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December 7th, 2009
06:30 AM ET

Scientists 'cooking the books' on global warming?

The climate change summit that starts today in Copenhagen is bringing together officials from nearly 200 nations, including President Obama, who will fly there next week. One of the goals is to get countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists say are heating up the Earth and doing damage to the world our kids and their kids will inherit.

But is the problem as bad as some people make it sound? Critics say e-mails swiped from a British university suggest researchers could be putting their own spin on reality. The controversy is creating political fireworks all the way to Washington. Our Jim Acosta has the report.

Filed under: Controversy • Politics • Science
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Bob Moore

    You can stand on the Lake Michigan shore and pick up a Petosky stone which is petrified coral from a tropical sea that covered the area at one point. You can also imagine the mile thick sheet of ice that covered the same area ten thousand years ago, and all of the climate variations between those two extremes that must have taken place in the interim. What was man doing to effect all of those climate changes while he was living in caves and gathering fruits and nuts to survive?
    Climate has never been has always been changing, and is subject to forces far beyond those that we are responsible for or can control. The Global warming scam is all about transferring wealth from developed nations to nations like China, and making a few ex- vice presidents rich .

    January 1, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  2. Boomer in Mo

    I'm no scientist but I am out IN the weather for hours every day, hot, cold, wet or dry. My husband is a farmer and I raise most of our vegetables. We have a better feel for the weather than city dwellers, I guarantee you. The weather is far different now than it was in the 1970s; the last frost comes earlier in the year and the first killing freeze comes later. We either have too much rain or are in a drought. Not much is "normal" anymore. I don't know if what is going on is a natural cycle or not but I do know that most politicians, political commentators and ordinary citizens actually know next to nothing about weather and climate. It does not keep them from claiming to be experts, but they simply don't know. I do know from experience you can't keep 100 cows on 100 acres forever without destroying those acres and have all the cows die of starvation and I'm pretty sure you can't keep an ever growing human population on this planet without destroying it at some point. Are we past that point? I don't know and I don't think any human knows the answer either. The horrible thing is, no one knows what is going on now, what will happen in the future or what the Earth's fate is. We will only know after it has happened, if any of us are still here.

    December 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  3. Patti Hanson

    Watched Jesse Ventura"s conspiracy theory program last night and it was jolting. China is very much in the forefront of the climate change debaucle along with a former UN rep that instigated it. I'm a democrat and believed all that was said about climate change but after last night and listenting to ventura"s program, I think china might have a hitler/germany complex. Scary

    December 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  4. Doug Leavitt

    They just caught Al Gore making up numbers again by saying there is a 75% chance the polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years. He quoted a scientist by name as having provided this "fresh" data. Problem is that scientist immediately said that he never gave that prediction and in fact he would never try to give such an accurate prediction. Al explained it away as being a ballpark figure from a conversation a few years ago. Hmmmm how is that fresh even if BIG Al isn't lying????

    December 15, 2009 at 2:10 am |
  5. Candice W

    Alot of talk. No real action. Life will find a way. Will superior life form make it a priority? Doubtful. Too busy talking.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  6. Stuart Flora

    I am an environmental engineer for thirty years and I see facts that suggest this is a totally political problem. First the the truth is that most global warming studies ignore sun spots effect on our plants warming and cooling cycles, and the storm predictions for the last three years were totally wrong with some of the mildest hurricane seasons in centuries. Last but most important is that CO2 has more benefits than harm to our planet and is a minuet portion of our atmosphere. Plus we are getting ready to have two pretty severe winters here in USA. Please do not let this political issue damage the USA economy and let the rest of the world that has envied us for years purposely harm our postion in world economy. We can conserve more, we should expand nuclear, solar, and wind power, and we should continue to use and find coal, gas, and oil in this country. For those that need to more, ride your bike and turn off your electricity, I don't care, just don't impose your biased beliefs on me with this political crap.

    December 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  7. Dave Kelly

    I've got twenty years of experience in research. I've extensively read the leaked climate gate e-mails . There is no science here. It is a complete, utter, and obvious fraud. I am not going to risk my children's future on the word of bunch of hucksters. It time to put our house in order.

