Shooting CRU, the climate change messenger

Saudia Arabia’s announcement that the CRU email hack will have a "huge impact" on the Copenhagen summit is unsurprising. But it doesn't change the science.

Saudia Arabia’s announcement that the CRU email hack will have a “huge impact” on the Copenhagen summit is unsurprising but deeply unsavoury.

Al-Sabban, the Saudis’ lead spokesman on this, is now saying:

“It appears from the details of the scandal that there is no relationship whatsoever between human activity and climate change”.

But let’s remind ourselves of the long and deep history of Saudi Arabia’s support for the  denial of man-made climate change; the concrete actions that they have taken to prevent timely action; and their pitiful failure to take any action themselves over the greatest of all threats to our species and our living world.

Climate-deniers don’t like to focus on the role of the likes of Saudi Arabia and Exxon in backing them up. They prefer to talk about things like the minutiae of the programmer’s code used in working on the CRU data. For example, on last night’s Newsnight (11’45”) in which the new ‘Harry’ programmer’s code controversy is presented.

As has been shown expertly here and here, there is no smoking gun at all; just a vague suggestion that the way that the CRU data has been worked with has not been as flawless as the way that NASA’s has been. For more, watch this video:

Does this cast any doubt at all on their fundamental findings, or suggest any kind of conspiracy? The answer is simple: No.

The bottom line is this: There are many people out there, some of them just wilful contrarians, some of them directly profiting from the continuation of the fossil-fuel-economy, who are desperate to do whatever they can to try to hold off the moment when they have to change. CRU is one of the messengers saying that change in the way we live is necessary, if manmade climate change is not to overwhelm us. At the end of the day, the mad furore around this hack is simply a new case of a very old phenomenon: shooting the messenger.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.