Fox News' Stuart Varney touted the emails that were apparently stolen from the UK's Climate Research Unit (CRU), claiming the emails suggested that "scientists are fudging data to make their case for global warming." Varney distorted statements from two of the emails and took them out of context to claim that one showed that "evidence isn't really there" for global warming and the other suggested scientists were "deliberately changing the data to suit your way."
From the November 24 broadcast of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
VARNEY: Climategate set to break wide open. New developments today involving those hacked emails from Britain suggesting scientists are fudging data to make their case for global warming. Republican Senator James Inhofe is calling for a full investigation. And he joins me now by phone from Oklahoma.
Senator, you've seen these emails at length. Do you believe that the climate scientists are trying to conceal evidence that works against global warming?
VARNEY: Well Senator, I know you've seen the emails, but for the benefit of our viewers who haven't, I'm just going to read brief excerpts from three of them. Here's the first, number one, says, look, "We can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."
Well that's self explanatory. That's really suggesting that the evidence isn't there. We don't know what's going on with this.
VARNEY: Number three, a little bit more complex, but listen to this. "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (IE, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith to hide the decline."
That seems like deliberately changing the data to suit your way.
Fact: Trenberth's email references his article on an "incomplete explanation" of short-term climate variations, which maintained that "global warming is continuing"
In the email in which he wrote, "We can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't," Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, was referring to his article in which, as Wired's Threat Level blog reported, Trenberth 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."
Fact: Jones' email Varney read was distorted, "pulled out of context"
As RealClimate.org explained, the "trick" that Phil Jones, head of the CRU, referred to in his email referenced a method for making the "context of the recent warming ... clear" and isn't "problematic ... at all." RealClimate.org also explained that Jones' mention of "hiding the decline" refers to a method that is "completely appropriate." RealClimate.org wrote that Jones' email would be an "example" of "cherry-picked and poorly-worded 'gotcha' phrases" that would be "pulled out of context."
Fact: NASA scientist: Emails do not show that "global warming is a hoax"
NASA's Gavin Schmidt: Critics "are using language used in science and interpreting it in a completely different way." Wired's Threat Level blog reported on November 20 that Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: "There's nothing in the e-mails that shows that global warming is a hoax. ... There's no funding by nefarious groups. There's no politics in any of these things; nobody from the [United Nations] telling people what to do. There's nothing hidden, no manipulation. It's just scientists talking about science, and they're talking relatively openly as people in private e-mails generally are freer with their thoughts than they would be in a public forum. The few quotes that are being pulled out [are out] of context. People are using language used in science and interpreting it in a completely different way." Schmidt is a contributor to the Real Climate blog, which has stated that some of the stolen CRU emails "involve people" at Real Climate.