Public comments on the “climategate” emails have certainly been varied. From one extreme like Lord Monckton who uses it to justify his outlandish giant conspiracy theory, to the more rational discussion by science journalists.
George Monbiot, who writes for The Guardian, has made some of the more balanced comments. He is not dismissing the significance of the emails but at the same time puts them in a proper context. He is particularly warning that they are in no way evidence of a conspiracy, or that the current assessment of the threat of global warming is compromised.
The “Gish Gallop”
In this talk (video below) he points to the real issue of climate change denial and the propaganda industry built around this. He discusses some of the tactics used by deniers. I particularly liked his description of the “Gish Gallop*” where deniers make a series of claims, one after the other, continually moving the goalposts so that their opponents are denied the chance of replying to any of them. We have seen this locally with the denier groups and bloggers who have been attacking NIWA scientists. They have quickly moved on from the original claim that the raw data did not support NIWA’s conclusions, to new “demands” about details of adjustments, the numbers of stations used, etc.
Monbiot’s advice – don’t get sucked in! Stick with the original claims and show where they are wrong. Demand that the deniers justify their original claims instead of galloping on.
*The “Gish Gallop” gets its name from Duane Gish – a well known creationists who uses this tactic in his attacks on evolutionary science.