Talking of The Spectator, Ross Clark has a piece there headlined ‘Climategate’ still matters – but not how the BBC thinks it does. In the piece he says that the story of 'Climategate' “won’t go away”, not least because the BBC has just put out two programmes on the subject: a TV drama called The Trick, and a Radio 4 documentary called The Hack That Changed the World”, continuing:
Both try to establish the same narrative: that the scientists whose emails were leaked were victims of a crime — a massive data theft — and that these brilliant, honest people were then unfairly dragged through the mire as their integrity was questioned, when the world should really have been asking: who are the evil hackers and why are they trying to discredit climate science?
Why it still matters, he argues, is “because in treating Climategate as pure data theft story, you bury what it revealed about the practices of some climate scientists” and while “it is true that some sceptics over-egged the scandal”, that “doesn’t detract from serious questions over the science which was revealed by leak”, including reasonable “objections” to what the scientists did. Among other things, he continues, “sceptics are right to be sceptical”, including about the scientists' use of graphs.
That is not to question, of course, that global temperatures – as measured from thermometers – have risen over the past century. No, Climategate didn’t ‘disprove’ global warming or show that it was a scam. What is did confirm is that climate scientists are using highly questionable methods to construct a record of historic temperatures. Moreover, it showed the lengths to which some climate scientists would go to try to silence colleagues with whom they disagreed – in one case threatening to try to remove an editor from an academic journal. Theft or no theft, Climategate revealed important matters of public interest – especially given the extent to which we are now being asked to adjust our lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions – and the BBC is quite wrong to try to dismiss the public interest side and present it merely as some dark and dastardly crime.