One factor has been overlooked throughout the controversy surrounding the release of e-mails that allegedly show that leading climate change advocates tried to manipulate data and silence opposing views: the timing. The hacked e-mails were released just days ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference, which started Monday and seeks to develop a framework to replace the Kyoto protocol. Coincidence? Not likely.

The timing makes it look like the scandal is intended to undermine the Copenhagen meeting. That must not be allowed to happen. Climate change is real and its existence is supported by an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence. This “non-troversy” must not derail international efforts to respond to a serious and growing threat to our planet.

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