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"Blown Totally Out of Proportion"

It was a last-minute affair, organized with some urgency. With climate researchers under sustained and often highly political attacks in recent weeks, some of the world's most eminent science leaders decided to talk to the press about what was going wrong--and what science should do about it.

Climate change skeptics have energized their attack in recent weeks, claiming that emails stolen from a U.K. center showed research bias and that an error in an IPCC report on melting Himalayan glaciers showed a lack of rigor. But while admitting mistakes, the scientific panel at the AAAS Annual Meeting also had sharp words for how climate skeptics use distortion as a tool--and how many in the news media play along.

In a Science Podcast with Eli Kintisch, distinguished Texas A&M climate expert Gerald North pressed that point: "I’ve never seen anything quite like this… But then, over the years, there were not the sort of outrageous commentators on television and radio. Now, you factor that in, and little things like this can be exploited for political advantage."

Listen to the podcast. And check out Eli Kintisch's related story at ScienceNOW.