April 14, 2010

Panel Clears CRU of ‘Climategate’ Wrongdoing

Scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) have been cleared of intentional wrongdoing in the "Climategate" scandal by an independent review panel.

The review board, which was chaired by former House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology head Lord Ron Oxburgh, had been asked by the university to review the incident, which dated back to November 2009.

At that time, hackers attacked a CRU server and managed to obtain a number of different emails relating to global warming. Those emails included one from the unit's head climatologist Phil Jones, in which he discussed using a "trick" to "hide the decline."

Climate change opponents argued that Jones was referring to falling temperatures, while environmentalists argued that the comment did not refer to climate and was taken out of context.

On Tuesday, the Oxburgh-led review panel said, "We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit, and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it."

"We found absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever," Oxburgh told BBC News on April 14, echoing the findings of an earlier House of Commons Science and Technology Committee probe into the "Climategate" issue. "That doesn't mean that we agreed with all of their conclusions, but scientists people were doing their jobs honestly."

However, the panel did suggest that CRU scientists should begin working alongside professional statisticians, taking them to task for what the panel referred to as "messy" data recording methods.


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