Agriculture has a lot at stake in the climate change or global warming debate. Troubling questions have been raised recently over the science supporting global warming.
As a corn and soybean producer and lawyer, I am always skeptical when someone like former Vice President Al Gore alleges he knows the complete story on global warming. In my opinion every story, like a pancake, has two sides.
The first story that got my attention refers to "Climategate," which began in November 2009 with an internet leak of thousands of emails and other documents from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit. According to the university, the emails and documents were obtained through the hacking of a server. The emails were used to support widely-publicized allegations by climate change skeptics that the emails showed scientific misconduct and mishandling of Freedom of Information requests.
Now a story written in Environment & Climate News, May 2010, by James M. Taylor, describes a recent letter sent by the Institute of Physics, a London-based scientific charity with a membership of over 36,000 devoted to the understanding and application of physics. Taylor’s article declares that “The letter criticizes global warming alarmists at the heart of the Climategate scandal for manipulating data, abusing the scientific method and strong-arming the peer-review publication process.”
The Institute further advises the British Parliament that it is concerned that some of the research and emails may prove to be “…forgeries or adaptations [with] worrying implications aris[ing] for the integrity of scientific research in this field…”
Forgeries of data? This is a strong accusation!
It is clear that the Institute of Physics wants to learn the truth about activities of scientists involved with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Institute’s Memorandum sets forth 13 assertions and requests to Parliament. The most important paragraph declares “The emails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression in graphics widely used by the IPCC of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.”
Fraud? In plain English, the scientists are suggesting, as many articles have suggested, that the truth is not being told about global warming issues. (In other words, it is fraud!!!)
The second story that caught my attention arose here in Virginia from the Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, who filed a Civil Investigative Demand against the Commonwealth’s flagship University of Virginia (UVa). The Attorney General is demanding UVa produce all its documents in connection with one of its scientists, Dr. Michael Mann, who was implicated in several stories regarding the Climategate scandal. Dr. Mann is one of the major advocates of the “hockey stick graph” which demonstrates that global temperatures have risen suddenly and with an unprecedented upward spike and looks like a hockey stick.
Both the Institute of Physics and the Attorney General of Virginia are seeking facts and truth regarding the alleged Climategate scandal. Of course, the reaction against these efforts has been widespread and full of condemnation.
I find this curious, as you should, that people are afraid to have documents paid for by taxpayer money made available for others to read.
The Attorney General of Virginia, not being an academic, is concerned about Virginia taxpayer money being used by UVa and Mann to develop data and conclusions which also may be questionable (or fraudulent) as they relate to climate change. Mann has been accused of manipulating climate data to support the idea of manmade global warming.
As a result, the Attorney General has commanded UVa to produce all information and documentary materials that might show possible violations by Mann of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.
Among the 10 requests for information from Mann include a request for all of the computer programs that were created or edited by Mann from January 1, 1999 to the present. The Attorney General wants all of Mann’s hard drives, floppy drives, tape drives, optical drives, desktop and laptop - well, you get the idea. The Attorney General wants the truth. (Dr. Mann is no longer at the University of Virginia and now works at Penn State.)
Serious questions As I said earlier, I do not know the truth, but I do know the Institute of Physics is raising a number of serious questions regarding the integrity of the scientific research related to global warming. I also know the Attorney General of Virginia is a sincere and tough lawyer, and he will not stop until he is convinced we have the truth about Mann’s work while at UVa working on convincing the world that global warming is real.
Producing these documents from all the scientists will help all of us understand whether global warming is real or manmade.
Agriculture has a major stake in finding out the truth about Climategate. Many organizations believe agriculture is a major problem and contributes to global warming. Data should not be used that might unfairly target agricultural operations.
As has been said: “Sunshine is the best disinfectant” - Justice Lewis Brandeis.