That is, the big news from this peek into the private professional correspondence of climate scientists is that there is no big news.
Yawn: the appropriate reaction to finding out that scientists get irritated at global warming deniers who refuse to face facts, and talk about the best ways to get across the message that global climate change is for real.
One of the first and best reactions to the email server hack came from RealClimate, a highly reputable web site run by climate scientists who know their stuff.
More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.
Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in ‘robust’ discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.
So rather than showing that the global scientific consensus about climate change is the product of some monumental fakery, the emails demonstrate the opposite. As the saying goes, there is no there, there.
Global warming deniers seized on the mention of a "trick" in one of the emails as evidence of nefarious data manipulation. It turns out that all this proves is the deniers don't understand science talk.
In this context, a trick simply means a clever way of analyzing data.
Climate researchers necessarily have to move between non-technological (such as tree rings) and technological (such as accurate thermometers) ways of measuring the Earth's historical temperature since modern technology is, well, modern.
And that's what the "trick" amounts to: a way to combine two varieties of temperature data. Yawn.
Meanwhile, much more exciting stuff is happening in the real world of climate change.
The truth will win out, as it almost always does. Global climate change is happening. Humans are causing it. We need to do something about it.
For an amusing historical perspective on the private correspondence of scientists, consider Isaac Newton.
If you own any shares in companies that produce reflecting telescopes, use differential and integral calculus, or rely on the laws of motion, I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the calculus myth has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after volumes of Newton’s private correspondence were compiled and published.