East Anglia hacking: is this the ultimate litmus test on environmental politics?

The litmus test of East Anglia's hacked emails. Where do you stand?
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

It seems the response a group or person has to the East Anglia climate center hack job is a good indication of moral and political values.

The right-wing John Birch Society calls the revelations from the email "global warming fraud unmasked" and "ideology masked as science."

Rush Limbaugh declares the emails were made public by "a whistleblower." In Rush's world the science of global warming is a hoax. "the whole global warming -- manmade global warming movement is a fraud. It is a hoax. It's made-up lies."

One Fox news commentator says, "Usually academic research is completely ignored by the general public but in this case proposed regulations, costing trillions of dollars, are being based on many of these claimed research results. This coordinated campaign to hide scientific information appears unprecedented."

Unprecedented? Guess he chooses to overlook the tobacco companies' efforts to cleanse records connecting cigarettes and various cancers. And then there's the usual claim that cleaning up the atmosphere is too costly. In fact, like scrubbing the gases that were causing acid rain, cleaning the air often creates more jobs and more profits as well as makes the planet healthier.

On the left there's already a call for one scientist prominently represented in the emails ro resign, and a call for the data to be re-analyzed.

That scientist granted his first interview since the theft. He says there is no conspiracy. "That the world is warming is based on a range of sources: not only temperature records but other indicators such as sea level rise, glacier retreat and less Arctic sea ice." It's likely there'll be a United Kingdom government investigation, not just of the theft, but the actions of those at the East Anglia climate study center. Says one British scientist, "The selective disclosure and dissemination of the messages has created the impression of impropriety, and the only way of clearing the air now would be through a rigorous investigation. "

The BBC quotes one American climate scientist on the issue of transparency: "The need for public credibility and transparency has dramatically increased in recent years as the policy relevance of climate research has increased."

That's shorthand for "We're asking countries to make the kind of effort that usually goes for war or hosting the Olympics, so let's be careful."

That opinion in favor of transparency coincides with the majority of ZDnet blog readers repsonding to our poll on the hacking affair.[poll id="198"]

There'll no doubt be much palaver in the U.S. Congress with Republican global warming skeptics there already calling for an investigation.

So far there's no indication the hacking and publication of the docs from East Anglia will have any material effect on the Copenhagen talks.

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