Climatic Research Unit email controversy

Climatic Research Unit email controversy

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The Climatic Research Unit email controversy (also known as "Climategate") began in November 2009 with the hacking of a server at the Climatic Research Unit
Climatic Research Unit
The Climatic Research Unit is a component of the University of East Anglia and is one of the leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change....

 (CRU) at the University of East Anglia
University of East Anglia
The University of East Anglia is a public research university based in Norwich, United Kingdom. It was established in 1963, and is a founder-member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities.-History:...

 (UEA). Several weeks before the Copenhagen Summit
2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, was held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 December and 18 December. The conference included the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

 on climate change, an unknown individual or group breached CRU's server and copied thousands of emails and computer files to various locations on the Internet.

The story first broke in the climate sceptic blogosphere
Blogosphere
The blogosphere is made up of all blogs and their interconnections. The term implies that blogs exist together as a connected community or as a social network in which everyday authors can publish their opinions...

, with columnist James Delingpole
James Delingpole
James Delingpole is an English columnist and novelist. A self-described libertarian conservative, he writes for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Spectator. He has published several novels and four political books, most recently Watermelons: The Green Movement's True Colors [2011]...

 popularising the term "Climategate" to describe the controversy. Climate sceptics alleged that the emails revealed scientists manipulating climate data and suppressing their critics. Climate sceptics said the documents showed evidence that global warming was a scientific conspiracy
Global warming conspiracy theory
Global warming conspiracy theory refers to an allegation that the data with which the theory of anthropogenic global warming is derived has been tampered with, adulterated, achieved through anecdotal means and/or is being misrepresented so as to inaccurately accuse mankind of causing global climate...

. All these accusations have been denied by CRU spokepersons, and the CRU's researchers stated that the emails had been taken out of context and merely reflect an honest exchange of ideas.

The mainstream media picked up the story as negotiations over climate change mitigation began in Copenhagen on 7 December, with some media outlets (e.g. Fox News) giving the controversy increased coverage. Because of the timing, some scientists and policy makers speculated that the release of emails was a smear campaign
Smear campaign
A smear campaign, smear tactic or simply smear is a metaphor for activity that can harm an individual or group's reputation by conflation with a stigmatized group...

 intended to undermine the climate conference. In response to the controversy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

 (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society
American Meteorological Society
The American Meteorological Society promotes the development and dissemination of information and education on the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences and the advancement of their professional applications. Founded in 1919, the American Meteorological Society has a membership...

 (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonprofit science advocacy group based in the United States. The UCS membership includes many private citizens in addition to professional scientists. James J...

 (UCS) released statements supporting the scientific consensus that the Earth's mean surface temperature had been rising for decades, with the AAAS concluding "based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway...it is a growing threat to society."

Six committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. The Muir Russell report stated, however, "We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA." The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged at the end of the investigations.

Timeline of the initial incident


The incident began when someone accessed a server used by the Climatic Research Unit and copied 160 MB
Megabyte
The megabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage or transmission with two different values depending on context: bytes generally for computer memory; and one million bytes generally for computer storage. The IEEE Standards Board has decided that "Mega will mean 1 000...

 of data containing more than 1,000 emails and 3,000 other documents. The University of East Anglia stated that the server from which the data were taken was not one that could easily have been accessed and the data could not have been released inadvertently. The breach was first discovered on 17 November 2009 after the server of the RealClimate
RealClimate
RealClimate is a commentary site on climatology. The site's contributors are a group of climate scientists whose goal is to provide a quick response to developing stories and providing the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion is intended to be restricted to scientific...

 website was hacked and a copy of the stolen data was uploaded. RealClimate's Gavin Schmidt
Gavin Schmidt
Gavin A. Schmidt is a climatologist and climate modeler at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. He works on the variability of the ocean circulation and climate, using general circulation models . He has also worked on ways to reconcile paleo-data with models...

 said that he had information that the files were obtained through "a hack into [CRU's] backup mail server." At about this time, a cryptic comment appeared on McIntyre's Climate Audit
Climate Audit
Climate Audit is a blog which was founded on 31 January 2005 by Steve Mcintyre.The New York Times has called it "a popular skeptics’ blog".The website has won the 2007 Best Science Blog award and was a runner up in the same category in 2008.-Founding:...

 website: "A miracle has happened."

On 19 November an archive file containing the data was uploaded to a server in Tomsk
Tomsk
Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Tom River. One of the oldest towns in Siberia, Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2004...

, Russia, before being copied to numerous locations across the Internet. An anonymous post
Anonymous post
An anonymous post is an entry on a bulletin board system, Internet forum or message board, blog, or other discussion forum without a screen name or more commonly by using a non-identifiable pseudonym....

 from a Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

n IP address to the climate-sceptic
Global warming controversy
Global warming controversy refers to a variety of disputes, significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming...

 blog The Air Vent described the material as "a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents" and stated that climate science is "too important to be kept under wraps". That same day, Stephen McIntyre
Stephen McIntyre
Stephen McIntyre is a Canadian mathematician, former minerals prospector, and semi-retired mining consultant who is best known as the founder and editor of Climate Audit, a blog devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data...

 of Climate Audit was forwarded an internal email sent to UEA staff warning that "climate change sceptics" had obtained a "large volume of files and emails". Charles Rotter, moderator of the climate-sceptic blog Watts Up With That
Watts Up With That
Watts Up With That? is a popular science blog, created in 2006 by California meteorologist Anthony Watts, that reports on anthropogenic global warming-related issues from a skeptical standpoint. The tagline of the blog is "News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather,...

 which had been the first to get a link and download the files, gave a copy to his flatmate Steve Mosher. After Mosher received a posting from the hacker complaining that nothing was happening, he replied: "A lot is happening behind the scenes. It is not being ignored. Much is being coordinated among major players and the media. Thank you very much. You will notice the beginnings of activity on other sites now. Here soon to follow." Shortly afterwards, the emails began to be widely publicised on climate-sceptic blogs and subsequently in the media.

The Norfolk police subsequently confirmed that they were "investigating criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia" with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police
Metropolitan police
Metropolitan Police is a generic title for the municipal police force for a major metropolitan area, and it may be part of the official title of the force...

's Central e-Crime unit, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the National Domestic Extremism Team
National Domestic Extremism Team
The National Domestic Extremism Team is a UK police unit set up to provide a dedicated response to tackling domestic extremism. This team co-ordinates operations and investigations nationally, working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service which has set up a complementary network of...

