“Climategate” or “Swifthack” or whatever you call the hubbub about the stolen climate science emails seems to have faded from public discussion, as I expected it would. Every time a new one of these frenzies gets started, climate activists panic, climate skeptics crow that they’ve finally won, and then the whole thing fizzles. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Anyway, though, if you’re still interested, NRDC has put together a brief video responding to the fuss:
As the video says, the basics of climate science have been well-understood and accepted for almost a century now. Along those lines, check out this amazing video Andy Revkin unearthed. He intros it like so:
The basic idea, of course, goes back more than a century, but the real number crunching started in the 1950s, and even drew the attention of the filmmaker Frank Capra, who produced a series of television programs on science (in the post-Sputnik days when science was a high priority), that included “The Unchained Goddess,” a remarkable 1958 film on weather and climate. It contained a section on greenhouse-driven warming:
Check out Andy’s post to see an NYT article from 1956 on the work of scientist Gilbert Plass, who was remarkably prescient.
Anyway, suffice to say, it was only when the modern corporatist right’s political agenda was threatened that it suddenly decided the science was suspect. If our political culture had a memory longer than a gnat’s, we wouldn’t be taking them so seriously every time they come up with a new pseudo-scandal.