For the past several weeks, conservative commentators have been buzzing about “Climategate” — hacked e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit in Britain that show some scientists may have been cooking the books in an attempt to bolster the case for global warming.
“Assuming the e-mails are genuine, they are nothing short of scandalous,” writes Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, a prominent global-warming skeptic. And, inevitably, Climategate enthusiasts are demanding to know why the big, bad mainstream media are ignoring the e-mails.
I am not going to deal with the e-mails. As I recall a prosecutor once telling a jury, I don’t have to prove that Mr. Doe is the sort of person who’s capable of murdering his wife if I can prove that he, in fact, murdered his wife.
In the same vein, I don’t have to defend scientists who may have been mucking with the data to boost the case for global warming if I can show that the earth is actually warming. So today I present the first of 10 stories, some of which you’ve probably seen before, that are grounded not in data or computer simulations, but in the reality of global warming.
If you have any nominations, please pass them along. I’ll probably stop when I get to 10.
And if you really want to know more about Climategate, I recommend the excellent Climateprogress.org blog, written by Dr. Joe Romm. And so we begin:
On Sept. 10 of this year, the New York Times reported on a quest by two German ships to become the first to traverse the Arctic Ocean — a journey that would not have been possible were it not for the thinning of the Arctic ice cap.
“It is global warming that enables us to think about using that route,” Verena Beckhusen, a spokeswoman for the German shipping company, told the Times.
As the story makes clear, mariners have dreamed of using that passage for hundreds of years, as it would save a considerable amount of time, and, thus money. But it was only recently that the ice became thin enough to make it a reality.