 (NDET). Commenting on the involvement of the NDET, a spokesman said: "At present we have two police officers assisting Norfolk with their investigation, and we have also provided computer forensic expertise. While this is not strictly a domestic extremism matter, as a national police unit we had the expertise and resource to assist with this investigation, as well as good background knowledge of climate change issues in relation to criminal investigations." However, the police cautioned that "major investigations of this nature are of necessity very detailed and as a consequence can take time to reach a conclusion." , the investigation was still underway.

Content of the documents


The material comprised more than 1,000 emails, 2,000 documents, as well as commented source code
Source code
In computer science, source code is text written using the format and syntax of the programming language that it is being written in. Such a language is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source...

, pertaining to climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 research covering a period from 1996 until 2009. According to an analysis in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, the vast majority of the emails related to four climatologists: Phil Jones, the head of the CRU; Keith Briffa
Keith Briffa
Professor Keith R. Briffa is a climatologist employed since 1977 by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, of which he is currently deputy director. In his professional work, he focuses on the climate change in late Holocene, with a special focus on northern portions of...

, a CRU climatologist specialising in tree ring analysis; Tim Osborn, a climate modeller at CRU; and Mike Hulme
Mike Hulme
Mike Hulme is a professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia . He was educated at Madras College, St.Andrews, and at the universities of Durham and Wales...

, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. The four were either recipients or senders of all but 66 of the 1,073 emails, with most of the remainder of the emails being sent from mailing lists. A few other emails were sent by, or to, other staff at the CRU. Jones, Briffa, Osborn and Hulme had written high-profile scientific papers on climate change that had been cited in reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

.

Most of the emails concerned technical and mundane aspects of climate research, such as data analysis and details of scientific conferences. The Guardian's analysis of the emails suggests that the hacker had filtered them. Four scientists were targeted and a concordance plot shows that the words "data", "climate", "paper", "research", "temperature" and "model" were predominant. The controversy has thus focused on a small number of emails. Skeptic websites picked out particular phrases, including one in which Kevin Trenberth stated, "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t". This was actually part of a discussion on the need for better monitoring of energy flows involved in short-term climate variability, but was grossly mischaracterised by critics.

Many commentators quoted one email referring to "Mike's Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

 trick" which Jones used in a 1999 graph for the World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 189 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization , which was founded in 1873...

, to deal with the well-discussed tree ring divergence problem
Divergence problem
The divergence problem is an anomaly from the field of dendroclimatology, the study of past climate through observations of old trees, primarily the properties of their annual growth rings...

 "to hide the decline" that a particular proxy showed for modern temperatures after 1950, when measured temperatures were rising. These two phrases from the emails were also taken out of context by climate change sceptics including US Senator Jim Inhofe
Jim Inhofe
James Mountain "Jim" Inhofe is the senior Senator from Oklahoma and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1994, he is the ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and was its chairman from 2003 to 2007. Inhofe served eight...

 and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

 as though they referred to a decline in measured global temperatures, even though they were written when temperatures were at a record high. John Tierney, writing in the New York Times in November 2009, said that the claims by sceptics of "hoax" or "fraud" were incorrect, but the graph on the cover of a report for policy makers and journalists did not show these non-experts where proxy measurements changed to measured temperatures. The final analyses from various subsequent inquiries concluded that in this context 'trick' was normal scientific or mathematical jargon for a neat way of handling data, in this case a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion. The EPA notes that in fact, the evidence shows that the research community was fully aware of these issues and was not hiding or concealing them.

Responses


Former Republican House Science Committee chairman Sherwood Boehlert
Sherwood Boehlert
Sherwood "Sherry" Louis Boehlert is a retired American politician from New York. He represented upstate New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 until 2007. Boehlert, a Republican, was considered to be a member of the party's moderate wing. In 2003, Utica Union Station was...

 called the attacks a "manufactured distraction", and the dispute was described as a "highly orchestrated" and manufactured controversy
Manufactured controversy
A manufactured controversy, sometimes shortened into the portmanteau manufactroversy, is a contrived controversy, typically motivated by profit or ideology, designed to create public confusion concerning an issue about which there is no substantial academic dispute...

 by Newsweek and The New York Times. Concerns about the media's role in promoting early allegations while also minimising later coverage exonerating the scientists were raised by journalists and policy experts. Historian Spencer R. Weart
Spencer R. Weart
Spencer R. Weart was the director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics from 1971 until his retirement in 2009. Originally trained as a physicist, he is now a historian....

 of the American Institute of Physics
American Institute of Physics
The American Institute of Physics promotes science, the profession of physics, publishes physics journals, and produces publications for scientific and engineering societies. The AIP is made up of various member societies...

 said the incident was unprecedented in the history of science, having "never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance." The United States National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 expressed concern and condemned what they called "political assaults on scientists and climate scientists in particular".

In the United Kingdom and United States, there were calls for official inquiries into issues raised by the documents. The British Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 politician Lord Lawson
Nigel Lawson
Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, PC , is a British Conservative politician and journalist. He was a Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Blaby from 1974–92, and served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of Margaret Thatcher from June 1983 to October 1989...

 said, "The integrity of the scientific evidence ... has been called into question. And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished. A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay." Bob Ward
Bob Ward
Robert Ward is a Canadian author and travel writer with a special interest in pilgrimages. Though a self-professed atheist, he specialized in religious studies and English literature at the University of Toronto before doing an M.A...

 of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment is a research centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science founded in May 2008...

 at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 said that there had to be a rigorous investigation into the substance of the email messages once appropriate action has been taken over the hacking, to clear the impression of impropriety given by the selective disclosure and dissemination of the messages. United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Jim Inhofe
Jim Inhofe
James Mountain "Jim" Inhofe is the senior Senator from Oklahoma and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1994, he is the ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and was its chairman from 2003 to 2007. Inhofe served eight...

, who had previously stated that global warming was "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," also planned to demand an inquiry.

Climate change sceptics gained wide publicity in blogs and news media, making allegations that the hacked emails showed evidence that climate scientists manipulated data. A few other commentators such as Roger A. Pielke
Roger A. Pielke
Roger A. Pielke, Sr. is an American meteorologist with interests in climate variability and climate change, environmental vulnerability, numerical modeling, atmospheric dynamics, land/ocean - atmosphere interactions, and large eddy/turbulent boundary layer modeling...

 said that the evidence supported claims that dissenting scientific papers had been suppressed. The Wall Street Journal reported the emails revealed apparent efforts to ensure the IPCC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 included their own views and excluded others, and that the scientists withheld scientific data.

