Congress is ramping up its investigation into a key climate study, now under further scrutiny after a federal whistleblower raised more questions about it this week. The scandal some are referring to as “Climategate Two” (you can learn about the first Climategate here) is quickly escalating after Dr. John Bates, a former top scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), exposed how an ex-colleague mishandled a report on global warming right before a major international climate conference in 2015.
House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said during a Tuesday hearing that NOAA “has deceived the American people by falsifying data to justify a partisan agenda.” He will now push for all documents related to the climate study, materials he requested via subpoena in 2015 after Obama Administration officials refused to disclose them.
What Bates Revealed About a Famous Climate Study
The explosive allegations from Dr. Bates were detailed in the Daily Mail and on the scientific blog, Climate, Etc. on February 5. Bates accuses Tom Karl, former director of the NOAA office responsible for climate data, of manipulating temperature readings, failing to archive data, and ignoring agency protocols to rush publishing his study that debunked the well-known pause in global warming at the beginning of this century.
At the time, climate activists were in a panic because the premier scientific body in charge of climate science—the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—admitted the rise in global temperatures had basically stalled from 1998 to 2012. This bombshell was included in the IPCC’s 2013 report, which would serve as the main primer leading up to the United Nations’ Climate Conference in Paris two years later.
World leaders were poised to obligate their countries (er, taxpayers) into paying hundreds of billions to ease climate change. The inconvenient truth that plenty of evidence showed the planet was not significantly warming would be hard to climatesplain away. To give the climate leaders a big assist, Karl worked with a team of scientists to prove the pause didn’t happen, and claim global temperatures were rising just as fast as they had been at the end of the twentieth century.
Karl specifically cites the IPCC report in the introduction of his paper published in Science in June 2015, a few months before the Paris conference. Under the headline, “Walking back talk of the end of warming,” the authors said, “Here, we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than those reported by the IPCC. These results do not support the notion of a slowdown in the increase in global surface temperatures.”
The paper concludes that “the IPCCs statement is no longer valid.” In other words: settled.
The Climate Change Study Was Rigged
But Bates says the researchers “put a thumb on the scale” to reach their conclusions. He reveals other alarming details, like how the computer used to process the data suffered a complete failure. Chairman Smith responded immediately to Bates’s allegations, thanking him for “exposing the previous administration’s efforts to push their costly climate agenda at the expense of scientific integrity.”
Shortly after Bates’ exposé was posted, climate skeptics and conservative outlets began reporting on it—including Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times (my piece in NRO is here). And of course it wasn’t long before climate activists and their media propagandists seized on Bates, attacking his credibility and motives while insisting Karl’s report was indeed credible and backed up by other scientists.
True to form, the same media that helped promote Karl’s study before the Paris climate conference overlooked key parts of Bates’s account. Neither the Washington Post, New York Times, nor the Associated Press mentioned IPCC as the source for the global warming pause, the main reason for Karl’s rebuke. Nor did they mention Bates’ shocking claim that the computer used to process the data had crashed.
Media Rushes to Defend Karl’s Study
Other lowlights from that group include the following. New York Times headline: “No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say.” Reporter Henry Fountain starts by smearing the Daily Mail reporter who wrote Bates’ exposé, excusing away the accusations and claiming the global warming pause became a “cause célèbre among climate change denialists.” Fountain then cites a few scientists who support Karl and finishes up insisting the study had no impact on the Paris accord.
Associated Press headline: “Major Global Warming Study Again Questioned, Again Defended.” Reporter Seth Borenstein referred to the scandal as “bickering,” a “kerfuffle,” and a mere “hubbub” about data management and storage.
Washington Post headline: “As the Planet Warms, Doubters Launch a New Attack on a Famous Climate Change Study.” Do you really need anything after that? Reporter Chelsea Harvey refutes every point of Bates’s account and cites “multiple” scientists who support the Karl study. (Bates said in his blogpost he first offered his story to the Washington Post last year and they declined. Shocker.)
The Media Weren’t The Only Study Apologists
The media weren’t the only Karl study apologists. Rush Holt, the head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which publishes Science, testified at Smith’s hearing on Tuesday. Holt brushed off the allegations—this was about 48 hours after the article posted, basically no time to check the veracity—calling it an “internal dispute” and concluding it’s “not the making of a big scandal.” Another committee member warned Holt to withhold judgement on the matter until the matter was fully investigated.
There’s a little (a lot?) of irony to this whole affair. The very same scientific community and liberal media outlets that have been hysterical since November 8, claiming the Trump Administration will silence scientists and have a chilling effect on science, are the very same people now attacking one of their own for speaking up. Chalk this up as one more example of liberal hypocrisy, exposed thanks to Donald Trump.