Obama administration climate czar Carol Browner on Wednesday rejected claims that e-mails stolen from a British university show climate scientists trumped up global warming numbers, saying she considers the science settled.
"I'm sticking with the 2,500 scientists. These people have been studying this issue for a very long time and agree this problem is real," said Ms. Browner, who President Obama has tapped as his chief of policy on global warming.
The e-mails were hacked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and have come to light over the last week. They appear to show scientists saying they've smoothed over data that doesn't back up their claims of warming, and pondering how to freeze out scientists who disagree with them.
Release of the e-mails has fueled skeptics ahead of next month's major global warming meeting in Copenhagen, which is supposed to set the framework for a new global treaty to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.
The White House said Wednesday that Mr. Obama will personally travel to Copenhagen to commit the U.S. to greenhouse gas reductions.
The e-mails remain a point of debate, with skeptics pointing to several data sets that show the last few years have actually seen a cooling effect.
Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, has called for an investigation into the e-mails, and says they confirm his long-held suspicion that climate claims are not supported by the actual data.
Ms. Browner said the only people who still doubt global warming is happening and that humans are to blame are "a very small group of people who continue to say this isn't a real problem, that we don't need to do anything."
She also said the e-mails are only trickling out, and that the entire set hasn't been released.
Ms. Browner initially shrugged when asked about the e-mails, saying she didn't have a reaction. But when a reporter followed up, she said she will stick with the consensus of the 2,500 climate scientists on the International Panel on Climate Change who concluded global warming is happening and is most likely being pushed by human actions.
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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