An editorial in Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

stated that "A fair reading of the e-mails reveals nothing to support the denialists' conspiracy theories." It said that emails showed harassment of researchers, often using Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that creates a public "right of access" to information held by public authorities. It is the implementation of freedom of information legislation in the United Kingdom on a national level...

 requests, but release of information had been hampered by national government restrictions on releasing the meteorological data researchers had been using. Nature considered that emails had not shown anything that undermined the scientific case on human caused global warming, or raised any substantive reasons for concern about the researchers' own papers. The Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

 reported that academics and climate change researchers dismissed the allegations, saying that nothing in the emails proved wrongdoing. Independent reviews by FactCheck
FactCheck
FactCheck.org is a non-partisan, nonprofit website that describes itself as a consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics." It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University...

 and the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 said that the emails did not affect evidence that man made global warming is a real threat, and said that emails were being misrepresented to support unfounded claims of scientific misconduct. The AP said that the "[e]-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled sceptics and discussed hiding data." In this context, John Tierney
John Tierney (journalist)
John Marion Tierney is a journalist and author who has worked for the New York Times since 1990.-Career and background:...

 of the New York Times wrote: "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."

Climate scientists at the CRU and elsewhere received numerous threatening and abusive emails in the wake of the initial incidents. Norfolk Police interviewed Phil Jones about death threats made against him following the release of the emails; Jones later said that the police told him these "didn’t fulfil the criteria for death threats." Death threats against two scientists also are under investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

. Climate scientists in Australia have reported receiving threatening emails including references to where they live and warnings to "be careful" about how some people might react to their scientific findings.

University of East Anglia


The University of East Anglia
University of East Anglia
The University of East Anglia is a public research university based in Norwich, United Kingdom. It was established in 1963, and is a founder-member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities.-History:...

 was notified of the security breach on 17 November 2009, but when the story was published in the press on 20 November they had no statement ready. On 24 November, Trevor Davies, the University of East Anglia pro-vice-chancellor with responsibility for research, rejected calls for Jones' resignation or firing: "We see no reason for Professor Jones to resign and, indeed, we would not accept his resignation. He is a valued and important scientist." The university announced it would conduct an independent review to "address the issue of data security, an assessment of how we responded to a deluge of Freedom of Information requests, and any other relevant issues which the independent reviewer advises should be addressed."

The university announced on 1 December that Phil Jones was to stand aside as director of the Unit until the completion of the review. Two days later, the university announced that Sir Muir Russell
Muir Russell
Sir Muir Russell KCB DL FRSE is a former civil servant and former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, and Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.-Early life:...

 would chair the inquiry, which would be known as the Independent Climate Change Email Review, and would "examine email exchanges to determine whether there is evidence of suppression or manipulation of data". The review would also scrutinise the CRU's policies and practices for "acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review, and disseminating data and research findings" and "their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice". In addition, the investigation would review CRU's compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests and also "make recommendations about the management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds." The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review report was published on 7 July 2010.

On 22 March 2010 the university announced the composition of an independent Science Assessment Panel to reassess key CRU papers which have already been peer reviewed and published in journals. The panel did not seek to evaluate the science itself, but rather whether "the conclusions [reached by the CRU] represented an honest and scientifically justified interpretation of the data." The university consulted with the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in establishing the panel. It was chaired by Lord Oxburgh
Ronald Oxburgh, Baron Oxburgh
Ernest Ronald Oxburgh, Baron Oxburgh, KBE, FRS is an eminent geologist and geophysicist. Lord Oxburgh is well known for his work as a public advocate in both academia and the business world in addressing the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and develop alternative energy sources as well as...

 and its membership consisted of Professor Huw Davies of ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich or ETH Zürich is an engineering, science, technology, mathematics and management university in the City of Zurich, Switzerland....

, Professor Kerry Emanual at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, Professor Lisa Graumlich of the University of Arizona
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizona, United States. The University of Arizona was the first university in the state of Arizona, founded in 1885...

, Professor David Hand
David Hand (statistician)
David John Hand is a British statistician. His research interests include multivariate statistics, classification methods, pattern recognition, the computational statistics and the foundations of statistics....

 of Imperial College London
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine...

, and Professors Herbert Huppert
Herbert Huppert
Herbert Eric Huppert is an Australian-born geophysicist living in Britain. He has been Professor of Theoretical Geophysics and Foundation Director, Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, Cambridge University, since 1989 and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, since 1970.He was born and received...

 and Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly (physicist)
Michael Joseph Kelly FRS is a New Zealand-British physicist. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1993 and won its Hughes Medal in 2006....

 of the University of Cambridge. It started its work in March 2010 and released its report on 14 April 2010. During its inquiry, the panel examined eleven representative CRU publications selected by the Royal Society that spanned a period of over 20 years, as well as other CRU research materials. It also spent fifteen person days at the UEA carrying out interviews with scientists.

Climatologists


Among the scientists whose emails were disclosed, the CRU's researchers said in a statement that the emails had been taken out of context and merely reflected an honest exchange of ideas. Michael Mann, director of Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855, the university has a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service...

's Earth System Science Center, said that sceptics were "taking these words totally out of context to make something trivial appear nefarious", and called the entire incident a careful, "high-level, orchestrated smear campaign to distract the public about the nature of the climate change problem." Kevin E. Trenberth
Kevin E. Trenberth
Kevin E. Trenberth is head of the Climate Analysis Section at the USA National Center for Atmospheric Research. He was a lead author of the 2001 and 2007 IPCC Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and serves on the Scientific Steering Group for the Climate Variability and Predictability program...

 of the National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Center for Atmospheric Research
The National Center for Atmospheric Research has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. NCAR is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and sponsored by the National Science Foundation...

 said that he was appalled at the release of the emails but thought that it might backfire against climate sceptics, as the messages would show "the integrity of scientists." He also said that climate change sceptics had selectively quoted words and phrases out of context, and that the timing suggested an attempt to undermine talks at the December 2009 Copenhagen global climate summit
2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, was held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 December and 18 December. The conference included the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

. Tom Wigley
Tom Wigley
Tom Wigley is a climate scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research . He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his major contributions to climate and carbon-cycle modeling and to climate data analysis, and because he is "one of the...

, a former director of the CRU and now head of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Center for Atmospheric Research
The National Center for Atmospheric Research has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. NCAR is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and sponsored by the National Science Foundation...

