Wednesday, 02 December 2009

Scientist Steps Down in Climategate Investigation

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climateOne of the leading Climategate researchers, Dr. Phil Jones, is “standing aside” as Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Great Britain while an independent review board investigates the case. Jones has earned an internationally infamous reputation as the author of several incriminating e-mails hacked from a CRU server in November, among them one stating he “just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” The UEA announced Jones’ temporary departure in a press release published on the university’s website.

Jones denies any wrong-doing associated with the e-mails, stating he and his colleagues have always been “scrupulous in ensuring that our science publications are robust and honest.” UEA officials defend Jones, claiming the e-mails are “taken out of context and misinterpreted” and saying the conclusion that CRU manipulates data is “entirely unfounded.” In regard to his hiatus, Jones claims, “What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible,” promising he will support the review process. His cooperation will be necessary since some of the e-mails indicate he illegally dodged Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for CRU data. Again, Jones claims innocence because the FOI requests were for data from meteorological services and “this information is not ours to give without … permission.”

UEA Vice-Chancellor Edward Acton announced that details of the independent inquiry will be released soon. Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the British-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, published a Daily Mail article on the GWPF website urging the university to “come clean.” He said, “If they try to set up some kind of whitewash panel with an inquiry that does not have the total trust of the public it will make matters worse.”

While skeptics accuse him of conspiracy in concealing and manipulating data, Jones has fired his own accusations of conspiracy against the unidentified hacker(s). He doubts it is a coincidence the e-mails were published just prior to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, from December 7 – 18. “This may be a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks,” he said in a CRU press release. Climate-change skeptics happily agree that the scandal could undermine plans scheduled for debate in Copenhagen to establish a global eco-government.

Lord Christopher Monkton of the Science and Public Policy Institute wrote, “The whistleblower deep in the basement of one of the ugly, modern tower-blocks of the dismal, windswept University of East Anglia could scarcely have timed it better.” In his November 30 paper entitled "Climategate: Caught Green-Handed!" (pdf), Monckton delivers a thorough review of the hacked e-mails. He says they prove that Jones and his colleagues conspired in a number of ways to promote their political agenda by concealing and manipulating data for pragmatic and financial gain, excluding “inconvenient” data from IPCC reports, and preventing publication of independent research that disagreed with their conclusions.

Jones is not the only prominent IPCC researcher in the Climategate spotlight. PennState University has announced it will conduct its own investigation into Professor Michael Mann’s participation in the e-mails. The university otherwise refuses to discuss the matter publicly until its internal investigation is complete. Its statement indicates support of Mann as a “highly regarded member of the … faculty” whose research is respected and “sound.” As a result, critics are already questioning the objectivity of the Penn State investigation.

Related articles:

Climategate: George Monbiot's Lament

Congress Launches Climategate Investigation

IPCC Researchers Admit Global Warming Fraud

Climategate: E-mail Scandal Could Melt Copenhagen Plans