26 November 2009

10 Days to Copenhagen - Hackers and Deniers/Skeptics, Beware!

We've blown your cover.

All this talk of hacked emails had me daydreaming today about what hackers would find if they hacked into my emails ... snore. They sure wouldn't find much to amuse them.

Instead, I got into the fray a couple of days ago at Grist, when someone named Phil asked, "For God's sake, why don't you folks discuss the content of these emails?"

He was, of course, talking about the hacked emails that skeptics and deniers somewhere will have paid good money for — and in which they are now revelling. I asked Phil to consider (a) that scientists are human beings with human frailties, and (b) that there are far more important things to be discussing. (Like carbon feedbacks, or getting to the Age of Renewable Energy, or going veg to reduce methane emissions and buy us some time in the Arctic.)

However, my husband spent a large part of yesterday going through all the hacked emails (not just the juicy, cherry-picked ones) and he discovered something that no one else is talking about.

Here's what Dr. Peter Carter has to say about the hacked emails:

Of course, the emails are very different in their full context and for sure there are a few (very few) containing emotional content that has no place in professional correspondence. We all know, however, that the email story coming just before the UN Copenhagen Climate Conference is part of an orchestrated campaign to deny the scientific reality of catastrophic global climate change.

The amazing thing that comes out of reading these emails is the steady stream of harassment that our top climate change scientists are subjected to by the aggressive campaign of the skeptics/deniers.

The scientists at Hadley are being continually forced to spend an inordinate amount of their time in defending their science from totally unfounded claims that appear on climate change blogs and get reported in the media. As this is a battle over complex computer models based on masses of scientific research, the climate scientists are at a huge disadvantage to prove that the statements of the deniers on the models are wrong.

The scientists spend a great deal of their out of work time educating public audiences on the climate change facts to counter the denial disinformation campaign. The scientists, as a result of all this, operate under a high degree of personal stress. The harassment includes threats of civil litigation and they are also subjected to personally insulting emails on their work. In other words, there is an aggressive campaign that has been constantly waged for years, against the scientists and the science. I would not be surprised if some of the scientists have been at nervous breaking point at times.

Reading the emails, it comes across so clearly that these scientists are trying hard to protect the future of humanity from global climate catastrophe (inevitable if greenhouse gas emissions don't fall) and the deniers don't care one bit that their campaign has already condemned to death and suffering countless millions of the most climate change vulnerable and innocent. In my mind, the deniers are a bunch of .... Oops.

I have been critical of the reluctance of the IPCC scientists to tell the full extent of the terrible risks that the world is facing. Now I know the reason for their reluctance.

So, take that, you accursed hackers and deniers! We're really starting to find out what a rotten bunch of bastards you are (I'm no longer afraid to say it). How about you having a little compassion for the scientists who are doing their best to help us all understand the grave situation we're in? How about you holding in your hearts some compassion for all the children, of all species, and all future generations? Oh, sorry, I forgot. You don't have hearts.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?