, condemned the threats that he and other colleagues had received as "truly stomach-turning", and commented: "None of it affects the science one iota. Accusations of data distortion or faking are baseless. I can rebut and explain all of the apparently incriminating e-mails that I have looked at, but it is going to be very time consuming to do so." In relation to the harassment that he and his colleagues were experiencing, he said: "This sort of thing has been going on at a much lower level for almost 20 years and there have been other outbursts of this sort of behaviour – criticism and abusive emails and things like that in the past. So this is a worse manifestation but it's happened before so it's not that surprising."

Other prominent climate scientists, such as Richard Somerville
Richard Somerville
Richard C. J. Somerville is a climate scientist who is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, USA, where he has been a professor since 1979.-Early life:...

, called the incident a smear campaign. David Reay
David Reay
David S. Reay is a climate change scientist, author, and senior lecturer in carbon management at the University of Edinburgh.-Research:Reay's research focuses on greenhouse gas fluxes and land use , including national and international research projects such as CarboEurope and NitroEurope, and...

 of the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

 said that the CRU "is just one of many climate-research institutes that provide the underlying scientific basis for climate policy at national and international levels. The conspiracy theorists may be having a field day, but if they really knew academia they would also know that every published paper and data set is continually put through the wringer by other independent research groups. The information that makes it into the IPCC reports is some of the most rigorously tested and debated in any area of science." Stephen Schneider
Stephen Schneider
Stephen Henry Schneider was Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University, a Co-Director at the Center for Environment Science and Policy of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment...

 compared the political attacks on climate scientists to the witch-hunt
Witch-hunt
A witch-hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials...

s of McCarthyism
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

.

James Hansen
James Hansen
James E. Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has held this position since 1981...

 said that the controversy has "no effect on the science" and that while some of the emails reflect poor judgment, the evidence for human-made climate change is overwhelming.

One of the IPCC's lead authors, Raymond Pierrehumbert
Raymond Pierrehumbert
Raymond T. Pierrehumbert is Louis Block Professor in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. He was a lead author on the IPCC Third Assessment Report, and a co-author of the National Research Council report on abrupt climate change...

 of the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, expressed concern at the precedent established by this incident: "[T]his is a criminal act of vandalism and of harassment of a group of scientists that are only going about their business doing science. It represents a whole new escalation in the war on climate scientists who are only trying to get at the truth... What next? Deliberate monkeying with data on servers? Insertion of bugs into climate models?" Another IPCC lead author, David Karoly
David Karoly
David John Karoly is an Australian scientist and academic. He is an expert in climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and climate variations due to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation....

 of the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

, reported receiving hate emails in the wake of the incident and said that he believed there was "an organised campaign to discredit individual climate scientists". Andrew Pitman
Andrew Pitman
Andrew Pitman is an atmospheric scientist who was born in Bristol in 1964 and educated at Liverpool University . He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from Macquarie University. In 2002 became a Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, moving to University of...

 of the University of New South Wales
University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales , is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 commented: "The major problem is that scientists have to be able to communicate their science without fear or favour and there seems to be a well-orchestrated campaign designed to intimidate some scientists."

In response to the incident, 1,700 British scientists signed a joint statement circulated by the UK Met Office
Met Office
The Met Office , is the United Kingdom's national weather service, and a trading fund of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills...

 declaring their "utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities."

Patrick J. Michaels
Patrick Michaels
Patrick J. Michaels is an American climatologist. Michaels is a senior research fellow for Research and Economic Development at George Mason University, and a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute...

 who was criticised in the emails and who has long faulted evidence pointing to human-driven warming, said "This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud". He said that some emails showed an effort to block the release of data for independent review, and that some messages discussed discrediting him by stating that he knew his research was wrong in his doctoral dissertation, "This shows these are people willing to bend rules and go after other people's reputations in very serious ways."

Judith Curry
Judith Curry
Judith A. Curry is an American climatologist and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include hurricanes, remote sensing, atmospheric modeling, polar climates, air-sea interactions, and the use of unmanned aerial...

 wrote that in her 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." She hoped that the affair would change the approach of scientists to providing their data to the public, and their response to criticisms of their work. She had herself learned to be careful about what to put in emails when a "disgruntled employee" made a freedom of information request. Mann described these comments as "somewhat naive" considering that in recent years scientists had become much more open with their data. He said that sceptics "will always complain about something else, want something more. Eventually, as we see, they've found a way to get access to private communications between scientists."

Hans von Storch
Hans von Storch
Hans von Storch is a German climate scientist. He is Professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg, and Director of the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany...

, who also concurs with the mainstream view on global warming, said that the University of East Anglia (UEA) had "violated a fundamental principle of science" by refusing to share data with other researchers. "They play science as a power game," he said.

Scientific organisations


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I issued statements that the assessment process, involving hundreds of scientists worldwide, is designed to be transparent and to prevent any individual or small group from manipulating the process. The statement said that the "internal consistency from multiple lines of evidence strongly supports the work of the scientific community, including those individuals singled out in these email exchanges".

The American Meteorological Society
American Meteorological Society
The American Meteorological Society promotes the development and dissemination of information and education on the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences and the advancement of their professional applications. Founded in 1919, the American Meteorological Society has a membership...

 stated that the incident did not affect the society's position on climate change. They pointed to the breadth of evidence for human influence on climate, stating:

The American Geophysical Union
American Geophysical Union
The American Geophysical Union is a nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting of over 50,000 members from over 135 countries. AGU's activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of geophysics...

 issued a statement that they found "it offensive that these emails were obtained by illegal cyber attacks and they are being exploited to distort the scientific debate about the urgent issue of climate change." They reaffirmed their 2007 position statement on climate change "based on the large body of scientific evidence that Earth's climate is warming and that human activity is a contributing factor. Nothing in the University of East Anglia hacked e-mails represents a significant challenge to that body of scientific evidence."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

 (AAAS) reaffirmed its position on global warming and "expressed grave concerns that the illegal release of private emails stolen from the University of East Anglia should not cause policy-makers and the public to become confused about the scientific basis of global climate change. Scientific integrity demands robust, independent peer review, however, and AAAS therefore emphasised that investigations are appropriate whenever significant questions are raised regarding the transparency and rigour of the scientific method, the peer-review process, or the responsibility of individual scientists. The responsible institutions are mounting such investigations." Alan I. Leshner
Alan I. Leshner
Alan Leshner is a scientist, educator and public servant from the United States.-Education:Leshner received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Franklin and Marshall College in 1965. He earned an M.S. in physiological psychology from Rutgers University in 1967, and a Ph.D...

