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Tempers Flare In Climate Change Flap

One day after reports that Britain's Met office intends to reexamine 160 years' worth of temperature data, emotions over what's now being dubbed "Climategate" are getting more raw by the day.

During a live television faceoff hosted by the BBC, Marc Morano, a former communications director of the U.S. Senate Environment Committee and now an editor with the Web site Climate Depot squared off against Professor Andrew Watson of the University of East Anglia in eastern England. It didn't take long before the two got in each other's face and Watson became increasingly annoyed with Morano's loud interruptions. He finally lost it by the end when the anchor thanked the participants.

"What an asshole," Watson said.

Not a very professorial reaction but Morano was being a bit of a nudnik, IMHO. Here are the clips so you can judge for yourself.

Meanwhile, the Met's planned reexamination comes just before an international conference on climate change is set to open in Copenhagen. The UK government is said to oppose the three year investigation as it likely would play into the hands of climate change skeptics. This is potentially quite a big deal. As the UK's TimesOnline points out:

"The Met Office database is one of three main sources of temperature data analysis on which the UN's main climate change science body relies for its assessment that global warming is a serious danger to the world. This assessment is the basis for next week's climate change talks in Copenhagen aimed at cutting CO2 emissions."

The Met's move follows the recent leak of embarassing email messages between scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Critics say the correspondence suggests that some scientists have exaggerated the case for man-made climate change. The university and its defenders argue that the stolen documents have been interpreted out of context and don't suggest nefarious intent.

The problem for climate change activisists is that the scientific research upon which they base their claims has now been cast in a political light. Phil Jones, who is the CRU's director, has temporarily stepped aside. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania State University is deciding whether it needs to open its own investigation as some of the emails were written by one of its faculty members.

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