Human Exceptionalism

Climategate: Preliminary Investigation Clearing of East Anglia Scientists, but Condemns Secrecy

The first, rush-rush investigation of Climategate has determined that the scientists at East Anglia did not distort the data or interfere with peer review, but did keep too many secrets. From the Guardian story:

MPs today strongly criticised the University of East Anglia for not tackling a “culture of withholding information” among the climate change scientists whose private emails caused a furore after being leaked online in November. The parliamentary science and technology select committee was scathing about the “standard practice” among the climate science community of not routinely releasing all its raw data and computer codes – something the committee’s chair, Phil Willis MP, described as “reprehensible”. He added: “That practice needs to change and it needs to change quickly.”

But the committee did not condemn the actions of Prof Phil Jones, the head of the UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) because it said he should have been better supported by the university in dealing with requests for data under the Freedom of Information Act. It added that the scientific reputation of Jones and the CRU was untarnished.

However, the investigation was clearly not thorough or complete. From the AP report:

At the same time, the lawmakers stressed that their report, written after only a single day of oral testimony, did not cover all the issues and that two other inquiries into the integrity of the science would be more thorough.

Yes, well these rush-rush reports can be seen as being intended to  provide PR cover rather than elucidate, as comments from the science sector in the Guardian story, linked above, noted:

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment said the report, “does not really shed any more light on the controversy surrounding the emails … and will not stop the conspiracy theories being spread by so-called ‘sceptics’. “The committee clearly did not have the time or resources to examine all the email messages and so has been unable to provide a thorough analysis of their significance,” he said.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, welcomed the committee’s call for greater transparency, but said, “It doesn’t look like an even-handed and balanced assessment. It looks like an attempt to whitewash and I fear it will be perceived exactly as that. I fear this will backfire because people will not buy into it.”

Some are doing just that.  But I say, that’s unduly harsh and untrusting. Let’s wait and see what a truly thorough investigation determines before coming to final conclusions.  More as it appears.

The Latest