    December 13, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  8. Sigurdur

    The warming of present, IF there is actual warming, is certainly not unprecedented. REF...Alley etal 2000: Greenland Ice Core Temp.

    AGW is a hypothosis, not a fact. The climate models can't do a good job modeling water vapor and clouds. Water vapor dwarfs co2 as a greenhouse gas. So when you can't model the 75% of greenhouse gases, you can't make any type of valid forcast of future climate.

    Alternative energy will come as it is economically feasable. Right now, without huge subsidies, it is not.

    There is NO money for subsidies, in fact, there is no money left period. When people switch the subject to green jobs, I refer you to Spain. They have gone green and their unemployment rate is 17% because the cost of production is so high.

    The AGW arguement is not about polution, but rather transfer of wealth. Plain and simple. Follow the money 51 BILLION spent on research on this subject, and you wonder why the findings are as they are?

    December 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  9. Art

    Wake up America, time to take another pill.

    December 12, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  10. DebnAZ

    I cannot for the life of me understand why Joe citizen can't see why climate change (fraud) is so important!
    A. As US taxation grows higher, businesses tend to move away-forcing these companies that move to pay "climate change" fines in other countries will force many jobs completely out of business.
    B. It is all a Scam-Get educated.

    December 12, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  11. Eddie

    Hi, i'm commenting on global warming from San Diego. First of all, i watch and listen to the talk on this subject, and i just can't beleave the statements that i'm hearing ! Do most of you really beleave that man is in control of global warming? If so, then this means that most of you are walking around with your head in the sand or with blind folders on !

    And NASA is the ring leader of all ! Let me just say this, no matter what man is doing or not doing, is not going to ever change GOD'S well ! This world, the universe, all planets including the sun and moon is controled by our heavenly father. So please, stop the madness!

    December 12, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  12. Gary Hunt

    With all of the talk about CO2 causing all of this Global Warming, you never hear anybody talking about just how much CO2 is in the atmosphere. Basically if you look it up there is about two tenths of one percent CO2 in the atmosphere. Boy I am sure that is going to warm things up a lot more than say The SUN!!! Certainly Global Warming is real, just like in the past Global Cooling was real, The problem is when you try to make a connection to one thing. It has happened over and over again in the earth's history so why blame man now or even expect to be so intellegent to "standardize" our weather conditions.

    December 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  13. Alex Choi

    Many people says the e-mail is just one bad apple in 'huge' scientists consensus pool. Are we sure about that? How do we know this e-mail is just a tip of big iceberg?

    December 10, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  14. Nicholas Micros

    A. Smith, Oregon

    Why do you see this as right wing opinion or left wing opinion.

    I have been a Democrat 5 years now and I have never believed in Global Warming.

    I don't think you can understand this issue until you realize we are about to sign a treaty based on a THEORY!

    30,000 Scientist are now taking Al Gore to court for fraud. This group is being led by John Coleman the founder of the "Weather Channel." GOOGLE IT!

    Regardless if C02 causes global warming I will advise you to read the first draft of the treaty and understand the 700 billion dollars in U.S taxes going to other Countries.

    Even if it is possible to minimize C02, the natural gas we breath out, how is 700 billion dollars going to minimize C02 by 20% in the air.

    This is a bigger scam than WMDs in Iraq and I think I am leaving the democratic party riiiiight NOW!

    December 9, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  15. Nathan

    Polar Bears are dying! Sarah Palin WILL cause Doomsday if she's president!