, CEO of the AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....

, said "AAAS takes issues of scientific integrity very seriously. It is fair and appropriate to pursue answers to any allegations of impropriety. It’s important to remember, though, that the reality of climate change is based on a century of robust and well-validated science."

UK Met Office


On 23 November 2009, a spokesman for the Met Office
Met Office
The Met Office , is the United Kingdom's national weather service, and a trading fund of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills...

, the UK's national weather service, which works with the CRU in providing global temperature information, said there was no need for an inquiry. "The bottom line is that temperatures continue to rise and humans are responsible for it. We have every confidence in the science and the various datasets we use. The peer-review process is as robust as it could possibly be."

On 5 December 2009, however, the Met Office indicated its intention to re-examine 160 years of temperature data in the light of concerns that public confidence in the science had been damaged by the controversy over the emails. The Met Office would also publish online the temperature records for over 1,000 worldwide weather stations. It remained confident that its analysis would be shown to be correct and that the data would show a temperature rise over the past 150 years.

Other response


Rajendra Pachauri
Rajendra K. Pachauri
Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has served as the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2002, during which his tenure has engendered controversy. He is also been director general of TERI, a research and policy organization in India, and chancellor of TERI University...

, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

, told the BBC in December 2009 that he considered the affair to be "a serious issue and we will look into it in detail." He later clarified that the IPCC would review the incident to identify lessons to be learned, and he rejected suggestions that the IPCC itself should carry out an investigation.

In a series of emails sent through a National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 (NAS) listserv
LISTSERV
LISTSERV was the first electronic mailing list software application, consisting of a set of email addresses for a group in which the sender can send one email and it will reach a variety of people...

, apparently forwarded outside the group by an unknown person, scientists discussing the "Climategate" fallout considered launching advertising campaigns, widening their public presence, pushing the NAS to take a more active role in explaining climate science and creating a nonprofit to serve as a voice for the scientific community.

Inquiries and reports


Six committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged by the end of the investigations. However, the reports criticised climate scientists for their disorganised methods, bunker mentality
Bunker mentality
Bunker mentality is a slang phrase for a phenomenon that occurs when an individual or group stops taking into account new, pertinent information and begins viewing outsiders as enemies due to an isolation resulting from being under attack...

 and lack of transparency. Climate scientists and organisations pledged to restore public confidence in the research process by improving data management and opening up access to data.

House of Commons Science and Technology Committee


On 22 January 2010, the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee
Science and Technology Select Committee
The Science and Technology Select Committee is a select committee of the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.The original Science and Technology was abolished upon the creation of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee on November 6, 2007...

 announced it would conduct an inquiry into the affair, examining the implications of the disclosure for the integrity of scientific research, reviewing the scope of the independent Muir Russell review announced by the UEA, and reviewing the independence of international climate data sets
Climate Data Records
A Climate Data Record is a specific definition of a climate data series, developed by the Committee on Climate Data Records from NOAA Operational Satellites of the National Research Council at the request of NOAA in the context of satellite records...

. The committee invited written submissions from interested parties, and published 55 submissions that it had received by 10 February. They included submissions from the University of East Anglia
University of East Anglia
The University of East Anglia is a public research university based in Norwich, United Kingdom. It was established in 1963, and is a founder-member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities.-History:...

, the Global Warming Policy Foundation
Global Warming Policy Foundation
The Global Warming Policy Foundation is a registered, educational charity and think tank in the United Kingdom, whose stated aims are to challenge "extremely damaging and harmful policies" envisaged by governments to mitigate anthropogenic global warming.-History:Established in November 2009,...

, the Institute of Physics
Institute of Physics
The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of around 40,000....

, the Royal Society of Chemistry
Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry is a learned society in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences." It was formed in 1980 from the merger of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new...

, the Met Office
Met Office
The Met Office , is the United Kingdom's national weather service, and a trading fund of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills...

, several other professional bodies, prominent scientists, some climate change sceptics, several MEPs
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 and other interested parties. An oral evidence session was held on 1 March 2010.

The Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry reported on 31 March 2010 that it had found that "the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact". The emails and claims raised in the controversy did not challenge the scientific consensus that "global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity". The MPs had seen no evidence to support claims that Jones had tampered with data or interfered with the peer-review process.

The committee criticised a "culture of non-disclosure at CRU" and a general lack of transparency in climate science where scientific papers had usually not included all the data and code used in reconstructions. It said that "even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available—which they mostly are—or the methods not published—which they have been—its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified." The report added that "scientists could have saved themselves a lot of trouble by aggressively publishing all their data instead of worrying about how to stonewall their critics." The committee criticised the university for the way that freedom of information requests were handled, and for failing to give adequate support to the scientists to deal with such requests.

The committee chairman Phil Willis
Phil Willis
George Philip Willis, Baron Willis of Knaresborough is a politician in the United Kingdom. He is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, and was Member of Parliament for Harrogate and Knaresborough from 1997 until retiring at the 2010 general election...

 said that the "standard practice" in climate science generally of not routinely releasing all raw data and computer codes "needs to change and it needs to change quickly". Jones had admitted sending "awful emails"; Willis commented that "[Jones] probably wishes that emails were never invented," but "apart from that we do believe that Prof. Jones has in many ways been scapegoated as a result of what really was a frustration on his part that people were asking for information purely to undermine his research." In Willis' view this did not excuse any failure to deal properly with FOI Act requests, but the committee accepted that Jones had released all the data that he could. It stated: "There is no reason why Professor Jones should not resume his post. He was certainly not co-operative with those seeking to get data, but that was true of all the climate scientists".

The committee was careful to point out that its report had been written after a single day of oral testimony and would not be as in-depth as other inquiries.

Science Assessment Panel


The report of the independent Science Assessment Panel was published on 14 April 2010 and concluded that the panel had seen "no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit." It found that the CRU's work had been "carried out with integrity" and had used "fair and satisfactory" methods. The CRU was found to be "objective and dispassionate in their view of the data and their results, and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda." Instead, "their sole aim was to establish as robust a record of temperatures in recent centuries as possible."

