Guardian Series Dissects CRU Email Theft Story

Fred Pearce at The Guardian has produced a brilliant, 12-part series on the circumstances and implications of the email theft from the University of East Anglia.

The series tracks the whole story and is bluntly critical in its analysis and treatment of some of the now-embarrassed climate scientists who featured the emails. Pearce also looks gingerly at the likely suspects among those who may have been involved in the thefts and who, at the very least, were aggressive in disseminating the emails.

Most importantly, Pearce puts the whole sideshow into context, saying “Nothing uncovered in the emails destroys the argument that humans are warming the planet.” And later, “Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it.”


I particularly appreciated this article ‘Robin McKie v Benny Peiser’ found at this slightly different url:

found by clicking the link under

‘major investigation into the climate science emails ’

in the first para’ of Part One.

The BBC over here, usually with reporter David Shukman wheel out Benny as a skeptic (denier) spokesperson.

Shukman recently, on two separate BBC 6 o’clock New broadcast said WRT Himalayan glaciers, ‘…dodgey data in the IPCC report’.

Last evening newsreader George Alagiah WRT the CRU Hack talked about (not verbatim) ‘…some critics are pointing to the emails as showing that some scientists were engaged in adjusting data to show that climate change is real’, without any qualification that any such critics may not have the scientific credentials to judge and that the email quotes were taken out of context.

It seems to me that the BBC is now engaged in increasing public doubt as to the veracity of climate science. Perhaps somebody is putting pressure on them. After all George Alagiah himself has been subjected to pressure as this article shows:

Alagiah asked to quit charity job

Pearce writes in part one:

Their correspondence reveals that there is some basis to the charge, made in October 2009 by climate contrarian Ross McKitrick, an environmental economist at the University of Guelph in Canada, that that

“the IPCC review process is nothing at all like what the public has been told. Conflicts of interest are endemic, critical evidence is systematically ignored and there are no effective checks and balances against bias or distortion.”

There are more than a thousand leaked files of emails to and from scientists and CRU. The emails are clearly a small subset of all the emails that would have been sent and received by CRU scientists since the first one in 1996. Nobody is yet clear why this set made it into the public domain, but they are overwhelming between CRU scientists and foreign compatriots. They include technical discussions about tree ring chronologies and data analysis, scheming about how to repel Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, and bitching about their enemies among the sceptics – the group the scientists referred to as “the contrarians”.

End extract

Pearce seems unaware of the nature of McIntyre’s bombardment of science centers with data requests and also, as RealClimate has reported, the data that McIntyre wanted was hidden in plain sight.

I just read the draft of Part 10 (Search for hacker may lead police back to East Anglia’s climate research unit). Duh. Fred Pearce gives too much space to opinionated rantings with zero facts or evidence to back them up. Like this:

“Who might have been involved? Three groups of people have been suggested.”

UEA dissidents. Disaffected people at the University of East Anglia, potentially with routine access to internal servers. Probably because they would be aware of the climate issues and might have clashed with Jones and colleagues, in either CRU or the university’s environment department. People in the environment department said there were some grumblings and jealousies about CRU, but no outright hostility.”

Which is odd, because I thought this is supposed to be a “Guardian special investigation”, not a “Guardian special stenography”.

Oh well.

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By the way, I drew up a diagram that summarizes my current understanding of how the file was created. Here it is:

– frankbi