A British climate researcher at the heart of the Climategate row scandal admitted he wrote some “pretty awful” emails to skeptics when he refused their requests for data.
However, Phil Jones, of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, said his decision not to release the data about temperatures from around the world was right, and it was not “standard practice” to do so.
“I have obviously written some pretty awful emails,” Jones told British lawmakers in response to a question about a message he sent to a skeptic in which he refused to release data saying he believed it would be misused.
The scientist’s confession came at a parliamentary hearing in Britain.
The Climategate row came under fire ahead of key climate talks in Copenhagen in December, after over 1,000 emails and 3,000 other documents were hacked from the university’s server and posted online.
Skeptics said they had evidence that scientists were manipulating climate data in a bid to exaggerate the case for manmade global warming as world leaders met to try and strike a new accord on climate change.
Jones had referred in one private email to a “trick” being employed to tweak temperature statistics to “hide the decline.”
Since then, he has insisted the emails had been taken out of context and allegations were labeled that he was exaggerating warming evidence as “complete rubbish.”
Jones said in his defense that the data was not publicly available in the U.S., adding scientific journals, which published his papers, had never asked to see it.
He also said the unit struggled after being hit by a “deluge” of requests for data last July, made under freedom of information legislation.
The scientists said that 80 percent of the data used to create a series of average global temperatures showing the world was getting warmer had been released.
Jones insisted that the scientific findings on climate change were robust and verifiable.
Climategate is a term dubbed by the British media about the many investigations into the scandal, specifically at the disclosure of data from the unit.
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