The panel commented that it was "very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians." It found that although the CRU had not made inappropriate use of statistical methods, some of the methods used may not have been the best for the purpose, though it said that "it is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results." It suggested that the CRU could have done more to document and archive its work, data and algorithms and stated that the scientists were "ill prepared" for the amount of public attention generated by their work, commenting that "as with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal." The media and other scientific organisations were criticised for having "sometimes neglected" to reflect the uncertainties, doubts and assumptions of the work done by the CRU. The UK Government's policy of charging for access to scientific data was described as "inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere." The panel was also stated that "Although we deplore the tone of much of the criticism that has been directed at CRU, we believe that this questioning of the methods and data used in dendroclimatology will ultimately have a beneficial effect and improve working practices." It found that some of the criticism had been "selective and uncharitable" and critics had displayed "a lack of awareness" of the difficulties of research in this area.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the report, the panel's chair, Lord Oxburgh, stated that his team had found "absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever" and that "whatever was said in the emails, the basic science seems to have been done fairly and properly." He said that many of the criticisms and allegations of scientific misconduct had been made by people "who do not like the implications of some of the conclusions" reached by the CRU's scientists. The repeated FOI requests made by climate change sceptic Steve McIntyre and others "could have amounted to a campaign of harassment" and the issue of how FOI laws should be applied in an academic context remained unresolved. Another panel member, Professor David Hand, commended the CRU for being explicit about the inherent uncertainties in its research data, commenting that "there is no evidence of anything underhand – the opposite, if anything, they have brought out into the open the uncertainties with what they are dealing with."

The UEA's vice-chancellor, Edward Acton, welcomed the panel's findings. Describing its report as "hugely positive", he stated that "it is especially important that, despite a deluge of allegations and smears against the CRU, this independent group of utterly reputable scientists have concluded that there was no evidence of any scientific malpractice." He criticised the way that the emails had been misrepresented, saying that "UEA has already put on record its deep regret and anger that the theft of emails from the University, and the blatant misrepresentation of their contents as revealed both in this report and the previous one by the Science and Technology Select Committee, damaged the reputation of UK climate science." The UEA issued a statement in which it accepted that "things might have been done better." It said that improvements had already been undertaken by the CRU and others in the climate science community and that the University would "continue to ensure that these imperatives are maintained."

It later emerged that the Science Assessment Panel was not assessing the quality but instead the integrity of the CRU's science. Phil Willis described this a "sleight of hand" and was not what the Parliamentary Committee he had chaired had been led to believe. There were also questions about the selection of publications examined by the panel. Lord Oxburgh said that Acton had been wrong to tell the Science and Technology Select Committee in March that his inquiry would look into the science itself. "I think that was inaccurate," Oxburgh said. "This had to be done rapidly. This was their concern. They really wanted something within a month. There was no way our panel could evaluate the science."

Pennsylvania State University


Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855, the university has a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service...

 announced in December 2009 it would review the work of Michael Mann, in particular looking at anything that had not already been addressed in an earlier review by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 which had found some faults with his methodology but agreed with the results. In response, Mann said he would welcome the review. The investigatory committee subsequently determined there was no credible evidence Mann suppressed or falsified data, destroyed emails, information and/or data related to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

, or misused privileged or confidential information. The committee did not make a definitive finding on the final point of inquiry — "whether Dr. Mann seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities". The committee said that the earlier NAS inquiry had found "that Dr. Mann’s science did fall well within the bounds of accepted practice", but in light of the newly available information this question of conduct was to be investigated by five prominent Penn State scientists from other scientific disciplines.

The Investigatory Committee reported on 4 June 2010 that it had "determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community." Regarding his sharing unpublished manuscripts with colleagues on the assumption of implied consent, it considered such sharing to be "careless and inappropriate" without following the best practice of getting express consent from the authors in advance, though expert opinion on this varied. It said that his success in proposing research and obtaining funding for it, commenting that this "clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research." Mann's extensive recognitions within the research community demonstrated that "his scientific work, especially the conduct of his research, has from the beginning of his career been judged to be outstanding by a broad spectrum of scientists." It agreed unanimously that "there is no substance" to the allegations against Mann.

Mann said he regretted not objecting to a suggestion from Jones in a 29 May 2008 message that he destroy emails. "I wish in retrospect I had told him, 'Hey, you shouldn't even be thinking about this,'" Mann said in March 2010. "I didn't think it was an appropriate request." Mann's response to Jones at the time was that he would pass on the request to another scientist. "The important thing is, I didn't delete any emails. And I don't think [Jones] did either."

Independent Climate Change Email Review


First announced in December 2009, a British investigation commissioned by the UEA and chaired by Sir Muir Russell, published its final report in July 2010. The commission cleared the scientists and dismissed allegations that they manipulated their data. The "rigour and honesty" of the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit were found not to be in doubt. The panel found that they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism as alleged, and that the key data needed to reproduce their findings was freely available to any "competent" researcher.

The panel did rebuke the CRU for their reluctance to release computer files, and found that a graph produced in 1999 was "misleading," though not deliberately so as necessary caveats had been included in the accompanying text. It found evidence that emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them, though the panel did not ask anyone at CRU whether they had actually done this.

At the conclusion of the inquiry, Jones was reinstated with the newly created post of Director of Research.

United States Environmental Protection Agency report


The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA) had issued an "endangerment finding" in 2009 in preparation for climate regulations on excessive greenhouse gases. Petitions to reconsider this were raised by the states of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, conservative activists and business groups including the United States Chamber of Commerce
United States Chamber of Commerce
The United States Chamber of Commerce is an American lobbying group representing the interests of many businesses and trade associations. It is not an agency of the United States government....

, the Competitive Enterprise Institute
Competitive Enterprise Institute
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a non-profit think tank founded on March 9, 1984 in Washington, D.C. by lobbyist Fred L. Smith, Jr to advance economic liberty and fight over-regulation by big government...

 and the coal company Peabody Energy
Peabody Energy
Peabody Energy Corporation , previously Peabody Coal Company, is the largest private-sector coal company in the world. The company is headquartered in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri....

, making claims that the CRU emails undermined the science.

The EPA examined every email and concluded that there was no merit to the claims in the petitions, which "routinely misunderstood the scientific issues", reached "faulty scientific conclusions", "resorted to hyperbole", and "often cherry-pick language that creates the suggestion or appearance of impropriety, without looking deeper into the issues." In a statement issued on 29 July 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
Lisa P. Jackson
Lisa Perez Jackson is an American chemical engineer currently serving as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency . Previously, she worked at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for 6 years, first as an assistant commissioner and later as commissioner...

 said the petitions were based "on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy" and provided "no evidence to undermine our determination. Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare."

