‘Climategate’ professor cleared but uni criticised over disclosure policy
The focus on professor Phil Jones and his highly respected Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was 'largely misplaced', according to a panel of MPs.
The Science and Technology Committee last night (March 31) published it report on the disclosure of climate data from the CRU at the University of East Anglia.
It found the focus on professor Jones and CRU has been ‘largely misplaced’ and dismissed accusations relating to his refusal to share raw data and computer code.
MPs ruled his actions were ‘in line with common practice’ in the climate science community but that those practices ‘need to change’.
Phil Willis MP, committee chairman, also called for the climate science community to become ‘more transparent’ by publishing raw data and detailed methodologies.
Mr Willis said: “On the basis of the science, governments across the world will be spending trillions of pounds on climate change mitigation, the quality of the science therefore has to be irreproachable.
“What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been available, many of the problems at CRU could have been avoided.”
On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails ‘trick’ and ‘hiding the decline’ the committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.
However, on the mishandling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, the committee considers that much of the responsibility should lie with the university, not CRU.
The leaked e-mails appear to show a ‘culture of non-disclosure’ at CRU and instances where information may have been deleted to avoid disclosure, particularly to climate change sceptics.
The ‘failure’ of the university to grasp fully the potential damage this could do and did was ‘regrettable’.
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