 email to Mr. Mann regarding the U.N.’s Fourth Assessment Report: “Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?” does not “read well,” it’s true. (Mr. Mann has said he didn’t delete any such emails.)

But the furor over these documents is not about tone, colloquialisms or even whether climatologists are nice people in private. The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at in the first place, and how even now a single view is being enforced. In short, the impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.

Thus ends the debate for the moment, but it still doesn’t end several aspects of the argument. CO2 in the atmosphere is still off the chart, for instance. Other nations or corporations maybe very well take a turn towards environmental laxity. Scientific iconoclasm may very well be the reaction of the public… and for good reason.

While the scientific community now reignites the debate, the only good news is a return of empiricism over ideology.  Good to remember, especially when there are so many out there depending on justifications — legitimate or otherwise — to push for change.

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