‘Climategate’: Is global warming a hoax?

In the wake of e-mails published by an anonymous hacker into the computers of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, questions about the validity of man-made global warming resurface.

As world leaders and scientists gather this week in Copenhagen to seek a solution to the climate-change crisis, said Lorne Gunter in the Toronto National Post, a lot of us regular folk are asking a more immediate question: Is the crisis real? The question can no longer be ignored, after an anonymous hacker published thousands of e-mails among scientists at the influential Climate Research Unit at Britain’s East Anglia University, exposing what could turn out to be “the biggest scientific hoax in a generation or more.” The e-mails showed the scientists fudging data to produce the infamous “hockey stick” graph showing temperatures shooting up dramatically in the past 20 years, and trying to bully their critics into silence, said the New York Post in an editorial. More appalling still, the CRU now admits that most of the original data supposedly showing the planet “on the verge of global-warming destruction got tossed with the trash.” So now the scientists are saying: “Trust us.” So much for the claim that “the science is settled.”

Don’t be ridiculous, said George Monbiot in the London Guardian. Yes, the “climategate” e-mails are a huge embarrassment for anyone working in the field of climate research. But a few scientists grousing about inconsistent data hardly negates a mountain of “unequivocal” evidence for man-made global warming. Ancient glaciers in the Alps and the Himalayas and Greenland are shrinking, visibly. The sea ice at the North Pole is thinning, dramatically. The eight warmest years since 1850 have all occurred in the past decade. Africa’s great lakes are drying up, and northern forests are dying because bark beetles are no longer killed by prolonged freezing. The real fraud is being perpetrated by a coalition of coal and oil companies, which has paid scientists, phony “experts,” and public-relations professionals to drum up doubts about climate change and “dupe the public.”

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us