Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated

The UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee has released its report into “climategate” – some of the issues surrounding the release of stolen emails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit.

It effectively exonerates Phil Jones from  charges of withholding data and questionable scientific ethics.

The text of the press release is below and the committee’s report [PDF] provides detailed responses on each of the issues raised in its investigation.


The Science and Technology Committee today publishes its report on the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. The Committee calls for the climate science community to become more transparent by publishing raw data and detailed methodologies.

Phil Willis MP, Committee Chair, said:

“Climate science is a matter of global importance. On the basis of the science, governments across the world will be spending trillions of pounds on climate change mitigation. The quality of the science therefore has to be irreproachable. What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been available, many of the problems at CRU could have been avoided.”

The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—”trick” and “hiding the decline”—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.

Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.

The Committee found no reason in this inquiry to challenge the scientific consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, that “global warming is happening [and] that it is induced by human activity”. But this was not an inquiry into the science produced by CRU and it will be for the Scientific Appraisal Panel, announced by the University on 22 March, to determine whether the work of CRU has been soundly built.

On the mishandling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, the Committee considers that much of the responsibility should lie with the University, not CRU. The leaked e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at CRU and instances where information may have been deleted to avoid disclosure, particularly to climate change sceptics. The failure of the University to grasp fully the potential damage this could do and did was regrettable. The University needs to re-assess how it can support academics whose expertise in FoI requests is limited.

via UK Parliament – S&T PN32/100331.

Download the full report: “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.”

YouTube – ‘Climategate’ row scientist cleared of wrongdoing.


See also:
The rickety bandwagon of climate change denial
Climategate inquiry: no proof of fraud, better disclosure called for

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22 responses to “Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated

  1. Huzzah! This is a good result for science!

    Now, how will the deniers spin this one? I wonder…

    Great post mate. Keep up the good work.


  2. Yes – great. Now have to read the report. I am interested to what extent they got the message over responsible use of information and how this should be ensured.

    I am sure the deniers will work hard recasting it.

    Congrats to you for getting the news out, and a bit of analysis, so quick (Climategate inquiry: no proof of fraud, better disclosure called for)


  3. Was it a truly independent inquiry though?


  4. Read the report Ross.

    Obviously as a parliamentary inquiry it has limitations. You can see from the voting record that there were deniers on the committee who tried hard to prevent an even-handed approach.

    However, this is only the first of several reports – and scientifically not an authoritative one.

    I am pretty sure that the further inquiries will not find any violation of scientific ethics, although they may find something prosecutable with respect to freedom of information requests.

    Whatever. One thing is for sure. The deniers are going to yell out “WHITEWASH” and question the independence of inquiry members.

    What else can they do if they don’t have the facts on their side?


  5. Oh yes “Da Conspiracy” is hard at workd. It would have to be the most effective and ruthless conspiracy in history.

    Where can I sign up? Surely I could get me some of that “climate change money”? 😉


  6. Was it a truly independent inquiry though?

    Well, it would be wrong to actually read the report for yourself and find out. That sounds way too hard. Leave that for others.

    Why not judge the independence of the inquiry by…it’s results?

    If the inquiry gives you the result you want, then clearly it was completely independent and fair-minded.

    If however, the inquiry does not give you the result you want then clearly it was not at all independent.

    Simple, yeah?


    For some wonderous examples of this mentality, pay close attention to the denier blogs over the next few days.


  7. Spot on Cedric, how they spn it will be fascinating.


  8. Yep, check the so-called spin at – the people who think climate science should be available for independent analysis.


  9. Yes, already seen it. He is pretty upset but actually one of the few denier blogs to comment yet.

    The report makes a very valid point about independent verification in sciece. Demanding all the data and codes enables one to produce the same result but it us not independent. Independence impies doing ones own work and getting ones own data.

    There are some realty interesting issues around making data available but peervreview isn’t one of them.

    Sent from my iPod


  10. I have to wonder about Steve McIntyre.

    It is all a put-on for the rubes or does he really believe everything he says?
    Surely nobody could be that big of a tool and not realize it?


  11. News just in – Simon Singh has won his appeal! Twitter erupting with congratulations.

    Sent from my iPod


  12. Richard Christie

    ” So, no conspiracy, no collusion, no manipulation of data, no corruption of the peer-review process, no scandal; just an understandable reluctance to hand over data to dishonest people with a history of misrepresenting it. ”

    ABC The Drum unleashed
    Climategate: The lion that squeaked.
    Clive Hamilton


  13. News just in – Simon Singh has won his appeal!

    Fantastic news!

    First Phil Jones and now Simon Singh.
    It’s been a magnificent couple of days of official recognition of science.
    I hope the deniers choke on their bile.

    (Looking at you, Ross)


  14. Don’t count your chickens, yet. That isn’t the only review of the CRU behaviour. I think there are two more to come, from what I recall.


  15. Yes 2 more. One will look at the questions of foi requests as well as witholding data. The other is more in depth checking the reliability of the science.

    I think the parliamentary committee got it right for what is a limited inquiry. I believe the other 2 inquiries will find the science reliable and most likely no substance to claims of misinterpreting or hiding data.

    There will probably be a reassertion of more openess with data and methods but accepting Jones et al did not go outside accepted practice.

    There might be discovery of examples of avoiding foi requests. I suggest this will be the only example of wrong doing. Depending in the seriousness Jones may or may not be forced to resign. I hope not.

    The questions around foi violations must be cleared up because the unwarranted statement by the information office is unsatisfactory. The parliamentary commiittee pointed that out and reprimanded the office.

    I hope the next report makes some recommendations about responsibility in foi requests. Malicious requests should be avoided and the use of the data should be open to review.

    We have the silly situation of denier groups in NZ making foi requests to NIWA and at the sane time refusing any perusal of their own data or methods. Even claiming a “science team” which “wished to remain anonymous”.

    These crooks should have to face the same transparency scientists do.

    Sent from my iPod


  16. That isn’t the only review of the CRU behaviour. I think there are two more to come, from what I recall.

    No matter what happens, you are safe.

    If they condemn the CRU, you win.
    If they exonerate the CRU, you still win because clearly the whole thing was rigged from the beginning.
    An exercise in intellectual dishonesty.

    Climate deniers don’t give a damn about the science.
    It’s all about playing upon fear and suspicion.
    Fear the scientist. Distrust the science.
    They are all hippies. They are all commies.
    It’s a sekrit konspiracy, b’gosh!!!!

    That’s why hysteria about emails of all things went viral.
    Nobody should base their science around emails any more than they should base their science around post-it stickers left around the office cubicles.
    It’s the work that matters. The process of peer review. That’s the meat of it all.

    All the emails in the world can’t change that.

    Shame on the people that cheered on this grotesque three-ringed circus.
    A sober minded apology and a re-evaluation of values is in order. Fat chance of that ever happening.
    Deniers never learn. Never.


  17. Pingback: A more transparent approach « Open Parachute

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  19. It’s fascinating to read the alarmists views. Anybody really interested in a fair handed review of this entire story should read “Climategate”. The fact that all the alarmists label everyone who doesn’t agree that we are facing “catastophic” global warming (sorry: climate change), deniers is only interesting. The fact that they aren’t up for any debate on the subject is truly astonishing.


  20. So what was the point if that comment Glenn?

    Not up to a real debate?

    Upset about how climategate is being exposed as a Shan?

    Sent from my iPod


  21. hello…………..whts about the climate???????????????


  22. Pingback: Truth getting it’s boots on! « Open Parachute

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