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UEA Refused To Share Information On Climate Research

The university at the centre of the ‘climategate’ scandal behaved in a “reprehensible” manner by refusing to release research behind the science of global warming, according to MPs.

The House of Commons science and technology committee said the “blunt refusal” of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) was against the spirit of freedom of information laws.

But Prof Phil Jones, the head of CRU, was not guilty of “dishonesty”, although he had sent some “pretty appalling” emails.

The influential cross party group of MPs was asked to investigate the behaviour of the UEA after thousands of emails were stolen at the end of last year.

Sceptics claim that the emails showed scientists were willing to manipulate the data behind global warming, sparking a worldwide scandal that became known as “climategate”. There was also anger at the university’s refusal to release global temperature records that back up much of the current thinking on climate change.

Phil Willis, Chairman of the Committee, said Prof Jones had sent some “pretty appalling” personal emails. But he said there was no evidence that scientists tried to manipulate the data.

However Mr Willis said the university, which is responsible for ensuring that data is shared with the public, had failed to be transparent by refusing freedom of information requests.

“What was reprehensible was that in an area of science that we all agree is important globally there was not a culture of releasing data and methodologies as a matter of course,” he said.

The committee found there was potentially evidence that the university had gone against freedom of information laws and called for further inquiries.

It called for all climate science to become more transparent in future by always sharing information and methodologies with the public.

Graham Stringer, a member of the committee, disagreed with the committee consensus.

He said questions remain over the conduct of Prof Jones and the science of global warming.

The Labour MP called for a “sceptical scientist” to be included on the panel of a separate inquiry being carried out into the scandal, although he declined to suggest any names.

The Daily Telegraph, 31 March 2010