I think it does have bearing because if the scientists involved are shown to be otherwise dishonest, there is reason to suspect this character flaw would extend to fraudulent reporting and publishing in the scientific arena.
The desire and willingness for fellow global warming affirmers to defend these people is slightly concerning. Appropriate responses are to withhold judgment until further information is available, or to decry such behaviour as damaging to the issue. Dubious defence for one's cause should be shunned, it causes damage in the long run.
Several who are convinced of the reality of global warming have realised the serious nature of these emails and stated as such. Below are several links to comments by people who otherwise think global warming is real and man-made. I do not agree with this hypothesis, nor everything they have written in these articles. I include them to emphasise to those who subscribe to global warming that the emails and documents are of a serious nature and suggest dodgy behaviour by several people in the forefront of the pro-global warming debate.
There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.Chip Knappenberger
As it now stands, a bias can exist in the current system. That it does exist is evident in the Climategate emails. By all appearances, it seems that some scientists are interested in keeping certain research (and particular researchers) out of the peer-review literature (and national and international assessments derived there from). While undoubtedly these scientists feel that they are acting in the best interest of science by trying to prevent too much backsliding and thereby keeping things moving forward efficiently, the way that they are apparently going about it is far from acceptable.Richard Tol
Instead of improving the process, it has nearly destroyed it.
If the practitioners of peer-review begin to act like members of an exclusive club controlling who and what gets published, the risk is run that the true course of science gets sidetracked. Even folks with the best intentions can be wrong.
The emails reveal a systematic effort to deny legitimate freedom-of-information requests.John Tierney
They contain evidence that the rules of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were deliberately broken to include a paper that supports a particular point of view.
The emails show an intolerance of views and facts that do not support the received wisdom of the people involved.
One of the stolen documents reveals that a key result, the instrumental record of the global mean temperature since 1850, cannot be reproduced.
This is serious stuff.
As the scientists denigrate their critics in the e-mail messages, they seem oblivious to one of the greatest dangers in the climate-change debate: smug groupthink. These researchers, some of the most prominent climate experts in Britain and America, seem so focused on winning the public-relations war that they exaggerate their certitude — and ultimately undermine their own cause.Judith Curry
...Contempt for critics is evident over and over again in the hacked e-mail messages, as if the scientists were a priesthood protecting the temple from barbarians. Yes, some of the skeptics have political agendas, but so do some of the scientists. Sure, the skeptics can be cranks and pests, but they have identified genuine problems in the historical reconstructions of climate, as in the debate they inspired about the “hockey stick” graph of temperatures over the past millennium.
It is not unreasonable to give outsiders a look at the historical readings and the adjustments made by experts like Harry. How exactly were the readings converted into what the English scientists describe as “quality controlled and homogenised” data?
Trying to prevent skeptics from seeing the raw data was always a questionable strategy, scientifically. Now it looks like dubious public relations, too.
In my opinion, there are two broader issues raised by these emails that are impeding the public credibility of climate research: lack of transparency in climate data, and “tribalism” in some segments of the climate research community that is impeding peer review and the assessment process.And further comment by Curry here
What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.