Probes into the Climategate emails used biased panels and carefully restricted terms of reference
At the end of 2009 hundreds of emails were hacked or leaked from the servers of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The emails appeared to show scientists at the very centre of global warming science manipulating and withholding data, perverting the peer review process in order to keep their critics from publishing in the academic literature and having much more sanguine private views of climate science than the ones they presented to the public. There was a worldwide furore as the possible implications for policymakers sank in.
A number of inquiries were set up in the wake of the allegations. In the U.K., the House of Commons science and technology committee held a brief investigation, regrettably curtailed by the impending general election. The University of East Anglia, meanwhile, set up two panels, under Lord Oxburgh and Sir Muir Russell. All three inquiries have now presented their findings and, while making minor criticisms of the scientists involved, all have largely exonerated them of serious wrongdoing.
However, as I show in a recently published report, there is now overwhelming evidence that there were serious problems with the conduct of the inquiries. Public and policymakers alike can no longer regard their findings as reliable.
For example, it is clear that there was no attempt to appoint panels representing a balance of opinion regarding the climate change issue. Lord Oxburgh has been much criticized for taking on his Scientific Assessment Panel while having business interests in wind farms and green capital investment firms.