Thursday, April 1, 2010

UK Parliamentary Enquiry into Climategate exonerates Scientist

Climate Scientist Professor Phil Jones has been exonerated from any wrongdoing by the The UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee report into 'Climategate' - the theft and publication of emails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit. The Charges of withholding data and questionable scientific ethics were found not to be proved according to the enquiry media release published 31 march 2010.

However, the enquiry did criticize the lack of disclosure of raw climate data and called for climate science raw data and detailed methodologies to become more transparent and open.
Phil Willis MP, Committee Chair, said:

"Climate science is a matter of global importance. 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."

The University of East Anglia was criticised for the mishandling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests. "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. The University needs to re-assess how it can support academics whose expertise in FoI requests is limited."

Many in the climate movement or working in climate science won't be surprised at the report findings.
Professor Neville Nicholls from the School of Geography & Environmental Science at Monash University said

"I was unsurprised to hear that the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee had determined that the allegations against Professor Phil Jones and his colleagues were baseless. This was exactly what was expected by those of us familiar with Phil's exemplary honesty and integrity.
Nor was I surprised to hear the Committee Chairman saying that the Climatic Research Unit's climate science is 'beyond reproach'. Again, anyone with any knowledge of the science and the scientists involved would have known this to be the case. Perhaps now we can return to discussing the facts of global warming, such as the fact that the last six months (September 2009 - February 2010) have been the hottest September-February yet observed in the satellite data."

Read more about this on retired NZ scientific researcher Ken Perrott's blog - Open Parachute: Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated

You can read the full parliamentary report: 'The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (PDF)'

I wonder if the Universities are being properly funded to handle FoI requests, and the extra web design and programming work to make the data available on the web? We know Koch Industries is bankrolling climate denial front groups to the tune of nearly $50million according to a new report by Greenpeace. Other fossil fuels companies are also still funding groups promoting denial of climate science and climate action.