The EPA issued a detailed report on issues raised by petitioners and responses, together with a fact sheet, and a "myths versus facts" page stating that "Petitioners say that emails disclosed from CRU provide evidence of a conspiracy to manipulate data. The media coverage after the emails were released was based on email statements quoted out of context and on unsubstantiated theories of conspiracy. The CRU emails do not show either that the science is flawed or that the scientific process has been compromised. EPA carefully reviewed the CRU emails and found no indication of improper data manipulation or misrepresentation of results."

National Science Foundation


The Office of Inspector General of the National Science Foundation closed an investigation 15 August 2011 that exonerated Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855, the university has a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service...

 of charges of scientific misconduct. The report found that Mann had not falsified data, destroyed emails, misused privileged information, or seriously deviated from accepted scientific practices. It acknowledged there is appropriate, ongoing scientific debate about his use of statistics but noted this scientific debate "does not, in itself, constitute evidence of research misconduct."

Media coverage



The initial story about the hacking originated in the blogosphere
Blogosphere
The blogosphere is made up of all blogs and their interconnections. The term implies that blogs exist together as a connected community or as a social network in which everyday authors can publish their opinions...

, with columnist James Delingpole
James Delingpole
James Delingpole is an English columnist and novelist. A self-described libertarian conservative, he writes for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Spectator. He has published several novels and four political books, most recently Watermelons: The Green Movement's True Colors [2011]...

 picking up the term "Climategate" from an anonymous blogger on Watts Up With That?, a blog created by climate sceptic Anthony Watts. The site was one of three blogs that received links to the leaked documents on 17 November 2009. Delingpole first used the word "Climategate" in the title of his 20 November article for The Telegraph: "Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?" A week later, his co-worker, Christopher Booker, gave Delingpole credit for coining the term. Following the release of documents in the blogosphere, unproven allegations and personal attacks against scientists increased and made their way into the traditional media. Physicist Mark Boslough
Mark Boslough
Mark Boslough is a physicist most famous for his April Fools' Day 1998 joke involving Pi. To poke fun at New Mexico's legislature for attempting to require schools to teach creationism, he wrote an article claiming that Alabama state legislature voted to change the value of the mathematical...

 of the University of New Mexico noted that many of the attacks on scientists came from "bloggers, editorial writers, Fox News pundits, and radio talk show hosts who have called them liars and vilified them as frauds". According to Chris Mooney & Sheril Kirshenbaum in their book Unscientific America (2010), the accusations originated in right wing media and blogs, "especially on outlets like Fox News." Journalist Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian reported that according to an analysis by Media Matters
Media Matters for America
Media Matters for America is a politically progressive media watchdog group which says it is "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." Set up as a 501 non-profit organization, MMfA was founded in 2004 by journalist and...

, "Fox had tried to delegitimise the work of climate scientists in its coverage of the hacked emails from the University of East Anglia" and had "displayed a pattern of trying to skew coverage in favour of the fringe minority which doubts the existence of climate change".

The intense media coverage of the documents stolen from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia created public confusion about the scientific consensus on climate change, leading several publications to comment on the propagation of the controversy in the media in the wake of a series of investigations that cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing. In an editorial, the New York Times described the coverage as a "manufactured controversy," and expressed hope that the investigations clearing the scientists "will receive as much circulation as the original, diversionary controversies". Writing for Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, journalist Sharon Begley
Sharon Begley
Sharon Begley is an American journalist. She writes a science column for Newsweek.-Biography:Begley graduated from Yale University in 1977 and then began working at Newsweek, where she has spent most of her career. From 2002 to 2007, she wrote the "Science Journal" column in the Wall Street Journal...

 called the controversy a "highly orchestrated, manufactured scandal", noting that the public was unlikely to change their mind. Regardless of the reports exonerating the scientists, Begley noted that "one of the strongest, most-repeated findings in the psychology of belief is that once people have been told X, especially if X is shocking, if they are later told, 'No, we were wrong about X,' most people still believe X."

According to The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele is a Belgian Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Université catholique de Louvain , in Louvain-la-Neuve .-Education:...

, vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 (IPCC) and science historian Naomi Oreskes
Naomi Oreskes
Naomi Oreskes is an American science historian, and Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego. She has worked on studies of geophysics, environmental issues such as global warming, and the history of science...

 make the case that the "attacks on climate science that were made ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit were 'organised' to undermine efforts to tackle global warming and mirror the earlier tactics of the tobacco industry". Noting the initial media circus
Media circus
Media circus is a colloquial metaphor, or idiom, describing a news event where the media coverage is perceived to be out of proportion to the event being covered, such as the number of reporters at the scene, the amount of news media published or broadcast, and the level of media hype...

 that occurred when the story first broke, Oreskes and Erik Conway, in an article about the history of climate change denial
Climate change denial
Climate change denial is a term used to describe organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior, especially for commercial or ideological reasons...

, observed that in the aftermath of the "climategate" investigations, "the vindication of the climate scientists has received very little coverage at all. Vindication is not as sexy as accusation, and many people are still suspicious. After all, some of those emails, taken out of context, sounded damning. But what they show is that climate scientists are frustrated, because for two decades they have been under attack."

Bill Royce, head of the European practice on energy, environment and climate change at Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller is a global public relations and communications firm headquartered in the United States. Burson-Marsteller operates 67 wholly owned offices and 71 affiliate offices in 98 countries across six continents...

, also observed what appeared to be an organised effort to discredit climate science. Royce described "climategate" as "a sustained and coordinated campaign" aimed at undermining the credibility of the science, and disproportionate reporting of the original story "widely amplified by climate deniers", with much less coverage of reports that had cleared the scientists. Journalist Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism Review
Columbia Journalism Review
The Columbia Journalism Review is an American magazine for professional journalists published bimonthly by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism since 1961....

criticised newspapers and magazines for failing to give prominent coverage to the findings of the review panels, and said that "readers need to understand that while there is plenty of room to improve the research and communications process, its fundamental tenets remain as solid as ever." CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 media critic Howard Kurtz
Howard Kurtz
Howard "Howie" Alan Kurtz is an American journalist and author with a special focus on the media. He is host of CNN's Reliable Sources program, and Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast. He is the former media writer for The Washington Post. He has written five books about the media...

 expressed similar sentiments.

Public opinion and political fallout


Jon Krosnick
Jon Krosnick
Jon A. Krosnick is the Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, professor of communication, political science and psychology at Stanford University.Krosnick received a B.A. degree in psychology from Harvard University and M.A. and Ph.D...

