On 17th November 2009, over a thousand emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) were published on the internet triggering the scandal that has now become known as Climategate.
Between 8th and 18 of December, hopes of a globally binding agreement on carbon emissions reduction died at the Copenhagen Summit. On 3rd December, the UEA appointed Sir Muir Russell to conduct an ‘independent’ review of the activities at the CRU.
And on 6th January 2010, Professor Richard Tait, a BBC trustee and chairman of their flagship Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) announced a review of the accuracy and impartiality of science coverage, with particular attention to climate change, and a report was scheduled for Spring 2011. For climate sceptics this was a timely and welcome development. Over the last few years, bloggers have been reporting on an apparent synergy that exists between the BBC and the environmental movement which has led to blatant distortion in reporting climate change.
During the following few weeks, an extremely rushed inquiry into Climategate by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee took place and, while giving evidence to the Committee, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Edward Acton, announced yet another review, specifically concerned with the scientific research undertaken by the CRU. This was to be chaired by Lord Oxburgh.