ClimateGate, when a hacker broke into computers at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit and released a myriad of confidential files, continues to cause controversy. The documents showed scientists had attempted to suppress and manipulate data that would hurt the case proving anthropogenic global warming. They also cast doubts about what sort of policy measures should be implemented to attack this alleged global problem.
However, according to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it's not ClimateGate - but the messenger who is at fault for growing hesitation to enact a cap-and-trade policy that would radically change the U.S. economy. Although traditional media went for weeks without reporting the matter, it was talk radio that busted the story wide open and the target of Kerry's frustration, which he revealed in an interview with the Boston Globe on March 8. (h/t Matt Dempsey, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee)
"What we have to do is go on the offensive," Kerry said. The science "has been maligned and misinterpreted, and we need to fight back . . . people [need to] stop being moved by these talk show [hosts] and start looking for the facts'' themselves."
And the public's trust in the scientific community's work on the issue is waning. The Globe explained an ABC/Washington Post poll released last month "found 56 percent of those surveyed don't trust the things scientists say about the environment - up from 49 percent a year and a half earlier."
This has put Kerry's efforts, as an influential voice in the U.S. Senate on the issue of climate change in question, as Beth Daley pointed out for the Globe.
"Environmental policy specialists say the controversies, along with the struggling economy, could hurt Kerry's effort to pass climate legislation," Daley wrote. "Kerry said recently that he is closing in on a bipartisan bill. He vowed to push forward, noting the issue is as much about jobs and national security as about the environment."