University of East Anglia, Yet Again

Ben Webster and Jonathan Leake in The Times:

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

The stolen e-mails , revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university’s Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails.

Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO’s decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post.

Details of the breach emerged the day after John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser, warned that there was an urgent need for more honesty about the uncertainty of some predictions. His intervention followed admissions from scientists that the rate of glacial melt in the Himalayas had been grossly exaggerated.

Iain Murray at The Corner:

Yes, a crime was committed in Climategate. The Information Commissioner in the U.K. has now confirmed that the University of East Anglia broke the law by failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests.  The climategate e-mails clearly reveal the complicity of many of the leading names in climate science in that crime. Unfortunately, thanks to a spectacularly badly-worded statute, the Information Commissioner is unable to punish the guilty for this crime. As to whether the e-mails were “hacked” by “thieves,” that remains an open question. All we have is the knowledge that the e-mails came into the possession of the public without the express consent of the authors. That may be the work of thieves, or it may be the work of a whistleblower. If there is any under-reporting here, it relates to the failure of journalists to adequately investigate whether a leak, rather than a hack, occurred. The fact that the UEA’s own Mike Hulme is referring to the event as a leak might tell you something.

As for Glaciergate, the hysteria about sea-level rise is overdone. The IPCC itself estimates the current contribution of glacial melt to sea-level rise is 1.19 mm a year. The specific issue at play in glaciergate, the melting of Himalayan glaciers, has been a major factor in Indian politics, and therefore yet another example of supposed scientists hyping pure speculation in order to effect political action they view as desirable, thereby subverting the democratic process. The reaction in India — far from the reach of CEI — has been severe, with the Indian government now distancing itself from Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian national who is head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The real issue here is that climategate, glaciergate, Amazongate, disastergate, Sterngate, and all the other “warmergate” stories that are currently making headlines reveal a consistent pattern of behavior: scientists making unwarranted politically-motivated claims from the data they are supposed to be objectively examining. It should be blindingly obvious that public trust in scientists would slip as a result. But the damage was done by scientists as well as to scientists.

Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media:

Of course cap-and-trade relies on this hugely corrupted, possibly even one hundred percent incorrect and now missing data that was hidden by these scalawags. People have already been making fortunes on “Carbon Exchanges” based upon this despicable behavior and are poised to make billions more via so-called carbon credits. Critics have compared these to papal indulgences but they are far worse because they have tremendous economic and social implications in the midst of a fragile economy. (It is also a complete desecration of science.)

Yet Obama continues to back cap-and-trade. Some Republicans like to call it cap-and-tax. Too old fashioned. Taxation is the least of it. This is gangsterism. Massive international fraud is being perpetrated. Perhaps capo de capo would be more like it, making Obama the capo de capi. Or is that George Soros? Look for more on this on Pajamas Media in days to come.

Megan McArdle:

There won’t be any prosecution, since this happened more than six months ago, but it will probably be difficult for Phil Jones to be reinstated as the head of the climate unit at East Anglia University.

It’s important to note that there’s no finding that they lied or anything; just that they didn’t correctly comply with the FOI request.  The problem is, skeptics are naturally going to ask, “What did they have to hide?”

James Hoggan at Huffington Post:

The real damage caused by these scandals resulted from the lazy reporting done by most journalists on the subject.  The media failed to report the real story of “Climategate” – that a crime was committed by thieves who stole from a prestigious university in order to further an agenda of harassment against climate scientists.  And while “Glaciergate” was an embarrassing screw-up by the IPCC, it didn’t change the fact that glaciers are melting worldwide, causing sea level rise that is already affecting coastal communities.  In both of these cases, and in general, the media should shoulder the bulk of the responsibility, failing to remind the public that the body of science proving human-caused climate change is vast and global, published in peer-reviewed journals, and validated by major scientific bodies the world over.

Readers of DeSmog Blog know well that these recent polling results have much more to do with the decades-long confusion campaign designed by polluting interests to keep the public in the dark about how serious climate change really is.

“There is a real need for improved public education and communication on this critical issue. The science is getting stronger and public opinion is going in the opposite direction,” Leiserowitz says.

That’s an understatement.

This research underscores my view that climate advocates are incompetent communicators.  With all the science in the world behind us, and a good deal of the public credibility, we still can’t win a debate with people who have all the facts working against them.

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1 Comment

Filed under Environment, Science

One response to “University of East Anglia, Yet Again

  1. Its a shame that science is put in such a bad light whenever it is covered in the media. always the murky underworld, never the triumph and collaboration

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