Most climate change research is done with government funding through a grant of some sort or another. The idea being that governments can make informed decisions when it comes to environmental policy if they invest in research that gets them climate data.
Well, governments that operate in democratic countries are elected by their constituents and are held accountable to them. One way that government is held accountable is by making government records available to the general public. These are called public records and they cover a wide range of government topics and activities. Having this information publicly available makes government more transparent and helps to foster trust among the citizens of a country and their leaders.
A great example of this system at work is the Texas Public Information Act. The law mandates open access to public records in Texas for anyone that files the appropriate request. This applies to both local and state governments. Reading through the posts on the site above makes it clear that there are some issues with making records public. You have to keep some government information private such as things that might compromise security. Sometimes the cost of responding to records requests can be burdensome but the end result is that Texas has one of the most accountable and transparent governments in the country.
So the question is should climate change research be available as public records? This would certainly create a lot more trust in climate change research. Right now, you have two sides that are vehemently opposed to each other. You have the alarmists on one side and the skeptics on another. The whole issue of climate change has become a political war. Shouldn’t it instead be a scientific issue? Making climate change research publicly available would certainly increase transparency.
There have been some big bombshells when it comes to climate change research. In November of 2009, hackers exposed emails that showed that researchers modified climate data. In January of 2014, Steven Goddard found some troubling issues with NOAA data on global temperatures.
These discoveries help fuel an anti-climate change fire and create large numbers of skeptics. If all climate change research were publicly available, then these discoveries would simply be a natural part of the scientific process.