The hackers who originally leaked the so-called "Climategate" emails (perhaps more accurately called the "Big Fuss Over Nothing" emails) have released a new batch of stolen communication from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. Now that those involved in "Climategate" have been cleared of all suspicion by multiple independent investigations, climate scientists are in danger of actually getting a chance to do some climate science, and we can't have that! Better lob another giant distraction!
The last time this happened, two years ago, deniers combed through the documents to find words like "trick" and "hide," then presented those lines completely out of context. Since communicating science is more complicated than making shit up, explanations of how the emails were being misinterpreted monopolized a lot of resources right before a U.N. climate summit. With another summit coming up, the miscreants are clearly hoping for a repeat performance.
They're unlikely to get it, says Joe Romm, because this batch is even weaker sauce than the first one:
These are the “second string” emails. The Varsity team couldn’t derail the science so it’s really hard to see how the Junior Varsity team could. In other words, if multiple independent investigations showed that climate science was unscathed by the original batch of emails — which must have been the ones the deniers thought were the best they had — then what precisely are the chances these even weaker second-stringers are going to beat the climate science team? After all, the climate science team has gotten considerably stronger in recent years.
It doesn't seem totally clear that these are the chaff from the first time around, as Romm says, though they're clearly not new. And determined deniers would be able to cherry-pick supposedly incriminating quotes from anything, even if all 5,000 new emails were just about grocery lists. ("HIDDEN Valley, huh? Just what are you hiding about the valley?") They're already starting to salivate over the presence of words like "uncertainty," which — like the other Climategate buzzwords — has a particular scientific meaning.
But maybe this time the media will be embarrassed that all their previous "climate scandal" frenzy turned out to be hogwash, and they'll ignore it from the start. Hey, a girl can dream.