November 22, 2011 9:49PM

Fun with Grammar

Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post writes:

Less than a week before U.N. negotiators convene in South Africa for a new round of talks aimed at forging a global climate pact, a hacker has released an apparent second round of e‑mails from the University of East Anglia in Britain that seek to portray climate scientists in a negative light.

Now let’s break that sentence down. Could it really be the e‑mails from the climate catastrophists that “seek to portray [themselves] in a negative light”? Surely not. Rather, it appears that the sentence was intended to read something like this:

…a hacker believes that the apparent second round of e‑mails from the University of East Anglia that he released today portray climate scientists in a negative light.

If there’s any embarrassment to the writers of the e‑mails, after all, surely it was not intended. In any case, it’s not the release of the e‑mails that might “portray [some] climate scientists in a negative light,” it’s the e‑mails themselves.

More on the original Climategate here. Ongoing posts at this climate‐​skeptic website. And as you hear terms like “skeptics,” “deniers,” and so on, remember what Pat Michaels wrote in the 2009 Cato Handbook for Policymakers:

Leading politicians and media figures are insisting that Congress make
global warming a very high priority. Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975.

But global warming is also a very complicated and difficult issue that
can provoke very unwise policy in response to political pressure. In 2005, for instance, Congress clearly made a very bad decision about climate change when it mandated accelerated production of ethanol. Critics had argued then that corn‐​based ethanol would actually result in increased carbon dioxide emissions. An increasing body of science has since verified this position. Further, corn‐​based ethanol is responsible in part for the skyrocketing price of corn, soybeans, rice, and wheat since the mandates began.

Although there are many different legislative proposals for substantial
reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, there is no operational or tested suite of technologies that can accomplish the goals of such legislation. Fortunately, and contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding climate change, there is ample time to develop such technologies, which will require substantial capital investment by individuals.

He’s a skeptic about the predictions of catastrophic and imminent threats, not about the existence of modest global warming.