Climategate

by Anonymous Staff Writer

By now, I trust that most of you have heard something about “Climategate”, even though the “major” TV news networks still refuse to cover it as I write this[1], and some Google employee tried to do their part to suppress awareness by blocking popular search terms like “climategate” and “climate change emails” from being displayed in the main query suggestion box[2]. Briefly, (i) major climate scientists were caught going all-out to block dissenting research from being published in peer-reviewed journals, while publicly insisting there was no scientifically legitimate dissent because it didn’t make it to said journals, and (ii) their own science was shown to be partially fabricated.

Now, this does not, I repeat, DOES NOT, mean the entire Global Warming theory is bunk. The idea that atmospheric carbon dioxide tends to increase temperature is based on ~50-100 year old calculations which have been shown to fit the results of simple experiments. The theory is not as established as, say, gravity (and, of course, even the theory of gravity had to be refined after 250 years), but there’s still no scientific reason I’m aware of to doubt the basic idea. As tempting as it may be, please don’t go around saying “Global Warming is done”!

So what’s the fracas about, anyway? What were these corrupt scientists so desperate to “prove”?

Well, you may have heard that a bunch of politicians are trying to commit us to spending trillions to reduce carbon emissions. For this course of action to make any sense whatsoever, you need a LOT more than basic Global Warming theory to be true:

1. Our greenhouse gas emissions can’t just have an impact on climate; they have to have the LARGEST impact (over a timescale of decades). Wouldn’t it suck if we gutted much of our economy to reduce emissions, only to watch everything go to hell anyway thanks to some bad luck with sunspot activity?
2. The expected additional climate change would have to be bad enough to be worth spending trillions to prevent. Within the last millennium, the Vikings had farms on Greenland. (By the way, the temperature graph on top of the linked Wikipedia article is now known to be unreliable — we DON’T know that it’s hotter now than it was then.) This wasn’t part of any general catastrophe. A degree or two of anthropogenic global warming could very well not be a big deal at all, with unfavorable consequences largely cancelled out by favorable ones (for instance, I imagine the Canadians and Russians wouldn’t mind).
3. There can’t be a safe and more cost-effective way to deal with the problem. A trillion dollars is a lot of money; are we really sure we can’t find better ways to deal?
4. We have to be in a small window where our emissions reduction efforts will make a critical difference, even as China and India necessarily increase their own emissions. Isn’t that really unlikely?

The Climatic Research Unit was fabricating data and suppressing scientific dissent in an effort to support #1 and #2. And just one month ago, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner were smeared for daring to raise issue #3 in their new, bestselling SuperFreakonomics book. (Speaking of which… suppose the alarmists are right and we really are facing imminent disaster. Then, isn’t it imperative that we develop more powerful ways of manipulating climate, ASAP? Why have the same people been BLOCKING serious investigation of geoengineering? This alone proves beyond any reasonable doubt that they’re driven by another agenda and don’t really care about our welfare.)

So here’s where the action is. If a single one of these four points fall — and they’re ALL suspect — leftist politicians lose their justification for throttling Western economies. Rest assured that they’ll both obfuscate the dependence of their agenda on these four points (“Global Warming is still true! We’re just trying to save these ignorant denialist hicks in spite of themselves, while they’d rather see the world burn!”), and fight tooth and nail to keep them plausible.

As Jefferson noted, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get the word out about this scam. Wake up the men and women that ABC, CBS, NBC, and that unknown Google employee conspire to keep in the dark. Shatter the uninformed 51% majority those cowards are trying to hold onto. Don’t be shrill, don’t exaggerate, don’t descend to the enemy’s level; just calmly tell your friends the truth, and it will set them free.

[1] Jon Stewart deserves a lot of credit for breaking mainstream TV silence. Millions more people are aware of the scandal just because of him.

[2] I was shocked by this when someone brought it to my attention two days ago, assuming it must have really been due to a time delay in updating the query suggestion database, or an algorithmic quirk, or… . Google has a very, very good track record of Not Being Evil. But after thoroughly looking into the matter, I’ve eliminated every plausible alternative explanation I can think of.

This is clearly an individual (or small group) acting alone within the company — go to the “Google News” page, for instance, and as soon as you type “c”, “climategate” will immediately be the top query suggestion. Or, if you searched for “climate change” a few days ago, the results page helpfully suggested the related “climate change emails” search term (now you’ll get “climate change scandal”, which is also fine). I don’t detect any bias in the actual search results. And newly popular, similar search terms like “climate gate scandal” do appear in the query suggestion box, so the rigging seems to have been a one-time deal. So the company as a whole is obviously not engaged in any sort of conspiracy. Nevertheless, it’s deeply disturbing that a Googler thought they could get away with this; who knows what else (s)he will try in the future…

Update: Commenter “David” has provided a link to the leaked files.

Update #2: Many others have noticed the manipulation of search engine query suggestions. I’m going to have to retract my speculation that it’s an employee acting alone — the same petty censorship now also affects Bing. Try it out yourself: the more awkward “climate-gate” spelling quickly rises to #1-#2 in Bing’s suggestion box, since it wasn’t explicitly blocked.

Meanwhile, “climategate” is now blocked from Google News query suggest. (For now, I still get “climate gate scandal” at #2 as soon as I type “c”. Yeah, that’s the result of unbiased algorithms. Right.)

Other Google irregularities are being brought to my attention. My trust in the company is declining.

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