No longer able to ignore the scandal and its efforts to quell the furor failing, the United Nations has announced it will launch a probe into the release of more than a thousand emails from the world’s top scientists. The contents of the archive, illegally obtained and released on the Internet two weeks ago, have caused an uproar in the debate about manmade climate change.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), initially dismissed the event saying the scientists involved could not have influenced the IPCC’s work. He said last week, “The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report.”
We certainly don’t want to brush anything under the carpet.
~ Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, UN IPCCC on its investigation of Climategate
Today Pachauri reversed course and told BBC Radio
that the UN will be conducting an investigation into the issues raised in recent weeks. “We certainly are going to take a look at the whole lot of it and then are going to take a position on it,” he said. “We certainly don’t want to brush anything under the carpet. This is a serious issue and we will certainly look into it in detail.”
Questions immediately arose about who will conduct the investigation and what the scope will include. As was seen in a poll released yesterday, Americans do not believe the UN is an honest broker in climate change discussions
so an internal investigation is unlikely to do much to quiet dissent.
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The launch of a UN investigation is the third announced in the last five days. On Sunday, Penn State University announced it would conduct an investigation into Dr. Michael Mann and his role in the Climategate scandal. Mann in particular seemed concerned with controlling and preventing the publication of any papers that disagreed with the manmade climate change theory.
Britain’s University of East Anglia (UEA) which houses the Climate Research Unit (CRU) where the emails originated from has also announced its own investigation. The head of the CRU, Phil Jones, has stepped aside pending the results of the inquiry. Jones is arguably the central figure in the scandal having sent many emails that have fueled skeptics’ fires.
In terms of the IPCC, Jones commented that he wanted to prevent papers written by dissenters from being included in IPCC reports. “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones wrote to Mann. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer- review literature is!”
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