Posted by: egutoday | May 4, 2010

Science under Fire


Climate scientists are still struggling with the fallout of the affair over emails leaked in November from a British climate research centre and the subsequent discovery of a number of inaccuracies in the last IPCC report.

Some media have since given increased credence to global warming ‘contrarians’ who seek to discredit the fact that human activity is warming the planet. To the more radical faction of contrarians the whole science of climate change is but a conspiracy led by enemies of the western way of life.

This notion is downright ridiculous. Like any active field of research, climate science has major gaps in understanding. But the laws of physics dictate that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases warm the planet – and not even die-hard sceptics can doubt that their concentration is rising as a result of human activity.

There are worse lies going round on the internet – a sphere free of scientific peer-review or any other form of quality-control – than claims that global warming is a hoax, of course: holocaust denial to name but one. But the traditional media, one might hope, should put more weight on fact checking than agenda-driven bloggers consider necessary.  That some editors don’t always seem to share this view speaks for itself – it is a sign of bad journalism, not of bad science.

Quirin Schiermeier, senior correspondent, Nature



  1. Read Axel Bojanowski in Spiegel Online: The Climategate Chronicle – How the Science of Global Warming Was Compromised.

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