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NYT Finds Climate Skeptics in Copenhagen

Tom Zeller Jr. stumbles upon some Copenhagen contrarians and treats them with some respect.
Environmental reporter Tom Zeller Jr. filed a relatively balanced story about climate "skeptics" on the periphery of the climate talks in Copenhagen, "And in This Corner, Climate Contrarians."

Their numbers were small and former Vice President Al Gore was not among them.

But the climate skeptics who met inside a stuffy second-floor gallery near this city's Christianshavn neighborhood on Wednesday displayed at least as much passion for their cause as the environmental activists who have flocked to Copenhagen to push for action on global warming.

"They've got us outnumbered," said Ian Plimer, an Australian geologist, who has interests in several mining operations. "But we've got them outgunned."

Sitting in tidy rows of chairs, the group's members - who included an atmospheric physicist, a gentleman farmer, a policy adviser and about 60 others - sipped coffee, shared PowerPoint presentations and discussed climate. Or rather, what they see as a world gone mad over global warming.

The scientific evidence for human-driven climate change may be widely accepted. But those who gathered in the tiny parlor offered a variety of alternative explanations. One presentation contended that volcanoes emitted far more carbon dioxide than human activities like the burning of fossil fuels. Another presentation disputed data suggesting that sea levels were rising. Still another asserted that solar activity caused climate shifts.

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But the contrarian spirit of the meeting was buoyed by the recent uproar over a trove of e-mail messages and documents stolen - or liberated, as the skeptics see it - from a renowned British climate research center. The material, which mentions adjustments to data, has been seized upon by global warming doubters as evidence of a conspiracy to promote the idea of human-driven climate change. Many scientists, however, have said that the contents of the messages and documents do not undercut decades of peer-reviewed science.

Zeller left off the fact that those same emails show those "scientists" trying to deny peer review approval to papers skeptical of human-caused global warming.