Thursday, February 11, 2010

The times they are a changing

The resignation of Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, from the Muir Russell/CRU inquiry – after he had been outed for offering favourable comments about the researchers' actions – has elicited interesting comments from Channel 4 News:
The revelation, it says, is evidence of the well-organised and highly-motivated campaign by climate change sceptics that has already used the emails leaked from University of East Anglia to make allegations about the validity of climate change science.
The report continues: "They have also been swift to attack errors in the influential United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) report on the science of climate change, published in 2007."

Now let's see. The IPCC report was published in 2007 ... and it is now 2010. That's "swift"? Actually, it is a measure of the remarkable hype that attended the launch of AR4 and all the hullabaloo of the Nobel peace prize, that it took so long.

History will record, I suspect, that "Climategate" was the turning point, opening the flood gates and changing media sentiment to the extent that journalists were prepared to listen to the "sceptic" arguments.

As a sign of the times, we see this from Denise Robertson, columnist at the Western Mail, a provincial Welsh newspaper.

Under the heading "Climate shift on climate shift itself", she tells us that "for years we’ve been hectored by the climate-change 'experts'. I had an open mind on the subject but now I feel myself moving into the sceptic camp."

My conversion, she says, "is a result of all the mistakes, untruths, exaggerations and suppression of data on the part of the warming lobby. If they’re so sure of their case, I reason, why do they need to fiddle?"

Meanwhile, she adds, the government is pouring millions into mysterious "studies" like "Climate change impacts on Chinese agriculture" or how to help the Indian insurance industry profit from carbon credits. That's your money and mine. (Shades of Booker there?)

"We need an honest debate about this issue," Robertson concludes. And when you get that from a provincial paper, things are changing.