After claiming that he had been “studying up” for a discussion on climate change, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace repeated the false accusation that emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia show “climate change advocates were suppressing opposition” and asked, “Hasn't a lot of the science turned out to be somewhat sketchy?” In fact, the East Anglia emails did not demonstrate an attempt to “suppress opposition,” and the scientific consensus on the reality of climate change continues to be unchanged.
Wallace claims “climate change advocates were suppressing opposition”
From the February 14 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: But, Liz, on the other hand, there's an awful lot of the, quote, “science” that keeps being challenged. We had those email reports that were leaked out of East Anglia that seemed to indicate that some of the climate change advocates were suppressing opposition. Now we have this 2007 report by the U.N.'s international panel on climate change. One thing that I was studying up for this segment -- that there was a claim that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 -- wasn't an academic study. It was one expert who says he was misquoted. Hasn't a lot of the science turned out to be somewhat sketchy?
CRU emails did not show attempt to “suppress opposition”
Mann email proposing boycott of Climate Research cited specific paper. Critics have frequently pointed to a March 11, 2003, email in which Penn State University professor Michael Mann wrote that a paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas (of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) “couldn't have cleared a 'legitimate' peer review process anywhere. That leaves only one possibility -- that the peer-review process at Climate Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board.” Mann further stated, “I think we have to stop considering 'Climate Research' as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board ...”
Wallace has repeatedly used CRU emails to make false accusations about climate change
Wallace has previously attacked CRU emails. Claiming that the emails “were either leaked or hacked” from CRU, Wallace said the messages discussed an attempt to “hide the decline in temperatures,” and he also called climate scientists “fudgers” who “tried to suppress the opposition.”
Global consensus on climate change is unaffected by the release of the emails
NASA scientist: Emails show “no manipulation.” Wired's Threat Level blog reported on November 20, 2009, 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 RealClimate blog, which has stated that some of the reportedly stolen CRU emails “involve people” at RealClimate. Moreover, RealClimate's staff has refuted the distortion of an email that has been repeatedly cited by critics to claim that the emails undermine global warming science, noting that the terms “trick” and “hide the decline” that appeared in a 1999 email represent an “example” of “instances of cherry-picked and poorly-worded 'gotcha' phrases [being] pulled out of context.” RealClimate explained that "[s]cientists often use the term 'trick' to refer to a 'a good way to deal with a problem', rather than something that is 'secret', and so there is nothing problematic in this at all," and noted that “hiding the decline” refers to a method that is “completely appropriate.”
Scientists note that data sets from other research centers show the same climate trends. An October 14, 2009, Greenwire article said that Tom Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, “noted that the conclusions of the IPCC reports are based on several data sets in addition to the CRU, including data from NOAA, NASA and the United Kingdom Met Office. Each of those data sets basically show identical multi-decadal trends, Karl said.” The article also said that Ben Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, “said CRU's major findings were replicated by other groups, including the NOAA climatic data center, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and also in Russia.”
FactCheck.org: Emails “have been misrepresented by global-warming skeptics,” “don't change scientific consensus on global warming.” FactCheck.org has stated that while the emails “show a few scientists in a bad light, being rude or dismissive,” “there's still plenty of evidence that the earth is getting warmer and that humans are largely responsible.” In addition, FactCheck noted that “many of the e-mails that are being held up as 'smoking guns' have been misrepresented by global-warming skeptics eager to find evidence of a conspiracy.”
AP: Emails “don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked.” The Associated Press reported that after “stud[ying] all the e-mails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them” and submitting “summaries of the e-mails that raised issues from the potential manipulation of data to intensely personal attacks ... to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy,” it concluded that “the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.”
Scientists reaffirm that global warming is real. Following the emails' release, more than 1,700 scientists from the United Kingdom signed a statement responding “to the ongoing questioning of core climate science and methods.” The statement said: “We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities.” Furthermore, in a December 4, 2009, letter to Congress, 29 prominent scientists, including 11 members of the National Academy of Scientists, stated, “The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.” Additionally, a December 3, 2009, editorial in the journal Nature stated: “Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real -- or that human activities are almost certainly the cause,” and that claims to the contrary by “the climate-change-denialist fringe” are “laughable.” The American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Union of Concerned Scientists have all reaffirmed their position that human-caused global warming is real.
Climate emails have been repeatedly misrepresented to cast doubt on global warming. As Media Matters for America has noted, the media have repeatedly misrepresented the contents of the reportedly stolen emails in order to claim that they cast doubt on the scientific basis for the consensus that human-caused global warming is real.
Scientists' studies show glaciers throughout the world are melting rapidly
World Glacier Monitoring Service data show that glaciers are thinning. The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) -- in coordination with the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) -- issued a report in March 2008 showing that, according to a UNEP press release, “Data from close to 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled.” The study looked at 30 glaciers in the Alps, the Andes, the Cascade Mountains, Svalbard, Alaska, Scandinavia, Altai, Caucasus, and Tien Shan. WGMS later updated its data for 2007-2008 and asserted that the “new data continues the global trend in strong ice loss over the past few decades.”
2009 study shows Swiss glaciers melted by 12 percent over the past decade. Scientists at the ETH Zurich university reportedly issued a study in 2009 showing that Swiss glaciers had retreated by 12 percent over the past decade. A Reuters article quoted Daniel Farinotti, research assistant at the ETH, as saying, “The trend is definitely that glaciers are melting faster now. Since the end of the 1980s, they have lost more and more mass more quickly.” The article also noted that “Swiss glaciers have lost 9 cubic km of ice since 1999, the warmest period of the past 150 years, with the most dramatic decline coming in 2003 when they shrunk by 3.5 percent in 2003.”
Ohio State glaciologist Lonnie Thompson says glaciers all over the world are melting. According to a January 20 Guardian article, “Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, said there is strong evidence from a variety of sources of significant melting of glaciers -- from the area around Kilimanjaro in Africa to the Alps, the Andes, and the icefields of Antarctica because of a warming climate. Ice is also disappearing at a faster rate in recent decades, he said.” From the article:
From the Alps to the Andes, the world's glaciers are retreating at an accelerated pace -- despite the recent controversy over claims by the United Nations' body of experts, leading climate scientists said today.
Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, said there is strong evidence from a variety of sources of significant melting of glaciers - from the area around Kilimanjaro in Africa to the Alps, the Andes, and the icefields of Antarctica because of a warming climate. Ice is also disappearing at a faster rate in recent decades, he said.
“It is not any single glacier,” he said. “It is very clear that these glaciers are behaving in a similar fashion.”
But there was evidence gathered from a variety of sources that there has been significant melting of glaciers - from the area around Kilimanjaro in Africa to the Alps, the Andes and the icefields of Antarctica - and that the rate of ice loss was accelerating.
“Those changes -- the acceleration of the retreat of the glaciers and the fact that it is a global response -- is the concerning part of all this. It is not any single glacier,” he said
Scientists now had evidence collected over a long period of that decline from samples of the ice core and even collections of plants from mountains that were left ice-free for the first time in more than 5,000 years, Thompson said.
The World Glacier Monitoring Service shows a similar picture. In a 2005 survey of 442 glaciers, 398 -- or 90% -- were retreating, 18 were stationary and 26 were advancing.
“Glacier expert” Michael Zemp: “Glaciers are the best proof that climate change is happening.” According to a CNN.com article, glacier expert Michael Zemp said he “believes that the errors shouldn't shake people's belief in climate science.” It quoted him as saying, “Glaciers are the best proof that climate change is happening. This is happening on a global scale. They can translate very small changes in the climate into a visible signal.”