    December 9, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  16. Joe

    Your report was ridiculous! A total spin to the left!
    These guys manipulated and hid data for 20 years, not just ten.
    Shame on you for allowing people like Al Gore to make Millions off this sham. The real Conference is 50 miles awaqy from the circus.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  17. Selwyn Firth

    Both sides gaot it wrong.
    We are heating up the planet because of the energy usage. All forms of energy end up heating the atmosphere, biodiesel is just as bad as petrodiesel, solar is as bad as gas fired electricity as is nuclear. It is the energy footprint that is heating the atmosphere not the source. Carbon dioxide is just the messenger of one form
    No one is willing to cut down on their energy use. So the planet will keep on heating. There is no "Greenhouse" effect its simply heating as in hot air balloons. At the present rate of energy use we are adding enough energy to the atmosphere to raise the temperature by 9 deg. F in the next century. Its too bad no one did the enthalpy calculations before they did their modelling.
    Copenhagen will only make things worse.The scientist have failed to understand the basic science. The carbon dioxide is a result of the problem it is not the problem. , it is the heatprint that is the problem. we need to reduce the sunlight we get.
    This can be done by dumping sodium or calcium powder into the upper atmosphere to initiate cloud formation, which will reflect sunlight.
    Selwyn Firth Toronto, Canada

    December 9, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  18. John Buchner

    The computer models that are being used are not sophisticated enough to determine changes in temperature based on increased levels of carbon di-oxide. They will not be for at least another twenty years and that is an optimistic assumption. To make the ecconomic decisions demanded by those advocating climate change would be idiotic. I believe it will be proven that much of the data has been tampered with and the charade will now unravel. I feel sorry for the innocent scientists that naively went along and will soon find their careers ruined because they gave their support to this fraud. This also includes members of the press who blindly published junk.

    December 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  19. Linda Bradley

    Global warming is a hoax people. Wake up!!! It's all about the money. Would they really be using all these jets and limos for this meeting if it were true. And, if they do believe it is true....shame on them all.

    December 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  20. Ron Wilson

    To be sure we should work to reduce pollution of all kinds and shift our energy needs away from foreign oil and promote “green” jobs … etc … however all of this can continue without the need for a treaty or a rush that will destroy our economy even farther.

    December 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  21. Ron Wilson

    If the body of scientific evidence is as strong, as we are being told … then why was it necessary to cover up and possibly destroy part of the data? It’s not like the raw data for one institute would be substantially different than for another institute.

    The fact is these researchers are “true” believers in manmade global warming and they evidently saw something in their research that would indicate that their faith in global warming might not be justified … or at least difficult to explain.

    This brings up several questions … but for now let’s just assume that all the other research projects are on the up and up … but that would still leave the question of whether this research project was the first to discover that the inflection point in the climate cycle has been reached and it is starting to swing back the other direction … or possibly that some facts they previously had considered unimportant, might be actually a bigger piece of the puzzle and therefore the research shows a different conclusion.

    December 8, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  22. Louise Brown

    As with any investigation, it's important to look at all the evidence, not just the piece that was spun by one lab. The spin from those opposed to any action based on global warming is as preposterous as the spin generated by this 'scientific' lab. What we need are undisputed facts. The preponderance of evidence suggests that global warming is taking place – that it is a bigger, more rapid shift than ancient trends; however the rate of change, and the rate of consequences are unclear. We know that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane contribute to global warming (from a pure physics standpoint), and we know that these gases are at much higher levels than they've been in the past 650,000 years. The precautionary principle would suggest that we take a conservative, measured approach, assume that we may be having an impact, and take steps to mitigate the impact. If you found out that there was a 50% (or even 40%) chance that a certain food would give your baby cancer or autism in the next 20 years, would you give it to him? Even if it was cheaper? Or would you explore other, lower risk options? Is the risk to our climate (and consequent effects on ecosystems and economies) any less important? A little warming may not seem so bad, but do people realize that over 40% of trout habitat in the west is threatened by the changing temperature and snow melt timing caused by global warming? Or other consequences? I think part of the issue is that many people are truly unaware of the myriad, complex consequences that climate change will cause on local and global scales – thus they aren't concerned enough to act.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  23. A. Smith, Oregon

    Big Oil puppets in the Republican party are questioning any meaningful changes to the way Coal Plants belch out millions of tons of toxic gases.

    Who cares what the Republican party wants?

    For the past 8 years, the Republican party got everything they wanted and our water, air, and food supply were directly placed at risk.

    The Democratic lawmakers need to pass strong, meaningful environmental curbs on Coal Plants, Big Oil's hazardous wastes with huge fines to any Big Oil Corporation that doesn't fully comply.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:23 pm |