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Blowing the 'pausebuster' whistle: Anything but 'settled'

| Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, 8:57 p.m.

A whistleblower's claim that data were manipulated to show global warming's 1998-2013 “pause” didn't happen — and the reaction to it — demonstrate that climate science is anything but “settled.”

John Bates retired last year as the National Climatic Data Center's principal scientist and had been responsible for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate archive. He accused Thomas Karl, a former NOAA official and lead author of NOAA's 2015 “pausebuster” report, of trying to “discredit” the 1998-2013 warming pause by manipulating data and rushing the report's publication in advance of December 2015's United Nations climate summit in Paris, according to The Washington Times.

Mr. Karl and fellow believers defended the report. Mr. Bates maintained Karl “constantly had his ‘thumb on the scale.'”And U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, which has been investigating the 2015 NOAA report, said “we now know why NOAA fought transparency and oversight at every turn.”

If climate science truly were “settled,” Karl should have had no reason to manipulate data. And Bates should have had no reason to blow any whistle regarding Karl's report. But Bates did.

And if his claim holds up under further scrutiny, it should refocus the climate debate on genuinely data-driven science — not on selectively supporting predetermined, politically motivated conclusions.

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