, professor of communication, political science and psychology at Stanford University, said scientists were overreacting. Referring to his own poll results of the American public, he said "It's another funny instance of scientists ignoring science." Krosnick found that "Very few professions enjoy the level of confidence from the public that scientists do, and those numbers haven't changed much in a decade. We don't see a lot of evidence that the general public in the United States is picking up on the (University of East Anglia) emails. It's too inside baseball."

The Christian Science Monitor, in an article titled "Climate scientists exonerated in 'climategate' but public trust damaged," stated, "While public opinion had steadily moved away from belief in man-made global warming before the leaked CRU emails, that trend has only accelerated." Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman
Paul Robin Krugman is an American economist, professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times...

, columnist for the New York Times, argued that this, along with all other incidents which called into question the scientific consensus on climate change, was "a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media." But UK journalist Fred Pearce
Fred Pearce
Fred Pearce is an English author and journalist based in London. He has been described as one of Britain's finest science writers and has reported on environment, popular science and development issues from 64 countries over the past 20 years. He specializes in global environmental issues,...

 called the slow response of climate scientists "a case study in how not to respond to a crisis" and "a Public Relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 disaster".

A. A. Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 Project on Climate Change, and colleagues found in 2010 that:
Climategate had a significant effect on public beliefs in global warming and trust in scientists. The loss of trust in scientists, however, was primarily among individuals with a strongly individualistic worldview or politically conservative ideology. Nonetheless, Americans overall continue to trust scientists more than other sources of information about global warming.

Further release, 2011


Another set of 5,000 emails, apparently copied at the same time as those previously released, was put on a Russian server, together with a message giving some selective quotations highlighting many of the issues raised previously, and links to this were posted on skeptic blogs on 22 November 2011. A small sample examined by the university "appears to be genuine." "As in 2009, extracts from emails have been taken completely out of context," UEA stated.

See also


  • Climatic Research Unit
    Climatic Research Unit
    The Climatic Research Unit is a component of the University of East Anglia and is one of the leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change....

  • Global warming conspiracy
  • Global warming controversy
    Global warming controversy
    Global warming controversy refers to a variety of disputes, significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming...

  • Freedom of Information requests to the Climatic Research Unit
    Freedom of Information requests to the Climatic Research Unit
    Freedom of Information requests to the Climatic Research Unit featured in press discussions of disputes over access to data from instrumental temperature records, particularly during the Climatic Research Unit email controversy which began in November 2009....

  • Hockey stick controversy
    Hockey stick controversy
    The hockey stick controversy refers to debates over the technical correctness and implications for global warming of graphs showing reconstructed estimates of the temperature record of the past 1000 years...


External links

  • http://climatecrocks.com/2011/04/28/unwinding-hide-the-decline/ Unwinding “Hide the Decline”, detailed video coverage on Climategate, 28 April 2011.
  • Climate wars: The story of the hacked emails, the full manuscript of an investigation by The Guardian
    The Guardian
    The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

    into the emails.
  • Audio recording of a Guardian
    The Guardian
    The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

    -sponsored debate on Climategate, held on 15 July 2010. The debaters were Trevor Davies, Doug Keenan, Stephen McIntyre
    Stephen McIntyre
    Stephen McIntyre is a Canadian mathematician, former minerals prospector, and semi-retired mining consultant who is best known as the founder and editor of Climate Audit, a blog devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data...

    , Fred Pearce
    Fred Pearce
    Fred Pearce is an English author and journalist based in London. He has been described as one of Britain's finest science writers and has reported on environment, popular science and development issues from 64 countries over the past 20 years. He specializes in global environmental issues,...

    , and Bob Watson
    Robert Watson (scientist)
    Robert T. Watson is a British scientist who has worked on atmospheric science issues including ozone depletion, global warming and paleoclimatology since the 1980s.- Education and awards :...

    ; the debate was chaired by George Monbiot
    George Monbiot
    George Joshua Richard Monbiot is an English writer, known for his environmental and political activism. He lives in Machynlleth, Wales, writes a weekly column for The Guardian, and is the author of a number of books, including Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain and Bring on the...

    .
  • "The Great Climategate Debate". A video of a lecture held at the MIT School of Science on 10 December 2009. The moderator was Henry D. Jacoby (MIT). Speakers were Kerry Emanuel
    Kerry Emanuel
    Kerry Emanuel is an American professor of meteorology currently working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. In particular he has specialized in atmospheric convection and the mechanisms acting to intensify hurricanes. He coined the term "hypercane" in 1994. In 2007, he was...

     (MIT), Judith Layzer (MIT), Stephen Ansolabehere (MIT and Harvard), Ronald G. Prinn (MIT), and Richard Lindzen
    Richard Lindzen
    Richard Siegmund Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen is known for his work in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides and ozone photochemistry. He has published more than...

     (MIT).
  • "The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia". Video of House of Commons Select Committee
    Science and Technology Select Committee
    The Science and Technology Select Committee is a select committee of the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.The original Science and Technology was abolished upon the creation of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee on November 6, 2007...

     oral evidence session, held on Monday 1 March 2010 at 3 pm. Witnesses are: (1) Rt Hon Lord Lawson of Blaby, Chairman, and Dr Benny Peiser
    Benny Peiser
    Benny Josef Peiser, born 1957, is a social anthropologist specializing in the environmental and socio-economic impact of physical activity on health...

    , Director, Global Warming Policy Foundation
    Global Warming Policy Foundation
    The Global Warming Policy Foundation is a registered, educational charity and think tank in the United Kingdom, whose stated aims are to challenge "extremely damaging and harmful policies" envisaged by governments to mitigate anthropogenic global warming.-History:Established in November 2009,...

    ; (2) Richard Thomas CBE; (3) Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia, and Professor Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit; (4) Sir Muir Russell KCB, Head of the Independent Climate Change emails Review; (5) Professor John Beddington
    John Beddington
    Sir John Rex Beddington, CMG, FRS is the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Professor of Applied Population Biology at Imperial College London.-Early life:...

    , Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Julia Slingo OBE, Chief Scientist, Met Office, and Professor Bob Watson
    Robert Watson (scientist)
    Robert T. Watson is a British scientist who has worked on atmospheric science issues including ozone depletion, global warming and paleoclimatology since the 1980s.- Education and awards :...

    , Chief Scientist, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in the United Kingdom...

    .