Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The CRU of a sinking ship?

The issue of the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia Hadley Climate Research Unit continues to gain traction. The UEAs rather defensive press release further fuels speculation that the emails were leaked rather than hacked.

At the same time, analysis and explanation is appearing that clarifies the true nature of the malfeasance documented by the leaked files. One of the best concerns the conduct of the CRU in response to various Freedom of Information requests.

Clearly, this is an issue that is continue to play over both the short term and medium future. It appears to me, that continued stonewalling, deflection and denial are not going to be enough and that the various protagonists represent the CRU of a shrinking ship: AGW.

But a word of caution also is in order. It was Bertold Brecht who wrote:

  • The dog of war is dead. But do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.
And in that vain, the guys at Climate Resistance suggest viewing the CRU leak and the possible demise of AGW in a wider perspective.

  • The point is that any detected or projected rise in temperature does not speak for itself, no matter how sound the science behind it actually is. Any such data needs to be interpreted. That is to say that before you know what ’science says’, you have to know what has been asked of it.
  • In the logic of environmentalism, the sensitivity of climate to CO2 is held to be equivalent to the sensitivity of society to climate. But this, again, has no basis in science. Instead it is an entirely political, or ethical precept, centered on the concept of ‘balance’ and ‘harmony’ with ‘nature’. The function of ’science’, in what follows from environmental logic, is the search for ‘evidence’ of the status of this mythical balance. But, again, ‘evidence’ does not speak for itself, because, again, it requires interpretation. Anything that is not ‘normal’, implies ‘imbalanced’ in this way of thinking.
  • The mistake many sceptics have been making appears to be the mirror of the mistake that environmentalists have been making – they both assume that the argument for environmental politics emerges from environmental science, either correctly as a process that produces objectively sound analysis, or as an institution prone to corruption. It doesn’t.
  • to understand the ascendancy of environmental politics, it must be seen principally as a political phenomenon. The politics is prior to the science.
Environmentalism as an ideology does not rest on the certitude of its science. It co-opts and utilities whatever science is convenient to the political argument it is seeking to make at the moment. What drives environmentalism is not the science but the politics of the precautionary principle.

Ultimately, what will sink the AGW ship will not be a scandal about it's shoddy constituent science and practices. No the undoing of the AGW myth will be the desertion of its political cache. Politicos like to launch ships, not go down with them.