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Elizabeth May: Climategate 'an elaborate sting operation'

Do a Google search for “climate gate scandal” and you’ll get over 6 million hits -- not bad for a story only a few days old. Chances are that only a handful of reporters and bloggers have actually read all 3,000 hacked emails.

But Green Party leader Elizabeth May has. She thinks the media and the blogosphere have fallen into a trap set by “contrarian propagandists.”

Writing in the B.C.-based DeSmog Blog, May notes that the media haven't asked about the providers of the emails:

Strange, isn’t it that media are not wondering about who hacked into the computers and who paid them? Or why Dr. Andrew Weaver’s office in Victoria has been broken into twice.

My guess is that all the computers of all the climate research centres of the world have been repeatedly attacked, but defences held everywhere but East Anglia.

May describes a community of scientists sharing data over years and trying hard to calculate accurate temperature estimates from tree rings and old weather records made by the Royal Navy.

These stolen emails are also opening up the personal lives of private and serious scientists. Illnesses, family troubles. Cheery notes of “need to get this surgery over and then I will get busy with my review,” “getting married, did I mention, will work on this next data set a soon as I am back from my honeymoon...” or their Christmas emails… sent up to Christmas Eve and back to work before Boxing Day was over. Wives with cancer, at hospital, revising papers, while awaiting birth of first grandchild.

These guys work without a break. They never once suggest “cooking the books” or fudging the science.

May argues that “it was a trap. An elaborate sting operation...Sometimes [the scientists] write that they sent more on request, but something seems strange as they do not think the people wanting the data are actually proper scientists. The emails are the story of serious science up against blogs.”

A number of conservative political blogs have attacked the whole concept of global warming on the basis of the hacked emails: Michelle Malkin, NewsBusters, and Small Dead Animals are just a few of them.

Defenders of the scientists have included Climate Progress, RealClimate, and DeSmogBlog -- which also reported on December 4 that hackers recently tried to gain access to data servers at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis at the University of Victoria. According to May:

Certainly nothing in these emails suggests any problem with fundamental science. Dr. Phil Jones who headed up the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia has just stepped aside during the investigation. My money is on a full exoneration for him.

Meanwhile, the walking propaganda machines for the fossil fuel industry will continue their Disinformation Pyramid Scheme. Only responding to each lie with a well-referenced fact, duking it out with these guys on blog sites and newspaper letters to the editor will help keep the truth in mind.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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