Our home in space

some remarks on global heating and ocean acidity

Guy Ottewell

A conspiracy — on which side?

Much of the solid research used by the IPCC was done by the three or four researchers of the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, at Norwich, directed from 1998 by Professor Phil Jones.
        The CRU became bombarded with questions from the public. I didn't know this when I sent a question, to which I got a courteous reply. Many of the questions were hostile and “makework” — designed to waste the scientists' time — and provoked some natural impatience, which the scientists expressed in emails to each other. Hackers broke into the CRU's computers, stole thousands of private emails dating over a span of 15 years, and very selectively leaked them to the internet — but waited to do this till just days before the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, with obvious intent to cripple it.
        The stolen and misrepresented emails were trumpeted as “Climategate,” the uncovering of an international conspiracy among climate scientists to withhold evidence against their conclusions. It did play a large part in the failure of Copenhagen. Phil Jones admitted that he contemplated suicide.
        Then in November 2011 the hackers did it again: released another batch of the stolen emails onto the internet, a week before the next climate conference, in Durban.
        Who were the real conspirators? They remain — unlike the scientists they boobytrapped — in hiding. There was suggestion in 2009 that they worked, like many other hackers, from Russia. This was corroborated in 2011: the emails were released onto Russian servers.
         An inquiry by the cross-party Science and Technology Select Committee of the House of Commons reported in March 2010 that there was no case against Jones for him to answer, and that he should return to the post from which he had stepped down. In April another investigation, by an independent panel of leading professors from the US, Britain, and Switzerland, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, rector of the Imperial College London, utterly exonerated the scientists. .“..absolutely no evidence of any impropriety anywhere . . .  all of the conclusions were honest and sensibly arrived at . . .  the work has been carried out with integrity, and allegations of deliberate misrepresentation and unjustified selection of data are not valid . . .  no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda . . .  We saw no hint of deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the CRU . . . ” One of the investigators, Prof. David Hand, commented:“There is no evidence at all of anything underhand, the opposite if anything, in that they have brought out in the open the uncertainties associated with what they are doing.” The CRU scored, as it were, 98 out of 100; the slight criticisms by these investigators were that the CRU could have used some more recent statistical methods, and that climate scientists in general should be a bit more willing to release masses of their primary data, even to those obviously demanding it in hope of undermining their work.
        “Hackergate,” as it should be called, uncovered the sneakery to which anti-scientists will stoop. It did nothing to discredit the huge body of evidence that global heating is real and is human-caused.