Will distorted stolen CRU emails to argue against climate change legislation

››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

George Will falsely claimed that "one of the emails" reportedly stolen from the U.K.'s Climate Research Unit (CRU) said that a climate scientist "wished he could delete, get rid of, the medieval warming period [MWP]." In fact, the scientist wrote in the email that he wanted to " 'contain' the putative 'MWP' " and has stated that the email "reflected his desire to identify exactly when the Medieval Warm Period began"; moreover, Will falsely claimed that in another CRU email, a scientist wrote, "[I]t is a travesty that we cannot explain the fact that global warming has stopped."

Will falsely claimed that climate scientist wrote that he "wished he could delete, get rid of" medieval warm period

From the November 29 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (host): George, there has been a partisanizing of this issue, and then you throw in one more complication we've had over the last week. This Climate Research Institute of -- at East Anglia University, someone hacked into their email account and showed a bunch of emails between scientists, which opponents of climate change legislation said proves that they are rigging the science and trying to hide information that runs counter to their theories.

WILL: Well, it raises the question of -- we're being asked to wager trillions of dollars and substantially curtailed freedom on climate models that are imperfect and unproven. And the consensus, far from being as solid as they say it is, and the debate as over as they say it is, the emails indicate people are very nervous about suppressing criticism, gaming the peer-review process for scholarly works, and all the rest.

One of the emails said it is a travesty -- his word -- it is a travesty that we cannot explain the fact that global warming has stopped. Well, they shouldn't be embarrassed about that. It's a complicated business, and that's why we shouldn't wager these trillions.

PAUL KRUGMAN (New York Times columnist): That's not -- it's, you know, part -- all those emails -- people have never seen what academic discussion looks like. They don't -- there's not a single smoking gun in there. There's nothing in there. And the travesty is that people are not able to explain why the fact that 1998 was a very warm year doesn't actually mean that global warming has stopped.

I mean, that's loose wording, right? I mean, everything is about this -- we're really in the same situation as if there was one extremely warm day in April. And then people are saying, well, you see, May is cooler than April, there is no trend here. And that's what -- the travesty is how hard it has been to explain why that bad reasoning --

WILL: One of the emails, Paul, said he wished he could delete, get rid of, the medieval warming period. That lasted 600 years.

In fact, climate scientist wrote in email that he wanted to "contain" MWP. Michael E. Mann, a meteorology professor and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, wrote in the June 4, 2003, email:

Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back--I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to "contain" the putative "MWP", even if we don't yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back. [emphasis added]

Mann reportedly said he wanted to identify when MWP began, not "delete, get rid of" it. According to a November 26 Morning Call (PA) article, Mann explained that his email regarding MWP "reflected his desire to identify exactly when the Medieval Warm Period began." From the article:

Mann also said his 2003 e-mail saying ''it would nice to 'contain' the putative 'MWP''' was not a call for scientists to deny the Earth warmed naturally 1,000 years ago. He said it reflected his desire to identify exactly when the Medieval Warm Period began.

Will falsely claimed scientist wrote "it is a travesty that we cannot explain the fact that global warming has stopped"

Will: "One of the emails said ... it is a travesty that we cannot explain the fact that global warming has stopped." From the November 29 edition of This Week:

WILL: One of the emails said it is a travesty -- his word -- it is a travesty that we cannot explain the fact that global warming has stopped. Well, they shouldn't be embarrassed about that. It's a complicated business, and that's why we shouldn't wager these trillions.

In fact, email referred to "lack of warming at the moment," not "the fact that global warming has stopped." National Center for Atmospheric Research climatologist Kevin Trenberth wrote in an October 12, 2009, email:

Hi all

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low.

This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).

Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth's global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [1][PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)

The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.[emphasis added]

Trenberth email cited "my own article on where the heck is global warming?" which addressed the "incomplete explanation" of short-term climate variations and maintained that "global warming is continuing." In the email, Trenberth was referring to a journal article in which, as Wired's Threat Level blog reported, he discussed how "global warming is continuing, despite random temperature variations that would seem to suggest otherwise." Indeed, his article covered what Trenberth described as an "incomplete explanation" of short-term climate variations, while maintaining "that global warming is unequivocally happening."

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
George F. Will
Show/Publication
This Week
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