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Short Essay #2: Choose one version of climate change denial discussed in our cou


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Short Essay #2: Choose one version of climate change denial discussed in our course reading. Explicate carefully how that form of denial works and then explain why you think that form of denial is so prominent in the United States or elsewhere today. Each component should be approximately 250-350 words in length.
I chose Conspiracy Theories and this is the article that I need to write based on
‘Climategate proves conspiracy’
In November 2009, the email servers at the University of East Anglia in Britain
were illegally hacked and emails were stolen. When a selection of emails betweenclimate scientists was published on the internet, a few suggestive quotes were
seized upon to claim that global warming was all just a conspiracy (Cook,
2010). The incident, dubbed ‘Climategate’, is symptomatic of a movement that
denies the scientific consensus (Delingpole, 2009). If one disagrees with a view
held by the great majority of the world’s scientists, the most common response
is to assume all those scientists are involved in a vast conspiracy to deceive.
To determine if there had been any wrongdoing, a series of international
investigations independently investigated the Climategate emails and all cleared
climate scientists of any wrongdoing. The House of Commons Science and
Technology Committee found that the criticisms of the Climate Research Unit
(CRU) were misplaced and that ‘Professor Jones’s [of the CRU] actions were in
line with common practice in the climate science communiry’ (Willis et al, 2010).
The University of East Anglia’s Scientific Assessment Panel, in consultation with
the Royal Society, assessed the integrity of the research published by the CRU
and concluded there was ‘no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in
any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit’ (Oxburgh, 2010). The Independent Climate Change Email Review examined the emails to assess whether
manipulation or suppression of data occurred and concluded that ‘the scientists’
rigor and honesty are not in doubt’ (Russell et al, 2010).
Thus independent investigations conclude unanimously that nothing in the
Climategate emails actually affected the science. The issue was of isolated quotes
taken out of context. The most quoted email was from Phil Jones discussing
palaeo-data used to reconstruct past temperatures:
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each
series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1 961 for
Keith’s to hide the decline.
The phrases often repeated from this email are ‘Mike’s Nature trick’ and ‘hide
the decline’, interpreted to reveal nefarious intent. However, the issues discussed
in this email are openly published in the peer-reviewed literature. ‘Mike’s Nature
trick’ refers to a technique (in other words a ‘trick of the trade’) used in a paper
published in Nature by lead author Michael Mann (Mann et al, 1998). The
‘trick’ is the technique of plotting recent instrumental data along with the
reconstructed palaeo-data. This places recent global warming trends in the
context of temperature changes over longer timescales.
The most common misconception regarding this email is to assume that
‘hide the decline’ refers to declining temperatures. Republican Sarah Palin
argued, ‘The emails reveal that leading climate “experts” deliberately destroyed
records, manipulated data to “hide the decline” in global temperatures’
(McCullagh, 2010). The ‘decline’ actually refers to a decline in tree-ring growth
in certain high-latitude regions since the 1960s. This is known as the ‘divergence
problem’, where some tree-ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental
temperature records after 1960. This was discussed in the peer-reviewed
literature as early as 1995, suggesting a change in the sensitivity of tree growth to temperature in recent decades (Jacoby and D’Arrigo, 1995). When you iook
at Jones’s email in the context of the science discussed, it is not the scheming of
a climate conspiracy, but technical discussions of data-handling techniques
readily available in the peer-reviewed literature.
The second most cited email is from climate scientist and IPCC lead author
Kevin Trenberth:
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.
This has been interpreted by climate change deniers as climate scientists secretly
admitting among themselves that global warming has stopped. Trenberth is
actually discussing a paper he’d recently published that discusses the planet’s
energy budget – how much net energy is flowing into our climate and where it’s
going (Trenberth, 2009). In Trenberth’s paper, he discusses how the pianet is
continually heating due to increasing C02• Nevertheless, surface temperature
sometimes shows short-term cooling periods. This is due to internal variability
as the ocean exchanges heat with the atmosphere. Trenberth laments that our
observation systems can’t comprehensively track all the energy flow through
the climate system. However, Trenberth expressed this openly and frankly in
the peer-reviewed literature. They didn’t need to steal his emails.
It’s important to put the Climategate emails in perspective. A handful of
scientists discuss a few pieces of climate data. Even without this data, there is
still an overwhelming and consistent body of evidence, painstakingly compiled
by independent scientific teams across the globe. They find that humans are
massively emitting C02 into the atmosphere, with the result that atmospheric
C02 levels have increased by 36 per cent from pre-industrial levels. Various lines
of evidence find that rising C02 levels are causing an energy imbalance and
trapping heat. Thousands of lines of evidence find the planet is subsequently
warming, with numerous fingerprints of warming unique to an increasing
greenhouse effect. A few suggestive quotes taken out of context may serve as a
distraction for those wishing to avoid the physical realities of climate change,
but they change nothing about our scientific understanding of humanity’s role
in global warming.


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