In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt been aware of a fiasco which emerged in the last few weeks from the University of East Anglia in the UK concerning unprofessional bickering between climate scientists exposed by an apparent email hacker. The FOXNews crowd is calling it proof that climate change (at least the human induced kind) is a hoax perpetrated by a grand conspiracy among corrupt scientists bent on installing a global uber-government and so on and so forth… It’s therefore not the least bit coincidental that the conspiracy has emerged immediately before the COP15 talks in Copenhagen.
First things first, some of this is a really big screw up, and some of these scientists should be disciplined or fired (as well as whoever was behind the illegal hacking). But at the end of the day, the controversy only proves that some scientists, like some people, can be petty chumps who bicker and cheat. Not cool, but hardly proof that global warming is a hoax. And more importantly, hardly an argument against reducing our burning of fossil fuels and many of the other sustainability efforts 3p argues for. “ClimateGate” is 95% engineered distraction by an unfortunate part of the business community who prefer kicking and screaming to evolution.
So let me get to the point… COP15 has just begun. Although a large scale international climate treaty looks unlikely, the decisions and conversations to be made in Copenhagen this week and next will only add to the crescendo of voices calling for all manner of positive changes to be made with regards to the environmental and social consequences of the status quo. This is totally regardless to any controversy that East Anglia’s ill thought-out emails might produce.
Such conversations are ushering in a new wave of innovation, business opportunities, and a healthier, more sustainable world. Why? Mainly because any deal on climate change will also make it easier to bring on new technologies for energy production, incentives for efficiency, resource conservation, and hopefully some semblance of worldwide sustainable economic development. It’ll also more firmly establish in the global consciousness the idea of sustainability as common sense. All of these things, whether they involve regulation, international governmental cooperation, sheer inspiration, or popular demand, represent huge business opportunities for entrepreneurs who ‘get it.’ All of it is good for people and good for thoughtful, prepared businesses whether or not ‘climategate’ has any teeth. It’s even relevant if the entirety of climate change is a hoax.
Climategate is likely to be forgotten as soon as COP15 is over. Let’s make sure it’s countered with some common sense in the meantime.
Ed Note: Follow up coming. Please leave comments, but don’t be un-civil. If you’re here trying to prove that climate change is a myth, please read Kevin Drum’s excellent post here first.