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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NewScientist: End dirty tactics in the climate war (editorial)

End dirty tactics in the climate war

EDITORIAL:  NewScientist, July 28, 2010

IF ONE of the aims of the persons unknown who stole thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) last November was to bring a fellow human being to his knees, they almost succeeded.

As our exclusive interview shows, Phil Jones, then the director of the unit, has suffered terrible personal torment as a result of the vitriolic campaign against him and his colleagues.

For years, ruthless climate sceptics have harassed scientists, drowning them in freedom of information requests and subjecting them to vicious personal attacks. Climategate was merely the public face of this insurgent war. In that hostile climate, some scientists fired off personal emails that occasionally lacked decorum. The CRU accepts this. When will their opponents apologise for their own excesses?

Yes, questions need to be asked. Healthy scepticism is vital. But the climate sceptics need to play by the rules. For all their bleating about being excluded, science is not a closed shop. If their criticisms of climate science have merit they will be heard. These issues will be resolved only by reasoned debate, not vitriol and harassment.

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